Friday, March 24, 2017

The Tour of Unfortunate Events

Well, we're back.

And we had a blast!

Sarge's ancestral home is beautiful, full of history, friendly people and magical elixers.

However, as with most things in life, in order to truly enjoy the good things, you must endure some hardships.  All the planning in the world can't prevent a setback or two.  Little Juvat was Chief of Plans for this trip, he was assisted by Mrs Juvat as the Billeting and Transportation Officer.  Our merry band of troops consisted of myself and Mrs Juvat, My Beautiful Daughter (MBD), Little Juvat and his lovely bride, our Winemaker friends Gary and Kathy, and three of Little Juvat's co-workers.

As the Transportation Officer, Mrs Juvat set about making reservations for the trip from London to Edinburgh.  For whatever reason, when the initial plan was dispersed, the first name on the list was for "Clarence".  Now, not ever having met the man,she assumed that she was provided with the correct information, and so made reservations on the Virgin East Coast train from London Kings Cross to Edinburgh Wimberly stations for all of us including "Clarence".

For some reason, travel authorities these days want the name on the reservation to match the name on the passport.  We actually met Clarence in London,  where I walked up and introduced my self.

"Hi, Clarence, I'm Juvat!"

An extremely puzzled look came over his face.  Unfortunately, Clarence's real name is Thomas.

Apologies were extended, and a quick stop at the Virgin East Coast's website got the reservations straightened out, that night at dinner (Fish and Chips and Guinness) we held an impromptu Tour Tactical Call Sign Committee meeting and "Clarence" was bestowed.  A round of Guinness purchased by the newly renamed member of the Tour Company sealed the deal.

Behold, Clarence Thomas.




Great guy with a huge sense of humor, he and MBD hit it off and were tour buddies.

Unfortunately, when we got off the airplane at Heathrow, cleared immigration and went to baggage claim, my bag was circling the rack, but my DIL and beloved wife's were AWOL.  Went to the lost luggage area and entered the queue (normally I would have said Line, but this is England!).  When we got to the the head of the queue, the gentleman asked where we'd traveled from.  We told him Austin and he mentioned that all the people ahead of us also embarked there.

Our theory was the bags were loaded on the last trolley in the train and someone forgot to latch that one to the next to last.  Took off for the jet and left it at the station.

"No Worries, it'll be on the next flight."

"When will that be?"

"Tomorrow, same time"

"We'll be on the train to Edinburgh"

"Oh....."

Three days later, the ladies were reunited with their luggage.

A joyful reunion it was.

So...We're in Edinburgh (pronounced Ed'in Burrr a) and head out for dinner.  It's fairly late, Edinburgh time, but not for us.  The only restaurant we can find within a comfortable walking distance is a Tapas joint.

Sarge has already blogged on Tapas, and that was a factor in our selection. Hunger may have had a role in our perception, but it was fabulous.  Spanish Rioja was involved also.

Back to our B and B and a good nights sleep.

The next day, we're up early (ish), for breakfast at an Italian joint. Today will be history day.  You may have figured out by now, that Sarge isn't the only amateur historian in the crew. So, we're going to wander Old Town and specifically Edinburgh Castle.

I am not an Army guy, but even I could look at that castle and see that it was virtually impregnable.

Old Town was very interesting, and we spent quite a bit of time wandering around.  The old side of the group sporting 2 replaced knees, 2 bad knees, 3 bad backs and a bad neck, peaked early and RTB'd for a well earned nap and a bit of liquid pain killer.

Dinner was back at the Italian Restaurant, where the wait staff was from Romania.  (Hey, it's like Rome, right?)

We need to get back to the room so we can contact the Airline Baggage guy AGAIN!  His name was Bob, he was from Pakistan.

We explain to him that we are departing early that next morning and would be in very small villages and unreachable for the next 4 days.  They needed to get the bags to us ASAP.

Bob told us the bags were on a courier truck, but they didn't know the B and B  flat number.

We tell Bob to have the courier call us directly.  International Cell @ $10/day was a godsend.

