Tuesday, May 23, 2017

The Minnow Turns 21

Gotta hijack the blog for a minute.  This story has been already told, but it happened 21 years ago today- when my life got scary, exciting, and full of meaning, all at the same time.  Happy Birthday to my son Tristan, AKA "The Minnow." 

New Job, New Stories, Maybe*

(Sept. 15, 2009) Capt. Ross Myers, right, commander of Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 5, explains the F/A-18 simulator to U. S. Ambassador to Japan the Honorable John Roos inside Naval Air Facility (NAF) Atsugi's simulator building. (U.S. Navy photo by MC2 Steven Khor)
* Just to be clear, this would be The WSO with a new job. Not Your Humble Scribe. I envision my next job as being a man about town, a man of leisure, in short - retired.

Back in '13 I had the opportunity to fly the F/A-18 simulator out at NAS Lemoore, current home of The WSO and her branch of the tribe. Okay, technically it's where The WSO and her husband Big Time both work. He as a uniformed Naval Aviator in the naval service, she as a newly minted contractor working in, of all places, the F/A-18 simulator.

I wrote about my inability to land on a simulated aircraft carrier while flying a simulated aircraft here. Not only was I unable to trap, my attempts to do so got progressively worse. Which I fessed up to in that post I linked to. I think. If not, I do so now. I suck at carrier landings. I wouldn't even make the greenie board, let alone ever score the coveted "OK 3."

Now before LUSH, as she demands the students call her (as opposed to Ma'am, which pisses her off), got out of the Navy (oh yeah, The WSO and LUSH are the same person, in case I confused you there, that person being my youngest child and second daughter) she had heard tell of this rather lucrative position in the flight simulator building. As she was getting out, she thought about being a stay at home mom for a while, then decided that losing her salary as a lieutenant might be painful, I mean who can live on the salary of a Hinge, er, lieutenant commander anyway? (Well, I could, but I'm used to enlisted pay. Then again, we never lived in California, which, in case you didn't know, is pretty deuced expensive.)

So she interviewed with the head guy, a former Naval Aviator yclept Dude. As that moniker is in italics you may rest assured that that was (and still is) his callsign. How did he get that, you might wonder. Has something to do with this, well, dude -

I can't wait to meet this guy. A most laid back, well, dude. Anyhoo...

You might wonder exactly what it is The WSO does in the simulator. Well, she flies it.

Uh, wasn't she a backseater, hence the nom de blog of The WSO? She didn't fly the bloody thing just gave directions, twiddled with the knobs on the radar and the bombing computer (yes, twiddled is a technical term). Yes, yes she was a Naval Flight Officer, aka NFO, aka WSO, aka backseater. But no more. She has been civilianized (as opposed to civilized) and now has the enviable task of driving the simulated jet so that brand new WSOs can learn their trade. They taught her to do that without doing the whole controlled flight into terrain thing. (Heck, even I can do that in the sim, well until I run out of go juice as I can't land it.)

Mind you, she's not actually training the new kids to be WSOs, she just drives the bus while they do their WSO things in the back seat (ya know, twiddling). Essentially, she does what any nose gunner, er, pilot does and that is do what the backseater says. So that the backseater can learn their trade and develop unreasonable expectations that someday their GIF (guy/gal in front, aka pilot, aka stick actuator, aka stick monkey) might, in real life actually listen to them. (HA!)

So okay, the GIF and the GIB (guy/gal in back) are a team, they fight the jet together, etc., etc. I get that, I am not biased against pilots, not at all, the aircraft will not, no matter how much the backseater wishes, fly itself. Someone has to point the bird in all the right directions so that the honed and professional GIF/GIB team can deliver ordnance onto the misbegotten hoards of anti-freedom, anti-social bastards who mean to cause the collapse of Western Civilization.

What's that? No, I didn't mean Democrats. I meant foreign bad guys. And yes, some are bad gals, just to be all inclusive here at The Chant, and I'm sure some of those bad people might identify as being non-gender specific or something so here on out let's just call them assholes. While this is a kind of family friendly place, they actually use that term on TV and the radio, so...

