Friday, April 28, 2006

"Another American Century or Another American Civil War?"

From the great poster and former blogger, Fjordman, a regular commenter on Litte Green Footballs in the comments for this article "Muslim Groups will march with Illegals":
I am always working on several posts at the same time, now including one called "Another American Century or Another American Civil War?" You Americans need to understand just how much is at stake here. We are in the early stages of a world war with Islam, Muslims are working to get nuclear weapons and are openly calling for the physical destruction of the West. Your enemies are watching the way you are handling the illegal situation, and they are not impressed. Do you think the North Koreans or the Iranians are scared of a country that allows itself to be intimidated and held hostage by a bunch of Mexicans who shouldn't even be in the country in the first place? When you're a supwerpower, the line of separation between domestic and foreign policy hardly exists. During the Cold War, the Soviet Union was impressed by the way Ronald Reagan handled the blackmail by the air trafic controllers. He simply fired them. This signalled to your enemies abroad that you were not going to give into black mail anywhere.
What is at stake here is your credibility as a superpower. In the longer run, it could be your physical security from nuclear attacks, perhaps even your very survival as a coherent nation state.
DO NOT give in to Mexican intimidation. Build the fence, and deport the illegals. Yes, ALL of them. No amnesty.
We are facing decades of what could potentially become the deadliest war in human history, where the very survival of Western civilization and perhaps human civilization in general hangs in the balance. We cannot win this without you. You are the indispensible nation, and if you break down, the rest of the planet is basically screwed.

Fjordman also has some thought provoking info at the Gates of Vienna blog. He has been reporting on the spreading problems Eurabia is seeing from the massive immigration without assimilation. Here is one of his recent posts: "New Oslo Peace Process".
He may be our Paul Revere for this time in history. Are we willing to consider his analysis?
Update 4/29/2006: Daily there is more international news, not reported by the MSM with any detail, on what lies ahead. I submit our "tolerance" of the "religion of peace" is doing nothing more than bringing on a world conflict, which, but all written history, begun as the followers of Mohammed spread their religion/politics across the middle east, into the Indian subcontinent, and then to Europe within about the time frame of one century. The fighting that has taken the lines of battle back and forth since then is what we are still engaged in. With the addition of nuclear weaponry, modern telecommunications and international travel by air, the battle lines are no longer measurabel on a map. Fjordman has it half right in his coming article, but I am rapidly coming to tne belief that the coming American Civil War (stay tuned for the Battle of the Illegal Immigrants on May 1, 2006) is merely a cover stroy for the coming global war on all things not Islamic. See this story on "Judgement Day", not brought to you by President Bush and his cabal of right wing Biblical friends, but another president that is quickly having his name become a household's not going to be pretty and the size of our amred forces will not be large enough to take it on as we are now. The draft will be for more than just the sons of Republicans, but for all those who do not desire to live in slavery to the thoughts of a 7th century epileptic.
Thanks to Mudville Gazette for the Open Post and Outside the Beltway for the OTB Caption Jam.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

MilBlogging Conference AAR - Part II

Part I
Editorial note: I thought I was in it Saturday during the conference, but I found it Monday driving home....
The comments from the conference are mulitplying (go figure!) and posted at Andi's World. Great reads all, but the best one is this one from Steve Schippert from Threats Watch just goes to show you how a simple effort can help someone else.
I added Black Five's discussion at the top of the entries, for I think it's worth keeping in our thoughts as we blog: What is the "max range" of your blog?
I've had a little time to think over the MilBlogging Conference adventure. Here is some detail to go with a "take away" point:
From Part I:
Top levels “take away” points:
1) “Stay in your lane” is good guidance. Blog on what you know. With a rule like that, you should be bulletproof if a question is posed about how factual your commentary is.