As I said, shortly after we went to bed, there's a loud knock on the door and "Praise the Lord" the bags have arrived.

Off the next morning on our tour.  The tour company was named Rabbies.  I wholeheartedly recommend them.  Our tour guide/driver was a young guy named Daniel.  A history major in college, he was a godsend for the amateurs in the group.  And, as things transpired, did way more than he had signed up for.

So, we're driving up the highway to get to the River Spey, when we're about to cross the Firth of Forth.  I asked if we might stop and he pulls over at a small sightseeing spot.  Daniel proceeds to tell us about the little islands in the Firth that looked kind of like warships.

That was by design to deter German U-Boats.  Unfortunately, it wasn't entirely successful.  He did point out an interesting development off in the distance.  The British Navy's new Aircraft Carrier, HMS Queen Elizabeth.
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  Unfortunately, my picture from my little camera doesn't do it justice.

Back on the bus, and up through Perth and into Cairngorms National park (pronounced Carren' gorms with a pronounced roll of the Rs).

Beautiful drive through valleys sided by steep hilled mountains.  I spent the time assessing how many G's it would take for my F-15 to successfully transition from one Valley to another.

MBD, who suffers from Motion Sickness, didn't appreciate the trip as much.

We arrive in the small town of Braemar, and had lunch at a lovely hotel with an all-in-one Bar and Restaurant, I believe they call it a "Pub".

For some reason, I had a hankerin' for Fish and Chips and a Guinness.
I realized a little late that Sarge's requirement for pictures of food in pristine condition was not going to happen.

Our lovely waitress produced said sustenance in a prompt manner and responded to our thanks in a pronounced Slovakian accent.  Or maybe it was just my understanding of her Scottish Accent.

Dramamine for one  and other snooze inducing agents for the rest consumed, we're back on the road and finally arrive at our first tour stop.

The Glenlivet.

A very nice gentleman proceeded to escort us around the plant.  Evidently, as evidenced by the same series of presentations at four distilleries with minor variations, Barley is combined with water and allowed to ferment into a form of beer called wort.  This wort is then heated to specific temperatures until the alcohol evaporates.  That alcohol is then collected in three stages, the high alcohol, the correct level of alcohol and the low alcohol.  The correct alcohol is saved and the other two are combined and refermented to again extract the three stages.  This continues until the wort is basically completely converted.  What remains is called Pot Ale and is fed to the local livestock.  Lucky Beasts!

At that point, the alcohol is poured into barrels and allowed to ferment for a long time.

A bottle from this barrel retails for 15,000 pounds.  I don't know if there's any significance to the year. Sarge, any ideas?

After touring each of the distilleries, there was the requisite tasting.  Glenlivet and Macallan had 5 pours of about a 1/2 ounce each.  Glenfarclas had two pours of about an ounce. and Dalwhinnie had tastings combined with Chocolate.
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For Lunch the second day, we stopped in the village of Tomintoul and visited The Whisky Castle which was a retail shop that featured Whiskys from all over Scotland (and apparently ships to the states, more to follow on this).  Tasted a few and bought one, a peaty Whiskey from Caol Ila (pronounced Cal'-Eel-Ah).

My nut allergic Son learned an important cooking lesson.  Little did he know Pesto is made with nuts. So his Turkey and Cheese with Pesto sandwich had unfortunate ramifications for him.  Later he asked me why he never had issues with the Pesto I made for him.  Lessee....I know you're allergic to nuts.  Hence I don't make it with them.  It's a Dad Thing!

We finish up the second day at Glenfarclas and travel back to our staging point in the quiet village of Aviemore (pronounced Av-eee'-more) where we visited a nice pub for dinner.

The young set is a little slow in getting to the restaurant, so the older generation settles in to a table and orders dinner.  MBD and Kathy order a salad.  I'm solidly looking for my 4th or 5th round of Fish and Chips for my meal, but the waitress starts with my wife, who orders Fish and Chips and then moves to Gary, the elder statesman of the group, who orders Fish and Chips.  At the last minute, I decide not to jump on the bandwagon and order what turns out to be a very nice braised Lamb Shank.  Top that off with a nice Australian Syraz and finish the evening with a neat Glenlivet Nadurra, Port Barrel.

