Interview with a Navy Fighter Pilot – How Gonky Became a Naval Aviator (Part One)

July 27, 2019

negative ghostrider the pattern is full no no ma'am this is not a good idea sorry goose but it's time to buy the tower all right I'm here with the donkey who you may know from the stand against evil Specter series whose character in the book of flowing with him for a long time most notably VF 80204 and now at the t-38 squatter former Hornet guy like myself flying the t-38 and today we're gonna talk about how Gong ki became a fighter pilot because you may remember donkey ask me how I became a fighter pilot dude how did you even become a fighter pilot honor to be here yeah thanks and so let's get started gawky welcome thanks mover good good so hey so what I thought we'd do today is just kind of tell another person story donkey obviously went through the Navy you went through OCS OTS yes yes so tell me your background how'd you get involved in flying what was like the first time you went flying and how'd you get there well I was had an interest in flying cuz my dad was an aircraft mechanic career aircraft of kicky he worked on fighters in Vietnam and that's kind of where it's spawned from so I didn't I flew in college a little bit so I went to a big aviation college university in North Dakota and that's where I I learned how to fly I got all my civilian ratings up to see f double I so that was my first did you teach we're gonna see Fi yeah I did I taught while I was in school and I taught a little bit out of out of college so I did a little bit of civilian flying before I got in the in the in the Navy okay all right so you graduated and then applied OCS yeah so what happened was I always want to be a military pilot but kind of like you touched on on your your video we had health the health problems or what I have yeah I had health problems as well childhood asthma psoriasis jeez I'm sure a whole bunch of other yeah everybody's got a story it's it you do not have to be an astronaut no a fighter pilot and no in the Navy okay now and I was a straight D student in high school too so I wasn't you know I wasn't the academic model how'd you do in college I mean I obviously had to have decent grades – yeah well college is different because you know we're who had to pay for it I didn't have you know I wasn't ROTC or anyone with scholarships or anything because I wasn't that smart in high school and so I paid for college and so I thought well I better really try so I finished with the three three I think three to nothing I got a BS degree a BS degree in every general of your study every form of what BS getting so so what uh what kind of lines you do before you join the military so you got your commercial you got your CFI and then yeah what kind of cool stuff did you do uh so I did like you said C F I WI for the school which was part 141 and I did part 91 training as well just at a local FBO which is a awesome time the coolest flying I did civilian was I flew weather mod so when you have 400 hours here we go all right how's the thunderstorm placer Spira Syria oh yeah it's I was a cloud cedar yeah there it is proof there it is trails are real that's right yeah donkeys donkeys proof of that okay yeah so I flew twin cesses and we flew into thunderstorms in San Antonio area forget there was like 15 or 20 counties we were supporting for to create thunderstorms for rain enhancement yeah so we couldn't create a thunderstorm we couldn't we get calls all the time from the farmers you know calling our little radar shack hey you stole my rain well that's impossible sir for you know to nerd out about it basically we would burn chemical release chemical in the clouds that would simulate cloud Condon's nuclei which it was just it gives the water molecule something to bond to and fall out as rain and they estimate I think I think an entire rain season we'd increased the waterfall by like a quarter-inch or something I mean Illuminati confirmed yeah and this will not go viral next what you say after this is the park but uh but we would actually have to mix the chemical and there was a lot of crazy stuff in it but nothing struck me as mind control yeah so it was for rate enhancement so okay well alright enough about that because I'm sure the comments section is now about to blow up but from there how did you apply OCS well while I was in college I almost got in the Marines the Marines had a direct guaranteed and pilot slot used to talk about it in your previous videos out of hey the best deal is to join a reserve guard squadron cuz then you know what you're gonna fly so I didn't even realize that stuff existed like you mentioned it's not well known but active duty the Marines at the time this is like late 90s they were guaranteeing flight slot so I tried really hard even I couldn't pass the physical we had an Air Force ROTC program I try to join them couldn't pass the physical yeah mentioned yeah yeah they said yeah health problems so yeah the Marines rejected me because it's bad Chad Lee azimuth like sorry now was that for the nanny or the flight physical side or is just enlistment in general they had a problem with it flight yeah flight physical so then I tried to enjoy the Navy and you know the recruiter told me that they got their best pilots from nuke power school so I started to go down that road which wasn't true obviously and I got a bad taste in my mouth sort of speak from from that from that experiences so I tried basically all of the flying branches not the Coast Guard but then I decided alright I give this a break and that's when I got all my civilian finished all my civilian stuff and then I didn't Reaper sooo that until I was out of college flight instructor after after September 11th so after all the cloud seeding stuff as well so you ever a couple years removed from college at that point yeah I graduated three and a half years because I was