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Nightmare Scrapbook For July, 2001|
The Sixth Month of Command . . .
HERE AND GONE...
July saw the Nightmares forced to make some hard decisions about training priorities
with the confluential issues of imprecise radar variant deliveries, powerplant bulletins,
air-to-air core competency objectives, flight demonstrations, short-fused TAD requirements,
and the offer of a sister squadron's Red Beach forward-based operations deployment all
interfering with, or altering existing plans. No plan survives first contact with reality and
the Nightmares flexed to accommodate the new contextual realities.
The unforeseen obligations to send commissioned officers hither and yon to support distant
exercises and tactics conferences saw every field grade officer (and many of the company grade)
on the road. After the XO, OPSO, AMO,
and DOSS all did their time in the barrel, the Cow found himself committed to two weeks of
MEFEX (a Marine Expeditionary Force Exercise) service in the Wing's tactical air command center.
followed the week he spent in Virginia and North Carolina attending the promotion of his
Panama roommate "Chef" to Brigadier General and assumption of command as Commanding General,
2nd FSSG. The high quality of our Nightmare Non-Commissioned Officers was
most apparent during this turbulent period, and the C.O. couldn't have been more impressed
with their adroit leadership.
So it turned out that the Cow was not present during the first three weeks of July and Zieg was
charged with steering the course to August. Thanks to the magic of e-mail, Zieg kept the
Bovine abreast of his decisions and they were executed exactly as the Cow would have wished.
This was especially true when Vino and Lurch flew the squadron's last two "Day Attack" AV-8B's
to the Harrier Training Squadron at Cherry Point, N.C. Thus, 20 July marks the final date that
the original version of the "Harrier II" served in Marine Operational "Gun" squadrons.
Coincidentally, on the same day Major Art "Turbo" Tomassetti --a former Nightmare pilot-- made
aviation history by becoming the first pilot to fly a STOVL (short takeoff, vertical landing)
aircraft in supersonic flight. Turbo began the history-making flight of the Joint Strike Fighter
nominee from Lockheed with a short takeoff in the STOVL configuration
from Edwards AFB CA. He then transitioned to conventional flight
and accelerated to supersonic speed. After completing the supersonic
dash, Turbo returned to Edwards, converted to the STOVL
configuration and landed vertically on the hover pad.
Nightmares will spend much of July and August accepting six new radar variant Harriers from
Boeing to augment the first two that were transferred from the VMA-311 "Tomcats." This will
afford ample opportunity to properly welcome "Boss," the newest Nightmare pilot and a superb
addition to the team.