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.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Aviator Brief V: Cross-countries, TADs & Deployments #1

The number one job of an aviator was to get as many hours as possible flying in the airplane. A cross-country was generally a weekend spent in the plane going somewhere and then coming back. If the pilot could get out Friday, he could land somewhere and spend the night; then fly somewhere else on Saturday and spend the night; then return on Sunday--three legs, more flying.

A TAD (Temporary Attached Duty) involved a longer period of time, sometimes with one aircrew--pilot and RIO, sometimes with more. Getting selected for the Navy’s Top Gun school was TAD, so was Nellis Air Force Base called Red Flag where pilots flew against ‘enemy’ combatants to practice ACMs (Air Combat Maneuvers) There was another black (super-secret etc.) program near Nellis where American fighters flew against so-secret-I’m-gonna-have-to-kill-you-if you-find-out-about-it something or somethings. Rumors were they had Soviet MIG fighters. How did wives know about any of this? They listened when the guys stopped talking, and usually they were listening before--when the guys had forgotten wives were present.

I couldn’t have written about the uber-verboten program ten years ago without getting Andy into trouble--or myself. I checked on the web--bless the web--while I was in the process of writing WING WIFE and found out it had all been declassified.

For awhile, after my brother’s death, some strange guy in Yuma went around whispering that Bullet had been killed in Russia after flying one of the super-secret-missions in a super-secret plane to destroy a missile-targeting laser facility. The guy telling the story was of course the only one to survive going in to destroy all trace of the mission and the bodies. Come on. Dale Brown wrote that book about a year before the guy starts murmuring to my brother’s widow.

Who keeps secrets best? Men or women?
I keep secrets I need to keep. There aren’t many of those because I believe the truth will set you free. I have kept the secrets of the crazy things my college roommate did--but then again, she’s kept mine as well. No purpose to serve in doing anything but teasing her about the fact that I KNOW.

Andy and I have argued about gossip for years. He was dead set against talking about anyone we knew out of their hearing. I believe women help the world run smoothly by trying to understand their friends, family, and neighbors through discussion. It’s more like group therapy--without a moderator. I concede some people and some groups need moderators. Gossip that spreads information for sensationalism is wrong. Talking about the foibles of others, to try to reach their truth, is different. I choose friends who talk about others with a kind heart.

Guys don’t gossip much. They just have an opinion about another person and hell will grow daisies before they will change their minds.
So I think women keep secrets best, because they know so many more.

No comments:

Post a Comment