Archive for the ‘USAF’ Category
It’s true, no one wants to have to memorialize anyone that has given the ultimate sacrifice serving their country. But when our brave men and women serving their country,our country, have fallen while performing their duty, they shall be given the respect they deserve.
“Command Chief Master Sgt. Scott Dearduff briefs Chief Master Sgt. Rudy Lopez and Air Force Surgeon General James Roudebush on the Fallen Airman’s Memorial which was created to honor the 332nd Air Expeditionary Wing Airmen that have given the ultimate sacrifice for their country, Balad Air Base, Iraq, Feb. 26. Roudebush came to Balad to meet with 332nd Air Expeditionary Wing leadership and asses the efficiency of the air medical operations in the region.”
Thank God men like these are there to ensure all the fallen are given the respect, praise, and support they and their families deserve.
Now, to those who expend their breath trying to convince us they support those who protect us all, I believe they cheapen memorials such as these. It saddens me when I have to listen to the spew-ridden, soulless, vote-gettin’ politicians, and their cabal of Satan-forgiving main stream media types, trying to make us all believe they support the troops. If you truly inspect the record of those doing this unholy deed (lying to us all) you can see they have quite a history that contradicts their glowing statements of today.
Do you honestly expect me to believe someone like Mike Wallace actually supports the troops? The same Mike Wallace that spent countless hours deriding and destroying those who served in Vietnam? The same, “man”, that put everything on the line to promote an agenda of destruction that to this day has roots so deep I believe continue to choke those who served so bravely and were sold a steaming bag of excrement. Just because they may have served, or may have taken the field of battle to report, does not excuse the destruction they have directed at us all.
Again, one can only take so much - and how much have you checked into the backgrounds of those that say, “I support the troops.”?TAGS: Fix4RSO, Milblog, Military, Memorial, Fallen+Airmen
We decided to take a short trip to SoCal and left yesterday! There is nothing like a last minute trip to a climate that is warmer than the one you currently are experiencing.
I’ll be adding a few snaps once we return. The one thing on our trip I really wish I snapped a photo of was when we were “buzzed” by a C-17 out on HWY 395, just outside of Adelanto! The crew was practicing TAGs, and they were on their last one.
The girls were rapt - as was my wife!TAGS: Fix4RSO, Milblog, Military, USAF, Fun
Just about a year ago I wrote a short piece about the 447th EOD finding and destroying weapons caches.
Today, the same squadron has lost three airman, and another is seriously wounded. AF.mil has the short announcement, here. I’ll provide the text here inline because the most disgusting part of this is that it was a vehicle-borne IED:
“SATHER AIR BASE, Iraq (AFPN) — Three Airmen assigned to the 447th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron’s Explosive Ordnance Division were killed Jan. 7 by a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device while performing duties in the Baghdad area.”
“Additionally, one Airman was injured in the explosion.”
This just brings up all sorts of ire in me. When public opinion makes the US Military second-guess their decisions, like protecting oneself from a suspicious looking oncoming vehicle, bad things happen. I just cannot stress how the media, politicians, and ex and current senior officers that gravitate towards a “softer stance” are actually placing our fine men and women in harms way. Add to that those that find appeasement and cut-N-run as viable options are just placing a round in the chamber themselves - in a weapon aimed directly at our brave volunteers.
Step back and think for a moment; truly, search your heart. Do you honestly believe that the rest of the world’s leaders want peace? Yes, the people that live under these iron-fist regimes most certainly want peace. But, they are not in a position of power. Therefore, what option is left for a country, and her citizens, but to use force until those that force themselves on the weak have been vanquished. I can count on just about 2 hands the number of peaceful countries, that have leaders that promote and work towards peace every day, and do not support terrorism or the act of subjugating their people.
Just remember, there are very few countries in Europe today that have such mettle.
I will post an update below, as we find out more information. In the meantime, please take some time to pray for all those in EOD and their families and friends. It is an important job, and one that saves so many lives.
The Department of Defense announced Jan. 8 the death of three airmen who were killed Jan. 7 by a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device while performing duties in the Baghdad area supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom. The airmen were assigned to the 775th Civil Engineer Squadron, Hill Air Force Base, Utah.
- Tech. Sgt. Timothy R. Weiner, 35, of Tamarac, Fla.
- Senior Airman Elizabeth A. Loncki, 23, of New Castle, Del.
- Senior Airman Daniel B. Miller Jr., 24, Galesburg, Ill.
For further information related to this release the media can contact the Hill Air Force Base public affairs office at (801) 777-6634 or if after 5 p.m. MST, call (801) 777-3001 and ask for the on-call public affairs representative.
Sorry for the confusion, but AF.mil had the squadron as the 447th Civil Engineering EOD, and today’s annoucement states that it is the 775th Civil Engineering Squadron. I am unsure if this is a joint command or if the 447th EOD was in a FOB and assigned to assist the 775th, or if the initial announcement from yesterday was erroneous. I am attempting to contact an internal source to see if I can confirm - or I’ll just wait like everyone else and keep an eye on AF.mil.
Here is the update from AF.mil - and, yes, they were from Hill AFB but attached to the 447th while in Iraq:
“The Airmen were assigned to the 775th Civil Engineer Squadron’s Explosive Ordnance Disposal Flight. While in Iraq, the Airmen were members of the 447th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron.”
God Speed SrA Loncki, SrA Miller, and TSgt Weiner …
Well, tomorrow is Veteran’s Day, and I have had so many things happen this week that have made me even prouder of my service to my country, and those that have served before, with, and after me. And, to add a finer point to it, there are those that have not served at all that have gone out of their way to help our soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines. Over the last two weeks, those that have not served surprised me in ways I would not have imagined, and confirmed for me just who they are deep down inside.
