Thursday, January 13, 2011


The USS John C. Stennis (CVN-74), is the US Navy's seventh Nimitz-class nuclear-powered supercarrier, named after Democratic Senator John Cornelius Stennis, from Mississippi, whose career in the Senate lasted from 1947 to 1989 and who was Chairman of the Armed Services Committee from 1969 to 1980. In this capacity he oversaw 25 major aviation programs and for his prodigious efforts he earned the nickname 'Father of the Modern American Navy'.

The Stennis has a.o. and Air Wing, CVW-9, consisting of eight to nine squadrons, one of them being the famous Strike Fighter Squadron VFA-192, the "Golden Dragons". Erm, I meant, the "World Famous Golden Dragons". Cut the guys some slack, their bragging is more tongue in cheek than actual pride in their military accomplishments. It seems they added the prefix "World Famous" after they became indeed, world famous, in the mid-fifties. The movie The Bridges at Toko-Ri (1955), starring William Holden as Lt. Harry Brubaker, features VFA-192 (in the movie it's actually VF-192), and if you check out the following video you can see the yellow dragons insignia on the F9F Panther's noses:

Yes, the movie was that accurate (although the carrier the Golden Dragons were on, the USS Savo Island, is fictitious). James Michener, the author of The Bridges... spent a lot of time on carriers during the Korean War, attending briefings and interviewing pilots, and it shows. Too bad his zeal ruined his marriage.

Hat tip reader Traveller, a Fleming like me and an accomplished engineer who has seen a LOT of the world.


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