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


The Pensacola Skyhawks
Thursday, June 01, 2006

My story of the Pensacola Skyhawks really began in 1951 in Buenos Aires when Narciso Ramos, the Minister of the Philippine Legation in Argentina (the Philippines did not have an embassy yet), picked me up in his dark blue 1950 Lincoln. He was taking me to a Harlem Globetrotters game at the Luna Park. Inside the car there was a young man smartly dressed in a West Point military uniform. Narciso Ramos became Foreign Minister under Marcos many years later and the young man in the uniform was his son, Fidel who was elected president of the Philippines in 1992. Narciso Ramos had two daughters, Leticia and Gloria. Leticia Ramos-Shahani was a senator during Marcos's presidency. Gloria, who was extremely beautiful, married a dashing US Naval aviator. The aviator, Aldo Jacinto DaRodda and Gloria would vist us in Mexico in the 50s and 60s and by then he was a flight instructor at the Pensacola Naval Air Station.

In 1965 as a conscript of the Argentine Navy I was given the task of translating into Spanish the maintenance and operating manuals of the obsolescent McDonnell Douglas A-4 Skyhawks that the Armada Rep├║blica Argentina had just purchased from the US. I got to know these planes very well. An American Marine Corps pilot (he had the shakes as a result of fighting in the Korean war) explained everything I had to know about the planes.

During a chance viewing of a CBC TV news report during the Malvinas War I saw an Argentine Navy A-4Q Skyhawk streak very low over the horizon and suddenly there was a puff and the plane disappeared, just like that. I found that I felt no emotion for the Argentine pilot but I was devastated by the loss of what I had come to consider as one of my airplanes.

Four years ago I went to Pensacola, Florida on a travel magazine assignment. I had my heart set in going to the Pensacola Naval Air Station to visit the museum. I was thrilled to see four Blue Angel Skyhawks suspended dramatically from the museum ceiling. There was also a beautiful old Spanish fort inside the base (bottom, right).

Driving to Pensacola I took, perhaps, my most technically difficult photograph. Try to photograph a low flying Skyhawk while driving!


Previous Posts
Blue Bathrooms and White Cherries

Ana Victoria

Krzysztof Kieslowski - Blue-White-Red & Green

A Request Not To Be Refused

Elmore Leonard, Richard Margison & The Gentleman

Silas Huckleback

Jessie Richardson

Pamela Martin's Clam

The Midwich Cuckoos

Tamara Taggart In Bed

January 2006

February 2006

March 2006

April 2006

May 2006

June 2006

July 2006

August 2006

September 2006

October 2006

November 2006

December 2006

January 2007

February 2007

March 2007

April 2007

May 2007

June 2007

July 2007

August 2007

September 2007

October 2007

November 2007

December 2007

January 2008

February 2008

March 2008

April 2008

May 2008

June 2008

July 2008

August 2008

September 2008

October 2008

November 2008

December 2008

January 2009

February 2009

March 2009

April 2009

May 2009

June 2009

July 2009

August 2009

September 2009

October 2009

November 2009

December 2009

January 2010

February 2010

March 2010