Tailhook 23 Report

Welcome to the sixty-ninth episode of the Lessons from the Cockpit podcast! I’m your host Mark Hasara, former US Air Force KC-135 pilot and author of the book Tanker Pilot, now on the Air Mobility Command Leadership Library reading list of General Mike Minihan!

This past weekend I attended the Tailhook Association’s 2023 convention at the Nugget Resort in Sparks, Nevada as a guest of Admiral Bill Gortney. I was asked to be part of the Operation Iraqi Freedom panel on Friday afternoon discussing the air refueling plan for the Shock and Awe campaign. This podcast episode discusses events and people I met while there. Bottom Line Up Front… this was a fantastic convention and I would admonish all of you to become members of this extraordinary organization of Naval Aviation and Aviators!

This episode of the Lessons from the Cockpit podcast is supported by the book Tanker Pilot: Lessons from the Cockpit found in all four formats on Amazon: hardack, softback with black and white photos, Kindle and Audible which has an extra file download containing the thirty-two color pictures.

Lessons from the Cockpit is also supported by Wall Pilot, custom aviation art for the walls of your home, office, or hanger. There are 134 Ready-to-Print four, six, and eight-foot-long very detailed and researched profiles of your favorite aircraft printed on vinyl you can peel off and stick to any flat surface. Wall Pilot’s squadron and unit patches have not faded nor come off several trucks and boats, a testimony to their quality!

The famous “Felix Squadron”, VF-31 Tomcatters, flew combat missions over Baghdad on the opening night of Operation Iraqi Freedom’s Shock and Awe air campaign. The Carrier Air Wing Fourteen Commander, Captain Kevin “KC” Albright, and his Deputy Commander Captain Scott “NOTSO” Swift had their names on this F-14D Tomcat, callsign BANDWAGON 100. This print shows the aircraft armed for the opening night mission to Baghdad carrying air-to-air and air-to-ground weapons.

One of the profiles I took with me to Hook 23 was the VF-31 Tomcatters flagship F-14D Tomcat, part of the USS ABRAHAM LINCOLN airwing flying combat missions out of the Northern Arabian Gulf. This is Navy Commander Paul “BUTKUS” Haas the Tomcatters Skipper personal jet during Shock and Awe.

My good friend Captain Stephen “Moose” Laukaitis was the Deputy Air Wing Commander of Carrier Airwing Eight during Shock and Awe. His VFA-87 WAR PARTY F-18C Hornet which flew missions during the Shock and Awe air campaign is available from Wall Pilot.

Thanks for downloading and listening to this episode! I hope you enjoyed my “After Action Report” on the 2023 Tailhook Association convention. The Industry Floor was just incredible… being able to fly an F-35 simulator was a lot of fun. This and previous episodes of the Lessons from the Cockpit podcast can be downloaded off my website at markhasara.com

Look forward to talking with you next week! 


Check out this episode!

Mark Hasara

Have a great Day!

Sluggo Sends!

P.S. — If you’re reading my book Tanker Pilot: Lessons from the Cockpit, I’d really love to hear your thoughts in a review on Amazon here, I read them all.

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greg Lund
greg Lund
9 months ago

Sluggo I had mentioned the need for a glossary of all the acronyms of military jargon. In your book.
I just finished podcast of Tail Hook. Carrol Ward told you the same thing.

I really enjoy your podcasts.
You and Jello do a great job. (Fighterpilot podcast)

greg Lund
greg Lund
8 months ago
Reply to  Mark

oops, Ward Carrol, as opposed to Carrol Ward, my bad. (Had a colleague by the name of C. Ward.)

fake mail
4 months ago

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