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Nightmare Scrapbook For May, 2002


The Sixteenth Month Of Command

The Beginning of the End...
And a New Beginning!

The XO executes a steep vertical takeoff on the last weekend of April at the Yuma Airshow

In May, the Nightmares consolidated their assets at home just long enough to send the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit Detachment out for a final pre-deployment exercise. The far-flung activities of the previous two months were major successes, and the squadron began May well-poised to split into its two components: a six-jet "Det Bravo"; and a ten-jet "Squadron(-)." It seems appropriate therefore, that the squadron should say farewell to the CO in the same breath as it bids "bon voyage" to Det Bravo.

As the final full month of this CO's monthly scrapbook, it is envisioned that the seven days of duty covered in June's installment will be very similar to the "Change of Command" page that began the project. It has gone by too fast, but then, it always does. In the images that follow, you will see a squadron at the top of its game, core competent in all skill sets and combat ready. Without note or fanfare, the squadron passed 45,000 mishap-free flight hours in March, the best safety record in the history V/STOL aviation. VMA-513 is flying over 400 hours a month and morale is extremely high. This is the squadron that all Marine Aviators dream of flying with, and leaving will be hard.

The XO performs a vertical landing at the Yuma Airshow

On 25 April a professional photographer, Ted "Kodak" Carlson, put on a gunner's belt and stood in the open back ramp of a KC-130 to take some amazing aerial photographs of the Nightmares. The four Nightmare aircraft in formation were piloted by Cow (A/C 16), Torch (A/C 11), Yap (A/C 00) and Hero (A/C 01). We'll start with a few images from Cow's perspective in aircraft 16, and then roll through some of Kodak's far more professional shots from the MCAS Miramar-based VMGR-352 KC-130. If you would like to purchase images from Mr. Carlson, please click on his name!

Aerial refueling over the Salton Sea
Hero's first trip to the tanker, Yap's second

Salton Sea
The Southeast corner of the Salton Sea in the Imperial Valley

Fuel for all my friends!
It was a bumpy, convective day

Please be mindful that the following images are not the property of and are proprietary. They are the copyrighted property of Ted "Kodak" Carlson of Fotodynamics. Please honor his copyright as these images are posted by his kind permission. Thank you!

The cockpit of the KC-130 in a left bank
A great image over the shoulders of the KC-130 pilot and co-pilot

Torch in front, then Hero, Cow, and Yap
This alternate "break" was Kodak's idea...

Did I mention that the air was bumpy?

Descending line
The descending line in trail

Cow and Yap abeam
Cow and Yap before Torch & Hero arrived

Yap breaks beside Cow
Abeam the KC-130's nose, Yap breaks beside Cow

Torch up close
Torch snuggles up close with his pod open

Cow with a Litening II Pod
Cow carries a Litening II Pod with the lens covered

Hard turn away in A/C 16
Hard turn away in A/C 16

Over California's Imperial Valley
Over California's Imperial Valley

Cow and Yap up close
Cow and Yap up close

Cow in a slow break; the KC-130's max speed with the ramp open is 180 knots

Yap comes aboard
Yap joins up

Cow drops his landing gear
Staying behind the transport is easier with the landing gear down

Cow, closer than you want to see him
A "close Cow" with auto flaps helping out

Meaningful employment--at last!

No, this isn't a Harrier sliding into gun position on a Hornet; these are from the 7 May aerial refueling test at NAS China Lake. Hornets DO have utility in the expeditionary realm! :)

Hornet gas station Hornet gas station

Hornet gas station Hornet gas station

For the following special photographs, Cow would like to extend sincere thanks to CWO2 B. Sean Fairburn (he is a Visual Information Officer, AKA Combat Camera). When not serving in the Reserves, Gunner Fairburn works in Hollywood, shooting Feature Films and Commercials. You can see his superb work in the recently released John Woo Film, "Windtalkers," starring Nick Cage. Gunner Fairburn was the Combat Camera Operator in the film, and all the battle scene footage was shot by him. Thanks Gunner!

The pilots of Detachment Bravo
Here are the pilots of the Nightmare aircraft carrier detachment assigned to the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit. The CO hand-picked each member of this detachment; they are all first-class pilots and include our incomparable Royal Air Force Exchange Officer, "Maccer." VMA-513 Detachment Bravo shall depart CONUS immediately after the change of command ceremony early next month.






"Chunks" appears to be missing a chunk of his head!




Nightmare Maintenance

And a very special salute to the stellar enlisted Nightmares who keep our jets combat ready and our pilots safe through their uncompromising professionalism!

We come at night


On 10 May 2002, the CO had the high honor of reenlisting his Sergeant Major!

...for the last time!
This is his last hitch!

The other SNCO's join in

Staff NCO's congratulate the Sergeant Major

Two new Lance Corporals and two Privates First Class

Two new Lance Corporals and two Privates First Class

Promoting a Lance Corporal

Promotion to Lance Corporal...

Feelin' good!

...and it feels good!

A Meritorious LCpl and two new Corporals!

On 16 May, the CO promoted those who were on leave earlier in the month...

Cow's Favorite Job

The last launch

Looking down from the cockpit on 16 May; the CO's last sortie

Chunks high
The only thing worse than knowing that you are flying your last sortie in the Harrier, is NOT knowing that you are flying your last sortie in the Harrier!

Chunks in front...
The CO's last flight was a close air support sortie with "Chunks" in the 29 Palms Complex. During the sortie, Chunks became a Section Leader and Cow became an earthling

Chunks Becomes a Section Leader!
This is Cow's last airborne photo from a Harrier

CO with President of the Mess
Our 17 May Mess on it to see more!

Screech in the dark...
Screech will take good care of our Nightmares on the boat