Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Lessons learned from 3000 hours in the air with Fleet Air Reconnaissance Squadron ONE and another unit

While I never reached Malcolm Gladwell's magical 10,000 hours of experience to master my skills as a COMEVAL, I did learn a few things in my years flying with VQ-1 and some other guys.  Here is a short list of a few things I learned (not listed in any particular order):

1.  Never break the code.

2.  Always pre-flight your parachute.

3.  Every Sailor has a job to do. Let him/her do it.

4.  Make sure your mission bags have all the tech manuals that you'll need.

5.  Where you started may not be where you end up.

6.  Don't ever mess with the Flight Engineer.  Payback can cost you more than you may be able to afford.

7.  Your Petty Officer in Charge doesn't need to be the senior petty officer.  CTI3 Neil Gagnon proved that point about a dozen times.

8.  Not all Lab Ops are created equal.

9.  Malibu Al brought his surfboard along for a reason.

10.  Don't use "Fire Feet" on a particularly cold flight unless you know how to put out the fire.

11.  Sometimes 5km means 50ft.

12.  "10.0 or we don't go" isn't my favorite slogan.

13.  Post mission reporting continues until the EWMC is completely exhausted, regardless of how tired the rest of you may be.

14.  "0200 show for 0400 go" gets old faster than you would imagine.

15.  Empty your flight suit pockets before you get home.  It's a long way back to the base at midnight or 1 a.m.


HMS Defiant said...

7 is very interesting. I had thought that observation had gone extinct. Glad to see it's still around.

Anonymous said...

Awesome memories.

Navy Grade 36 Bureaucrat said...

- The EWOP never makes good coffee.

- If you get a checkride, you're hauling a pisser on postflight. If you try to get off without doing so, you may catch a full pisser as you're going down the ladder.

- The Sailor with the pisser is ALWAYS the second one off the plane. Unless you're an FE, you walk in front of him or her at your own risk.

- Parachutes only exist to make you feel good. You don't really ever want to use one.

- If your backpack doesn't have a clip to connect to something, you're wrong.

4K hours said...

Numbers 7 and 11: truer words were never spoken (ask anybody who flew with Joe Spencer on the VQ-1 side of the equation).

Here's some more:

-If you have a chance to eat a big hot breakfast, do it...because you don't know when you're next mealtime is rolling around.

-If breakfast was western omelet and apple pie: you took off from NAF Misawa.

-If breakfast was steak and eggs: you took off from NAS Cubi Point.

-If your post-mission snack is tater tots, you're in Misawa.

-If you have to dodge the monkeys at the dumpster: you're in the Philippines.

-When the plane commander asks the navigator for a heading for an immediate RTB, you don't want to hear the newly "qualified" navigator give the response as a question. And Jim Koslow, who was living, talking and flying again against all odds let her know this immediately.

-the saddest three-letter phrase you can hear on a P-3: "PLE".

-sometimes it's really NOT a good idea to mark on top of that interesting datum one more time.

-sometimes you find one more submarine than you expected.

-Be prepared to accept the idea that that "they never" just turned into the "first ever"

-Be prepared for the concept that "they always" turns into "they didn't"

-In the week after the new squadron CO has at last finalized enforcement of the the navy-wide "no smoking on ANY aircraft, ever" (which the previous skipper overlooked, since he smoked), *don't* try to sneak a puff in the head. Because the CTISN at the station next to it --flying on his very first mission-- will announce that he smells smoke. The fire bill will get called away at the same moment you pitch your cigarette in the urinal and head out to manage your role in the hilarity that ensues.

-And when well meaning pilots try to get a preview of what you are still processing before sharing, remember Tim Kalvoda's best log item ever: "Kill moose and squirrel"

Anonymous said...

I found this to be terrifyingly related...

I'm glad my SPECOP days are behind me.