Monday, August 31, 2015


Every so often (ok, quite frequently), one of Sarge’s posts triggers a memory of a similar issue at some point in my life.  This is usually followed by a feeling of relief that I don’t have to rack my brain for a posting subject and quick trip to the computer to make some notes before RAM in my brain is overwritten to perform some other function such as breathing.

Such was the case on Saturday when Sarge wrote a fabulous post that ended up being dominated in the comments by the subject of military uniforms and the foibles of their procurement and wear.  I read the post and the comments and felt the tap on the shoulder from what Sarge would call his Muse, but in my case was my Wife who said “Juvat, Remember that time….”.  So, yes, I’m blaming her.

So,  There I was…..*

Kadena.  The mid-80’s, a glorious time to be in the Air Force.  Flying time was plentiful.  Jets were relatively new.  We were cleared supersonic from just about the time we could get that fast and from sea level to as high as the jet would fly.  Leadership was gradually clearing itself from its death spiral during the reign of the, then worst, now second worst president ever.  They were not overly afraid to try new things.  (Just in case you’ve been asleep or lost in the jungles of Papua New Guinea for the past decade or two, that’s not the case anymore.)

I had been asked by the Boss to stop by his office when I got done with my afternoon flight which didn’t bother me, much.  If he’d said, “stop by my office instead of your afternoon flight” that would have been different.  

Adversary Air (because "Aggressor" is a Microaggression)

So, having lead my four ship and kicked the ever living snot out of some Aggressors (it’s my story, I’ll tell it like I want), I stop by his office. 

Now remember my three prior assignments, two in F-4s and one at Lead-in.  All of which involved both air to air and air to ground.

After I reported in, (yes, the Air Force does that, stop gasping in shock) he proceeds to tell me he’d like me to get with 3 of the other squadron members who had air to ground experience and begin building a program to do air to ground from the F-15.  Develop the standards, figure out the weapons system, the whole nine yards.

Knock me over with a feather!  

Whatever happened to “not a pound for air to ground”?  

Well, turns out, that there was an air to ground mode on the radar, but it wasn’t enabled.  We were going to have to do it the WWII way, with iron sites, and mils and depression.  Still, it would be fun.

So, we’re pretty deeply into this for a few weeks and getting close to actually dropping some practice bombs.
It’s a Friday and flying on Friday usually terminated at noon or so.  (That would allow the Air Force to get an early start at the Beach and/or golf course, getting the best spots before the other services could get there.)

It also allowed us to participate in Pilot meetings, to comply with all the ground training requirements and any equal opportunity training that was levied so on and so forth.
In any case, for this pilot meeting the CBPO (Consolidated Base Personnel Office) chief would be speaking.  This guy happened to be my wife’s boss.  Since he knew she was married to a fighter pilot, he asked her what he should talk about.  

The Air Force had just changed up the officer promotion system as well as instituted the pilot bonus (Poorly implemented IMHO, although I took it.  It extended my commitment to active duty by 30 days for $8000/year.  Also, I intended and did make it for 20 so I agonized over that decision for a second, maybe two.)


She told him he would probably generate some interest by discussing those subjects. 

So the big day arrives and I’ve spent most of the morning trying to figure out some issue with dropping bombs because we’re scheduled to drop them for the first time on Monday, but it’s time for the Pilot meeting.  I flush all my problems out of my brain so I can focus on Personnel things, expecting to hear about promotions and bonuses. 

Yeah, right.

The CBPO wienie (he really was, he eventually got relieved and my wife took over) begins his talk and almost instantaneously, I’m very confused.  He starts out by introducing his topic as “The proper wear of BDUs”.
BDU-33 (Source USAF photograph)

Now, the bombs I’m concerned with dropping have the nomenclature BDU-33, but are commonly referred to as BDUs.  I spent the first part of the meeting trying to figure out why the heck he’s talking about wearing a 25LB practice bomb, when it dawns on me.  He's talking about a uniform!

