The U.S. NAVY ‘Haul-a-way Plan’ *

I hit the recruiting station, when I was seven­teen.
I felt like a Big Time Operator - but I was mighty green. OH YEAH!
Said the friendly recruiting sergeant, a giant of a man:
"Today's your lucky day, Boy, you can join the Haul-a-way Plan." HO HO!

"Just raise your right hand up, and sign on the dotted line.
You'll be flyin' in no time, and I'm sure you'll do just fine." SURE!
He didn't know that I get airsick, just sitting III a car
It's worse when I've had a drink or smoke a big cigar. WHOOPS! 

So, I arrived at Pensacola … in the middle of July.
To a place they called OGTU. Hell, I just wanna fly. SOME DAY!
We marched straight to the barber, he touched my lovely hair.
I looked into the mirror … my locks no long­er there/GONE!

Then we went to pre-flight, and I felt this would be cool
But t'was not really flying; it seemed a lot like school. GOTCHA!
Astronomy, aerology … Navy Regs and naviga­tion
Marching, drilling, swimming: lots of aggra­vation. BORING!

Whiting Field at last - my instructor's name was Duke.
He wasn't very happy as I leaned o'er the side to puke. WATCH OUT!
He would have been OK - but of course there was a catch,
On torrid Florida summer days, he flew with an open hatch. SORRY!

On the second flight together, he handed me a sack.
I promptly filled it to the top, and tossed the damn thing back. AGAIN!
He must have seen it coming: I heard a fear­some scream:
"Missed me!" - but he forgot about the slip­stream. POW!

Last time I saw Duke was in training for for­mation
He was flying on my wing, so he had no trepi­dation. JUST WAIT!
I started into a left turn, and Duke slid right under.
You know what happened (and so does Duke): one gigantic blunder. BAD MOVE!

Well my stomach settled down, and things be­gan to click.
I became a "red hot pilot" - not bad for a country hick. YUK YUK!
Today with gold wings gleaming, I really am a man.
"Look, Ma, I'm flying - thanks to the Haul-a­way Plan." AMEN!

(subtitle: "PUKE ON DUKE")

* Aviation Midshipmen Log, winter 1998; ©.1998.


[Dated ‘Winter 1998’]: Your editor, in his staunch and persistent search for fresh and exciting features for the Aviation Midshipmen LOG, has enticed a "Poet Laureate" on board to add culture and polish to our publication. Here is a sample … judge for yourself! 

From Yer FMA 'Poet' *

A feller axed me to be
Yer Po-Et-Lar-I-At.
I figger its quite a honor.
Still I do have cause to fret.

He even called me "Mister".
Shucks, I'm jes plain ol' Bob.
He did a lot of sweet talking
­Guess what? I tuk the job.

My only claim to poetry
Wuz in school when the bully bellows,
"Youse must be quite a poet
Cuz yer feets-they's such Longfellows!"

And why I should be a 'lariat,'
I aint got nary a clue.
The only rope trick I ever done
Wuz tying up my shoe.

Yet I did say, "Yep, OK",
So I plans to spend some time.
But words like 'poet' ‘n 'lariat'
Is mighty hard to rhyme.

They's got to be jes somethin
What rhymes with that word 'poet.'
It's right on the tip of my tongue
Dang word - it's there - I know it!

But nothin rhymes with 'lariat,'
I've given up all hope.
It'd make rhymin life more easier
To be known as "Poet Rope."

Then after all that toil and fuss,
I lern't the pay aint much.
That feller took advantage
Of me - I'm such a 'easy touch'.

So here I sits a'wonderin
And chewin on my cud.
Schemin how to get even
With that feller - Orton Rudd.

Now if’n you get to see me
­Youse Middies all which fly,
Don't say nuttin 'bout poetry
­Smile … and jes say "Hi."

* Flying Midshipmen Log, winter 1998; © 1998.



Ever get caught - on a trip or a show
And find that there wam't no place to go?
If you figger that's 'nuff to drive you insane,
You wanna get stuck in a Corsair airplane!

The cockpit is small - real cozy and tight
With a stick and a throttle--'n gauges for flight.
Can't stand or stretch--just sit there and squirm,
Smile and hold it--legs tight and groin firm.

The airplane makers foresaw pilots' grief
And cleverly built in a device for relief—
­A teeny funnel attached to a hose,
Not easy to use--as this airdale knows.

