Tailhook Association

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Tailhook Association
Founded 1956
Key people
Chairman: Jay Campbell[1]
President: Sterling Gilliam[2]
Website tailhook.org

The Tailhook Association is a U.S.-based, non-profit fraternal organization, supporting the interests of sea-based aviation, with emphasis on aircraft carriers. The word tailhook refers to the hook underneath the tail of the aircraft that catches the arresting wire suspended across the flight deck in order to stop the landing plane quickly.

The association was formed by active-duty naval aviators in 1956, eventually growing into a national organization headquartered in San Diego, California. During the Vietnam War, the annual Tailhook reunion and symposium also served to provide opportunities for aircrews from the Pacific and Atlantic Fleets to exchange information about events in Southeast Asia.

Among the Tailhook programs are publication of the quarterly journal The Hook, addressing historical and current events coverage; college scholarships via the Tailhook Educational Foundation; and local/regional "ready rooms" for those active and retired members who support fleet activities.


James D. “Jig Dog” Ramage Award

Year Aircraft Carrier Carrier Air Wing
2001 USS George Washington (CVN-73) CVW-17
2002 USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70) CVW-11
2003 USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN-72) CVW-14
2004 USS Harry S. Truman (CVN-75) CVW-3
2005 USS Harry S. Truman (CVN-75) CVW-3
2006 USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71) CVW-8

Tailhooker Of The Year Award

Year Rank Recipient Service
1963 CAPT Richard “Doc” Phillips, MC USN
1964 CAPT Robert M. Elder USN
1965 VADM Paul D. Stroop USN
1966 VADM Paul H. Ramsey USN
1967 ADM Roy L. Johnson USN
1968 ADM Thomas H. Moorer USN
1969 VADM Thomas F. Connolly USN
1970 ADM John Hyland USN
1971 VADM Maurice F. Weisner USN
1972 VADM William D. Houser USN
1973 VADM Damon W. "Hutch" Cooper USN
1974 VADM Frederick H. Michaelis USN
1975 VADM Robert B. Baldwin USN
1976 VADM James B. Stockdale USN
1977 VADM Robert P. Coogan USN
1978 ADM Thomas B. Hayward USN
1979 VADM Frederick C. Turner USN
1980 VADM G.E.R. “Gus” Kinnear USN
1981 RADM Robert E. Kirksey USN
1982 ADM Wesley L. McDonald USN
1983 VADM Robert F. Schoultz USN
1984 RADM Jerry O. Tuttle USN
1985 RADM Paul T. Gillcrist USN
1986 VADM Edward H. Martin USN
1987 CAPT Byron L. Duff USN
1988 CAPT L. Robert Canepa USN
1989 CAPT Archie Manning USN
1990 RADM Ed Allen USN
1991 CAPT Jay Campbell USN
1992 No Award
1993 RADM Lyle F. Bull USN (Ret)
1994 CAPT Fields Richardson USN (Ret)
1995 RADM Frederick L. Lewis USN (Ret)
1996 CDR Robert E. Stumpf USN (Ret)
1997 ADM Leighton W. Smith USN (Ret)
1998 CAPT Ken “Kilo” Parks USN
1999 CAPT Evan “Streak” Chanik USN
2000 VADM Michael L. Bowman USN
2001 CAPT George B. Dom USN
LtCol James L. Stalnaker USMC
2002 CDR Sterling Gilliam, Jr. USN
LtCol Raymond Damm USMC
2003 CAPT "Shortney" Gortney USN
LtCol Gary Lee "Lurch" Thomas USMC
2004 CAPT "Cyrus" Vance USN
LtCol Wade E. "WZL" Weigel USMC
2005 CAPT Don Quinn USN
Maj Peter L "Mud Duck" McArdle USMC
2006 CAPT Kevin "Kid" Donnegan USN
LtCol John "Dog" Jansen USMC
2007 CAPT "Nasty" Manazir USN
LtCol Hunter "Hamster" Hobson USMC

Lifetime Achievement Award

Year Rank Recipient Service
1993 RADM James D. “Jig Dog” Ramage USN (Ret)
Mr. Ron Thomas
1994 CAPT Larry Flint USN (Ret),
CAPT W.D. “Bill” Knutson USN (Ret)
1995 VADM William D. Houser USN (Ret)
CAPT Robert M. Elder USN (Ret)
1996 CAPT Richard “Chick” Harmer USN (Ret)
RADM Paul T. Gillcrist USN (Ret)
CAPT Lou Kriser USN (Ret)
1997 CAPT Wynn Foster USN (Ret)
CAPT C.A.L. “Cal” Swanson USN (Ret)
1998 CDR Jack D. Woodul USNR (Ret)
Mr. Barrett Tillman
1999 RADM Thomas F. Brown III USN (Ret)
CAPT Walter M. Schirra USN (Ret)
2000 CAPT Lonny K. McClung USN (Ret)
CAPT Richard L. “Zeke” Cormier USN (Ret)
CDR George “Buddy” Gilman USNR (Ret)
2001 CAPT Richard G. Hanecak USN (Ret)
2002 RADM Glen W. “Corky” Lennox USN (Ret)
CDR Dean S. “Diz” Laird USN (Ret)
2003 RADM Frederick “Bad Fred” Lewis USN (Ret)
2004 CAPT Jack Davis USN (Ret)
2005 CAPT Jerry Palmer USN (Ret)
2006 CAPT Steve Millikin USN (Ret)
CDR Jan Jacobs USNR (Ret)

