Tailhook 2014

Ray LeCompte and Tim Brown at Tailhook 2014

Ray LeCompte and Tim Brown at Tailhook 2014

Ray LeCompte and I attended the 58th Annual Convention at Reno, 4 September through 7 September. This year’s theme was “Naval Test and Evaluation.” While at the convention we met up with Marv Garrison and Bob Johnson among others. We had the chance to sit and talk to Mike Field, ANA Secretary/Treasurer, and Zip Rausa, Editor of Wings of Gold. Besides the business side of things we also met up with old friends whom we had not seen since last year’s ‘Hook. We also met new friends and cultivated new areas of information seeking speakers for our meetings.

Among other things we arranged to bring back some ANA tee shirts that Mike Field had somehow gotten made and had available at Tailhook to give to new members. He had extras so we made a deal: we would take them off of his hands and sell them to our members as a way to raise money for our SOQ program. So, get out your $15 and buy a tee shirt at the next meeting. I don’t think that we got any XXL’s and very few XL’s so you may be purchasing them as gifts for your grandchildren! Please help out by purchasing a couple of them.

On the business side, we attended almost every one of the activities that were sponsored by the Association, including all of the Symposia and Briefings, even the ones that started at 0830 on Saturday morning. Most of the official events were streamed live on the Internet and are available for you to watch if you have cable Internet connection. Go to new.livestream.com/wab/Tailhook to view the activities.

This was an especially interesting set of meetings because it coincided with the release of the results of the O-4 Screening Boards that showed a large discrepancy between selection percentages for aviation, surface and subsurface communities. Aviation selection percentage was very low in comparison with the other communities. This was the chance for the JO’s to get answers to their questions regarding their futures in the Navy. The last panel of the convention is normally the “Aviation Flag Panel” which is moderated by CNAF. There were pointed questions asked of the panel and VADM Buss did a fine job of handling the questions and distributing the questions to the correct potential respondent. You might want to view that particular panel on livestream to get a better understanding of the issue.

There was a long list of industry exhibitors such as Boeing, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, Newport News Shipbuilding and BAE Systems. There were over 75 exhibitors and it was very interesting to meet and talk to many of them. I actually signed up an author, CAPT Dave Leue, USN (Ret), as a speaker as a result of our conversation. Other authors at the event included Mike Ciminera who previously spoke to our group on the history of Grumman aircraft in a very personal way. A new addition to the list of authors was Willie Driscoll who has a new book out that is entitled, Peak Performance Under Pressure.

Kermit “Tim” Enander, the former historian for Air Group 11 and VF-11 (now VF-111) “Sundowners” along with the current historian, Henk “Omar” van der Lugt, stopped by the ANA display booth to talk and take photos. Tim knew my father during WW II. I also had occasion to talk to Diz Laird and Don Shelton who also knew my father from many years ago. All in all, just an interesting, educational and fun event that I was happy and lucky to attend.


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