motivated to get out of the cold yeah not because I'm smart but yeah so I took about a year and a half off and then and then I reapplied and I always joke but I really think there's some truth you know after September 11th I think they look for the standard native people and I got in you know I was very lucky very very very lucky it's so like like you said early I went the OCS route so I went to OCS after college and with OCS I could they said what do you want to do in the Navy yes I want to fly they say cool you only be a backseater I said no and they said well if you don't pass this yes you're you know you're gonna go home I said I don't care so I knew gone oh yes I was gonna be a pilot if I could pass yeah I went to Pensacola past OCS which was a fun 13 weeks I think it's 13 weeks anyways and why hard to remember that's right it's so long ago I went to flight school there in Pensacola a fantastic time ground school and they passed the Charter and we're all gonna go for our first flying training assignment oh yeah that's right and and you know me not knowing anything about anything I see my name says Enid Oklahoma I'm like we have a navy bases in Enid and that's right everybody around me is land by the sea it's eaten by the sea yes it is in Oklahoma yeah and there's no sea no there's no Cedars flatly adapt and there's a lot of airforce there so they sent me to they would take a small amount of guys and send them an Air Force training and the Air Force would take some guys some of Navy training it's just a little fun swap they would do so I did the first part of my primary flying training with the Air Force which was quite an experience it is not the same it is the commander at the time for the best like it's like when you get when I went from advanced Air Force Air Force Base training back to Navy trained at T 45 in Kingsville it's like going from Catholic school to public school I mean it was like a religious experience so which ones which the air force's Catholic school yeah a little bit stricter yeah there's no stand-up there's pros and cons though I knew basically when I was gonna be done and the training was excellent I mean it was very very difficult but but yeah I went and I got to fly 237 I got to you know see how another branch operates and then I was lucky enough to to get good enough grades to get get a jet slot so at the time they're really hard to get I really didn't think I would get one because the Navy grade I don't know how it is now it may be streamlined but the Navy grading system was totally different from the Air Force so they had this Einstein oh yeah calculator they would push your grades through to convert them and by all accounts I thought I didn't have jet grades but what I did and it happened too and it was yeah then I moved down to Kingsville for for a jet training which was which was really awesome alright so after Kingsville you got jet grades what was it like to lay on the carrier for the first time that's were you do it right yeah Kingsville yeah so Navy training is a little different you know the way they set it up is you do t45 is the first time you get exposure to the carry and you go through the entire program and then they send you there or you could most likely wash out good but right so you've already made it this pretty much and now it's all pretty much you're done with air to ground the whole elementary dogfighting thing so we talked about iff yeah so you're basically for the Air Force version introduction to fighter fundamentals you're doing this after you've already kind of you are tactical stuff okay yeah so you aren't like exactly so compare the Air Force it's like finishing t-38 finishing iff right before you go to be course whatever in the Air Force they send you to the ship and the reason why they do that is from day one like every landing is like painfully graded evaluated and I mean it's like rightfully so rightfully so because they send you through the whole program because do you get that many looks at the ball and ball flying if you will before going because they want to give you the best chance possible because you go solo yeah with it you know yeah there's no idea no first time you do a carrier landing is alone and unafraid early yeah very afraid yeah in fact the first time I ever saw a carrier I took off by myself from Navy North Island holy crap flew out 50 miles off the coast tailed an attack in which happened to be the ship met my lead who was overhead II they have a safe overhead I joined up on him and then he kind of brought us in lead safe is an instructor yes yes after that's kind of hanging out over with another aircraft yeah he had a couple of students on his wing he's basically there to kind of Shepherd us cuz leave the way the Navy does the training is it's it's very basic seek you it's literally just enough to get you around an aircraft carrier hopefully land on it and take off on it it's almost like just learning how to do pattern work you know and like a t-38 so there's there's case one case two case three cyclic ops a whole bunch of other stuff that you learn later but in Kingsville and even in the rag or the bee course and the Hornet it's very basic yeah dude land without dying takeoff without flying in the water yeah okay so after that you got your assignment to fly Hornets yeah so kind of touching on the boat thing and the Navy you know nowadays everybody if you're going to the carrier and you kind of jet it's gonna be a Hornet flavor so back when I went you know it was Prowler s3 Super Hornet and Charlie model and the Prowler is really hard to land on the ship so depending on like if you're a great ball flyer and a mediocre fighter pilot you may go to the Prowler and that's you know I was so wait to be a mediocre fighter pilot that meant that means the IFF part yes that you didn't do so well in yeah well I did sign you I'm not right at all this yes