Tuesday, November 21, 2006

F-8 Adventure

This was in a forward that I received from my dad. I didn't edit it at all except to clean up the formatting, so it's all the words of the guy who wrote it. I changed how he signed it at the bottom, so it's his full name, rather than just "Crash." You can still get the funny even though there's quite a few technical terms... For Pictures & info about the Crusader: Click.


You've stirred up a lot of new twists in the F8 spin lore.

I remember the incident that Dave Winiker tells about in VF 154 with some slight adjustments.

It was fall of 1957 and I'm virtually certain that the Nurse was an AJ "Savage" - my impression is that, if that thing ever got up over 160 knots or so the wings would flap and it would lay an egg. I think I even have an inflight snapshot of a nose up / wing down Crusader desperately trying to get a sip while sloshing around back there in the propwash and exhaust fumes.

As I recall, we tried this a couple of times, gave it up as a really really bad deal, and never saw a tanker again – much less a Savage – on the '58 deployment. It made for some thirsty times.

So here's my add to Dwinky's tale

The protagonist is young Ensign Saintly, a baby faced, chubby, late replacement chump who has been thrown into an F8 for a couple of fam hops and now that he's fully up to speed he's going out to try a bit of inflight refueling - which of course nobody in Wespac has ever done before – but it makes no never mind to young Saintly that he's about the third person in US history to try this stunt – he doesn't know dick anyway.

Saintly goes out, gets behind the Savage, stalls out, gets into a flat spin maybe even inverted and wisely decides to part company with his balky steed.

This all works out fine (except for the brand new gator) and Saintly lands somewhere in the California coastal wilds, drags his chute around for a while, finds Hwy 1 and ends up in a phone booth calling 154 – collect.

Meanwhile I'm back in the 154 ready room in Hangar 1 at Moffett. I'm briefing for some heavy acey-deucy ops when the Duty Officer's phone rings and, after his crisp greeting, he looks around like he saw a ghost and goes into a mumbling huddle with the phone up real close and personal. I figure something really awful has happened like his wife has finally met his girlfriend or something terrible like that.

About that point, Skipper, Francis Xavier "Mad Monk" Timmes steams into view reading some stuff on a clipboard, growling & obviously on his way to gnaw on somebody's nether parts. I deftly ease away from the card table and hide behind the coffee maker – from which vantage point I watch the gruesome details unfold.

Timmes is pretty focused on the forthcoming evisceration but he spots the ashen face on the duty officer, his low quavering voice, the shaking phone hand – FX smells blood – the old man is uncanny he's just got this atavistic sixth sense that alerts him when a pooch has been screwed anywhere in within 6 counties.

In short it goes something like this:

FX to Duty Officer: "What's up mister?" (bad choice of verbiage.)

DO jumping to his feet & at rigid attention: "UH-um-uh ... it's Mr. Saintly on the phone..."

There's a beat while Timmes refocuses and glances instinctively up at the flight schedule.

FX: "No it's not Saintly – he's flying!"

DO: "But..."

FX: "GIMME that phone."

DO slithers over and joins me behind the coffee machine.


Saintly: "It's me – Ensign Saintly sir..."

FX: "No it's NOT – Saintly is flying! -- is this a JOKE?"

Saintly: "No sir, it's me sir and I'm out here in a phone booth at Half Moon Bay sir – and I had to eject sir – and I need a ride back sir."

Well, it's like Joseph said to Mary "You're WHAT?" – That one gets FX, I think for the first time in his life he's completely non-plussed.

But not for long – he realizes with horror that this jerk Saintly has just lost one of his beautiful brand new Crusaders. And FX has ridden a DC desk long enough to know that folks back in old foggy are going to be flappin' about this and he's gonna have some 'splainin to do.


FX: "Mr. Saintly, where did you say you were?"

Saintly: "I'm not really sure sir but I think I'm maybe near ... Pescadero or somewhere ... and I'm really sorry about calling collect but don't have any money... an-and...could you maybe send the pick-up out to get me...?"

FX: "Take a hike son – but be in my office at 0800 tomorrow."

I don't know how this all ended up because I never saw Saintly again after that - he's probably still out there.

--John "Crash" Miottel

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