Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Now What?

No, seriously, now what do I write about? After a very cathartic series of posts (nine in all, I counted) stretching over a week and a half, I realize that I am caught out in the open without a clue as to what to write about next.

Fortunately Juvat's post about the Paul Doumer bridge, well, more specifically the attacks on that bridge and some of the men who flew those missions, reminded me of a trilogy I read some time ago, and need to read again.

Termite Hill, Tango Uniform, and Lucky's Bridge are three novels set during the Vietnam War, the main characters in the books fly the mighty Thud, the F-105. The books were written by one Tom "Bear" Wilson, who's bio states -
Tom "Bear" Wilson was a career United States Air Force Officer with 3000 hours of flying time, mostly in fighters. During his 500 hours of combat flying, he earned four Silver Star Medals for gallantry and three Distinguished Flying Crosses for heroism. He also served in various roles as instructor, flight examiner, tactician, staff officer, and unit commander. After leaving the military, Wilson enjoyed diverse careers, including: private investigator, gunsmith, newspaper publisher, and manager of advanced programs for a high-tech company in Silicon Valley. Mr. Wilson resides in Texas and has recently completed his ninth novel, Black Serpent. (Source)
I need to hunt down and re-read my copies of those books.

And yeah, Lucky's Bridge is the same bridge Juvat told us about...

The guy who wrote those books was a Wild Weasel backseater.

(Source)
I was saddened to see that "Bear" had passed back in 2014. I tried to track down citations for any of his Silver Stars and/or DFCs but with no success.

Another book I need to track down, Fast Movers, has an entire section on "Bear" and his pilot, Jerry "Hob Nose" Hoblit. (Love the callsigns...)

(Source)
Robin Olds and Ed Rasimus appear in that book as well.

The men who went Up North in those days have my eternal respect. Studs, all of 'em.


The posts are going to be a little light this week. My eyes are really bothering me, the eye drops the doc prescribed have greatly relieved the pressure in my left eye (40 down to 19) but the drops have squirreled up the vision in that eye. New glasses were prescribed but aren't in hand yet (nor on face). I'm okay without my glasses, but can't really get close to the screen and type at the same time.

New spectacles should remedy that.

I'm hoping this treatment works long term (I also see a retina specialist next month), otherwise I might need a new callsign, Cyclops might fit. As LUSH said, "Depth perception is overrated." I wouldn't know, I hope I don't find out.

We shall see.



58 comments:

  1. I wonder how you earn the callsign “Bear?” You steal someone’s picnic lunch, or crap in the woods? My excuse is I was born with it...

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    1. From what I read, somewhere, maybe one of those books, the backseat in a Wild Weasel Thud was known as "The Bearpit" and the backseater was known as "The Bear" or "The Pitter." With four Silver Stars and three DFCs. I'm thinking that Tom Wilson was definitely, "The Bear." A guess on my part.

      Though your theories are good too. ;)

      Delete
    2. In fact, when you started commenting here, I thought you might have been one.

      Delete
    3. Okay, so for those of us not in the know, is there some codified list of all things militarily nicknamed so we can understand your random trips into some foreign language that googletranslate doesn't understand? Maybe one of you military types can generate a page like the Acronym page so we in the outside world can play along.

      Unless it's some plot to keep us confused and uninformed, which then I must report said plot is working quite well.

      Hey, juvat. How's school going? Any sanity left?

      Delete
    4. Not a drop. 3.5 million dollars worth of Technology which couldn't be ordered until July 1 and didn't get delivered until July 31. 330 computers, 975 Laptops, 231 projectors and interactive boards to install, 6 people in the department. School started Monday. Today someone called the School Board and bitched about technology not being ready for school start.

      Lord, I love this job! Bless me Father, for I have Sinned! I told a lie.

      185 School days until retirement. Oh and I have 108 days of leave. Fire Truckers!

      Delete
    5. Oooo.. Do I sense that your current office chair is made by Martin-Baker and you're considering using the deluxe features?

      It's always nice to be blamed for someone else's fire-truck-up.

      Delete
    6. Beans - That's not a bad idea, but I think I have a couple of links laying around (somewhere) which explain a lot of the jargon we sometimes lapse into here. (We don't want you confused and uninformed, Heaven forfend, you might start voting "green" or something!)

      I'll find those sometime in the next few days. No, really, I promise...

      Delete
    7. Juvat - Seriously? Less than a year? I've got a year and a half, theoretically. Not jealous, not jealous...

      Okay, maybe a little.

      Technology, everyone wants it, assumes that it just happens automagically and then gets pissed when it doesn't happen. Sounds like Suppo (Supply Officer) screwed the pooch! And you!

      Grrr...

      Delete
    8. Beans, on your last - Roger that. Happens far more often than I care for.

      Delete
    9. So, juvat, can you take the vacation days as a cash payoff or are you taking lots of leave between here and then? Inquiring and nosy minds want to know...

      Is this a hard retirement or when you can retire?

