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"SUPERSONIC COWBOYS" - THE BOOK
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INTRODUCTION
Supersonic Cowboys is a book of heroes; in fact more than forty heroes are listed herein. And there are many, many, many, more. The heroes in Supersonic Cowboys were not just a hero for a day, or a one time event hero, but they were heroes almost every day, day-in and day-out, for months at a time for our country.
 
I was honored to serve with the likes of these heroes. We were all one bullet - or one crash away from eternity. After flying for the Navy for only seven years more than 200 of my pilot friends had lost their lives flying Navy aircraft. Needless to say, this is a dangerous profession. In fact I am the only living pilot left that was in my flight school graduating class. James Michener was quick to recognize and report the heroic actions of Navy and Marine Aviators when he wrote the following statement in The Bridges at Toko-Ri, Where do we get such men?
 
Supersonic Cowboys is not a Hollywood story made up to appease the masses, but it is full of true life courageous stories, conveyed by the heroic pilot about his life and near-death daring experiences. His script was literally written in his own blood, sweat, and tears, no matter if he was on active duty or in one of the Reserve Squadrons. Injury and death made no distinction between the two groups.
 
Many of the stories in this book have been asleep for more than 30 years. And all too often many like stories are laid to rest each year; forever. My motivation for writing these stories is because my kids, grandkids, and associates continue to ask me what it was like flying Navy Jets from the decks of aircraft carriers. That is the reason I have included so much detail about some of the normal procedures, abnormal procedures, and emergency procedures. For example, I go to great detail in explaining how the ejection seat works, how it feels to be catapulted off the aircraft carrier, the excitement of flying supersonic speeds and many more like adventures that the earth-bound people will never experience except through these stories. All the chronicles conveyed herein are by pilots who are still living at the time of this publication. For each story in Supersonic Cowboys there are at least ten other stories where the pilot did not survive. The sad part of this report is the fact that the others may have performed flawlessly, yet they did not survive. They too were courageous heroes and did their best, but a posthumous recognition is all we can give them now. Yet, we will meet them again in the great “Eternity Fraternity.”
 
You will read in Supersonic Cowboys reports of pilots ejecting from their crippled aircraft, crashing on land, boat, and sea, being shot down by the enemy, taken captive as POWs, saving airplanes that have experienced many major malfunctions, and yet they were usually flying again within a few hours if they have not sustained long term injuries. That takes real guts as the old saying goes. Herein are true tales of real people who overcame fear with courage and valor. These are a very special group of Fighter Pilots.
 
Ed (Mofak) Cathcart says, "The name Fighter Pilot can be attached to any of the following pilots if he flies a Skyraider, a Skyhawk, a Crusader, a Warthog, a Super Saber, a Tomcat, an Intruder, an Eagle, a Super Hornet, a Cobra Gunship helicopter, and many other fighting military aircraft." He continues to say, "Fighter Pilots are a breed of warriors with a special attitude, aptitude and spirit. They are fearless, arrogant, and demonstrated a flamboyant personality that exudes confidence and bravado in every minute of flight and every second, at Happy Hour, or post flight activity. The Fighter Pilot was his own biggest fan, conceited, overconfident, big-headed and egotistical."
 
I can't argue with that because for the most part it's true. I was a Crusader Fighter Pilot as well. They've earned their right to swagger by enduring the most intense, rigorous, competitive and concentrated flight training program their country has ever developed. In Supersonic Cowboys you will read of real life stories, written in first person, about Crusader Fighter Pilots, flying this fantastic machine in peace and war. You will read in this book that the Crusader was one of the most, if not the most, dangerous Navy fighter aircraft to land on an aircraft carrier. In other words the airplane was a joy to fly, but it would kill you in a second if you did not fly the machine properly. Herein are accounts of flying thrills and adventures reported by a great group of Navy and Marine pilots. Like Dizzy Dean said, If you can do it, it ain't bragging.
 
 The below outline is a list of the real life stories that are recorded in Supersonic Cowboys. These events were sent to me by the pilots involved.