If they ain't heard it by now they will soon. (And I'm pretty sure no Amish read the blog, they can't have computers right?)

I see I have digressed. Apologies, where were we?

Ah yes, The WSO in her new job is a simulated naval aviator. Simulated as in she can't actually crash the sim bad enough to break things and hurt people. I discovered in the sim that one can actually tie the low altitude record and walk away to fly again another day. (Provided the sim operator actually resets everything properly.) Oh, and did you know that the engines on the F/A-18 simulator will actually run on seawater, I know, I tried. I guess it might depend on the "realism" settings being employed but my sole time in the cockpit did see me flying at sea level, or slightly below, scaring the crap out of the wildlife. Not to mention myself. Big Time had a chuckle over it, I'm just glad he didn't refer to me as "the U-Boot captain."

So that's The WSO's new job in a nutshell. She's basically a chauffeur for WSOs in training. One thing about the job though is that she has to do what the WSO tells her, that and no more (and no less). So if the GIB gets target fixated or perhaps has a helmet fire (so task overloaded that confusion sets in) she simply maintains course, speed, and pitch setting. So if she's got the bird in a dive, like when simulating dropping ordnance, she stays there. No matter how close the simulated flying machine gets to the simulated ground.

Can't do that in a real jet, well you can, but only once.

So it seems the other day she had a student in the back and she was merrily toodling along (another technical term), pointing the simulated bird wherever her WSO told her and said WSO got a little distracted. As our own LUSH (said tag I will use when she is in the simulated cockpit) watched the altimeter wind down, and watched as the pretty simulated terrain got closer and closer, she was sore tempted to point out to the student that perhaps the ground was getting a might close and was there anything in the way of "stick back, throttles forward" that she could do to perhaps keep them in the simulated sky a while longer? At least until said student finished the day's lesson.

She sat there, wondering what the protocol was, this was her first time chauffeuring an actual student. Should she yell at him? Should she just pull up? Or should she obey her training and let the poor student fly them into the ground, learning (perhaps) a valuable lesson?

She adhered to her training and just about the time she resigned herself to ending the day's mission on a low note, the student in the back came out of whatever reverie he was engaged in and gave her instructions to pull up, rather abruptly I gather. Seems he'd got hung up on some task in the back cockpit and lost situational awareness momentarily. Of such things obituaries are made in real life.

But in the sim, it's lesson learned, move on and oh yeah, don't do that in the real jet, your real pilot will obey your instructions but he/she will (if they're smart) preserve themselves to fly and fight another day.

I trust and hope that LUSH will share stories of the simulator in the future, bearing in mind the needs of the service and the need to preserve operational security and all that. Uncle Sam, and my current employer, often stress the need to keep a secret. I'm pretty good, check that, damned good at keeping a secret.

So I've got that going for me.

And, perhaps, a new source for stories of the naval service.

We shall see.

Monday, May 22, 2017


On Saturday, Sarge posted an article that, in his own inimitable style, discussed a lot of worthwhile issues.  One of those topics is the existential crisis in Air Force Leadership, both officer and enlisted, but primarily Officer and lead by and caused by General Officers general officers.(The offenders not being worthy of honorifics).  Another was the absolute stupidity in the design of Air Force uniforms over the past 70 years of its existence.  Merrill McPeak (he goes by Tony, his real name, Merrill is more fitting) was the absolute winner in commander designed uniform awfulness.  Some time I'll post on his visit to Kadena and meeting the wing's Flight Commanders.  Yes, it involved a uniform inspection.  I'm pretty sure when translating "McPeak" from the original tongue means "Buffoon".

However (yes, folks, a different verbal pause!), the crux of Sarge's post was on the difference in military life when assigned to the Pacific than Stateside and even Europe.   To summarize, PACAF had much more of a Shaka Brah mentality than elsewhere.  While we took training and flying our mission VERY seriously, the day to day tediousity of military life was minimized as much as possible.

So (yep, back to the usual verbal pause.), as usual, an excellent post, much like the lyrics in refrain of this song. 
 Yeah, I'm a Jimmy Buffett fan.

However, even the Master makes a mistake every once in a long while.  And that once was Saturday.

