Tuesday, February 28, 2017


I've written of this event before, I shall write of it again. On this date, seven years ago, my Dad died. I was going to use a euphemism for "died" then asked myself, why? Why should I use a euphemism for the simple fact that death came for my father on a cold, moonlit night in February? It comes for us all at some point in our lives. Some folks are ready for it, perhaps even welcome it. But the one surety in this life is death. (Taxes are not a certainty. Not everyone pays taxes, but everyone dies.)

There was a lot going on at the beginning of the year 2010. I was beginning my exile in Andover. My youngest child discovered she was pregnant. My Dad was suffering some pretty severe health problems. As all things do, these things passed. I eventually returned from Andover. My daughter had a beautiful baby girl (followed some years later by a second). My Dad didn't recover from his health problems.

They killed him.

I hope you don't think I'm being overly morbid about all this. But sometimes, in the quiet of the night, I still weep over the loss of my Dad. I don't mean a broken, sobbing, hysterical weeping, usually it's just a catch of the breath, a single tear, perhaps a long silence which is no doubt accompanied by me staring into the infinite distance, completely unfocused and somehow not really there.

There are days when it feels like Dad's death was a long, long time ago. On other days, especially at this time of year, it feels like yesterday. The hurt fades, it doesn't go away. It doesn't ever go away.

Of course I remember the good times we had. But the void, the silence that is left behind is sometimes overwhelming. Perhaps not everyone feels that way, perhaps they hide it well, or perhaps they never really cared. I only know how I feel.

I miss you Dad.

A lot.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Even a fool is thought wise if he keeps silent...*

I have commented several times on various blogs about the changing population of Texas.  In general, I don't believe it has been for the better.  I have watched the situation in a Western state (hint: it begins with California) as it has entered into and continued (IMHO) in an unsupportable death spiral.  And it looks like it's spreading here.

In a fit of truth and disclosure, my Father was stationed at Hamilton AFB, Ca when he met and married my California born and raised Mother.  He was still stationed there when I arrived on the scene.  So...yes. I was born in California.  Still have several branches of the family living there.

Therefore, I have an interest in the state not devolving into a third world hell-hole as it appears to be.

That having been said...I believe in people choosing their destiny.  If California wants to take money away from their middle class to support persons from other countries who have arrived in this country without having gone through the proper processes (can't be saying "illegal immigrants" now can we?), I suppose they have that option.

And those residents who don't want to go along with that suicide pact, have the opportunity to move elsewhere.  


I've said it before, and I'll say it again.

When you've decided to move and you have relocated in your new location,  you should probably avoid starting conversations with "I just moved here from California and back there we would......"

Your new neighbors really don't give a tinker's dam.  If they wanted to do it like it's done in your former state, they would move there.  

So....our local weekly paper has an always entertaining letters to the editor section.  A recent brouhaha was an effort to drop the speed limit on the section of 4 lane highway coming into town from Austin from 70MPH to 60.

We'd recently had a tragic accident where a couple of kids had lost control of their vehicle on a wet highway and ran into another car.  4 dead and 2 others critical.

Much wailing and gnashing of teeth about the speed limit, although there was no mention that speed had contributed to the loss of control in the accident investigation. 

But, there's the overwhelming need to "do something".  Anything...Regardless of it's efficacy.

So 60MPH it is.

Mind you, people still drive at 70.  Others drive at 45 in the left lane whilst looking down at something in their hand.  Others pull out onto the highway and directly into the left lane.  Still others visit the local wineries and get back into their cars when they really shouldn't.  But, by golly, the speed limit is 60, so we've done SOMETHING!

How about the Sheriff and Highway Patrol enforcing the existing laws?  I know....blasphemy!

In any case, when I read the letters to the editor and looked at the names at the bottom, throughout that little flurry, I didn't recognize any of the names.  Realize, most of the long term residents around here have very German names. They are also not reticent in making their opinions known either, so not recognizing any of the names was unusual.

So, I've figured these people were "new" to the area.  

This past week, there was a letter to the editor that confirms that hypothesis.  Additionally, the "brilliance" of the author is stupefying.

Let's start at the top.  Outsider from LA.... BUT I live here now...... Suggestion....... Translation: Smarter than you hicks.

4 dead deer on US 290W.  Translation: I saw them just outside the new development of high priced homes where I live, which happens to be in a heavily wooded area between two creeks and is a deer habitat.

White Tails.  Suicidal animals with a propensity to pull lead when they're crossing the road.  Lived here 19 years, hit at least one in 15 of those years. USAA and I are "friends".

