VA-144, 1962-64


  1. Author

    “I flew on your wing many times. It always was challenging and a pleasure. Your personality made flying in 144 a joy. Coming back to the carrier with some time to play, you were always looking for an F8 to jump and get at their 6 so we could embarrass them in the wardroom. While you were “yanking & banking” the challenge was to stay on your wing. What a “kick”. One night experience; we were flying near Danang, just the two of us, and we needed to get through a cloud layer. You had to bank above 30 degrees, how much higher I’m not sure. I kept telling you I had vertigo, and you would say “hang on” we are almost through. I had vertigo so bad I swore we were flying upside down. I knew I was going to hit you. I was about to break away when we broke out, and my mind turned around and things were normal. You and Dave Edwards were the life of the party. I can just see you with your “stogie”, cigar, and laughing it up about something that happened.”

    Lt. Ron Thomasson

  2. Author

    “I recall an incident at Fallon that well describes your talent as leader; following a bombing practice hop we were rendezvousing for the return to base when one of us discovered a small 4 or 6 place Piper or Beech high tailing it through the restricted air space on his way to Reno or some destination and called it out to you. You immediately told us to join up and you brought us round behind the Piper who was moving right along at 170 knots or so, you had the 4 of us dirty up and drop our hooks and lead us by maybe 50 feet off his starboard side, we cruised by at 200 knots or so, I’ll never forget wondering what that guy was thinking and was also glad he didn’t make a sudden hard right turn before we were abeam, good times! That incident reminded me of a Yuma bombing week when Hollywood was filming the movie “Flight of the Phoenix” in the Sahara like sand dunes west of the air station I believe I was on another of Nick’s flights when that wonderful fact was discovered and what ensued was every flight, every day buzzed the location at low level thinking “Blue Angel” and ” boy I bet these guys really love this air show”, until it came down from the base commander, “cease and desist” I’m sure with a wink and heh heh, but never the less lots of fun.” Pat.

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