There is one man, in particular, who I know is not the most outspoken in favor of the current administration. He lives in a world that is very counter to what you would expect. He has had some very trying times, he is strapped financially, and he is mad at the world. He has fallen into a funk that is often times difficult to extricate oneself from - like target fixation, ya know? I have known this man for almost two years. We laugh about all sorts of stupid things and riff on Monty Python skits and stupid movie quotes. And he floored the buh-jeezers outta me when I talked to him early Wednesday morning. He asked me why I looked so tired, and I told him I am trying all kinds of things and staying up late getting folks involved in a donation drive. He asked, “Which one?” I said, Soldiers’ Angels Valour-IT, and I am on Team Air Force.” He says, “Well, duh!” (he knows, ’cause we talk about all kinds of Air Force stuff - he loves all things planes!) Then, here’s the kicker, he says, “Send me the URL, I’ll help.” He turns on his heel and heads back to his desk with a smile on his face.
Thump … like the sonic boom we used to hear from the Blackbird. Thump …
I know he is strapped for cash. I know his life is gonna get even worse very soon. I know not to talk about my political “leanings” or get into subjects that would put us at odds, ’cause, well, we’re friends, and that’s what friends do.
But, he knows the stakes, and he knows that everyone serving right now has volunteered, and he knows that we all need to help one another when the chips are down and there is no way out. And for those fine men and women that request a laptop from the Soldiers’ Angels Valour-IT program, we all need to help them, no matter what it takes.
Thanks again, from me and my family, to all of you on the Valour-IT Air Force Team. In fact, my Dad, who’s old RAF from WWII, he thanks you too!
‘Cause the kindness you show reflects on us all. And in the end, that’s what the US Military is allll about.
God Bless to all those that follow, here:
- Euphoric Reality
- Cold Fury
- My Weekly Thoughts
- The Adventures of RV-6 N466PG
- Stop The ACLU
- Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler
- Soldiers’ Angels New York
- Dude Where’s The Beach
- Spec Ops Angels
- Fix 4 RSO
- Exile in Portales
- Radio Patriots
- MURDOC ONLINE
- Defense Tech
- Right on the Right
- No Angst Zone
- Banter In Atlanter
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- Bill’s Bites
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- Seraphic Secret
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- Conservative Thinking
- Gazing at the Flag
- Michelle Malkin
- Blogger News Network
- Mind in the Qatar
- If Laura Petrie Married General Patton
- corsair the rational pirate
- Townhall Blog
- James Hudnall - Hud’s Blog-O-Rama
- Dazed and Confuzed from Here
- Lemonade Made Daily
- One Happy Dog Speaks
- The Happy Homefront
- Watchman’s Soap Box
- Ironic Surrealism
- Anchored by Grace
- Ron’s Musings
- Diary of the Mad Pigeon
- Mean Ol’ Meany
- Rude1’s Rampage
- Pixie Dust Productions, Inc.
- Thunder And Roses
- GOP and College
- Defense Tech
- Hoorah the blog
- Journey of a Happily Married Man with Two Kids
- Cigar Intelligence Agency
AND a special blessing to:
- Laurie of Soldiers’ Angels NY - she’s a ROCK!
- Buck of Exile in Portales hangs in there when it gets tough!
- The 7th SOS/ACS of Hurlburt AFB and Max Friedauer
- 3c0×1.net Forum
- KFOX 98.5 with Greg Kihn and Chris Jackson
- KSFO 560 - Lee Rodgers, Melanie Morgan, and Officer Vic!
- All the LinkedInUSAF Members (my colleagues)
They gave and I am very grateful for all your kindness and support!TAGS: Fix4RSO, Milblog, Miliray, Valour+IT, Soldiers+Angels
Members of the 386th Air Expeditionary Wing stand in a moment of silence, and I am sure some are in prayer, during a September 11th memorial service.
And it is important to recognize, once again, that our brothers in arms are taking the fight directly to those that hate us. They still remember that day, September 11th, when decent lives, a place of commerce and trade, and the peace we enjoy here at home came crashing to the ground. All because of a hatred, and the twisting of a religion, that in the end seeks Israel’s and our complete annihilation. It will not stop until we make it stop.
As MSgt. William Kaufmann sings the National Anthem (say the words to yourself, before continuing please) you can see everyone in solemn salute.
We all know that we may have dodged it in our days. You know, you slipped quickly into the car to miss taps, or end up somewhere on the flightline and not realize taps was being played. But, those days, in fact in my days, are far behind us now. No one, I wager, misses taps anymore!
And as these fine men from left to right, SSgt. Jason Ramirez, SrA. Daniel Utley, SSgt. Duane Nicol, and A1C Chris Dickerson, who are firefighters from the 386th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron, symbolically lay down firefighter gear, there is a palpable quiet.
No one is fidgeting or trying to bail. No one has forgotten why we are there. At least, no one in the 386th AEW has forgotten. There are men and women serving on the ground, in the air, and on the seas because we have taken back, our country. We shall not leave her, and as these 4 men had one fall out to symbolize a missing man formation, that missing man being a fallen firefighter. We often see a missing man flyby, but rarely will you see this poignant a missing man formation!
And, as taps is played, the Honor Guard is here to bring it all home.
This formation is one that needs to be seen and heard. More Americans need to understand that this honor is one that signifies the greatest price, one that has no boundary. Yet we all know that for us all to be free here at home, and for us all to remain free, that price is one a very few have paid. I say a very few because in relation to those that live here, in freedom, and pay nothing, there are those willing to carry your weight. There is no finer service than that paid by those that rush into danger to save another. And, there is no finer honor than those same that will also pay with their lives for us to be free.
Three volleys, and if you’ve heard the sound, you know how your insides thump every time a volley is fired.
Just a simple 21 rounds go off for those that have fallen. But that sound, that strength, and that conviction is what we all know keeps us free here at home. 21 rounds, people, just 21 rounds …
And, do you remember your training, as do I? Do you remember getting yelled at by your DI (drill instructor) for botching the whole thing? Did your DI scream at you at the top of their lungs? Do you remember what they told you? I bet these fine men and women still do!
Not one of these fine men and women would ever dream of showing their palm. There is code, there is honor, and there is bravery - no palms, ever! Refuse to succumb to those that do not know, or have forgotten, or cannot fathom, why the palm is never to be shown in salute.
I still grab my outseams during the National Anthem. I still stand ram-rod straight during her solemn pledge, our anthem. If I’m wearing a cover, I still salute …
WITHOUT EVER SHOWING MY PALM!!!
