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[Customs & Courtesies] [Air Force One] [Frankfurt] [Decoy Airfield] [UPT stories] [Airspeed] [War Heroes] [Training Program] [Ground Effect] [SR-71] [Bureaucracy] [Ergometry Test] [Air Force Dictionary] [1st Sergeant Test] [Recruiting] [Aircrew Coordination] [Captain Bravado] [WWII Oddities]
Customs & Courtesies
Airman Jones is at the maintenance duty desk when the phone rings: "Airman, can you tell me the status of tail number 1203?" The voice on the other end asked.
"Well, sir, the #1 engine is due inspection, and the UHF radio needs to be swapped, but fat-ass Johnson won't sign the release order."
"Airman? Do you know who you are speaking to?"
"This is Major Johnson, the D.O.!"
"Do you know who you are speaking to?"
"That's good! Bye, Fat-Ass!"
Air Force One
Air Force One crashed in the middle of rural America. The panic stricken Secret Service mobilized and descended on the farm in force. When they got there, the wreckage was clear. The aircraft was totally destroyed with only a burned hulk left smoldering in a tree line that bordered a farm. Secret Service descended upon the smoking hulk but could find no remains of the crew or the President's staff. To their amazement, a lone farmer was plowing a field not too far away as if nothing at all happened. They hurried over to surround the man's tractor.
"Sir," the senior Secret Service agent asked, panting and out of breath. "Did you see this terrible accident happen?"
"Yep. Sure did." The man muttered unconcernedly.
"Do you realize that is the President of the United States airplane?"
"Were there any survivors?" the agent gasped.
"Nope. They's all kilt straight out." The farmer sighed cutting off his tractor motor. "I done buried them all myself. Took most of the morning."
"The President of the United States is DEAD?" The agent gulped in disbelief.
"Well," the farmer sighed, obviously wanting to get back to his work. "He kept a-saying he wasn't ... but you know what a liar he is."
The story goes that Air Force One was over the UK a few years ago and called up a USAF base
"What is you position?" asked ATC
"You got radar you find us" Air Force One replied.
After a few minutes ATC announced "Air Force One we're changing frequency"
"What frequency are you changing to?" asked Air Force One
"You've got 720 channels - you find us!" ATC replied.
Been to Frankfurt Before?
The German controllers at Frankfurt Airport were a short tempered lot, they not only expected you to know your parking location but how to get there without any assistance from them. So it was with some amusement that we (a Pan Am 747) listened to the following exchange between Frankfurt ground and a British Airways 747 (Speedbird)
Speedbird: "Good morning Frankfurt, Speedbird 206 clear of the active."
Ground: "Guten morgan, taxi to your gate.
The BA 747 pulls onto the main taxiway and stops.
Ground: "Speedbird, do you not know where you are going?!"
Speedbird: "Standby ground, I'm looking up the gate location now.
Ground (with typical German patience): "Speedbird, have you never been to Frankfurt before?!"
Speedbird (coolly): "Yes, in 1944, but I didn't stop."
One World War II decoy, built in occupied Holland, led to a tale that has been told and retold ever since by veteran Allied pilots. The German "airfield", constructed with meticulous care, was made almost entirely of wood. There were wooden hangars, oil tanks, gun emplacements, trucks, and aircraft.
The day finally came when the decoy was finished, down to the last wooden plank. And early the following morning, a lone RAF plane crossed the Channel, came in low, circled the field once, and dropped a large wooden bomb.
student pilot: "tower, Tweet 71, student pilot, I am out of fuel."
Tower: "Roger Tweet 71, reduce airspeed to best glide!! Do you have the airfield in sight?!?!!"
Student pilot: "Uh...tower, I am on the south ramp; I just want to know where the fuel truck is."
A student pilot flying in back on an instrument hop, very lost, very flustered, inadvertently keys transmit instead of intercom to tell Instructor Pilot (IP) he is less-than-optimally situationally aware: (broadcasting to world) "Sir, I'm all fuked up."
ATC responds, demanding: "Aircraft using obscenity, identify yourself."
After a short pause, the IP gets on the radio: "He said he was fucked up; he didn't say he was stupid."
Helicopter Pilot: "Range control, I'm holding at 3000' over beacon".
