'224 Marine receives ride of lifetime

6 May 2003 | Pfc. C. Alex Herron

Sergeant Joseph J. Toohey, a communications navigations technician with Marine All Weather Fighter Attack Squadron 224, took a seat in the cockpit of his commanding officer, Lt. Col. Gary S. Graham?s F/A-18 Hornet, May 6.

Toohey was awarded the Bengals Maintenance Technician of the Quarter for the first quarter. As a reward for his accomplishment, he received a backseat ride in an F/A-18 Hornet.

The Casper, Wyo. native joined the Marine Corps in November of 1999. After attending two avionics schools, he was stationed at the Air Station in early 2001. Now he works on navigation systems in the Hornets.

?There are a lot of complex systems,? Toohey said. ?When it comes to navigation systems, if you can name it I probably do it.?

The flight took an hour and was a normal ?mission? flight, according to Toohey. Before the flight, Toohey received a standard crew brief, followed by a question and answer session for any last minute questions.

?Sergeant Toohey said he was going to be fine,? Graham said. ?I told him I would level out the wings if he ever wanted to, but he never did. He did great.?

Graham went into the flight like a basic training exercise. He did not try to do anything spectacular for Sgt. Toohey, according to Graham.

?We did a standard training sortie, Graham said. ?We also did an All- Weather intercept, which is where two planes go up, separate and use radar to find each other until they see each other.?

?I wasn?t really a scared nervous about it,? Toohey said. ?It was more of an excited nervous.?

Toohey had a few words for anyone striving to be recognized as one of the best in their field.

?Show initiative, work hard and do what you?re told,? Toohey said. ?That is all I did.?