Naval Aviator Memories
During my first month of combat, I shot down six planes, took out a Comm Center and a Fuel Dump. This may have had a lot to do with my being taken out of combat training in San Diego and reassigned to the weather observation sqdn in Guam.
As we stood in formation at NAS Pensacola, our Flight Instructor said, "Alright ! All you damn dummies fall out." As the rest of the squad wandered away, I remained at attention. The Instructor walked over until he was eye-to-eye with me, and then just raised a single eyebrow. I smiled and said, "Sure was a lot of 'em, huh sir ?"
One day I somehow lost my sidearm, I had no idea how, but they made me pay for it anyway. They said I'd have to pay for anything I lost. At least then I understood the Naval tradition of the Captain going down with the ship.
When we were finally allowed to call home, it was a real treat to speak to the family again. I told my Mother that the only thing that really bothered me a lot was the Flight Instructor telling me that I was dumb, ugly and possibly the worst excuse for a pilot he'd ever seen. She said, "Why in Heaven's name would he say things like that. That's terrible !" I told her, "That's nothing, I'd hate to tell ya' what he said about you !"
A Navy wife inquired about an increase in their monthly allotment for living quarters, because rents near the Station where he was based were so high. She received the following letter back: "Class Q allotments are based upon the number of dependents, up to a maximum of three. If the birth of a child will mean your husband is entitled to more quarters allowance, please notify him to take the necessary action required."
While I'm not sure of the procedure now, when I was in the Navy every so often, you got umpteen shots whether you needed them or not. The carrier pilot in front of me as we passed thru the line asked for a drink of water after receiving what seemed to be at least a dozen different needles. The Corpsman asked if he was dizzy. "No, not at all." he replied. "I just wanna' see if I'm still water-tight."
Marksmanship rated very low on most Aviator's priority lists, and I guess it irritated the hell out of our Range Instructor, a Marine. A bunch of us were trying to qualify one afternoon, and of the six men firing, not one even hit the target from 100 yards. The Sergeant shouted, "Cease firing ! Cease firing ! Fix bayonets and charge ! It's your only chance."
This one is definitely true of most sailors!!
Back then the theory was that if Aviators were fed saltpeter it would reduce their sex drive. Wouldn't ya' know here it is over 30 years later and the damn stuff's just starting to work.
Some of those simulated tactical situations that they gave us were so easy though. One instructor said "You have two enemy craft on your tail closing at 400 knots. What's the very first thing you do ?" I mean, how simple can you get ? The obvious answer to anyone should be: "do 450 knots".
Because of the unusual duty hours at a Naval Air Station, you could pretty much find something to eat at almost any hour. At one Chow Hall the Chief in charge always used to post a sign: "SORRY, WE'RE OPEN !"
While I was never the best pilot the Navy had ever seen, I managed to be OK most of the time. You'd never know it though from listening to my Flight Instructor. He once told me, "Tell ya' what, Clexton, if they ever expand the list of the 'Seven Wonders of the World', I'm gonna' make sure that you're on there twice !