Second voice: "NO! You can't be doing that! I'm holding at 3000' over that beacon!"
(brief pause, then first voice again): "You idiot, you're my copilot."
The Importance of Airspeed
A good ol' boy American AF reservist C-130 pilot was in the (that day very crowded) instrument pattern for landing at Rhein-Main. The conversation went something like this:
Control: "AF1733, You are on an eight mile final for 27R. You have a UH-1 three miles ahead of you on final; reduce speed to 130 knots."
Pilot: "Rogo', Frankfurt. We're bringing this big bird back to one-hundred and thirty knots fur ya."
Control (a few moments later): "AF33, helicopter traffic at 90 knots now 1 1/2 miles ahead of you; reduce speed further to 110 knots."
Pilot: "AF thirty-three reining this here bird back further to 110 knots"
Control: "AF33, you are three miles to touchdown, helicopter traffic now 1 mile ahead of you; reduce speed to 90 knots"
Pilot (a little miffed): "Sir, do you know what the stall speed of this here C-130 is?"
Control: "No, but if you ask your co-pilot, he can probably tell you."
Despite acts of great heroism, three British soldiers returned from the Falkland Islands without being decorated. The captain called them into his office to explain.
"Bit of a cock-up in the medals department, chaps," he said, "so the regiment has decided to give you ten pounds sterling for each inch of measurement between any two parts of your bodies. Private, which measurement for you?"
"Tip of me toes to the top of me head, sah!"
"That's 720 pounds. Well done, private. Corporal?"
"Tip of one hand to the tip of the other, me arms outstretched, sah!"
The captain took the measurement. "Six feet, two inches....740 pounds. Very good, corporal. Sergeant, how about you?"
"Tip of me prick to me balls, sah!"
"Very well. Drop your trousers, then."
The captain put his tape measure at one end of the man's penis, then looked up and asked, "Where are your balls, Sergeant?" "
Goose Green, Falklands, sah!"
An Air Force pilot walks into the O'club carrying a shotgun in one hand, a bucket of shit in the other, and a cat sitting on his shoulder. He walks up to the bar and orders a drink. The bartender proceeds to pour the man a drink. With that the man throws back his drink, cocks his shotgun, blows away the bucket of shit, scaring the cat off his shoulder, which he chases out of the bar never to return.
Five days later the captain returns; a shotgun in one hand, a bucket of shit in the other, and a cat upon his shoulder. He proceeds to walk up to the bar and orders himself a drink. The bartender, obviously annoyed at having to spend several hours cleaning up all the shit from his last visit, interrupted bitterly, "What the hell do you want?"
"I'd like a drink", responded the captain.
"No way, not after your last escapade", snapped the bartender.
"But bartender, I'm in training", replied the man.
"Training! Training for what?", questioned the bartender.
"I'm getting out to be an airline pilot", responded the officer.
"An airplane pilot?", questioned the bartender, "How does what you're doing train you for that?"
"Well", added the man, "I go on a trip, I do a little drinking, I shoot a little shit, I chase a little pussy, and then I take five days off!"
An Iraqi flying a Mirage F1 came upon a US EF-111A Raven at low level, and pursued it. Now, the Mirage is a reasonably decent aircraft at low level, but the EF-111A is something else. It's an unarmed electronic warfare version of the F-111 Aardvark, and has terrain following radar, which enables it to fly at Mach 1 or more, 60 metres above the ground (that's about 0.4 seconds away from the ground), while the pilot watches the view. It's one of the fastest aircraft in the world at low level. Maybe this Iraqi didn't know anything about the F-111, but he decided that it looked like an easy target, and pursued it at very low level.
The EF-111 crew were credited with a kill when the Iraqi (not surprisingly) slammed into the ground. There can't be too many occasions when an unarmed aircraft scores a kill.
Excerpted from "Sled Driver," by SR-71/Blackbird pilot Brian Shul:
I'll always remember a certain radio exchange that occurred one day as Walt and I were screaming across southern California 13 miles high. We were monitoring various radio transmissions from other aircraft as we entered Los Angeles Center's airspace. Though they didn't really control us, they did monitor our movement across their scope.
I heard a Cessna ask for a readout of its groundspeed. "90 knots," Center replied.
Moments later a Twin Beech required the same. "120 knots," Center answered.