      Delete
    10. Well, yes, we need to update your, uh, employee profile here at the Chant.

      Sigh. Yes, I'm nosy too.

      Delete
    11. Beans, Either option is available. I could retire right now if I wanted. But that would leave my team in a lurch. I plan my last day to be the end of December and use up the leave to officially retire in June. But "they" have to approve that. If they don't, I'll retire in December and cash in the leave. But...If I do that, TRS rules say I can't work in any capacity for the district for 6 months, so if they have questions or need help, they're SOL. It's up to them.

      Delete
    12. So you basically hold all the cards in either scenario is how I read this.

      Good position to be in.

      Delete
    13. Remember, consultation fees start at $250 an hour for consultation service, plus travel, lodging and per diem.

      I actually did that to a job that fired me. Made them pay and pay and pay...

      Delete
    14. Retirees coming back to work as a consultant. Nice gig if you can get it.

      We have a few where I work.

      Delete

  2. Fast Movers WAS an excellent book! I had no idea that Tom had written his trilogy, I shall have to make a visit to Abe Books.

    Praying that the glasses do the job. Six years ago I was having pressure problems with my left eye when my eye doc told me to start taking some eye vitamins called Systane I-Caps and she said to make sure it was the I-Caps with Lutein and Zeaxanthin. Since then, not only has the pressure in my left eye returned to normal but my vision has actually improved at each yearly visit. I had my yearly eye exam week before last and I have to get new glasses again (if you remember, I used to wear "coke bottle bottoms"). My doc's comment was "New glasses again because you eyes are still improving. Keep taking the I-Caps!"

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    1. Hhmm, those aren't the drops I'm taking. I may need to ping on my doc about that.

      Thanks for the tip Russ!

      Delete
  3. I would be totally ok with the aging process if it didn't include the increasing amounts of problems in my body support systems. (BSS)

    It sure beats the alternative.

    A post about travel is always good, you have been to some very interesting places.


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    1. I may have a travel story or two laying around. Good idea.

      And yes, aging ain't for the faint of heart!

      Delete
  4. Hmmm..... more books to checkout. Wishing you luck on the new spectacles.

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    1. Thanks Nylon12!

      It just struck me that the two authors, Tom Wilson and Mark Berent, started their Air Force careers as enlisted. Given my latest series of posts, an odd coincidence. Synchronicity? Hhmm...

      Delete
  5. OOOOOHHHHH! A Flying Book I haven't read yet! Still got room in my Kindle. I've read Wilson's Trilogy as well as Mark Berent's Series quite a few times. Might have to cycle through again, just in case I've forgotten something.

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    1. Ah yes! Mark Berent as well! (Which is where I got one of my favorite phrases, "Oh shit, oh dear.") Just checked Amazon, there are four books in his Wings of War Series, three of which I know I've read and have, but there is a fourth! Not sure if I have it. Eagle Station is the fourth, the ones I know I have are Rolling Thunder, Steel Tiger, and Phantom Leader. I think I'll be spending time back in the archives at Chez Sarge this weekend!

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    2. You forgot Storm Flight, the final one in the series, wherein the Hero runs afoul of the AF Chief of Staff and gets sent TDY to Andersen to advise B-52 Crews. You can feel his pain!

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    3. Well I'll be ...

      I did forget that one!

      Must.

      Have.

      There are five books in the series!

      Delete
  6. Of nothing else, we can patiently wait.

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  7. Praying the pressure problem diminishes.
    Having just had my own issue, I can relate... even empathize.

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  8. Keep up with the drops and be sure to ask your doc if those I-caps might be for you. I have heard great things about them. I am still blessed with good eyesight, my problem being the eyelashes grow in instead of out. Whoops, this conversation is sound too much like the Senior's Bus over to Res Casino.
    The little person inside my Kindle finds all kinds of good related stuff to read. In Mark Berent's book about the Phantom, I could almost swear that I could have been one of his IPs at George. It all sounded so familiar. Great reads - all. Old age is a kick, in both ways.

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    1. Well, making sure all your vitamin levels are within specifications will help, too. Not to mention reducing any major stress in your life, if your life is stressful.

      Stay away from the one-armed bandits near the front door and the bathrooms. The ones near the Keno table pay out better, and the waitress is cuter...

      Delete
    2. Fuzz - I had never heard of I-caps before today. Believe me, I will be asking my iDoc that question. (Yeah, yeah, I meant eye doc but iDoc just looks so trendy.)

      Hahaha, the senior's bus! Love it.

      Delete
    3. Beans - I dont gamble, ever.

      Reduce stress? Trying. Vitamin levels? Never heard that one. But if it works? What the heck.

      Delete
    4. I don't gamble either, just wanted to get in on the Res Bus comment line.

      Yeah, to sound like an old guy for a moment, when your doc does a checkup, have him/her pull a full blood panel and check your various vitamin and mineral levels. Iodine especially.

      You know when you're really old when you start checking input/output levels...