royal you yeah yeah cuz the Prowler man I mean you know turbojet engines no burner big heavy ugly thing you know like it was just harder to land on the ship you know we had a guy in squadron that yeah he was actually when he went to the Hornet yep he was the best yeah landing yes on it on the boat when we would get our c-cute oh yeah absolutely those guys because you know it's it's just more difficult and so you know where I fell out was I was okay you know I was averaging and so all the LSO's who are the landing signal officers or the guys that they're kind of like your coaches to keep you from hit the back of the ship and keep you safe and they grade you to around upon Harry frowned upon you know they were all joke with me hey man we think about prowlers I did not want to go proud but yeah so too many people to meet people in in the one airplane that's right so I I got done with CQ went back and I got f-18 C's out of out of Kingsville which was awesome because I knew I'd be the only operator in my flying machine Oh from Kingsville that's what you got guys yeah yeah so from Kingsville for Kingsville you once you graduate there you get your wings so in the Air Force you get your wings then you go to iff that's correct so in the Navy you kind of do iff and then get your wings so you get your wings right before you go to the your B course or we call it that I give you west coast East Coast at that point yeah yeah so there was a there's like is split down the middle everybody that wanted East Coast got West Coast and of the air the Navy yeah it's something yeah you're watching this and you want to be a fighter pilot or just learn you don't matter the government yeah who are just a number yeah but I was so excited I was you know twenty something else I could send me to the north coast you know I wouldn't a cared yeah so you went to l'amour yes for which is a wonderful place another non oceanside similar to eat it yes and how was that flying the Hornet for the first time this is pretty yeah for me is a kick in the brain because you know being a flight instructor you know any you guys have flying experience out there I'll tell you firsthand you know I was a CF I double I the military flight training I until you do it you just can't understand it but the learning curve is absolutely ridiculous I mean I had an advantage maybe the first week come out of flying right the basic yeah wait you know in my little Cessna 172 I'm not flying departures it to your 50 knots or I'm not doing hi out to penetrations you know that there's just it's a whole new level so I actually had to break a lot of my old habits so when I flew the t45 it was the a model all steam gauges and so I when I went to the Hornet that thing was all glass granted Atari glass Atari created in 1980 yeah it's that triple 7 Garmin one dozen or anything there's no no that color I'm f DS or anything in fact guys go into it now crying like this ain't glass but thumbs down having the comment section I know there's no glass there's there's two colors green and black black yeah well the newer ones are better aren't they yeah Super Hornet has color but the you know I start on a B C's and DS and I mean the old ones and they were they were glass they had data sub levels and all this stuff so I've been flying you know airplanes up until this point this is your first fly-by-wire yes fly-by-wire yeah it is your first you know like it's your first weapon you're really kind of getting exposed to and it has data sub levels and that's a good point you know when you get to sync the f-16 is the same way I mean when you say when you get to the aircraft it's no longer about the flying that's right it's about the employee as a weapon and a weapon system so and that's why they call an M WS major weapon systems major weapon system I don't know I think so yes I don't know I mean but the whole point is like you said it's you know you're using this machine to get to release a flying part is easy and and that's that's you know in the Navy or they call admin yes in the Air Force we call it the motherhood takeoff and landing is just something you brief by exception I mean right and that's right maybe it's the same way it's unless something happens you're not really talking about it because our job is to go out and take this 40 million dollar aircraft and kill people and break their thing yes I mean you know yes whatever our nation's interests you know might be so it's not about the flying the flights easy yeah I mean the actual stick and rudder yeah I mean especially now if you know we're flying t-38s which we'll get to in a second which is a very hard airplane right no stick and rudder wise you know it's a very you know mental you know brain power consuming versus Hornet which it trims for 1g level flight you know you got an autopilot you got radios everything's hooked ass hands on throttle stick so let's go back to your story not to you know get off track too much but L'Amour yep they gave you do they give you an assignment from there it would like they were no they stopped ranking you at that point no the grading never stops it's not grading but I mean are you rack and stack against your peers yes cuz like you go to the Air Force B course you know how you're doing relative to everyone else kind of determines yes where you you know you get first choice of assignment which you know the f16 would be you know hey I want to go you know first assignment maybe it's been Gollum or something like that you know really nice place versus you know something less desirable which aren't really many less Desirables anymore they've kind of narrowed it down but ya know it's the same in the Navy so you know when you first show up to l'amour it's like you know that in the Navy there's two called a master jet basis Virginia Oceana and then West Coast a little more and then of course they have Japan so in the in the in a