We weren't the only ones proud of our speed that day, as almost instantly an F-18 smugly transmitted, "Ah, Center, Dusty 52 requests groundspeed readout." There was a slight pause. "525 knots on the ground, Dusty."
Another silent pause. As I was thinking to myself how ripe a situation this was, I heard the familiar click of a radio transmission coming from my back-seater. It was at that precise moment I realized Walt and I had become a real crew, for we were both thinking in unison.
"Center, Aspen 20, you got a groundspeed readout for us?" There was a longer-than-normal pause. "Aspen, I show one thousand seven hundred forty-two knots." No further inquiries were heard on that frequency.
Bureaucracy in Action
An actual memo from the Alaska Air Command, February 1973:
"Due to an administrative error, the original of the attached letter was forwarded to you. A new original has been accomplished and forwarded to AAC/JA (Alaskan Air Command, Judge Advocate office). Please place this carbon copy in your files and destroy the original."
Ways to make the Ergometry test (a stationary bike that replaced the 1.5 mile run) more fun:
Air Force Dictionary
BLAMESTORMING - Sitting around the squadron discussing why a suspense was missed or a mission failed and who was responsible.
SEAGULL COLONEL - A colonel who swoops in, makes a lot of noise, and dumps stuff all over everything.
SALMON DAY - The experience of spending an entire day swimming upstream only to get screwed and die in the end.
ASSMOSIS - The process by which some people seem to absorb success and promotability by kissing up to the commander.
CRM - Career Restricting Move - Used among officers to describe ill-advised activity. Trashing core values or discussing Delta's pay scale while your commander is within earshot is serious CRM.
ADMINISPHERE - The rarefied organizational layers beginning just above the wing level. Decisions that fall from the adminisphere are generally profoundly inappropriate or irrelevant to the problems they were designed to solve.
DILBERTED - To be exploited and oppressed by your boss. Derived from the experiences of Dilbert, the geek-in-hell comic strip character. "I've been dilberted again. The old man changed my leave schedule for the fourth time this month."
FLIGHT RISK - Used to describe troops who are suspected of planning to retire or separate from the service soon. Alternatively, any O-6 or above that gets behind the controls of an airplane.
404 - Someone who's clueless. From the World Wide Web error message "404 Not Found," meaning that the requested document could not be located. "Don't bother asking the boss . . . he's 404, man."
GENERICA - Features of the Air Force landscape that are exactly the same no matter which base one is at, such as Burger King, Robin Hood, the BX, and AMC terminal. Used as in "We were so lost in generica that I forgot what base we were at."
OHNOSECOND - That minuscule fraction of time after hitting the "enter" key or clicking "ok" in which you realize that you've just made a BIG mistake.
PERCUSSIVE MAINTENANCE - The fine art of whacking the crap out of a $200,000 inertial navigation unit to get it to work again.
40% REDUX RETIREMENT - The new retirement plan that will result in reduction of Air Force manning to 40% of wartime requirements.
AVIATION CONTINUATION PAY - The $16,308 a month paycheck you'll earn when you get out and continue to fly until you're a senior captain at United Airlines.
