Spike Bull 's Link
As a kid on the farm in CA we had guys come in with ag spray planes several times a year. One of the pilots was Raleigh Rhinenbarger(?) and he flew with what they called the Black Sheep in the pacific (had nothing good to say about Boyington either.... called him a drunk....) he always had some great stories.
My dad was a pilot, we had an airstrip on the farm that the spray planes flew off of. One time Raleigh had just come back from Pearl Harbor, (was in the late 60s I think? maybe 70-71) they had a big Navy Black Sheep Squadron reunion, Navy flew everyone there and put them up, it was big week long event. They all got a chance to fly in what I believe was an F14. He was marveling about the weapons systems, helmet targeting displays, you could aim guns by turning your head, etc..... the speed and power....
He started on about the pilots.... "these pilots flying these multi million dollar planes are just a bunch of KIDS!" He went on..... they're all "kids" some only 20 years old, most are 21-22.... (I think I later read you have to be under 27 to even enter the program) with all that firepower and technology..... was shaking his head... just turning these kids loose to go into battle with these planes....
Then my dad asked him how old was he when he was a fighter pilot...... long pause...... 19...... but he never thought of himself as being a 19 year old kid then.... pretty funny conversations, being that fly on the wall....
Special people, thanks Spike, great find. I lost an uncle before I was born, near the end of WWII, a pilot in the pacific. Was never found, him or his plane/crew.
18-20 year olds, able enough to do almost anything they are taught and too stupid to be afraid to!
"Today, conventional wisdom is that the American daylight bombing campaign over Europe succeeded only because U.S. fighters were able to defeat the German fighter force. Moreover, U.S. airmen defeated the Luftwaffe not by bombing its aircraft production, nor by attacking its fuel supply – neither move inflicted a knockout blow – but by killing its pilots.
This happened because of the Mustang, and the Mustang succeeded because of the Merlin."
Although they entered later in the war, Corsair performance in the pacific off the carriers was pretty spectacular too. 11:1 kill ratio. Air dominance.
who cant forget this TV Show with the F4U Corsairs ... ^^
He died on his 21st birthday when his plane caught fire and rode it into the ground to avoid crashing in civilian housing. I've always been fascinated with WWII war-birds.
The Corsair F4U was given to the Marines because it was hard to land on Carriers.
Fast forward 40 years, and the Navy took all of the Marine F-4Ns, and gave the Marines the newer F-4S's that had the newer wing slats making the F-4 Phantom more maneuverable. The Navy didn't like the S Model because it had a faster landing speed, thus more difficulty in Carrier landings.
In both cases, 1940's and 1980's, the Navy then turned around and put Marine Squadrons on carriers - flying the planes that had difficulty with Carrier Landings.
With the exception of the E-2C Hawkeye, the U.S.S. Coral Sea air wing was entirely USMC, flying the F-4S model, in the late 1980s.
True stories !!!!! No kidding !!!!!
This is tribal knowledge here !!!
Similarly, 265 (of the 302 planned) F4J aircraft went through a modification process at the Naval Air Rework Facility (NARF) at NAS North Island, to provide more structural strength, a longer fatique life, updated mission equipment (AN/AWG10 to AN/AGW-10B radar) and a slatted wing. These modified F4J aircraft were designated F-4S and the first one flew in 1977. The modifications saved about 25% on aircraft maintenance. The slatted wing modifications consisted of an external strap that ran from one wing fold under the fuselage to the other wing fold, effectively zero-timing the wing. The outer wing panels were replaced with new ones. The first forty or so F4J airframes converted to F-4S were completed before the slat "kits" were available. These were sent to the Marines as F4J/S Phantoms (it was even painted on the aircraft). Later, the ones that were still around were brought back to NARF North Island and fitted with slats. Formation lights were also added to the vertical stabiliser, the fuselage and the wing tips. The aircraft were also rewired with newer wire.
The only Phantoms I worked on were the F-4b's in 73. The next cruise we had the first F-14's on the east coast.
hard to believe that the Phantoms and the Tomcats are long gone. The carrier I was on is gone also.
hard to believe I was only 19 in that picture
.. .. .
VMFP-3, Det C, U.S.S. Midway, 1978 - 1979. RF-4B. Eyes of the Corps!!!!!!
I loved that six months cruise I did. I will always remember it, and how special it was/is to me to this day.
OOH RAH !!!!!!!
.. .. ..
Later, they changed their name to NADEP ( Naval Aviation Depot ) North Island.
They had this group there, I think it was called the FRSG, Fleet Readiness Support Group. Just a bunch of old GS Civil Servants and retired Master/Senior Chiefs, that their only mission in life was to help you.
I loved those guys. Give them a phone call with a problem on the F-4, and it was like feeding a Pork Rib to a Pit Bull.
Lots of fond memories - about REAL CIVAL Servants.
They took our RF-4Bs and put them, too, through a SLEP/SURE Program ( Service Life Extension Program / Sensor Update and Refurbishment Effort.
We got a new IR Sensor, new Photographic Cameras, and a new Synthetic Aperture Radar. The deal with the USMC, was we had to maintain a 4 bird attachment on the U.S.S. Midway.
Ahh - I must have just bored everyone to death !!!!