In regards to that direction, have you noticed how hard it is to tell the person who just told you their story that they are wrong? If they told you another person's story, it can be picked apart. When it's yours to tell, just what will they say? Nada...or they'll just whip out the ad hominum stuff and tell you how stupid you are. So...stick with what you know for sure.
The focus of 2/3rds of the Conference day was essentially discussions centered on blogging issues dealing with current world ops in the GWoT. Certainly, that provides an essential foundation for future MilBlogging, for the comments on "think carefully about who is reading this blog" is a fitting framework for all other blogging for the community (not a bad idea for everyone else, too...what if kids on MySpace posted based on what their parent's reaction would be...but I digress).
I see several subdivisions of MilBlogs and by wrtiing this, I think it will help frame what people are doing, as well as maybe someone reading this will realize they may have a part to play as well.
1) MilBlogs that are fundimentally daily diaries. Smash and CJ got their starts there, and so much of the active duty blogs today are in this "model." At the conference, CJ admitted this was his venting method during his time in theater, and Smash initially did it to get the word back home to his family (he has since matured, or "evolved" to being our BlogDaddy, so I'm looking for a present at Christmas this year). Begun as coping mechanisms, they are, in fact, history being recorded from a first person's view, with out the Monday Morning Quarterbacking. One other blog like this of note is no longer active, the 365 and a Wakeup blog of Capt Danjel Bout, CA National Guard, but is one of the finest pieces of writing I have found.
2) MilBlogs that are designed as support networks, out in the open bulletin boards. The panel discussion on this topic was amazing. The power of the Internet, combined with some family members wanting information, turned these early seekers into mentors for spouses and parents all over the country. Carla, of Some Soldier's Mom and Deb of Marine Corps Moms are two like this. Included in this area would be blogs such as Soldier's Angels.
3) MilBlogs written by non-active duty people with significant "discrete knowledge" and usually are analysis/commentary on geo-political/military matters. Not constrained by DoD rules, and also "out of the loop" of current tactical/startegic info, these blogs stand to be a powerful part of the "Army of Davids" that Col Austin Bay referenced several times during his conference remarks. The insight provided by these blogs can help either the MSM or just plain old citizens understand the issues in military operations more consisely. Threats Watch is one of these, and the work of Bill Roggio at The Fourth Rail is another of note. I would also put Eagle Speak here, for he runs a great blog on stuff that tends to the leagl side of maritime affairs, with piracy being a major topic these days.
4) Personal historical MilBlogs. Cheaper and easier than publishing a book, and you don't need an editor to tell you to do parts over...lots of veterans fit here, such as much of my current work. I have also found it quite rewarding to document storeis of many of the older vets I find.
5) Organizational blogs designed particularly to support the troops. There are many, but at the moment I'm thinking it's pretty late and I can continue this discussion later.
As far as the blogs mentioned above, I linked them for some quick examples, but I know there are many more that fall into the same groupings. My blogroll has plenty of them to pick from.
That's about enough for the moment. Again, as I got taught: to tell them what you're going to tell them, tell them, then tell them what you told them. Here's the wrap up: By categorizing the main discussions of MilBlogs, I think it will help each blogger frame where "their lane" may be, and therefore keep the work applicable and effective in the greater discussions of our society. I also think the rest of the world will better know where to go to read, and some of them will realize they are an intergral part of the MilBlog community, they just haven't taken the time to get going yet. Later, it will help subdivide our networking for any efforts we undertake.
Comments welcome.
Thanks to Mudville Gazette for the Open Post!

Wednesday, April 26, 2006


During the return home from the MilBlogging Conference, I found that mythical place that so many other have..... So, one more mystery of life solved: Hog Heaven is a place witth an address... MilBlogging post-conference work delayed to watcht the Lightening play hockey the way it was meant to be: Full contact, helmets, gloves, sticks, punches all flying.... PS: If you want the full address, leave me comments.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

