Saturday, August 29, 2015

This Blogging Thing of Ours

Try getting the camera to focus on the clouds, it so wants to focus on the leaves.
There has been a bit of confusion in the ranks of Our Loyal Readers as of late. So, in order to alleviate all sources of future confusion and consternation, I present the following introductions.

Now I am The Sarge, more precisely The Old AF Sarge. I am, as my nom de plume might suggest, a sergeant who once wore the blue uniform of our nation's Air Force. Back in the days when jets made lots of noise, spewed lots of smoke out the back of their engines and we wore very plain work uniforms which were known as fatigues. They were olive drab in color and had a name tape above the right pocket and a tape which proclaimed that we were "U.S. Air Force." I reckon that was to make sure that we weren't confused with one of the other services. (Like someone could possibly confuse an airman with a sailor, soldier or Marine.)

Now the name tape was not so that we would know who we were but so that others might be able to yell at us using our rank and last name. (The rank was on the sleeves for we enlisted, on the collars for the officers in the maintenance units. The zipper suited sun gods wore, well a flight suit. Hence the "zipper suited" etc.) Rank, name tape and the service tape were all silvery-whitish lettering / insignia on blue.

These uniforms were neither fancy nor good-looking, but they were practical as Hell. No need for lots of fancy pockets, bloused pants, cool headgear or any of that. No need for camouflage, we worked on the flight line, so having some sort of woodland patterned uniforms was just kind of dumb.

My first hitch we were required to sew reflective tape onto our uniform shirts. A stripe down the back and one on the front. I'm guessing that's so we wouldn't get run over at night while plying our trade in the near dark. Most Air Force flight lines of my experience were not well lit. Not wise to show the bad guys where all your jets are. I guess. There were still lots of lights around the periphery of the field.

Now the reflective tape went away about the same time as somebody way up the food chain decided that our uniforms needed to be "subdued." I guess we stuck out too much, I mean if we had to go into the woods, or a jungle to work on an aircraft (how the Hell it would wind up out in the bush escapes me) then we would blend in better.

So off with the reflective tape, all the crap you had to sew on to your fatigues was now dark blue on olive drab. Now we could blend in a bit better. Blend into what though I'm not all that sure. (For what it's worth, the uniforms the Army wore in World War II blended nicely into the brush on a Colorado hillside. Our fatigues were of a similar color. Truth be told, I never needed to work on a jet on a Colorado hillside. But if called to do so, I would have blended in quite nicely, thank you very much.)

Eventually the fatigues went away and we were all kitted out in camouflage uniforms. Odd thing though, when we wore plain old olive drab fatigues, our jets were camouflaged with dark green, tan and olive drab mottling on the upper surfaces, pale gray / dirty white underneath. Once we were issued uniforms with a similar camouflage pattern, they started painting the aircraft various shades of gray.

Once I had been in the Air Force for a while, I noticed that about every four years we would get a new Air Force Chief of Staff. This is a four-star general who is the head airman and sits on the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the Pentagon, advising the President and all that.

Now our guy would make his mark by convening a uniform board. This bunch of  ass clowns group of professionals would investigate what our new uniforms should look like and make recommendations to the four-star, who would then inflict new uniforms on us.

And those sum-bitches were not cheap! We enlisted pukes did get a uniform allowance (for maintenance, not to buy all new sh!t every four years) so it wasn't as painful for us as it was for the officers. They did not get a clothing allowance.

I just wanted to throw all this uniform stuff out there to let you know that back in the day the Air Force of my time did have it's quirks. Nothing like nowadays but still.

Now another thing on my mind (yes, this post is kind of all over the place and disjoint, and your point is?) is the number of "hits" we get on the blog every day. This is all over the place, some days we have trouble making 500, other days we'll get over a thousand. Do the spam-bots in Russia take days off? You'd think they'd be more consistent.