Very relaxed we head back to our quarters, completely unaware of the impending issues.

Did you know that there is a form of Food Poisoning called Scombroid that comes from Fish?  Talk about a ticking time bomb.  If the fish is mishandled anywhere along the food chain, a histamine can be produced that causes acute, very violent, shall we say offloading events.  So, a few hours later, I awaken to the sounds of my beloved wife having a sincere discussion with the toilet.  I try to see if there's anything I can do, but no.  I stumble down to Gary and Kathy's room to see if they have anything for nausea (they are pharmacists in addition to Winemakers), only to find that Gary is experiencing the exact same issue.

This goes on all night.  In the morning I stumble down to the local Tesco (British Safeway), to see what they have over the counter to relieve the symptoms.  The two wounded birds are alternately sleeping and visiting the facilities.

The tour plan for the day is to visit Dalwhinnie then recover in Edinburgh for the train to London that evening.

Daniel arrives and we explain the situation, asking if he can take the young set to Dalwhinnie and then come back and pick us up on the way back to Edinburgh.  My navigation skills were somewhat lacking as Dalwhinnie is south of Aviemore and Edinburgh is south of Dalwhinnie.

Nevertheless, Daniel agrees to drop the kids off at Dalwhinnie and then drive back to Aviemore, pick us up and then drive back to Dalwhinnie, pick up the kids and then drive to Edinburgh.  That bought Mrs Juvat and Gary about 3 hours more sleep.

The trip to Edinburgh was mostly uneventful, although there were a few unscheduled stops.  The trip back to London for my Family was OK, Mrs. Juvat was clearly on the mend although not anywhere near mil power.

The next day we walked around at Westminster Abbey and crossed the Westminster bridge (what a difference a week makes), but Mrs Juvat faded pretty fast, so she and I returned to the hotel early.

The next morning, we boarded a 787, a really neat airplane.  The entertainment console has an option called window seat.  It allows you to select the left or right window and look outside on your console.  It also has a setting that allows you to select the cockpit view, which includes the HUD.

One guess where my console was for the entire flight.

So...While we thought our group was composed of 10 people, evidently we had a stowaway named Joe Btsplk tagging along.  He won't be invited next time.
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In spite of a rash of bad luck, we had a blast, and Scotland ranks right beside New Zealand as my favorite places I've visited.  If you're looking for a recommendation, it has the Juvat Seal of Approval.

I'm sure Scottish Tourism stats will go through the roof now!
Added for Brigid, This was the bar at the Pub in question.





Thursday, March 23, 2017

The Aircraft Carrier

Atlantic Ocean (June 20, 2004) – The Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) transits along the East Coast while participating in Summer Pulse 2004. Truman is one of seven aircraft carriers involved in Summer Pulse 2004. Summer Pulse 2004 is the simultaneous deployment of seven aircraft carrier strike groups (CSGs), demonstrating the ability of the Navy to provide credible combat power across the globe, in five theaters with other U.S., allied, and coalition military forces. Summer Pulse is the Navy’s first deployment under its new Fleet Response Plan (FRP). U.S. Navy photo by Photographer's Mate Airman Ryan O'Connor (RELEASED)
I have been to sea on an aircraft carrier twice. Each time for just a day. Once on USS Dwight D. Eisenhower with The Nuke (I also had Christmas dinner on the Ike one year) and once on the USS Ronald Reagan with The WSO. My buddy Glenn (aka ORPO1) was along for that ride as well.

Rode USS Dwight D. Eisenhower out of Norfolk, rode USS Ronald Reagan out of Sandy Eggo. As The Nuke was part of ship's company on the Ike I got to see that side of things, as The WSO was in USS Ronald Reagan's air wing, I saw that side as well. Well, a brief glimpse, nothing more. Try doing their jobs for six to eight months at sea. Whole different thing. (I should note that Glenn was an airedale when he was in the Navy, so I got a unique take on the enlisted side of things in the air wing from him.)