MilBlogging Conference AAR - Part I

Part II
I can’t help but feel something pretty powerful happened yesterday, and, with luck, years from now, about 150 of us can say “back at the first conference, we wore jeans and T-Shirts…none of this fancy black tie stuff was allowed!”
While the air of informality reigned, it was the meeting and greeting and putting faces to text, followed by exciting conversation and thought provoking panel discussions.
Top levels “take away” points:
1) “Stay in your lane” is good guidance. Blog on what you know. With a rule like that, you should be bulletproof if a question is posed about how factual your commentary is.
2) Don’t underestimate the “max effective range” of your comments. The well placed furor over Fran’s Steakhouse lease began when FbL’s not very big readership blog made those fateful remarks, that, within days, became national level news in the MSM! Other stories were told that indicated similar results, in the most unexpected manner.
3) Your stories relating to military life and issues can be a powerful factor in closing the gap between the military/ex-military and the non-serving public. Share them wisely.
4) A lady who does marketing for a living indicated the rise of the blogosphere pretty much coincides with the declining readership of the dead tree media. One more powerful point: They don’t augment their understanding of events with blogs, they turn to the blogs for info. Take a moment to soak that one in.
5) She also said psychology studies show when a message of fear is delivered via TV, the viewer connects “better” with the message, which also makes the viewer more attentive to the commercials. That means the fear produces better results for the advertisers, which means the show/network can make more dollars this way. It pays to make us fearful….
6) Chuck Z says he’s upset that the MSM doesn’t tell the bad. Interesting point that makes you go “HUH?” until you hear the rest. He told of an insurgent who gunned down his own nephew so he could get a shot at two of Chuck’s sergeants. That was never in the news. Other examples followed that one.
7) Also from Chuck Z, he says it’s a great feeling to walk into a wounded service person’s room and bring them a laptop that makes a significant change in their life. Valour-IT – it’s making a difference in a big way.
8) Given the changing sources of sought out information coming from blogs, we bloggers have become “accidental journalists.” I’d say not only is that interesting, it also should give us some reason to not repeat those mistakes we complain about the MSM making, lest we fall victim to them ourselves as time passes and this form of info sharing becomes part of the MSM of the future.
9) Our efforts provide “individuals with discrete knowledge.” Back to take away lesson 1: Use it wisely, particularly by staying in your area of expertise. Resist the urge to pretend you know more than you do.
More to come. I'm still enroute home and visiting.
Thanks to Mudville Gazette for the trackback!
Thanks to ARGGHHH! for the tracback!

Saturday, April 22, 2006

DC MilBlogging Conference

Some earlier info... The first session is over and the discussion was centered on the purpose and (implied) the responsibility of MilBloggers. I'm sure the main site is going to cover this well. The side discussions have been interesting. After thinking Neptunus Lex was this completely amazing writer of the "Rythyms" blogvel, I now know he has had assistance from a ghost....well, it's still good anyhow, and I understand how the ghost writing made the detail of another area fit the overall "look and feel" of reality the Lex so masterfully weaves into the online story. More later, but this is "from my perspective," something that was highlighted as to what we can do best in the MilBlogging universe. Thank you to Mudville Gazette for the trackback....

Semi-Live Blogging from DC MilBlogging Conference - Part II

Part I Lesson learned: When you are having the first conference and the population is largely those who don't post their pictures, tell everyone to bring one of those spring steel crickets, like they used with the airborne troops on D-Day. Got there at 8PM, the bar was packed and no one was discernably standing at the entrance, with a box of "Hello, My Name Is" stickers. I got a drink and stood back doing the visual sweep. I did notice a couple in one of the side halls, the women looking ever so slightly familiar. Another guy wandered in and leaned against the door frame, looking around. I told him he'd have to push up to the bar to get help. He said "I'm supposed to be meeting a group of people here at 8:30, but we don't know what each other look like." DING, DING, DING! It was DadManly. Hand shake, a chuckle, and then I approached the couple. It was Smash and spouse. Buzz Patterson zipped thru, and then we began to form up quickly. Andi had a stack of blank white name tags and the obligatory fat black pen, and those of us who had filled one table made ours. I then slef-appointed and figured the best way to meet everyone was to be the name tag person. Lots and lots of people showed up. Lots of good conversations, and nice to put faces and real names to the reading.... The discussions were from ackward, like "ummm...I haven't read your blog..." to discussions on the status of books, self funded trips to the 'Stan, and "I'm glad to see you here." It's late. Chap: Too bad you're on TAD, because there are a few people here you'd really enjoy. More later (no promise as to when)! Thanks to Mudville Gazette for the Open Post!

Friday, April 21, 2006

Semi-Live Blogging from DC MilBlogging Conference - Part I

I'm checked in after a long drive and three family visits enroute, and will be heading to Fran's Restaurant tonight for the pre-MilBlogging Conference join up, but more importantly, to shake a few hands and say a few words of thanks to our service personnel, while trying not to interupt their free steak dinner. LCDR and Mrs Smash will be here, and I think one other tagged with being a navy type in the list of attendees. I'm looking forward to getting to know some of the people I have read much of over the last two years. I was hoping Capt Lex would make an excuse to make a cross country, but....he's busy, I guess, becoming an systems engineer.... If you're not already briefed in on the furor over Fran's lease not being renewed, go here, read and chase the links. Hilton boned this one up (even the MSM is writing negative things!). Fran is also looking to set up a fund to keep the dinners for the wounded personnel from Walter Reed going. If you have a few spare $$$, that may be a good place to drop them. More later!

