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Anatomy of a Naval Aviator

Anatomy of a Naval Aviator

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Anatomy of a Naval Aviator

352 pages
6 heures
Mar 15, 2011


This novel explores and explains the Unwritten Rules of Naval Aviation. A novel such as this one has never been written before, because it violates one of those rules, “Never air your dirt laundry in public.” This novel is the true nitty gritty of squadron life.

Ensign Jeff Anderson was rudely introduced to those rules in Flight School, when a favor was called in on the Good Old Boy network that crushed his dreams. Jeff’s perceived transgressions sentenced him to a tour of duty at Fleet Logistics Support Squadron Twenty Four (VR-24), at NAS Sigonella, Sicily. A misfit squadron, with a location that cannot be found on a map of Sicily.

Ensign Anderson quickly learned how significant his punishment was as his education as a Naval Officer was being lead by a bunch of dysfunctional deadwood officers. VR-24 was a place where the “Best of the Best, didn’t go.”

The setting of the novel is in the early 1980’s when the Mid East and the Mediterranean erupted into
Mar 15, 2011

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Anatomy of a Naval Aviator - Gerald J. Bozant


Chapter 1

As Jeff locked the door to his BOQ Room he glanced out into the parking lot and noticed a white car cruising slowly down the isle. The white car stopped behind Jeff’s car for a moment and then drove off. Jeff thought, It must be some new guy who’s lost. 

Jeff quickly forgot the incident as he drove toward the Hangar. Jeff was on the lookout for the ever present Speed Traps set up by Base Security, when he glanced into his rear view mirror.

Damn, there’s that white car again. he thought. 

Now Jeff was suspicious. The make of the car didn’t match any of the cars that belonged to his friends, so he knew none of them were pulling a prank on him. Jeff turned into the parking lot of VT-22, and he watched the white car continue on down the road. Watching too much TV. he thought.

Cruising down the hall to the Ready Room, Jeff heard the familiar voice of Larry, his friend from AOCS (Aviation Officer Candidate School)who spoke, Hey shit head. Where did you disappear to this weekend? The last time I saw you, you were working real hard not to puke in the pool at the O Club.

Jeff turned around and a big smile erupted on his face. You dog, you got laid this weekend. laughed Larry. You owe it to your old bud to tell me the whole story. grinned Larry.

Larry and Jeff checked in with the squadron FDO (Flight Duty Officer) and waited for their Instructor Pilot (IP) to show up. With a few minutes to spare, Larry and Jeff reviewed their procedures for their 2 v 1 Air Combat Maneuvering hop against Lt. Simons. 

As Lt. Simons walked into the Briefing Room he said, That was one hell of a Boat Party on Friday night!  Anderson, did you puke in the pool?

No Sir. responded Jeff. Larry just laughed.

That was one of the finest DRUNK EX’s ever put on by a CQ (Carrier Qualification) class. Lt. Simon’s went on Don’t ya just love the Navy. Drink and drive. Drink and Fly! That’s our motto.

After about an hour brief, Jeff and Larry went downstairs to Maintenance Control to checkout their jets. Jeff hurried his preflight so he could man up a little early to suck on some LOX (Liquid Oxygen) to clear the cobwebs from this weekends hang over.  

DEVO flight check in. cracked over the radio. 

Jeff responded Two.

Three TA-4J’s taxied into the marshaling area. After the Plane Captains had finished their final walk around, they exchanged salutes with their pilots. Jeff had the lead so he started the journey to the end of the Runway Three One Right. Guntrain Two Two Five, flight of three, ready for takeoff. radioed Jeff.

Tower responded, Guntrain Two Two Five, and flight, cleared for takeoff Runway Three One Right, wind three zero zero at ten

Jeff set Military Rated Thrust (MRT), checked his engine instruments, looked for salutes from his two wingman, and released his brakes. DEVO Flight joined up in starboard echelon and headed southwest into the Military Operations Area (MOA).