And I can give a friggin’ damn about the looks, so keep staring, ’cause we’re still out there!
God Bless and God Speed to all those before and after me. God Bless America. And God Bless the United States Military!
A hearty HOOAH to all of you coming from Stand-To! I’ve been very lucky, and graced, by the team at Stand-To! that have posted my articles! I am so glad that you are out there, fighting the fight, leading the teams, and takin’ it to ‘em! Come back whenever you want, and search for other stuff - I’ve got some US Army stuff here too, really! OK, so, I’m a total zoomie, but God Bless the US Military, and HOOAH!!!TAGS: Fix4RSO, Milblog, Military, Salute, Patriotism, 9/11
Boom Operators get all kinds of birds hookin’ up. And, when you’re lining up, which takes time, you also get a few “shout outs” from the pilot! Here’s a couple of shouts from Texa A&M and Middle Tennessee:
Just gotta love the shots we get from Boom Operators!TAGS: Fix4RSO, Milblog, Military, Fighters, USAF
Without passion, we have no path. Without commitment, we have no honor. Without conviction, we have lost our way. Without faith, we have surrendered our soul. Without duty, we have forfeited our “six”. Without reverence, we have no passion.
So ask yourselves, without these, what have you? And, what will become of our great country, The United States of America?
“Atlas doesn’t shrug, Atlas heaves with cries of agony at our myopia.”TAGS: Fix4RSO, Milblog, Military, Honor, USA
OK, AF.mil and I gave you a quick look at what has been happening to the U-2 lately. The Dragon Lady has been going through some amazing upgrades over the years. I remember that the Blackbird would sit in her hangar, same old guts-N-glory equipment, without too many changes. There were quite a few upgrades, but I remember the flightline always abuzz across the way while U-2s were gettin’ a new look! Well, in AF.mil’s new story posted today, U-2s boast new, improved cockpit by SSgt. Andrea Knudson of the 51st Fighter Wing Public Affairs, we get some great photos and a great description of how she lands, and why a “chase car”.
Last time I showed you all some far away shots of the pilot egressing from the U-2. The cool thing is that the following shot is a little more realistic (the stairs are not plain old engine run lifts for a C-130). Here’s a closer look at the pilot, Lt. Col. Lars Hoffman:
Now, if you look closely, at the top of the stairs, you’ll see a gig bag. Here’s a tight shot:
I blurred the name on the case. But, if you look at the image, it’s a dragon wrapping itself around a U-2. Oh Yeah!!! I always remember the cool patches and art for both the U-2s and the SR-71s. Squadron patches are always cool.
Now, for the gravy - the Dragon Lady’s New Look! Here’s a shot of the new control panel. And, being an ex-Avionics guy, I am DROOLING! This is so amazing to see in the U-2! You have to understand, my memories go back to the original dials and BDHI/HSI equipment.
(BDHI = Bearing, Distance, Heading Indicator)
(HSI = Horizontal Situation Indicator)
Here’s some great info from the AF.mil article:
“The Block 20 aircraft is a new, modern cockpit with a computer on board that analyzes and displays a lot more information on three, 6-by-8-inch multi-function displays and two smaller displays,” said Lt. Col. Lars Hoffman, 5th Reconnaissance Squadron commander.
“The (displays) can be configured for information pilots desire in the layouts they prefer,” the colonel said. “Examples of information include altitude and navigation information, engine performance, moving map with mission course overlay, electronic checklists, diagnostic information on all aircraft systems and reconnaissance sensors, and multiple radio frequencies and settings.”
Look at that, soooo pretty. I brought the shot in tight so that you could get a closer look.
Oh my, this is so great! I’ve been having to watch all these new birds come off the line and enter service, while an old work horse did the best with what she was given. Now, she’s got some new claws and some mighty teeth. As John Cleese says in Monty Python’s The Holy Grail, “Look at the teeth! Loook!”
Here’s a bit more from AF.mil:
“The Block 10 was a classic cockpit with round dials. Information was spread all around the cockpit and not easily readable by a pilot wearing a full pressure suit,” the commander said. “This up-front design of the Block 20 makes it easier for the pilot to read information while flying an aircraft that always requires a pilot’s full attention.”
The U-2, which has provided high-altitude reconnaissance for more than 50 years, has one of the highest mission completion rates in the U.S. Air Force despite the fact that the aircraft is one of the most difficult to fly because of its challenging takeoff and landing characteristics.
“It’s a very complicated aircraft. Depending on configuration, you may need 10 to 30 people needed to launch the U-2,” said Maj. Ramsey Sharif, a U-2 pilot from Beale Air Force Base, Calif., who is temporarily assigned at Osan. “A mobile pilot is in charge of getting the pilot airborne and back on the ground. They act as a safety observer and ensure a safe launch and recovery.”
Now, as you watch her taxi out, there is some interesting characteristics with a U-2. The wingspan is so broad that there are skids on the tips for landing and pogos (these are little flexible bars with wheels about a quarter the way in from the tip) for taxi and take off. Here, the U-2 has her pogos in place while taxiing:
If you look just behind is her chase car, or “mobile pilot”. Chase cars were always racing around Beale AFB runways. It was sooo cool the first time I saw this muscle car RACING down the runway! The U-2 always had escort at take off and landing. Landing is a very crucial part of the operation. I cannot tell the story any better than AF.mil:
The colonel said the U-2 is the most difficult to land aircraft in the Air Force inventory. The landing gear configuration is unique so the “chase car” concept is used. Typically, a second U-2 pilot, the mobile pilot, is designated as the mission’s backup pilot who waits in a high-performance chase car at the end of the runway as the aircraft makes it landing approach. As the U-2 passes, the chase car follows it at high speed, with the “mobile” calling out the aircraft’s altitude via radio to the pilot.
“The pilot must maneuver the aircraft to two feet above the runway, and then stall the wings to touch down tail-wheel-first,” Colonel Hoffman said. “The pilot continues to keep the wings level as the aircraft slows to a stop and then allows one wingtip to touch the ground.”
This makes for a total team effort operation. The U-2 community is a tight-knit group with less than 850 pilots since 1955.
