The group as a whole may be referred to as The Cutthroats Mercenary Co., Cutthroats, CMC, or 8=X. An individual member is referred to as a Cutthroat.
Now to answer that burning question: What the heck is it with this 8=X thing! Try looking sideways at it and you'll see the Jolly Roger in miniature ASCII "art"... Cutthroats wear this symbol as a patch and they wear it with pride!
The Cutthroats Mercenary Co. was started as The Cutthroats Squadron in early June of '96 on the Earthlink Net Beta Arena. The idea was to create a squad of Elinkers that would flourish when the CIS and Elink servers would rejoin. On 6/27/96, the CIS server reconnected to Elink thus allowing the Cutthroats to fly in ETO.
Throughout their early history, the Cutthroats were mercenaries. Although originally in Bland we flew in Cland as well while the lines in these new arenas were drawn in June and July of '96. The CMC does not hold loyalties with a country as much as those in need of mercenaries. Thus we may be found in various countries week to week.
In 1996 we ran 21 operations against our enemies with an amazing success rate of 81% as we only had 4 failures to achieve the primary objective. The squad grew from a tiny speck to one of the best known squads in the game. Our pilots are recognized by all serious squadrons and many of us are highly active in the Air Warrior community.
On February 27th, 1997 we moved officially to AOL where we flew until July 31st, 1997. We mostly flew in PAC #3, ETO #4, and ETO and PAC FR. Because of AOL's pricing policy unknowns, poor connectivity, poor server support, etc., the CMC moved back to the Gamestorm arenas and Air Warrior II on August 1st, 1997.
During the CMC's time on AOL, the team competed in Shebop's Squad vs. Squad challenge. The CMC made it to the semi-finals finally losing to the Armageddon Squadron who went on to win the tournament. Many of the CMC's pilots also competed in ladders and flew in all the official scenarios.
In September of 1997 5 Cutthroats attended AWCON'97. These and other Cutthroats also became involved in the AW3 private beta which started in October of the same year.
During 1997 we ran 47 operations, 42 of which were successful (89% success ratio). These ranged from tank battles to air superiority to private engagements against other squads. We fought on AOL and Gamestorm, in RR and FR, in ETO and PAC.
In February of 1998, The Cutthroats Mercenary Company was chosen as the most respected squadron of Air Warrior by the AW Times, an Air Warrior web based newspaper.
On April 14th, 1998, the CMC went through a major re-organization which resulted in the forming of 2 squadrons, the Buccaneers and the Swashbucklers which are now collectively known as the Cutthroats Mercenary Company Air Wing. It was structured after and combined many of the operational elements found in a modern US Navy aircraft carrier Air Wing.
With almost 30 active members flying in operations on Squad nights, it was found that we could succesfully plan and complete complex missions involving both squadrons and six flights with five pilots each.
The concept of using an AirBoss to control and command the Air Wing during an operation came into being. This key figure became the communications focal point for the squadron and flight leaders. The job entailed coordinating CMC offensive and defensive efforts to accomplish the overall mission goals. The AirBoss role was and is highly successful.
During the summer of 1999, the CMC initiated a re-organization that consolidated the Air Wing back to a Squadron. The two squadrons, Buccaneers and Swashbucklers, were decommisioned. In addition, two flights (Greybeard and Crimson) were decommisioned. Unprecedented numbers of pilots retiring from Air Warrior neccesitated the organizational change.
October 1999 saw a major change to the CMC's online operations. The Cutthroats formed a stable presence in HiTech Creation's Aces High. No longer limited to Air Warrior's slow growth and limitations, retired Cutthroats joined forces with active pilots to do battle in this challenging and advanced WW2 online flight simulation. Look for 8=X Cutthroats X=8 in the online squadron roster.
1999 saw the passing of the command from Boa to Lemur. Boa tirelessly led this fearsome tribe for over three years, created and updated the web pages and newsgroups, and commanded entire countries in major scenerios. The debt of gratitude owed by the Cutthroats and the community can never be repaid.
The Cutthroats Mercenary Squadron once again re-invents itself with a major move to Aces High. This addictive, compelling, and thoroughly enjoyable WW2 combat simulation became the new home of the Cutthroats in April, 2001. The Cutthroats have pledged loyalty to a single country and fight exclusively for The Rooks. In only the fourth official squadron operation in AH, the Cutthroats led the way to the ultimate country victory - an arena reset on May 3rd, 2001. What a way to make an entrance!
In May of 2002 the Cutthroats' presence was keenly felt in the arenas of Aces High. The Cutthroats completed tour 28 with an overall ranking of #6 among all Aces High Squads and #4 in all fighter rankings. All this with only 16 active pilots. In fact, the top three pilots had more than 1200 combined kills in a single month.
The CMC has been very closely tied with the ACCS squadron and the 69th Shepherds. These 3 squads enjoy a competitive and friendly relationship that results in private battles and event coordination. In an odd twist, real life aquaintences have formed the basis for a close tie with The Damned in Aces High.
A number of Cutthroats are alumnist staff members formerly with EA/Kesmai/Air Warrior as monitors and training staff.