Oh yes, I said "we" for there are three of us who write for The Chant (I started on this way up above and then went off on that uniform tangent. I tell ya, this convalescing thing is turning my brain to mush. Not that it had that far to go to get there. But I digress...)

I am the proprietor, the Colonel of the Regiment so to speak, what the Teutonic types of old would call der Inhaber. That would be the guy who raised and equipped a body of troops for the king. He gets to be in charge and design the uniforms and...

Hhmm, didn't I just rant about that? (Don't worry lads, no uniform changes in the offing.)

So yeah, I am the head bull goose loony in charge. And then there are my partners in crime, Tuna and Juvat.

Tuna was the first of my co-bloggers, he sent me ideas and told me his tales and I would write 'em up. Eventually I smartened up and said, "So Tuna, why don't I give you a set of keys for the blog and you can write or not write at your whim?" He agreed and he will post from time to time. At the bottom left of each post the author will be listed, like this - Posted by OldAFSarge at 4:00 AM. Sometimes it's me, sometimes it's Tuna. Damn near every Monday it's Juvat. He'll do other days from time to time but Mondays belong to him. (Tuna has a lease with an option to buy on Tuesdays. He too will spring up on other days as the mood strikes him.)

Now the later addition to the staff is that fellow yclept Juvat. A former Phantom Phlyer and Eagle Driver. (He flew the F-4 Phantom as a lad and flew the F-15 Eagle just before he was exiled to a staff position at the Pentagon.)

Myself and Juvat are both retired Air Force. We were both assigned to Korea, same base, for a year. His assignment was a year, I kept extending my tour. The tricky bastards finally got me to leave by retiring the F-4 and replacing it with the F-16. I tried to cross train to the F-16 and stay but they weren't having that. Seems, like many of the guys in my old shop, I was starting to "go native."

At any rate I actually tuned the radar on all of the jets Juvat flew. (Actually all of the jets we owned.) As they all came back in one piece, I guess I did okay on the radar.

Juvat's nom de plume is derived from his old F-4 squadron the Juvats. Of which celebrated and storied unit I wrote here. Yes, at one point in his career, Juvat was a Juvat. There is sort of a difference, but not really, go read the post, it may or may not clear things up.

Now Tuna's nom de plume may be his call sign, for Tuna retired from the Naval Service where he served in a flying capacity. He was a Naval Flight Officer, a position which did not require him to learn to fly the aircraft just operate all the other systems on board. (My daughter The WSO is also a Naval Flight Officer.) Now Tuna used to comment over at Lex's place as "Tuna" so I'm guessing it was his call sign. (Nickname if you will, Tuna actually posted about this back in June, here.)

So there are three of us, just like the Three Musketeers, just like the Three Stooges. Well, not "just like" either of those really. Similar perhaps? On some days?

Anyhoo...

When I started writing this post I was going to whine and say "I got nothing" but I had something to say after all.

Fancy that.

Oh, I took some pictures for you!

Everything in Little Rhody has been lovely lately. All green and blue with some high wispy clouds.

The garden is producing tons of peppers.

The squash plants are starting to take over the entire west side of the garden. They cover the neighbor's chicken coop. The chickens seem to enjoy the shade.

The old Roman road through the water garden. Okay, not really old, not really Roman.

Gee, I sort of went all "stream of consciousness" today didn't I?

Perhaps tomorrow I will have my thoughts more properly organized.

Then again, probably not.

As I convalesce and slowly go to seed...

40 comments:

  1. Well done. For having nothing to say, you said it well.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Juvat. Sometimes I just start typing and see where it goes!

      Delete
    2. Agree with Juvat. Old Sarge could be a politician; He has that gift to say nothing very eloquently and for extended periods.

      Delete
    3. It's a gift I tell you. The gift of gab. (If I was Irish I'd say blarney.)

