Tomcat Versus Eagle

This story is no shit because I was there.

You civilians try to stay up and if you have to, Google it .

The Air Force was thinking about acquiring the F-14 Tomcat.  The ones that were sold to Iran were built to Air Force specifications, mainly not carrier capable because the Iranians didn’t have a carrier.

In 1977 or 1978, I don’t remember which exact trip, I was a nosey little Airman that loved the F-14.  The Navy had set up in a trailer to act like a carrier or E-2C Hawkeye.  Whatever.  Needless to say I hung out there and rooted for the Navy.

This How I Remember it Going Down

First Sortie

The USAF was based at Nellis and the Navy was coming out of NAS Fallon.

F-15 flew out to the range.  No F-14.  He hung around for 20 minutes, called the Navy a no show and returned to base.  The pilot then found out the the Navy had splashed him just as he retracted the gear on take off.  Hurray for the AIM-54!

Air Force called “Bullshit” ours won’t have the AN/AWG-9/AIM-54 suite and the Navy was told that the AIM-54 was out.

Second Sortie

AIM-7 parameters.  Both jets had Sparrow radar guided missiles.  However, the F-14 had a RIO.  Splash one Eagle.

Air Force is now getting a little pissed and the Navy is buying drinks at the Club.

Third Sortie 

AIM-9 parameters.  Both jets had Sidewinder infra-red  guided missiles.  However, the F-14 had two sets of eyes instead of one.  Splash one Eagle.

Final Sortie

Gun parameters.  The F-15 was at his fighting speed and taking the fight to the Merge.  The Navy used Anti-MiG tactics used by the F-4 Phantom II in Vietnam.  They took it to the verticle and……splash on Eagle again.

You have to remember something about those engagements.  The F-15 was still new to the inventory and  TAC was still trying to figure out how to fight with the Eagle. Our F-4C’s from George AFB were there to conduct this very training. We were waxing the F-15 guys on a daily basis.

540 “shot down” 3 F-15’s and a F-106.

When the “Fucking First” from Langley left they tagged our jets with their very little used “ducks”.

In fact it got intense at the Crazy Horse Gentlemen’s Club one night.

The “Fucking First” were bragging about crewing the “World’s Greatest Fighter”.  We retorted that the Israelis were the only ones that had F-15’s and your bunch fly T-15’s.  “You training motherfuckers…etc, etc.”

F-15 FF
LANGLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Va. – A formation of F-15 Eagle fighter aircraft line up on the flightline during a Phase 1 Operational Readiness Inspection here Aug 12. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Tech. Sgt. Ben Bloker)

We said, “We work on the F-4 Phantom II.  A proven weapons system responsible for the deaths of thousands of women and children in South East Asia and we’re proud to work on it.”

I’m not sure who threw the first chair.  But things quickly escalated to a 20 v. 20 bar fight.  One of the reasons the Crazy Horse relocated to Industrial Road and “The World’s Biggest Gift Shop is now in its place on the Strip.

Crazy Horse




Cool Field Trip at Red Flag

The Air Force in it’s ultimate wisdom sent me to Las Vegas for my 21st birthday.

While crewing an F-4G Wild Weasel at George AFB, I got to go to my first Red Flag at Nellis.

This is My jet "Super Chicken" at Red Flag 78.
This is My jet “Super Chicken” at Red Flag 79.


We went to “war” against Communist Nevada for 30 days. Every day coming to work we drove past a building with a sign marking it as “Alien Technology Section”.  that got my attention.   Needless to say I was thrilled when I was selected to attend a tour of “The Alien Technology Section”.  All of had  a Top Secret clearance for working on Weasels but we had to submit our line badges and I.D. cards for one more check.


During the tour we got to crawl all over a Fan Song radar, a SA- surface to air launcher (with SA-2 still attached), a T-72 tank, an Atoll missile and a MiG21 fighter.  We were shown how to do a Thruflight inspection on the MiG.  For you civilians a Thruflight inspection is performed between flights to make sure everything is still okay.


The MiG was an eye opener.  Non-flush rivets.  A wooden board for the pilot to sit on and other techno geek things to show how the Soviets could manufacture a shit hot fighter jet on the cheap.  The MiG21 kicked our collective asses in Vietnam and that led to the development of the F-14, F-15 and F-16.


Little did I know at the time, the “tour” was also a job interview.  Subsequently, I was put on a “list” that eventually led me to being assigned to the Stealth Fighter.  That was cool too but I really wanted to crew MiGs at an undisclosed location.

Nowadays you can see the particular MiG21 on display in the Heritage Park at Nellis AFB, Nevada.  It currently sports the colors of the PVO-Strany (Soviet Air defense Division).  But when i saw it in 1979 it was sporting the livery of the Hungarian Air Force.

MiG21-Nellis-Park-2015 Mikoyan-Gurevich_MiG-21bis,_Hungary_-_Air_Force_AN0740836