So I have a thing for carriers and the men and women who crew them and fly off the flight deck to go in harm's way. While I'm still under the weather (aka "feel like crap") and while I do love cats, no funny kitten videos today (though I did like your suggestion Tuna), no sir, no ma'am. I give you another documentary, this one on the aircraft carrier. Good stuff.

A wee bit long but interesting and educational.

And I'm all about interesting and educational.

No, really.






Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Almost Forgot...


Started doing this blogging thing five years ago today.

Five years, 2,078 posts (including this one), 1,246,004 page views, and 29,560 comments. So far. And I'm still enjoying it.

Five years ago it was just me. Now I've got Juvat and Tuna. They have contributed a great deal. (Now I've just got to get down to Texas to actually meet Juvat in the flesh. Heck, I see Tuna all the time now, and that's a good thing!)

Mustn't forget Colin Kimball either, while he's not a regular he has contributed a few, very well received, guest posts. (Haven't met Colin in person, yet, but we have chatted on the phone. Which is something as I ain't a big phone guy. Never know what to say and all that. If I get to Texas I need to look him up as well.)

Thanks to all those guys.

While the diverticulitis might get me down, it's not going to knock me out.

Here's looking forward to many more years of this blogging thing.

Tip o' the hat to all my readers, I suppose I could do it without you, but what would be the point?

Now, back to bed. Though I am feeling significantly better today, a clear liquid diet doesn't induce one to be very active.

Bleh.





Battered and Bruised, But Still Afloat

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Got home from work on Monday, felt okay. But as the evening wore on, I started to feel this nasty, oh-so-familiar pain down low on the left side of my belly.

No sleep was to be had Tuesday night, there was no comfortable position with that pain flaring up.

Yup, my old friend diverticulitis has apparently returned.

Spent most of the day at my Doctor's office, many tests, much blood work (I feel like a pin cushion), then it was off to get a CAT scan...


Alright, alright, a "CT scan."

Where many holes were punched in Yours Truly in order to inject the contrast. Yeah, that was fun.

Like the lady at the CT scan said, "Man, if you keep this up, they won't be able to call you semi-colon. You're running out of gut my friend!"

A kind word or two directed skywards would be much appreciated.

Dang. It is always sumthin'.





Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Hello Vern*

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Spring is in the air. Has been for a while, pay no attention to those recent snowstorms, Mother Nature has perhaps had a few too many. But the cardinals are singing...

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Er, I mean...

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Anyhoo.

The WSO just returned from the homeland of her mother, The Missus Herself. The Land of the Morning Calm, otherwise known as 대한민국, or the Republic of Korea (for all you non-Hangul speakers). There she spent a very nice almost-a-week in the port city of Busan (부산) where she met up with husband Big Time, whose boat was making a port call.

As The WSO is now on terminal leave (which simply means that she is on leave from the Navy and won't be returning to active duty, she's done, finished, and has decided to be a full time Mom, rather than an NFO) she has the time to spend gallivanting around the Pacific rim. (Though "gallivanting" may be too strong a term, as anyone who has ever flown over the Pacific can attest to. One suffers through the journey. While one might gallivant at the destination, the trip itself is anything but pleasurable. Having made that trip a time or three, I know a thing or two. Unlike Juvat, I didn't fly myself with all the attendant wonders therein, no, I flew commercial, inside a flying Petri dish. Always fun. And yes, I did digress, thanks for noticing.)

