Thursday, April 17, 2014

Are Aces Gone Forever?

In the April 2012 Air Forces Monthly magazine,  Roland Dansereau asked one of the squadron's commanding officers the following:

"Are aces gone forever?"

To the uninitiated, it could be construed as a pretty insulting question (Hey, fighter pilot, why aren't you an ace yet?). But the heart of the question is, "The U.S. hasn't been seriously challenged in the air for over 30 years, and when it has been challenged, we clobbered the enemy. Is anyone ever going to climb up and throw a serious fighter force against ours, in enough quantity that we'll finally be able to produce some aces?"

The pilot responded with amazing maturity and professionalism: "I feel strongly both ways. I hope not because I have trained my whole career to test myself in battle against enemy pilots and airplanes and I am confident that if there are five targets out there, I would be an ace.

"I hope so, because that means that our country and our military won't have to go through the horror and cost in blood and treasure that a major war would bring. The world is a dangerous place and eventually somebody is going to contest our ability to control the sky.

"They will lose."