In LA....within 24 hours.  Translation: in a County with 4000 square miles and 10 million people and 7% unemployment, we can afford to pay someone to come clean up animals. 

You've moved to a county that's about 1000 square miles yet only has a population of  25,963  (.2% of LA) and about 200 people unemployed. We've got better ways to spend our tax dollars. 

Feed the venison to the cats and dogs in the shelters. Hmmm.  This is Texas, it's hot.  Assuming LA standards, pickup in 24 hours means that meat is spoiled.  But the good news...The only shelter here doesn't have a problem with animals "Hoping" to find a home.  I don't agree with the policy, but they've only got 72 hours to hope.  I know from experience.

Axis Deer.  We've got one that lives nearby whose antlers are at least 4' long.  Beautiful, until he runs in front of the vehicle.

And then... "Tourists don't want to see Bambi all over the road."  No, with an estimated 250,000 deer in the county, they just don't want to see Bambi all over their car. 

Butt Ugly, but very efficient at removing deer.

Finally, we already have a highly effective carcass removal force.   Turkey Vultures, Hawks, and even Mexican Eagles (Caracara) are prevalent.  If you remove their primary food source, they are quite likely to carry little "Fifi" off for their dining pleasure.  

Caracara, AKA Mexican Eagle.  This Bird is huge and beautiful!

So, Ms Little, this would have been an excellent time to have kept your mouth shut.  Instead you opened it and removed all doubt.

*Proverbs 17:28  (I would have used the "Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and to remove all doubt." but there's some disagreement on who actually said it.)

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Rhino Ball 2016

U.S.Navy Photo
U.S.Navy Photo
Some old friends in this video, the Bullets and the Hawks.

I absolutely love these, cheesy music and all.

The kids are alright...


The trees are still bare but the air is warm, the cardinals are calling, and more bird species are making their presence known with their songs.

To think it looked like this a couple of weeks ago -

That picture was taken on the 12th of February. When The WSO and her babies arrived, a week ago, a lot of that snow was still on the ground. Enough so that on two separate days Little Bit and I were able to exchange snowball "fire" in the back yard. L'il Sweetie had the chance to play in the snow and while at first the coldness was something she didn't care for, after a while she was picking up the snow and attempting to fling it at grandpa, just like her big sister.

Being outnumbered didn't bother me until Little Bit decided that a close assault was in order. I took snow to the ear and staggered off to lick my wounds. So to speak.

Each day saw less and less snow until Friday it was all gone except for a few spots in parking lots where the local snow removal types had piled it, and piled it high. (True story, Worcester, up in the Bay State, tends to get a crap-ton of snow in the winter. After a while it gets piled very high. One May when we went to pick up The Naviguessor at the end of the school year, the snow pile in the parking lot near his frat house was still a good six feet high. Though by that point you'd be somewhat wrong to call it snow. More like a pile of ice and dirt. Not attractive at all!)

Other signs of spring are the cowbirds combing the grass for the insects who are starting to hatch. I tried to catch this flock on the ground, but they got airborne pretty quickly as the cell phone camera was brought to bear -

Friday was a grand day spent over at Colt State Park. Fast by the Bay.

L'il Sweetie enjoyed making piles of wood chips.
Whereas her big sister, Little Bit, was being all photogenic and stuff. (The girl loves the camera, it seems to return the affection.)
While we went to the beach, it wasn't quite warm enough to go in. Tide was out, exposing our rather rocky beach.
Fishermen were hard at work. Lobstermen? Quahoggers. (Thanks Tuffy and Patsy!)
A lot of folks were out. More than I expected. Well, it was a gorgeous day.
All too soon the week was over, up early on Saturday to get the tribe to the airport. Flight out of Providence left on time, big weather system kept The WSO and her babies on the ground in Philly for nearly two hours. But Little Bit had her iPad and a very nice lady moved to another seat so that the girls had the whole row to themselves.

No doubt the flight from LAX to Fresno will be missed due to the storm keeping them grounded in Philly. So hotel in L.A. and on to Fresno on Sunday. So much for having a day to recuperate from the long trip. (And yes, they spent that two hours on the plane, not in the airport. Which was apparently a good thing. The airport was sweltering and the air on the plane was much cooler.)

Still and all, a good visit. The kids had fun. I had fun. Hopefully we'll do it all again real soon. Either here in Little Rhody or out in California. Makes no never mind to me, as long as you're with family, you're home.