Now there was one side effect of The WSO's trip to lands far to the west, different time zone dontcha know? A time zone which is ahead of Little Rhody time by 13 hours. While The Missus Herself and Your Humble Scribe tried very, very hard to dissuade our youngest child from texting us at 3 in the AM, we never quite succeeded. So sleep was very much a catch-as-catch-can affair last week.
"Dad, you don't need to get up and read my texts. Read them when you get up."
"Uh sweetie, you're 6,849 miles from us, in an area of the world under constant threat from the NORKs, and a number of time zones away to boot. Of course, we're going to check your text messages, hoping they don't say, 'Hey, there are North Korean tanks coming down the street, any suggestions on what to do?'"
While there were no texts regarding NORK armored fighting vehicles in the streets of Busan (which, old school fellow that I am, want to spell "Pusan") the texts were many and often very funny. Because of kakao.

Uh? Because of what Sarge? Cocoa? Coca? What you talkin' 'bout Willis?

Actually the correct term is...
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Which comes with some very hysterical emoticons and is very Korea-centric. The Missus Herself and all of her fair sisters use this app extensively. I like to call it "Korean koobecaF," which it isn't, not really. But you can exchange all sorts of pictures and such and, drum roll please, it costs nothing. No international charges for texting from 6,849 miles (and multiple time zones) away.

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So we had great fun with that. Even if it was at oh-dark-thirty. So sleep, it's something I haven't been getting a lot of lately. I suppose it's over-rated. But only if you've had enough.

Sleep that is.

So yeah, Spring is here, the crocuses are coming up, the daffodils are not far behind and soon I can dial back the boiler temp. It's been a cold winter, not snowy really, but deuced cold. We've been going through oil faster than I care for and with the warmer weather approaching I can look forward to saving some coin on heating costs.

Until summer comes roaring in, then the air conditioners come on line and the electrical costs go up.

Sigh, it's always sumthin'... (As my old pal Buck liked to say. Miss him we do.)




* Well, Monday was  the vernal equinox, wannit?

Monday, March 20, 2017

"Poor is the country that boasts no heroes, but beggared is that people who, having them, forgets.” *


With any luck at all, my Family and I will have just returned from a bit of vacation touring the Whisky Distilleries in the Highlands of Scotland.  Therefore, I have prepositioned this post in anticipation of being in recovery mode and unable to compose the prose in a timely manner for publication on my stated schedule.


Update: While we're going to refer to this trip as the "Tour of Unfortunate Events", we are home safely.  The formal AAR will be published in the near future, after collating pictures from several sources.  However, here is the Trip Summary.


Now, on with our regularly scheduled programming.


As regular readers of this blog are aware when I'm at a loss for subjects (aka Frequently) or pressed for time, I have a habit of posting about Air Force Medal of Honor Recipients.  I think the masthead quote is as good a reason as any for choosing this subject, and I regret that prior to starting to post on this subject, my knowledge of the history of a large portion of the 60 Recipients was nonexistent.
Col William A. Jones III (as an Aviation Cadet)
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One of those Recipients, whom we are about to learn a bit more about, is Col William A Jones III.  Unfortunately, there isn't a lot written, beyond his citation (below) about the man and the actions that led to his receiving the Nation's Highest Award for valor "above and beyond the call of duty".  My initial reaction on reading the histories I could find were along the lines of  "brave...but Medal of Honor?". Then I found this post and this one.


I was wrong.


So, without further ado, let's learn a bit more about this Warrior.

Col Jones was commissioned from West Point and got his wings on July 4th, 1945.  Prior to Vietnam, he flew a plethora of aircraft including B-25s, B-24s, and B-47s.  In 1965, after completing Air War College, he was assigned to the Pentagon, and on completion, in order to return to flying, he volunteered to fly A-1s, knowing that would result in an assignment to Vietnam. (To be frank, I understand his mindset and likely would have done the same.)
A-1H Loaded for Bear
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In 1968, he had completed his checkout and was given command of the 602nd Special Operations Squadron at Nakhon Phanom Royal Thai AB.
The squadron was renamed shortly after Col Jones' mission
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The action we're about to discuss took place along the Ho Chi Minh trail near the DMZ.  A pair of F-4s (Carter 01 and 02) had been shot down and a rescue mission was in place.  Col Jones was leading a flight of A-1s charged with locating the survivors, protecting them and the rescue helicopters and then escorting the helicopters back to base.  Nakhon Phanom (NKP) is right on the border of Thailand and Laos and is approximately 90 miles from the rescue area. 