At 16,000 feet Jeff leveled off and Lt. Simons split off from the formation to maneuver against his two students. Jeff gave Larry the hand signal to push out into Combat Spread. As soon as he saw Larry maneuver into position Jeff called, In place starboard, go. The two TA-4’s turned to meet their adversary in a head on pass.

Fights on. called Lt. Simons. At 600 Knots of closure things happen fast. Jeff’s eyes strained as he tried to pick out the small black dot of his IP’s aircraft.

Tally Ho! Bogey 1130 level, Port to Port. radioed Jeff.  The two aircraft passed close aboard, Jeff broke hard left to engage his IP. Larry maneuvered his aircraft in the Counter to gain separation for a missile shot while Jeff had the bogey engaged in a tight turning fight.

Inbound, call the bogey. radioed Larry. 

Bogey at my 10 o’clock low, I’m pulling for guns. answered Jeff. Just as Jeff thought he had the advantage on his IP, Lt. Simons executed a Hi Yo-yo and forced Jeff to overshoot. Lt. Simons continued to maneuver his TA-4J in the vertical and settled in behind Jeff’s aircraft.

Fox Two, that’s a kill. Knock it off. called Lt. Simons.

Jeff and Larry exchanged the lead position and set up for their next engagement. This time Lt. Simons had something up his sleeve. About sixty degrees through his displacement turn he broke hard in the opposite direction and engaged the wingman instead of the lead.

Bogey breaking right, he’s engaging you! called Larry in an excited voice.

Before Jeff could figure out what was going on, Lt. Simons had called the missile shot on Jeff and was engaging Larry. After two more engagements, DEVO flight recovered back at NAS Kingsville. With their debrief of the flight complete, Larry cornered Jeff in the back of the Ready Room. 

So buddy boy, tell me about your hot date this weekend. Larry demands.

Remember that chick Susan I met about three weeks ago? answered Jeff.

The hot one with the dark hair. snapped Larry with a smile. 

No the fat ugly one with no hair. Jeff responded, How many chicks have I met since I have been here? 

One. laughed Larry, Keep going, just giving you a little shit. 

After that first time I met her out in town I kept seeing her. So I finally got the nerve to ask her out two weekends ago and we had another date on Saturday night. ended Jeff.

Third date, that is always the one where the ladies give it up! Larry spoke that sentence with a shit eating grin. So what is her story? asked Larry.

She’s divorced, no kids. The way she tells it, she was tired of her husband being married to his career. responded Jeff.

So you’re in hot, picking up the slack for her Ex. All right, nothing wrong with that. grinned Larry. Satisfied with all the dirt from his friend’s weekend adventure. The two friends departed the Ready Room.

Hey Jeff, the Skipper wants to see you before you leave. shouted the SDO (Squadron Duty Officer). 

Jeff was feeling pumped as he and Larry headed out of the Ready Room. But that feeling was about to change as Jeff walked into the Commanding Officer’s Office. 

May I help you Ensign? asked the civilian secretary.

Yes, Ensign Anderson to see the Commanding Officer. responded Jeff.

Ms. Fullerton picked up the phone and buzzed the CO. After a short conversation she said, The Commander will see you now.

Jeff entered the Skipper’s office and reports, Ensign Anderson reporting as ordered Sir. 

Ms. Fullerton closed the door behind Jeff. Uh oh, closed door meetings are never good ones. thought Jeff.

Jeff could see the anger in the Skipper’s eyes as Cdr. J. T. FOX Hunt,USN looked up from his never ending pile of paperwork. The CO explodes with a verbal barrage at Jeff, That woman you were with this weekend was the wife of a close personal friend of mine! Who happens to be the incoming XO (Executive Officer) of VT-21. What the fuck do you think you were doing with someone else's wife? 

Jeff blurted out, She told me she was divorced.  

Shut up! snapped the CO. This was obviously a one way conversation. Jeff’s mouth dropped open as the CO continued his barrage on Jeff’s behavior, morals, and anything else that fit in with his four letter words. Jeff finally caught the last few words which included ... get the hell out of my office.  

A stunned Jeff responded, Yes Sir., and he quickly exited the CO’s office.