Did you catch that, 850 pilots since 1955! This is a very small team of pilots and ground crews. Personnel rotation for the ground folks was tricky business. I was so very fortunate to have been given the opportunity to rotate in to the 9th SRW. I’ll never forget those days - ever.
Here’s a quote from one of those lucky airmen:
“We’re an operational squadron doing real-world missions,” said Senior Airman Joshua Joyce, an avionics specialist with the 5th RS. “We’re providing critical intelligence information to senior leaders.”
Now, OK, so maybe I was a bit partial to the fact that SrA Joyce is an AVIONICS TECHNICIAN! Can’t knock a guy for getting one of his own in print, right?!
This last bit from AF.mil is how I’ll sign off on this piece:
TAGS: Fix4RSO, Milblog, Military, U2, Recon, Dragon+Lady
The U-2 was specifically designed to carry reconnaissance payloads to extremely high altitudes. The Block 20 U-2 can carry thousands of pounds of reconnaissance sensors to more than 70,000 feet, and remain aloft for more than 10 hours.
Pilots wear a full pressure suit and helmet, similar to those astronauts wear in space, because of the U-2’s high-altitude mission.
Airmen from the 9th Reconnaissance Wing at Beale Air Force Base, Calif., help their pilot out of a U-2 Dragon Lady at Hickam AFB, Hawaii, on Tuesday, June 13. The aircraft is en route to South Korea. U-2s are undergoing a $1.5 billion upgrade. Cockpit instruments will be modernized with full-color displays that replace gauges and dials with state-of-the-art, touch-screen technology.
Egress from the U-2 on the ground is tricky business. There are tons of sharp edges everywhere. Those suits are tough, but you still don’t want to take a chance with any type of degradation of the fabric. It is a very hostile environment at altitude for the pilot.
Here she is, wingtip to wingtip:
If you look carefully, to the left of the photo, you see the pre-post-flight debrief. The environmental team does some early talking to get anything out of the way now. Especially if there is a quick-turn for the bird. Every team is very possessive (in a good way) when it comes to the pilot. We all make sure everything is safe and the mission is a success.
Now you see the pilot being escorted by an environmental team member - notice he is completely sealed:
Both teams, SR-71 and U-2/TR-1, go through extensive preparation prior to flight. A perfect analogy is if you know anything about what the NASA Space Shuttle or Apollo Teams went through, well, pretty much the same. The Dragon Lady pilot has so much more to do, as it is a one seater, and must handle both the flight and mission profiles. There’s so much going on, it is a very stressful duty.
And, here’s a snap I found of the Dragon Lady in flight:
I can’t tell you where this was taken - I’d have to kill you.TAGS: Fix4RSO, Milblog, Military, U2, Dragon+Lady, Mission
DoD DVIDS Photo by Spc. Ferdinand Thomas, 214th MPAD, Richmond, VA
Your freedom to hate the US Military,
Your freedom to vilify those prosecuting the Global War on Terror,
Your freedom to burn Old Glory, our standard, the banner of freedom,
Your freedom to key my truck because you hate my showing pride in my service,
Your freedom to be born and later carelessly take the life of the unborn,
Your freedom to feel guilt for your own success because others are not,
Your freedom to stand in awe of this great country,
This is your freedom, paid for by 480,000 servicemembers being honored at the WWII Memorial in Washington D.C. Each star represents 100 souls and the memorial has 4,800 stars.
DoD DVIDS Photo by Spc. Ferdinand Thomas, 214th MPAD, Richmond, VA
Will you continue to disrespect this man, someone’s Dad, someone’s GrandPa, someone who truly knows what freedom means? Can you take for granted, with all you have today, the freedom this man’s brothers in arms sacrificed? Are you so bent on being right that you have forgotten the fact that previous governments and regimes would snuff an inconsequential person such as yourself without a care? Has the value of freedom paid by so many been lost on you, ’cause you forgot? Do you not see that freedom is costly, requires commitment and sacrifice, and cannot be taken lightly?
Freedom is earned. It is blood, sweat, tears, and long periods of time alone in foreign lands and at home. It is a path not all take. It is the families left behind that continue to pay the day to day sacrifices for freedom.
Your freedom must be cherished, because you have been given the greatest gift.
God Speed to all before me. God Bless those left behind.
Also posted at US Army: Stand-To!
Also posted at California ConservativeTAGS: Fix4RSO, Milblog, Military, WWII, Freedom
Over at California Conservative I was taking a few moments to read one or two posts to catch up. I’d leave a couple of crazy, often times facetious sorts of comments (with near-riot consequences). I was pinged by the California Conservative after one such comment-drop. It seems they have a new series: Why We Fight. I was unaware of the Why We Fight Series over at Reporting for Duty, and I was asked to think about submitting a post.
Here’s the post I’m thinking of submitting folks, and I hope you like it. If not, well, who cares! Wander on over to someone else’s site where they are uncovering some whacko conspiracy theory about Newt Gingrich and Jack Abramoff having some unholy alliance! And while you are there, just realize, it’s futile, you’ll never catch them without wrangling more than a few moonbats in your lofty mission to rid the world of illegal-doers. Those wascaly wee-publicans!
It goes without saying that my parents were, and still are, very supportive and proud. They were also very anxious because they both lived through World War II and Vietnam. Wouldn’t you be anxious if your only son goes traipsing off to join the military in such a topsy-turvey world that seemed fraught with peril?
There are three primary reasons that I chose to enlist in the United States Air Force. Along with the prime motivators that most can share with me, there are a few emotional and growth related reasons that I am sure many of you weighed as you entered service. I think we all have a few deep seated reasons that are quite similar, even if there are subtle differences. I’ll drop these on ya, one reason at a time.
Hearing about brave men taking to the skies to fly some of the fastest planes in the world captured me. I can still remember the days when I’d be outside playing, or on the playground, and we’d hear the “BOOM” from the sonic boom of our fastest and bravest. Later, with God’s ever careful hand, I was stationed at a base where I worked on “The Sled”. She is the most amazing girl in the sky. I know some of you go back to the P-51 or the B-29, but for me, the Blackbird is my girl. No one can come close - except maybe the Dragonlady, her closest sister, or the Spectre or “puff” as she is known. Oh my, we have some amazing birds in the sky, don’t we? And, each bird is given the greatest gift which is her crews and the ground personnel that keep her flying without mishap.