He published this photo
Sarge's issue was Flounder's issue in Animal House, the ending of which is "....you trusted us".  The file name on the picture says "35th_Tactical_Fighter_Squadron_-_McDonnell_F-4D-32-MC_Phantom_-_66-8709.jpg", so Sarge said the same.

When I glanced at the picture, the first thing I noticed was the WP on the tail, properly topped with the fin flash of the 80th TFS, AKA "The Juvats" not the blue fin flash of the (PTUI!) 35TFS Pantons.  

I gently corrected him, and then I started looking at the rest of the jet.  I noticed the ECM pod in the front left Sparrow well and then noticed the Laundry rack on the spine.

"I wonder....."  and went back and found my flying records.  Yes, I have flown this jet, and was part of the first crew that used that laundry rack since the Vietnam War.  Course this was 1980, so 7 years,  not that big a deal.

But, when you're on a remote to Kunsan, and the golf course is not a whole lot better than a putt-putt course, it's easy to get excited about even the littlest things.

You see, the Laundry rack is an antenna and was used by the LORAN system mounted in some F-4s.  LORAN is one of those military acronyms and stands for LOng RAnge Navigation.  The antenna would capture radio beacons from various sources and plot their intersection.  That intersection would be the location of the receiver.

In the F-4, the LORAN was hooked into the Bombing Computer, which would allow you to automatically drop a bomb when the Bombing Computer determined that point the LORAN said the aircraft was currently matched the point the Bombing Computer determined was the Release Point for the weapons on board.

Think electronic version of the Norden Bomb Sight, and you wouldn't be far off.

As I said, the Juvats was my first assignment.  As is usually the case for first assignments, I wasn't very well qualified to do much of anything.  An additional factor was the looming arrival of an ORI, and the Wing and Squadron Commander didn't want a brand new 1LT, not well qualified, Aircraft Commander to have much impact on the results of the ORI.  Hence, I was relegated to the night schedule.


Because the F-4 was a two seat aircraft, and I was a new guy, I had to have someone experienced crewed with me.  But that meant one of their experienced WSOs would not be available for the visible portion of the ORI.  (No one on the IG team wanted to look at nighttime operations at Kunsan Korea in February, hence a lot of "sins" were hidden by the night schedule.)

A conundrum.

Seems a fairly experienced back seater was scheduled to arrive about 3 weeks prior to the ORI.  The Squadron Commander put out the edict that he would be Mission Ready before the ORI as he was to be my WSO.  Lucky guy!

Lucky me also, since he's got to get a mission qual check ride and I'm his front seater, I get to get another one.  Yay!  And this one will be at night.

We pass.  But we're relegated to night sorties which except for occasional moments of excitement (read terror), were generally boring.  Brief at sunset, takeoff around 9, drive to Koon-Ni Range, drop the two simulated nukes, pop up for 30o dive bomb, then 20o, then RTB to a couple of instrument low approaches then full stop.  Hit the rack around 0200, get up and do it again.  

We've been doing this for a few weeks, and one day, we're flying the jet in the picture above.  My WSO is looking at this new, old, stuff in his cockpit and trying switches.  He turns the Russian Switch (the OnOff switch pronounced Own' ov, you get it right?) to the On position and needles start to move in the back seat, but he's not sure what it is or what it does.

Since we've got a lot of daylight between sorties, he breaks into the flight manuals to see what that system is and what it does.  Yes....It was the LORAN system.  

He then decides that he's going to make a name for himself by learning how to and using the system.  Fortunately, 709 is a reliable airplane and on the night schedule, so getting  to fly it isn't hard.  Soon, we're able, with the help of some initially unwilling maintainers, to get the system working.  

He then decides we're going to get the system in such a state that we can attempt to drop a practice bomb with it.

That requires approval from the powers that be.

Batman approves the idea with a few safety caveats.  We will practice with the Combat SkySpot folks until we get correlation that anything that comes off our aircraft should hit planet Earth somewhere.  

This system would give you steering to a release point and then provide timing to release with 3 bongs, 2 ticks and then a Beep.  You would pickle when you heard the Beep.  

