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"Hatch's Stories"

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"Hatch's Stories"

Post by (A/229) BBall on Mon 23 Mar 2015 - 4:34

Greetings gents!

I’m about to do something that I’ve never done before….hell, I’ve never even attempted it before.

I know, I know, a statement like that coming from a “slack-jawed yokel” like me, would (and SHOULD) strike fear into any man’s heart…and probably leave you with some really ugly visual images.

Not to worry, I’m not going to publish nekked pictures of yours truly, I’m going to do something even more scary for a writer. I'm going to publish the writings of another human being... let me explain.

Several years ago, through the flight sim world, I met an amazing gentleman by the name of Mark “Frugal” Bush. He was running one of the world’s most popular websites ("Frugalsworld of Simulations") dedicated to flight simulations, and he graciously offered to host my “Logbook” articles. He later employed me as his Senior Editor, and not surprising, through that process I met many wonderful (and very talented) people within our genre.

Rest assured, I’m still working to make contact with my friend Lloyd “Bozo” Abel in an effort to convince him to send us more of his musing about his days flying the F-14 Tomcat, but in the interim, I began to re-read some of the works sent to me by another –ex military pilot.

His name is J.C. “Hatch” Perkins, and he and I met at Frugalsworld.

He served in the United States Marine Corps, and logged combat time in the F-4 Phantom during the Vietnam War. He and I hit it off from the very beginning, and found that we had many similar passions (flying, flight sims, military history, golf, etc.)…to include the written word. Over the next few years, he sent me many pieces that he had written (about his flying and other things), and IMHO, they are excellent. It was immediately apparent that this man could write!


Marine F-4 Phantom at Chu Lai Airbase, Republic of South Vietnam.

Sadly, in our waning conversations, he shared with me that he had taken ill (cancer if I recall correctly), and there our path together fades. I have no idea what has become of this good man…but I fear the worst. He trusted me with his thoughts, his words, and I know (I hope) that he would be fine with me sharing some of his yarns with you guys. (Note, I’ve worked some VERY small grammatical changes into his stories, none that he would object to I’m sure.)

Here we go…with many to follow. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

============================

“Fighter Town USA, The Early Years”

How do you get to NAS Miramar? Head west young man...head west. Or you could go with option number 2.........practice more proficient flying skills and achieve higher overall qual scores until you get them right, even in your sleep. Option number 3 could open the opportunity door even wider by being flight or squadron leader; written recommended to group/wing C.O.'s based in part on option 2, but by and large the way that happens is simple............be the best fuckin pilot in your squadron bar none...........something that maybe isn't so simple.

In the early seventies NAS Miramar, or as it is affectionately known to most "TOP GUN", was indeed where the best of the best came to become even better than they might have thought they could.
 
FACT 1: Every aviator and his RIO wanted to go. REALITY: They don't all get to.

FACT 2: It's a badge of honor to be selected, complete the course and wear the patch. REALITY: FACT 2 is true, but you’re  gonna earn it.

Then there was FACT 3: TOP GUN was a NAVAL Fighter Weapons School Training Program. So you say to yourself "Hell Hatch even I knew that, so what's the big deal?"

The big deal is I was a USMC Jarhead, Leathernecked, ears pinned back, hair on fire, egotistical full of myself aviator who, though effectively and initially trained by the Navy (which I will always be humbly thankful for BTW ), it was also an undeniable…

FACT 4: the NAVY trains NAVAL Aviators first and then when and if slots opened up they MIGHT....MIGHT be filled with Marine Corps fighter jocks.

This was the way the program at Miramar was set up in its infancy stage and it had little to do with deselecting qualified Marine aviators as it did with the Navy simply wanting to train their own first. TOP GUN at that time was a six week long syllabus which varied to as long as eight weeks at one point, but accommodating a restricted number to take much sought after seats in the classroom. All of us in the fighter community were flying space available all the time when it came to Miramar hopefuls.