      Delete
  2. Heh.
    "Now our guy would make his mark but convening a uniform board. This bunch of ass clowns group of professionals would investigate what our new uniforms should look like and make recommendations to the four-star, who would then inflict new uniforms on us."

    CNO pretty much has done the same thing since Zumwalt. Must be something in the Pentagon drinking fountains.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think the Marines stay pretty conservative as to changing uniforms. Though the recent flap over the male / female cover was somewhat reminiscent of my old service.

      Delete
  3. I am so glad you posted this. I remember well the green fatigues with the bright blue name tags, TAC patch, etc. My grandkids have the only one left of mine. I can get it back in case I go homeless. (I assume I will have lost the weight)
    My question is, What ever happened to some kind of uniform like the 505's or 1505's? Are they gone? EVERYONE is walking around in these jungle/desert suits. There's even that TV commercial with the four star AF type saying, "Come on, join us!" - all in what I consider to be a confusing uniform choice. I guess I am showing my age. My wife yells at me for always picking out a solid blue shirt to go with my ever-present jean shorts. "Prison garb!" she advises. Thanks for the space to rant.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, and, what's with the rank thingee hanging down in front? Don't know why that bothers me so much.

      Delete
    2. I loved the 1505s, great light weight summer uniform. Phased out in the late 70s I think.

      Everyone wearing camouflage drives me absolutely batshit, not to put too fine a point on it.

      At least we don't have the blueberry camo the Navy wears. Fall overboard and it's the perfect uniform to blend into the sea. Brilliant!

      The other thing about camo is, why does each service have its own pattern? Don't we all fight in the same places?

      The Germans nailed the camo 70 years ago, different patterns for different areas and seasons. Now we keep reinventing the wheel. Somebody's making money and it ain't us!

      (Nice rant by the way!)

      Delete
    3. Oh yeah, the hanging rank thing! I hate that. Started in Desert Storm I think. What a ridiculous idea!

      Delete
  4. That was a 'venture! Well done.

    I was gonna say I don't remember a lot of unigram hoopla in the nav but then I actually thought back and realized that there was. Don't remember that it bothered me all that much. I'm mildly surprised to recall that I used to wear whites (in summer) working in a busy ER and was somehow able to keep them relatively spotless. I was kind of a brissy pitch about wearing the uniform correctly. Flash forward xx years and even when I dress for church I look like I got hit by a bottle of ketchup in the middle of a tornado.

    Wish I'd taken the time to plant peppers this year. My mouth is watering.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. In my younger years it was throw the green suit on, is it clean, no holes, everything buttoned, I'm good to go.

      In the middle years I was a bit prissier with myself and my troops.

      In my later years I was back to the way I was when I was young. Is it clean and pressed? Yes, wear it.

      How times change.

      Delete
  5. I have always believed that the Navy Uniform Board is the assignment of last resort for clowns who have far exceeded their Peter Principle level. They are sent there because they are seen as incompetent to serve anywhere else. Most of them, realizing that they must do SOMETHING to show that they are not totally useless, immediately gin up a uniform change. And the results stand as absolute proof that the members of the board are both incompetent and useless.
    There is an interesting story about the propagation of camouflage uniforms. Shortly after the end of the Recent Unpleasantness in Vietnam a new Commandant of the Marine Corps was faced with a Corps that was not in good shape. Morale was low, discipline had suffered, we still had the remnants of McNamara’s 100,000, and money was tight. He was looking for ways to turn things around. Suddenly Big Chicken Dinners became common. Standards were enforced. But the Commandant was still looking for something inexpensive that would turn things around.
    Somebody pointed out that the Army had warehouses full of camouflage uniforms ordered for use in Vietnam that they weren’t going to need. Ah-ha, said the general. If we dress our Marines like warriors they are more likely to act like warriors. The Army was happy to get rid of what they saw as useless surplus cammies, and the Marines were soon strutting around in them. And, as history shows, if the Marines and the Army are going to be in cammies, then by God, so will the Air Force! Now even the Navy has joined the club (which merely proves my point about the Navy Uniform Board.)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dave, you nailed it!