At this point, I've been in the Air Force 8 or 9 years.  I've worn my Class A's (bus driver outfit) twice since commissioning.  Once at UPT graduation and once on the plane ride to Korea.  I've worn the Class C's (short sleeve, open neck shirt) maybe a dozen times.  Other than that Uniform of the Day means Flight Suit.
US Air Force Photo

Upon completing his discussion to an audience completely comprised of persons who have the similar uniform expectations and which focused solely on wearing the BDU, he asks if there are any questions.  Unsurprisingly he gets none, so he then leaves.  That's 45 minutes I’ll never get back.

Monday arrives and we crank up the jets, taxi out to the arming area, get armed and are waiting for the AWACs on short final to land, when I get a call from the Supervisor of Flying.  Seems he just got off the phone with the PACAF commander, General Merrill McPeak. (He evidently went by Tony, but I think Merrill better reflects my respect for the man.)

Seems HE had not approved this endeavor and our demonstrating this capability would most certainly endanger the funding for the F-15E.  Therefore we were to abort the mission and forget it ever happened.

Not a pound for Air to Ground.

Shortly afterward, the selfsame PACAF commander came for a visit.  Some of us Majors were invited to talk listen to him face to face.  I was one of the lucky ones selected.  

One of the other Majors is sitting in the front row and his flight suit legs have ridden up, revealing his socks.  He was wearing white cotton socks with a colored ring around the top.  (So did most of the guys in the room, that was the style the BX had that month, but he’s the stuckee.)  The meeting begins with an O-10 to O-4 reaming about being out of uniform because of his colored socks. 

When McPeak asked for questions later.  Dead silence.

But a new Air Force Tradition was started that Friday at the Squadron Bar. (I wonder if they still have Squadron Bars?  Somehow I doubt it.)  At some point after all the members, which frequently included wives, had arrived, someone would yell “Sock Check!”  The front zippers of all flight suited patrons would be undone and the flight suit dropped to the floor, so the inspecting officer could check that socks were completely white.  It was always hilarious, especially after a couple of beers.

I’m positive that tradition has been exterminated nowadays.


Sunday, August 30, 2015

Saturday at Chez Sarge

Sunset, Saturday 29 August 2015
I am blessed to live in a place of great beauty, some of it natural, some sculpted by my wife's own hand. Her work in the garden seems to never end and in a week, that all becomes my responsibility.

For The WSO is with child and her due date rapidly approaches, so her mom, The Missus Herself, will be winging out to California to babysit Little Bit and provide moral support.

Dear Lord, I will have to tend to the plants, entertain myself and feed myself. Should be quite a challenge as I am an indifferent cook. I think I better dust off the cookbooks and prepare myself to be Gordon Ramsay. I am so going to screw this up I fear.

But somehow, much like those ancestors of mine who were English, I shall muddle through.

On the upside I'm still grounded, medically speaking, no work for at least another month, so I needn't worry about that. I am afraid though of going stark, raving mad. While I do manage to find things to do to keep the mind occupied, somewhat, being semi-housebound is getting wearisome. Well, I am recovering so I guess I can drive myself now.

I admit to being a bit spoiled at this point in time.

I really don't have much to say today. Too beautiful to stay inside on Saturday so I did wander the grounds. Took some more photos.

I did watch a movie or two on Netflix. That well is starting to run dry though. My kingdom for some new content!

Oh well, I guess I'll show you the photos. I've got naught else to share. Maybe the Muse will stop by Sunday afternoon. You never know, she can be fickle at times.

Feeding time for the koi.
Not exactly a feeding frenzy, but they do get a bit excited at meal times.
Flowers, just inside the west fence.
Miniature Japanese Maple
One of our Asian style stone lamps.
The neighbor's pool. He has a nice setup. I love the quality of the light in late afternoon.
The trees just beyond the north fence.
Nearly the same shot but with a sunburst. (Yeah, I like those, so?)
Again, that lovely late afternoon light.
The sun is going quickly.
Some of The Missus Herself's indoor plants.
Our waterfall. Gives me peace it does.

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?


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...

Friday, August 28, 2015

Strange Start, Fine Finish

Sunset, looking towards Mary's Seat
Thursday was a bit of an odd day, which started in a rather bizarre fashion and ended on a high note.

So Sarge, how did your day start?

Glad you asked, it began with a dream, some might call it a nightmare, I don't. It was simply put, bizarre.

I'm on this supertanker, somewhere off the eastern seaboard of the United States. Now this supertanker has been hijacked by bad guys unknown. In the dream I'm wandering about below decks with a bloody paint scraper in hand and my right arm is dripping blood, not mine.

It seems I've managed to eliminate most of the hijackers except for two. These two spot me at the foot of a ladder well and yell at me to "Halt!" Of course, rather than halt, I dash up the ladder and slam the door at the top. It is a very crappy door, not a proper hatch but some week foam-filled plywood big box store special.

Of course, the door doesn't secure. Well, just so happens that there is a wheeled office chair sitting nearby in the passageway. Now I know where that part of the dream came from. Back when I got to spend a day at sea on the Ike, USS DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER, CVN-69, The Nuke was taking us around the ship and every now and then we'd come across a sailor sitting (in an office chair) by an entrance to the engineering spaces, strictly off limits to non-nukes. So that's where the random chair came from. But, yup you guessed it, I digress...

Quickly I jam the chair against the door. Of course the chair is on wheels, it's just going to roll away with one good shove. Which it does when the first bad guy gets to my level. He shoves the door out of the way, I pop him in the face, he goes down and bad guy number two stops on the ladder well. Why? Who knows, it was a dream.

So I fling the chair at him. Bad guy number two and the random office chair clatter noisily down the ladder well. Chair seems fine, bad guy number two seems badly broken. Then I turn around and outside these large picture windows (they have those on super tankers, right? Yeah, I doubt it too.) is most of the United States Navy and what appears to be one Soviet-era Yankee class submarine.

One of these. somehow I recognized that hump aft of the sail and the sail itself. Perhaps I read too much?

Well, with all those American destroyers around, that submarine got underway and underwater very quickly. At that point I realize that this supertanker is about to be boarded, I'm standing there covered in blood with my bloody paint scraper and a lot of dead guys on board. Out loud I said, "Hhmm, this might be hard to explain."

At which point bad guy number one regains consciousness and says, "Don't worry Sarge, I'll tell them I did it." Bad guy number one has quite a shiner around his left eye.

Now at this point Sasha, the alpha cat, pokes me into wakefulness, which she does if I'm muttering or tossing and turning, both of which I guess I do when I'm dreaming.

So that's how the day started, round about 0730.

I decide to get up and immediately wonder where The Missus Herself has got to. Well, there she is, outside weeding the garden. Seems she wanted to get it done before the day got too hot.

Being convalescent and all that I felt a bit guilty for getting up so "late." (Morning people at this point will groan and say "Yup, that's late." Night owls like me will mutter something about the butt crack of dawn and go back to sleep. Ah, it is what it is.)

Wondering what the Hell the dream was about, I head down to the kitchen to brew a cuppa Joe and kick start the old brain. The Missus Herself comes in, I explain the dream and she says that in Korea, if you have a violent dream and you see blood, that's a good thing. If it's violent and no gore is in evidence, that's bad.

Thus comforted, I toast a bagel. Then I finish Bernard Cornwell's non-fictional account of the battle of Waterloo (see this post). I have to say that it was one of those books you're sad to see end. Very well written and I learned a couple of facts about the battle which amazed me. I mean when one has studied a battle for over thirty years you think you know it all. Not true. I give the book...

Five outta five Phantoms!

A bit pricey but well worth the cost (it's printed on really nice glossy paper, which is good because of all the wonderful battle art contained therein).

So that was that. What was the rest of the day like?

Went to the surgeon's office, first time I'd seen him since being discharged from the hospital, time to discover what the next few weeks held.

I had jokingly mentioned that if I saw my shadow that it would mean four more weeks of convalescent leave. Well, the day was bright and sunny so...

"So Sarge, I will see you again in four weeks. You are healing nicely, no complications. The pathology on the tissue I removed showed diverticulitis, scarring, no polyps and no cancer."

Of course, when one hears the "C" word, one sits up and takes notice. Then I realized that he said "no cancer." Excellent thinks I. I reckon that's always a good thing to be told there's no trace of that nastiness.

"Now still take it easy, no lifting anything over ten pounds, take it slow, try walking a bit more every day and remember to breathe deeply from time to time. When you open the window in the morning, take a deep breath and enjoy the fresh air."

"Take time to smell the roses," says I.

"Exactly!" says he.

So four more weeks of semi-idleness. I can live with that, though truth be told I do get bored from time to time. (Yes Valory, I'll work harder on the book. I have been lazy on that score. In my defense I have been doing research, but I need to get some stuff down on paper. The book, much like the blog, ain't gonna write itself. And I can't have Tuna and Juvat work on it for me. Can I?)

Anyhoo. The doctor's appointment was scheduled for 1415 (2:15 PM for you civvies, Mickey's big hand on the three, Mickey's little hand between the 1 and the 2 for you gravel agitators, non-flyers and non-maintainer types.)

I got in to see the doctor close to 1520 (c'mon do the math, okay, I'll help, an hour and five minutes after my scheduled time).

Now at first I was a bit annoyed at this delay, for we had a dinner engagement at 1715 (sigh, 5:15 PM) and rush hour in Providence, Little Rhody, typically commences around four in the post meridian and we were some 30 miles away from the location of said dinner engagement. (And The Missus Herself asked me, no check that, told me to stop muttering "WTF" under my breath, which yes, I was doing. No, I wasn't using the initials, I said it right out but as I like to try and stay family-rated, I say "WTF" here. Capisci?)

When we actually got into the exam room my annoyance was assuaged by the nurse, who told me that the doctor was accompanied by a medical student and was I okay with that. I told her that I was exceedingly fine with all that as I am a big proponent of higher education and doctoring is a most useful skill.

I assume that as students ask questions and doctors explain things in detail to med students that was what led to the delay in seeing the doc. Not a problem, my surgeon is a super guy and a great doc, also the med student was a very decent chap who chuckled appreciatively at my many witty remarks. Good bedside manner and I am a sucker for those who at least pretend to laugh at my jokes.

So the doctor's appointment is done and we dash back to the manse to prepare for dinner. Time is tight but still exists abundantly enough where we don't have to commit any moving violations nor take shortcuts across country.

We get home, feed the cats, wash our hands, check the mail and then pile back into The Missus-mobile and head down to the Atlantic Beach Club for to partake of some excellent seafood, the salt air and the rumble of the surf on the beach next to the parking lot.

Dinner was superb as was the company, old friends who we met when we first got to Little Rhody and whose company we have enjoyed 'lo these many years.

Sadly we discovered the the Atlantic Beach Club will be changing ownership and will no longer operate as a restaurant come the end of the year.

Sigh. Another victim of the lackluster state of the economy, my favorite restaurant, soon to be but a memory. I guess nothing lasts forever, all things must pass but I'm sorry, this just sucks. Oh well, I suppose I'll find another favorite. Somewhere.

One last thing, leaving the restaurant I saw a familiar face. It was the guy who used to run my favorite gas station in Bristol, Little Rhody. He decided to retire some years ago and now downtown Bristol is sans filling station.

I used to stop there often. Joe is about my age, perhaps a year or three younger, but was a real old fashioned kind of gas station guy. He'd do repairs on vehicles and he was my go to guy for tires. He always had good suggestions for my car and his prices were more than reasonable. A great guy. I used to stop and chat with him and his Dad at least once a week.

Well, I was stunned when he remembered me, called me by name and asked how the kids were doing. He even remembered that The WSO was a back seater in the F-18. He then went on to tell The Missus Herself and our friends how he missed the business because of customers like myself. Made me blush a bit I can tell you.

I asked after his Dad, also named Joe, and was saddened to hear that he had passed about a year and a half ago at the age of 87. Really sad, older Joe was a really nice guy. His kind soul is reflected well in his son and namesake.

It was really good to see him and his kind words really made me feel good. Not enough folks like Joe around but there are enough of them that I still have high hopes for this country of ours. Solid citizen that Joe.

That was my day, started strange, ended nicely. I wish I'd brought the good camera, all I have is these slightly out of focus cell phone pics. Ah well, having been convalescing nigh on four weeks, the Guinness I had at dinner made me slightly out of focus and a bit fuzzy round the edges as well. (Even at my best I'm a cheap date, give me a six pack and expect to have me dancing on tables and wearing a lampshade on my head. Like The Missus Herself says, "You can dress me up but you can't take me anywhere." Actually getting me to dress up is a bit of a chore as well. It's "why we can't have nice things...")

In essence, you see what I saw, without having to partake of adult beverages. I took care of that for you. It's what I do, I'm a giver...

Moon rise over Easton Point.

Fuzzy close up of same, almost looks like an impressionist painting. Or a fuzzy cell phone pic. (Bet on the latter.)

The mighty Atlantic lies beyond Easton Bay

A flock of seagulls. (No, not the 80's band, actual seabirds.)
Again all impressionistic looking.

All in all, a good day.

Now where did I put the draft of my book?

[Mutters to self, exits stage left.]

Thursday, August 27, 2015

The World On Fire?

California burns (Photo courtesy of Big Time)
Those are not regular clouds in that photo, no, that's smoke from all those fires out California way. From what my buddy Shaun tells me, Canada also seems to be on fire. I guess this kind of thing happens when you've got miles and miles of dry grassland and forest. It's summer, think lightning, also think stupid people out in the wild playing with matches and other combustibles. Here's the current situation -

Where this map lives, i.e. where I got it from.

Pretty bad situation in some parts of The Golden State. I'm sure the politicians are busy finding someone to blame.

Canada is having some problems in this regard as well. In particular the potential for fire is pretty high in most of British Columbia, southern Alberta and southern Saskatchewan. The smoke Shaun was seeing could have come from any of those places. Here's the situation in the Great White Up -

Here's where I got this one...

While parts of California and Canada are literally on fire, most of the attention of the populace is on other things. Political things.

I think it's time for one of my periodic rants.

Now I abhor politics and most politicians, but not all politicians. There's a fellow at work, very senior, who is also a state senator here in Little Rhody. I have a great deal of respect for this guy, because he's a straight shooter and a very smart guy, I've worked with him on more than one occasion. What's more, hold onto your hats Gentle Readers, he's a Democrat.

Well, if you knew the politics of Little Rhody (and large chunks of New England) you'd know that this region is heavily populated by Democrats. In order to get elected to just about any office in our tiny state, you almost have to have a "(D)" after your name.

Now I do have more than a few friends who are of that particular persuasion. Most are what you might call "old school Democrats," think the Kennedys, not that socialist air bag Bernie Sanders (who many Vermonters simply adore, I can't for the life of me figure out why). Most of them can trace their Democrat roots back many generations. I don't think they truly know what the modern party has become.

Now with that being said, I come from a long line of Republicans. I don't really associate with that crowd of animated gas bags anymore, that party has also become something which no doubt has Ronald Reagan spinning in his grave.

I consider myself an independent, I consider the issues and where a candidate stands on those issues. I vote according to my conscience and what I feel is best for the nation as a whole, not just my wee slice of the pie.

Supposedly Winston Churchill once said, "If you're not a liberal at twenty you have no heart, if you're not a conservative at forty you have no brain.”

I say supposedly because these days, through the magic of the Web of World Wideness you can find almost any sort of quote to suit your point. Though I believe I have seen this quote attributed to Sir Winston before the internet was invented. You know, back in the Neolithic Period, not long after the glaciers began to recede. Much like my hairline. Speaking of quotes, one of my favorite lines in Bernard Cornwell's new book on Waterloo is...

