Your Humble Scribe cannot be at this year’s Tailhook Symposium and reunion in Reno, but not to fear! I have recruited a couple of stalwarts in the Tailhook Community to help me out, Hans and Kathy Schmoldt!
I just received a couple of “Images from the Front Lines” that I am glad to pass on to our faithful readers. (Fair warning many of these images and comments are being transmitted direct from Han’s iPhone thus the details surrounding them are limited at best.)
Below is the award presented to NFO of the Year LCDR David Rueter (and I assume Hizzoner himself). Lemme guess, call sign “Roto”?
Hans then pinged me with another quick brief regarding the awarding of the most “Straight Deck” landings (440) to Diz Laird pictured here with Hans. Diz Laird has the singular distinction of having shot down not only Japanese but German aircraft in WW II.
Additionally Hans forwarded a few of our resident Colorado Ready Room Members Bad Bart, and Spook!
Also included on the recon dump are images of Bartlesville's Silver Star recipient Bru and his two employees.
Thank you Hans and Kathy!!!
Keep those images and stories coming in! And if you too wish to contribute please forward your tales and images directly to me at email@example.com
This past Friday, many supporters of the Intruder community gathered on the flight deck of the USS Midway Museum under a blue San Diego sky to dedicate the A-6 on board in the name of a very special flight crew.
37 years ago on a Mid-January evening, VA-115 “Arabs” aircrew Lt. Mike “Mondo” McCormick and Ltjg. Alan “Arlo” Clark, were catapulted from the very same USS Midway, flying “Arab 511” and were soon “Feet Dry” over the coast of Vietnam. They were on a SAM and Radar Suppression mission in support of B-52’s on a Linebacker II operation, they were never to return.
Lt. Mike “Mondo” McCormick Ltjg. R. Alan “Arlo” Clark
That night Mike and Alan would become the last Intruder Crew to make the ultimate sacrifice in that long war.
On Friday, Mike and Alan’s fellow “Arabs” from VA-115, family members, others from the Intruder Community, active duty Navy, and Naval Aviation supporters all gathered in front of “Arab 511” to dedicate this Aircraft in the name of Mike McCormick and Alan Clark, to represent all Intruder crews who served and all who will be “forever young.”
President of the Intruder Association, Capt. Larry Yarham USN(Ret) presided over the dedication, with comments by USS Midway Museum President RADM John “Mac” McLaughlin USN(Ret), the former CO of VA-115 Capt. Paul Barrish USN(Ret), Mike’s Sister Jaime, and Alan’s son, Lt. Col (select) Tad Clark USAF.
It was Tad’s remarks that really hit home…
One final trap. . .
Just over 6 years ago, many of us gathered in the Arlington National Cemetery on a cold, snowy, January day in Washington DC, to honor two men who gave their lives in the service to their country. On that day, we faced their casket and saw the thousands of tombstones precisely lined up in countless rows behind it. To our back, however, was a remarkable thing. It was an open plot of land unmarked by the granite reminders of those fallen. Today, I’m sad to report, that section of land looks quite different. I share that with you as it serves as a reminder that our nation is still active in our national security and interests abroad to include the liberation of those subjected to oppressive rule. That commitment requires us to send those who are willing and able to serve, even if it means placing them in harm’s way.
That is the spirit of patriotism, heroism, and selflessness we remember today as we honor LT Mike “Mondo” McCormick and LTJG Alan “Arlo” Clark. On 10 January 1973, “Mondo” and “Arlo” were catapulted from the bow of this very carrier, the USS Midway. While reporting “Feet Dry”, their mission would all too soon be short one “Feet Wet”. And so, the many long years of wondering and mourning began. Their names were placed on the Vietnam War Memorial, the wall, as our nation recognized they were “Gone But Not Forgotten”.
When “Mondo” and my father were laid to rest in Arlington 31 years later to the day, then began for many the closure and healing process concerning their sacrifice. That was certainly a significant day for all of us. But today is significant too as this A-6, in a sense, represents “Mondo’s” and “Arlo’s” determination and resolve to wrestle their battle torn Intruder back aboard the deck of the USS Midway for one final trap.