In the civilian sector, when I was very young, I would stand at the window at San Francisco International Airport, watching the ground crews ready the DC-8s or later some 747s, for the next flights to the four corners of the world. As a 5 year old boy getting ready to ride United Airlines with my family, those planes spoke to me in a very real way, and I wanted to be on the ground making her take people where they wanted to go - safely.
I was very fortunate to meet a great man, a Colonel in the United States Marine Corps, and his wife, that were very good friends of my Mom and Dad. They were my first, “Military Family”, and he was larger than life! Colonel Benedict, God rest his soul, was an amazing man with an amazing story. And yet, he was very quiet and the farthest you could get from braggadocios. And, Colonel Benedict was the kindest man I had ever met, outside the men in my own family. A man’s man, a great man, and a man of honor.
With influences like this, would you think that joining the military was a joke?
My Dad’s Dad, my Grandfather, worked to keep the British war effort in World War II on track and received the MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire). I still have a very, very, worn piece of paper where the head office of my Grand Dad’s factory was praising his entire line for being far ahead of production and achieving higher than standard quality!
Uncle John, a Great Uncle on my Mom’s side, and one of my major male role models, was in the US Army. He was a tall man, quiet, and took great care in showing us he loved us. He would always take the time to talk to us and treat us like equals - even though we were little kids. I have so many other Great Uncles who served - going quite a ways back in time.
My Uncle worked as a civilian engineer on the electronics systems (I can’t tell you anymore than that - I’ll have to kill you, really!) on the first nuclear submarine, the USS Nautilus (SSN-571). If you know nothing about SSN-571, you really need to read up. She was, and still is, a marvel of engineering and commitment! Go Navy!!!
My Dad emigrated here from England. He told me stories of how their family had to endure the waves and waves of bombers and buzz bombs. And with the evil V-2 rocket on the horizon? Having been in the RAF as an ex-RAF Radio and Radar Site Operator, my Dad’s service instilled in me the commitment to ones country and the protection of those less capable of protecting themselves. There is a theme and something that is probably key to most of us that have served.
I had so many examples there was just no other path for me. College was to be later, and such an, anticlimactic experience. Those of you that have fond memories of college, I am in no way disparaging your experiences. But, for me, with my family history and my own experiences in the United States Air Force, anticlimactic is an understatement. Really.
With a lineage like that, why wouldn’t you join the US Military?
I remember sitting in the car, when I was small, and hearing my parents getting upset because Richard Nixon was impeached. And, even though they were upset, I knew that there was a thread of truth that must be explored before I could own that history.
Then, in High School, that terrible day where so many proud men (only men back then, there were no women in combat at the time) lost their lives. That day was the day that Jimmy Carter failed to keep this country safe. That day was the day he totally botched the insertion into Iran to save the hostages. He spent so much time “talking” and not enough time DOING, that we had no strength. The friggin’ “group hug” brigade was in charge, and the great United States of America was goin’ down fast. My parents were calling for that man to get tossed out on his ear. No luck, we were stuck with that flippin’ bucket of peanut shells and his loser beer swillin’ brother! What a pair (fast forward to Arkansas, people, see any similarities? i do)! Jimmy Carter’s failure to get our hostages out of Iran got me all fired up, and placed me at the table taking my ASVABs (my scores vaulted me into an area which got the Navy to HOUND me to go subs!).
Leadership, and the lack of it, became cemented in my mind as one of the most important skills and aspirations for me, as a young man. Without true leadership, so many things become a frightful debacle placing our great country on a collision course with the giant “Soviet Iceberg”! From there, and my personal search into John F. Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, Teddy Kennedy, and later Jimmy Carter, did I truly see what was all around me. A new, post ’60s fervor, was beginning to rise, and it was challenging all of my beliefs. It was also threatening our great nation, and was exacting a terrible price from every American.
I enlisted while I was a Senior in High School (DEP - delayed enlistment program) in the United States Air Force. It was my life changing moment.
Did ya think I would have done anything less?
In Basic Training, one of the guys in my flight, on a truly bad day, asked me, “If you woke up tomorrow morning and your bags were at the end of your bed at home, what would you do?” I said then, and I say to myself every FRIGGIN’ morning that I wake up, “I’m ready to go.” And I would do everything that I did, to the letter, even though some of the things that happened in the military and in the civilian sector weren’t that much fun at times. It has made me who I am, who my wife loves, and who my two girls look up to and love. That kind of commitment, and sacrifice, is something many cannot afford to experience. It is often a lonely road, and one a select few take every day. But those who undertake the challenge can say they have done something not everyone in the world has done.
I am one of only a handful that have launched and recovered the SR-71 during the Cold War. I am one of many that has supported the President’s Mobile Airborne Command Post, the E-4A/B. I have worked on a planes with nicknames like, “Rivet Joint” and “Looking Glass”. I have been privy to supporting the great many of the 7th SOS while I was at Rhein Main AFB in Frankfurt during the Cold War. I have walked up to the “wall”, I have seen Fulda Gap (that was an eye opener!), and waited to be saluted by an East German Officer. You see, during those days, they must salute first - that’s protocol. Oh, and that’s what happens when you LOSE! I’ve had some Airborne guys adopt me on a TDY because I cold hold my liquor (Te-Kill-Ya Shots, my friends, tons of ‘em in a 3 hour sitting) and still push them outta the way to get to the bar to get one more. “Who’s this runt moving me aside? He’s had WHAT?! Give him some room! Hoorah!”
