First Epistle to the WWII Carrier Pilot
First Epistle to the WWII Carrier PilotFrom the Haze of History
1. Verily I say unto all ye who wouldst fain operate the great bent wing bird from the tilting airdrome: for it requireth technique which cometh to no man naturally and is acquired only by great diligence and perseverance and great faith in the Father Almighty.
2. Harken ye unto the Centurian for he speaketh from vast wisdom and great knowledge. He hath experienced many catapult shots and arrested landings and hence is a sadder and wiser man than thou.
3. Heedeth ye not he who speaketh of the romance and glamour of the high seas, be ye not swayed when he extolleth the sting of the salt spray upon thy lips and the roll of a stout deck beneath thy feet and the exotic peoples of foreign lands.
4. For the salt spray windeth up in thy joe and the roll of the stout deck sendeth thee to the fantail with a retching in thy belly.
5. He wouldst fain take thee from thy loved ones and cast thee amongst the riff-raff of all nations who will approach thee with an extended palm.
6. Turneth thee a deaf ear to all these things for he speaketh as a man with a head full of missing buttons and quoteth from recruiting pamphlets.
7. Beware of the sadist at Fly One and regard him with exceeding wariness. For while he bringeth thee up to the spot and smileth confidently at thee, he concealeth a serpent in his breast and plotteth all manner of evil against thee.
8. He smileth not for thee but smirketh at thy youth and helplessness and gloateth greatly at his power over thee.
9. Heed ye his signals promptly and surely else he windeth thee up mightly and sendeth thee off whilst thou art still checking the mags or whilst the number one elevator goeth down. For he is a man of great imagination and enjoyeth a jest mightly.
10. Know ye the officer called "landing signal" and trust him not for he is a doltish oaf and is poorly coordinated.
11. He hast eyes with which to see but they are weak and he distinguishesh day from night with exceeding difficulty.
12. Yea, he waveth off Angel Donald, saying, "Landeth ye not on a pass which is so long in the groove."
13. Make him thy friend. When thou engagest in a game of chance, calleth thou not his two little pair with thy full house for he prizeth a winning hand above all things and he will love thee.
14. Angereth him not else he bringeth thee in low and slow and spinneth thee into the potato locker.
15. Cursed be he who lingereth in the arresting gear for he causeth his wingman to be waved off on a roger pass and the next man to become long in the groove.
16. He fouleth up the pattern mightily and giveth the Air Boss all manner of gastric disorders.
17. He is thrice damned and all people even unto the APs shall revile him and use strong language in his behalf for he is indeed a plumber and plague upon the Air Group.
18. Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's. As the Two-finger turn-up is the signal to fly, so is the Cut the signal to land.
19. Therefore I say unto you "Holdeth ye not off after the cut for whosoever floateth into the barriers soweth great anguish in the breast of the Maintenance Officer and causeth a blue cloud to form at the bridge".
20. The wise pilot engageth an early wire smartly, but the fool shall dwell in his quarters forever.
21. Hell hath no fury like a Catapault Officer scorned. Therefore treat him with great kindness and speak ye unto him in soft and tender tones . . .
22. For whosoever arouseth the wrath of the Catapult Officer receiveth a cold shot and the next of kin knoweth great anguish.
23. Harken ye unto his teachings and heedeth his signals with great care for he is a man of great cunning.
24. He windeth thee up mightily and faileth to fire the gear when thou art ready; then shooteth thee off when thou art not.
25. Beware of the Old Man and regardeth ye him highly for he is all powerful. When he approacheth, lingereth ye not in Flight Deck Control for he falleth like a whirlwind upon the idle and luncheth upon the junior grade lieutenant without compassion.
26. He regardeth the newly made major with raised eyebrow.
27. Keep thou out of his sight and let him not know thee by name for whosoever arouseth the ire of the Old Man shall go many times to the Chaplain.
28. Heed ye all these things. For as they are the bitter fruits of those who preceed thee, so shall your words benefit those who follow thee, and the Carrier Pilot shall live forever and ever.