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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Sea Stories

We stopped in Guam and Okinawa on the way into Atsugi The plan was to exchange aircaft with 3 Squadrons based in Atsugi. We give over our brand new aircraft from San Diego, then make ready 10 old F4Ns from the line. It was 1982 and the Navy and the Marine Corps fleet had been decimated by Jimmy Carter during the 70's. There were no parts. Everything had already been scavanged. Any plane that could still fly had a brother that could not. Marines will fly anything. Navy pilots will not. We had to make it back accross the ocean. This became the assembly line of motor swaps. Strut replacements. Fuel cels. Wheels and Tires. Fixing leaks. Patching holes. Polishing or replacing conopies. Some you could not even see through. The electronics had to be replaced. Egress it was a nightmare. PAPERWORK! it never ended. To this day I have no idea how we did it. I thank Ronald Reagan for the parts that we got in such a short time. We had watch's 24/7 keeping an eye on the birds as they came togeather and the parts locker as it filled up. We were working the transient line so we didn't get much traffic. We had our first 10 birds ready in just under 2 weeks. They were as ready as they going to be and were able to pass a prefilght inspection.

It was cold in northern Japan. We had some cold weather gear with us from San Diego. Except it doesn't get cold here. Marines helped us out with Jackets and gloves watch caps and such from the parachute shop. Evenings we could get off base and go to dinner. At one point the locals had been protesting something at the gate and they had to weld it shut. Liberty is coming!

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