So another undisputed fact was if you were a Marine fighter pilot, and had met the requirements for entry into the Naval Fighter Weapons School, you might still not go. It was qualified people being turned down, not unqualified people. Once the staff of Fighter Town USA started accepting USMC aviators you can bet balls to the walls that the selection process for say a dozen plus "qualed" Pilots and RIO's would reduce itself down to maybe two or four seats available in the class… the rest of course to be filled by Navy teams. That meant the very best of the best in the USMC had to work that much harder to set themselves apart from the competition in getting what we all wanted. Squeaky wheel gets the grease Bill.......to get picked you got to get noticed. History would show later that the same struggle existed in acquiring slots for the Navy Blue Angels, and years further down the road that same struggle with possibly even more required effort for women trying to break into the male dominated fighter community, no matter which chosen branch of the military they happened to aspire to.

So just like the lad who in trying to get to Carnegie Hall, followed the advice of his mentors...."Practice, practice, practice." I along with all those visionary flyers before and after me listened to the wisdom borne from brave hearts..."Flyboy, flyboy....flyboy." Oh one other REALITY check to add to the list that seems to never get shorter only longer is this...being in the right place at the right time with a little bit of luck doesn't hurt either. So in the future chapters I will take you through a first-hand experience of what it was like at "TOP GUN" and God willing if I write it with some creativity, I might make you feel like a seat has been "reserved" just for you in the classroom too. My father always told me...."Not everybody can write words onto a blank sheet of paper...nor just pick up a musical instrument and belt out a tune that inspires. If you’re going to write John....write about what you know. The written word and the lyrical music are your personal emotional outcry of life. They are special because they are you."

I think Bill that is why I chose you to share all this with because you, as I have told you in a post on Frugals a long time ago...you have that gift, and I would agree with you too, that pieces of our separate lives seem to come together and fit perfectly as if they belong there. Somewhere in that yellow wood our diverged paths crossed and I'm grateful for it.
 
Semper Viper Bro....Hatch Out


Aerial view of Chu Lai Airbase.

==============================

I'm grateful too Hatch.

Again, I’m not sure what has happened to him, for it’s been a few years since our last contact. IIRC, he was in the Las Vegas/Nellis part of the world the last I heard from him. Also, I don’t remember what else he sent concerning his time at “Top Gun” (if it's there, I'll find it...lol), but his writings about qualifying on the boat, and his missions out of Chu Lai are superb. I’ll put those up at another time.

-BB
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Re: "Hatch's Stories"

Post by (A/229) Hawkeye on Mon 23 Mar 2015 - 4:44

I'm ALWAYS looking forward to seeing something from your post's/recollections.  They will never bore me ( as I'm sure there are others who watch your pen-to-paper, and feel the same).
...Can't wait to see what's next !
 Hopefully  you'll find "Hatch" and the anecdotes will continue "in real time"
<< S >> (Salute)

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Re: "Hatch's Stories"

Post by (A/229) BBall on Mon 23 Mar 2015 - 4:54

Thanks Hawkeye!

They will never bore me ...

That cracks me up. My LAN-mates would all groan and bitch when we would fly one of my old user-made "IL-2:1946" missions, and the briefing would load. The amatuer historian in me would surface, and said breifing tended to include some historical perspective to the mission, and (admittedly) might have become just a tad bit "wordy"...

One dude (TBob) would get up, take a piss, and sit back down with one question (he NEVER read the briefings):

"All I gotta know is....is it air to air, or air to ground?"

LMAO!

Thanks again, I'll keep looking through my "Hatch" stuff....more later...

-BB
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(A/229) BBall
Chief Warrant Officer 4
Rated Senior Aviator
Chief Warrant Officer 4 Rated Senior Aviator

No. of Flights: : since 1973? are you kidding me? oh, you mean FLIGHT SIM flights!
Killed In Action: : is a zillion too many times?
Slick No. of landings: : you mean the ones I walked away from?
CAS Tanks destroyed: : not many.
CAS Vehicules destroyed: : more than the tanks.
CAS Bunkers destroyed: : have no idea! were they selling beer there?
Messages : 472
Age : 60
Location : Dresser, Wisconsin

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Re: "Hatch's Stories"

Post by (HHC/229) flyer on Mon 23 Mar 2015 - 7:26

Loved it BBall...

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Re: "Hatch's Stories"

Post by (HHC/229) Strut on Mon 23 Mar 2015 - 9:19

Very much appreciated BBall, keep em coming please.

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Re: "Hatch's Stories"

Post by (B/229) NeF on Tue 24 Mar 2015 - 18:10

Thanks BBall
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