As their names on the wall and on their tombstone in Arlington provide time for reflection, respect, and remembrance. . .their names on this combat proven A-6 Intruder celebrate the lives of two great warriors, their heroism, will retell their story for countless years to the millions of visitors aboard the Midway, and will remind us of where they loved to be, in the cockpit soaring in the skies above.
More photos can be found here…[link]
God Bless You, Mike and Alan… and all who gave all.
It’s that time of year again, as the snow falls and the mercury plummets, our daydreams yearn for summer skies filled with lazy clouds and the roar of 12 GE-F404-400’s in full grunt!
Yep… December is when the US Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron, The Blue Angels release their coming year show schedule. But this year there is a twist! They're releasing the schedule for 2010… AND… 2011!
13 NAF El Centro, CA
20-21 MacDill AFB, FL
27-28 NAS Kingsville, TX
10-11 NAS Key West, FL
17 Charleston AFB, SC
24-25 Vidalia, GA
1-2 St. Joseph, MO
8-9 Tuscaloosa, AL
15-16 Andrews AFB, MD
22-23 MCAS Cherry Point, NC
26 USNA, Annapolis, MD
28 USNA, Annapolis, MD (fly-over)
29-30 Jones Beach, NY
5-6 Eau Claire, WI
12-13 Milwaukee, WI
19-20 Cape Girardeau, MO
26-27 St. Cloud, MN
3-4 Traverse City, MI
10 Pensacola Beach, FL
17-18 Dayton, OH
24-25 Idaho Falls, ID
31 Anchorage, AK
1 Anchorage, AK
7-8 Seattle, WA
14-15 Chicago, IL
28-29 Portsmouth, NH
4-6 Cleveland, OH
11-12 Scott AFB, IL
18-19 NAS Oceana, VA
25-26 MCAS Kaneohe Bay, HI
1-3 MCAS Miramar, CA
9-10 San Francisco, CA
16-17 Dobbins AFB, GA
23-24 NAS Jacksonville, FL
30-31 Ft. Worth Alliance, TX
6-7 Homestead AFB, FL
13 NAS Pensacola, FL
12 NAF El Centro, CA
19-20 Keesler AFB, MS
28-29 NAS Meridian, MS
2-3 Sun-N-Fun, Lakeland, FL
9-10 NAS Corpus Christi, TX
16-17 Fort Worth JRB, TX
30 MCAS Beaufort, SC
1 MCAS Beaufort, SC
3-4 NAS Pensacola, FL
7-8 NAS New Orleans, LA
8 Flight Academy Fly-over, Pensacola, FL
14-15 La Crosse, WI
21-22 Andrews AFB, MD (reunion show)
25 & 27 USNA show and graduation fly-over
28-29 Millville, NJ
4-5 Rockford, IL
11-12 Evansville, IN
18-19 Davenport, IA
25-26 North Kingston, RI
2-3 Muskegon, MI
9 Pensacola Beach, FL
16-17 Rochester, NY
23-24 Ypsilanti, MI
30-31 Kalispell, MT
6-7 Seattle, WA
13-14 Fargo, ND
27-28 Brunswick, ME
3-5 NAS Patuxent River, MD
10-11 Lincoln, NE
17-18 Millington, TN
24-25 NAS Oceana, VA
1-2 MCAS Miramar, CA
8-9 San Francisco, CA
15-16 NAS Lemoore, CA
22-23 El Paso, TX
29-30 San Antonio, TX
5-6 NAS Jacksonville, FL
12 NAS Pensacola, FL
We all would like to thank our noblest of men and women, our veterans! These are those among us who have all answered the “Call of Duty.”
The sacrifices you make so that we may be free, to live a life of our own choosing, our own making, go unrecognized all too often by many caught up in the daily trivialities of life. Yet, specifically on this day, we call attention where attention is needed. On those of you who have not shirked the responsibilities of Duty over Self. And on this day… We Thank You!
