Friday, October 31, 2014

Some Music, Some Talk, A Lot of Awesome

F-5Ns of VFC-13 Saints on the flightline at NAS Fallon, NV
(Photo by Jerry Gunner of Lincoln, UK CC)

Today's video was uploaded to the Tube o' You by Paco Chierici whose awesome videos live here and who blogs here. The man knows his stuff. (I do believe he might be a Nasal Radiator. Possibly. He has that certain panache.*)

And as you might guess, my Muse is still nowhere in sight. (But I'm getting rumblings from the cheap seats that that is not a bad thing. Kind of like back in school when you get to watch a video instead of hear a lecture. Not that I was ever into that. Not that you could prove anyway.)

So sit down, buckle up and pay attention.
Naval Air Station Fallon or NAS Fallon is the United States Navy's premier air-to-air and air-to-ground training facility. It is located southeast of the city of Fallon in western Nevada in the United States. Since 1996, it has been home to the Naval Fighter Weapons School (TOPGUN), and the surrounding area contains 240,000 acres of bombing and electronic warfare ranges. It is also home to the Naval Strike and Air Warfare Center (NSAWC), which includes TOPGUN, the Carrier Airborne Early Warning Weapons School (TOPDOME) and the Navy Rotary Wing Weapons School. Navy SEAL Combat Search and Rescue (CSAR) training also takes place here.

The airfield is named Van Voorhis Field in honor of Lieutenant Commander Bruce Van Voorhis (1908-1943) who was awarded a posthumous Medal of Honor. (W)
The citation for that Medal of Honor reads:
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as Squadron Commander of Bombing Squadron 102 and as Plane Commander of a PB4Y-I Patrol Bomber operating against the enemy on Japanese-held Greenwich Island during the battle of the Solomon Islands, July 6, 1943. Fully aware of the limited chance of surviving an urgent mission, voluntarily undertaken to prevent a surprise Japanese attack against our forces, Lt. Comdr. Van Voorhis took off in total darkness on a perilous 700-mile flight without escort or support. Successful in reaching his objective despite treacherous and varying winds, low visibility and difficult terrain, he fought a lone but relentless battle under fierce antiaircraft fire and overwhelming aerial opposition. Forced lower and lower by pursuing planes, he coolly persisted in his mission of destruction. Abandoning all chance of a safe return he executed 6 bold ground-level attacks to demolish the enemy's vital radio station, installations, antiaircraft guns and crews with bombs and machine gun fire, and to destroy 1 fighter plane in the air and 3 on the water. Caught in his own bomb blast, Lt. Comdr. Van Voorhis crashed into the lagoon off the beach, sacrificing himself in a single-handed fight against almost insuperable odds, to make a distinctive contribution to our continued offensive in driving the Japanese from the Solomons and, by his superb daring, courage and resoluteness of purpose, enhanced the finest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country. (W)
Note that the VFC-13 patch includes the wings worn by the
highest classification of Soviet fighter pilot, the "Sniper".

Fighter Squadron Composite (VFC-13) Saints is a US Navy fighter squadron that provides adversary training for U.S. Navy air wings at NAS Fallon, Nevada.

VFC-13 uses "Bogey" as its main radio callsign.

In January 2006, VFC-13 established a permanent detachment of 12 aircraft at NAS Key West, Florida for East Coast training. Subsequently, in the fall of 2006, the VFC-13 Key West detachment was re-designated as a separate squadron, VFC-111, with an assignment of one F-5F and 10 F-5N. In parallel, the eleven aircraft strength of VFC-13 at NAS Fallon was increased to 17 F-5s.

VFC-13 provides adversary training for Navy and Marine Corps Active and Reserve fleet and replacement squadrons, carrier air wings and Marine aircraft groups, USAF units, to include Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard, and Canadian Forces. The Fighting Saints have received two consecutive CNO Safety Awards, the Golden Wrench Maintenance Award, and in 1994, the Battle "E" award.

