Memories… from 45 years ago…

I was one of those kids, in a brown shirt.

A video tribute to the young folks who work the Navy’s aircraft carrier flight decks, which when operating – regardless of world events – have been appropriately called “the most dangerous 4½ acres of real estate in the world.”

Everyone on the roof must keep their head on a swivel and OBTW, some of those bombs the ordies are loading by hand, without a hoist are 500 pounders.

These are 18-25 year-olds (average age: 21), of all races and backgrounds, coming together to function at an extremely high level of responsibility and performance yet without direct supervision. They know their jobs and do them, day in and day out. In all weather, 24 hours a day.


TBT… — 18 Comments

  1. Great! Thanks for this. All Americans need to see such things and appreciate the hard work and danger that those serving face.

  2. And you survived intact? Well done. I would not have lasted working on the flight deck. It scared the hell out of me, even just watching from vultures row.

  3. Most American service members handle more responsibility at 19 than most civilians ever do. And they do it excellently, as you point out.

  4. You were a Brown Shirt… was that your duty for the voyage or do the flight crews rotate that position during the deployment?

  5. Yep.
    I was 21 when I arrived Viet Nam and took command of a helicopter gunship. The major difference today?
    The cost, lethality, and efficiency of our killing machines has allowed us to dramatically reduce the size of our military force. There ARE still heroes out there willing to take up the yoke.
    And they are VOLUNTEERS, ALL.

  6. Hi Jim, Yeah man, Been there done that as a brownie. Use to take the Tow Planes out of Naples out to the carriers for the black shoe gunnies to try out their toys! Was on the Forrestal, America, Kitty Hawk, and a couple more I can’t remember after 57 years! Saw a couple of fatal accidents, arresting cable broke, and a start cart driver drove right thru the prop arc! I was 21 at that time and it sure made you a hell of a lot more alert and conscious of just there the hell you were and how many things could kill you. I loved every minutiae I was out there! Sigh!

    • We had Flight Line accidents in the Air Force as well (some fatal). The “pace” sometimes took it toll. I saw a B-52 explode during maintenance with loss of life. An Oxygen canister was mislabeled Nitrogen & that set off a horrible chain of events !!

  7. There’s a reason it’s called a “Flight Deck Ballet”
    Spent years on the flight deck, both as aircrew and ship’s company.
    Oh, to be 40 years younger. Arghhh!

  8. Thank you.
    Thank you for your service then, and thank you for showing us civilians what our military are doing now. Which to my mind is still serving. Just in a different capacity.

  9. B-in-law Neil served 2 tours on the Oriskany off Yankee Station. Plus a dash up to Korea during the Pueblo crisis.
    B-in-law Steve served in Prowler squadrons during “peace time.”
    Still got close up view of Bears and other Red aircraft.
    Nice guys … for squids. 😉

  10. All- Thanks for the comments. CP- I was TAD’ed and normally you stay in the ‘shirt’ for the cruise.

    Posted from my iPhone.

  11. It isn’t easy being brown…. See what I did there? LOL. Have a great weekend!

  12. Any of these jobs if done by civilians or non militarily would fetch at least a minimum of $150,000 per job. So where is the pay raise we military people need to be equitable to jobs on the outside?

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  14. Huh. The odd part is, it didn’t seem like anything special when I was actually doing it. It’s only looking back 30 years later that I marvel at what I was doing…