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields. – Lt.-Col. John McCrae
And… if you have not taken the time to listen to one of the greatest speeches in the annals of American Rhetoric, I highly recommend listening once again to the immortal words of General Douglas McArthur as he addressed the Corps of Cadets at West Point in his acceptance of the Thayer Award and his farewell to the Long Gray Line. It does not matter what uniform we wear or have worn, his words ring true for all that serve this great country.
Listen here: [link]
…Duty, Honor, Country: Those three hallowed words reverently dictate what you ought to be, what you can be, what you will be. They are your rallying points: to build courage when courage seems to fail; to regain faith when there seems to be little cause for faith; to create hope when hope becomes forlorn.
Unhappily, I possess neither that eloquence of diction, that poetry of imagination, nor that brilliance of metaphor to tell you all that they mean.
The unbelievers will say they are but words, but a slogan, but a flamboyant phrase. Every pedant, every demagogue, every cynic, every hypocrite, every troublemaker, and I am sorry to say, some others of an entirely different character, will try to downgrade them even to the extent of mockery and ridicule.
But these are some of the things they do. They build your basic character. They mold you for your future roles as the custodians of the nation's defense. They make you strong enough to know when you are weak, and brave enough to face yourself when you are afraid. They teach you to be proud and unbending in honest failure, but humble and gentle in success; not to substitute words for actions, not to seek the path of comfort, but to face the stress and spur of difficulty and challenge; to learn to stand up in the storm but to have compassion on those who fall; to master yourself before you seek to master others; to have a heart that is clean, a goal that is high; to learn to laugh, yet never forget how to weep; to reach into the future yet never neglect the past; to be serious yet never to take yourself too seriously; to be modest so that you will remember the simplicity of true greatness, the open mind of true wisdom, the meekness of true strength. They give you a temper of the will, a quality of the imagination, a vigor of the emotions, a freshness of the deep springs of life, a temperamental predominance of courage over timidity, of an appetite for adventure over love of ease. They create in your heart the sense of wonder, the unfailing hope of what next, and the joy and inspiration of life. They teach you in this way to be an officer and a gentleman.
And what sort of soldiers are those you are to lead? Are they reliable? Are they brave? Are they capable of victory? Their story is known to all of you. It is the story of the American man-at-arms. My estimate of him was formed on the battlefield many, many years ago, and has never changed. I regarded him then as I regard him now -- as one of the world's noblest figures, not only as one of the finest military characters, but also as one of the most stainless. His name and fame are the birthright of every American citizen. In his youth and strength, his love and loyalty, he gave all that mortality can give.
He needs no eulogy from me or from any other man. He has written his own history and written it in red on his enemy's breast. But when I think of his patience under adversity, of his courage under fire, and of his modesty in victory, I am filled with an emotion of admiration I cannot put into words. He belongs to history as furnishing one of the greatest examples of successful patriotism. He belongs to posterity as the instructor of future generations in the principles of liberty and freedom. He belongs to the present, to us, by his virtues and by his achievements. In 20 campaigns, on a hundred battlefields, around a thousand campfires, I have witnessed that enduring fortitude, that patriotic self-abnegation, and that invincible determination which have carved his statue in the hearts of his people. From one end of the world to the other he has drained deep the chalice of courage.
As I listened to those songs [of the glee club], in memory's eye I could see those staggering columns of the First World War, bending under soggy packs, on many a weary march from dripping dusk to drizzling dawn, slogging ankle-deep through the mire of shell-shocked roads, to form grimly for the attack, blue-lipped, covered with sludge and mud, chilled by the wind and rain, driving home to their objective, and for many, to the judgment seat of God.
I do not know the dignity of their birth, but I do know the glory of their death. They died unquestioning, uncomplaining, with faith in their hearts, and on their lips the hope that we would go on to victory. Always, for them: Duty, Honor, Country; always their blood and sweat and tears, as we sought the way and the light and the truth.