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Note to the Complaining Generals

Dear sirs: A caller to a radio talk show today reminded me of a man from history that should be your role model. The problem is, you all have now gotten out, and can't pull this off. Sucks to miss the opportunity to rush through a salinet and tear up the rear of the enemy, does it? Sorry, I digress, so to my point, three words: GENERAL Billy Mitchell.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Operation Praying Mantis - 18 Years Ago

I received a comment on my A Journey into History - Part IX that discussed my participation in Operation El Dorado Canyon 20 years ago.
The author of an upcoming book about the mining of the USS SAMUEL B ROBERTS (FFG-58), Bradley Peniston, left me a note indicating that 18 years ago today, the retaliation for the attack on the ROBERTS was conducted. That was Operation Praying Mantis.
Brad's book, No Higher Honor, tells the story of the crew of the ROBERTS, led by the Captain, CDR Paul X. Rinn, in their efforts that saved the ship from sinking, despite having a broken keel. The book is due out in June of this year.
At twenty-five knots, the sea came on quickly. Its surface, wrinkled and opaque, rushed toward the warship, split against the steel prow, and became a fleeting trail of foam pointing back toward Kuwait.
Four decks above the waterline, Seaman Bobby F. Gibson leaned over the forecastle rail and twisted the focus knob on his binoculars. His metal chair, bolted to the main deck just behind the bow, afforded a panoramic view of the central Persian Gulf. The 19-year-old from Walkertown, N.C., took in the scene one small circle at a time.

Looks like a pretty well written beginning...
Thanks to Mudville Gazette for the Open Post!

Monday, April 17, 2006

I Had a Choice, Too

It's getting downright depressing when your "leadership" bails, then puts on suits and ties and whines like spamked little boys. On the other hand, it puts a smile on my face to see the all of a sudden (left wing) supporters (who used to think anyone in the military couldn't get a job in "real life") somehow believe the complaints of 6 former generals will cause the President to move aside the SecDef. That's hilarious.
I can't say every day in my 20 years was the way I would have done it. On top of that, I thank God it wasn't sometimes. I worked for some excellent officers who had plenty of practical experience at the profession to help guide me along. I enjoyed my time, overall, but a few days I'd like not to remember.
My first real choice came in 1980. I was coming to the end of my obligated time based on the acceptance of an ROTC scholarship. By then, I had served aboard two ships and had made one forward deployment and what seemed like on, due to the time spent out of homeport on a newly commissioned vessel (and most of it wasn't in some exotic overseas ports, but in beautiful Pascagoula, MS, in the shipyard). I thought several things could be done better and I made a choice. I could get out and complain, and have no real power to effect change, or I could stay in and work towards what was better than the existing conditions. I stayed.
I was sent ashore to a training command, where I had the chance to improve on the training I had received, for the new crews coming through my office. With the tutoring of many fine men in my shop, we, together, produced some outstanding results, which were widely complimented and recognized to the top levels of a major training facility.
I spent a tour as a Department Head. I had great role models from when I had been a Division Officer, but there was room to improve. Once more, with a fine crew supporting me, and two great captains, we did some spectacular things.
On a sea going staff, with a commodore who never saw a tasking, for us or anyone else, he wasn't willing to say to "my staff can do that!" I'll say this: The positive part was we got our fingers into all sorts of exciting things. The negative part was there wasn't many minutes (I chose that word carefully) left in the days to sleep. The personal management at this period of my career left somethings to be desired, but we all lived, even if the wives had separate plans to reduce our workload. I see a microcosm of the desrciptions of Secretary Rumsfield being a hard man to work with in that time of my life, under one commodore. We had to have done our homework and you better be on top of what was going on, or we got asked where we got our SWO pins from (you guessed it, the answer was provided many times: A cracker Jack box). Was it pleasant? Nope. Did it make a point? When it was over, was it recognized as a "teaching method" that worked? Yep. Would I use it? Nope (well, one time in a particular situation I did). I blended the message with other teaching/mentoring styles I had been taught, and I think I was effective.
As I worked my way up the "increasing responsibility" ladder, I had several occassions to either complain, or work to fix "it." In 1988, I did just that, and ended up actively working a side project for 5 years. Along the way, I had the opportunity to look some of my seniors in the eye and tell them they were making it essentially impossible on the fleet sailors and officer to comply, while I had to fail ships at inspections. My option was to roll up my sleeves and do something, while telling the big boss' staff to extricate body parts and rewrite directives. One four striper in particular, didn't like what I was trying to say at all. One weekend, I spent about 20 hours making an Excel sheet to graphically depict what I had been talking about. When he looked at that, he agreed and became the biggest proponent in getting it all changed. I didn't care he was presenting it to the Admiral as his plan, the fact of the matter was he understood and then was able to fix things. There are days I realize it sure didn't help me make the last few career steps, but in the end, the fleet did get relief and sensibilty applied.
There were times in the downsizing of the shore based training and inspection teams I was tasked to plan how to do it. I had plans submitted that were "modified" to the point of not being effective, but I said my peace, then saluted and gave a cherry "aye, aye!" and made it happen with what I had left.
I never made flag, but all I can say to the generals is I'm pretty disgusted and I expect more. Thankfully, no one I worked for has ever shown such bad manners. Sirs, if you didn't like what was happening, I say it was your duty to stay in and constructively argue your point, but to know when it was acceptable to try someone else's way to get it done. If it ever got so bad as to be intolerable, then it was your duty to submit your resignation, citing the issues clearly, but not to keep your mouth's shut until you can cut a book deal.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