The Hook Magazine Contributor of the Year

Year Rank/Title Recipient Service
1987 CAPT Done East USN (Ret)
1988 Mr John Lundstrom
Mr Jim Sawruk
1989 CAPT Bill Scarborough USN (Ret)
1990 Mr Mike Weeks
1991 LT Mark Morgan USNR
1992 No Award
1993 CDR Ernie Mares USN (Ret)
1994 CDR Jack Woodul USNR (Ret)
1995 LCDR Rick Morgan USN
1996 CDR John B. Nichols USN (Ret)
1997 Mr Thomas F. Gates
1998 Mr Mark Morgan (2)
LCDR Rick Morgan (2) USN (Ret)
1999 Ms Margaret Bone
2000 LCDR E. Leigh Armistead USN
2001 Ms Vivienne Heines
2002 Mr Fred Tannenbaum
2003 CDR Peter Mersky USNR (Ret)
2004 PHCS Bob Lawson USN (Ret)
2005 Mr Tony Holmes
2006 CDR Robert R. “Boom” Powell USN (Ret)

Honorary Tailhooker of the Year

(Sponsored by the Boeing Company)

Year Rank/Title Recipient Service
2001 Ms Barbara Woodbury
2002 Mr John Ascuaga
2003 Hon Gordon R. England SECNAV
2004 Hon Richard Danzig SECNAV
2004 Gen William L. "Spider" Nyland USMC
2005 Mr Jon Winthrop
2006 AVCM John Porter USN (Ret)
2007 CDR Ed “Tick” McCabe USN (Ret)

The Tailhook scandal

In September 1991, the 35th annual symposium in Las Vegas featured a two-day debrief on Navy and Marine Corps aviation in Operation Desert Storm. It was the largest such meeting yet held, with some 4,000 attendees: active, reserve, and retired personnel.

According to a Department of Defense (DoD) report, 83 women and 7 men stated that they had been victims of sexual assault and harassment during the meeting. Several participants later stated that a number of flag officers attending the meetings were aware of the sexual assaults, but did nothing to stop them.[4]

The issues were never quite settled, and as late as 2002, the Tailhook chairman spoke dismissively of "the alleged misconduct that occurred in 1991".[5]

Frontline on PBS reported:

Ultimately the careers of fourteen admirals and almost 300 naval aviators were scuttled or damaged by Tailhook. For example Secretary of the Navy H. Lawrence Garrett III and CNO Admiral Frank Kelso were both at Tailhook '91. Garrett ultimately resigned and Kelso retired early two years after the convention.[6]

Author Jean Zimmerman developed the thesis that the scandal underscored the shifting status of women in the military and particularly the role of women in combat.[7] As such, Tailhook can be seen as part of the evolution of the armed forces that continued through the losses of female soldiers in Iraq.

Commemorative certificates

Some visitors to US Navy aircraft carriers who joined or left the ship on a Carrier Onboard Delivery aircraft are issued "Tailhook certificates" by the Navy which commend them for "NAFOD and intestinal fortitude."[8]


  1. ^ Officers
  2. ^ Board of Directors
  3. ^ Mission Statement
  4. ^ Thompson II, Charles C. (1999). A Glimpse of Hell: The Explosion on the USS Iowa and Its Cover-Up. W. W. Norton. pp. 379–380. ISBN 0-393-04714-8.
  5. ^ RADM Frederick L. Lewis, USN (Ret). "From the Chairman: Tailhook Association At Your Service". The Tailhook Association. Archived from the original on 2007-08-08. Retrieved 2007-08-13.
  6. ^ "Post Tailhook Punishment". Frontline, PBS. Retrieved 2007-08-13.
  7. ^ Zimmerman, Jean (1995). Tailspin: women at war in the wake of Tailhook. New York: Doubleday. ISBN 0-385-47789-9. OCLC 31607961.
  8. ^ Mother Jones, 28 Feb 2013, The US Navy Spends $4 Billion On Fuel Every Year, retrieved 23 Aug 2013.

Further reading

  • "TAILHOOK (BOTHSIDES) The Dream and the Reality". compilation by Dee Finney. 2001-07-18. Retrieved 2007-08-13.
  • "the navy blues: Tailhook '91". Frontline, PBS. Retrieved 2007-08-13.

External links

  • Media related to Tailhook Association at Wikimedia Commons
  • Official website
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