To all veterans, the Tailhook Daily Briefing thanks you for your service and sacrifice, we here do not need a day set aside every year to remind us, but we are glad their is a day, to remind the rest!
Hard to believe it was already a week ago that many of us Tailhookers were under the searing sunshine in Churchill County watching the fine folks at NAS Fallon demonstrate their capabilities. But for this week’s Photos from the Fleet, I present you with a few select images from the show. (Clicking the image will deliver you to a larger image and the gallery of more relating to the airshow). Enjoy… –JC
Above is a time lapse panoramic of the Blue Angels Solos Departure. The original image is approximately 32” tall by 187” wide! Anyone have a wall you want covered?!
There you have it… All of these images are under my copyright, If for any reason you would like larger versions or permission to use any of these images, simply e-mail me, and I’ll see what I can do. ;-)
The invite to contribute is, as always, extended to all readers of the Tailhook Daily Briefing. Anyone… amateur, professional, hobbyist, Active Duty, Retired, Civilian… you name it all can contribute! It can be of current operations in the fleet, or of our valued history. All I ask is that it is yours to distribute (or that you have been granted permission to send it to me for purposes of publication) here on The Daily Briefing. Simply send me an email with your attached .jpg (or pretty much any other photo file format, I do have Photoshop CS3 to convert to a web image if need be.) Please provide the story behind the image (if there is one) and details about the individuals in the images. And be sure to include your name to receive proper credit for the image. Providing photo data, ie. what type of camera, lens, shutter speed, aperture etc is not necessary but welcomed as many of us are fellow photographers and would love to know how specific compelling images are captured.
Please send your pictures and stories directly to me by clicking this e-mail link [ JC’s E-Mail ] and be sure to attach the image and include an appropriate subject in the e-mail so you don’t get spam filtered out.
Well if you are a Tailhooker, we expect to see you at the Tilted Kilt!
From “Spike” Prendergast:
Just a reminder that Tomorrow, Wednesday evening (29 July) is our July get-together at “The Tilted Kilt”. As you can see from the attached photos, the wait staff has been very diligent in getting “briefed up” on carrier aviation and the A-6 Intruder during their recent visit to USS MIDWAY in preps for the event. Looking forward to seeing you all there in support of the Intruder Association’s Scholarship fund.
Hey! If an F-4 Guy is supporting the cause of the A-6 Bubbas, ya know it’s gotta be a worthy cause! Get out and join your fellow Tailhookers at the Tilted kilt! Details below…
Wednesday, 29 July, at “The Tilted Kilt Pub & Eatery” (link), also known as “the best looking sports pub you’ve ever seen”. The San Diego Intruder Association (link) is hosting this special San Diego Tailhook Ready Room event as a fund raiser for the Intruder Association Scholarship Fund administered by the Tailhook Organization. You will enjoy the finest pub grub food, Tilted Kilt's Ale, wine, Tailhook videos, participation in the event raffles that include Padre and Tailhook memorabilia (Padre memorabilia donated by the Padres and Tilted Kilt management), USS Midway Aircraft Carrier Museum tickets, camaraderie with your fellow Tailhookers and Tilted Kilt clientele, and pictures with the Tilted Kilt hostesses. As usual, the mission of 'Attack' and the singular role of the aircraft carrier to put attack aviation within strike distance of the enemy will be greatly debated between the fighter and attack squadron mates.
Rules of Engagement: "Charlie time" will be 1700 (5:00 PM). The evening's charge is $30 per person which includes all food, Tilted Kilt ale, and wine and a scholarship fund contribution. No bar fines will be charged for pictures with the Tilted Kilt hostesses.
Dress casual and don't hesitate to breakout and wear your beloved flight suit or Tailhook attire. As always, please feel free to bring spouses, significant others, friends, whatever. The more the merrier!
If you have Tailhook aviation videos (DVD format) you'd like to share with your squadron mates, let Clyde Cain (firstname.lastname@example.org) know and bring them to the event.