Chapter 2

Jeff plopped down on the couch in his BOQ room and turned on the TV. He could not remember how he had gotten home. He quickly zoned out into his own thoughts, How could such a great weekend have turned out so badly?

The Navy C-12 landed at NAS Kingsville last Thursday afternoon bringing the rest of Jeff’s CQ class back from NAS Key West. Everyone was still walking ten feet off the ground after completing their final Carrier Qualifications. Friday was a no fly day for the CQ class. The entire class met with the squadron LSO (Landing Signal Officer) and went over their ATF"s (Aviation Training Form, grade sheets) in the morning to bring their Training Jackets up to date.

With a smile on his face, the LSO had a few parting words. As you know on Friday the Wing Commander has always had the last plane on deck at 1630 to allow mandatory attendance for both Winging and Boat parties. So these are two of my favorite Navy motto’s, Work hard, play hard. and If you want to fly with the Eagles, you have to hoot with the Owls. I like Scotch, see you tonight.

The class was now free to carry out their sacred duty, planning the Boat Party. Each class was under tremendous peer pressure from their instructors and classmates to out preform their fellow aviators. Jeff’s class planned a comedy skit with fire works. 

At 1700 the O Club stared to fill up fast. The taps on the kegs never stopped running as everyone was working up a proper buzz. Combat chicken wings, cocktail weenies, chips and dip disappeared as rock and roll blasted over the stereo.

At 1830 the music was cut off and the official part of the Boat party was called into order. All of Jeff’s class was called to the front of the room one by one and subjected to some serious character assassination from their IP’s. The suspense mounted as the LSO did his best to embarrass each of his students with their exploits during their CQ training. When the LSO’s stories finally ran out, the CO of VT-22 awarded Ensign Davis Brown with the classes’ Golden Hook Award for having the best grades during this CQ period. The Wing LSO grabbed the microphone and ordered up the entertainment.

The students from VT-21 were first and they went down in flames with a lame skit. Under the threat of having their grades changed, it was time for the studs of VT-22 to shine. 2nd Lt. Jim Woody Woods strutted out on stage and preforming his best Great Santini imitation delivered a funny briefing on the proper way to do a burner light at the bar. The Ready Room chairs were set up on the stage as the first of his JO’s tried a burner light. All spray and no light off. Second JO lit his lighter and swallowed the rum.

Woody explodes, You bunch of dumb asses. We will be the best party squadron in the Marine Corps or we will die trying. The crowed cheers. Now this is how you do a burner light.  Woody takes a big swig of 151, turns, lights his lighter and sprays a huge fireball across the stage. Fire erupts on some of the party decorations on the wall.

Fire, Fire, Fire, On the flight deck. is the call from the crowd. Everyone throws whatever beer that is in their cups at the fire to extinguish the flames.

One of the LSO’s yelled, Hey knock it off! With a super serious look on his face he said, Stop throwing beer on the flames. That’s alcohol abuse, use water to put out the fire. Everyone laughed as the music was cranked up to full blast and the party rolled on into the night.

The phone rang at 1000 on Saturday morning, the voice on he other end was Susan’s. Jeff you have slept long enough, pack your beach gear and a RON (Remain Over Night) bag. Meet me in the parking lot of the Holiday Inn on Padre Island. If your not there by noon I’m calling the Marine. So get moving. 

OK, I’ll meet you there. responded Jeff and hung up the phone. My kind of woman. thought Jeff as he headed to the shower.

Out the door and off down the two lane back roads towards Corpus Christi. Jeff pulled into the parking lot, unloaded his stuff and walked to the sea wall. Jeff scanned the beach. Hot babe at 2 o’clock low. Jeff thought, and he climbed down the sea wall and walked toward Susan.

Jeff opened with, Hey good looking is this spot taken?

Susan responded with a smile, Yes it is, but you’ll do for now. She jumped up and gave Jeff a big kiss. Susan laid back down as Jeff set up his stuff. How was the Boat party? asked Susan. 

Outstanding, as drunk as we were. I am surprised no one drown trying to retrieve all the patio furniture from the bottom of the O Club pool. Jeff settled down and started rubbing himself with sun screen.