Air Force First Sergeant Test
You are having lunch with your new colonel, talking about the decision paper you wrote. During the conversation, a blonde walks into the dining area and she is so stunning you draw your boss's attention to her. Having his complete attention, you give a vivid description of what you would do if you had her alone in a motel room. She walks over to the table and introduces herself as the colonel's daughter. Your next move is:
You have been tasked to present a briefing to the General. The success of this presentation will mean increasing your authorized manpower slots by 125%. In the middle of the proposal the General leans over to look at your report and spits in your coffee. You:
You are presenting a briefing to a group of 0-6s in the plushest office you've ever seen. The hot enchilada casserole and egg salad sandwich you had for lunch reacts, creating a severe pressure. Your sphincter loses its control and you break wind in a most convincing manner, causing three water glasses to shatter and a colonel to pass out. What you should do next is:
You are at a briefing when you suddenly are overcome with an uncontrollable desire to pick your nose. Remembering this is definitely a NO-NO, you:
You have just spent the evening with an IG inspector who kept you at the club drinking until lights out. You get home just in time to change and go to work. You stagger into the men's room and spend the next half hour vomiting. As you are washing up at the sink, you boss walks in, blows cigar smoke in your face and asks you to join him for drinks after work. You:
You are at a dinner party with the colonel and his wife (she looks like the regional runner-up at the Kate Smith look alike contest). Halfway through the dinner you feel a hand on your lap. Being resourceful, you:
You're on your way to brief the General when your zipper breaks and you discover you've forgotten to put on underwear that morning. You:
It's November and you've just returned from a TDY (temporary duty) trip to Atlanta, Georgia. You tell your boss nobody but whores and football players live there. He explodes with, "My wife is from Atlanta!" You:
You're attending a briefing given by a Colonel. You feel a tremendous pressure building in your anal area which you diagnose as gas accumulation. Feeling confident you have the muscle tone required for a controlled venting operation, you allow the sphincter to slightly relax. As the hair curls on the nape of your neck, you realize your error in judgment as fifty cubic centimeters of diarrhea slam into your jockey shorts. Your next action is:
You feel the onset of a horrendous sneeze halfway through a briefing. Realizing you do not have a handkerchief, you elect to sneeze into the naked palm of your right hand. After muttering appropriate social amenity, you conduct visual inspection of the results of your action and discover your palm is encased in a pool of multi-viscosity goo. You elect to:
The chief of staff of the US Air Force decided that he would personally intervene in the recruiting crisis affecting all of our armed services. He directed a nearby Air Force base that will be opened and that all eligible young men and women be invited. As he and his staff were standing near a brand new F-15 Fighter, a pair of twin brothers who looked like they had just stepped off a Marine Corps recruiting poster walked up to them.
The chief of staff walked up to them, stuck out his hand and introduced himself. He looked at the first young man and asked, "Son, what skills can you bring to the Air Force?"
The young man looks at him and says, "I'm a pilot!"
The general gets all excited, turns to his aide and says, "Get him in today, all the paper work done, everything, do it!" The aide hustles the young man off. The general looks at the second young man and asked, "What skills to you bring to the Air Force?"
The young man says, "I chop wood!"
"Son," the general replies, "we don't need wood choppers in the Air Force, what do you know how to do?"
"I chop wood!"
"Young man," huffs the general, "you are not listening to me, we don't need wood choppers, this is the 20th century!"
"Well," the young man says, "you hired my brother!"
"Of course we did," says the general, "he's a pilot!"
The young man rolls his eyes and says, "Dang it, I have to chop it before he can pile it!"
Lonely Fighter Pilot
An Air Force fighter pilot ejected from his jet and wound up on a deserted island. There he stayed, unfound for 11 years.
One day, there appeared a beautiful woman, who simply walked out of the surf.
"How long have you been here?" She asked.
"11 Years," the fighter pilot replied.
"When is the last time you had a cigar?"
"11 Years," he answered. She opened a pocket and gave him a cigar. The fighter pilot took it, and puffed in delight.
"When was the last time you had a drink?," the maiden asked.
"11 Years." She opens another pocket and pulled out a beer. The pilot drank the whole bottle in one gulp.
"When was the last time you played around?," the lady asked with a gleam in her eye.
"11 years," the deprived pilot replied. The women started to unzip the front of her wetsuit.
"YOUR'E KIDDING ME?????," said the pilot. "YOU GOT GOLF CLUBS IN THERE!!!!???"
While cruising at 30,000 feet, the C-141 Starlifter shuddered, and a passenger looked out the window.
"Good Lord!" he screamed, "One of the engines just blew up!"
Other passengers left their seats and came running over; suddenly the aircraft was rocked by a second blast as yet another engine exploded on the other side.
The passengers were in a panic now, and the Loadmaster couldn't maintain order. Just then, standing tall and smiling confidently, the pilot strode from the cockpit and assured everyone that there was nothing to worry about. His words and his demeanor seemed made most of the passengers feel better, and they sat down as the pilot calmly walked to the door of the aircraft. There, he grabbed a package from under the seats and began strapping it on his back.
"Say," spoke up an alert passenger, "Isn't that a parachute?"
The pilot confirmed that it was.
The passenger went on, "But I thought you said there was nothing to worry about?"
"There isn't," replied the pilot as a third engine exploded. "I'm going to get help."
