The WorkNotWork Show [0:53:33]: Can you tell us the story of where you got the nickname Scratch?
Scratch Mitchell: As it turns out, the canopy of an F-18 costs quite a bit of money as I found out in my first week in Bagotville, on 433 Squadron, when I substantially scratched a canopy air-to-air refueling that week.
WNW: I shouldn't laugh because it's actually kind of a serious situation.
SM: Yeah, I know it is, but it's sort of funny to me as well. They're looking for something your first weeks and months on squadron. They are looking for some blunder. It's not like movies where you get cool call signs. It's something you've done wrong, ultimately. So they called me the Scratch Man, and it stuck ever since.
WNW: I see, so it actually scratched when the refueling hose knocked into the canopy as you are either connecting or disconnecting from the refueling plane.
SM: When I was trying to connect. It went from head to toe on this thing. Foolishly I got out of it—I was just young, I was 24 years old and it was a French squadron—so I was trying in my best French explain to them "I think you're going to be able to buff it out."
WNW: Buff it out!
SM: And they came in with wide eyes, and they basically said to me "you just about lost your entire head!"
WNW: Wow, I was gonna say, it was actually a very serious, I mean it could have been, potentially, a very serious situation.
SM: Yeah, so I've been the Scratch Man.
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