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Nightmare Scrapbook For April, 2001


The Third Month of Command . . .

Torch Shuts Down The Chariot

The Sun Finally Evaporates Yuma's Snow Birds

(Place mouse over images to read captions)

Nightmares in the break

And over the Salton Sea

This Is A Pilot View Of The Horizon During Takeoff From Runway 03 At MCAS Yuma

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
Pg. 1

Gwyneth Ham students visit MCAS Harrier pilots as part of public outreach program


Flight School
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 pilots.

Photo by Alfred J. Hernandez

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 visitor.

"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 or 539-6852.

The visit began with a video and brief in the Ready Room

Then class moved down to the hangar bay for show and tell

He's too young to understand the dangers of speaking to the press--at least he's wearing dark sunglasses

This is what your parents buy with some of their tax money

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.

The CO's aircraft is loaded with four 'cluster bombs'

After takeoff, the bombs were given a ride to the Chocolate Mountain Bombing Range

The skin of these deadly weapons splits like a banana peel to release hundreds
of high explosive 'bomblets'

Does Lurch know how to smile?

Sergeant Major Awards Blood Stripes To Our Newest Non-Commissioned Officers

The best plane captains in Marine Aviation!

What a great job!

Naval Aviator Wings