He Has Over 30,000 Flying Hours in the A-4, A-7, F-4, F-8, a Variety of Airliners and More. That’s More Than 3.4 Years in the Air!
Commander Jack D. Woodul USNR (Retired), perhaps better if not more widely known as Youthly Puresome, has regaled us with his tales of Naval Aviators and their exploits for many years. “The Further Adventures of Youthly Puresome” series of stories led to an Outstanding Sea Story award by Fighter Squadron 201 in 1988; the 1994 Hook Magazine Contributor of the Year award; and a 1998 Tailhook Association Lifetime Achievement Award. Commander Woodul didn’t write these stories to win awards. He wrote them because they were stories that should not simply pass into memory. They are stories that needed to be told. They are stories that should be enjoyed. And there is no story teller quite like Jack Woodul. He is quite literally a National treasure.
Growing Up Texan
Jack D. Woodul was born in Portales, New Mexico, on October 19th, 1940. His father, Parker A. Woodul, graduated from Texas A&M University with a degree in Farm and Ranch Management in 1934. Parker was a vocational agriculture teacher and a WWII combat veteran, retiring as a Colonel, United States Army Reserve. Jack’s mother, Ima Maye “Bobbye” Daniels Woodul, graduated from North Texas Teacher’s College in 1934. She was a home economics teacher, ran several nursery schools, and later managed the Eastern New Mexico University bookstore in Portales, New Mexico.
Always Looking Up
Jack’s childhood was in many ways similar to kids who grew up during WWII. He spent time enjoyed hunting and fishing with his father. He played football and ran track. During his early childhood years he spent time in several Army camps before his father shipped out, and lived in Grand Prairie, Texas while his father was overseas. After his father returned from combat in Italy, the family settled in Portales, New Mexico, where his father took up teaching again.
“That’s Just What Men Did”
Jack’s transition to military service seemed entirely natural. Says Jack, “All the adult males I knew were in the service. I grew up thinking that’s just what men did.”
In the Pipeline
YP attended the University of New Mexico in the Navy ROTC program, during which time the Navy bought him his private pilot’s license under the Flight Indoctrination Program. Jack was commissioned as an Ensign in February 1963, and started preflight training at NAS Pensacola in March 1963. Like so many of his contemporaries, during his primary flight training Ensign Woodul flew Beechcraft T-34 Mentors. Jack then transitioned to the North American T-28 Trojan at NAS Saufley Field for his basic flight training. At NAS Beeville, Jack did his advanced training syllabus in F9F Panthers, TF-9J Cougars, and Grumman F-11F Tiger aircraft. Jack earned his Naval Aviator wings in June 1964.
On to the interview!
BW: Commander, thank you so much for taking time to do this interview with me. I think the readers will enjoy it immensely. Having covered your training already, can you tell us about your time as a fleet aviator?
YP: I began with A-4 Skyhawk RAG (Replacement Air Group) training at VA-43, NAS Oceana. I was assigned to VA-86 Sidewinders in February 1965, flying A-4Es. My first deployment was a WESTPAC as part of Air Wing Seven aboard USS Independence, CVA-62, from May 1965 to December 1965. My next deployment was again on Independence, and again with Air Wing Seven, but to the Mediterranean this time, from June 1966 to February 1967. I was then ordered to VA-44, at that time the only East Coast A-4 RAG, as an instructor pilot in February 1967. I got checked out in the A-7A Corsair II, courtesy of VA-86, who had recently transitioned to that airplane. I also went through ground school on the F-8 Crusader. I was separated from active duty in December 1967.
BW: After your active duty you were a reservist for many years. Tell us about those years.
YP: I had a pilot slot at the Crusader squadron at NAS Atlanta (VF-672). I separated from active duty on a Friday, hand carried my orders to NAS Atlanta, and drilled with VF-672 that weekend. I got checked out in the Crusader while I was going to Delta Air Lines DC-6 Flight Engineer School. I was assigned to the Delta Air Lines Base in Dallas, and we lived in the Dallas-Fort Worth area for 37 years. I had a flying slot at VF-701 (later VF-201) at NAS Dallas, flying Crusaders. I flew various models of the F-8 for about ten years. Then I transitioned to the F-4N Phantom II. I retired from the reserves in 1983.