By Jay Cope | NAS Whiting Field Public Affairs
Cmdr. Joseph McGilley, USCG, has turned over command of Training Squadron TWO (VT-2) to Cmdr. Zachariah Aperauch, USN. The transition occurred during a March 24 Change of Command ceremony in the Naval Air Station Whiting Field North Field hangar. Retired U.S. Coast Guard Capt. William D. Cameron served as guest speaker for the traditional event, which allows for assembled crew, staff, friends and guests to welcome the new commander while also recognizing the outgoing leader s achievements. McGilley s leadership led VT-2 to fly more than 30,000 flight hours in the completion of more than 18,800 sorties. This dedication to training enabled the squadron to complete 350 Student Aviators through the Primary Flight Training syllabus during his command tour.
His unwavering commitment to professionalism and instruction were evidenced in the unit s selection for the chief of Naval Air Training s 2014 Training Excellence Award, the 2015 Commander Theodore G. Ellyson Aviator Production Excellence Award, and a grade of Outstanding on the 2016 Chief of Naval Air Training Flight Instructor Standardization inspection, a Whiting Field media release states.
Commanding VT-2 was the latest stop on a 20-year military aviation career that began in March 1997 in Pensacola and Milton with his primary flight training with VT-2. He winged as a helicopter pilot from Helicopter Training Squadron EIGHT before being stationed in Clearwater, Fla., where he flew the HH-60J Jayhawk helicopter. Since then he served tours at Coast Guard Stations in San Diego; Elizabeth City, N.C.; Astoria, Ore.; and the USCG Office of Aeronautical Engineering. McGilley also completed advanced education at Purdue University s Graduate School of Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering.
Aperauch will draw upon his 17 years of naval service and experience. His career began after graduating from Old Dominion University in 1999 and earning his commission from Officer Candidate School in May 2000. He has served tours with the Vanguard of HM-14; AWSTS as a fleet replacement squadron instructor; Joint Staff J7 division; and the USS San Antonio (LPD 17).
He earned a master s degree in National Security and Strategic Studies from the Joint Forces Staff College.
Cmdr. Mark A. Jackson, USCG, will replace Aperauch as the squadron s executive officer.
Lance Stroll of Montreal, Canada s newest Formula One driver, acquitted himself well during the first and second free-practice sessions for this weekend s season-opening Grand Prix of Australia, even though he was only 16th fastest at end of day.
Because of the time difference, Friday afternoon in Australia was middle-of-the-night in Canada. Those who stayed up late saw Lewis Hamilton who else? go fastest of the 20 cars entered at the Albert Park circuit in Melbourne with a time of one minute, 23.620 seconds in his Mercedes. Sebastian Vettel was second fastest in a Ferrari with a time of one minute, 24.167 seconds (he was not happy being a half-second behind) while Valtteri Bottas was third fastest at one minute, 24.176 seconds.
Stroll was 16th fastest, 2.905 seconds slower than Hamilton. However, this was just fine for a driver dipping his toe into F1 waters for the first time and one who was under specific instructions from his team, Williams F1, not to crash his car. Translation: he wasn t pushing.
So far, so good, said Stroll when asked how his day had gone. It was very positive; we had a clean day.
Stroll said the car felt good and that he enjoyed the additional grip, although It made it more physically demanding,
The British commentators – TSN picked up the telecast from the U.K. s Sky Sports were somewhat divided when discussing the 18-year-old Canadian. While most of them had previously labelled Stroll somewhat derisively as a pay driver, conveniently forgetting that all of today s F1 drivers have had to pay their way to race at some point in their careers (Lewis Hamilton had his way paid by McLaren s Ron Dennis), they seemed to be of split opinions this time around.
Ex-driver-turned-TV-commentator Martin Brundle, for instance, was quite favourable when discussing Stroll. He didn t criticize and although not exactly full of praise, was more positive than negative in his analysis of the Canadian s performance.