You can "no-hands" it--that's quite a trick--
Try hitting the cup on a moving joy-stick!
So, use two hands--but you gotta be brief,
Who's flying the plane while you're gettin' relief?

This mission is long--up over four hours,
The pressure builds - almost overpowers.
"Damn that last coffee"--I thinks, gettin' madder,
Crew topped off my gas—I topped off my bladder!

Freezin' cold in the cockpit--I must look cute
Strugglin' to get it out--of this damn poopy suit.
The fly tube unfurls--seems like a mile--
Can anyone reach the end ? I muse with a smile. 

I ain't that endowed--why with what I got
I can't even tie it--into a knot!
Gotta go quick--it really hurts
Gonna let loose--a couple of squirts.

Ah-h-h! What relief!!! Wait--something's amiss!
Oh No!! Quite literally--I know I've been pissed!!
Didn't quite reach the end of the suit--
Funny warm feeling's runnin' down into my boot. 

'Twas many years ago--time's yellowed that page,
Gotta go more often--because of my age.
But I'm gettin' smarter--using my head,
Installed a relief tube—‘longside my bed!


“Ode to My Chopper” *

Mom worried and said, "Fly low and slow"
But Navy instructors said, "That's a no-no."
"Airspeed !", they bellowed, "Watch your damn speed!
That's Rule Number One in the Old Pilot's Creed.

Low and slow and your life will be fraught
With danger." And I now approach naught!
Panic !! I watch the needle hit ZERO !
Can this be the end of our young Naval hero ? 

But wait - I'm flying my marvelous chopper
So zero airspeed is not a show stopper.
You fixed-wing zoomies might run for cover,
But I just relax in a comfortable hover.

What runway to use? I really don't care—
With my wonderful craft, I land anywhere !
Hopelessly lost? Need in-flight corrections?
Stop at a gas station-for relief and directions.

If the engine stops, must I bailout?
Or 'run in circles - yell, scream and shout' ?
Nope--- just toss out the 'FOLLOW ME' brick,’
Follow it to the ground--now that's a slick trick!

That awesome maneuver is an 'autorotation'
Drop the collective - WOW! What a sensation!
No ejection seat or cold parachute ride,
Just gently flare out and stay safely inside. 

You jet jocks might think that altitude's neat
Can you see that nudist camp from four-oh K feet?
My chopper flies low and slow-so Mommy delights.
It's especially nice to fly-if you fear speed and heights!

A brick with diagonal stripes- black and yellow.
Like the jeep of that name--it leads … and you follow. 

* Flying Midshipmen LOG summer 2004; © 2004.

“The Fall”

High up on a tree - a single leaf falls.
Below in the grass - an orange cat crawls.
High in the sky, the single leaf flashes.
Low on the ground, the orange cat scratches.

"The leaf must come down, it's gravity's law.
I will smash it and dash it with my mighty claw."
So it has been over eons quite biblical.
The cat knows it too, he is quite pontifical.

But the game, it is said, ain't done till it's over,
So let's leave the cat lying deep in the clover.


The leaf, in the meantime, is having a ball.
From high up above, it continues to fall.
It dives and it loops, does a great figure eight,
Completely ignoring its impending fate.

It circles and floats, upside and down,
Swirling and swaying - around and around.
Magnificent colors flash in the sun,
All colors of the rainbow - wrapped into one.

A sudden downdraft!! Down -Down - Down – Down !!
Up - Up - Up - Up - up comes the ground !
A fiery comet--flame yellow and red.
It hits the cat squarely--poor kitty is dead!


The moral is clear from this epic tome:
If you see a leaf fall- just leaf it alone !

(Ed note: methinks the FMA Poet Laureate has gone quite 'loopy'.) 




To first set the stage, let us turn back the page
To a time in the far distant past,
To a time in the mid-nineteen forties,
To a time when our die was cast

Remember? From: Commandant, United States Navy
(He sounds like the Lord up above.)
To: Lowly Potential Midsh!pman
(Look! He even signed it "with love"! )

Number 1. You wire report to NAS Pensy
On the first if the month and by noon
Say good bye to all of your roved ones.
Looking forward to seeing you soon.

Number 2. While traveling you're be entitled
To per diem of five dollars a day.
PS: 'Don't spend it all in one place
Have fun! That's all we can say



Now fast forward back to the present
We gather from all parts of our nation.
To Pensacola where it all started,
The cradle of Naval Aviation.

We’re coning by car and coming by plane,
We’re coming by all means human,
We're hobblin’ and crawlin' and limpin’
To the 'Ffying Midshipmen 'REUNION.