No Grandpa, I didn't pick this off the floor. Grandma gave it to me.
Stop eyeballing my cookie Grandpa!
Breakfast of champions. Doughnuts, apple slices, and juice. Also chocolate chip cookies. Apparently.
That smile would make Helen of Troy jealous!
While the robins don't leave the area during the winter, they tend to stay in the woods. Unless spring is close. Yup, robin in the front yard. Probably twenty of 'em Friday, but I neglected to snap a photo.

I circled him as he was hard to spot. Blends right in unless you can see his chest.
Monday is coming. Back to work.

But I won't complain, we're going to go see The Nuke next weekend. After that, it's back to "normal." (Whatever that means...)

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Day Off

Taking folks to the airport.

It's  been a great week.

But far too short.


Read the folks on the sidebar, I'll be back tomorrow.

I reckon.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Out and About

Pondering the eternal question, "What's for dinner?"

The Missus Herself has already decided to have one of the specials listed on the chalkboard so has no need of a menu. For the kids, their mom, The WSO, will help them decide. Little Bit went with the kid's cheeseburger with fries, whereas L'il Sweetie selected the mac and cheese. (Which she devoured with great relish.)

While the food was being prepared...

So was I. Guinness for me, thank you very much.

The fish and chips sounded like a good idea.

And it was!

I assisted the artist, who found great pleasure in "dropping" the crayons and making Grandpa pick them up again. (Well, okay sometimes she tossed the crayons. But fortunately, there was no hurling involved.)

L'il Sweetie
Little Bit

They head home on Saturday, the place is going to be sadly quiet after they leave.

Not that the cats won't mind...

Yeah, that's what a thousand-yard stare looks like on a cat.

Thursday, February 23, 2017


"OAFS Two-Five, you are cleared for take-off."

"Roger tower, Two-Five, rolling."

Easing back on the control yoke, the pilot, callsign Fatman, had the bird off the runway and turning slightly to get the aircraft on a north bound heading. Getting the bird airborne with a full load of ordnance used a lot of gas, so the co-pilot, callsign LUSH, was on the radios with the tanker.

"Booger, you up?" The pilot called over the intercom to the bombardier (callsign Booger, obviously).

"Roger Fatman, all systems are in the green, but I'm getting an intermittent fault light on the weapons computer."

"Copy, keep an eye on it. Mom, you have a course for us?"

The navigator, callsign Mom, checked in, "Hold this course, you should see the tanker in a couple of minutes. Hey, quit jinking would you, Booger looks a little queasy."

"Copy. Hey, let me fly the aircraft, you just keep me pointing in the right direction. Toejam, how you looking?"

The Electronic Warfare Officer, or EWO, callsign Toejam, checked her systems and reported back that everything was in the green.

Refueling went smoothly, even with the intermittent turbulence the aircraft was experiencing. The crew accused the pilot of being heavy-handed on the controls, the pilot told them to suck it up as pretty soon they'd be down in the weeds and doing some "real flying."

Just as the pilot began his descent, he heard retching noises over the intercom. Looking back quickly, he regretted that decision immediately. All he could see was the bombardier retching all over the navigator. For some odd reason, the EWO thought that was hysterical. The smell threatened to overwhelm the entire crew.

"Talk to me people, what the hell is going on back there!"

No response.

"LUSH, get back there and check it out."

Moments later, LUSH came back to the cockpit.

"Jesus Fatman, it's a mess back there. Booger blew chunks all over Mom, everything is covered in vomit and damn near every caution light on the nav board is lit. Freaking Toejam didn't get any on her but she's laughing like a crazy person."

"Mom, Fatman. Can you continue?"

"Ah, negative Fatman. Everything back here is covered with Booger's breakfast."

Before Mom clicked off, the pilot heard, "Jesus Booger, what the hell did you eat this morning?"

So yeah, the plan yesterday was to get up early, hit the road and head north to visit my mother. She hasn't seen the youngest grandchild since she was about two months old. Now she's 17 months old, motoring around on her own two feet and chattering like a magpie. As the naval branch of the California tribe doesn't make it back East all that often, it seemed appropriate to make a visit. Though three hours up and three hours back (can't stay overnight for various and sundry reasons) makes for a long day, we've done it before.

I was up at 0600 and ready to roll at 0700. Of course, no one else was ready as they were still in the process of waking up and, as The Missus Herself (callsign Mom) often reminds me (callsign Fatman), getting the young 'uns up, fed, and ready to roll is time consuming, even when the young 'uns are feeling cooperative. Which they were.

At any rate The Missus Herself and The WSO (callsign LUSH), eventually got the kids, Little Bit (callsign Booger) and L'il Sweetie (callsign Toejam) ready and we loaded up the car. A few stops later (to buy fuel, then flowers, then coffee) we were on the road. About an hour and a half later than I wanted, but, as most of you know, I seldom get a vote when the females of the clan are gathered en masse. Which they were.

