HOW TO BE MARRIED TO A MARINE FIGHTER PILOT--A Marine Corps pilot's wife: F-4s, F/A-18s and aviators from my perspective.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Aviator Brief VII: The Ready Room

Before pilots or RIOs took off and slipped the surly bonds of earth, they met in the Ready Room to get their shit together with the other flight members.

First, they got the admin details out of the way: like when to walk to the plane, when to man-up--be in the plane ready to strap in--when to taxi and take-off.

Second, they had to brief the set-ups and engagements. Would the air combat maneuvers, ACMs, be on radar or visual? A radar set-up meant starting BVR--Beyond Visual Range--a visual set-up began much closer in.
Aviators then briefed where the planes would be the start of each engagement.

Different start parameters meant different tactics. If 1v.1--one fighter fighting against one other--in a defensive start, then one plane had an advantage. The bogey--the bad guy--could come up on the fighter’s ass or could have an angle of attack to shoot a virtual sidewinder missile for a virtual kill. Fox Two!

A neutral start began with bogey and fighter side by side, turning away 45 degrees in a butterfly maneuver before turning head on, so neither had an angle, no position of advantage on the other.

An offensive start gave the fighter an advantage--say at the six-o-clock ready to attack the bogey up the rear. Aviators preferred an advantage right from the git-go but they needed to practice offensive and defensive tactics so in a real combat situation, they could get themselves out of tight spots, find the bogey, and shoot it down--the job of the fighter pilot according to the Red Baron. As he said, “Anything else is nonsense.”

Fighter pilots practiced and practiced how to get one-up on their opponent, so they could eliminate them as a threat or destroy them. In my life, all else isn’t nonsense; all else is the core of my life. I’m a civilian.

So there’s the contradiction in my world. I believe in peace, and I want a strong military. I love my fighter pilot, even though he’s no longer flying. I admire all the hops he flew, the training he engaged in, the work he did. Believing in peace doesn’t mean we shouldn’t practice for war. Strength is a deterrent. But I don’t believe in preemptive strikes.

A former next door neighbor told me one day of spreading a rumor to destroy another woman’s reputation among their circle of acquaintances. I asked what the woman had done to her. “Oh. She did nothing. Yet. But I know that kind of person, and I figured I needed to take her out of the group before she did it to me.”

I try to keep my starts neutral. No advantage to any. Advantage to both. Life is tough enough already without finding your neighbor and shooting them down.

No comments:

Post a Comment