      Delete
    5. Doc does that now. I try not to "advise" my doctor, she's pretty smart, been to medical school and everything.

      Besides which, there are many sources of information out there as to what you should get checked, when, etc. Many of those sources are spurious and are meant to generate revenue, that's all. I still trust my doctor. Not everyone can say that.

      Delete
    6. Yup. Know what you mean about docs. After a long line of 'tehstupid' docs, Mrs. Andrew finally found one that pays attention. He's a DO, not an MD, and takes the whole body approach. Much better for us of the 'broken body' clan.

      Delete
    7. Dang, didn't know they had those. (Though at first I read that as DO meaning Director of Ops, like "Cool, the doc is from the CIA...")

      Delete
    8. MDs tend to focus on the problem. DOs tend to focus on the cause.

      Got a weird funny issue with your finger? MD will look at the finger. DO will look at what causes weird funny issues with the finger.

      A generalization, but a good example. A lot of DOs are found at places like the Mayo Clinics.

      The other Director of Ops could also be the Head of Surgery?

      Delete
  9. This keeps up, you'll need to have a supplement page of 'Livres recommandés par les chanteurs' or, in American-English, 'Books recommended by Chanters.'

    As to your Epic, the foretolding regarding the trip "There and Back" back in 2014 would total the chapters up to 10, not to mention all the foreshadowing splattered throughout many of your posts. It was a needful thing to tell the tale, and the side comments in the comments fleshed the whole bitter experience out. Glad that Biloxi healed your heart and head. You needed it.

    As to the eye problem, No-one is going to bother you...

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    1. Hhmm, I like the idea of a new page. Of course I would give it a French name, I mean, it's what I do, innit?

      Yeah, the long series was a long time coming. Felt good to tell the tale, the responses from the readers were superb, very good for this old sergeant.

      The eye thing I do believe will work itself out. Don't expect np posts, just shorter posts. The eye drops make my eyes tired. Seriously droopy and lazy.

      Delete
    2. Having 'allergy eyes' all my life, I know how you feel. Somedays at work I'd wear a hat or hoody and sunglasses and turn the office lights down because my eyes just hurt. Now that I'm no longer a wage-slave for Da Man, I can live in a dim cave for most of the time. Maybe not being surrounded by the smell of 'the demon weed' all the time helps, too. (How anyone can smoke that carp, I don't know.) (Okay, that all sounded weird, so... I worked at a Drug Task Force office and the evidence room for weed was in my section, so I got to smell that garbage for 9 hours a day. Bleh.) (I've seen things...)

      I really like the book recommendation thingy. If you want me to datamine (my personal odd skill) all the old posts, I can generate a list of books and accompanying posts or whatever. Offering my skills, such that they are. Any other weird post projects, I am here...

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    3. Ah, a volunteer! Ya know, that would be awesome. I think you should be the official archivist here at The Chant. I mean you've been paying attention, reading old posts and the like.

      Long way of sayting, yes, please! Commence mining. I know I've recommended a number of books over the years, as has Juvat. Maybe even Tuna.

      As to smoking anything, smoked tobacco for over 30 years, really bad idea. Looking back at it, I am amazed at how stupid that was. As to weed, never really saw the big attraction, though I experimented with it, it just wasn't my thing. I've always been more of a beer and pretzels kind of guy.

      Hhmm, weird post projects...

      Now you've got my mind working. I will let you know!

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    4. Ha. Now I've done it. Okay everyone, get your requests in before I start sifting, yet again, through the deep dark bowels of this blog.

      Already doing this for some nefarious reason (muhahahahhahaha - cough, sputter, hack - damn gnats!) that once I catch up to where I need to I'll be able to reveal...

      Delete
    5. Ooh, drama!

      (This is payback innit!?!?)

      Delete
  10. Take care of your eyes, OAFS, they are the only pair you'll get.

    Thanks for the post.
    Paul L. Quandt

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  11. Serendipity. I was reading a story I hadn’t seen before about the other aerial star of Vietnam today, then this post came up. Now I have more books in the To Read list. Maybe if I live to 120, I’ll read all of them.

    Hope your eyes get better, Sarge.

    (Oh, and if anyone’s curious, the other post was one about the 366th operating an F-4E with two gunpods and Rockeyes.)
    https://www.366fighterassociation.net/chico-the-gunfighter.html

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    1. Thanks Aaron.

      I love that painting!

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    2. Oh and by the way 18,000 rounds per minute coming out of that bad boy. Course the Nose gun carried 640 rounds and each SUU-23 had 1200 for a total of 3040. So you only had about 10 seconds worth of death and destruction to work with. In that book I've been touting (Beans, you ready to copy?), Check Six: A Thunderbolt Pilots Story about the War in the South Pacific, the author talks about the P-47 losing airspeed if it fired all 8 50 cal. I wonder what the effect would have been on the F-4, especially if one of the outboard guns didn't fire.

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    3. I've read something similar about the A-10.

      As to th F-4 thing, yeah, that would be an adventure.

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