Friday, March 4, 2016

Why Navy Dads Sometimes Lose Sleep

If you haven't seen the PBS series Carrier which came out back in 2008, and have any interest in naval aviation, you need to track this series down and watch it. Post haste!

The WSO was still down in Pensacola learning her trade as a Naval Flight Officer when I watched this. Needless to say, certain sequences from the program made me wonder, "Just what is my baby girl getting into?"

No, The Missus Herself didn't watch any of this.

While riding the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower some years back, we got to see a Rhino make a low supersonic pass (this was before The WSO got her wings) and my better half turned to me, "Is that the jet our daughter will be riding?"

"Why yes, yes it is." I answered with some pride.

Let's just say that while the sea was pretty calm that day, The WSO's mom looked a bit pale after that.

Aviation can be a cruel mistress, I've lost friends, just about everyone involved knows someone who didn't come back.

I have nothing but pride and affection for the men and women of naval aviation.

Yeah, thinking of some of the things in that video will give this Navy Dad sleepless nights, provided I think too much about it.

Which I try not to...


  1. Parenting . . . it's not for wimps.
    I joined the army . . . my mother pitched a fit.
    I went to war in Vietnam . . . don't think she slept the entire year I was gone.
    When I joined the National Guard in 1990, I was offered a supply sergeant's slot with a medical unit bound for Desert Shield/Storm.
    I was going to go, wanted one last Great Adventure before I grew too old. My mother begged me to stay . . . she couldn't make it through
    another war. The (soon-to-be) wife pleaded with me too. Stay. I was undone. I passed on the offer. (To this day I'm not sure I did the right thing.)
    My son-in-law . . . back then was a naval reserve medical tech. He was called to active duty and shipped off to Saudi Arabia.
    I learned what those who remain behind go through.
    In truth . . . it was harder to bear than being in-theater.
    AFSarge . . . you have my thoughts and prayers.

  2. We children can be pretty brutal when it comes to worrying parents. We charge headfirst into the non-nerf world with pretty much never a thought about the worry we generate back home. Statistically naval aviation is a reasonably good bet for a good outcome, but that's not a lot of comfort. My folks never knew about the risky stuff and were probably better off for it. But I wouldn't let any kid of mine do that stuff!

  3. At the time I enlisted the Navy seemed like a safe bet.
    Nobody'd heard of Viet Nam yet.
    I went in straight from high school, wasn't even 18 yet.
    When my mom found out I would've been classified 4A (sole surviving son), she came unglued.
    My folks said they didn't much worry, but I saw how relieved they were whenever I was home.

    1. You try not to show it. Sometimes it ain't easy.

  4. I didn't give much attention to what my parents felt when I enlisted. Found only years later that my mom cried for a week after I was gone. I know they were happier after I left the destroyer & transferred to Alaska, though. My dad, an Army vet, had some idea what I was facing, but I was too caught up in the adventure to think about what others felt. And yes, I'm rather relieved that neither daughter shows any interest in the military. Probably unfair, that, but they're the first generation of the family which hasn't served since the Revolution.

    1. I remember that my Dad always got teary eyed at the airport when I'd leave. Mom cried later...

  5. One of the few letter I received from my father was regarding Viet Nam.

    "Don't you dare volunteer. I fought in one Asian war, and I didn't raise a son to fight in one".

  6. Carrier was a good series.
    But, the British carrier HMS ARK ROYAL was the subject of a 10 part BBC series called "Sailor" which is just as interesting, albeit from a slightly different perspective, and done circa 1975-76. There is a heart wrenching follow up "Eight years on" showing some of the crew watching as the scrapping of the once fine warship is nearly complete.
    Episode 1 can be found at

    There were some copyright issues about use of the theme music so some episodes may be hard to track down, but they are all worth it.

  7. Perfect illustration as to why I rode submarines. "There are more aircraft in the ocean than submarines."

  8. Excellent series - Mrs. Big E found it on PBS when BTM was still in NROTC. She will not watch "pitching deck" episode again, however - very intense. Every episode is now on YouTube for free.

  9. For us older vets, part of the reason that our parents were so worried might be that they remember WW-2.
    Many, many Gold Stars in the windows back then.


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

NOTE: Comments on posts over 5 days old go into moderation, automatically.