hierarchy if you will the guys that get the highest grades your best dues typically and they way your boat grades very heavily in this but typically those guys will go to Japan and then it's kind of a free-for-all for the stateside places so I did not go to Japan they probably need a you guys so I showed up to l'amour as the Hornet was very difficult for me because I was a steam gauge guy we had some t45 guys who were flying the C model which was what do you mean steam gauge guys further I'm talking like round dials so no glass no digital and at the hood right no no no no and all that's gone now but back then guys were split some guys ago the C Model T 45 some guys with a model I with the a model so it really kicked my butt when I got to the Hornet cuz I didn't understand I didn't understand how to operate a glass cockpit airplane and now that this this step I'm sure you can attest between the even the t-38 and the f-16 it's it's it is a massive step up and just system actually does see model but still yeah I would need to see model to the f-16 but again it's the weapon system that's right you know it's not it's less about the flying bar it's easy it's just what we used to call it the piccolo drill right you know you know team is for Dawber left all you know to get all the we've got a finger fire yeah you know I mean we I don't know what's a Hornet is but we solo in like six right oh yeah it's it's very quick oh yes that's the easy part yeah no it's not the it's not the weapon DFM you know takes more rides than it does to learn how to fly the airplane yeah basic fighter so I mean you touch on a good point so basically all your we'll call them grade yet so I'll combat airplanes they have to be easy to fly yeah and the f-18 you know has plenty of power has plenty of dragging speed up slow down as much as you want like you said fly-by-wire I mean it's enough so you can like take your hands off the thing yeah look at your you know your in-flight map study whatever you're doing that's Auto pass set the climb it would even you know to take off literally you set the trim you point it you shove an afterburner you do not rotate the zero if you're in takeoff Tran middle yeah right off it runway a 3d model you do not rotate it it's a tool and it you know you just put the velocity vector where you want to land you don't flare he just I know I did too because it was challenging but but you don't flare you just fly it in the runway I mean it is the probably easiest way that I've ever yeah f-18 is the easiest airplane I think ever flying they could make it any easier but I made it great I mean that's what was so awesome about it's very easy you know it's not it's not a difficult jet so going back to you know L'Amour you got West Coast I did you were stationed at L'Amour's that so everything was kind of you didn't move you just stayed there yes he works his you're part of a squadron the squadrons part of an air wing and air wing compromises all of the airplanes and helicopters that will go on a specific carrier and they call it a CAG right carrier uh my squadron was assigned to CAG nine at the time which was assigned to the Johnson status the Stennis was based in Washington so even though we were flying out a little more when we would do exercises with the Stennis we just meet it out over the Pacific so and being in Lemoore a lot of the ranges that we trained out were up in Nevada oh and Fallon Fallon Nevada and then down in El Centro so you have your home base but you do a lot of training air it's kind of Li the air force that you guys go to Nellis quite a bit yeah well my experience for the Navy versa Air Force we do a lot more at home like we didn't debt you know Devonta the detachment you know like that maybe guys like to go like Key West yeah screw that but you know as far as doing exercises I mean we have the majority of our air force training is base centric you know right here to ground ranges are right there air to air ranges are right there that's correct red flag Nellis is more of a an exercise large force Employment exercise so it's getting other squadrons and doing stuff I mean it's it was not to the extent the Navy does everything yeah we like to go places yeah they don't think let's stay home very much no and I sometimes I think that's just a function of budget and not having all the resources they should we share it when I was in the Navy we shared a lot of stuff you know like if you wanted your stapler on the ship I shared a mask one that's right if the most misery it smelled like Vienna sausage yeah because it was a certain somebody it was my mast broke so I called back and I'm like hey yeah you know I'm in the jet and I go hey can you send me a mask and they run masks out I'm like oh cool yeah I'm the Air Force guy thinking oh that's brand-new it's right another thing like why is it smelling Vienna sausage yeah well new carriers are expensive yeah I mean I got a budget somewhere all right hope you enjoyed part well under the interview with gawky it's a lot of fun to sit down and talk when he's a great guy stay tune in next week we'll talk about the rest of his career from going Hornets at l'amour deploying coming back as an instructor and then how he ended up in Malaysia and in the Air Force Reserve flying t-38 so if you're looking for a book to read please Alex Shepherd series is a great terrorism thriller with a law enforcement twist or if you're looking for some more aviation stuff The Spectre series there's a boxset books 1 through 4 up with the link in the description also you may have noticed gawky shirt folds of Honor cause we all support it it's a one of the pilots armed squadron major Dan Rooney is the founder and he created a it's it's they give scholarships to the children of a fallen veteran so worthy cause please consider donating if you haven't already please like and subscribe and I'll see you next time you


