I tell people that, even though I'm an Army helicopter pilot, I'm qualified for Navy aircraft carrier operations. That's because the Army trained and qualified me to land and take off from the platform on an Navy LST and, as far as I'm concerned, all Navy vessels that have a landing area are similar enough to a flat top for me to call it a carrier. In fact, I think I could make the case that Iím more than carrier qualified because it's more challenging to land and take off from an LST than it is one of those water borne airfields. Not only is the deck of an LST smaller, it bounces around more. In short, when compared to a full-grown carrier, Iím sure the Navy considers the LST a much better vessel for satisfying its desire to exterminate Army pilots. And I speak from some experience on this issue.
For more information about LSTs
with landing platforms,
see "Vietnam Contraptions" at this web site:
First, let me give you a little background. At one time in my young life, I wanted to be a naval aviator, and for plenty of good reasons. I thought I would look good in one of those white dress uniforms, and it was my observation that sailors invariably had their choice of women. Also, it was my understanding that the Navy had the best food of all the services. I could just see myself as a naval aviator, dressed in a spotless uniform, Miss April clinging to me, while I dined on lobster and clams.
Then, my dream was shattered. Someone (I believe it was my Amarillo Army recruiter) pointed out to me that naval aviators often spend a great amount of their career flying over large bodies of water.
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