From: USA Me-FL-DC-Guam-WS-NE-IL-?
Wow thank you for posting the great pictures. The torpedo looks like an inert Mk46 and that's definitely an S-3 bomb bay. Good stuff - though good luck trying to sink an Alpha with one.
This all brings back memories.
Thanks for posting all of these images. The Carl Vinson was nice too. My good friend is the SMO at the moment. Meant him when we shared a barracks room in aviation officer candidate school in 1984. From there we ended up in the very same squandrons all the way until he applied and got accepted into the Uniformed Services University for medical school. He then switched to the USAF which cost him 2 steps in rank back to O-1. Yet since he was going to graduate as an O-3 anyway it didn't really matter. He spent the next 15 years as a flight surgeon in the USAF but when he made O-6 he saw the billet for Senior Medical Officer on the Carl Vinson and could not resist. I should have taken up his offer of going on the tiger cruise - it was a dandy, Pearl Harbor to San Diego.
And AW1 Steve - nice sea story about getting pulled from an S-3 flight by someone. Total BS of course. Either you are on the flight schedule or you aren't. There are no exceptions. Wouldn't be hard to get a hop if you were at NAS Cecil or NAS North Island. You could of gotten the ejection seat check on on the seat in 10 minutes. Some squadron would surely have an empty seat on any given day, you just have to keep calling squandron ops offices for a week or so until they are sick of hearing from you. Then you get your hop.
In 1986 , when you were a "nugget enswine" , you might have been right. Where were you in 1979 or 80? Pre-Regan reforms, pre-"naval rennaisance"? In college? In high school? Have you ever had a "post dated " government check? Or had a squadron so undermanned that you couldn't deploy? Or had 3/4 of your married junior enlisted on food stamps?
You remind me of my teenage nephew who couldn't belive me that phones once had cords , and cell phones didn't exist once upon a time. IT didn't FIT HIS EXPERINCE, so therefore it couldn't be true. When I enterred the USNR/USN in early 1977 all of those things were true. And it was a lot worse. We had what was called a "hollow force". A starvation force would have been more accurate. It was two years after South Vietnam ceased to exist. better than half of our surface ships had served in WW2. The draft had just ended, so there was no compulsion to join the Navy to avoid the Army. Although the economy had tanked, military pay had not been adjusted since Korea (as a E-1 I took home $300.00 a month), and you could make more money on unemployment or welfare. E-5's were leaving to work as store clerks for Sears so they could make more money. And it showed no chance of improvement. Even when ship captains started refusing to put to sea because they just didn't have enough junior non-coms.
Since there was no way to make living standards even as good as federal prisoners, DILLIGAF and BOHEICA became the watch words of the troops. Promotions were frozen horribly for senior NCOs , and wide open for juniors (petty officer 3rd in less than a year. 2nd class in two....because every one was leaving. And the Navy had another manning problem. It had two bright spots, the F-14a and the S-3a. But how to man them?
The Navy decided that these planes would have "no-nuggets" (no rookies) , that only experince air crews would man them. The F-14 wasn't much of a problem. They were getting rid of the F-4 Phantom, a two seat aircraft, and crews would simply trasition between them. S-3's? Well there was the problem. Pilots were not a problem. You fhift from a Jet or prop aiorcraft (the Navy was dumping ricioprocating engine planes in HUGE batches. P-2's,E-1's,S-2s,P-5's ,EC-121's,and all kinds of transports). NFO's were also not that difficult. You shift them from attack community. But AW's? There was your problem.
The AW specialty started in 1968. It was less than 10 years old when I became one. Like any new rate, initially it was comprised of almost entirely "conversions". Petty officers who were having trouble getting advanced in their own rate , and saw an easy way to advance fast. P-3's,P-2's and S-2's were generally manned by older AW's who couldn't compete with the younger (usually ex-lifeguards) AW's who went to Helicopters (SH-3's, and SH-2's) , as they also had to be "rescue swimmers". Now you have a new airplane with folding wings,tail hooks and ejector seats...in short , the sort of "hotrod" that a young man would dream of. And a older man would avoid like the plague.
So imagine a guy in his late 30's , nearing the middle or end of his career, married, loving the home life....and being asked to trade his land based P-3 seat (where a warm bed, and beer waited for him every night) for a catapault launched, carrier based plane where he'd berth with a couple of hundred of his closest friends, and be anywhere from a month to six months between beers.........Not an easy sale.
So the S-3 community went recruiting. Everytime a AW class graduated from NAS Memphis (now NS Millington) there was a S-3 crew. S-3's took every opportunity to visit P-3,helo and Reserve bases to try and poach candidates. An awful lot of candidates probably weren't qualified , but what the heck...they were warm bodies.
So fast forward to the very early 80's. An S-3 shows up at Reserve base, over 1,000 miles away from it's home base. The official mission is "pilot training" , with poetential recruiting duty. Strangely enough, the crew members put together for this flight "just happen" to all be from this area. Imagine that. The Senso, and very good friend of mine , was a P-3 retread, and knows I'll be drilling on the base that sunday (even though it's not a regular drill weekend and the base is deserted. I'm there helping the OPS PO catch up on his paperwork and the flight schedual for the rest of the week.
So the SENSO speaks to the Plane commander, a brand new LT , tells him what a hot candidate he has, and asks about a local hop, since they are going up for a couple of hours. The Lt meets me and asks if I'm a qualified Aircrewman in the P-3. I am. So he tells me and my friend (also named Steve), "go get your flight gear and meet me at the plane in an hour". My squadron CO , and the CO of the base wander by to check out the "new" airplane. I fill in my skipper, within the Base CO's hearing. Neither have a problem, as a matter of fact , both have huge grins . Keep in mind that CO's don't have many rewards for hardworking troops. No money for bonuses,better quarters, and even leave is limited. You need the good sailors, so they can't take much leave.You need to get the "dirtbags" away (especially during inspections) so you ENCOURAGE them to take leave. ANY good deal you can give your sailors is seized. And you play a little fast and lose with rules. You DON'T run dogs thru the barracks to check for drugs. (The small of pot was extremely common in military and Naval barracks in the late 70's). YOU don't make waves.
So here we are , getting the brief , when the crews NFO, who is NOT flying that day, wanders over (in civialian clothing) and asks if I have "An ejector seat card?". I obviously don't. The nearest FASO facility with ejector seat training is over 500 miles away. I don't fly that day. Both the pilot and SENSO look disgusted , but they too have been caught. And there ends the story.
I've gone into detail , way and above what I ever wanted to, or feel that I needed to , because Sandman , in effect called me a liar. I don't appreciate it, I don't deserve it, but that has never stopped someone who wasn't there , and doesn't know what the hell he's talking about, from trying to pretend he knows all, and has done it all. I reponded with this story , which in my opion is no ones business but the people involved, because I value the good will and good opinion of those other forumites who don't have the whole story. Mr Sandman's opinion means nothing to me , as I've now "green buttoned" him. His thoughs, given so freely and carelessly , are valued. And any direct response to him might be construed as a "personal attack". Frankly , he's not worth it.
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