Adventures in "Marine Might One"

This anecdote was sent via email by Norman E. Simpson. There is still some question as to which Mite he flew these adventures in ...

"I enjoyed your Mooney Mite site! My brother and I shared a Mooney Mite that we dubbed "Marine Might One" in the late 70's, N4107, when we were teenagers at New River Air Station in North Carolina.

"We would often take a short cut and skirt, or "accidentally encroach," the huge MOA along the Atlantic coast near Camp Lejune and because of the Mite's diminutive size be misreported to the military tower by Marine ground controllers as an errant target drone! The genesis of the name "Marine Might One" was the constant chiding by our Marine Aviator friends, and our Mother,
that "the MARINES accidentally MIGHT just shoot you down ONE day!"

"Happily my brother and I never had to experience the effect of .50 calibre or 20 mm on the wood, rag, and tube airframe of the Mite. My Father thought better of the whole matter and sold the Mite to appease our Mother. Funny thing is that about a year later the Marines did shoot down a target tug that was deadheading its way back to Cherry Point Marine Air Station! Yikes!

"Marine Might One has been lost ever since and sadly I could not locate N4017 through your site.

"Well, your site flooded me with boyhood and teenage flying memories and I thank you."

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"I will have to visit with my Father on the exact details but throughout the 60's and 70's my Father, Weldon Simpson, had an aircraft brokering firm call WES Aircraft Sales which involved repoeing and reselling repo aircraft for the banks. This gave us a never-ending supply of different aircraft to fly.

"However, I must be mistaken on the N number of Marine Might One as my brother and I were flying that Mite in the late 70's --1978 and into 1980. I will have to check my logbooks.

"My most interesting sortie in Marine Might One was in early March of 1980. There was an unusual amount of helicopter traffic in and out of New River Air Station and I wanted to slip down to West Onslow Beach, part of the Marine Reservation, and, I hate to say this, BUZZ some young ladies that I knew who were at a Catholic retreat on the beach.

"I set off for this mission by skirting the control area at New River and then tree topping my way across the MOA at Camp Jejune. As I crossed over the New River I noticed what seemed to be nothing less than a stream of CH-53s and CH-47s flying into Camp Jejune and then off into the Atlantic I turned southeast and paralleled their course following the river to the sea. but before I knew it was overflying the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz which was almost in the mouth of the New River. The carrier deck was abuzz with activity and her deck seemed to be covered with RH-53s. I was sure that I was spotted and that I would most likely be intercepted by Marine Cobra Gun ships and escorted to their base.

"I turned and tree-topped it home and like most 17-year-olds I decided not to mention this event to anyone unless asked but I anxiously waited for the NIS, FBI, FAA, etc. to appear at my Father's door. True to form, my Mother woke me up out of a sound sleep on April 23 and asked me to come downstairs and see the President. OH MY GOD; I've been nabbed by the President!

"No I had not! Then President Carter was on network TV explaining that the raid on Tehran had failed and that the Marine aviators had been forced to abandon their Navy RB-53 at Desert One after flying off of the Nimitz. 

"Over the next few days details of the mission were made public it became clear that on the day I over flew the Nimitz it was loading up for its part in the raid.

"No one ever showed up... I got away, nobody on the Nimitz noticed me, and if they did, thank the Lord for the then new 3" N numbers!

"Interesting... It was very exciting for a 17-year-old."

The Mite Site records show this about the plane: It was owned by U.F. Sheppard Jr. of Hamlet, NC in 1965 - 68, the Michigan National Bank of Grand Rapids in 1969 - 1971, and Myers Cycle Sales of Percy, IL in 1974. It was scrapped by Fred Schmidt of Camden, OH in the mid-seventies. Fred would have kept it for parts which he makes available to Mite owners.

11 July 2001