As Juvat has said, more than once, "fighter pilot" is as much an attitude as it is a job description. There are many pilots who fly fighters, many of them are also fighter pilots. Those two groups do not match up one for one.
I have a fighter pilot watch. To my knowledge there are only two people on the planet who have these who cannot fly an aircraft. I am one, The WSO's father-in-law, Hornet Dad, is the other. Hornet Dad is, as you might have figured by now, Big Time's father, and a lovely man he is.
So what's the big deal with the watch you might ask, I can go to a store and buy one of those, right? Uh, no. Not unless things have changed since Big Time left the Knighthawks. (Any Hawks out there with knowledge of these things feel free to chime in.)
So back in the day when the mighty ENTERPRISE still sailed the seas and brought death and destruction to the enemies of freedom, Big Time was a pilot in VFA-136, a part of the Big E's air wing. He was also the procurer of fine time pieces for the squadron. Big Time was, and still is, a big time piece guy. He had a deal with the company who makes these watches. Here's a close up of that watch -
Above the day/date readout is an F/A-18E coming straight at you, underneath are the "Wings of Gold" of a naval aviator. On the left is the squadron patch of VFA-136, the mighty Knighthawks. Each watch has a serial number and mine has my initials on the back. I don't know if the others have initials, perhaps a callsign instead. But The WSO thought it would be cool to put my initials on my watch.
My initials? C.A.G. or as inscribed on my watch: CAG.
Um, okay Sarge, you've got your initials on your watch, so?
According to the pedia of Wiki -
Initially and during WWII, the commander of the air group (known as the "CAG") was the most senior officer of the embarked squadrons and was expected to personally lead all major strike operations, coordinating the attacks of the carrier's fighter, bomber, and torpedo planes in combat. The CAG was a department head of the ship reporting to the carrier's commanding officer.I also have a beer mug, from VFA-2, The WSO's old outfit.
In 1963 when Carrier Air Groups were retitled Wings, the commander retained the legacy title of "CAG" which continues to this day.
After WWII until 1983, CAGs were typically post-squadron command aviators in the rank of Commander. Though the CAG was in command of the air wing, he functioned as one of the carrier's department heads reporting to the carrier's commanding officer when the wing was embarked. The CAG would typically subsequently promote to Captain and would track to command of a deep draft support vessel followed by command of an aircraft carrier once greater seniority was achieved in the rank of Captain. In 1983, Secretary of the Navy John Lehman elevated the CAG position to the rank of Captain and made the position coequal with the Captain of the aircraft carrier in which the air wing embarked, with both officers reporting directly to the embarked Flag Officer who was Commander of the Carrier Battle Group. During the period of transition when some air wings were still commanded by Commander CAGs and some were commanded by the new Captain CAGs, the new Captain CAGs were referred to as "Super CAG." The term "Super CAG" quickly reverted to the traditional "CAG" once all air wings had made the transition. Later a slightly junior Captain was added as the Deputy CAG (DCAG), with the DCAG assisting the CAG until he/she eventually "fleets up" to the CAG position. This system remains in place today. (Source)
|I have the ball cap too. Gotta have the ball cap.|
"It's for my Dad."
"Your Dad's a CAG?!?"
"Well, yes and no. His initials are 'C' 'A' 'G'"
"Your Dad's a CAG and those are his initials too?!?"
"Uh no. My Dad's a retired Master Sergeant..."
Well, she was talking to a pilot. Takes a little longer to explain.
Guns! Guns! Guns!
|Yup, got the Knighthawk ball cap to go with the watch.|
Various F-16 gun camera circa 1982 from Kunsan Air Base Korea Juvat F-16s from the Wolf Pack. First four clips are from missions flown in Cope Thunder mock air combat exercised out of Clark Air Base, Philippines. Last clip is a "Juvat" doing a high speed low level and dive bomb pass in South Korea. Probably during a Team Spirit exercise.(The video lead in says "circa 1984." Just to let you know that I was paying attention.)
Yup, our own Juvat's old outfit, the 80th Fighter Squadron. I worked on their Phantoms, Juvat
And while flying fighters is exhilarating, the groaning and grunting is from the pilot fighting off the G-forces. The Viper can pull a lot of G.
Oh yeah baby. Fight's on!