Here let me do your back. said Susan.

Quick think of baseball or road kill, something to keep Mr. Happy from making an appearance. thought Jeff as Susan hands danced on his neck and back.

I know you are hungry, because you made it here in record time. Susan shoved a huge ham and Swiss cheese sandwich in Jeff’s lap.

Thanks, this will hit the spot. said Jeff.

Susan pulled a beer from the cooler, Want one?

Ugh, no. I couldn’t, too hung over. After about an hour of roasting in the hot South Texas sun Jeff said, I’m cooked. Let’s go for a swim.

Susan and Jeff headed for the water. Jeff stopped short and looked at the bottom of his right foot and in a disgusting tone said, Great, tar balls.

Susan laughed, Come on you big bad jet pilot its not going to kill ya.

After wading out neck deep through the bath tub temperature water Susan wrapped her arms and legs around Jeff. The two exchanged kisses and lost themselves in the moment. After a while Jeff had to open his mouth and tried to put his foot into it. Can I ask you something personnel.

Susan gave him a sideways glance and with a little doubt in her voice said, OK, go ahead.

What happened to your marriage? asked Jeff.

Freshman year in college I fell in love with a Naval Aviator. He was an Instructor Pilot at NAS Kingsville and he swept me off my feet. Plus I was more than ready to leave South Texas and see the world. The time we spent together when he was stationed here was great. Then we were transferred to NAS Oceania so he could do his Department Head tour. I quickly became a Navy widow. When he wasn’t at the squadron trying to kiss the Skipper’s ass, he was on a cross country flight. Then there was weapons dets, ACM dets, work ups, and then the cruises. I never saw my husband for more than five days at a time. I guess I was very naive about Navy life and he was married to his career first and to me second. I also grew up during that time and we grew apart. So we got divorced. By the look on your face I see you have learned a valuable lesson today.

In a manly tone of voice Susan spoke, Never ask a woman about her past relationships!

Oh yeah. responded Jeff.

Around four Susan looked over at Jeff and said, Your a pretty shade of pink. Let’s go up stairs and get out of the sun. Grab your bag out of your car and meet me in Room 856. Jeff packed his trash and moved as commanded.

Susan was naked when she opened the door for Jeff and she ran into the shower calling, Come join me.

Jeff couldn’t get his clothes off fast enough. The hot water in the shower stung his roasted body, but the sight of Susan left him speechless. The first time they were together it was quick and dark. Jeff did not connect the visual with the mental until now.

This time no talking. he thought as Jeff was lost in the moment, when slap on the ass snapped Jeff out of Na-Na Land.

Run some cold water on that woody so you will not knock a hole in the wall. laughed Susan as she stepped out of the shower.

Jeff turned off the water, toweled off and hung his wet towel on his hard on. It didn’t move, Oh yeah, she really going to get it now. thought Jeff.

Not five seconds later Susan walked into the bathroom dressed and caught Jeff with the towel hanging off his dick. I thought I told you to get rid of that thing. It’s dinner and a movie before that thing gets near me. That took the wind out of Mr. Happy’s sails. 

I know a great place for Tex-Mex. commented Susan as they headed over the bridge toward Corpus. Jeff and Susan spent a great night eating dinner and catching a movie. After a serious night of wild sex, Jeff dragged his sorry carcass back out onto the beach for one more day of roasting in the sun. Susan followed Jeff back to the BOQ and spent Sunday night with him.

How could such a great weekend turn out so bad? he thought. The pounding in Jeff’s head slowly brought him back to the present. Crap. he thought It’s only eight thirty. but he was exhausted. After checking the next days flight schedule Jeff turned in for the night.

Chapter 3

Jeff cruised into the Ready Room looking for Larry his flight partner for his up coming ACM hop. Something was wrong, people were staring at him. Jeff walked over to a fellow classmate Ens. Bill Stenson, Hey Bill have you seen Larry today? asked Jeff. No man, I haven’t. Bill wouldn’t look him in the eye and walked away quickly. Jeff definitely knew something was wrong, normally Bill would talk your ear off about something. Jeff spent several uncomfortable moments in the Ready Room while he waited for Larry. When Jeff saw the look on Larry’s face he knew his worst fears had come true.

