Ramon Josa, Naval aviation veteran
Ramon Josa is 83 years old.
He joined the French Navy in 1954, at the age of 18. First a quartermaster mechanic, he managed, by dint of perseverance and will, to leave the engine room of the Lafayette to which he was assigned to become a fighter pilot for naval aviation.
Serving on all aircraft carriers in operation from 1959 to 1991, he also flew on all types of fighter aircraft available during this period. From the Corsair F4U-7 to the Super Etendard via the Etendard IVM, the Fouga Zéphyr, the Alizée and the F8 Crusader, he performed 800 deck landings.
He participated in the conflicts in Algeria and Lebanon.
It was off Djibouti in 1977 that he made an unusual feat of arms. Returning from an air defence exercise, he was caught in a dog fight by two Yemeni MIG 21s. Skilled at manoeuvring, he managed to turn the situation around to his advantage and snag one of the two MIGs. The command did not authorise him to shoot it down.
Occupying several commands and functions aboard aircraft carriers, he also trained Argentinian pilots on Super Etendard a few months before their engagement in the Falklands War.
In 1991, after 37 years of service in the French Navy, the Captain of Frégate Josa, then Head of the Operations Department of the BAN of Hyères, returned to civilian life.
He worked until 1997 in the Naval Construction Department as Deputy Director of the programme of the Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier, in charge of the ‘aviation’ installations.
He then began a ‘career’ as a display pilot and delighted the public at many airshows and in particular with beautiful presentations of the Corsair. Ramon has written a book, ‘Sailor & Pilot, Serving at Sea and in the Air’ in JPO editions that you can get and have the author sign for you at the Paris-Villaroche Air Legend.