Monday, February 03, 2014

On Nicknames and Call Signs for Naval Aviators

Vinson Embark Shots (28)

Long time readers of my blog will know that I take nicknames very seriously. I consider it a high art form. 

A non-negotiable for me is that you should not be able to figure out what the name of the person is from their nickname.

A perfect example would be “Magic” Johnson. You have NO idea what his name is from his nickname.

For more on that policy and how it has impacted my kids, see here and here respectively.

So, it is easy for me to say that I was in heaven when I learned about the call signs of each of the pilots on the USS Vinson during my recent embark (for more posts, see here and here. Background here).

While none of them were named “Maverick” or “Iceman,” we did run into “Big Tuna” (he’s really tall) and “Beast Mode” (he’s form Seattle). Even the Captain of the ship, named for his red hair, was called “Torch”. Vinson Embark Shots (26)

Commander Lee, who I gathered is a pretty devout Mormon was called “Dud” because of his relatively clean-cut lifestyle (compared to most naval aviators) as in “Dudley Do-Right.”

And all of these call signs are embroidered on their flight suits and, in many cases, written on the planes themselves.

One that made me wonder was a plane for Capt. P.J. Singh whose call sign was “Schwarma.”  I have no idea but I would guess that because of his surname, he is of Indian origin and, consequently, he might be a vegetarian…which would make it a great one.  Either that, or he really likes Schwarma.

Twice I saw two different Capt. Hermans with the call sign “Pee Wee,” which were probably the weakest of the bunch.

No matter what, I was glad to see the high art form of creative names applied with such diligence in the Navy.Vinson Camera Phone images (19)

And one thing, which I’ve long advocated, you can’t give yourself a nickname. It is chosen for you by the group…and you accept it with grace.

Now the question is: Why do you think call signs/nicknames are such an important part of naval aviator culture?

Add a comment below.

Vinson Embark Shots (3)

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