      I like that "assignment of last resort" and may borrow it in the future. Nice turn of phrase.

      Delete
  6. "Gee, I sort of went all "stream of consciousness" today didn't I?"
    Either that, or bull goose loony.

    That was really a sweet way to tell Valory how to determing who is posting on any given day.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well there were others as well who got confused. We don't advertise all that well.

      Delete
  7. Seem to recall fifty years ago the Army and Air Force fatigues were the same except for the obvious name tags, service name, and rank emblems. The actual wearing was different as in starch, bloused trousers and pockets not being used as mittens. Then we poor Army types were inflicted with those stupid little league baseball hats. Must have been some General's good idea but I always blamed McNamara.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yup, basically the same uniform. I didn't mind the ball cap, hated the "Fidel" hat, though that was before my time.

      Blaming McNamara, I'm with you no matter what you want to blame him for. While I don't like speaking ill of the dead, McNamara was an ass.

      Delete
    2. McNamara, yes that's right. Let's get him, guys!

      Delete
    3. The hat was known in Army circles as the "Ridgeway". Fidel ripped it off. Often wondered if the hat was changed because of him.

      Delete
    4. I thought the thing was ugly to begin with. But that's just me.

      Delete
    5. McNamara, grrr. Waste of a good Irish name.

      Delete
  8. The picture of the old Roman Road is very nice.
    I should build one through my weeds. Then maybe I would not have so many to mow.
    Of Course we CAN NOT have a water feature, it is california, or mexaforna as I call it now, by the way.
    Heltau

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ah yes, California. Two of the kids live out that way. What a poorly run state.

      The road was the idea of The Missus Herself, she bought a pallet of flat rocks, cheaper that way, and she used the leftovers to build the road. I love it!

      Delete
    2. LIQUIDATE! While the liquidating is hot! (Is that possible?)

      Delete
    3. Not in California I presume.

      Delete
    4. From one coast to to the other, best move I've ever made.

      Delete
    5. That's right, you're on the East Coast now.

      Delete
  9. So now we know who to 'blame'... :-) Y'all do pretty good, IMHO!

    ReplyDelete
  10. I wore the 1505s year round for four years at Norton AFB in Ca. Very seldom wore the dress uniform. Systems Command was somewhat relaxed about that.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Systems Command was alright, not as anal as SAC, that's for sure.

      I wore my 1505s in my PACAF days. Loved PACAF. USAFE, not so much. Glad I belonged to NATO when I was in Germany.

      Delete
    2. We wore 'em at George too. Maybe the prisoners wear them now, if it's still a Federal Hotel.

      Delete
  11. I fortunately retired before the Blueberries were mandatory, and the other changes to Navy uni's were primarily forced upon the Enlisted Sailors- none of which got my vote, not that anyone asked for it. I didn't mind the PT uni that they rolled out about 2 years before I retired, but the ship's laundry (washed in salt water, rinsed in fresh) killed the appliqué lettering. If folks are confused by who's who in the blog, I could always add "By Tuna" or something. Let me know.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's at the bottom left of each post.

      The Air Force didn't have a PT uniform when I was in.

      I'm sure it would have been hideous.

      Delete
  12. I dug all the words (well, most of them, since what I know about flying I learned in the First Class section because My Dad worked for the airlines and we flew free) but the photos are superb. I mean that most sincerely. Vivid colors and lovely framing. I especially like the shot of the peppers.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Suldog. I really like this camera.

      Peppers seem to be very photogenic. All that green I suppose.

      Delete
  13. Nice yard ya got my friend!
    Seems the recovery is progressing well.
    Bachelor for awhile approaching...................been there..........................done that,

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Glenn.

      Recovery is slow, but steady.

      Delete

Just be polite... that's all I ask. (For Buck)