"No dissertation on present-day section tactics,
or on naval aviation in general, could be considered complete without a
brace of "Hoser" stories. In the micro world of perhaps 400 Tomcat
pilots, a few legendary gonzo maniacs are going to bubble to the surface.
Joe "Hoser" Satrapa was already famous in Vietnam as a young and
utterly fearless F-8 pilot who regularly carried a good forty pounds of
lethal ordnance- leaning toward small automatic weapons and hand grenades-
in case he was suddenly compelled to leave his aircraft and carry the battle
directly to the little bad guys in the jungle.
Guns were Hoser's game in the air; he flew the
four-gun Crusader - which many Navy pilots still regard as the [deleted]
machine of all time- in Southeast Asia, and he'd never been forced to rely
totally on missiles like his Navy Phantom cohorts. After negotiations that
would shame the pro football draft, Hoser was dragooned back into the Tomcat
front seat as a RAG guns instructor. This, after personal entreaties from
the highest levels up and including Secretary of the Navy John Lehman, himself
a Reserve naval aviator.
Many active pilots and RIOs well remember Hoser's
delivery of manic harangues to fuzzy-cheeked newcomers from the RAG. In
his patented Yosemite Sam voice he would whip the lads, and invariably himself,
into a lethal frenzy: "Pull on the pole till the rivets pop and the
RIO pukes! No kill like a guns kill! A Lima up the tailpipe is too good
for any Gomer! Close with the miserable Commie [deleted] and put a few rounds
of twenty-twenty-mike-mike through his canopy! If he hits the silk, gun
his ass while he swings!" Hoser would then pace the corridor, bumping
into hapless petty officers, muttering oaths, trying to re-align his internal
Hoser also knew a thing or two about the element
of surprise. During the much-maligned AIMVAL-ACEVAL fighter trials of a
decade ago, Hoser was put in a 1 V 1 against a Navy Aggressor flying an
F-5. As the two combatants sat side-by-side on the Nellis runway, awaiting
tower clearance for a second takeoff, Hoser looked over at his opponent,
reached his hand up over the control panel, and mimicked the cocking of
machine guns in a World War I Spad. A thumbs up came from the other cockpit-
guns it would be, the proverbial knife fight in a phone booth, forget the
missiles. Both jets blasted off.
In the area, the fighters set up twenty miles apart
for a head-on intercept under ground control. Seven miles from the merge,
with closure well over 1000 knots, Hoser called "Fox One" - Sparrow
missile away, no chance of a miss. As they flashed past each other, the
furious F-5 driver radioed, "What the hell was that all about?"
"Sorry." said Hoser, "lost my head. Let's set up again. Guns
only, I promise."
Remember Charlie Brown, Lucy, and the football?
Again the two fighters streaked towards the pass, again at seven miles Hoser
called "Fox One." The Aggressor was apoplectic; he was also coming
up on bingo fuel state, a common situation in the short-legged F-5.
Hoser was first back to the club bar, nursing an
end-of-the-day cold one as the flushed Aggressor stomped in. "Hoser,
what the hell happened to credibility?" fumed the F-5 jock. Said Hoser,
with accompanying thumb gestures, "Credibility is DOWN, kill ratio
is UP!" It's a popular Top Gun story, and it's moral isn't lost on
students or teachers. From 1 V 1 to forty-plane furball, expect anything.
But never expect your enemy to be a sweet guy."