I can personally verify that this is a true story. An AWACS was on its way to Saudi Arabia, when the flight crew decided to have some fun with the mission crew commander (MCC), who had a reputation for being somewhat uptight.
First, the flight engineer (FE) called the MCC on intercom to say he had to check out a problem with the autopilot in the forward lower lobe. They went through the proper checklist, then the FE went back to the mission crew compartment, opened the hatch in the floor, and went down inside. Few people on the mission crew (but many more after this event) know that there's a second hatch to the forward lower lobe under the navigator's console. The FE went through the lobe and up through this hatch, back into the cockpit. After a few minutes, the FE gets on the intercom again:
"pilot, engineer, I'm not sure what I'm looking at here. Could you come down with the T.O. and help me out?" So the pilot also comes back and goes down the hatch, while the MCC watches, and sneaks up through the nav's hatch to retake his seat in the cockpit. A little while later, the pilot calls on intercom to the copilot:
"Co, could you help us out down here? I need you to reset the circuit breakers after we check each of the actuators." The copilot comes back to the mission compartment, and the MCC (who is starting to get a little nervous at this point) watches him disappear down the hatch after the pilot and FE. He also secretly emerges into the cockpit to join his co-conspirators. A few minutes later, the pilot starts porpoising the aircraft up and down. The navigator comes on the intercom:
"Pilot, nav, it looks like the autopilot has come uncoupled, I need you back up here." (no answer) "MCC, nav, what are those guys doing back there? This is getting pretty serious!" The MCC, in a panic, goes to the hatch and literally dives in. After minutes of frantic searching for the missing crew members, he finds the second hatch, opens it, and pops his head into the cockpit. He's bleeding from a cut on the forehead and fuming about the prank. After the flight crew get their laughter under control, they are able to more-or-less calm him down for the remainder of the flight.
When the MCC reports this to the detachment commander to get the flight crew in trouble, the Detco thinks it's one of the funniest stories he's heard, and tells the MCC to basically get a band-aid and relax.
There was a bomber pilot during WWII named Captain Bravado, who showed no fear when facing his enemies. One day, while flying over Germany, the tail gunner spotted two FW-190's approaching, and the crew became frantic. Captain Bravado ordered his copilot to bring him his red shirt.
The copilot quickly got the red shirt to the captain, who put it on and turned toward the fighters to give his gunners a better field of fire. His crew shot down the enemy planes and went on to lead the formation on a successful bombing run.
That evening, all the men sat around the hangar recounting the earlier triumph. One of them asked the Captain, "Sir, why did you call for your red shirt before battle?"
The Captain replied, "If I were to be wounded in the attack, the shirt would not show my blood. Thus, you men would continue to fight, unafraid." All of the men sat and marveled at the courage of such a manly man's man.
The next day, they took off for a mission deeper into the heart of the Third Reich. Once over German territory, the top gunner spotted an entire squadron of German fighters above them, while the belly gunner saw another squadron below.
The crew stared in worshipful silence at the Captain and waited for his usual orders.
Captain Bravado gazed with steely eyes upon the vast horde arrayed against his craft, and without fear, turned and calmly said, "Get me my brown pants."
I haven't verified any of these, but some are pretty amusing...
1. The first German serviceman killed in the war was killed by the Japanese (China, 1937), the first American serviceman killed was killed by the Russians (Finland 1940), the highest ranking American killed was LtGen. Lesley McNair, killed by the US Army Air Corps. So much for allies.
2. The youngest US serviceman was 12 year old Calvin Graham, USN. He was wounded in combat and given a Dishonorable Discharge for lying about his age. (His benefits were later restored by act of Congress)
3. At the time of Pearl Harbor the top US Navy command was called CINCUS (pronounced "sink us"), the shoulder patch of the US Army’s 45th Infantry division was the Swastika, and Hitler’s private train was named "Amerika". All three were soon changed for PR purposes.
4. More US servicemen died in the Air Corps than the Marine Corps. While completing the required 30 missions your chance of being killed was 71%.
5. Not that bombers were helpless. A B-17 carried 4 tons of bombs and 1.5 tons of machine gun ammo. The US 8th Air Force shot down 6,098 fighter planes, 1 for every 12,700 shots fired.
