Hornet Babies

“Back in the old Marine Corps…”

The author, in his salad days, having graduated from the F-4S to the F/A-18D. (Courtesy John Scanlan)
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Last, back in the old Corps—wait a second. I always swore I would never say that. Elderly pilots used to look down their noses and joke about “Hornet Babies,” the young, spoiled pilots who came straight into the F/A-18 from flight school, and never knew the frustrations of flying an earlier, archaic aircraft like the F-4.

So will elderly Hornet Babies now be joking about a whole new generation of “Lightning Babies”? It’s hard for me to imagine young, spoiled pilots who know only the F-35, and it’s even harder to call the F/A-18 an archaic aircraft.

Pardon me. I feel a sudden urge to move to Florida.

A 1983 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, John Scanlan retired from the Marine Corps as a lieutenant colonel. He is pursuing a second career as a writer while living in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina.

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