Camaraderie. The Stars and Stripes. Freedom. Family. Safety. Clear objectives. God. Kids laughing. Wives grieving. Arlington National Cemetery. The War of 1812. Paul Revere. The Minutemen. The Constitution. John Wayne. Right and Wrong. Breaking the sound barrier. Midway. Pearl Harbor. World War II. Apollo 13. Navstar. Nike Missiles. The Other Cowboy Ronald Reagan. End of the Cold War. On and on …
That is why we fight. That is why we are who we are. That is why, when people say, “I support the military, but I don’t support the mission”, you all hear a scuh-fuffle from us. You all lie like a shag rug, and we see right through every one of you. And when you begin to sell us out, force us to wear blue friggin’ helmets and no American flags on our uniforms, answering to some group of tin horn dictators, just so the Europeans will like you better?! When you turn the White House into a Hooters or Motel 6? We’re still there, fighting the good fight, because we see beyond the President. We see Old Glory, our fallen brothers, and those that will continue to serve beyond us as why we fight. Presidents will come and go, but the United States of America shall never falter - not while we’re on watch!
You may think we are brash, pig-headed, cocky, “ate up” (you have to have served to know that one), lifers, and yes, some say we are immature. But, I’ll let you in on a little secret, those of you that see us that way …
We do not care. We know who we are. We know why you are who you are. And, when your house is being overrun by bad guys, guess who stands in front, between you and that threat, and takes the bullet so you, you whiner, can continue your litigious little forays into stupidity, suing my friends and neighbors?
The Great Men and Women of the United States Military! We answer the call, no matter WHO picks up the phone and calls us.
Sleep tight, and, you’ll have no more bed bugs while we are on the line.
God Bless, and God Speed.TAGS: Fix4RSO, Milblog, Military, Why+We+Fight, USAF
I hope that everyone has taken the time, before the brewskies, to thank the men and women who have served and paid the ultimate price. Please take the time to say a prayer for those left behind that carry on with their mission to protect everyone here in the greatest country in the world, the United States of America!
This is our simple flag, on a simple home, with a simple cause. Our daughters know the supreme sacrifice paid by so many so that they can enjoy so much. Today’s children, I suspect, do not know the history of our fathers, and the fathers before them.
We had a great time, as short as it was, yesterday. There are several members of the IMAA that get together and have a giant model aircraft air show. The best-est thing was that it took place on the old B-52 alert pads at Castle AFB! Oh yeah, to walk on the tarmac at Castle was a treat!
Well, ya think people see me coming, more appropriately going, with them thar stickers on my truck window?! Uh-huh, they do - not to mention my bright red cap with the 9th AMS badge in white and red! I’ll get a snap of that up here soon.
To top of the whole model aircraft air show was that a few gents, known as the Section 8 Air Force, place lights ALL OVER their radio controlled planes and fly at NIGHT! The girls had a ball, well, and so did the parents.
If you’d like to read a bit about this event, the Modesto Bee has a short snippet found here, and we met THE David Gunnin! He’s my Dad’s neighbor and a good man. He and his wife have been great, and have been very good to my Dad after Mom passed away.
I’m telling you this because before the night flight show, I took the girls out to look for the “red line”. There’s a question out there in your head, I know, “What is the red line?”
That is the primary boundary between being watched and being “jacked up”! And, at Beale AFB, jacked up takes on new meaning, lemme tell you!
As we were wandering around the inactive alert pad, I’m explaining what all happened with B-52s, alert posture, and tankers at the ready during the cold war. I took them over to touch some of the taxiway signs and lights, we followed the path of the Follow Me trucks - on foot. Then, BAMMO! The red line! We jumped over it, then back, then over, then back! It was pretty fun for them, and a little bit of the way-back machine for me.
Then, we walked back to where everyone was sitting. I told the girls to yell out to Mommy, with arms raised high in the air flailing around, “I jumped the red line and didn’t get shot!”
Uh-huh, Dad’s a riot, huh?
Take care, God Bless, and God Speed to all those serving today!TAGS: Fix4RSO, Milblog, Military, USAF, Cold+War, Memorial+Day
OK you Air Force-types, who in this photo works the flightline? Hey, even you that just love planes, or spend time playing “Where’s Waldo” or the Sunday Funnies, can you tell who works the flightline?
Comments are welcome - in fact, we flightline-types often are obvious on long flights!TAGS: Fix4RSO, Milblog, Military, Flightline, Fun
The C-5A that crashed in Dover, Delware on 3 April, 2006, just tears at me. To see a scene like this:
Just cries out to someone like me that loves all things US Air Force. I am so very glad that everyone was able to leave the aircraft alive, even if reports are true that three airmen are in serious or critical condition. To understand the gravity of this class of a crash, look at the size of the fireman near the wing, and the top of the C-5!
This aircraft is NOT on landing gear making the total hieght even higher.
My hat goes off to the crew for making this less tragic than it could have been. For those of you that have either piloted, or watched the C-5 in T-A-Gs, this bird is one tough customer! Even though her landing gear can match “crab” on approach, she still is bound by physics. She can be torn off course with ease, and with engine trouble - the reported cause of the return to Dover AFB - this is no simple feat to bring her home safe. Those who know also know that reverse thrust is a tricky situation. Top that with a healthy dose of weather and engine trouble … I shudder to think how this transpired and the feelings of the crew and passengers.
It is very sobering to realize that this is only the second C-5 to crash in 16 years! For all the flights/air miles she clocks, I am amazed. Next to the C-130 and the C-17, she moves more payload in the air than any bird around. Here is the snippet from AF.mil about the last crash:
“The last C-5 crash was on Aug. 28, 1990, during Operation Desert Shield. A C-5 crashed after takeoff from Ramstein Air Base, Germany, killing 13 of the 17 people on board.”
And, my deepest thanks go out to the ground crew and firemen that have to answer the call.
For those who have had to train on aircraft fire suppression techniques (most flightline personnel do), I respect this job! OK, we just have to put a pan of flaming JP-4 out with a standard fire bottle (the ones you see in flightline photos from AF.mil). When an aircraft goes down, it is mayhem of the highest degree, and flames so hot I cannot even begin to explain.
Thank God they are all safe. Please pray for all the airmen to be released safe, and say a prayer for their families too. And, say a special prayer for the men and women who fight those fires and rescue our flight crews. Firefighters should never go unthanked, and always deserve a special prayer.TAGS: Fix4RSO, Milblog, Military, Crash, Galaxy, USAF, Firefighters
Alright, this is going to be one of the most amazing shots you’ll ever see! Did you know that at the Ronald Reagan Library they have a hangar? And, in that hangar rests the last Boeing 707 Air Force One VC-25 Tail Number 27000? And, did you know that they removed the tail stabilizer and replaced it with a plexiglas facsimile because the tail is on display in another part of the grounds? I mean, look, it’s right in front of you - the plexiglas tail section, see:
So, David Copperfield was the guy who provided the construction support for this project. He first made it disappear and then reappear in the outer hall. Everyone figured, “That’s Cool, let’s just replace it with a plexiglas one ’cause that’s too heavy to move.”