6. Germany’s power grid was much more vulnerable than realized. One estimate is that if just 1% of the bombs dropped on German industry had instead been dropped on power plants German industry would have collapsed.
7. Generally speaking there was no such thing as an average fighter pilot. You were either an ace or a target. For instance, Japanese ace Hiroyoshi Nishizawa shot down over 80 planes. He died while a passenger on a cargo plane.
8. It was a common practice on fighter planes to load every 5th round with a tracer round to aid in aiming. This was a mistake. The tracers had different ballistics so (at long range) if your tracers were hitting the target 80% of your rounds were missing. Worse yet, the tracers instantly told your enemy he was under fire and from which direction. Worst of all was the practice of loading a string of tracers at the end of the belt to tell you that you were out of ammo. This was definitely not something you wanted to tell the enemy. Units that stopped using tracers saw their success rate nearly double and their loss rate go down.
9. When allied armies reached the Rhine the first thing men did was pee in it. This was pretty universal from the lowest private to Winston Churchill (who made a big show of it) and Gen. Patton (who had himself photographed in the act).
10. German Me-264 bombers were capable of bombing New York City but it wasn’t worth the effort.
11. A number of aircrewmen died of farts. (Ascending to 20,000 ft. in an unpressurized aircraft causes intestinal gas to expand 300%).
12. The Russians destroyed over 500 German aircraft by ramming them in mid-air (they also sometimes cleared minefields by marching over them). "It takes a brave man not to be a hero in the Red Army" - Joseph Stalin
13. The US Army had more ships than the US Navy.
14. The German Air Force had 22 infantry divisions, 2 armor divisions, and 11 paratroop divisions. None of them were capable of airborne operations. The German Army had paratroops who WERE capable of airborne operations. Go figure.
15. When the US Army landed in North Africa, among the equipment brought ashore was 3 complete Coca Cola bottling plants.
16. Among the first "Germans" captured at Normandy were several Koreans. They had been forced to fight for the Japanese Army until they were captured by the Russians and forced to fight for the Russian Army until they were captured by the Germans and forced to fight for the German Army until they were captured by the US Army.
17. German submarine U-120 was sunk by a malfunctioning toilet. 18. The Graf Spee never sank. The scuttling attempt failed and the ship was bought as scrap by the British. On board was Germany’s newest radar system.
19. One of Japan’s methods of destroying tanks was to bury a very large artillery shell with only the nose exposed. When a tank came near enough a soldier would whack the shell with a hammer. "Lack of weapons is no excuse for defeat."—LtGen. Mutaguchi
20. Following a massive naval bombardment 35,000 US and Canadian troops stormed ashore at Kiska. 21 troops were killed in the firefight. It would have been worse if there had been Japanese on the island.
21. The MISS ME was an unarmed Piper Cub. While spotting for US artillery her pilot saw a similar German plane doing the same thing. He dove on the German plane and he and his co-pilot fired their pistols damaging the German plane enough that it had to make a forced landing. Whereupon they landed and took the Germans prisoner. I don’t know where they put them since the MISS ME only had 2 seats.
22. Most members of the Waffen SS were not German.
23. The only nation that Germany declared war on was the USA.
24. During the Japanese attack on Hong Kong British officers objected to Canadian infantrymen taking up positions in the officer’s mess. No enlisted men allowed you know.
25. Nuclear physicist Niels Bohr was rescued in the nick of time from German occupied Denmark. While Danish resistance fighters provided covering fire he ran out the back door of his home stopping momentarily to grab a beer bottle full of precious "Heavy Water." He finally reached England still clutching the bottle. Which contained beer. I suppose some German drank the Heavy Water.
The Chain of Command
The government has a "boneyard" for storing unused military aircraft. Fearing looting and theft, Congress decided to place a night watchman on the property.
After the guard had been working for awhile, an oversight committee realized the man had no instructions. So they hired two new people, one to research security procedures, the other to write them up.
Realizing that these two admin types couldn't do their job without supervision, it was decided to hire a department head and a manager.
The department head asked the oversight committee, "How are these people going to get paid and how are we going to know if they're doing their jobs correctly?" The committee immediately hired a payroll person and a compliance officer.
At the end of the year the GAO audited the department and found them to be $25,000 over budget.
So they fired the night watchman.
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Last Update: Sep 2001