I joined the NAVY Feb 1971. Aftter completion of bootcamp, fleet prep school in Millington, Tenn; then on to NAS Miramar.
I was flown onto Clark Airforce base In Phillipines, then the WHITE KNUCKLE bus trip to Subic Bay. I then boarded the USS Oriskany (CVA34) and checked into VF-191.
After my 90 days mess cooking I was finally with the squadron.
We had the best damn 1 seater fighter pilots of that erathey flew the F8 Crusader, a very fine fighter jet.
I was an AMS, was a Plan Captain for a while then got into Corrosion Control aka "Crud Crew". We maintained the prevention of Corrosion eating away the metal on the aircraft, also painted the squadron insignia on the planes.
Our home base was NAS Miramar, we deployed on the USS Oriskany. Back then they were 11 month wespac cruises, I made theree of them.
The cruises werr long and hard, how ever we were a close group of men. We worked hard and we partied hard.
I was nicknamed Chilly Willy because the guys said I walked like the cartoon penguin Chilly Willy.
History is the sqaudron was the "Hell Cats" but the officer's wives thought it was too harsh and hence forth "Satan's Kittens". I even had the "Hell Cat" tattooed on my shoulder.
June 1973 while in port in Oakland CA from Carrier Quals, the squadron went back to NAS Miramar I was left on the ship with a sksleton crew to watch the squadron Ready Room, and berthing spaces.
I finagled my duty around, flew home to Texas. I flew back to Oakland June 4th. The ship was to deploy the 5th; however things escalated in Vietnam so they pulled out the 4th. I didn't make it in time ajnd missed Ships Movement.
A very serious charge.
When I caught up with the squadron in Hawaii I boarded the ship. Since I was not ship's compoany had to go XO's Inquiry conducted by the Executive Officer of the squadron.
He was LCDR Ron Ball. He let me off the charges and gave me a very stearn warning. He eventually became the Commanding Officer of the squadron.
He was a very fine Officer and a Gentleman.
Well mates I can go on for ever and share a lot of tales.
I have a lot of PICS I will see what I can convert them to digital and post them.
Posted by Rodney Wilkerson
Mar 31 2008 01:17:31:000AM