Nightmare Scrapbook For April, 2001|
The Third Month of Command . . .
The Sun Finally Evaporates Yuma's Snow Birds
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This article was published in the local newspaper after another of our "Open House" events with
community clubs, organizations and schools. In this case a local Kindergarten. In many ways,
young children are a more formidable audience than adults, with attention spans shorter than
the time required to fuse a bomb.
The Yuma Daily Sun
April 20, 2001
Ham students visit MCAS Harrier pilots as part of public outreach
By T.M. SHULTZ
Photo by Alfred J. Hernandez
Kindergarten students from Gwyneth Ham Elementary School got
an up-close look at the AV-8B Harrier and the men who fly them
during a filed trip to Marine Corps Air Station Yuma this week.
During their visit, Captain Dan Carlson of Marine Attack Squadron
513 helped Fermin Magana, 5, try on a helmet used by Harrier
Sunk deep within the upholstered chairs used by the grownup
Harrier pilots who normally inhabit this squadron ready-room,
23 five-year-olds crane their tiny necks, straining to catch a glimpse
of Lieutenant Colonel David "Cow" Gurney as he stands ramrod straight in front
of them trying to answer a question about the limited use of rockets
via the concept of "collateral damage."
"We really don't use rockets as much anymore because
we want our weapons to be precise and go to a target that
will not cause other buildings or people to get hurt. And so
the rockets aren't as useful because they're not as accurate
as some of our missiles and bombs."
Gurney valiantly struggled on with his explanation as the
kids begin squirming.
Meanwhile, at the back of the room, one of Gurney's hard-charging
young pilots patiently explains the same concept to an adult
"I really want my water balloon to hit my sister, but
my mom's standing right next to my sister. I do not want my mom
to get wet," said Major Joe Murphy. The other pilots lounging
at the back of the room nod their heads in agreement and the
discussion quickly morphs into just exactly how many and what
size water balloons it would take for the boys to accomplish this attack on
a hapless sister.
It's all in a day's work for the Harrier pilots of Marine
Corps Air Station Yuma's VMA-513 squadron - better known as the
"Flying Nightmares" because they usually fly at night and give
their enemies really bad dreams. Or so it is said . . . we believe.
T.M. Shultz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or
April brought the Low Altitude Tactics phase of the Nightmare's block training program. Over
96,000 pounds of ordnance was released into neighboring bombing ranges as Lurch and Chunks
earned their LAT qualifications and Steroid, Cow and Cliffy achieved or renewed their LAT
Instructor status. The culmination of this phase came with another "Surge
Operation" at the end of the month. All the squadron's pilots flew three
sorties each in an electronic warfare scenario requiring a low altitude transit of the
Goldwater Bombing Range (2301-W) to attack the "Cactus West" target.
The Nightmares were also pleased to welcome "Stern" aboard from Harrier Training Squadron 203.
The month ended with the annual Harrier Operator's Advisory Group, attended by all
Harrier commanders at Patuxent River, Maryland.