A Journey into History - Part IX

Part I, Part II, Part III,Part IV, Part V, Part VI, Part VII, Part VIII

As you might imagine from the previous posts, we were busy. For this set of ops, each CVBG would handle one target each, so deconfliction would be pretty easy. Having been in the Med since January and assigned to chase a subsurface threat that never materialized, this time the ASW Commander's Intentions message speculated there would be no opposition in that area. Not only did the Libyan's show little interest in coming out to sea to try to get a torpedo off at us, the Soviet subs had largely been replaced with surface ships over the last month, which we assumed was a strategic move to limit the possibility of one of their subs being engaged. Not only did the SOVREMNNEY DDG and KARA CG become our "tattletales," they had made it a point to stay on the north side of the formations, but always within visual range of the carrier.

Our CVBG had been in the western Med, at port visits. We had gotten underway and directed to steam to the north of Sicily. We "parked" up there, and then in the late day of the 13th, we were ordered to plan for a modified EMCON "A" transit of the Strait of Messina, that narrow passge between the boot of Italy and the island of Sicily. we would have to proceed single file, and with all our military radios and radars off. We would keep our navigational lights on.

THe Strait of Messina is a challenge, even in the daylight, because there is a ferry to the island and the captains decided they have the right of way over all others. There is plenty of other traffic, such as vessels coming from Naples and heading south and east, and then throw in the fishermen. Now, envision this all happening on a dark night, with a low, solid overcast, so any moonlight is eliminated as an aid to the lookouts and bridge watch teams.

In amongst all this planning, we heard the USAF was going to participate. The air wing weaponeers then had to shift their work to set up a two carrier strike on Benghazi, while the Air Force would take out the targets in Tripoli. Side note: The Libyans have renamed their city to Tarabulus from Tripoli. Thankfully, my staff didn't need to be flexible over this issue, so we settled in to set up planning the screening ship stations for the transit.

I don't recall what time we departed our staion north of Sicily, but it was well into the night. We took off at high speed fro the Strait of Maessina, and I was thankful that I would be able to sit back and watch my SWO counterparts in the BIDDLE's ship's company sweat out this exciting transit of the Strait. To the east, the glow of Mt Vesuvius could be seen in the night sky. The surface traffic of many types of commerical and private vessels in the vicinity was quite dense and I'm sure the conversations between the bridges, lookouts and CICs were all too busy that night.

Successfully transiting the Strait, our battle group reformed on itself and headed into the Ionian Sea (central Med). I swear it almost was like a cartoon, as we rushed at top speed down there, then put on the brakes hard, as the strike package began the launch. The operations were going as planned, at least from where I was able to listen, and now it was time to settle back and let the aviators do what they had been trained to do best.

