A fighter pilot’s reputation precedes him everywhere he goes in the military. The Air Force fighter world is not large, and within each particular airframe the population is even smaller. In the F-16 world, which is the largest of the fighter pilot communities, there are seven operational bases to which a pilot could be assigned as of 2005 (base closures are reducing that number). Due to the constant turnover of pilots, by the time he is at his second operational assignment he will have met nearly half of the F-16 world. Read more
Tag Archives: Tradition
While I have never been in a position where fellow pilots have demanded profanity in my speech (some have even complimented my ability to form a grammatically correct sentence without it), I have been placed in positions where fellow pilots have insisted that I participate in singing fighter pilot songs. Unfortunately, the decisions surrounding pilot songs are more difficult to make. The F-16 B-course students were responsible for providing “entertainment” for the instructors at pilot meetings. This entertainment necessitated a pilot song or two. In other units, every fighter pilot event ended with stirring renditions of traditional fighter pilot songs. In each case, there was tremendous pressure to join in on the singing to “support my wingmen” and squadron mates. Regardless of the strength of tradition in fighter pilot songs, the profanity, vulgarity, and glorification of evil in fighter pilot songs makes them an anathema to the Christian spirit. Because of their content, I believe that a Christian should not participate in singing them.
The true question is how much he allows himself to be around other pilots who are singing those songs. Their vulgar lyrics are set to familiar and catchy tunes; what goes in, even if only passively, will invariably attempt to come out. Read more
It’s important for a Christian fighter pilot to have an open and positive attitude towards the fellowships he may find at a new location. When departing a base with a large, well-run fellowship and moving to a place that only has a small group it is tempting to despondently remember how good it “used to be.” Even though Academy cadets eagerly await graduation, I have seen some bemoan their departure because they fear their new base won’t have a fellowship like the one they were leaving. Even though remote tours contain some of the harshest spiritual, emotional, and physical conditions I have known, I have seen airmen lament their departure from Korea for fear they’d be unable to duplicate the unique and intimate fellowship they’d experienced there.
Throughout the rest of the Air Force, this is known as the “Base X” syndrome. Read more
[The text below was copied from internet sources as a generalized reference; it is not claimed as accurate.]
During World War I, American volunteers from all parts of the country filled the newly formed flying squadrons. Some were wealthy scions attending colleges such as Yale and Harvard who quit in mid-term to join the war. In one squadron, a wealthy lieutenant ordered medallions struck in solid bronze and presented them to his unit. One young pilot placed the medallion in a small leather pouch that he wore about his neck. Read more