It was used in Vietnam quite extensively when the weather was bad.  Evidently, it was quite effective in turning trees into toothpicks.  VX and Dave may have better info than I.

In any case, we've tweaked the system and gone through a few dry missions where the Skyspot would run the delivery and we'd check their release point with LORAN's and vice versa.  We were fairly confident that we could deliver a BDU-33 25 pound practice bomb to somewhere near the Rock on Koon-Ni Range.  Certainly in the bay....Surely.....

It's time for an actual release.

First run will be Skyspot controlled.  Bong, Bong, Bong, Tick, Tick, BEEEEEEEEP!

I don't remember what the actual score was, but it didn't hit the rock, short.  (Not that I ever missed the rock entirely, Nope, Never, Ever!)

Now it's our turn.  We come in for a dry run, telling the Skyspot crowd when we would have pickled.  their prediction was that we'd be a little long.

Ok, their actual bomb was short, they said we'd be long, maybe.

We come back around for an actual delivery.  


The Ranger calls 500' at 12.  Not a bad bomb (well for a bomb dropped from 18K in level flight without visual aiming or guidance anyway).  Come back around and drop another.  A little short, about 400' at 6, but not bad.  This could work.

Get back on the ground and talk to Batman.  We're pretty excited, as best we could tell, those were the first LORAN bombs dropped since Vietnam and they were certainly acceptable.  We're on to something.

The Squadron Weapons Officer cools us down pretty quickly though.  He asks us what the delivery parameters were.  I told him straight and level, 400K, 18,000'.  He asks me what the TOF of a 57mm AAA round was to 18000'?   Or a SA-2?  Or a SA-3? All of which the North Korean's had in droves.


My Backseater got his Callsign that evening, hence the title to this post.

Conehead PCS'd from the Kun to Moody and was my crewed backseater there also.  He went to the F-4 Fighter Weapons school while at Moody. We had a lot of excellent adventures and dropped a bunch of neat munitions from exciting deliveries but we never spoke much about LORAN again, except on cross countries to the PI when it came in pretty handy.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Is The Dream Over?

A dream died here...
Family legend has it that one of ours died at Culloden, fighting for Bonnie Prince Charlie. Or perhaps he marched with Johnny Cope? Legends aren't always that clear. But the dream of the Stuarts died on that field. Perhaps better for Scotland in the long run, perhaps not.

Dreams often die in blood.

Current events have me holding my breath. What's happening in the streets of some of our cities is nothing more than insurrection, sedition, and treason. I didn't care for the last occupant of the White House, I'm not a big fan of the current one. I am heartily sick of having to choose between the lesser of two evils.

Unless things change and change quickly, I fear that there will be blood.

Will there be nothing here but war?

Sorry, but it's depressed about the whole mess I am. Perhaps I'll go have a wee dram and think happy thoughts.

But I'll keep my musket handy.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Off We Go...

F-4D Phantom  66-8709 of the 80th* Tactical Fighter Squadron (USAF Photo)
There are days when I look at today's Air Force and tell myself that if I were to do things over again, in this day and age, I'd probably join the Navy. Then again, I'm not sure. I know at least one guy in the Air Force who went to high school with The Nuke and The WSO. Good kid, he likes what he's doing, then again, the guy always had a fighter pilot's mentality, even as a kid. So there's that.

Though I read John Q. Public whenever he's got something new, some of what he writes about is hard to believe. This story I found particularly concerning. While I had knew of a couple of very senior generals who really abused their power back in the day, it didn't seem as endemic as it does now.

One of the things we used to joke about was it seemed we'd get a new set of uniforms every time the Air Force got a new Chief of Staff. Some of them really sucked in my estimation. (We Are The Mighty has a good take on that. Kinda funny, kinda not. I still want to heave every time I hear Tony McPeak's name!)

Some of the bad stuff I hear always seems to emanate from the good old Continental U. S. of A. Overseas we seldom had time for the sort of crap which seems to occupy the shoe clerks who tend to camp out in the U.S. and avoid overseas tours like the plague. Well, at least they did in my day. Probably still do.