Directions: “The Tilted Kilt” is located at 310 10th Ave at the intersection of 10th Avenue and “K” Street immediately north of Petco Park (map) . There is ample covered public parking in the area, and the Padres are on the road that week, so the Padre PETCO Park Lot and curbside parking should be no problem either.
It will be a great event for a good cause...see you at the Kilt!
Today a Hero to not only Naval Aviation but to a Grateful Nation was honored. The USS James Stockdale (DDG 106) the Navy’s latest Arleigh Burke class destroyer was commissioned at Naval Base Ventura County Port Hueneme.
From the Ships Biography:
On September 9, 1965, then-Commander Stockdale catapulted his A-4E Skyhawk off the flight deck of the U.S.S. Oriskany on what turned out to be his final mission over North Vietnam . Approaching his target, his plane was riddled with anti-aircraft fire. Within seconds, his engine was aflame and all hydraulic control was gone. He "punched out," watching his plane slam into a rice paddy and explode in a fireball. Stockdale himself best describes what happened next:
"As I ejected from the plane I broke a bone in my back, but that was only the beginning. I landed in the streets of a small village. A thundering herd was coming down on me. They were going to defend the honor of their town. It was the quarterback sack of the century."
They tore off his clothes and beat him mercilessly. Stockdale suffered a broken leg and paralyzed arm before a military policeman took him into custody. He was now a prisoner of war, the highest ranking naval officer to be held as a POW in Vietnam.
Stockdale wound up in Hoa Lo Prison - the infamous " Hanoi Hilton" -- where he spent the next seven and a half years under unimaginably brutal conditions. He was physically tortured no fewer than 15 times. Techniques included beatings, whippings, and near-asphyxiation with ropes. Mental torture was incessant. He was kept in solitary confinement, in total darkness, for four years, chained in heavy, abrasive leg irons for two years, malnourished due to a starvation diet, denied medical care, and deprived of letters from home in violation of the Geneva Convention.
Through it all, Stockdale's captors held out the promise of better treatment if he would only admit that the United States was engaging in criminal behavior against the Vietnamese people, but Stockdale refused. Drawing strength from principles of stoic philosophy, Stockdale heroically resisted. His courage was an inspiration to his fellow POWs, with whom he communicated in an ingenious code, maintaining unit cohesion and morale. His jailers increased the level of torture, so Stockdale determined to fight back in the only way he could.
Told that he was to be taken "downtown" and paraded in front of foreign journalists, Stockdale slashed his scalp with a razor and beat himself in the face with a wooden stool. He reasoned that his captors would not dare display a prisoner who appeared to have been beaten. When he learned that his fellow prisoners were dying under torture, he slashed his wrists to show their captors that he preferred death to submission. Stockdale literally gambled with his life, and won. Convinced of Stockdale's determination to die rather than cooperate, the Communists ceased trying to extract bogus "confessions" from him. The torture of American prisoners ended, and treatment of all American POWs improved. Upon his release in 1973, Stockdale's extraordinary heroism became widely known, and he received the Congressional Medal of Honor in the nation's bicentennial year. He was one of the most highly decorated officers in the history of the Navy, with 26 personal combat decorations, including four Silver Star medals in addition to the Medal of Honor.
Throughout Stockdale's captivity, his wife Sybil campaigned for respectful treatment for the families of all POWs by founding the League of Families. Sybil Stockdale was presented with the U.S. Navy Department's Distinguished Public Service Award by the Chief of Naval Operations. She is the only wife of an active-duty officer ever to be so honored.
After serving as the President of the Naval War College, Stockdale retired from the Navy in 1978 and embarked on a distinguished academic career, including a term as President of the Citadel, and 15 years as a Senior Research Fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution. In 1992 he graciously agreed to a request from his old friend H. Ross Perot to stand with Perot as the vice presidential candidate of the Reform Party, and throughout the campaign he comported himself with the same integrity and dignity that marked his entire career. Together, the Stockdales told their story in a joint memoir, In Love and War. Admiral Stockdale and his wife lived quietly on Coronado Island, off of San Diego, until his death in 2005.