Different from the previous operations in this series of showing the flag to Col Khadaffi, we had believed there would be subsurface activity. When we pronounced that, based on intelligence estimates, there were plenty of reported "goblins." The confidence in these contacts was usually the lowest confidence, but we still needed track them. We used DRT tracing paper over the charts of the Med, in addition to recording position reports in JOTS, and we constantly analyzed "time, speed and distance," to check and see if the postion was a new contact, or continuation of a prior ASW prosecution. This time, no one reported any subsurface contacts at all.

I made this observation about this night: Everything anyone did, who I had contact with, whether it be the radio communications or face to face discussions, was absolutley professional. Proper radio-telephone (R/T) and internal communications were crisp, and properly formatted. Call signs and codewords were used exclusively. Conversations were not any longer than necessary. We had the strike frequency put up in our CIC Flag module, so we could hear what was going on miles to our south. The data links were running exactly as they taught you in the school house and team training. Somehow the focus on conducting real world ops against a real enemy really focused the entire battle force.

Since I don't directly recall, I'll rely on the Operation El Dorado Canyon entry at Wikipedia, which says the strike happened at 2AM local time. I recall the "feet dry" call from the Navy Strike leader, and then it was dead silent a few minutes later as the planes cleared the beach and headed back to us, taking their nose count as soon as they called "feet wet." We heard each plane answer up. We then listened to the Air Force go feet wet and check for all planes. The count went well for a while, then when one number was called, there was no response. They called the pilot several times, then announced one plane was not with them. It was a sinking feeling.

Anyhow, the deed was done, 20 years ago tonite. I was there. It is my only claim to combat operations, and I had a seat near the head tables for all of it. One day I'll wrap this all up with some of the tactical things I observed/learned. I guess the most interesting thing for me in having participated was when I later went to the Naval War College Command and Staff course in Newport, RI, was how the Maritime Ops trimester focused almost exclusively on this operation. There was an EA-6B backseater named Ed in the same class with me, and we were the only two who had bragging rights about being in there. Many times, the class would get asked a question about operations and they alluded to situations/conditions/ops that were highlighted by the Gulf of Sidra ops, and we felt like kids who had been given answers to the test at the beginning of the school year. On the other hand, we'd answer questions with real world solutions we had seen, and we would be told "that's not doctrine!"

One day, I was asked to model the operational chain of command for a three CVBG, with a USAF component. I went to the chalkboard and commenced to begin drawing the "who would work for who diagram. Our moderator keot commenting from the back of the room, where he had gone as I went forward, "that's not in accrodance with DOCTRINE!" I finally looked at the Navy Capt and said "Well, sir, it worked fine for Adm Jerimiah!" then I turned around and went back to drawing.

Anyhow, suffice it to say, it was an experience!

Thanks to Mudville Gazette for the Open Post!

Friday, April 14, 2006

Sun 'n Fun 2006 Heritage Flight

My video was no where near this good, but here's one to follow up on my earlier post... Bonus video of an F-117 flying by..

Monday, April 10, 2006

Sun 'n Fun 2006 - After Action Report

Well, it's over today. Yep, the 2006 Sun n' Fun Fly In is seeing the last people leave today.

Here's a quick outbrief, but not with pictures of the actual event...those come tonight.

On Thursday evening, I drove Jim, Sr. (Valiant Glider Pilot of who flew under the Eiffel Tower fame) (the link is to part 1 of three...links to all parts of the antics of Jim and his glider buddies contained therein), to have dinner with those of the Stinson aircraft type (for he flew a Stinson L-5 under the tower).

They were not only gracious, and, having established earlier contact, had name tags for the two of us, and then proceeded to eat BBQ, and listen to Jim's tales of days gone by with great interest.

Due to other scheduling issues, we didn't get back to the Fly In until Sunday afternoon. We wandered about, found an SNV aircraft, which Jim referred to as the Vultee "Vibrator." They went from 120 HP Stearman trainers, to the 450HP Vultees.

I went off to see the F-22 Raptors and Jim got talking to another gentleman, who turns out, flew from the same field as Jim, only a year apart. They did a little reminiscing.

I got my 6 o'clock shot (yep, static, but I can't afford the gas bill to chase one) of the F-22, as a follow on to this post over at Neptunus Lex.

