Medal of Honor Recipient Captain Thomas Hudner (ret.)

On September 10, 2011, while on assignment at the National Championship Air Races, in Reno, Nevada, I had the unexpected privilege and honor of meeting Medal of Honor(MOH) recipient Captain Thomas Hudner (retired). For those that do not know the Hudner story, don’t feel bad, I didn’t know it either. Unfortunately many heroic stories of the Korean War have slipped through the cracks and aren’t as well known as the stories of valor occurring during other conflicts. What brought Captain Hudner … [Read more...]

A Reunion of Legends – VMA-214 Reunites at MCAS Yuma

On April 14, 2011 VMA - 214 Black Sheep hosted a historic squadron reunion at Marine Corps Air Station Yuma. The reunion was attended by three of the five remaining original Black Sheep Squadron members (Ed Harper, Jim Hill, and Harry Johnson). In addition to these legendary figures, other past and present squadron members, and other VIPs attended the event. Several books have been written about this famous squadron, its pilots, and it’s Commanding Officer Major Boyington. A short history of … [Read more...]

A-10 Simulators at Davis Monthan Air Force Base

On Friday March 4, 2011, Photorecon was invited to the A-10 flight simulator training facility at Davis Monthan Air Force Base outside Tucson, Arizona. The A-10 Thunderbolt II (later called the “Warthog” for it’s ugly appearance) was designed in the early 1970s as a close air support platform. The Warthog or “Hog” was built around a 30mm GAU Avenger 7 barrel Gatling rotary cannon. Initially unpopular with pilots due to its slow speed and ugly appearance, the A-10 became very popular after … [Read more...]

Centennial of Naval Aviation – USMC Style!

In celebration of the Centennial of Naval Aviation (CoNA) and coinciding with the CoNA events at Naval Air Station North Island (San Diego, CA) on February 11th and 12th, 2011, Marine Corps Air Station Miramar opened its flightline to the media to celebrate this historic event. On Friday at 8:00 am, 20 media personnel were given unprecedented access to MCAS Miramar flightline. We were escorted to Base Operations and there we were given a continental breakfast. Parked in front of Base … [Read more...]

HMM-165 “Lady Ace 09” Dedication

On April 30, 2010 MCAS Miramar hosted a dedication of the Flying Leatherneck Aviation Museum’s newest addition, the “Lady Ace 09.” Approximately 150 Marines, family and friends attended the 35th Anniversary of the evacuation of US Ambassador Martin from Saigon at the end of the Viet Nam War. Current Commanding Officer of HMM 165, Lt. Colonel Oneto (known as “1-2”), found the current CH-46 was the aircraft Captain Berry had flown on that historic flight in 1975. Sergeants Joseph Dickens, … [Read more...]

Big Bear Air Fair 2011

On August 6, 2011, Big Bear Airport hosted its bi-annual air fair. Started in 1984, the Big Bear Air Fair is a combination of community a vendor fair, warbird and vintage aircraft static display, and general aviation fly in. Big Bear Airport is located in the San Bernardino National Forest 25 miles northeast of San Bernardino, California. The airport has a 5,850 foot runway and operates under an “uncontrolled approach” in terms of air traffic control. This year’s Air Fair included a … [Read more...]

HMLAT 303 – Training the Future of Light Attack

Before HMLAT-303 was established in April 1982, Marine Corps helicopter pilots received advanced aircraft training at their fleet squadron after completing basic flight training. Overtime, the Marine Corps realized that this method of training was a drain on squadron operational effectiveness. It recognized the need for a dedicated training squadron that would operate from a high tempo training syllabus to train their young helicopter pilots and enlisted aircrews. The 27th Commandant of the … [Read more...]

Major General Tom Conant – 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing Commanding General

  At precisely 0830 hours I was ushered into the office of the Commanding General of the Third Marine Aircraft Wing (MAW), Tom “Stash” Conant. Major General Conant, dressed in a tan flight suit, took a minute to finish up some last minute business with this aide (Captain Aaron Bohl). I took this time to stand in awe of his office that was a wealth of USMC aviation memorabilia and definitely fitting for a Commanding General. After a moment or two, Major General Conant walked over to me … [Read more...]

Weapons and Tactics Instructor 1-12

In October 2011, Marine Corps Air Station Yuma was once again home for the Weapons and Tactics Instructor Course or as it’s more commonly known as “WTI.” I was fortunate enough to be invited to WTI (class 1-12) and experience the world-class training of Marine Corps aviators first hand. Over the course of several weeks, I would make three trips to MCAS Yuma. During these visits I was fortunate enough to speak with various Marines involved with WTI, including crew chiefs, instructor pilots, and … [Read more...]

Lt. Col. John McCarthy – The Story of a USMC Combat Pilot

United States Marine Corps Lieutenant Colonel John “JJ” McCarthy started his military career as a submariner. In 1946, a seventeen year old John McCarthy enlisted in the United States Navy. After boot camp he scored high enough on a military test   for Submarine School in New London, Connecticut and was later assigned to the U.S.S. Bergall (SS320) as a Diesel Engine Mechanic and later a Sonar Technician. While assigned as a submariner, JJ enrolled in Temple University, in Philadelphia, … [Read more...]