An hour into the trip, Little Bit, with no warning, hurled all over her grandmother (sitting in the back seat between the bairns in their car seats), aka The Missus Herself. As we were on the highway with no place to stop, we spent about 15 minutes in that toxic atmosphere before pulling over into what turned out to be an out-of-business gas station. (Which I discovered when The WSO directed me to go inside and buy some kind of cleaner. When we pulled in I had parked to the side and hadn't noticed the conspicuous absence of humans and merchandise inside. In my defense, my focus was on the conditions prevailing in the backseat.)

As we still had about 2 hours and change to go to my mother's place, we weren't at the "point of no return" and as The Missus Herself and Little Bit were pretty much covered from the waist down with...

Nah, not gonna go there. The memory (and the smell) are still too fresh.

Needless to say, we didn't go visit my mom. But I did get a blog post out of it. So the day wasn't a total loss. Then again, I wasn't covered in, well, you know what. The GIBs (gals in the back) might have a different take on the day. But it's my blog and I get to tell the story. No doubt their version, provided they wished to relive those moments, would be rather different.

Wasn't that humorous at the time, at least not to the GIBs, but, as I'm a loon, I saw the humor in it almost immediately. As for Little Bit, once she'd, shall we say, cleared the target, she said she felt much better. Just a passing queasiness. When we arrived back at Chez Sarge, she announced that she was hungry and "can we go to McDonald's?"

I tell ya, the kid's a trooper. Iron stomach and all that.

Speaking of stomachs, after we had returned home, the bairns were tossed into the bath (L'il Sweetie didn't really need it but she loves bath time). The WSO stepped away briefly to grab a towel and upon her return noticed a foreign object afloat in the bath water.

"Oh Dear God", I heard my daughter exclaim. Seems that L'il Sweetie had decided to contribute to the day's all around disgusting-ness in her own little way. Um no, that wasn't a Baby Ruth. Though it kinda looked like one. Kinda reminded me of a few admins LUSH and her squadron mates have told me about. Even The Skipper had a couple of tales but...

Let's just call it a day, shall we?

Quelle affaire! (As Blücher might have said...)

Or, as Colonel Kurtz might have said...

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

News? Caveat Emptor

Before I head off with the tribe in tow to visit the matriarch, my Mom, I just wanted to share a couple of thoughts regarding "news." Well, actually, not "news" but more accurately, information.

Those fellows in the opening painting (Frederic Remington's The Smoke Signal) are passing along information. While it might be new information to the folks receiving it, that is "news," it might also be expected information, not necessarily "news."

There are all sorts of information out there in the world. There is useful information, irrelevant information, interesting information, useless information, and perhaps, misleading information.

We get all of that in an average newscast, newspaper article, or web page dedicated to informing you about something. Now of course, that's just my opinion.

All of the information presented by folks looking to get some of your hard earned money has a slant. It's only natural. Everything a human hears, sees, tastes, touches, or experiences is unique to that individual. You might not like chocolate the same way I do (dark is my preference, white isn't so let's not go there, milk is better than no chocolate), in fact you may not like it at all.

I was a witness to a plane crash when I was young. I saw the aircraft roll onto its back then watched its shallow dive to the ground, where it seemed to explode twice. That puzzled me until the next day I talked to the girl up the street who saw the exact same event as I, but from a slightly different perspective. She saw an explosion in the air, then another down on the ground. I saw what I saw, that was my truth. Another observer saw something slightly different, that was her truth.

As reasonable individuals with no agenda to pursue, other than truth, we compared observations. Her report made perfect sense when combined with mine and I realized that she indeed had had a better view of events. We reached consensus on what we had seen. It also matched reports from other observers.

I have often wondered why, during the holiday season from Halloween to Christmas, newscasts always seemed to report on fires destroying homes and apartment buildings. The fires in which children die always seem to make more headlines than, let's say, an unoccupied business burning down during the night.

When I was a kid I reasoned that the fires were caused by faulty heaters, maybe even Christmas trees catching on fire due to faulty wiring. But I also knew that homes and other buildings burn down at other times of the year as well. Why weren't those reported in such great detail? While I assumed back then that the reporters were trying to elicit an emotional response, for whatever reason, I never had a satisfactory answer for that.

And just how was that news useful to me? If it was followed by safety tips or with the exact details of how the fire started and how it could be prevented that's one thing. But I don't recall hearing those follow up reports. Ever.

