“Trip” and “Snooze” are a couple of F-16 pilots who happen to sing. Actually, a lot of pilots sing, these guys are good at it. A while back they started emailing me to inquire about the F-16 bumper stickers I do.
One thing leads to another and they invite me out to a “gig” they were having at the Las Vegas Club. As it turns out, it was a Maintenance/Ops party for the 23rd TFS wrapping up their Red Flag TDY. Sporting my Lucky Puppy t-shirt, I infiltrated the party. One guy in this room full of people from the other side of the river types recognized the 313th.
They opened with “Predator Eulogy”. I turned to this guy standing next to me and said,
“The Thunderbirds are upgrading in 2008”.
The guy says, “What?” “The Thunderbirds are upgrading in 2008”, I repeated. “What did you say??”, jeez this guy is deaf.
“I said, the Thunderbirds are upgrading to the Predator in 2008!”
He then gives me a weird look and whips out his business card. OMG! He’s a Thunderkid! He then starts rolling his beer on the table.
“Okay, the line at the bar is kinda long but I’ll go get you one.”
“Nevermind”, he says. “I was just pulling your chain.”
“Oh no, I insist. We crew chiefs are used to giving you Thunderbirds whatever you want.”
At that point he started to give me the “I’m not worthy” bow and I went and got him a beer.
Recently, a Marine Corps Harrier Squadron was invited to attend the annual Air Force Red Flag exercised at Nellis Air Force Base, NV. This is one of the USAF’s big exercises where they test Combined Arms employment of tactical air assets. The USAF F-15 pilots showed up on the ramp with dozens of rear echelon airman types and tons of equipment such as Ground Power Units, Accessory Power Units, Hummers, Trucks, Air Conditioners, etc. The Marines appeared ready to operate in a combat environment and showed up with only their Harriers. The Air Force commander commented to the Marine commander: “Where is all your support stuff? Geezz, you guys really are just Grunts that know how to fly.”
Not wanting to disappoint the Air Force commander, the Marine commander got an idea of his own to carry on the comment. He talked to his First Sergeant and later that night, the First Sergeant had his Marines make up bayonet studs on hose clamps. You see, there is a Pitot tube sticking out of the nose of a Harrier. In the late hours of darkness, the First Sergeant had the clamp with the bayonet stud tightened onto the Pitot tubes of each Harrier.
The next morning, the Air Force pilots fell out on the ramp in front of their F-15s. The Marine pilots fell out on the other side of the ramp in front of their Harriers. Each Marine pilot had on his deuce gear with a bayonet in the scabbard. The USAF commander ordered his pilots to “man your planes.” The USAF ground crews by the dozens scrambled to their trucks, APU’s, GPU’s, etc. and the pilots ran to their planes.
The Marine commander ordered his Marines to “Fix Bayonets.”
Each pilot ran to the front of their Harrier and fixed his bayonet on the stud attached to the Pitot tube. The Marine commander then ordered “CHARGE” and the Marines jumped in their Harriers, dusted airborne, and flew off. The Marine commander turned to the USAF commander and said; “Now that is what we Marines consider Close Ground Support.”