wFrom:  Joe Ciokon

wtDate:  October 22, 2012

Subject:  Miramar Air Show 2012

Our Navy lightweight Judo contender in 1973 was a LT in communications at Pearl Harbor, enlisted, made CPO, then went for a commission, eventually retiring as a Captain (O-6).  He had a private pilot’s license and would fly Mary and I around the islands for some R&R while we were stationed there at Fleet headquarters.

I’ll bet many of us on this net have similar characters in our wanderings.  We had one on our Armed Forces Judo Team to the 1973 World Military Judo Championships of the CISM in Rio.  Head Coach was TSgt Rene Pommerlle, an Air Police instructor. In Judo, we had a rule: rank was left outside.  We had 30 contenders meet at Lackland for selection and training for six weeks.  There were two Army officers.  We cut ten [out] the first week and at end of camp we had our required nine-man team.  I made alternate light heavyweight (84 kilos), which would allow me to swing from there to Heavyweight and Open (95k+) [209 lbs+] if needed.  The Air Force Lightweight champ made the team.  He was a Captain out of Luke AFB Tactical Fighter Wing.  He had flown 125 missions in Vietnam in the F-100 Super Sabre.  He was also an avid skydiver and would do that on weekends during camp.  He drove a VW “Thing” stripped down with no side panels, seats or carpeting.  He kept his chutes spread out from the passenger side to the hatch.  He bolted an aluminum folding chair to the floor behind the wheel and drove off to the nearest airport for fun and games.  Quiet as a mouse, never bothered anyone or said a word unless Coach asked him a question.  But, on the mat, he would tear you a new one.  Nice guy, really.  In Brazil, he broke the German Lightweight’s leg and their team heavyweights took turns carrying him around the venues throughout the tournament.  The military coaches had a rule--even the wounded ones come to practice and the matches if only to observe and take notes.  Like me--after the German Light Heavyweight threw me off the mat onto the concrete floor and bruised my Achilles tendon.  I became the team manager and went with the Coach to all the meetings and took notes there and at the matches.  I’ll never forget the Dutch Heavyweight (245 lbs at six-six) looking down at me as we met on the sidelines and telling me: “You must not fight me…I do not want to hurt you.”  The he smiled and walked away.  During the opening ceremonies we all wore our dress uniforms and he had seen me in my CPO uniform with medals.  I was the oldest player there.  The Captain, we learned at Lackland, was totally without social graces.  The guy would let out the loudest and smelliest farts which almost lifted his little butt off the mat.  Coach Pommerelle would yell at him: “It’s a good thing you fly a single seat plane!”  But, it always cleared a space around him.  Our Brazilian escort took us into town one day to do some touristy stuff, like shopping, dining and checking out the girls of Ipanema and Copacabana.  We were buying Gold and Emeralds in a Jewelry store when “Captain Eddie” let out a big. loud one.  Everyone in the shop stopped and looked around at each other, then Eddie looked at a well dressed matron and shouted, “Jesus, Lady!” and walked out of the shop.  We were in hysterics.  Damn glad I didn’t have to fight that Dutchman.


wFrom:  Bob Nelson

wtDate:  October 21, 2012

Subject:  Miramar Air Show 2012

Obvious question...Did TomCruise use you as a pattern for his movie role?

Bob N

wFrom:  Bill Altman

wtDate: October 22, 2012

Subject:  Miramar Air Show 2012

Hey Joe,

Your comment about air assets for Tora,Tora,Tora reminds me of a story.   In the 70's I was stationed with the U.S. Army Military District of Washnington in D.C. and was a active member of the Quantico Skydivers Club.  On the rare weekend when we could not get military A/C, we jumped at a little airstrip in nearby Bealton, VA.  An Army Lt. Col. there flew his Cessna 182 so we could jump.  He was assigned to the Sec. Ops. Command staff in the Pentagon.  What a character!  Somehow he was in Hawaii when the filming for Tora, Tora, Tora wrapped up and purchased one of the reproduction Zeros they used in the film.  They shipped his new possession in crates to New Orleans where he had it assembled and flew it up to Virginia.  He had no real instruments and had to fly VFR all the way.  I asked him how he navigated and he told me he followed a natural gas pipeline all the way from Louisiana.  He sold the airplane about six months after he got it to Virginia.  This guy was a good but crazy pilot who drove a Ford pinto, with a rag for a gas cap .  We all went to his apartment one time and had to sit on the floor.  He was divorced and had one beat up couch and a small TV in his living room along with a giant military surplus sewing machine for parachutes and nylon webbing.  Memories of fun times!


wFrom:  Joe Ciokon

wtDate:  October 20, 2012

Subject:  Miramar Air Show 2012


Where were you?  For ten years I had to entertain VIP guests in the admiral's chalet.  I even had a Flight-line Pass to drive one of those golf carts and give tours of Top Gun.


From:  Jim Altman

Date:  October 20, 2012

Subject:  Miramar Air Show 2012

This message had a link and a note staying "Click the thmbnail for the air show in the featured gallery) but as of December 2013, the site has been changed.  Even so, here is the link to the Miramar Air Show 2012.

Making Movies and Some of the People We have Met

October 2012

AFVN Group Conversations