OK, I’m done.
This photo was taken by none other than Damsel, of Cap’n Bob and the Damsel fame! She always takes some amazing shots! When I saw this one, I just had to ask her permission to show it on my blog. I’ll refrain from restating how Damsel took the shot. Let me just say that to have an eye for the subject is 90% of the photo. The last 10% is loading the film or medium, getting into position for the shot, holding the camera still, and then developing the roll (or copying the digital image - your choice). She nailed this one big time, in my opinion!
I love photography and how one gets to the image that is captured. And, when the image speaks to you, you just know …
If you are not already visiting Cap’n Bob and Damsel, GET OVER THERE! The photography is great, their travels are fun, and the stories are good too. If you love all things space, Cap’n has had some great stuff that just flat out debunks the whole “global warming hole of despair” that gets promulgated by the nut-job fringe. Check out these posts, you’ll learn something:
And all of these were just this month!
Thanks again, Damsel and Cap’n Bob!TAGS: Fix4RSO, Milblog, Military, Air+Force+One, Photo, Copperfield
I just got pinged by LinkedInUSAF about this program. It seems that the state of Illinois has implemented a program supporting the US Military. Folks that are residents of Illinois before and plan to return after their tour can get an MBA through the University of Illinois, for free! Now, that four letter word is pretty important, wouldn’t you say?! Here is the info from LinkedInUSAF’s blog post:
Here is a link that provides the background on this program:
Here is the quick version of eligibility from his site and the link above:
To be a qualified applicant, you must:
Have served at least one year of federal active duty service in the Armed Forces of the United States, unless you:
- served in a foreign country in a time of hostilities in that country, or
- were medically discharged and the medical reason for discharge was service related, or
- were discharged prior to August 11, 1967.
- Have received an honorable discharge for each period of federal active duty service, and/or be honorably serving.
- Not be a member of the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC).
- Have resided in Illinois within six months before entering federal active duty service or within six months prior to entering the service.
- Have returned or plan to return to Illinois within six months after leaving federal active duty service unless you are residing with a spouse in continued military service and establish or plan to establish Illinois residency within six months of his/her leaving federal active duty service.
- Be enrolled at an Illinois public 2 or 4 year college.
- Reside in Illinois unless you are serving federal active duty service at the time of enrollment in college or residing with a spouse in continued military service who is currently stationed outside of Illinois.
- Not be in default on any student loan, nor owe a refund on any state or federal grant.
- Maintain the minimum grade point average (GPA) required by your college.
If you are currently serving in the Illinois National Guard you may also be eligible for the Illinois National Guard Grant Program.
If you receive benefits from the IVG Program while serving federal active duty service, upon discharge you will be required to verify that your service has been characterized as honorable.
Now some of you may be asking, “But, isn’t this a statewide program?”
Yeah, but I was contacted directly to help spread the word, by two very dedicated gentlemen looking to help our brave fighting men and women. I believe that the University of Illinois deserves the bulk of this post for that alone. It took a cold call to me, a short conversation, and some exchanging of LinkedIn connecting to seal the deal. No other college or university has done that with me, until now. Lion’s share goes to the one to execute and follow through.
Ya know the saying, “To the victor goes the spoils.”
Well, I have to agree, if the University of Illinois contacted me directly, they’d get the bulk of the page too.
I did a little extra hunting and found out that there is another place actively promoting this program. When I did a web-search I found a company called Bradley/Wiltjer, a marketing firm. They are trying to help U of I get the word out, too. You can go here to see their post about the program. And they also encourage you to read more about the Executive MBA Program at www.mba.illinois.edu/veterans.
So, get the word out and help some of our brave fighting men and women an MBA. I wish this was around when I was serving, as I suspect some of you do as well. Just because it wasn’t around when we were serving doesn’t mean we cannot help everyone else today!TAGS: Fix4RSO, Milblog, Military, Payback, Illini, University+of+Illinois, FreeMBA
It hit me while I was reading a short history of Yamamoto’s demise in the current issue of Air Force Magazine: intel is something that makes or brakes a war. While I was amazed at the bravery and commitment of those P-38 pilots, the fact that we knew when and where Yamamoto would be was astounding. Questions ran through my mind:
- Who lost their life collecting this information (HUMINT)?
- Was anyone’s position given away as they transmitted the information (SIGINT)?
- Weren’t we close to having decoders for Japanese Communications (SIGINT)?
- Was a position overrun during a battle and we recovered information (HUMINT)?
And, what’s truly an example of the US Military’s commitment to the mission is that many men took a huge chance to strike back at the man who hit Pearl Harbor. Admiral Nimitz was in no mood to let this man escape - Nimitz wanted Yamamoto.
As it turns out, the US was working very hard at decoding Japanese communiques. Here’s a tiny snippet from Air Force Magazines article “Magic and Lightening” by Rebecca Grant, contributing editor of Air Force Magazine:
“Since well before Midway, Navy cryptographers had been breaking elements of the Japanese code through a secret program known as Magic. Even when the Japanese ciphers changed, the code-breakers could usually catch at least 15 percent of the contents of a message and decode more with the help of early IBM computing machines.”
“In April 1943, the chief of code and translation at Fleet Radio Unit, Pacific Fleet, usually scanned the messages. The American cryptographers knew that this message, while just partially decoded, was of immense value.”
“It fell to Cmdr. Edwin T. Layton, Nimitz’s fleet intelligence officer, to bring the news to the boss. There were definite risks in acting on partially decoded information, but Nimitz did not hesitate. The intelligence was sent to the area commanders, including Mitscher.”
The following image is the decoded transmission:
The source of the image is from “Lightning Strike: The Secret Mission to Kill Admiral Yamamoto and Avenge Pearl Harbor” by Donald A. Davis.
