Up in the Air


So the monkey took a little stroll down memory lane today and headed out to the annual air show at Miramar.  There he joined about 100,000 (this is no exaggeration) of his closest friends for some spectacular aerobatics and dozens of vintage military aircraft that were on display.  There was plenty of food, drinks, and military memorabilia on sale that you could pick through when your neck wasn’t cranked up looking at the sky as some screaming jet or helicopter went zooming past.

About four or five wars ago, when Kongo was just a little monkey, he was actually stationed at Miramar.  Of course in those days it was a Naval Air Station.  Today it belongs to the Marine Corps.  No matter.  Kongo always liked his brothers and sisters in the Marines.  When the monkey was just starting his military career he worked on a number of aircraft that are now on display in the “vintage” section of the parking apron. There were F-4 Phantoms, an A-4 Skyhawk, An A-6 Intruder, and even an old A-1 Skyraider.  Kongo has  worked on all of them.  He started his service during the Vietnam era and deployed with many of these aircraft to “Yankee Station” aboard the USS ENTERPRISE back in the early 70s.  He was a “plank owner” in one of the first, brand new, F-14 squadrons at the time.  Sadly, the F-14 Tomcats, the Phantoms, Skyhawks, Intruders, and even the grand old lady ENTERPRISE are all gone now.  The monkey should be happy that he is still here at least!  Even the three ships the monkey commanded later in his career have all been scrapped or sold to Mexico or Poland for a dollar.  At least this monkey hasn’t been decommissioned yet!  Not for a while.


Anyway, seeing the old aircraft was a hoot and the aerobatics were great.  Back in the “old days” the monkey had to work at the air show getting the planes in his squadron ready to show off but today he just walked around and took pictures.

Not surprising, Mrs. Kongo passed on the air show, muttering something about heat, traffic, and whatever, but the monkey ignored her and pressed on.  (Of course she was right about the heat and the traffic.)



This flyby by an H-46 Chinook helo reminded Kongo of the time he almost got killed riding one of these when he was flying from the carrier back to his ship and the air control on the big deck got mixed up and launched the monkey’s chopper into the landing pattern where he had a very, very close encounter with an F/A-18 that was landing.



There were even some World War II vintage aircraft on hand.  No, Kongo does NOT remember those airplanes and he never flew or worked on one either but he always admired the inventive art work of the ground crews that supported them.

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It was about 100 degrees and it was a mile and a half hike in from the parking lot to get to the action. (“I told you so,” from Mrs. Kongo) The ambulances were hauling off heat stroke victims right and left by the time the monkey left in late afternoon.  Hundreds of visitors sought shade beneath the wings of the aircraft static displays.  You literally had to walk over old ladies in big hats and umbrellas to get up close to the airplanes.  Even with all that, it was one of those spectacular, God Bless America days in San Diego with crystal clear blue skies where you could see for miles and miles and miles.

This was a bit of a weather change for the monkey because he flew in from Minneapolis on Friday after earlier meetings in Jacksonville and Duluth and there were snow flurries in the air when his plane took off and headed for San Diego.  Minnesota is a nice place, eh?, but this time of year it’s just no place to be unless you’re just changing planes at MSP to get to the East Coast. And Minnesota is pretty good about moving snow off of runways.  Much better than say, Atlanta.  Anyway….

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The air show is part of more than a month of Fleet Week celebration in San Diego where the whole city celebrates its strong military heritage.

Kongo is off to Cancun next week so stay tuned for adventures south of the border.

Travel safe.  Have fun.


9 thoughts on “Up in the Air

  1. Very nice series of images and great story telling. Your helicopter escapade reminded me of a similar incident in a UH-1 I was riding down to Chu Lai from Danang. Seems that ATC forgot about us when they cleared three F-4s to depart that base in tight formation at high speed. I was the only non-pilot aboard the UH-1 and the only one who didn’t think it was hilarious experience.

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