Admiral Stockdale, legacy provides for much more than a story of angst and management of desperate times, these are not what made him the leader he was. It is what Admiral Stockdale learned from these times, and how he applied the test of these experiences to formulate the principles of Leadership he could then share with other future leaders in the US Military as well as civilian world. Admiral Stockdale provides us with the following guiding principle:
"The challenge of education is not to prepare a person for success, but to prepare him for failure." It is in disaster, not success, that the heroes and the bums really get sorted out.
Admiral Stockdale is known in the Navy as the Fighter Pilot Philosopher, and a truer moniker could not be applied. His teaching at Stanford and the War College have prepared many a student in the better ways to deal with life’s unexpected events rather than the expected.
The Stoics said that "Character is fate." What I am saying is that in my life, education has been fate. I became what I learned, or maybe I should say I became the distillation of what fascinated me most as I learned it. Only three years after I left graduate school, I participated in the refounding of my own civilization after doom's day, when the giant doors of an Old World dungeon had slammed shut and locked me and a couple hundred other Americans in--in total silence, in solitary confinement, in leg irons, in blindfolds for weeks at a time, in antiquity, in a political prison.
Stockdale encouraged us all to “Become Educated” both for our selves and for those we affect, having the tools to manage and experience our lives, not just live them. Most importantly to have full understanding that our pursuits should always be grounded in the "Foundations of Moral Obligations!”
If you do not fully understand what Admiral Stockdale was onto here, and most (I would go out on a limb and state…) do not… I would highly recommend reading the Scholarly Article “In War, In Prison, In Antiquity” and then you may choose to also brush up on the capabilities of the “Stoic” in today’s modern warfare and leadership environments. They ring more true today than ever.
The Reading list:
Today a crew begins to serve our nation on a ship that will proudly bear the name USS Stockdale, our blessing is on this ship and all that sail her, do us proud, do Admiral James Bond Stockdale proud, and most importantly, do yourself proud! Welcome to the fleet USS Stockdale!
Fair Winds and Following Seas USS Stockdale!
More on the USS Stockdale here USS Stockdale DDG-106 Home Page
It is always difficult to watch great navy warriors sail into the final sunset of their careers. And this past week we in the Naval Air family had to bid farewell to two faithful tools of the trade.
Hard to believe that only one thing in the image on the right still exists in the Navy’s inventory. This past weekend witnessed the Decommissioning of the USS Kitty Hawk (CV-63) the last of the oil burners. As well over in Jacksonville the last of the S-3’s were retired.
We certainly look back on these warriors with a fond affection of memories near and distant, and know that all of us have our time. Doesn’t make it any easier to bid farewell to those memories.
I used to live on Point Loma, in San Diego and had a fantastic view of North Island where both the Kitty Hawk and the S-3 claimed their roost for many years. It is odd to think that no longer will any new sailor understand the Moniker “War Hoover" or “Battle Kat.” I remember fondly actually, the whoooummmp then whistle of the Hoovers as they shot touch and goes at NASNI, and the grace illustrated in the break with those long slender wings exaggerating a well executed 90 degree roll-pull!
And who can forget that one of the most famous specific aircraft of the US Navy in the past 8 years was VS-35’s Double Nuts. For a brief time she was “Navy-One” flying then President George W. Bush on board the USS Abraham Lincoln for his tribute to the Sailors serving the cause of Iraqi Freedom!
And as well the pure force of USS Kitty Hawk putting out to sea past Ballast Point and into the Pacific Swells for her many deployments both to insure our peace and prosecute our wars. This was a time before San Diego had any of the Nimitz Class residents… Kitty was the big girl on the block, with her sister Connie. She was awe inspiring… always.
But alas these two are now only memories, for me and many who flew in and served aboard. Their time may be neigh, but they will be remembered with respect!
As is evidence in the two following links: