Monday, February 20, 2017

"Take a Seat!"

Long week...Recovery from influenza officially took through Thursday morning.  Realistically, I'm still in recovery.  Whoda thunk having difficulty breathing would be so difficult?  /sarc

But...Mrs Juvat and I are back in bidness and looking forward to a bit of family vacation visiting Sarge's ancestral homeland (not that he's ever lived there) over spring break.

And....I was forced to exhaust the story repertoire stored in RAM defending Fighter Pilot Honor from infantile attempts at humor this week. (Not to worry, I still have plenty loaded in long term storage, but the loading time for them is considerably longer.).  So, I'm forced to review a couple of news stories that caught my eye yesterday.

 I was thumbing through Instapundit and saw this "F-15s scramble to intercept unresponsive aircraft over restricted airspace over West Palm Beach" which linked to this Fox News Article. 

Had to get a couple of chuckles there.  First was the dark picture of the F-15 which caught my eye.  There's just a couple of things wrong here.  First, take a look at the canopy.  There's two seats.  Second, supposedly this jet just scrambled to intercept an unidentified potential threat to the President of the United States.  It is unarmed.
Fox News Original Hard to tell the actual paint scheme
Source
An Eagle that is sitting Air Defense alert would more likely be loaded like this.
6 AIM120s (4 on the Belly) and 2 AIM-9s
Source

As to the first, the darkness of the picture led me to believe it might be an F-15E, given that in the Eagle vernacular they are referred to as "Dark Grays", but, when I photoshopped it to get a look at the Fin Flash, it's obviously a "Light Gray", meaning an F-15D.  
Photoshop with about 50% brightness applied to entire photo


However, that Eagle belongs to the 194th FS out of Fresno California.  
Note the fin flash
Source

While the D model could stand Air Defense Alert, it wasn't usually done (at least BITD) as the prepping the back seat for a scramble and making sure everything back there was tied down correctly was an unnecessary risk when single seat models are available.  

So, Fox just found a convenient file folder and posted it.  Lazy dogs!  Googled Homestead Air Reserve Base and found the list of Tenants.  Found the 125th Fighter Wing listed and looked at its components.  Found the 159th Fighter Squadron and found a perfectly reasonable, and accurate, picture of the jets that might have actually scrambled.


The two in back, I'm pretty sure, used to be Kadena birds.
Source

The Fox News article went on to describe that the Jet's scrambled and intercepted a civilian aircraft that was threatening to penetrate the restricted airspace surrounding Mar-A-Lago which I gather is a resort that the President owns, used to own, was visiting (whatever).  The report then says "The jets flew at supersonic speeds and residents were startled by the loud boom."


No Kidding?

OK, The President of the United States was on the ground and normal restricted airspace was established around him.  An unidentified aircraft is approaching that airspace and is not responding to radio calls from controllers.  

Is he a lost student pilot who's on the wrong frequency?  Or is he a nutball that's taken it into his mind that this is his path to glory? 

To the people charged with protecting the President, how would the two situations look any different from each other?  And, if you assume one option, what happens if you're wrong?  Those Eagles are going to be scrambled and they're going to be getting there quickly.

So, let's look at the Physics of the problem.  I have no idea what the dimensions of the restricted airspace are, but let's just say 25 NM.  A small aircraft traveling at 120K can cover that in 12.5 minutes.  Homestead ARB is 85.44 NM from Mar-A-Lago.  Assuming the pilots were sitting 5 minute alert, (which is not unreasonable, they would not be sitting cockpit alert with engines running unless they'd gotten some specific threat warning), once they got airborne, the threat is at 15 miles away from the President or 7.5 minutes.  

Assuming that the report is true, and the Eagles were supersonic, the 85.44 miles to the President would take 6.74 minutes, plus whatever acceleration time to reach the Mach.  So...This is going to be, as they say, a Close One!

According to the report, the Eagles were able to establish contact with the aircraft and escort it out of the restricted airspace, so all's well that ends well, but....

I'm sure there will be someone that complains (in my best Thurston Howell III imitation) "Blast, Buffy, why'd those fighter pilots have to positively RUIN our tea today.  It's only that boor, Trump"

But, given the antics of the anti-Trump league, is there anyone here that doesn't think an attempt on his life might look remarkably similar to this?  To paraphrase Instapundit, "You want more Trump, your actions are how you get "more Trump" and this is what "More Trump" looks like.

So....Well done Eagles!  And, Miami, that boom you heard?  The sound of Freedom!  

Sarge and I engaged in a little friendly tit for tat this past week (of course, HE came out a sad second best, but....that's another story).  While that was going on, a World Class slam was put on one of our (not so) esteemed members of Congress.

Seems "Dick" Blumenthal, a Senator from Connecticut has made some incorrect statements about his military service, implying that he'd served in Vietnam.  That appears to have raised the ire of a group of people who have proven their worth "above and beyond the call of Duty".  They chose to express their ire in a letter to the low-life.  For your reading pleasure.

Dear Sen. Richard Blumenthal,
You recently called upon your Senate colleagues to subject Judge Neil Gorsuch's record to "extreme vetting," questioning both his qualification and biography. The Senate certainly has the right and obligation to closely review any nominee for the United States Supreme Court. Conversely, it is our right as Americans and veterans to scrutinize your hypocrisy in doing so.
 We are veterans of the Vietnam War. We fought alongside our brothers in arms, many of whom died or were gravely injured there. We saw the treatment meted out on us and our fellow military personnel upon our return, yet we never questioned our commitment to our nation's freedom. But perhaps more relevant to this discussion is that we know you were not there with us.
 The fact you repeatedly and consistently claimed to have served in Vietnam is a gross case of stolen valor in our opinion. You obtained at least five military deferments between 1965 and 1970, at least two of which were seemingly political favors to you so that you could avoid joining us in a war zone. Here are just a few examples where it appears that you have chosen to buttress your political resume by shamefully inflating your record of military service:
 In 2003, you apparently stated, "When we returned [from Vietnam], we saw nothing like this [a public outpouring of support for deployed military personnel]. "
In 2008, the New York Times reported you said, "We have learned something important since the days I served in Vietnam ..."
 At a Vietnam War memorial in 2008, it is reported you stated, "I served during the Vietnam era ... I remember the taunts, the insults, sometimes even the physical abuse."
 We recognize that military service of any kind is valuable to the protection of our nation's freedom. There is no shame in engaging in "Toys for Tots" campaigns, recycling efforts, or assisting in the improvement or construction of various facilities, which appears to be a fair description of the bulk of your duties during the Vietnam War.
What is offensive to those who fought in a most brutal conflict, some of us who were captured and tortured by our enemy, is any comparison of those most brutal experiences to the ones of people like you who never even sniffed the air in Vietnam.
You should be proud that you shared a uniform with so many brave souls who endured the hardships of war, but instead you chose to attempt to deceitfully and craftily join their ranks with your intentionally vague statements and false claims. Quite simply, it is impossible to "misspeak" about having seen a war.
Valor is too uncommon a commodity, and too precious a virtue, to be stolen by those who have not paid the high price for freedom. We recognize that some concerns over any appointee, especially the Supreme Court, are honest and legitimate.
 You, sir, are neither. If you ever had a sense of duty, if ever you respected the service and sacrifice of others, then please recognize your duty now:
 Sen. Blumenthal, "take your seat"!

Respectfully,
Retired Command Sgt. Maj. Bennie Adkins, U.S. Army, Auburn, Ala.Retired Col. Don "Doc" Ballard, U.S. Army, Grain Valley, Mo.Retired Maj. Gen. Pat Brady, U.S. Army, New Braunfels, TexasRetired Col. Bruce Crandall, U.S. Army, Manchester, Wash.Retired Sgt. 1st Class Sammy Davis, U.S. Army, Freedom, Ind.Retired Col. Wesley Fox, U.S. Marine Corps, Peoria, Ill.Retired Col. Harold Fritz, U.S. Army, Peoria, Ill.Retired Maj. Gen. Jim Livingston, U.S. Marine Corps, Mount Pleasant, S.C.Retired Command Sgt. Maj. Bob Patterson, U.S. Army, Pace, Fla.Retired Sgt. Maj. Kenneth Stumpf, U.S. Army, Tomah, Wis.Retired Maj. James Taylor, U.S. Army, Trinity Center, Calif.Retired Lt. Mike Thornton, U.S. Navy, DallasRetired Col. Leo Thorsness, U.S. Air Force, St. Augustine, Fla. Retired Col. Jay Vargas, U.S. Marine Corps, San Diego

28 comments:

  1. As I read the names of the signatories I am in awe. To steal a line from Barry Sadler, These are men, America's best! Blumenthal, on the other hand, is a lying sack of $hit.

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    1. I tend to hold all politicians in low regard as a rule. However, some of them fail to clear even that low bar. This one would be an example of the latter.

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  2. One could also say, "Senator Blumenthal, give up your seat."

    What a poser.

    Good stuff Juvat!

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    1. Well, he IS from CT. Not sure what the chances of that happening are, or of his being defeated in an election. But....Hope springs eternal!

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  3. Well, SNAP! Guess the Democrats do "alternate facts"...BUSTED!

    They all need to just stop trying to buff and polish something they have no business claiming and instead go to work on things that will make this country great again, and then claim they were involved in that action! Duh!!

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    1. That WOULD simplify things wouldn't it? But that would require effort which clearly is not in their ethical makeup.

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  4. There you go! Expecting news from a news outlet! Really? Too often they rely on "stock footage" to illustrate their stories. One network reporting on fighting on the Middle East relies on footage of one guy shooting a machine gun. This guy is the biggest badass ever! I've seen him firing that gun day in, day out for weeks! Never gets tired or runs out of ammo!

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    1. After being burned too many times my boss issued an edict. There will be no "representative" pictures on a PowerPoint slide. If it ain't THE (insert person or object) engaged in THE action being described, it AIN't in the presentation!
      That was clear enough guidance for me to understand.

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  5. Heh, I finish ranting about fake news and then visit here only to find I've been scooped!

    As for the other, Billy Ray Valentine said it best... https://youtu.be/DKtjBqJ4NxA

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    1. I think that's my favorite Eddie Murphy movie....and.....It had a great shot of Jamie Leigh Curtis!

      Nice Rant!

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  6. Re supersonic F-15s, I remember when the alert F-15s at PDX scrambled to respond to such a threat up at SEATAC. We live some ways south of PDX, but the boom was very clear.
    I had read that letter at another site, but the signers' names were not included. Thank you for including them with your posting.
    Needless to say ( but I'm going to say it anyway ), great post.

    Paul L. Quandt

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    1. Thanks, Paul. I've had some experience in administering a Sonic Boom to a community. Suffice it to say, I learned from the experience.

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  7. OK, here goes again, but; I spent a couple of years as (then) BG Brady's instructor pilot while he exercised his limited cockpit duties (UH-1H) at 1st U.S. Army (who is going to deny flying status to the recipient of a MOH aviator?). I imagine you've known a recipient or two in your past life Juvat. General Brady was absolutely magnificent once he put on that medal to speak. regards, Alemaster

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    1. The two I've met, Col Day and Col Crandall, amazed me with their humility. The stories I've read about others indicate that may be a common trait. Which I think is a good thing.

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  8. Yep, the sound of FREEDOM is right! And agree on the idjit Senator too!

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    1. There ARE costs for that Freedom. It ain't free. It concerns me that we appear likely to relearn that lesson, if we're not careful.

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    2. Yep, 'we' know those costs... And I'm afraid I have to agree with you. Dammit...

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  9. I met and had a few beers with Mike Thornton a long time ago at Little Creek.a good guy. The TDS is really much worse and more stupid than the old BDS. I won't be surprised at wingnuts trying to prove that Trump isn't their president. On that note, I heard Trump kept on his own contract security team even with SS protection detail. If the SS is as stupidly partisan as the intel community, I won't be surprised if a former SEAL stops the attack instead of the SS Guys.

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    1. I think you're probably right on the SEAL statement. Up until the beginning of the last 8 year regime, I'd have thought the Secret Service (wouldn't want anyone to think I was breaking Godwin's law) was not partisan. I'd have been wrong. One of my former students joined it after College. Quit after a couple of years because of just that.

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  10. What's even more amazing to me is that once he was exposed the people of Connecticut still send him to the Senate

    I have always had a bit of guilt because while serving during the latter part of Vietnam I was stationed in Germany. One of the best posts the army could offer.

    But I've never tried to hide it. For anyone who did serve in Vietnam and endured all the nastiness American Society of that time dealt, they deserve all the respect they have today. And shame on those politicians who try to steal some of that respect.

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    1. That is amazing, and disheartening. They forged documents in order to implicate Pres. Bush for similar actions and then tried to crucify him. Yet when one of their own actually does it, it's all ticker tape parades and rose petals to walk on. Disheartening. However, "Never give up, Never Surrender!" This country is worth fighting for even with its imperfections.

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  11. Why these guys keep getting reelected is beyond me. Voters just can't see how a man or woman who is caught in a lie, especially big repeated whoppers like this one, don't have the character worthy of holding office and representing us. I got in a discussing with a liberal person I know who didn't like all the stuff reported about Anthony Weiner, and that personal lives should be irrelevant. I countered with the fact that if a man lies to his spouse and cheats, violating an oath he took before God when they were married, why should we think that he would hold onto his promises to faceless constituents. These people are so full of hot air it's a wonder gravity works on them.

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    1. " These people are so full of hot air it's a wonder gravity works on them."

      Well, Tuna...........
      It's that other stuff they're "full" of that weighs them down!
      If you know what I mean and I know you do!

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  12. What amazes me is that these guys seem to think they'll never get caught. We had a politician here in Louisiana that for years proclaimed he was a recipient of the Purple Heart during his service in RVN. One day one of his buddies said; "Hey, you might as well get one of those special Purple Heart lisc plates the State issues, ya know" Now he was trapped, because even backwaters Louisiana requires the supporting paperwork--and this guy didn't have it. What was he going to say "Naw, I'll pass on those plates 'cause I'm not proud of my service, etc?" BINGO.

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    1. You're right about the "never get caught". I've read stories about the "stolen valor" guys. Ones that build a fictitious story about their "heroism", some up to and including the Medal of Honor. Angers me greatly. I think they should be prosecuted, but it looks like I'm outvoted. At the very least, they should be outed in every major news outlet in the country, so much so that anytime a potential employer googles their name as due diligence in a job hire decision, they find that the person is a lying worthless Papa, Oscar, Sierra. At that point, if they're hired, the company has proven its ethical foundation and potential customers can act accordingly.
      But that's just me being charitable again.

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