Turns out there was, and that will be the first of the "Two Bits".
During WWII, there was obviously a great need to train our rapidly expanding military. (Note the photo in the above mentioned post showing Texas' share of bases.) As has been noted on this site numerous times, aviation is a dangerous activity and requires extensive training. Naval Aviators seem to require considerably more training in takeoffs and landings than their USAF Brethren (IKBIL...Thanks Shaun). I'm sure it has something to do with the fact that their runway is moving in many different directions at the same time.
Anyhow, they needed to practice landing on Aircraft Carriers. The problem was the German U-Boats were having pretty good success sinking ships in the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Seaboards and Japanese submarines were operating in the Pacific. The Navy needed a place that was free of enemy activity to train their Carrier crews. Enter USS Wolverine (IX-64) and USS Sable (IX-81) (what does IX stand for you may ask? Beats me, go ask Old NFO. He was there. IKBIL...Thanks Shaun).
Well, even though they had eliminated the threat of enemy action, they still had to contend with the myriad other ways that taking off and landing on a carrier could get screwed up. Hence there are a large number of WWII aircraft at the bottom of Lake Michigan.
What I had originally thought was an F-4F Wildcat was actually an FM-2 (Bu. No. 74161).
|BU. No. 74161 after spending some time in Lake Michigan|
The distinction was the F-4F was made by Grumman while the FM-2 was made by General Motors. The FM-2 had slightly more horsepower and could go about 10 Knots faster. In any case, 74161 was fished out of Lake Michigan sometime in the 70's, is owned by the US Navy and is on loan to the Museum. According to my source, the Museum has offered to restore it to display quality, but the Navy has declined wanting it to remain as is. Not sure why that would be, but it is what it is.
The Second of "Two Bits"
The proprietor of this blog has graciously allowed me to post in "prime time" one time only next Saturday, and I thank him for that opportunity. A photo of mine will factor in that post. While I won't go into the subject of the post, the manner in which this photo came into being is worth a short vignette.
So, There I was.....* Assistant Ops Officer of an F-15C Squadron at Kadena AB Japan. It's a beautiful winter day just prior to Christmas. The weather outside was a coolish 80 degrees, a few low clouds, winds down the runway at about 10 knots. In short, a great day to commit aviation. I've got a flight scheduled in a few hours and so am manning the duty desk until brief time. (Since I am the junior of the three people authorized to man the duty desk, I do that a lot.) Anyhow, I'm sitting there watching paint dry when in walks the Boss's Boss, the Wing King. (Actually a great guy and leader, went on to three stars and even then was a credible threat in the Eagle). I quickly call the Squadron to attention and as quickly get the "At Ease". He's got a CMSgt in tow whom I don't recognize. He introduces him to me and I promptly started calling him by his first name. I guess his parents must have been Native Americans, why else would he be called "Chief"? Anyhow, Chief is in a flight suit which is somewhat unusual. BDUs or Blues and I wouldn't have batted an eye, but flight suit, that was unusual. He's got the PACAF chest patch that we all wore, but a PACAF HQ patch where a Squadron patch would be. So, he's a headquarters wienie. HMMMM.
I ask the Wing King what I can do for them. He says he's would like to rearrange our next go (the one I'm leading) and instead of the 2 v 4 that was scheduled, he'd like it to be a 5 ship and an advanced handling ride. My confusion factor is going up, we don't "do" 5 ships. He says he's also talked to our maintenance to make sure one of the squadron's F-15D two-seaters is in that flight. Obviously, Chief is going for a ride. Questions are running furiously through my mind, but "Yes, Sir". He then says "Chief is the head of the PACAF HQ photographic detachment and would like to take pictures of Eagles in flight for a recruiting campaign". AHHH!
"Do whatever he tells you. General McPeak has approved the mission."
The Wing King exits the building.
I take Chief into my office and start to ask him details of what he wants to do. "Oh the usual stuff, formation, dropping flares, pitch outs, rejoins. You know...The usual!"
|I apologize for the quality of the picture, I didn't think the scan would pick up the dust.|
"Oh, and by the way, can we do an over the top?"
"Sure, after we get all your pictures, I'll do a loop."
"Not exactly what we were looking for, Major. We would like pictures of the four ship going over the top."
"Hmm, never done that. Shouldn't be hard, just never done it. The General himself approved this mission?"
"Yes Sir, he approved the mission."
I get with the 4 ship lead and talk about how we're going to do all this. Get it all worked out and brief the rest of the guys.
We launch and take the usual pictures and then get ready to do the loop. Over the top we go, just like the Thunderbirds.
Come back in and land and am in the Squadron when in walks the Wing King who asks how it went. I tell him it went great and pictures of the loop should be spectacular. He goes white as a sheet. "What Loop?"
A couple of months later, I get a package in the mail containing a couple of very high quality pictures and a thank you letter from Chief (USAF ret). He thanked me for giving him the best retirement present he could have gotten and advised me NOT to hang this picture in my office.
|Note the horizon on the top left of the picture. This may be the ONLY picture of 4 Eagles in this attitude ever taken. I'm pretty sure a retired Lt Gen has a copy as well as a retired CMSgt.|
Lot's of commentary lately about whether or not the Air Force is going to retire the A-10 and whether discussing that as an Active Duty Member with your Congressional Representative constitutes "Treason".
Folks are saying that the USAF doesn't want to do CAS and doesn't want the A-10 because it's not fast, pointy or doesn't do Air to Air. IMHO, none of that is true. To coin a phrase, it's all about the Benjamins. The USAF has been cutting programs across the board to fund the F-35, and has been doing so since I was working budget at the Pentagon almost 20 years ago. There are very few programs left that have enough money to fund the F-35. The only option left open being retire a system. Great, which one? They're ALL needed. Cut the F-15? OK there aren't enough F-22s to do it alone. The F-16s could swing, yes, unless they're needed in Air to Ground. Should there be a public discussion on whether we need the F-35? Absolutely.
XBradTC absolutely nailed the argument here. People have been saying the USAF should just give the A-10 to the Army. He says the Army doesn't want it. They, just like the USAF, would have to give something up to pay for it.
No, Folks, there's no such thing as a free lunch. If the population of the US wants the military capability and protections they've had in the past, they're going to have to pay for it. Which means no more Obama Phones, EBT cards, ObamaCare and all the rest of the gummint handouts.
Now, on to "Treason". I knew Jim Post. His Tactical Call Sign was "Bull", as in "Bull in a China Shop." The Bull Post I knew was entirely capable of using "Treason" when he meant "Disloyal" or "Nonsupportive". However, John Q. Public makes some very good points about USAF Brass reaction to his speech. ~20 years having past, people could change and Bull could have gone all in to the USAF dark side. Without a doubt, JQP makes it clear, and I agree, speaking in a non-official basis with your Representative, and not supporting the USAF official position, is not treason. I think the telling point on what HQ USAF really thinks will be whether Bull retires shortly or goes on to more stars. I wish him the best of luck in his retirement.
*SJC (You didn't really think I was going to leave it out did ya?)