 

Contents

PART I

DEDICATION

MY CRUSADER

ACKNOWLEDGMENT

INTRODUCTON

CHAPTER 1............ TRAINING FLIGHT

CHAPTER 2............ RECRUITMENT

CHAPTER 3............ FLYING THE CRUSADER

CHAPTER 4............ OVER THE RAINBOW

PART II

WHAT IS A FIGHTER PILOT?

 

CHAPTER 5............ THE PRICE OF FREEDOM - Chuck Klusmann

CHAPTER 6............ COLD CAT SHANGRI-LA – Jim Foster

CHAPTER 7............ I FELL 15,000 FEET AND LIVED --Cliff Judkins

CHAPTER 8............ HIGH SPEED EJECTION --Jim Strawn

CHAPTER 9............ MY HIGH DIVE -- Don Jordan

CHAPTER 10......... THUNDERSTORM FLIGHT -- Ron Knott

CHAPTER 11......... FIRST BARRACADE ENGAGEMENT – John Miottel, Jr

CHAPTER 12......... ROUGH SEAS -- Tony Longo

CHAPTER 13......... FLIGHT DECK LEVEL EJECTION – Terry Kryway

CHAPTER 14......... A REAL HERO -- Ed Cathcart

CHAPTER 15......... NEVER GIVE UP -- Bob Shumaker

CHAPTER 16......... NAVY NORTH ATLANTIC -- Ron Knott

CHAPTER 17......... EJECTION OVER ARIZONA -- Bob Hoch

CHAPTER 18......... SAYING FARWELL CRUSADER STYLE--Garnett Haubelt    

CHAPTER 19......... TO KILL A CARRIER -- Ed Cathcart

CHAPTER 20......... FROM THE PLATFORM -- Bill Rice

CHAPTER 21......... NIGHT PHOTO MISSION -- Chuck Anderson 

CHAPTER 22......... MY MIG—ALMOST -- Henry Livingston

CHAPTER 23......... COLD CAT MIDWAY -- Hank Smith

CHAPTER 24......... THE GUNFIGHTER -- Robert Kirkwood

CHAPTER 25......... CUBAN MISSILE CRISIS -- Ron Knott

CHAPTER 26......... ROCKY THE FLYING PHOTO SQUIRREL-- Len Johnson

CHAPTER 27......... CRUSASERS VS PHANTOM -- Charlie Snell

CHAPTER 28......... PADDLES -- Richard Nelson

CHAPTER 29......... NIGHT CARRIER QUALIFYING -- Larry Durbin

CHAPTER 30......... CROSS COUNTRY -- Larie Clark

CHAPTER 31......... CARRIER QUALIFICATIONS -- Wayne Skaggs

CHAPTER 32......... PHOTO MISSION -- Will Gray

CHAPTER 33......... UNEXPECTED EJECTION – Michael Hanley

CHAPTER 34......... A NUGGET’S LUCKY DAY -- Tom Myers

CHAPTER 35......... NON-SHOT CAT-SHOT – Bill Brandel

CHAPTER 36 …… BARRACADE ENGAGEMENT – Stew Seaman

CHAPTER 37 ----- THE SERMON ON THE RAMP – Dave Johnson

CHAPTER 38......... MEMORIES OF NIGHTS GONE BY --Tom Myers

CHAPTER 39......... WASTE IN SPACE --Ron Knott

CHAPTER 40......... SOLDIER OF THE YEAR -- Larry Flenniken

CHAPTER 41 …… FIRE IN FLIGHT – Bob Beavis

CHAPTER 42......... OTHER COURAGEOUS SHORT STORIES................

Edwin Miller Jr., Don Ressel, Alan Wright, David Corbett, Peter Michael, Tom Irwin, Paul Forrest, Jim White, Brooks Dyer, Al Neese, Jay Miller, Lou Pritchett, Wayne Whitten, Ed Cathcart, Russ Longley

 

PART III

STATICS

                                   

              APPENDIX A–   CHANCE VOUGHT CRUSADER

                APPENDIX B–     CRUSADERS AT WAR

                APPENDIX C–     MIG KILLERS

                APPENDIX D–     GOD AND THE MILITARY

               

Crusader Landing On the Shang
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Thanks "Mofak"

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