In the official notification message, RADM Nathman sent his "personal congratulations to the men and women of VXE-6. Accumulating 44 years of Antarctic flying and a long history of Safety article submissions prior to your decommissioning, the "Ice Pirates" of VXE-6 demonstrated tremendous achievement in aviation safety. Over the past ten years, and in particular 1998, you submitted a stream of outstanding safety-related articles to Approach magazine. You had the unique opportunity to operate in the worst flying environment on earth and passed your lessons learned on to fellow aviators who have benefited tremendously. Your publications and articles have contributed significantly to your squadron's safety awareness and reflected the strength of your command's safety program. This award serves as a well deserved tribute and farewell to VXE-6."
VXE-6's last XO (CDR JD Dickinson) credits the squadron Safety Officer for this prestigious award. "LCDR Evans was the driving force behind all of the articles which VXE-6 submitted to Approach. He beat the drum to convince squadron personnel to document their experiences in a user-friendly, easy to read format. The chain of command above the Safety Officer did very little in the way of "polishing" the articles. Approach Magazine is known for it's first hand articles. Aviators read the stories because they are written by other aviators. The empathy value alone keeps readers coming back, regardless of the type aircraft we fly.
In the history of Naval Aviation, only a small handful of aviators and aircrew have
operated ski-equipped aircraft in the middle of an Antarctic snowfield. Nonetheless, the
majority of professional aviators have had to deal with icing conditions, cold
temperatures, low visibility, or high altitude (the South Pole is nearly 10,000 feet above
sea level). VXE-6 aircrew simply
encountered these challenging conditions as a matter of routine for five months out of the year for 44 consecutive years. Our stories did not need to be embellished to be entertaining, if anything, they had to be toned down to appear plausible."
Following the March disestablishment, the majority of Ice Pirates transferred to a
variety of duty stations as diverse and widespread as the Navy itself. "If there is
one single location that is most convenient for the majority of us, it is probably San
Diego," said CDR Dickinson. "I selected that location for two reasons. First, a
lot of our folks are either in San Diego, or somewhere nearby in southern California. If
we can spare the time, we will all find some way to get there. The other reason is
a little more tactical: I needed someone to buy the cake and host Admiral Nathman."
|(right) RADM Nathman (left) Capt Mawhinney||(Left to right) Capt Mawhinney, CDR Dickinson, CDR Jackson, RADM Nathman. RADM Nathman presents CDR Jackson with the award.||(Left to right) CDR Dickinson, CDR Jackson, RADM Nathman. RADM Nathman presents CDR Jackson with the award.||Capt Mawhinney|
|RADM Nathman on the accomplishments of VXE-6||(Left to right) Capt Mawhinney, CDR Dickinson, CDR Jackson, RADM Nathman, Master Chief Bogan||CDR "PHENOMENAL" Jackson with the Award and RADM Nathman looking on.|
(click on thumbnails for larger view)
CDR J.D. Dickinson, USN
Logistic Programs Officer
Naval Weapons Test Squadron, Point Mugu
521 9th St. Code 56CB10E
Point Mugu, CA 93042-5001
(805)989-0667, FAX-5238, DSN:(351)