Two of the best assignments I ever had were both in PACAF, Pacific Air Forces, Japan and Korea. PACAF being headquartered at Hickam AFB in Hawaii, a place Juvat is very familiar with, as he was with Kadena and Korea. Those guys in PACAF, for the most part, took care of their people.

When I first got to Kadena, in Japan, on the island of Okinawa, I didn't really care for it all that much. Most of our senior sergeants thought we were still in Vietnam. So we were on 12-hour shifts. While they did seem to realize that it was actually peace time so we had two days off every week, much of what we did could have been accomplished on eight-hour shifts. But "that's not the way we did it during the war" was their hue and cry. They didn't appreciate this young airman (moi)  telling them "dude, the war's over, chill."

Eventually all the old Vietnam and Thailand guys rotated back to the States. Mind you, most of the younger sergeants were awesome (yeah, Russ, I'm looking at you) and I learned a lot from them. After my first chief departed for the "Big BX" (which is what we called the US of A, BX = Base Exchange, think military department store) we got a new chief, a guy I will never forget, Chief Colona. (Though the correct spelling of his last name escapes me, be in reality I always just called him Chief.)

Guy was amazing. Though I knew a number of E-9s when I was active duty, Chief Colona was the first one I worked for and probably the only one I ever respected. (Now there were guys I worked with who went on to make chief and might have been good ones, two spring to mind right off the top of my head who were probably outstanding chiefs.)

One thing I need to mention. The rank of Chief Master Sergeant in the Air Force is in the pay-grade of E-9. Referring to someone as an "E-9" is most definitely not a mark of respect. Referring to someone as "Chief" is. Just thought I'd mention that.

Now you might imagine that I may have been something of a "handful" as an airman. I never been good with dealing with BS, nor have I ever been reticent in throwing the "BS flag" when I thought it was called for. Now on Okinawa I was an unhappy camper at first. I had had an assignment to Thailand (Udorn RTAFB to be specific) and had taken some getting used to the fact that I wasn't going to Europe. Which is what I wanted. One of the sergeant's at my training squadron took me aside and convinced me that I would absolutely love Thailand. (Yes, I would have, knowing what I know now.)

But Udorn was going to be closed and Big Air Force knew it, why assign people there only to have to re-route them elsewhere. Well, short story is that's what bureaucracies do, and outside of the flying bits of the Air Force, there is a crap ton of bureaucracy. So my orders to Udorn were cancelled and because I had orders to Udorn, I was going to go to Okinawa, where the guys who hadn't finished their tours in Thailand were being sent.

Long story short, I was a pain in the butt until Chief Colona and I had a "come to Jesus meeting." He showed me the errors of my ways and I became a pretty decent troop after that. But I see that I have digressed with this bit about the Chief and Okinawa.

Main point I was trying to stress is that being in PACAF was heaven, being Stateside sucked (so I was told) and mother Air Force kept trying to suck me back to the States. I wanted to go to Korea. (For many reasons, okay, one reason.) So I kept extending my tour at Kadena, six months at a time. The Chief asked me when I would stop extending, I told him that when Big Air Force gave me an assignment to Korea or when I retired, whichever came first. (I should note that Chief served a LONG time on Okinawa, I want to say 20+ years.)

Chief understood and hooked me up with a guy he knew from PACAF HQ. No sweat the guy from HQ said, when do you want to go? How about right freaking now and how did you do that? Randolph AFB (where Air Force assignments was home based) couldn't do squat for me and told me constantly, "there are no slots available". As the guy from HQ told me, "You belong to PACAF, as long as we want to keep you, you can stay. Big Air Force has no say past the coast line of California. Because...

Or something like that.

Now I spent six years and four months in PACAF. Loved it most of the time. We were there to fly and to fight. (Well, I was there to maintain the jets. Guys like Juvat and Tuna actually flew them. Wasn't much fighting at the time either, but with North Korea only a short flight away, we had to be ready.)

Eventually all good things must end, but whereas most of my compatriots were sent to Florida to work in the hot sun repairing our dwindling numbers of Phantoms of the "C" and "D" model variety, I received the Stateside dream assignment for my career field. Denver, as in Colorado, as in no jets, we maintained the weapon control system trainers used by the trainees and instructors. As a training base we were last in line for spare parts. So we had a lot of spare time.

