The Tailhook Association
P.O. Box 40
Bonita, CA 91908-0040

Phone: (619) 689-9223
11 October

pilots, jets, & the enterprise | tailhook '91 | old navy/new navy | what ails the navy? | readings | reactions | tapes & transcripts | admiral boorda's in basket | chronology of women in the navy | explore frontline | pbs online | wgbh


Dear Skipper,

As President of the Tailhook Association, I wanted to take this opportunity to give you a debrief of the "goods" and "others" of this years' annual symposium at the Las Vegas Hilton while it is still fresh in your mind. Without a doubt, this was the biggest and most successful Tailhook we have ever had. We said it would be the "Mother of all Hooks," and it was. We had close to 5,000 people in attendance, over 1,500 rooms filled and 172 exhibits. The professional symposium proceeded flawlessly and it appeared the information exchange was excellent. The flag panel was a resounding success with an estimated 2,500 in attendance. The questions were frank, on the mark and often quite animated. Our banquet and luncheon also boasted of incredible attendance and were enjoyed by all. Our very senior naval leadership, including the Secretary and the CNO, were thoroughly impressed and immensely enjoyed their time at Tailhook '91. Additionally, all of our naval aviation leaders and many industry leaders had nothing but praise for the event. We can be proud of a tremendous Tailhook '91 and a great deal of thanks goes to all the young JOs in the various committees that made Hook fly.

But Tailhook '91 was the "Mother of all Hooks" in one other way, and that brings me to the "others." The major "other" of this year's symposium comes under the title of "unprofessionalism," and I mean unprofessionalism underlined! Let me relate just a few specifics to show how far ac cross the line of responsible behavior we went.

This year our total damage bill was to the tune of $23,000.00 Of that figure, $18,000 was to install new carpeting as a result of cigarette burns and drink stains. We narrowly avoided a disaster when a "pressed ham" pushed out an eighth-floor window which subsequently fell on the crowd below. Finally, and definitely the most serious , was "the Gauntlet" on the third floor. I have five separate reports of young ladies, several of whom had nothing to do with Tailhook, who were verbally abused, had drinks thrown at them, were physically abused and were sexually molested. Most distressing was the fact an underage young lady was severely intoxicated and had her clothing removed by members of the Gauntlet.

I don't have to tell you that this type of behavior has put a very serious blemish on what was otherwise a successful symposium. It has further given a black eye to the Tailhook Assciation and all Naval Aviation. Our ability to conduct future Tailhooks, has been put at great risk due to the rampant unprofessionalism of a few. Tailhook cannot and will not condone the blatant and total disregard of individual rights and public/private property!

I, as your president, will do damage control work at regaining our rapport with the Las Vegas Hilton and attempt to lock-in Tailhook '92. I need you to get these "goods" and "others" briefed to all those who were in attendance under your preview(?) Further, I need you, as the leaders of our hardcharging JOs, to make them realize that if future Tailhooks are to take place, attitudes and behavior must change. We in Naval Aviation and the Tailhook Association are bigger and better than this.

As we plan for next year's Hook, I look forward to hearing from you on any ideas you might have to help eliminate unprofessional behavior during Tailhook '92. The intent is not in any way to keep from having fun. Rather, we have to figure out a way to have a great time responsibly or we will jeopardize the very future of Tailhook altogether.

Warm Regards,

Frederic G. Ludwig, Jr.
Captain, U.S.N.
President, Tailhook Association

pilots, jets, & the enterprise | tailhook '91 | old navy/new navy | what ails the navy? | readings | reactions | tapes & transcripts | admiral boorda's in basket | chronology of women in the navy | explore frontline | pbs online | wgbh



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