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Enthusiastic camaraderie is one of the most desired characteristics in a fighter squadron. Of course, it starts right in the squadron, but it grows tremendously when squadron mates share time at The Bar.
When we say The Bar, we mean the Officer's Club, a squadron bar, a local cantina or sitting under a tree in the backyard with your squadron buds. We mean spending casual time outside the literal walls of the squadron talking, joking, bragging, bull-shitting or recounting harrowing tales of life on the edge.
Yes, beer or liquor is quite often included. It enhances the stories, makes tall tales taller and more believable, men stronger and women prettier. Certainly, by no means, is alcohol consumption required to be a part of this gathering of fighter pilots, but it is quite often desired. However, some of the brightest, sharpest and most knowledgeable fighter pilots drink little or not at all, but they understand the value of being with squadron companions in a relaxed environment.
Part of the fighter pilot life style is enjoying a drink with our friends. When at The Bar, young guys are more willing to ask old guys a question that they might not otherwise ask in the squadron. Tactics are discussed, and here, possibly better understood. Squadron cohesiveness is fostered. New guys get to know the guys that have been around a while. Fighter pilots meet fighter pilots from other squadrons; maybe even a guy passing through on the way to somewhere else. You hear what other squadrons are doing and how you might incorporate those ideas into your squadron. And, The Bar breeds competition, especially when The Bar is The Officer's Club.
Japanese F-15DJ Eagle
Photo courtesy of Andreas Zeitler
When more than one squadron occupies the Officer's Club on the same evening, there's going to be competition. There's always the underlying belief that my fighter squadron is better than yours. Our squadron flies our jets better, drops bombs more accurately, will kick your ass in any air-to-air engagement, sings better songs and will defeat you in any fighter pilot game (see Athletic Department). We truly believe that our squadron is the best fighter squadron in the Bar. This good natured, but intense competition builds cohesiveness. Cohesiveness leads to camaraderie and camaraderie breeds better fighter pilots who build better fighter squadrons.
Squadron bars, cantinas, hooches or backyard trees are great, but Officer Clubs make better squadrons. Sadly, Officer Clubs have become almost an outlaw aspect of the fighter pilot world. Commanders have banned fighter pilot songs in some Officer Clubs. Cost cutting has eliminated many Officer Clubs with the introduction of all ranks clubs. Some commanders fear they're own career could be damaged should a squadron member misuse alcohol and so, discourage frequenting an Officer's Club.
USA Marine AV-8B II+ Harriers
Photo courtesy of Rob Tabor
At Fighter Pilot University, we praise the value of an active Officer's Club, but beyond that, we extol the importance of fighter pilots meeting, talking, competing and drinking with other fighter pilots. In this section of our web site we'll acquaint you with what we think are the best fighter pilot nurturing establishments in the world. That may be a bar, saloon, tavern, cantina or club. It may be pictures of fighter pilot gatherings. It may be something that we feel epitomizes the fighter pilot life style.We'd be happy to put the sights and sounds of your squadron's recent event(s) on display. Send us your photos and tales of great deeds and we'll use them here at The Bar.
Fighter Pilot University Bar Manager
Damn it! Drink Responsibly!
HEY, DOWN HERE!!
We told you we'd be here. Welcome to The Bar. Glad you could make it. Just so you know a little about us, here's who we are. We're four guys that have flown fighters for a lot of years and all over the world. That pretty well sums it up.
Here's a very brief history of each of us.
Jolly—another USAF guy, actually started his career as an F-4 WSO. Once he got his pilot wings he flew the F-15C, T-38, and QF-106, yes, a drone dude. He flies for a major airline. Jolly was stationed at Taegu, Ramstien, Kadena, Williams, Holloman, Hickam, Mountain Home and Tyndall.
Rowdy—flew the O-2 and OA-37, Nail 33, before becoming a long, long time A-10 guy. He's a USAF Fighter Weapons School graduate and flies for a different airline from the Jolly. Rowdy has been stationed at KI Sawyer, Laughlin, Davis-Monthan, RAF Bentwaters, Ramstein, Bad Kreuznach, Myrtle Beach, Eielson, Richards-Gebaur and Whiteman.
Picasso—is the only Navy guy in the group. He's our artist and we have him to thank for all our cool artwork and designs for everything in our store.
What else do you need to know? Enjoy The Bar. Enjoy the FU web site. We'll see you around.
Trip ReportsView Articles
One of the great things about being a fighter pilot is the opportunity to visit various places all over the world, meet new people and kill them. Ha, ha, ha, old joke, just kidding. Fighter pilots are like most people. They like new places, new adventures, and new people, mainly because it gives them an opportunity to tell them that they are a fighter pilot. Even once a fighter pilot's career has come to an end, often times, they become airline pilots, which offers an even greater opportunity to see the world.
That's what Trip Reports are all about. Cool places we've been, great bars we've had a drink in and interesting characters we've encountered. We'll let you know some of our favorite haunts, best trips and most enjoyable people.
If you've got a special corner of the world, and we do mean the entire world, a special drinking establishment, festival or destination that you'd like to share, send it to us on our Contact FU page. We'd like to read about it and if it's worthy, we'll make it a Trip Report. If it's really Kickass worthy, we'll make the trip ourselves to check it out and add our comments to yours.
Fighter Pilot University Travel Director
Photo courtesy of Unknown