Some of the others, however, let their attitudes toward anyone from the colonies shine through. When Stroll complained that Kimi Raikkonen was holding him up, the reporting was along the lines of, It s second practice, what do you expect? I guarantee that if any of the other drivers had made a similar complaint, there would have been sympathy in the booth instead of condemnation.
So, as well as being a rookie whose time in the car is limited, as are the laps allowed (Jacques Villeneuve, for instance, had 10,000 miles of testing under his belt before his first race), Stroll has had to take on the media. It s not an easy job.
People forget that the media destroyed Michael Andretti s Formula One career. Yes, he had his problems in the first few races (he stalled on the grid in the first race and crashed at the first corner at the second) but their reporting was frequently beyond the pale. They went after his wife, for instance, for the way she dressed and questioned his dietary habits that included hamburgers rather than muesli.
Ironically, when he quit late in the season, he finished third at the Italian Grand Prix. His podium, I believe, would have been the first of many but he couldn t take the harassment any longer and said the hell with it.
And many of them looked down their noses at Jacques in the beginning. In fact, during the fourth race of his rookie year, the European Grand Prix of 1996, the BBC colour commentator at the time, Jonathan Palmer, spent most of the race criticizing Villeneuve s driving despite the fact that he was in the lead and the second-place driver, a guy named Michael Schumacher, couldn t cut into it, never mind try to pass him.
I was on the Globe and Mail at the time and wrote a column about this lack of objectivity. At that year s Grand Prix of Canada, I was visited in the media centre by a delegation led by a reporter from the Times of London, who wanted to know where I got off criticizing them.
We ve been very fair to him, they harrumphed, but had no reaction when I asked them to show me where, either in print or on the air, they had been as critical toward any of the other Formula One drivers of the day.
When journalists travel in packs, their targets have to have thick skins. I can think of another couple of people who ve found themselves in the crosshairs lately and it s not particularly fun to watch. But I digress.
Pre-qualifying can be seen on TSN5 Saturday morning at 1 a.m. Qualifying comes on at 1:55 a.m. and post-qualifying can be seen at 3 a.m. The race will come on TSN5 Saturday night at 11:30 p.m. with the Australian Grand Prix going to the post on TSN1 and 5 at 12:55 a.m.
POSTSCRIPT: There were several shots of Mercedes pay manager Toto Wolff during the telecast and seeing him reminded me of a story about his wife that I forgot to mention in my column earlier in the week. Suzy Wolff (nee Stoddart), a former test driver for the Williams F1 team and now a promotions representative for Mercedes, has lost her driving licence for six months after being caught going 35 miles an hour in a 30 mph zone. Now, that seems kind of chintzy but it s the old three-strikes-and-you re-out rule, in that she had two previous speeding convictions and had used up nine of the 12 points allowed on her licence. She appealed, citing the embarrassment of the ban, but was rebuffed.
NOW, LET ME get this straight.
Two races ago, Kyle Busch, allegedly an adult, started a fist fight in the pits and then, when he was hauled away by a NASCAR security guard, continued to act like the 10-year-old he is. He embarrassed his team, his sponsors and his sport. He has done this before and as sure as God made those little green apples, will do so again unless somebody lowers the boom on him. For that, though, he was let off Scot-free because, well, according to NASCAR, boys will be boys.
One race ago, Brad Keselowski s car flunked post-race inspection because of what was called a rear-wheel infraction. For this crime, Paul Wolfe, crew chief of Keselowski s car, was suspended for the next three races, fined $65,000 and the team, Penske Racing, and the driver, Keselowski, docked 35 owner and driver points.
I m glad to see that NASCSAR has got its priorities straight.
You can see the Sprint Cuppers in action this weekend on Sunday at California Speedway. The race broadcast on TSN1 and 3 will start at 3:30 p.m. The Xfinity Series race Saturday can be seen on TSN1, 3and 4 at 4 p.m.
