0800 local time
My first waking moments of this day were punctuated by the lethargic rhythmic sounds of high powered fighter aircraft landing on the deck above me. I stood up and shook myself, waking myself up in the process. I glanced over at my big brotha Colby, who was still conked out in his bunk. We were in his quarters aboard the USS Ronald Reagan, a Nimitz class aircraft carrier of the US Navy. I'd come aboard ship last night really late in an F-14 owned by Colby, only to have dinner, which was delicious, btw, and be launched back into the sky.
Anyway, for today, we'd made plans to take a pair of birds up in the air and do some ACM, which stands for Air Combat Maneuvering. Dogfighting, pun not intended, but funny. Colby and I were going head to head with one of the pilots I'd met last night, who'd had the nerve to call me out on being what I was and being, in his opinion, unable to do what Colby claimed I was able to do. He had tried to pet me, and I gave him a little jolt of my electric personality... Not too much, just enough to sting some.
After a few minutes of me looking around, something I had been unable to do last night because of the rush we'd been in to eat and get strapped back into the fighter, I woke Colby up. He came to almost immediately, and we headed for the galley to eat.
It was DELICIOUS! Pancakes made with heart stopping amounts of syrup and powdered sugar on top! Yum! I downed a full plate of that myself, drawing more than a few looks in the process. When I finally looked up, I'd apparently had a spot of the powdered sugar on my nose, because one of the other fighter jocks at our table started cracking up. Not having a clue what he was on about, I just licked it off.
Once we'd eaten, we went over to the hanger, which is a two and a half acre space right under the flight deck that houses all the planes at some point. It was jampacked full of planes, people, and big metal cylinders that I later discovered were bombs... Anyway, we went over to the F-14, which had been brought down from the flight deck the night before and Colby went through something he called "preflight checks". I gather that means stuff you gotta look at before you fly and make sure it's all good. It was, and a few minutes later, a squat little yellow box on wheels came and pulled it onto the elevator at the far side of the room, which took it, and us, up to the flight deck. It was fortunate for me that I'd already had Colby put on my flight suit, otherwise the sheer windblast from all those plane engines would have blown me off the boat!
With no small amount of effort, I made it along side the F-14 and up into the rear seat of the cockpit, where the radar intercept officer, RIO, sits. He strapped me in and told me what the gameplan was... Or maybe I should say flight plan... Ha-ha!
After we'd strapped in and Colby fired up those huge engines bolted to our backs, we sat there on the deck for a bit, until it was our turn to launch. For those of you that have never been catapulted off of an aircraft carrier, it's a blast of insanity! The plane was bolted to the track, which stretched off ahead of us for a hundred yards where it abruptly ended. We'd be doing a hundred and forty five miles an hour at the end of that tiny stretch of track, and the burst of acceleration needed to get us there was going to take only three seconds! Three!
With ten seconds to go, Colby gave the thumbs up to the spotter, which is a guy in a yellow jacket that tells the guys under the deck when to push the buttons. Colby ran up the engines to full power, afterburners included. The howl of those engines made me want to join in, and I gladly did. It was a roar that seemed to double in intensity when the button was pushed and we were flung into the air alongside a smaller fighter, which happened to be the guy that had messed with me last night!
An hour later, we started our dogfight! With the initial seperation of three miles gone in the blink of an eye, I suddenly found myself turned around, looking at the nose of that little plane, which Colby tells me is an FA-18 Hornet plane... I hated hornets...
Man, Colby's good! He jinked and swerved and dipped and climbed with all he had, trying to get that Hornet off our ass! And we would have succeeded, but I got a funny warning on my radar screen in front of me. I tapped a button on it and it resolved into a pair of dots, heading towards us really fast! I told Colby and he called off the dogfight so we could check it out. There's a system on the F-14 called the TCS, which stands for Television Control System. It's a camera on the nose that can zoom in really far and look at stuff we can't see with our eyes. It was this system that Colby used to get an ID on the radar contacts. They were North Korean Su-33 Flanker-D aircraft, according to Colby, and right away I sensed they were trouble.
Once we'd gotten our own confirmation on what they are, the Hornet peeled off, headed back to the ship I think... It was up to us to intercept those planes, and it was exactly what we did. We flew right at them and came up along side them. Colby waved over and got on the radio, telling them to vacate the airspace immediately. They turned left and flew away, which we thought was the end of it, but it wasn't.
A few seconds later, after we'd turned around and started headed for home, a really loud blaring alarm went off in there, and on my screen it said two words: "Incoming Missile"
Having had absolutely no training at all with this radar in this plane, other than what I had figured out the day before, I rattled my paws on the keyboard and popped a few bundles of chaff and flares. Chaff is a metal confetti, basically, and it messes with the IR guided missiles. Flares are just that, flares... They mess up the heat guided ones...
Whichever kind it was, it took the bait and exploded far out of range of us. But we turned around and bored in right after the plane that had shot at us. My paws tapped across the controls desperately, seeking lock on. Once I had it, I gave Colby a heads up and he shouted out "Fox Two" over the radio and told me to push the launch button. I did.
With a white hot roar, a missile streaked out from the underside of our plane and chased down that enemy. Before it hit, the plane seemed to come apart... A clear plastic bit, the canopy, I realized later, fell away and the pilot shot out of his plane only a few seconds before the missile hit it. There was a huge explosion and the plane was destroyed.
We banked around looking for the second guy, hoping to scare him off, but during the turn, the plane shuddered and the bad guy screamed past right beside us. I looked out in that direction and saw a bunch of big holes in the left wing. Bullet holes. I said "Shit!" and Colby looked over at them and said the same thing I had.
A few seconds later, every electric item in the plane went dead. Before he could ask me, I used my powers to bring them back on so we could radio for help incase we found that we had to punch out. Fortunately, we didn't have to.
On the final approach, the plane dipped and weaved like never before... It was hard for him to drop it onto that tiny deck, but he did it...
Only once we were out of the plane did we discover that we were missing most of our left wing. Almost all of it, really... We'd had to come in on the carrier way faster than normal, which I think was a result of the damage...
I'm fine, of course, and this whole episode makes me want to do this for a living! But, mom, I know you wouldn't like that much, huh?
And that's my adventure today. It was the most insane thing to ever happen to me, and it was AWESOME!