Larry motioned to Jeff as he slipped into one of the back Briefing Rooms. As Jeff entered the room Larry said, What the fuck happened to you yesterday?

Jeff answered, Susan is the ex-wife of VT-21’s incoming XO?

What did the Skipper say to you? Larry’s question sank Jeff’s spirit down into his boots.

How did you hear about this? asked Jeff.

You are the talk of both squadrons buddy boy. responded Larry.

Jeff spilled most of the grim details as quietly as he could to his best friend. What really worries me the most is what the Skipper said about me being real disappointed at selection time. finished Jeff.

Don’t worry about that right now. The Skipper is just trying to scare you off of her. Right now you have to think about our ACM hop, today, right now, focus. Don’t let this tube your grades or turn you into a smoking hole. said Larry.

Jeff saw the seriousness in Larry’s eyes and said, OK.

The 2 v 1 ACM hop went well, Jeff had survived. His performance had suffered in his own opinion, but their instructor gave them a fair shake and a tough fight. Larry dragged Jeff out of the squadron as quickly as they could. Jeff felt the heat and the stares both real and imagined from every person they passed. Larry got him back to the BOQ and said, I am taking you out for pizza later. Our last hop is tomorrow, we will go over our tactics and hit it hard. 

Great, I would like that. answered Jeff.

Jeff knew Larry was going a out of his way to to pump him up. But Larry also had to protect his own interest. If his wingman went down the tubes, his grades would also suffer and he was going to do his best not to let it happen. Jeff put on his running gear and headed out for a run along the perimeter road to forget about his problems.

Jeff was zoned out in front of the TV cooling down after his run when the phone rang. It was Susan, in a quick voice so Jeff could not speak she said, I’m so sorry. I heard what happened to you today. And I did not lie to you. I am divorced. She paused for a second, then continued I hope your not mad at me?

Jeff finally spoke, No I am not mad at you. But how did this happen? 

Susan responded, My ex-husband followed us this weekend. 

What! muttered Jeff.

Yes, he followed us all weekend. Then he was waiting in front of my apartment building for me on Monday morning. He is still under some weird impression that we will still get back together some day. I told him that was never going to happen. He got really pissed and left. Then he called me later that morning to gloat about how he had taken care of you.

How did he find out who I was? asked Jeff.

Oh, he pulled a few strings with Base Security and tracked down all of your personal info off of your license plate number. answered Susan.

More like abuse of power. added Jeff. Jeff filled Susan in on the highlights of his confrontation with the CO after his flight. 

Susan asked, Do you want me to call your CO and explain what happened? 

No, please don’t. Maybe he will just settle for a severe ass chewing and forget about the whole situation. answered Jeff. They both agreed not to see each other until after Jeff was Winged. Then both said goodbye and hung up the phone.

Susan defied Jeff’s wishes, telephoned his CO and ripped him a new ass hole for interfering in her life and abusing his power.

Jeff’s stomach did its final spin while his body slumped into the couch. He was relieved that Susan had not lied or used him. Jeff showered and changed clothes because he knew Larry would be banging on the door soon. Larry rendezvoused right on time like any good wingman would do. Ready to go pinhead? Larry said with a smile.

Yea. answered Jeff.

Larry noticed the relieved look on Jeff’s face and asked Did you talk to her? 

Yea. replied Jeff.  

Is everything cool? fired Larry.

Yea. answered Jeff with a smile. And the two friends left it at that. They went to dinner and talked about everything except their next flight, Susan, or the events that happened with the squadron CO.

After a restless night, Jeff headed into the Ready Room with a smile on his face because it was his last ACM hop. He still noticed that his peers where still keeping their distance. Nobody wanted any of the CO’s heat that was aimed at Jeff to wander their way by being in close approximation to him. Jeff knew he was the squadron Shit Screen. He would remain so until he left the Command or someone else screwed up to take his place. That was part of squadron life that Jeff was learning the hard way.

