Aircraft: A-4E
Custodian: VMA-131
Location: NAS Cecil Field
Photo credit: Unknown
Contact: "Boom" Powell
Description: After a bad day with the "Tanker".
"VMA-131 was on a two week ATD to NAS Cecil with our E's. Our arrival airshow included the XO taking a bird through the right front windscreen and ejecting with the plane so well trimmed that if flew until it ran out of gas and, fortunately, plummeted to earth without any loss of life with the exception of the avian FOD.
Later in the det, I was on a wing going to a tanker for a night plug and some night work at Pinecastle. The basket was dead and before I could do anything, I owned it. The fireball my flight lead said he saw envelop the jet blew the door out of the intake into the hell hole and severed the hydraulics. The maintenance guys did not know how the airplane flew as long as it did with the FOD damage to the engine. Recovered at Cecil after I chained the gear down, hook skipped at both ends and managed to stop by doing circles on the runup pad at the west end of the runway.
Once again, luck outfoxed skill and here's the picture to prove it.
Gene "Blade" Atwell, former USMC Skyhawk Aviator.