We tell our long forgot stories,
And cry in our beer reminiscing.
Our poor bladders have shriveled so badly
We constantly stop to go pissing.

Remember the time … " is the way that we start
Then go on with our often told tales.
No one remembers, cause it's most all made up.
That's how it is with Airdales.

"Forty thousand feet and flat on my back,"
That s how the next story begins.
It goes on and on and some tears are shed
Between sips of tonic and gin.



But gone are those days, gone is our hair,
Gone are our muscles - to jelly.
Gone is just about everything,
'Except, of course, … our beer belly.

Where is the vim, where is the vigor,
Where is the burning hot fire?
Why did it end, why did it go,
Why did we ever retire?

We’re much too young, still eager to fight,
Our hearts can still fill with rage.
It can't be true that we're all ready
To enlist in the Old Golden Age!

We talk about golf, the wife and grandkids,
The market and retirement plans.
And we think of our lives and all we have done
Then solemnly we wring our hands. 

Has it really been sixty years
Since the start of the Holloway Plan?
Have we the Flying Midshipmen
Made the world any better for man?

We served our country thru Korea and Nam
We held the Commies at bay.
We did our duty all over the world
So how does that world look today?

What will we leave as our legacy?
We who are the fortunate ones.
What will we leave to our children
And to all their daughters and sons?



Now a toast to our fallen companions
We dearly do miss those great guys
Who made their final approach and got their last CUT
On that big carrier up in the sky.

Now a toast to our fallen companions
Our eyes are beginning to tear.
We remember them and think to ourselves,
How lucky we are just to be here.

Now a toast to our fallen companions
Henry, John, 'Budge … every one.
You were part of our lives and you live in our hearts
And all we can say is … well done.

But let's not end on so som6er a note,
They wouldn't want it that way. 
They'd say it was great being a squadron mate
With all their buddies - in the FMA.

So let's get back to our partying
And fill up this hall with good cheer.
Have fun and drive very carefully.
Cause we hope to see y'all next year!


(The FMA—Flying Midshipmen Association, 1980-2012)


“The Poet Replies”

The poet is a gentle soul
He knows not scorn nor rancor
From words he forms tranquil beauty
Or whatever he may hanker.

The editor, on the other hand
May be a scourge of men.
He can shake the tranquil beauty
With the ravages of his pen.

With words like "methinks the Poet
Laureate has gone quite 'loopy' "
He raises questions of himself
­Could be he is getting droopy?

What airdale reading 'The Fall'
Was not filled with rapture?
Just one fleeting moment in the air
T'was not for us to capture!

And so the morale again is clear
From even this simple tome,
Ed - turn over a new leaf -
Or, please - just leaf it alone ! 

(Ed. Note: My title ‘Poet Lariat’ - that's a rhymer with rope around neck-not a pretty sight!



(Ever wonder what happens when ‘Pros’ compete?)

The fifteenth of June, from all over they come:
Gene, Lou, Tiger, Ort … (each one a well-known golf name).
The FMA golf challenge – at the PAX River Club,
Each to be a hero … or maybe a dud.

Now at the starting tee - avid Gene goes first …
It’s into the woods – is there anything worse?
“Mulligan,” he yells, then gives a great whap.
The ball flies way out … and into a trap.

Then par golfer Lou – addresses the ball.
Grunts and swings mightily … nothing at all?
Well goodness to golly – he just seems to stare.
Why? Look at his ball – it’s still sitting there.

And finally, Ort .. his moment is near.
The Middies go ecstatic and give a great cheer.
With a wave to the crowd and tip of his hat,
Ort raises both hands … he's modest tike that.

Two hundred yards … he lines up the ball.
Swings an 8-iron … An 8 ?? Yep, that's all.
The ball arcs up gracefully, right at the pin
No one believes it …the ball went right in!!!

“It was nothing,” he says as he writes down the score.
“I’ve hardly ever," he said, "aced this hole before."
“Oh sure,” they reply, “you're a regular Houdini,
“Let's quit all this crap and get a martini.”


“What … Me Afraid?”

Granpa … In your illustrious career did you
Ever encounter real heart-stopping fear?

WOW ! That ‘Q’ knocked me back on my heels !
Heart-stopping fear? Yeah … I know how it feels.

But Flying Middies don’t know the meaning of fear.
(Or, many other words … Mangonel … Lavaliere.)
As a brave navy pilot, can I really say yes?
I’ll just finesse it—rather than outright confess.