Larry sat down next to Jeff and asked, Are you going to use one of those infamous radio calls on your last hop?

No way. I am already on the Skipper’s shit list. laughed Jeff.

Larry was referring to the famous radio call of; Kingsville Tower, This is Guntrain 212, I’ve got three in the breeze over the trees, I'm full stop on my last hop. A boast made by many at the O Club but rarely heard over the radio.

Jeff and Larry tracked down the Ops O (Operations Officer) Lt.Cdr. Nicholas who was going to be their IP for their last hop. Their brief was quick, anything goes and be safe. No holes barred was what they got. The Ops O kicked their ass all across the MOA. Jeff and Larry only won one engagement and that was with a lucky shot by Larry.

The Plane Captains marshaled Jeff and Larry to their parking spots on the line farthest away from the hangar. As they walked toward the door leading into Maintenance Control they noticed the ramp devoid of Plane Captains.

Larry said to Jeff, Maybe they forgot about us. We just might make it back without getting soaked.

Jeff grabbed the door knob, it was locked. Jeff and Larry just looked at each other and both said, Uh-oh.

Suddenly two tugs came racing around the corner of the hangar manned with Plane Captains armed with buckets full of water. Jeff and Larry started to run toward one of the open hangar bays but the ambush was set. As they turned into the hangar bay four more Plane Captains were standing there and let them have it with their buckets. The tugs skidded to a stop and added their water to the wetting down. The Plane Captains were laughing their asses off when one of the Petty Officers said, Nobody escapes us. 

The Maintenance Control door swung open and Master Chief Peterson, the Maintenance Control Chief greeted them with a smile. Sorry gentlemen, I guess the door must have been locked accidentally. Everyone in Maintenance Control broke out into a loud laughter. Jeff and Larry could only smile. They had just been initiated into one of the traditions of Naval Aviation, the Wetting Down.

The Ops O was waiting for them at the top of the stairs. He handed them their ATF’s and said, It was fun. Be back in the squadron spaces at 0900, the Skipper should have your Fleet selection from D.C. by then. So go dry off and show your folks around the Berg.

Jeff had forgotten all about the arrival of his parents for his Winging. Too much other shit had been dumped on him in the last few weeks. He was just barely treading water.

Jeff and Larry headed out into the parking lot to their cars. Larry was walking ten feet off the ground. And Jeff was happy for him, but that threat about selection that the Skipper had threw at him kept coming up in the back of his mind. He could not let the thought go or shake the feeling of dread. Now he had to entertain the parents on top of all the other shit he had piled up. At least his parents were not coming in until tomorrow afternoon, he had time to kill. All he could think about was Susan and the time they had spent together.

Chapter 4

Jeff woke up with a sick feeling in his stomach. The day had come when he would find out if the Skipper was going to follow through with his threat. Dressed in his khakis, Jeff headed over to the squadron to find out his fate. Arriving at he CO’s Office, Ms. Fullerton asked, May I help you Ensign? 

Yes ma’am, I am here to find out about my Fleet selection. responded Jeff. 

Please have a seat. stated Ms. Fullerton as she picked up the phone and buzzed one of the offices. After putting down the phone Ms. Fullerton said, The XO will see you now. Nervously Jeff stepped into the doorway and made eye contact with the XO, Cdr. J. B. Sellers.

Come on in and close the door. ordered the XO.

Uh-oh, not another closed door meeting. thought Jeff. Please sit down. I have some unpleasant news for you. Jeff’s heart sank into the pit of his stomach which rolled over for him. The XO looked him straight in the eyes and said, You were selected for CT-39’s, VR-24, Sigonella, Italy.

After a short pause to allow the information to sink in the XO spoke. "You have done a fine job here in the squadron. Your grades are slightly above average. And you have kept your composure under the intense pressure placed on you by the CO and your peers. Most men would have folded. You deserve to know the truth. You were screwed by the CO. I tried to talk him out of it, but the situation with Ms. Susan Lang has really struck a

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