We wandered among the many palnes of various ages, me finding a Twin Beech, with a passenger door, which conjured up memories of jumping at Covington, LA in 1980 from said equipped aircraft. It's amazing how 10 people could actually build formations from those without being spread across two counties on exit. I got my SCR, with the jumpers there building an "8 Way" around me. Saw a C-47 (jumped one of those at Perris Valley), and then a few T-34Bs.

The "Legacy Fly By" was to be a TF-51, and F-15, and the F-22. I got a good spot by the fence and waited for the take off. Due to low clouds, they could only hot dog so much, but the F-22 didn't use a lot of runway. Next the F-15 made a bunch of passes, having to go to burner a lot, but a great low altitude presentation. To the south, the F-22 played about, just under the clouds about 2000', doing Cobra manevuers, until the TF-51 joined with him. Then the fun began.

The two aircraft commenced to do a little "DACT" (dis-similar air combat training). The F-51 turned some tight circles, with the F-22 matching him in speed and turn diameter. Impressive for a large jet to do that. The, the LtCol must have gotten bored, for on about the 10th circle, he vetored thrust and functionally cut across the circle on a spoke thru the middle and quickly joined on the wing of the TF-51, while the prop plane was still in the same turn. That's impressive to watch!

The F-15 finished it's passes and then joined the two other aircraft to make a three ship formation. From there, they conducted two "Heritage" passes, the TF-51 in the lead, the Eagle to port and Raptor to starboard. I did get a vido of the first fly by, without framing my subjects well....gotta love new equipment.

Next the Raptor pilot did his passes, most of the time without his afterburners on, and was just as impressive as the Eagle. Then he came in low and vectored the thrust to begin a vertical climb. It looked like someone grabbed the nose and shoved the tail underneath to get vertical. I'd not like to be on the business end of that maneuver.

Ok, I'll try to get the pictures up tonight. Thanks to Mudville Gazette for the Open Post!

Friday, April 07, 2006

I'm Not Sure How to Title This

Chap has encapsulated, in his thoughts on career "circumstances" of his own, a lot of insight for the rest of us. Well, let me clarify: He seems to have said what many of us have felt. See the comments for thorough understanding of this. We all entered knowing the struture we work within is a pyramid. We, at the subconscious level, know only one person is at the top at a time. Some of us don't make it there (what a blinding flash of the obvious!). He discusses that type of issue, with far more clarity than I. Read his post and be rewarded with a very honest monologue about military life.

Why UXO Makes Bad Paperweights

Even if it looks really cool and has the possibility of being a great babe magnet, even before this incident, I have always declined to have percussion fired ordnance as paperweights on any of my desks...stick with electically primed is my advice. A 5"54 cal round will do nicely and can also be used as an anchor if you live in New Orleans and the hurricanes come.
The explosion also destroyed a computer keyboard, scattering some of the keys around Colla's desk.
So even if his fingers come out of this OK, he'll be having a hard time typing whole words from now on, too...

Thursday, April 06, 2006

The Day has Arrived - April 4th, 2006

Every since the introduction of Mac OS 10, I predicted the day would come when the morning headline, above the fold, in large print, would read:


The day was 4/4/2006, and it's been a long time coming. The OS 10 operating system, being built on a UNIX base, runs UNIX programs. It (obviously) runs Mac programs, (which is an interesting story about backwards compatability the Apple always supported - but that's another post). Now, with the Intel based Mac computers, Boot Camp (oh, btw, a free beta!)..."we" have arrived.

A pox on the houses of all of you die hard, brainwashed PC-ites, who, having never laid a hand on the mouse of a Mac, could, with a straight face, tell me "Macs are no good!"

The same to you who proclaimed "We have 25,000 programs, you only have 2,500!" Now we own all of yours and all of ours....

One comment (as Chapomatic likes to say): Heh!

Yep, I have a PC now, but you'll have to wait until Oct this year before I lay out my hobby equipment "ownership" post.

And if you think it's no big news, check Apple's stock. As of a few mintues ago, it had gone from $60 (yesterday) to $71 today. The Dow is presently "taking a dump" my investor friend tells me....hmmmmmmm..... Update: 4/7/2006: The 2 Steves Who Changed the World from CNN. How true...

A Journey into History - Part VIII

Part I, Part II, Part III,Part IV, Part V, Part VI, Part VII, Part IX

So life, the evening of March 24th and wee hours of the 25th were exciting. Quite honestly, it was also the closest I personally ever came to combat during my career, and then it turned out to not even be that at all. In this case, it was the closest I ever came to being connected (directly) to a major international incident.