 The crew of Carter 01 were quickly picked up and returned to base.  The pilot of Carter 02 had safely landed and the rescue forces are in contact via radio.  His backseater was never heard from again.


One of the things drilled into Aircrew during survival training is to use the time in the chute wisely.  Those few minutes descending will be the last time you get to look around and get your bearings.  You should look for landmarks, enemy forces, roads, inhabited area and potential hiding places.  Everybody on the ground is officially "not your friend."


So, Carter 02A apparently has taken that training to heart and found a hiding place near the base of some Karst (tall jagged chunks of rock mountains).  As nobody was airborne as he descended, nobody knew his precise location.  Neither the bad guys, nor the good guys.


This is good and bad.  Good--The bad guys can't find your pink butt immediately.  Bad--The good guys have to locate your pink butt without indicating to the bad guys where it is.


A bit of a chess game is being played.  To further complicate this situation, the weather is crummy with low ceilings and the area is extremely mountainous.  A FAC, also working the mission, has advised the rescue forces that the bad buys have several 37mm AAA guns in the area as well as numerous smaller caliber AAA sites.



Col Jones in his A-1H
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So, enter Col Jones.


The opening move in this operation is to locate the survivor.  Given this is jungle, seeing him from the air is unlikely.  The A-1s will have to fly over the area receiving vectors from the survivor as to where he is either from his visual on them or more frequently from the sounds of the aircraft in relation to him.


This takes time.  The bad guys will use that time to 1) locate and capture the survivor and 2) bring up more defenses.


But...It's got to be done.


Col Jones works the area flying slowly with aircraft maneuvering further restricted by weather and terrain.


As he's making one of these passes, he feels an explosion beneath the aircraft and his cockpit fills with smoke.


Now, unlike a jet which is filled with JP-4 (essentially kerosene), an A-1 uses high octane AVGAS, which is much more flammable than JP-4, and more prone to explosion when exposed to flame.


His aircraft has been hit, there's smoke in the cockpit, so he may be on fire and he's flying an aircraft where that fire could easily ignite the fuel.  What does Col Jones do?


He continues to search for the survivor for another 10-15 minutes.


At some point, the survivor radios that Col Jones is directly over head.  He's now located.  However,simultaneously with that call, a AAA gun on the top of the Karst where the survivor is hiding opens fire at Col Jones.  


Col Jones realizes that the Jolly Greens cannot come in and recover the survivor until that gun is destroyed, but given the survivor's proximity, there's no way to call in an airstrike, as a short bomb could land on the survivor.  


Col Jones elects to attack the site with his rockets and guns. 

On his second pass, his aircraft is hit again and the rocket to his ejection system is hit and ignites.  He attempts to eject, which causes the canopy to separate, but the rocket which lifts the seat out of the aircraft has been destroyed.  Ejection is impossible.


However, as all this excitement is going down, he sights the survivor.


As he exits the immediate area, in an aircraft that's visibly on fire, he attempts to communicate the survivor's location to the remainder of the rescue forces, but the radio is blocked by calls that he's on fire and needs to bail out.


By the time the fires are extinguished and radio discipline reestablished, he is without transmission capability on his radio. Additionally, he is severely burned.  He elects to return to NKP.  Much of his instruments have been shot away and the aircraft is badly damaged.  His wingman rejoins on him and he flies the rest of the way home on his wing.

This was apparently the actual aircraft Col Jones flew.  Unfortunately it was shot down on 22 Sep 1972 as the last Skyraider lost in Vietnam
Source

Upon recovery at NKP, he refuses treatment for his burns until he can communicate the survivors location so the rescue operation could continue.  Ultimately his sacrifice was worth it as the survivor was rescued later that day.