Now for a Stateside base Lowry (which used to be the base there in Denver) wasn't all that bad. It's where I went through training and, much unlike other training bases, they didn't feel the need to treat the young airmen going through the schools there like subhuman slime. Like some other bases, yes Keesler and Shepperd, I'm looking at you. Now I have never been to Shepperd (near Wichita Falls, Texas), but guys who went through training there didn't care for it, not at all. I have been to Keesler, in Biloxi, Mississippi but that was as a Staff Sergeant. In the mornings we would watch the new airmen being herded marched to school where we sergeants were lounging about at our ease (as sergeants often do when there is nothing better to do). Talking to a couple of those airmen, who were in the same school as I, they mentioned that it wasn't much better than basic training.

Okay, so it was the Air Force so it couldn't have been that bad, neh? I mean what's the worse that could happen, having to eat lobster twice a week? Having one's tee time moved? (I kid, I only had lobster once in the Air Force on Uncle Sam's dime, it was during basic training. Rough I tell you, really rough.)

I did have another overseas assignment, in Germany, as I may have mentioned 26 or 27 times over the years. But it wasn't in USAFE (US Air Forces in Europe), no I had the privilege and honor of being a NATO asset. No USAFE games for this troop. No sir. I had heard that USAFE was just like being in the States, only the natives spoke German, rather than English.

Another great thing is that where I was stationed in NATO had been in the British Zone of Occupation after the war. Most of the US presence in Germany was down south around Kaiserslautern, which invariably was Americanized to "K-Town." Very Americanized it was down there. My base, outside Geilenkirchen, was much more rural. While the party life for a young airman was very lacking, we had very few young airmen there. The assignment was intended for the more mature types. I loved it. Of course, it also helped that I spoke a bit of German and got along famously with the Germans.

That was a great assignment, did seven years and five months there. When the Air Force asked me to stay another couple of years (as a Master Sergeant I had to get out at 24 years, which, like most things in the Air Force could be waived) I asked if I could stay in Germany. They said no, I said stuff it, I'm retiring. Which I'm really glad I did. I retired when housing was cheap and jobs were somewhat plentiful. Not so much the case later on.

For the most part I had a great time in the Air Force, I just wonder if it's just getting really bad press lately (the last Air Force Chief of Staff was a complete ass, even worse than McPeak in my estimation). One reason I chose the Air Force over the other services was the caliber of the people and the stability. (Air Force bases, unlike aircraft carriers, tend to stay in one place.) I knew I did not have what it took to be a Marine (I'm too damned lazy) and the Army jerked me around at a time I really wanted to enlist. So if they couldn't play fair with me when I wanted to join, I could only imagine what it would have been like once I was wearing the green. So to speak.

But to do it all over again in today's Air Force? I don't know. This picture kind of summarizes my feelings about the modern Air Force. Some cool stuff, but some WTF stuff as well...

So the photo was taken back in 2009. At an "undisclosed location" in Southwest Asia (which I read as somewhere in the Middle East) and was meant to showcase the various uniforms worn by airmen over the years. At first I thought it was pretty cool, then I noticed the footwear. Really? You can find all those vintage uniforms but in only one case can you find the right footwear (the young lady third from the left, front row). As to the rest of you, okay the combat boots I'll let go, but running shoes and, dear Lord no, just no, Crocs??!! Of which I see at least two pair.

That sums up the modern Air Force to me, lack of attention to detail and wasting time and resources (in a freaking war zone no less) "showcasing uniforms." This, mind you, is the same bunch who wants to retire the A-10 Warthog. Damn.

Child please... (US Air Force Phot0)
Damn, I'd almost join the Navy if I had to pick one today, absolutely, maybe.

After all, the old girl looks pretty good in gray.

(What? They don't fly the Phantom anymore?!?!?!)

But in reality, what would Buck say at these semi-anti-Air Force mutterings? No doubt he's somewhere shaking his head saying "this just won't do..."

So, if I had to do it right now? Well, like the song says...

Yup, off we'd go into the wild blue yonder once again.

