Thursday, August 29, 2013

USN and USMC Carrier Qualifications--landing jets on an aircraft carrier.

All Naval aviators must land on an aircraft carrier to get their "Wings of Gold." All Marine Corps pilots are Naval Aviators because they go through Navy Training. Here is a short video of what it is like to make those very first exciting landings on an aircraft carrier. This brought back some great memories of when I landed my T-28C fighter bomber on the U.S.S. Lexington in September of 1965 in the Gulf of Mexico off Pensacola, Florida. This was one of the most exciting days of my life. That anniversary is coming up. 48 years ago! After that, it was off to helicopter training where I learned to fly the H-34. Like some of the Marine pilots in this video, I never again landed an airplane on a carrier. I did however, land my H-34 on three carriers off Vietnam. I landed many times on the Princeton, the Iwo Jima and the Valley Forge. I have to admit, landing a helicopter on a carrier is a lot easier than landing an airlane, having to catch a wire. I also landed on LSD Chicago and a battle cruiser--right in front of her huge guns! (see above post) Of course we landed many times on the hospital ship USS REPOSE many times, too. In civilian life in Alaska in 1969, the Aleutian Islands, I landed on a tender with a H-19, the predecessor to the H-34.

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