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.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Aviator Brief XX: Quick Change #1

One A-4 squadron must hold the record for the most Changes of Command in the shortest period of time--three in six months. Generally, a CO’s tenure lasted from a year to two years. Getting fired short of a year required fucking up enough that the Group CO announced he had ‘lost confidence in the ability of the squadron CO to lead.’ Some men spoke seriously of falling on their swords when faced with such a scenario. They’d rather be dead than look bad.

The first hapless CO flew into Lemoore NAS. Wanting to show the Navy that the Marines had the right stuff, he brought his flight of four overhead in a flashy, yet frowned upon, fan break-where all the planes rolled together toward the runway. Unfortunately, in concentrating on looking good, the CO neglected to deploy his landing gear before touching the aircraft down on the runway. The plane ground to a halt in a shower of sparks and crunched plane parts.

A Change of Command Ceremony was hastily arranged with a band and printed programs.

The First Fighter Pilot Rule For Life: Keep your S/A--Situational Awareness.

I need to know who I am. It is also important to know where I am and know where I am in relation to others and other things around us. This CO didn’t keep his mind focused on his immediate now. The future is created from the now of my life. If I do all I can now to be awake to this moment then my future might unfold as I envision.

I say might because, well with the best of intentions, shit happens. But if I am here and now, I can also abort a foolish, doomed landing and live to fly another day.

Are you here? Have you tried to land unprepared?

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