'Great battles are won by artillery,' Napoleon once said, though he said so many things that it is difficult to know when he was being serious. Waterloo by Bernard Cornwell, page 216.

(A most excellent book I must say, I've studied that battle since I was a wee lad and have learned a couple of new things. When you stop learning, you start dying. And yes, you can quote me.)

Now when you're young and have few responsibilities and pay less tax, it is nice to care about the less fortunate and the less skilled. Yes, tax those rich bastards so that we can feed the poor, clothe the naked and heal the sick.

Because, it ain't coming out of your pocket, is it?

Once one reaches a certain level of responsibility (spouse, children, house, land and one or more automotive conveyances) you start to realize (especially when you look at your pay slip and see all of the stuff the gubmint gets before you get your slice of the pie) that it isn't the rich who are being soaked to help the alleged less fortunate. It's you!

Now a lot of those "less fortunate" types these days are not even citizens, they are in this country illegally. Now truth be told, I can't say I blame them. If you live in a place that sucks and provides few opportunities to get ahead in life, you can, if you're able, go someplace that doesn't suck.

Though the current maladministration is trying very hard to turn the United States into a Third World sh!thole, they haven't succeeded. Yet. So folks from places that suck want to be here, where it doesn't suck (yet). However, they don't want to abide by what we conservatives like to call "The Rules."

Here's a great post I read over at The Chief's place the other day. Check it out, I'll wait right here.

Yeah, what if they all just up and left? And didn't come back unless it was legally? The data in that post seems pretty solid. I do believe that the Left wants them to stay because they think it's a guaranteed voting block for their "free stuff" agenda.

From anecdotal evidence I have heard from out west in the Central and San Joaquin Valleys, a great many folks of Hispanic background are very conservative. Stands to reason doesn't it? They are family oriented, have strong religious beliefs and they don't like the illegals much either.

Hey, how about that Trump fellow? Okay, I used to watch that show The Apprentice, I got a kick out of the "You're fired!" line and all that. But hey, he's singing my song. He's not a professional leech politician. He's not a lawyer and the MSM hates him.

So there has to be something there to keep an eye on. What are the Republicans and Democrats offering otherwise? Well the Dems have a Commie (Comrade Bernie), a criminal (guess who, I despise her and won't mention the name if I don't have to) and at least one lunatic (Fauxcahontas) in the race.

Now as for the GOP, too many names to keep track of. Personally, I shy away from the professional leeches politicians. I just don't trust them.

Do I trust Trump? Hard to say. Do I think he'll make the United States better? Yes I do.

As to the others? The GOP has some interesting candidates but I have no doubt that the party hierarchy will screw things up, just like the last two elections.

The Democrats? I shudder to think what they have to offer. More of this current crap we're laboring under. Our allies no longer trust us, our enemies no longer fear us. Yeah, how's that "hope and change" crap working for you?

Term limits is the only answer. We, as a people, have proven that we are too stupid or too lazy to vote intelligently. We elect people who lie to us and blow smoke up our collective arses. Then we blame the representatives from someone else's district.


My representatives suck and so do yours. Let's kick the professional politicians out and elect people who will go to DC, get the job done, then come home. These arse wipes we have now care nothing other than how to get reelected. Let's fix that for them. Let's make it so they can't be reelected.

Then maybe we can go after the bureaucrats.

Anyhoo, that's my two cents.

End of periodic rant...

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Well, Murph Wanted More Corsairs...

A VA-72 (Blue Hawks) A-7E Corsair II aircraft is given a final check before being launched from USS DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER
(CVN 69). (US Navy photo by PH2 Kevin E. Farmer)
Okay, what Murphy said was "So when do we get the NEXT Corsair post?"

Right now brother. Right now.

(Well, he didn't say anything about which Corsair now did he?)