The Saints are manned with 69 Navy personnel including 33 enlisted and 36 officers. The 33 enlisted personnel provide critical operations, administrative, safety and training support to the squadron. Maintenance support is for the F-5E and is provided by civilians who work for Sikorsky Aircraft. The 40-member officer wardroom includes 25 Selected Reserve (SELRES), 5 Regular Navy and 10 Full Time Support (FTS) officers. These three elements of the Saints combine to fly over 5,000 adversary sorties per year in support of US Navy Fighter squadrons and their air wings, as well as USAF, USMC and Canadian Forces. (W)
Damn, you gotta like that! I mean seriously, the "Golden Wrench Maintenance Award"- these guys are Sierra Hotel!

To be honest, this video brought a tear to my eye. It's beautiful and I'm getting to be an old softy in my dotage. I'm betting Lex's wife The Hobbit might know one or two of the ladies in the video and can vouch for what they have to say.

Prepare to meet some of the nation's very best. (Take note of the callsigns, I got a chuckle from most and want to know the back story on all.)

So lads and lassies, I'll warn you upfront that this video is about fighter pilots. Navy fighter pilots, aka Naval Aviators. So their language gets a bit salty. If you are squeamish about fire trucks (sic) and cannot complete the phrase "doesn't know ____ from Shinola," then this video is probably not for you.

Everybody else? Get your popcorn.

Paco Chierici is a retired Naval Aviator. Paco accumulated 3,000 hours and nearly 400 traps flying the A-6 Intruder and F-14 Tomcat on active duty for ten years, and the F-5 as a Navy Adversary pilot for the subsequent ten years in the Navy Reserves. Paco is the Creator and Producer of the award winning Naval aviation adventure-documentary Speed and Angels. Paco flies for a major airline and is type rated in the Boeing 757/767 and the Airbus 330. After leaving military aviation, Paco discovered pistons and props and he now flies his family around in a Mooney and borrows friends Yak-50s for weekend warrior dogfighting.

I really need to start paying attention...


  1. "places you like to be rumbled." Priceless.

    Great find and thanks Sarge.

    1. I watched it last night and knew it had to be Friday's post.

      I hope you chased those links too. Paco has some great stuff.

    2. Been a huge fan since "Speed and Angels" hit the street. The Intruder/Tomcat pedigree tells you pretty much all you need to know.

    3. Oh, and Fallon. Just the name puts a smile on my face. I could happily live the rest of my life on 1980's Fallon dets. There are no words. Or far too many words. Something like that... :)

    4. Intruder/Tomcat pedigree, Aye!

    5. Fallon, Big Time and The WSO have both spent a lot of time out there.

      Lost a friend there as well.

    6. Priceless indeed. That one cracked me up!

  2. The bits featuring the wives brought me close to tears, knowing what we know. But, yeah... the vid is indeed Sierra Hotel.

    And then there's this: "(I do believe he might be a Nasal Radiator. Possibly. He has that certain panache.*)" Is "panache" a synonym for "odeur?" ;-)

    1. Actually, panache means a flamboyant confidence of style or manner. Hhmm, "odeur" might fit. Don't tell Big Time, or Paco!

    2. Actually, panache means...

      Really? Avez-vous oublié que je parle français? :-)

    3. Heh. I thought that might get a rise out of you.

      You never disappoint!

  3. 8932 nights of those dreams, I expect tomorrow morning it'll be 8933.

  4. Jet jocks... sigh... :-) Top of the world till they need to be plucked out of the water... Just sayin... ;-D

    1. Alright! Another inspiration for Juvat!


    2. Dreams?

      My wife tells me I still talk in my sleep re-fighting/flying and its been some 43 years since I've had any stick time...just less frequent now, lol

    3. Just thinking out loud here Virgil, but how could you not remember (and relive) one of the most intense periods of your life?

      The good and the bad.


Just be polite... that's all I ask. (For Buck)
Can't be nice, go somewhere else...

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