Damn, but I do get teary eyed when I hear that song.

Aim high my brothers and sisters in Air Force blue, fix the stuff that's broken and drive on.

I'm with you in spirit.

So is Buck.

* The original photo had this IDed as a 35th TFS bird. As Juvat so correctly pointed out, the 35th didn't have a yellow fin flash, their's was blue. So this is an 80th TFS jet, in other words, this jet belonged to the Juvats! (And Juvat would know, where d'ya think he got his nom de blog?

Friday, May 19, 2017

Quintilius Varus, give me back my legions!*

Herbst im Teutoburger Wald** (Source)
In October, Germany is a cold, wet place. The incessant rain drips from the trees, the ground is sodden, where it is trod upon it quickly turns into a glutinous mess.

In October of 9 A.D., in that cold, wet place, three Roman legions were moving to their winter quarters. The Germans were restless, they yearned to throw off the Roman yoke. Rumors abounded of rebellion.

Deep in the Teutoburg Forest, Publius Quinctilius Varus, general of Rome, led his troops forward. Three legions (Legio XVII, Legio XVIII, and Legio XIX), six cohorts of auxiliary troops, and three squadrons of cavalry trudged through the rain, some 20,000 troops, heads down, tired. Their column was interspersed with upwards of 10,000 camp followers and as the march continued, the column stretched out further and further.

Suddenly, a large thunderstorm broke over their heads, heavy rains, flashes of lightning, the booming of thunder increased the misery of the troops. Then, out of the forest, spears began to fly out and strike the column.

Only to be followed by screaming Germanic tribesmen with but one thing on their minds - kill the Romans. Drive them back over the Rhine.

When it was over, after two, some say three, days of fighting, some 25,000 Roman troops, auxiliaries, and civilians lay dead upon the forest floor. Germanic casualties were light. Though the rebellion was eventually crushed, Rome fell back across the Rhine, leaving the dark forests of Germania forever.

The utter destruction of three legions haunted Augustus Caesar for the rest of his days. At times he would remember and, according to Suetonius, would cry out "Quintili Vare, legiones redde!" - Quintilius Varus, give me back my legions!

The Germans remember to this day the man the Romans called Arminius, but to the Germans, he is Hermann - victor over the Romans.

And yes, that is Walter Cronkite narrating the video. He calls the Germanic tribesmen barbarians, is it barbaric to defend one's homeland against a ruthless invader?

I think not...


* For more information, see here and here.
** Autumn in the Teutoburg Forest.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

History and the Destruction Thereof

So there is this. My buddy Murph, who is down there in the Big Easy had this to say about that. If you haven't chased those links yet, well let me summarize the issue: some folks don't like statues of Confederate States leaders. Hell, they probably don't like statues of United States leaders either, but I have no immediate proof of that. Anyhoo, that's not what I'm angry about at the moment.

First off,  I'll tell you that I am no son of the South, I am a Yankee from Vermont, born and bred, but this tearing down of statues bothers me no end. I have a deep respect for the men who fought for the Confederacy. As did my ancestors who actually fought them in the field!

In this I see the hand of those self-same leftists and fellow travelers who want to tear this Nation down. I don't think they realize the end game of that particular course of action. Revolutions often eat their young. Ask this fellow -

Portrait of Maximilien de Robespierre - Artist unknown
Or perhaps this guy -

Leon Trotsky
Do you think that the money men (and they are overwhelmingly men) give a rat's ass about this bunch?

Nope. They are simply pawns to be discarded when the moment is right. They'll go the way of Robespierre and Trotsky.

Where does it end?

Sure, let's tear down the statues of Lee, Beauregard, Jackson, and Hampton. Let's go after all those Southerners. Wait, what?

How about George Washington and Thomas Jefferson? Both Southerners, both slave owners. Do you think I'm kidding. Check this out.

I say this to all you history denying bastards:
...He that is without sin among you,
let him first cast a stone... John 8:7 KJV
I'm against this inane removal of historical monuments. I could point to the Taliban and ISIS destroying historical monuments, is there a parallel to what the left is doing in this country?

You betcha.

What say you?