Navy friend of mine told me about an A-7 squadron aboard the ship on a WestPac cruise. One day they had some kind of formation where uniform of the day included "all awards and decorations." One of his squadron mates showed up with a silver star, DFC with oak leaf clusters, purple heart, beaucoup air medals etc. The rest of them are resplendent in their NDSM "geedunk medal" Turned out he'd been an Army helicopter pilot in Vietnam who'd gotten out, finished college then went in the Navy.
In this context the helo guy was absolutely Fonzie
Interesting thing about "cool" as it relates to flying. There are about a thousand things to have in your past that are totally cool. I have a handful of these achievements but any time I get to thinking I am the original dunghill rooster I meet someone who was a Blue Angel, or a POW
or an astronaut or owns a P-51 or any of a catalog of things I cannot lay claim to.
What works in the end is respect for the things we have all done.
(fighters are still pretty cool!)
edit: Some further thought as an outsider
to both these things.
Peacetime fighter pilot is still pretty cool. Peacetime Army helicopter pilot maybe not quite so much. Combat fighter pilot - way cool, but combat helicopter pilot maybe just a little bit more studly. Fighter pilots like to refer to combat as a "knife fight" but I think the helicopter pilot is a bit closer to that.
I'm not a VHPA member. I flew helicopters and I flew in Vietnam but I didn't fly helicopters in
Vietnam. I am well aware that I am not worthy.
[Edited 2006-01-20 20:08:45]
Happiness is not seeing another trite Ste. Maarten photo all week long.