As part of the program at Sky Combat Ace, you civilians get to participate in a tradition known to us specially-trained dogfighting stunt pilots (new official titles for the pilots at SCA?) as The Naming Ceremony, in which a call sign is chosen for you (I mean, giving you a call sign is pretty much the least we can do since you sign your life away to us when coming here). When your buddy/coworker/parent/whoever you choose to aerial ass-whoop chooses a call sign for you, you’ve just participated in an extremely condensed version of what every pilot has to go through in order to get their official call signs— a well-deserved nickname that every pilot must introduce themselves as and respond to – IE Icebox, Maverick, Goose (well… that one didn’t turn out too well for him but you get the point…)

A typical naming ceremony is comprised of all the pilots in a squadron getting together to welcome a new pilot with drinks, celebration, and stories…did we mention drinks? Throughout the ceremony, the attendees aka “The MOB” can come up with any call sign for the pilot being named. In some cases, the call sign is playing off his/her actual name. When (and there always is) there is a story behind the name, the story must be told in exaggeration and 10% of said story must be true.

In many cases, call signs will have two meanings-one is a PC-version of the story they will tell everyone who asks (and they always do) and one is only known by the squadron. Let’s use Yoda for example-one story is that during an exercise he was making so many goods calls, it seemed he was ‘all-knowing’ or a ‘know-it-all’ – sounds nice enough, right? The second and story is…he’s a short, funny-looking guy dressed in green with big ears. We’ll leave it to you to decide which the real meaning is.

There are a few rules that must be obeyed during naming ceremonies, specifically the ones held for my dear employees here at Sky Combat Ace. The first is that only fellow pilots can come up with names for the namee. A namee is not allowed to contribute call signs. When the naming ceremony commences, all stories must be told in excess and at least 10% of the story has to be true. Lastly, if any belly-achers complain about their potential names, you WILL be given a worse name. However, donations will be accepted for the hangar and compensation (in the form of whatever you see fit… mean it) could potentially mean a better call sign.

Other than sounding awesome, call signs do also have a purpose. When talking on our radios during an aerial engagement, calling someone by their call sign is a unique identifier (if four people are named “John”, no one knows who the heck you mean, but if you call out “Yoda”, they know precisely who you’re talking to). Using call signs can also confuse enemies that might be listening in, a technique used originally in WWII. So, all you FNGs who are willing to be completely mortified at the stake of getting one rad (or completely embarrassing, depending on who you’re telling) call sign, befriend a pilot at SCA and you just might get an invite to the best show in Las Vegas… an SCA Naming Ceremony!