  • Reply David Johnson July 27, 2019 at 12:10 pm

    Mover, Gonky is a funny guy.

  • Reply J FIg July 27, 2019 at 12:10 pm

    I'm entering API in july, what do you mean grading? In primary or api or both?

  • Reply GOODIE AIRSOFT July 27, 2019 at 12:10 pm

    I’m in between trying to become a f22 for the fun and a10 from my heart of helping troops

  • Reply Tunahan Arslan July 27, 2019 at 12:10 pm


  • Reply Tea July 27, 2019 at 12:10 pm

    Hey I some questions. I want to become a fighter pilot but I don’t know which branch I would like to make a career in (10-20 years). I know both are great but I would like to know the living aspect and just life. Such as relationships, doing day to day activity and such. I don’t have anyone to talk to around me so I came here. I would also like to hear would I probably be doing in my fighter role in each branch.

  • Reply KingScaar July 27, 2019 at 12:10 pm

    Great video, I love it. My OCD is kicking in, the frames at the end of the video isnt lined up at the top…

  • Reply Jimmy July 27, 2019 at 12:10 pm

    23:05 i love this moment

  • Reply dpeagles July 27, 2019 at 12:10 pm

    Awesome stories. Thanks.

  • Reply Master Chief 00117 July 27, 2019 at 12:10 pm

    I'm a Rotary Wings guy. If you're above the trees. Your too high…

  • Reply Riley O’Neill July 27, 2019 at 12:10 pm

    is their a video that C.W has made to show to steps and requirements to become a naval aviator and if not can you make one?

  • Reply j g July 27, 2019 at 12:10 pm

    I was at Cannon AFB back when it when they had F-16s. Definitely a less desirable base. Looking back, I kinda miss the place.

  • Reply Ashley Mills July 27, 2019 at 12:10 pm

    Really enjoy hearing your life experience as a fighter pilot, a new sub right here.

  • Reply Mike Hascats July 27, 2019 at 12:10 pm

    all this time i thought you were calling him donkey

  • Reply Arthur Brock July 27, 2019 at 12:10 pm


  • Reply Aidan Murphy July 27, 2019 at 12:10 pm

    nice opening top gun is my favorite

  • Reply William Mickelson July 27, 2019 at 12:10 pm

    who is the one son of a bitch that disliked this

  • Reply STT VOYAGER July 27, 2019 at 12:10 pm


  • Reply blech71 July 27, 2019 at 12:10 pm

    No Superior Valley??

