Exposing how little football commentators know about our military
Both Joe Buck and Troy Aikman were caught on hot mic mocking and complaining about a military flyover of an NFL game. Buck is an athletic no-load, but Aikerman had an accomplished football career
"That's your hard-earned money and your tax dollars at work." That was Fox sportscaster Joe Buck voicing a critique of a military jet flyover before an NFL game on Sunday in Tampa, Fla.
"That's a lot of jet fuel just to do a little flyover," Aikman observed before the game, drawing Buck's dramatically intoned remark about the tax dollars being expended.
Both men are clueless as to the true "right stuff" of a military combat pilot, as told by the great author Tom Wolfe in his seminal work with the name The Right Stuff. Wolfe captures the pure ignorance of Buck and Aikerman and the courage of military combat aviators:
There was much fashionably brutish talk of what "dog-eat-dog" and "cutthroat" competition they found there; but i the rare instances when one of these young men died on the job, it was likely to be from choking on a chunk of Chateaubriand, while otherwise blissfully boiled, in an expense-account restaurant in Manhattan. How many would have gone to work, or stayed at work, on cutthroat Madison Avenue if there had been a 23 percent chance, nearly one chance in four, of dying from it? Gentlemen, we're having this little problem with chronic violent death . . .
Buck is a blowhard lightweight, so the issue of an accomplished yet profoundly ignorant football player, Troy Aikman, should be addressed. In his one-dimensional universe, he mastered football.
Troy, meet the late USAF general Robin Olds, West Point All-American, and one of the most legionary fighter pilots in American aviation combat history. Tackle Olds dominated one platoon football with grit and determination and was easily as accomplished as Troy Aikman, but linemen seldom get the glory of being a quarterback.
In 1942 he [Cadet Robin Olds] was named by Collier's Weekly as its "Lineman of the Year" and by Grantland Rice as "Player of the Year." Olds was also selected as an All-American as the cadets compiled a 6-3 record, beating Lafayette College, Cornell, Columbia, Harvard, VMI, and Princeton, and falling to Notre Dame, Penn, and Navy. In the Army-Navy Game of 1942, which was played at Annapolis instead of Philadelphia, Olds had both upper front teeth knocked out when he received a forearm blow to the mouth while making a tackle. Olds returned to the game and reportedly was cheered by the Navy Third and Fourth Classes, which were assigned as the Army cheering section when wartime travel restrictions prevented the Corps of Cadets from attending. In 1985 Olds was enshrined in the College Football Hall of Fame.
Screw Buck's and Aikman's pettifoggery. Military aviators cherish flybys. I have performed missing man formations over the U.S. capital as a Marine F-4 pilot, and I know how the wish "please God do not let me f--- this up" goes through one's mind to bring max pressure. Dollar considerations do not even enter that equation of training and skill to get it right.
Aikman must be clueless on what his fellow all-American and college Football Hall of Famer Robin Olds did in combat. Robin Olds was a triple-ace from World War II to Vietnam with a total of 17 kills. His greatest legacy was carrying the fight to the Vietnamese Air Force in some very dark days of significantly bad tactical decisions. American fighter pilots are now part of the proud lineage of such great leaders as General Olds. His leadership in Operation Bolo, named for a Philippine fighting knife, made fighter pilot aviation history.
Leading countless strategically genius operations (one of which, code-named 'Bolo', saw Olds and the pilots under his command take down half the MiG fighters the North Vietnamese had in service), it's difficult to confirm exactly how many kills Olds made in Vietnam. He knew that, were he to achieve ace status by shooting down five enemy aircraft, he'd become the only pilot who'd done so in both WWII and Vietnam — and would swiftly be sent home for publicity duties. So he simply kept his official count to four and handed credit for any additional kills to other pilots.
The USAF dictated that airmen be discharged after flying 100 missions; Olds quit logging his flights at 99, always demanding to join his men on the most treacherous sorties, eventually clocking up an incredible 152 missions during his 51 weeks in 'Nam.
Olds' Wolfpack was credited with seven enemy aircraft destroyed and two probable — half the MiG-21s in Southeast Asia. The squadron's commander hadn't lost any planes or men. A journalist asked Olds if he was happy with the results. "No," the colonel said with a grin. "We missed a few."
So, instead of mocking American military pilots, Buck and Aikman would best take a page from Baron Von Richthofen, spoken in WWI: when Americans see a flyover, they see the indomitable spirit of military aviators.
"Fight on and fly on to the last drop of blood and the last drop of fuel, to the last beat of the heart."
This is something Buck and Aikman are truly clueless about.