One last little snippet is here:
“‘What a damn fool thing to do,’ said an enraged Japanese commander when he saw the telegram.”
That my friends is the biggest argument for the secrecy of intel. No matter how confident you are, no matter how battered you think the enemy may be, no matter how few members of the opposition you face, keep intel close to the chest! Even the smallest bit of information can blow a hole so wide in your operation that you’ll wish you never woke up that morning.
I want to thank Amy Proctor, again, for the lively comments in the thread titled “Media Ignores Bush Exoneration”. I know, I seem like a broken record here, but she really has a Hot LZ going on over there! And when comments in that thread started to smell like the old conspiracy about Bush hiding all the information, I got to thinking about this story of Yamamoto being shot down because intel was compromised. There are so many bloggers out there without the experience of, or drive to learn about, relatively recent history and the role intel plays in a war. We all need to repeat to the unwashed masses out there that intel is always kept secret to save lives.
Remember, “Loose lips sink ships”!
No matter how hard a person tries to resist repeating the past, it just seems to happen. And if history is to repeat itself, why not choose the history that you’d like to repeat, thereby controlling the future?
Eh, I digress … these kids’ll never learn!
Oh! And you really need to read your Air Force Magazine this month! The fact that we sent just 18 P-38s up against Yamamoto’s 2 bombers and tons of Zeros as escorts - and we still bagged ‘im. The P-38s had to fly 30 feet off the water for over 500 miles (and no air conditioning in that black painted glassed in enclosure! Commitment? You betcha!
Ahhh, what a fine old bird she was - and FAST! Boy howdy, gimme a P-38 or a P-51. Hmmm …TAGS: Fix4RSO, Milblog, Military, Intel, GWOT, Security, Iraq, War
Well, you’ve got some broad winged birds that have dove-like plumage.
From Buffs in Minot on alert
To C-17s at Ramstein ready to go
At both these bases the snow can fall fast and thick. I hope the entire Soldiers’ Angels Germany team are keeping warm and safe! The Ramstein photo was taken last Friday, but I am sure it is still mighty cold over there …
I remember one long swing shift I began to drive home to my apartment in Heusenstamm. The snow was falling thick, and we already had 6-9 inches of pack, and 3 more inches had fallen in an hour. My Triumph Spitfire wasn’t handling all that well - I mean, it didn’t weigh that much people!
I approached a stoplight where I needed to turn left to head home. I’ve driven in snow, but, something just didn’t feel right. Then, WHOOP, two 360s in the middle of the intersection! Good thing it was 01:30 and there were no other idiots driving from Rhein Main to Heusenstamm … just one. ME!
Memories …TAGS: Fix4RSO, Milblog, Military, Snow, Germany, Soldiers+Angels
Much of the history behind this story can be found by talking to WWII bomber pilots about the British Ferry Command. For extra color, ask Chuck Yeager about why I say the sound barrier went quiet, in memory, on the 10th of August, 1980. From the story on AF.mil, let me just drop some amazing firsts:
- Flew and tested the first turbo-supercharger ever installed on an aircraft engine in 1934
- Set three major flying records in 1937 and won the prestigious Bendix Race in 1938
- First person to fly and test the forerunner to the Pratt & Whitney 1340 and 1535 engines
- Flew and tested the first wet wing ever installed on an aircraft
- Helped design the first oxygen mask, and then became the first person to fly above 20,000 feet wearing one
- First flight on the Republic P-43, recommended a longer tail wheel installation (later installed on all P-47s)
- Flew many experimental flights for Sperry Corporation, testing gyro instruments (oooh, first INS, say Yeah!)
- Set three speed records, won the Clifford Burke Harmon trophy three times, and set a world altitude record of 33,000 feet – all before 1940
Now, if I said the name, you might say, “Wow! I know who that is!” But, I figure a little more dust-N-cobwebs need to be shaken from the old belfries. So, I must go on. Before I do, I think that a reality check is in order. Were you thinking all this time that all this was achieved by a man? You’re wrong. Read on:
- In 1941 she captured an aviation first by being the first woman pilot to pilot a military bomber across the Atlantic Ocean
- She was soon recruiting women pilots to ferry planes for the British Ferry Command, and became the first female trans-Atlantic bomber pilot
- Another renowned female pilot, Nancy Harkness Love, suggested the establishment of a small ferrying squadron of trained female pilots which was approved
- General H.H. Arnold asked her to command, staff, and train women to fly, which ultimately became the Women’s Airforce Service Pilots
- In 1948 she became a member of the independent Air Force as a Lieutenant Colonel in the Reserve. She had various assignments which included working on sensitive projects important to defense
- She was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal for services to her country during World War II
- She was the first woman to break the sound barrier in an F-86 Sabre Jet in 1953
- She set a world speed record of 1,429 mph in 1964
- She retired from the Reserve in 1970 as a Colonel
- At the age of 70 she took up soaring
- In 1971, she was named Honorary Fellow, Society of Experimental Test Pilots and inducted into the Aviation Hall of Fame
This great woman is none other than Jacqueline Cochran!
In fact, to put a finer point on it, this paragraph says it all:
“She recruited more than 1,000 Women’s Airforce Service Pilots and supervised their training and service until they were disbanded in 1944. More than 25,000 applied for training, 1,830 were accepted and 1,074 made it through a very tough program to graduation. These women flew approximately 60 million miles for the Army Air Force with only 38 fatalities, or about 1 for every 16,000 hours flown. Cochran was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal for services to her country during World War II.”
She was also the Grandmother of the United States Air Force, in my opinion.
“Jacqueline “Jackie” Cochran was a leading aviatrix who promoted an independent Air Force and was the director of women’s flying training for the Women’s Airforce Service Pilots program during World War II. She held more speed, altitude and distance records than any other male or female pilot in aviation history at the time of her death.”
We all, those of you Air Force types out there reading, can thank Jacqueline Cochran for pushing to have an independent Air Force. She, and other very dedicated individuals, made a branch of the service from an already strong tree, the United States Army.TAGS: Fix4RSO, Milblog, Military, USAF, Women, Aviator, Pilot, History