A THOUSAND WORDS - Alex Waterhouse-Hayward's blog on pictures, plants, politics and whatever else is on his mind.


Captain Schork's Intruder
Monday, February 20, 2006

It was about 10 years ago that my writer friend Sean Rossiter and I drove to the Whidbey Island Naval Air Station in Washington State. We figured that an air show at a military base would be a tad more authentic than our Abbotsford Air Show. We also figured that pilots flying for fellow pilots would do more daring maneuvers. We weren't exactly right. This was a military base and safety seemed to be paramount. But the American "junk" food was specially good. Sean and I got to see two of our favourite military airplanes. One of them was the McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom. Writer Bill Sweetman wrote of the Phantom, "Malevolence expressed in aluminum." I am a peaceful kind of guy but I have always been a fan of war movies and a military airplane buff. I have some internal guilt on this. But guilt goes out of the window when I can see my favourite airplane of all and this is the Grumman A-6 Intruder. An airplane that can hug the ground and evade trees at night, in any weather, while carrying a bomb load second only to Boeing's B-52, is a very special plane. Sean and I talked to pilots who told us that that A-6 was being phased out for the F/A-18 Hornet. They told us that they were going to miss the thrill of flying the Intruders and that in their opinion the Hornet was not a better plane for the job. I was able to photograph the base commander, Captain USN Schork next to one of his beloved Intruders. It was a cloudy day and the light was much like perhaps on an carrier. Captain Schork looked into my lens and when I pressed the shutter I wondered if a man who showed such equanimity was capable of letting loose the destructive power at hand.



Previous Posts
the weight of absence

Juan Castelao and the VPO

Ballet BC and Acacia Schachte

Libertador General San Martín

Wayne Gretzky

Hugh Pickett's Letter

Hugh Pickett - Impresario 1914-2006

The Coyoacan Church

Rebecca in Guanajuato 2005

La iglesia de la compañía

January 2006

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