Col Jones was medically evacuated to Ft Sam to recover from his burns. Eventually he was returned to flying status and was unoffically notified that he would receive the Medal of Honor.  As he was flying his personal aircraft home to be with his wife and children, the plane crashed and Col Jones perished.  President Nixon presented the Medal to his widow in a ceremony on 6 August 1970


Rest in Peace, Warrior!  

Source


Col Jones Citation:





For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. Col. Jones distinguished himself as the pilot of an A-1H Skyraider aircraft near Dong Hoi, North Vietnam. On that day, as the on-scene commander in the attempted rescue of a downed U.S. pilot, Col. Jones' aircraft was repeatedly hit by heavy and accurate antiaircraft fire. On one of his low passes, Col. Jones felt an explosion beneath his aircraft and his cockpit rapidly filled with smoke. With complete disregard of the possibility that his aircraft might still be burning, he unhesitatingly continued his search for the downed pilot. On this pass, he sighted the survivor and a multiple-barrel gun position firing at him from near the top of a karst formation. He could not attack the gun position on that pass for fear he would endanger the downed pilot. Leaving himself exposed to the gun position, Col. Jones attacked the position with cannon and rocket fire on 2 successive passes. On his second pass, the aircraft was hit with multiple rounds of automatic weapons fire. One round impacted the Yankee Extraction System rocket mounted directly behind the headrest, igniting the rocket. His aircraft was observed to burst into flames in the center fuselage section, with flames engulfing the cockpit area. He pulled the extraction handle, jettisoning the canopy. The influx of fresh air made the fire burn with greater intensity for a few moments, but since the rocket motor had already burned, the extraction system did not pull Col. Jones from the aircraft. Despite searing pains from severe burns sustained on his arms, hands, neck, shoulders, and face, Col. Jones pulled his aircraft into a climb and attempted to transmit the location of the downed pilot and the enemy gun position to the other aircraft in the area. His calls were blocked by other aircraft transmissions repeatedly directing him to bail out and within seconds his transmitters were disabled and he could receive only on 1 channel. Completely disregarding his injuries, he elected to fly his crippled aircraft back to his base and pass on essential information for the rescue rather than bail out. Col. Jones successfully landed his heavily damaged aircraft and passed the information to a debriefing officer while on the operating table. As a result of his heroic actions and complete disregard for his personal safety, the downed pilot was rescued later in the day. Col. Jones' profound concern for his fellow man at the risk of his life, above and beyond the call of duty, are in keeping with the highest traditions of the U.S. Air Force and reflect great credit upon himself and the Armed Forces of his country.

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* Cited here as a quotation contained in Col Jones' Book "Maxims for Men-At-Arms" published by Dorrance  & Co of Philadelphia.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

War At Sea

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I'm reading that book above right now, after having just finished Mr. Hornfischer's most excellent Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailorsand this one is proving to be just as well-written and researched as Last Stand.

Now I have to admit that I've become something of a naval fanatic in my declining years, what with the progeny having served in the United States Navy and my son-in-law still on active duty. Of course, a lot of the work I've been doing since I retired from the Air Force has been for the Navy as well. (As the Navy put all three kids through college, well let's just say, I love the Navy.) But I have long had an interest in fighting ships and the men (and now women) who crew them.

As my political post from yesterday made me feel a bit dirty, I hate talking about politics, I decided to cleanse myself with a post about fighting ships, but just a short one. (That book ain't gonna read itself dontcha know...) A few more pics from the U.S. Navy Museum (battleships of course) to start and one from Battleship Cove in Fall River.

USS Missouri
USS Houston (CA-30) a Northampton Class Cruiser*
Pennsylvania Class Battleship
USS South Carolina
View from the bridge of the USS Massachusetts, a battleship, of course.
And I have a video for you, some of the narrative in the video isn't all that accurate (no, really?) but there is a lot of awesome footage of those mighty grey ladies, the battleships.



See you Tuesday (Juvat already has something ready to go for Monday as he staggers back from Scotland).


* Oops, I should have looked more closely at the hull, not brawny enough to be a battleship. Thanks Scott.