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Nightmare Scrapbook For January, 2002


The Twelfth Month Of Command

Refueling at the 'hot pits'

Pilot's view of an expeditionary missile shoot . . .

It takes a minimum of three Marines to refuel like this--not counting the pilot

. . . first, we get jet fuel, courtesy of some of the professionals
at Marine Wing Support Squadron 371, the "Sand Sharks"

The last Marine mans the emergency shut-off valve at the source, which is usually just a bladder

Below, my plane captain waits for me to top-off.
In his hand is my fuel cap.
The shadow across his chest is my extended aerial refueling probe
The patient plane captain holds my Harrier's fuel cap as I monitor the fuel transfer

Our newest pilot 'Puke,' is on my wing

'Puke' joins in parade formation after takeoff

Like me, he didn't get to choose his callsign . . . .

The target is known as 'Yodaville'

We approach the target, carrying laser-guided Maverick missiles.
The target appears real from altitude, but it has sensors for scoring hits.
For perspective, that's a large bus at the south end of 'town'

Close-up, one can see that this is an artificial town--suitable for bombing!

OK Puke, push out into combat spread formation

You can see the AGM-65 'Maverick' missile tucked under Puke's right wing

As Puke rolls left, you can better see his weapons

Hey Puke, roll left so the folks can see your missile!

OK, it's time to begin the delivery run

Puke begins to slide out into combat spread formation for the attack

If you click on this image, you'll get a better view

Cow turns into Puke ten miles from the target to begin the missile attack with a tactical turn

You can't beat the flying weather here--especially in January!
Visibility exceeds 60 miles--we can see Mexico's Gulf of California

Puke begins his run

For perspective, the concentric circles are composed of tires . . .
Attack Pilots know this target as 'Cactus West'

Cactus West target gets a laser designation

The Goldwater Bombing Range is suitably desolate.
Environmentalists have filed suit to close it, but freedom
depends upon combat readiness--a point they don't grasp.
Call it "willful negligence."

Puke rejoins for the trip back home

View over my nose (and glare shield) as we approach home plate: sunny Yuma
The wind vane helps me to hover in the gusting desert breeze safely

MCAS Yuma lies off the nose

Back home in time to promote some Marines!

A new Gunny and a new Staff Sergeant!

Our newest Gunnery Sergeant

Reciting the promotion warrant for a new Staff Sergeant

The whole crew!

Check out my Sergeant Major's new bushy mustache--yikes!

Two new Sergeants return late from Christmas

This is what happens when the CO distracts Marines . . .
. . . with his camera when they're trying to work


This is our Ordnance Officer: 'Guns.'  (Not least because of his massive guns in the weight room.)

The GAU-12, 25mm cannon replaces the
left strake

The bullets are stored here in
the right strake

Would YOU buy a jet from these men?

Dear General,

The Lieutenant Colonel that you sent to succeed me at the conclusion of my tour of duty is a great guy. However, he doesn't subscribe to a traditional dress code at organized social events, and I was wondering if you might consider extending my tour of duty another year as we work out the KINKS?

Semper Fi,


Don't do this at home....


Flying north up the Colorado River
Pilot's view flying north from Yuma toward the Yuma Proving Grounds

Where we train
Not many noise complaints out where we train...

Looking east after northbound takeoff
Looking east from one mile north of Yuma's runways

Looking west down 16th street from the Shilo Inn
Looking west down 16th street from the Shilo Inn

A view of Cow's house at the Yuma Country Club
Yuma Golf & Country Club

Working in the empennage

A tight fit!

Welcome to our new Commissioned Officers: "Parts" and . . .


. . . "Squirrel"

The Squirrel

PFC-to-Pilot Program?

The Nightmares, like every Harrier Squadron I have been associated with, have no shortage of practical jokers. On 25 January at 1400, I was sitting in my office doing paperwork when one of our new joins --a Private First Class-- reported to me for his "pre-flight brief with the CO"! Temporary confusion shucked away as I examined his attire. He was dressed in a cold weather anti-exposure dry suit (which is VERY uncomfortable), a G-suit, torso harness, and flight helmet with oxygen mask. He wasn't just ready to fly, he was ready to transpac! He held in his hand a pilot's engine start checklist and gave me the most sincere, almost grave return gaze of expectation and anticipation. Yikes, some mischief was clearly afoot. I asked him to sit down and I closed my office door. It seems that the Marines in his shop had convinced him that the squadron had a "PFC to Pilot" program. They went so far as to draft a bogus flight schedule with his name on it for a 1500 departure.

What to do? He held his checklist in both hands and leaned forward attentively. I asked him if he was serious about wanting to fly the difficult and dangerous Harrier, and he responded immediately in the affirmative. Stymied, I next asked him whether he had ever flown before, and he responded with details of a Cessna 152 ride and accurately described the effects of flight control inputs. "Do you really think that you could even get it started?" I pursued. "Yes, definitely sir. I have the checklist and everything in the cockpit is labeled." This Marine was truly committed to getting airborne -- and soon.

I then contemplated how he could have some fun with those behind this practical joke. I quickly explained what was going on and told him to head out to A/C 03. "Don't actually get in, just start preflighting the jet and watch them panic. Don't let them think that you're not really going flying." He did as instructed and they swooped in to save his life--this Marine is a superb actor. It's clear that I will have to keep an eye on him in the future. As I type this, our first PFC-to-Pilot nominee is in the Harrier simulator with Puke. The Nightmares also specialize in happy endings. Below is the image I snapped of the PFC after he turned the tables on his NCO's.

Ready for aerial combat!

Nightmares never forget that THESE are the Marines we work for:

Who we work for . . .

Attaching a panel

Nose Art

NAS China Lake Harrier Test Pilot 'Hawk' stops by for a visit to VMA-513
Some of you might recognize "Hawk" from the "Avenger Scrapbook" on
Hawk presently serves as a test pilot at VX-9 in China Lake, CA

Don-Ho now flies for Delta Airlines
It has been exactly one year since I assumed command of the Nightmares. Coincidently, Zieg -- my first XO -- assumed command of the VMA-311 Tomcats (next door) today. Congratulations Zieg! Above is our former squadronmate, "Don Ho." Don Ho used to be both a Nightmare and a Tomcat. Here, he poses next to one of our plaques with his name on it after Zieg's change of command.