Thursday, March 7, 2013

Things NATO

Before getting into what the photo is all about, a little background information...

I spent 7 and a half years assigned to NATO, which is the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, which in 
French is the Organisation du Traité de l'Atlantique Nord (OTAN). I know that because that's what was painted on the sides (and wings) of our aircraft, which were these...

So, that being said, the fellow in the picture is drinking beer. Said fellow is also the Belgian Minister of Defense, Pieter De Crem. Apparently Minister De Crem has an interesting reputation, to wit (from the OAFSSRFTOTN):
- (1) De Crem has faced criticism for visiting a New York bar with taxpayers' money, claiming it was for a United Nations meeting. However, his own aides admitted they knew the meeting was cancelled.
- (2) Also, while head of defense of the Belgian state, De Crem never served in the army, he was excused of conscription by medical reasons.
- (3) He is currently mayor of Aalter, like his father before him. This results in the Aalter town hall being called 'the Cremlin' by the press. As minister of defence his eagerness to have the Belgian military join in NATO missions has earned him the nickname "Crembo", a portmanteau of his last name and Rambo.
- (4) University professor Christ'l The Landtsheer (Communication Sciences - University of Antwerp) typifies Pieter De Crem in her book "The Clash of the Titans", a scientific study on psycho-political profiling, as follows: Above all, the Minister of Defence Pieter De Crem shows himself as a Dominant and Ambitious personality, who is not afraid to ask critical questions, to take risks and to do what is necessary. He is charming, confident, eloquent and convincing. De Crem is someone you want to stand on your side. Too bad for those who do not agree with his vision.
- (5) De Crem is also known for his staunch support for the maintenance of Nuclear Weapons on Belgian soil. As revealed, he also pressed Prime Minister Leterme to maintain the 'secret' weapons in Belgium.
So he's an interesting guy. The kind of guy I wouldn't mind having as Minister of Defense.

My point is that not everybody in Europe is a wuss. Though there are times it might seem that way...


  1. You worked on or flew in E-3s? That kinda-sorta makes ya a radar kinda guy. Heh.

    The Ol' Man always told me to NEVER trust a man who didn't drink. There's a corollary to that rule and you've amply illustrated that.

    1. My job on the E-3 was working the software of the operating system on the aircraft computer. The heart of the AWACS really. (No computer and none of that fancy radar data would get processed!) I am sort of a radar guy as my first job in the Air Force was weapons control systems on the F-4. Most of which revolved around the aircraft radar system. So I am at least cognizant of, but by no means an expert on, radar systems and theory.

      Sounds like your Dad knew a thing or two about human nature.

  2. Radar guys rock.
    Some o' the ossifers I steamed with were old school... meaning if they couldn't see it, it probably didn't exist.
    We were primarily ASW.
    They even doubted sonar.

    1. Were those same ossifers still pissed because the Navy had banned flogging?

      And that's not just "old school", that's like "Jutland Old School"!

    2. Actually it was the Skipper who was the luddite.
      The rest of them just got in lock step to keep from rocking the boat (figuratively).

    3. Ah yes. Going along with the Skipper will keep life (and career) on an even keel.


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Can't be nice, go somewhere else...

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