Not long after I retired from the Navy, my friend Captain Dave Wooten suggested I write a book. Though flattered I demurred, claiming that my career experience and “war stories” were not particularly noteworthy in comparison to several of my friends. He said, “No, you have stories.” He was right — I do have some stories, and memories.
My goal in writing Raven One is to answer the question I have often been asked:
Before they lead a strike, fighter pilots get a “sanity check” from their seniors and fellow pilots to ensure success. I wish to thank CAPT Chuck “CAP” Nash USN (Ret.) for his invaluable observations on squadron culture, CAPT Rich Thayer USN (Ret.) for his keen thoughts on leadership decision making, and CAPT Kevin “KC” Albright USN (Ret.) for his thorough editing and content suggestions, as well as his observations on leadership. RDML Greg (and Mrs. Liz) Nosal USN (Ret.) were instrumental and enthusiastic in the editing process and storyline improvement, as were CAPT Will Dossel USN (Ret.) and LCDR George Walsh, USNR (Ret.). CAPT Don Gabrielson USN provided vital feedback and suggestions on surface combat and descriptive prose, and CDR Gordon “Dart” Fogg USN (Ret.) was instrumental in explaining modern close air support procedures with which I was not familiar. LCDR Gillian V. Jaeger, MSC USN (Ret.) was also helpful with her excellent observations and suggestions. CAPT George Galdorisi USN (Ret.) and CDR Ward Carroll USN (Ret.), both prolific and accomplished writers in this genre, freely offered solid suggestions and were encouraging to me when the publishing process got me down, as was CAPT Tom Schneider, MC, USN (Ret.) who added sage advice about his experience with modern publishing. Thank you shipmates, one and all. My brother-in-law retired NYPD Lieutenant John Dove, also an accomplished professional writer, provided much appreciated suggestions, observations and encouragement. Throughout the years of writing and refining, my wife Terry — herself a veteran of those deployments but from the perspective of the spouse back home — and my late mother Margaret, also a career Navy wife, provided timely observations and edits in company with the love and support both of them have shown me all my life. I love you!
Many thanks to Jeff Edwards and the superb authors at Stealth Books for their belief and support. Great to be aboard.
I never flew a perfect flight, and suspect most (honest) pilots haven’t either. While we all strived for perfection, flaws were identified and corrected. If readers find flaws with
Okay, reader. Are you ready to strap in and head up north?
Glossary of Jargon and Acronyms
1MC — ships public address system
5MC — flight deck loudspeaker system
20mm — Twenty millimeter cannon round, the size of an FA-18 and CIWS bullet, also known as “twenty mike-mike”
AAA — Anti-Aircraft-Artillery; Pronounced “Triple-A”
Afterburner — FA-18 engine setting that provides extra power by igniting raw fuel creating a controlled overpressure. Also known as “burner,” “blower,” “max,” or “light the cans.”
Air Boss — Officer in Primary Flight Control (ship’s control tower) responsible for aircraft operations on deck out to five miles from ship.
AMRAAM — Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile (AIM-120)
Angels — altitude in thousands of feet. “Angels six” = 6,000 feet
AOM — All Officers Meeting
AOR — Area of Responsibility
APM — All Pilots Meeting
ARG — Amphibious Ready Group
ATFLIR — Advanced Targeting Forward Looking Infra-Red. IR targeting sensor placed on fuselage mounted missile station.
Bandit — confirmed enemy airborne contact; also known as ‘“hostile.”
Bingo — emergency fuel state divert from ship to shore base
Bogey unknown airborne contact
Bolter — tailhook flies past or skips over arresting wires, requiring a go-around for another attempt.
BRA — Bearing, Range, Altitude
CAG — Carrier Air Wing Commander; formerly Commander, Air Group
CAOC — Combined Air Operations Center
CAP — Combat Air Patrol
CAS — Close Air Support
Cat — catapult
CATM — Captive Air Training Missile
CATCC — Carrier Air Traffic Control Center
CENTCOM — U.S. Central Command
Charlie — come down and land now. “Signal Charlie”
Cherubs — altitude in hundreds of feet. “Cherubs three” = 300 feet
CIWS — Close-in Weapons System; surface ship 20mm gun primarily for terminal airborne threats
CO — Commanding Officer; in aviation squadrons known as “skipper;” on ships, “Captain.”
COD — Carrier On-Board Delivery. The C-2
Commodore — functional wing commander, shore based; supplies aircraft, pilots and maintenance personnel to air wings as required.
CPA — Closest Point of Approach
CVIC — Aircraft Carrier Intelligence Center
CVW — Carrier Air Wing
DCAG — Deputy Carrier Air Wing Commander
Delta — hold, delay. “Delta six” means delay 6 minutes
Dhow — small boat typical of southwest Asia region
Flag officer — admirals
FLIR — Forward Looking Infra-Red. Targeting pod that detects heat contrasts. Aka ATFLIR.
Fox — radio call associated with firing of air-to-air missile with type. “Fox-2” =
Fragged — as planned or previously assigned. “Proceed as fragged.”
g — the force of gravity. “4 g’s” is four times the force of gravity.
GCC — Gulf Cooperation Council (Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman, United Arab Emirates)
GOO — Gulf of Oman
GPS — Global Positioning System
Gunner — squadron ordnance officer; typically a Chief Warrant Officer specially trained in weapons handling and loading.
HARM — High Speed Anti-Radiation Missile (AGM-88) used to home in on radar energy
Helo — helicopter
HS — Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron
HUD — Head-Up Display. Glass display in front of FA-18 pilot that depicts aircraft and weapons delivery information.
IED — Improvised Explosive Device
IP — Initial Point
IRGC — Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps
IRIAF — Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force
JDAM — Joint Direct Attack Muniti ...