  • Reply blech71 July 27, 2019 at 12:10 pm

    Oooh Lemoore… maybe he came down in our neighborhood and hit up Star Wars Canyon once in awhile 🙂

  • Reply blech71 July 27, 2019 at 12:10 pm

    Carrier Quals, I could only imagine how that first attempt.
    Call the ball

  • Reply NateDogMXtv July 27, 2019 at 12:10 pm

    I knew it! Con Trails confirmation.

  • Reply Oiram OrNot July 27, 2019 at 12:10 pm

    Hi Lemoine. Is it uncommon for prior military at a later age (age 30) to be accepted by the air force to become a fighter pilot? Ive heard that the air force doesn't really like to take prior military from another branch.

  • Reply Tony Kleber Gonsales July 27, 2019 at 12:10 pm

    I thought it was forbidden to former pilots commenting all those details…
    Nice to learn.
    I'm not north American, nevertheless would like thank you both for your service.

  • Reply Cody Johnson July 27, 2019 at 12:10 pm

    Have you guys seen military pilots with glasses?

  • Reply Shaun Roberts July 27, 2019 at 12:10 pm

    How do fighter pilots get the names. Like Gonky etc.

  • Reply Shaun Roberts July 27, 2019 at 12:10 pm

    First of all thank you for your service in the military I am really really enjoying your B logs they're awesome keep up the good work

  • Reply slowpoke96z28 July 27, 2019 at 12:10 pm

    Seems like he was in soon enough to fly 14s, but he didn't mention it as a choice.

  • Reply Rex Marnell July 27, 2019 at 12:10 pm

    "well thats impossible sir" lol

  • Reply Bob Shaw July 27, 2019 at 12:10 pm

    Gonky do you know Swayne Martin ? He went to the same Aviation College as you did . He started flying for Mokulele Airlines in Hawaii after he graduated . He now is Flying Regional Jet for Envoy Air American Eagle owned by American Airlines out of New York . I enjoyed this vlog . Loved your humor during the whole vlog . You both are funny guys .

  • Reply Eric Palmer July 27, 2019 at 12:10 pm

    Lovely. Great vid.

  • Reply gazza robo July 27, 2019 at 12:10 pm

    Hiya c.w. & gonky great intro top film & thank you for your service from London Enland.👏👏👏👍👌💪👊✌

  • Reply HeAriRI tHeRe July 27, 2019 at 12:10 pm

    17.08 is that malaysian flag??? hahahha…..we fly D version of hornet

  • Reply Giant Killer July 27, 2019 at 12:10 pm

    Man this is so cool! It's like listening to Maverick & Goose, so cool!! Or maybe Hollywood and Wolfman? Yeah Roger that ❤🇺🇸👍😏

  • Reply James Bond July 27, 2019 at 12:10 pm

    Can you do a video on how you got your callsign?

  • Reply Gary Lee July 27, 2019 at 12:10 pm

    great video.

  • Reply unclejack123 July 27, 2019 at 12:10 pm

    Really enjoyed this series……as a military son (my Dad was a 30 yr. Marine) I was scheduled to go to the AF Academy in 1962 but flunked the final flight physical (eyes – correction and color) ………. was (also) a poor student & would have had to go to the prep school anyway ……Long Story Short ……. ended up in the Marines as a Safety & Survival Mechanic ….. we did Ejection – Canopy – Oxygen – Pressurization (everything but Chutes and survival gear) ….. Since I had my Ejection seat card I used to get rides with our instructors occasionally …….2 hopes in TF9J Cougars – 3 hopes in TA4F Skyhawks and – 1 hop in a visiting Army OV-1 Mohawk ……….. to this day I can remember every second of every flight as if it was yesterday ……………… had 9 hrs. of civil log book hours (then life got in the way) …………. ;-p

  • Reply joeshovel2 July 27, 2019 at 12:10 pm

    Awesome video, love the conversation between the two of you is great!!! It's very really & candid…Thank you to both of you!! Two thumbs up!!

  • Reply Harunaデンジャラス July 27, 2019 at 12:10 pm

    I’m from japan

  • Reply scarecrow _ July 27, 2019 at 12:10 pm

    Nice video, thanks.

  • Reply JCL C July 27, 2019 at 12:10 pm

    Nice content Sir!

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