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VF-2 Bounty Hunters and Miramar F-14 Awards in 1987-88

At the completion of my tour as a Topgun instructor, I went through a short refresher course in the F-14 training squadron and then reported to Fighter Squadron 2 (VF-2). When I joined the Bounty Hunters (squadron nickname) in June 1987, our Tomcats wore the letter “E” on the forward fuselage in recognition of winning…
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Names and Numbers on Navy Fighters

During my career as a RIO I was in three different fleet squadrons and I’ve seen two different methods for assigning names on the canopy rails. Before I get to them, here are rules that I think are common to all NAVY squadrons / carrier air wings. Each squadron is assigned a number series (100,…
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Operation Earnest Will: F-14 Role in Escorting Oil Tankers

During the 1987 deployment of the aircraft carrier USS Ranger (CV-61), the battle group spent several months in the northwest portion of the Indian Ocean, known as the North Arabian Sea, supporting oil tanker escort under Operation Earnest Will [note 1]. The actual tanker escort was carried out by US Navy surface combatants such as…
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Thoughts on Radar Modes of the AWG-9

The AWG-9 radar in the F-14A Tomcat fighter had good capability including several modes for the RIO to choose from. This article describes some considerations.

Did the F-14 Tomcat Have Flight Controls in the Rear Cockpit?

This has to be one of the most common questions heard by former F-14 Radar Intercept Officers (RIOs). RIOs were the back-seaters who operated the F-14’s weapon system, were responsible for communication and navigation, and performed other aircrew duties. During a radar intercept the RIO directed the pilot, so he was “verbally flying” the aircraft.…
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Tomcat RIO by Dave “Bio” Baranek

“Tomcat RIO” is the latest book to be written by former USN F-14 Tomcat Radar Intercept Officer (RIO) Dave Baranek. In his new book, Bio regales us with more tales of Naval Aviation adventures and excitement, and goes more into the personalities and misadventures he experienced. From Topgun to Squadron Command You’re in the cockpit…
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The Elevator Scene In Top Gun

Written by Dave “Bio” Baranek There are many technical and production details from “Top Gun.” A friend recently asked me about the Navy captain in the elevator scene. It begins around the 48-minute mark on my DVD copy: Maverick and Charlie in an elevator, a Navy captain enters. Who is the captain? Was he a…
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Last Full Measure of Devotion

This Monday is the observance of Memorial Day. For those of us who served and those who have family who served, it is a day we set aside for the intended purpose: to pass some time in remembrance of the ones we knew and loved who perished while in service to their country. For me,…
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My First Flight In An F-16: The World’s Greatest Roller Coaster

By Mitchell Boling Adapted from his book, “Leadership: A View From The Middle” Copyright (C) 2019. Reprinted with Permission. I had been a member of the U.S. Air Force for only sixteen months when I was fortunate enough to be taken for a flight in the back seat of an F-16 fighter aircraft. A twenty-one-year-old…
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What Does An F-14 Tomcat RIO Do?

The team from DCSNZA hosted Dave “Bio” Baranek for a live streaming event earlier today. Dave spend time talking about what the RIO (radar intercept officer) did in the F-14 (a great insight into that world) and then he took to the virtual skies with the DCSNZA team in the Heatblur F-14 Tomcat, tanked with…
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