“My very first solo was the greatest of sports.
(I won’t mention that I had to change my wet shorts.)
Instrument flying was a no-brainer.
(I didn’t tell that I crashed a Link Trainer).”

“My first carrier landing was quite a shocker,
To end up with spuds in the potato locker.
The night cat shots spooked some of the guys.
Didn’t bother me (but I did close my eyes).”

“When my engine quit dead … didn’t give a hoot
‘Cause I had my trusty ole parachute.
The packer said it had a full guarantee—
If it didn’t work—replace it for free.”

“Inverted spin … that was a snap.
Pulled 8-plus ‘G’s … WHOA !! See the wings flap !
So many thrills … times without number,
I always stayed cool … cool as a cucumber.”

But Bobby, in truth, being scared ain’t no shame.
With us Middie Airdale Middies it’s part of the game.
So in answer to your question … Amen and Alas,
“Real heart-stopping fear ?” … you betcher sweet ass !

By “Cool” Bob Brennan



In the LOG of Summer 2010, my Grandson Robby asked,
"Were you ever afraid ?"
Now, he's come up with an even stickier wicket ....

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

“Granpa …

With your buddies who flew in the heavens above Didja ever
experience a feeling of love ?” “OMG ! That “Q” rocked me
back on my heels.

A Macho Middie doesn’t tell how he feels.

As Poet Laureate, fifteen years is pretty long,
So this will likely be my swan song
Thirty poems - most of them great
Now it’s the end - such is cruel fate.

\Vhen Ort finds out I wrote a Poem about feeling -
From his jet up in heaven – he’II eject through the ceiling !
But now I’ve done it - will I be fired ?
No matter - my poeti genius has expired.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
So, here goes:

Well, love of country - of the flag - that's OK -
Love of adventure - sure any old day.
Love lo play golf or watch a good fight -
Love a wild party that lasts thru the night.

Admire, respect - maybe even affection -
Band of brothers - a time-proven connection –
Companion, friend, the guy on your wing.
But love your buddies –that’ s anther thing.

WAIT ! The Bible says greater love hath no man Than to lay down his life for his friend if he can. So thinking about it -to my great surprise –­You know, Bobby … I really do love those guys.


Bob Brennan, January 1, 2011

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Editor's Trivja: FYI - in all previous issues of the LOG, the word 'love' has appeared only once-as a Middie's last name!



The Doc shook his head, looked sad and said,
"You're not too bad - at least you're not dead !
With a little fixin," his face turned to smiles,
"Might get another free ten thousand miles !

"You ought to be thankful for that medical plan,
All you rich Navy guys have a kind Uncle Sam.
You're getting a lot older - no need to be pissed,
Look what you've gotten - it's a long costly list.

"Five years ago you weren't overjoyed
When I took care of that big hemorrhoid.
Then the new set of teeth was a costly job
But now you're back eating com on the cob.

"The Roto-Rooter op's got you flowing like Niagara
And the Missus' been smilin' since you started Viagra.
Insurance paid for the pills - there was no need to scrimp
T'was an inexpensive way to get rid of your limp.

"And speaking of limp, we replaced both your knees,
Two hips and one elbow - good deal, with no fees.
Your tired old ears were starting to fade
So we gotcha a hi-tech digital aid.

"For what was paid to fix up your cataracts
You cudda bought a matched pair of Cadillacs.
And your heart attack got you a shiny new stent
Surely you agree that was money well spent ?"

So I got to thinking - for such an old guy,
Life's pretty good - even just squeaking by !




The Ready Room was full of gloom
Full of gloom, just like a tomb.
The air was dense - nerves were tense.
A mission immense now hung on the fence.
Our valiant crew of only two
Is long overdue. What should we do?

Action Plan

Each Middie tells a story, some filled with glory,
Others are gory. Oops, very sorry !
Exaggerated tales by "fearless" males:
Take offs in gales, bomb hump-back whales!
Cat shot at night, sonic dog-fight,
White knuckle fright, sphincter real tight
Flat on my back, sky black ack-ack.
Wings start to crack - my aching back !

Mission Complete

Suddenly heroes appear - to a boisterous cheer
Have no fear, they got all the beer.
Mission complete, heroes look beat.
Get them a seat, give them a treat. 


Back to the fray, spin tales all day
Ready Room play - at FMA. 

Pensacola Preflight Class 15-48