In this article:
Joe “Hoser” Satrapa
No dissertation on present-day section tactics, or on naval aviation in general, could be considered complete without a brace of Joe “Hoser” Satrapa stories.
Hoser was a Naval Aviation legend: as a kid he was good with a rifle, then when flying the F-8 Crusader his instructor saw how he just ‘hosed’ or sprayed bullets at the towed target and proclaimed, “We’ve got a hoser, here.” As usual, in the fighter community, the nickname stuck.
By the time Hoser was in the F-14 Tomcat community he was the stuff of legend.
Fighting against Joe “Hoser” Satrapa F-14
He also knew a thing or two about the element of surprise as Alex “Rattler” Rucker, F-14 Tomcat pilot and VF-14 Tophatters CO recalls in the book Half Century, Baby! by David ‘Hey Joe’ Parsons and Mads Bangsø;;
‘One particular event (of many) makes me smile.
‘It was back in 1975. I was on the staff at TOPGUN and Hoser was at ACE/AIM up at Nellis. We had arranged to meet over the desert at Chocolate Mt. and do an ACM performance comparison between the F-5E and the F-14A.
‘By then I had a fair amount of time in the F-5 and it felt of like a second skin to me. I could do some really neat stuff with it and I figured I could at least give Hoser (with Bill “Hill Billy” Hill as his back seater) a respectable fight. So, we got together over the blazing desert below (with Clint Eastwood staring up at us, no doubt), took a two-mile lateral separation and the fight was on.
‘In no time we were beak to beak and for me the fight went downhill from there. I tried all my slickest moves, but in fairly short order I was looking back across my vertical stab at two huge intakes camped out at my six with ‘guns’ coming into my headset.
‘Well, this went on for several more set-ups with the same end result. Finally, Hoser said we’d start with me behind him at 1,500ft. 0oohhk yeeahhh! I said to myself. He for damn sure can’t shake me off his dead six.
‘He proceeds to go hard nose up and do one of his famous ‘Vorboschka’ manoeuvres (stick full forward and in one corner rudder full opposite) and now I’m watching this huge F-14 planform basically stopping in mid-air, pitching nose over as I slide out in front of him, and then recovering nose low behind me and rolling back to a perfect guns tracking solution at my six. I had no more questions. I spent the rest of the day looking for my appendage which had been so thoroughly knocked in the dirt.’
The F-14 Tomcat was eye-watering
‘The bottom line though is that not only was the Tomcat an awesome airplane, but in the hands of one of the few fighter pilots of Hoser’s league, it was absolutely eye-watering. Dale “Snort” Snodgrass was another one of those gifted sticks that the rest of us can only admire and envy. I was lucky to get to fly it. My admiration and thanks go to the Grumman Tank & Iron Works for a FINE fighting machine.’
For all of you who have got a copy of Half Century, Baby! or those of you who are contemplating a purchase, make sure to put a mark in your calendar on Feb. 22, 2024 when Hey Joe and Mads will be attending a webinar in support of the book. They also would like to use this opportunity to deliver some exciting news, so we hope you will drop by and say hi!
Photo credit: David “Bio” Baranek / U.S. Navy and News10 video via Fire Aviation