As the sun rose later on the 25th, at least two of Khadaffi’s Navy ships were transmogrified into mobile targets for the battle force’s SUCAP. Later in the day, I recall a ship’s company sailor poking his head into our watch station area, proudly holding a black and white 8x10 picture of a smoldering NANUCHKA gunboat. He asked if we wanted a copy. I would have loved one, but then I thought back to a story one of my CO’s had told me of a story about pictures.

Gary Voorheis had been at a Wardroom party many years before, at the house of one of the ship’s officers. He told us of being ushered upstairs, where upon he and a few other officers were shown pictures of the USS BELKNAP (CG-26) just after she had collided with the USS KENNEDY (CV-67) in 1975. These were photos taken by the officer, with his own camera, and he had held onto him for several years. Back in “the OLD Navy,” the Navy’s policy was every, yes, you read that right, every picture taken aboard a vessel was Navy property. The common convention was, short of some major situation, no captain bothered to have all photos developed and examined for possible useful content, however, the regulation was in place. In this case, these picture of the post-collision damage fell under this regulation. To shorten the story, shortly after the party, I believe the Naval Investigative Service paid the officer a visit and confiscated the photos, and I recall significant (read career ending) repercussions followed for withholding evidence from the collision investigation board.

In light of that story, and not being certain of the possible classification that may be assigned to the photo of the unlucky gunboat, I declined. About two weeks later, when the stateside mail caught up with us, there were copies of US News and World Report, with the very picture of the flaming evidence on the front cover.

We gave Khadaffi's boys a big black eye, taking out a couple of SAM radars and at least two gunboats. My understanding is a thrid Nanuchka, with a little brighter skipper, was zig zagging between the ROCKEYEs lofted at him, and while he made it to port, the shrapnel left enough damage behind for the ship to sink pierside from progressive flooding.

The SARATOGA CVBG, taking ADM Jerimiah and the CRUDESGRU EIGHT staff back to the US. Just the CORAL SEA and AMERICA CVBGs remained. My staff transferred from the SARA back to USS BIDDLE (CG-34), and resumed our watches in the staff area in the Combat Information Center. The CORAL SEA CVBG began preps to turn over and OUTCHOP, too. Our last scheduled port visit was Benidorm, Spain (for the USS BIDDLE). On the last day of the port visit, we were informed we had been extended in the Med. That was quite a shock, but, orders are orders.

Side note: While we were involved in this series of operations off Libya, we began to receive mountains of mail from the States, courtesy of Operation Dear Abby. The history of that operation, which continues today, began with a letter from a BIDDLE sialor, even before we had left for e cruise. Early in my blogging days, I discussed the special support we received thru this project.

I also recall one day on watch when ADM Jerimiah was out on the Flag Bridge of SARATOGA, he beagn laughing and called us to come out and "see this." We pulled the curtain back to see a small commercial jet, which had been chartered by a news crew flying over the CVBG, and an gaggle of different Naval aircraft were all tucking in beside an behind it, trying to get on camera. I suspect that was the time the famous picture, of a crew member of an EA-6B Prowler was holding up the sign "SEND COOKIES" for the camera, that was widely published.

As we headed back to sea, and the planning began to rapidly develop for a Navy strike on Tripoli and Benghazi, one night, the USAF sent a "natiional asset" our way to recon the target areas. The SR-71 flight I blogged about last year, was what I saw, and my post discussed how I found out who the pilot was, LtCol Brian Shul, quite by accident.

Due to time constraints, I’ll edit this post later (most likely tomorrow), to record my view of the events 20 years ago today. Those events were the bombings of Tripoli (actually named Tarabulus by the Libyans) with USAF FB-111s and Benghazi with Navy A-6s. The event was named Operation El Dorado Canyon.

The blogger known as the Southern Air Pirate, now on active duty and part of the GWoT, realizes his father was in the same fight, but, there where I was 20 years ago today....and his dad went "feet dry" with VA-85.

Stay tuned for the details from my view!

Thanks to Mudville Gazette for the Open Post!

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Got the "Need for Speed"™ on the Surface?

Do we call it the "Flyak" or "Foil Kayak?" In any case, who thought "up on the foils" was reserved for powered vessels? Maybe I can find one of these to crash, too!