Joe "Hoser” "In the smoke 'till I croak" Satrapa, was a living legend flying fire tankers for Cal Fire, as well as in the fighter community as a formidable F-14 Tomcat, and F-8 Crusader pilot.
Ever since he was a child, Hoser had a true love for guns, and after he earned his wings, he had a choice to be assigned to the F-4, or the F-8. “No guns? What kind of aircraft is this with no guns?” and he immediately chose the “Last Of The Gunfighters” as the Crusader was called at the time by aircrews.
According to the “Satrapa legend” Hoser had earned his call sign one day over the gunnery range. Also known as “Da-hose", or "D-hose” was flying in trail position in a 4 ship formation of F-8 Crusaders flying over the desert sands. As the formation was approaching the gunnery range target, Joe jumped out of trail position, cutting off the lead, and began to fire off from two thousand feet up, and one and a half miles out…"hosing" off all his bullets in a single pass. His flight leader J.P. O’ Neill told him to return to the airfield at El Centro and the same night O’ Neill had the final say on the incident when he nailed Satrapa: “Lieutenant junior grade Satrapa, for hosing off all his bullets in one pass, will hence forth be known as Hoser. That’ ll be five bucks.”
During the Viet Nam war, “Hoser” earned a reputation as a fearless Crusader pilot. He also became known for his preference to carry over 40 pounds of ordinance with him during his missions. A few hand grenades, and some small automatics in the event he ever had to leave his aircraft over enemy territory.
Another event occurred during the Viet Nam war when "Hoser" was flying his Crusader with another F-8 when his wingman was hit by enemy fire. As his wingman bailed out of his burning Crusader, the aircraft continued flying straight and level while leaving a black smoking trail. "Hoser" brought his Crusader back around and set his sights on the pilotless Crusader and blew it out of the sky. All "Hoser" had to say about that was "A kill is a kill!"
Sometime in the Eighties; Hoser managed to modify a 20MM barrel from the F-14 Gatling gun, by attaching a breach thereby fashioning a formidable homemade weapon. Unfortunately for Hoser, the breach blew up, taking his index finger and right thumb with it. "Hoser" had the doctors remove his right big toe and attach it to his right hand. Hoser now used his three fingers and big toe to demonstrate he still had the dexterity to operate the trim button on the F-14’s stick. Hoser returned to flight status…but now ordained with the new call sign, “Toeser”
After leaving the Navy, Hoser began a new direction flying Fire Tankers for Cal Fire. It did not take long for Joe to earn a reputation as one hell of a fire attack pilot who cared far more about superior airmanship, than he did about paperwork.. and became known as Joe "In the smoke 'till I croak" Satrapa
Sadly, on March 17th 2019…Joe "Hoser” "In the smoke 'till I croak” Satrapa, a true aviation legend….flew West
Following is an excerpt is taken from "Top Gun - The Navy's Fighter Weapons School” by George Hall
"No dissertation on present-day section tactics, or on naval aviation in general, could be considered complete without a brace of "Hoser" stories. In the micro world of perhaps 400 Tomcat pilots, a few legendary gonzo maniacs are going to bubble to the surface. Joe "Hoser" Satrapa was already famous in Vietnam as a young and utterly fearless F-8 pilot who regularly carried a good forty pounds of lethal ordnance- leaning toward small automatic weapons and hand grenades- in case he was suddenly compelled to leave his aircraft and carry the battle directly to the little bad guys in the jungle.
Guns were Hoser's game in the air; he flew the four-gun Crusader - which many Navy pilots still regard as the [deleted] machine of all time- in Southeast Asia, and he'd never been forced to rely totally on missiles like his Navy Phantom cohorts. After negotiations that would shame the pro football draft, Hoser was dragooned back into the Tomcat front seat as a RAG guns instructor. This, after personal entreaties from the highest levels up and including Secretary of the Navy John Lehman, himself a Reserve naval aviator.
Many active pilots and RIOs well remember Hoser's delivery of manic harangues to fuzzy-cheeked newcomers from the RAG. In his patented Yosemite Sam voice he would whip the lads, and invariably himself, into a lethal frenzy: "Pull on the pole till the rivets pop and the RIO pukes! No kill like a guns kill! A Lima up the tailpipe is too good for any Gomer! Close with the miserable Commie [deleted] and put a few rounds of twenty-twenty-mike-mike through his canopy! If he hits the silk, gun his ass while he swings!" Hoser would then pace the corridor, bumping into hapless petty officers, muttering oaths, trying to re-align his internal INS.
Hoser also knew a thing or two about the element of surprise. During the much-maligned AIMVAL-ACEVAL fighter trials of a decade ago, Hoser was put in a 1 V 1 against a Navy Aggressor flying an F-5. As the two combatants sat side-by-side on the Nellis runway, awaiting tower clearance for a second takeoff, Hoser looked over at his opponent, reached his hand up over the control panel, and mimicked the cocking of machine guns in a World War I Spad. A thumbs up came from the other cockpit- guns it would be, the proverbial knife fight in a phone booth, forget the missiles. Both jets blasted off.
In the area, the fighters set up twenty miles apart for a head-on intercept under ground control. Seven miles from the merge, with closure well over 1000 knots, Hoser called "Fox One" - Sparrow missile away, no chance of a miss. As they flashed past each other, the furious F-5 driver radioed, "What the hell was that all about?" "Sorry." said Hoser, "lost my head. Let's set up again. Guns only, I promise."
Remember Charlie Brown, Lucy, and the football? Again the two fighters streaked towards the pass, again at seven miles Hoser called "Fox One." The Aggressor was apoplectic; he was also coming up on bingo fuel state, a common situation in the short-legged F-5.
Hoser was first back to the club bar, nursing an end-of-the-day cold one as the flushed Aggressor stomped in. "Hoser, what the hell happened to credibility?" fumed the F-5 jock. Said Hoser, with accompanying thumb gestures, "Credibility is DOWN, kill ratio is UP!" It's a popular Top Gun story, and it's moral isn't lost on students or teachers. From 1 V 1 to forty-plane furball, expect anything. But never expect your enemy to be a sweet guy."