A-7 Corsair II of the 76th Tactical Fighter Squadron (Vanguards), 23rd Tactical Fighter Wing, dropping Mark 82 hi-drag bombs over the Tyndall Eglin Air Force Base range.  (US Air Force photo by TSgt Frank Garzelnick)

When I was stationed at Lowry (in Denver), the Air Guard base at Buckley had some of these birds. I think they're cool.
The Ling-Temco-Vought A-7 Corsair II was a carrier-capable subsonic light attack aircraft introduced to replace the Douglas A-4 Skyhawk. The A-7 airframe design was based on the successful supersonic Vought F-8 Crusader. It was one of the first combat aircraft to feature a head-up display (HUD), an inertial navigation system (INS), and a turbofan engine.

The Corsair II initially entered service with the United States Navy during the Vietnam War. It was later adopted by the United States Air Force, including the Air National Guard, to replace the Douglas A-1 Skyraider, North American F-100 Super Sabre and Republic F-105 Thunderchief. The aircraft was also exported to Greece in the 1970s, and Portugal in the late 1980s. W
A-7Bs of CVW-16 on the USS Ticonderoga in 1968 (US Navy photo by Chester O. Morris)

A-7As of VA-147 (Argonauts) taking off from NAS Lemoore 1967. (US Navy photo)
YA-7D-1-CV AF Serial No. 67-14582, the first USAF YA-7D, 2 May 1968. Note the Navy-style refueling probe and the modified Navy BuNo used as its USAF tail number. (USAF Photo)

Corsair IIs 70-0976, 70-0989 and 70-0970 of the 354th Tactical Fighter Wing over the skies of Southeast Asia. 976 and 989 were retired to AMARC in 1992, 970 is on permanent display at the Museum of the United States Air Force, Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio. (USAF photo)

A-7Es on the USS Independence (CV 62) in 1983 (US Navy photo)

A-7E of VA-72 (Blue Hawks) on USS America off Libya in April 1986 (US Navy photo)

A-7E from VA-72 (Blue Hawks) flying over the Saudi desert during Operation Desert Shield (US Navy photo by Cdr. John Leenhouts)

A shout out to the ladies of Naval Aviation!

EA-7L pilots of VAQ-34 (Flashbacks) at Elmendorf AB, 1987 (DoD photo by Sgt. W. Thornton)

The EA-7L was an electronic aggressor aircraft (converted from the TA-7C*) used by VAQ-34, upgraded to A-7E standard while retaining twin seats in 1984.

Prototype YA-7Ds 67-14582 and 67-14584, along with 69-6191 and 69-6217 making last flyover retirement formation over Edwards AFB, California, heading to AMARC, August 1992 (USAF photo)

How about some love for the SLUF?**

A-7E Corsair II (BuNo 160713) from attack squadron VA-46 (Clansmen) on 1 July 1988. VA-46 was assigned to Carrier Air Wing Seven (CVW-7) for a deployment to the Mediterranean Sea aboard the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69) from 29 February to 29 August 1988. The A-7E 160713 (c/n E-491) was retired to the AMARC as 6A0395 on 10 June 1991 and later donated to the Pima Air and Space Museum, Tucson, Arizona. (US Navy photo by Cdr. John Leenhouts)

Okay, it ain't the F4U Corsair, but it's still pretty cool!

Oh yeah, gotta have a video...

This next guy has brass ones. Or, he's insane. How low can you go? (Bearing in mind the old saying, "You can only tie the low altitude record...")

*Two-seat trainer version for the U.S. Navy, 24 converted from A-7B, 36 from A-7C. In 1984, 49 air frames, including the 8 EA-7Ls, were re-engined with the TF41-A-402 and upgraded to A-7E standard.

**The A-7 Corsair II was tagged with the nickname "SLUF" ("Short Little Ugly Fire Trucker") by its pilots.

Sarge Note: If you think you caught a glimpse of this post early on Tuesday, well, you're not crazy. Tuna and I were at cross purposes as to who was gonna post when. As Tuesday is Tuna-day, I pulled this one and rescheduled it for today.