TOMMY BYRNE HAS been called the greatest racing driver you never saw. This is not exactly true, because he was employed by Brian Stewart, a team owner from Toronto for a time, and raced at the Molson Indy. But it s true that he never became a household name, which is something that usually happens when racing drivers become great. That Byrne had talent (F3 champion), there is no doubt. But a combination of poor timing, bad breaks and too-hard-living torpedoed his career and he was living in obscurity until Autosport magazine s Mark Hughes wrote a book about him, which has since been made into a documentary film.
The documentary, Crash and Burn (the title of the book is Crashed and Byrned), is going to be shown April 7 and 8 at the Regent Theatre on Mount Pleasant Rd. in midtown Toronto. Presented by Scott Maxwell s Mini Grid shop (just about across the street from the Regent), advance tickets are available at the store or you can purchase them at the theatre.
Tommy Byrne himself is flying to Toronto for the screenings and will be available for autographs and conversation. Says Maxwell: Tommy is quite the story and quite the character. It should be a fun couple of nights.
Bookmark those dates April 7 and 8. I expect most of the racing crowd to show up.
PIT STOPS: The 2017 Toronto International Motorcycle SpringShow, being held this weekend at the International Centre in Mississauga (across from Toronto Pearson airport), is thrilled to announce that Canadian ice road rider Oliver (Brokentooth) Solaro will be appearing. Solar is midway through his latest challenge following the route of French explorer Samuel de Champlain over water and land. Solaro s barely street-legal scalpel -of-a-bike will be on display and he will tell stories of peril, awe, adventure and human kindness. Click on this link to see his featured blog posts: . . . . . NASCAR driver Pete Hamilton has died, age 74. He won the Daytona 500 in 1970 while driving for Richard Petty. He was from Connecticut and was one of the first, if not the first, northern stock car racer to go south to take on the Carolina cowboys and the Alabama Gang. Hamilton ran 64 races in total between 1968 and 1973, winning 12 of 26 races in the Grand American division (now the Xfinity Series). RIP, Pete. . . . . . The top teams in supermodified racing Canadian and American will be shooting for extra points this season in a six-race special series called the Shea Concrete Triple Crown Championship Series presented by ASI Racewear. Participants will race in 10 events at Oswego Speedway in New York (five non-wing events) and along the International Supermodified Association (ISMA) trail (five wing events) and the best three non-wing results plus the three best wing results will determine the six-race points total. The special series will give supermodified owners and drivers chances to earn extra cash. Entered already are Indy 500 veteran Joe Gosek, Dave McKnight Jr. (Gary Morton, owner), Otto Sitterly (John Nicotra, owner), driver-owner Dave Shullick Jr., and car owners Pat Abold, Craig Danzer and Jim Bodnar.
A 21-year-old Maryland man pushed a police horse in downtown St. Petersburg on March 18, according to an arrest report. Alexander Luke Fahmy was kicked out of Yard of Ale on First Avenue N about 1:45 a.m. He pushed a bar security guard and took a “fighting stance,” an officer wrote. The officer, part of St. Petersburg police’s mounted unit, positioned his horse in between Fahmy and the security guard to prevent a fight. That’s when Fahmy pushed the horse in the face, police said. When an officer tried to detain him, Fahmy refused to put his hands behind his back, according to the report. He faces charges of disorderly intoxication and resisting an officer without violence.
Pinellas Park man ate marijuana during traffic stop, deputies say
A man stopped by a deputy on 118th Avenue N on March 19 tried to eat marijuana so an investigator would not find it, according to an arrest report. Calvin Clarkson, 37, of Pinellas Park, faces a charge of tampering with physical evidence. A deputy pulled him over shortly before noon and smelled marijuana in the car, according to the report. The deputy did not list a reason for the traffic stop. Inside the car, the deputy wrote, he found a clear bag with a green leafy substance and a hole in the bottom. The deputy said he then asked Clarkson to open his mouth and saw multiple pieces of marijuana on Clarkson’s tongue.
Compiled by Zachary T. Sampson, Times Staff Writer