If, like your humble scribe, you spent anytime turning the pages of the Tailhook Association’s quarterly pub, The Hook, between 1991 and 2011, you undoubtedly paused for Jack Woodul’s column “The Further Adventures of Youthly Puresome” drawn from his deep reservoir of stories from his time flying the A-4 and F-8  – and other sundry endeavors.  They were (are) great stories and something those of us who came along in the immediate aftermath of Vietnam and before the PC police hijacked the narrative can relate and attest to.   In his own words:

We Naval Aviators of my ancient era occupy a shared space and time that was unique, heroic, funny, outrageous, and tragic. We circled the wagons against a society that repudiated us, picked off a bunch, and said frabb anyone that couldn’t take a joke. We share a common bond that I am unwilling to let perish when I am hustled off to the Non-PC Gulag.

Those stories, regrettably, ended after 2011 and eventually disappeared from the web, leaving me to resort every once in a while to make the trip to the basement, pullout the box(es) of old Hook magazines and pull a random issue for a YP fix.  And given the current baleful look SWMBO casts at my library of Hook magazines, I fear for their continued existence on this earth, at least in current form and not recycling in a dump someplace.  It is therefore with no small amount of joy to note that YP is available once again at a new, dedicated site:  http://youthlypuresome.com/  – and we’ve added it to the roll over there on the left under “Naval Aviation.”

BTW – these stories also formed the kernel of an idea with YHS that rattled around in his brain bucket until the blogging platform arrived.  So – while I count Lex, Sal, Xformed and Far East Cynic as my motivators for getting into blogging, it was through the auspices of The Hook and “Youthly Pursesome” that kicked my tail into writing outside of work or the classroom.  

Welcome back YP – we missed ya!



  1. Wellsir, this is sweet! Thanks to the Internet and Jan Jacobs’ expertise, Youthly lives! Not just as spiritual advisor to a bunch of goats in far Northern New Mexico, but extracted whole from the HOOK, complete with Carl Snow’s illustrations.
    Since all we Naval Aviators have a story (and you know a Naval Aviator is lying when his lips are moving), I have always encouraged chaps to write theirs down.
    It is encouraging to see the blog and site listings on Steeljaw’s site. I am accused by the current crop of feather merchants of speaking some kind of archaeopteryx gobbledegook, and there are damned few of us leathery old flapping creatures to wave our hands and shoot off our wristwatches to demonstrate that the older we get, the better we were.
    You chaps keep it up, and keep the faith!

  2. Ken Adams

    What is on the left wing of the lead Scooter?

  3. Dad joined the Tailhook Society even though he had no direct connection. My Godfather flew F-4 Phantoms in VF-161 off the Midway and America during Vietnam and he was Dad’s partner on the CHP, so that might have had something to do with it. In any case, we had that magazine around and I remember reading those 😉

  4. Ken: That is a towed target for air – air gunnery. Pretty much made of plywood & foam IIRC.
    w/r, SJS

  5. Chaps: I left a comment a couple of days ago, but it left my cell phone and is circling cyberspace somewhere. The gunnery target is called a “Dart,” and it was normally towed by a Scoot. My Crusader squadron shot at them quite a bit out at Fallon; a hit would knock off a nice chunk, and a good solid run would result in the thing disappearing in a cloud of styrofoam peanuts–very satisfying, if frustrating to remaining shooters. There was a slightly larger target, called a FIGAT (?) that was supposed to simulate a mini MIG-21, and it was acoustically scored. Naturally, the object was to make it disappear in a cloud of styrofoam peanuts, too.

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