So I began to view "news" as just stuff that happened but had no bearing or relevance to my daily life.

When I was in the military, news of unrest overseas and possible hostilities were of interest. But then again, what purpose did that news serve? Did I need to do anything beyond those things my service already required of me? Did I have to pack differently depending on the circumstances? No. Not really. Uncle Sam always told us what we'd need and most times would provide that without me doing anything out of the ordinary. I just had to be ready.

So what use is the news? For one thing, it's slanted to push an agenda. As far as I can see there is no truly neutral news outlet. What does it benefit to know certain things unless there is something I can do about it?

Leading up to the election of last November I paid more attention to the news than I normally do. I found the coverage appalling. Out and out lies from nearly all outlets, misleading information, irrelevant information, useless information, and (no really) from time to time useful information. But perhaps useful only to me. For instance, discovering that a particular candidate supported something I was vehemently against would obviate the need for me to ever consider that candidate as one I could support.

But I had to be careful. Sometimes I would hear (or read) something from one source, then something quite different from another source. Not everything was (or is ever) cut and dried.

Information which is important to you should never come from just one source. It's like intelligence gathering. One source is usually insufficient for what is called "actionable intelligence," what the mainstream media likes to call "news you can use." In short, single source intelligence is usually not all that trustworthy. If that intelligence has been filtered, synopsised, summarized, or otherwise "boiled down," it may not be useful at all.

Which is pretty much what nearly all news outlets do. Not to mention the infernal tendency these days (in my opinion) to editorialize the news. Back in the day we were taught the following in doing reports for school:
  1. What happened?
  2. Who is involved?
  3. Where did it take place?
  4. When did it take place?
  5. Why did that happen?
  6. How did it happen?
The five Ws and one H as it's sometimes called (with a hat tip to reader Valory).

I feel that the "Why" of things is overly represented in today's so-called "reporting." Sometimes we just don't know, even perhaps can't ever know, why something happened. Many of us saw the space shuttle Challenger explode on live television. We could see with our own eyes what happened, we knew who was onboard, we knew where it was happening, and we knew the when. The how and the why, that took a long investigation. The how became crystal clear but the why may never truly be known. Greed? Incompetence? Sloth? All of the above?

Most news stories are like that. But the modern media would have us believe they know it all. More's the pity, far too many of us still trust them and believe them. I don't, not fully.

By all means, watch/read the news, but don't believe everything you read, hear, or see in the media, any media. They're selling us a product, someone has to pay for all that effort and the people putting the reports together. As consumers we must always remember - caveat emptor, let the buyer beware.

Anyhoo, that's my two cents.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017


A gorgeous weekend. The WSO has come for a visit from California, bringing two of my adorable grandchildren. We picked them up Saturday at the airport and had a chance to play outside that very day in our rapidly dwindling snow. No snow at all where they live so we needed to, ya know, carpe diem.

Sunday dawned and it was nearly a perfect day. Temperatures in the high 50s, maybe even creeping into the low 60s. Which for Little Rhody in February feels an awful lot like spring, summer even.

I was out on the deck enjoying the warmth when the senior granddaughter Little Bit came out and announced that we should once again play in the snow. While we still had some. So we did. Snowballs were thrown, hits were registered and a good time was had by all. Even Little Bit's sister enjoyed herself, though she ain't too keen on touching the muddy ground with her bare hands, sitting in the mud, even if accidentally was rather amusing to herself and to the rest of the tribe.

I'm off all week, away from the grind, getting to spend time with my youngest child and her sweet brood. I was going to talk about politics a little, but that can wait.

For now life is just too precious to waste even a moment of and as I have my wee bairns with me, some of 'em at any rate, I mean to make the most of it. So I am going to enjoy this week and not worry too much about the blog. Sorry, but some things come first, other things must necessarily wait. The grandchildren will win that contest every time.

Blogging might be sparse, but who knows, I might squeeze in a post or two between naps. Mine and the grandkids.

Have a great week!

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
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

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

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.

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"!

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

Sunday, February 19, 2017

A Long Time Ago

While I was casting about for things to pick on Juvat about, I ran across that photo above. I'd downloaded it from the koobecaf a while back from a friend's post. He's in that picture, as am I.

The photo was taken in the fall of 1970, no doubt October. I remember a local sports guy coming to take pictures for the local paper. It was taken, as I recall, in the week leading up to our last game against our rivals a bit to the south. Oddly enough, my hometown's biggest rival was the town I was born in. We never lived there, it's just that my dad and mom liked the hospital better there. Or maybe it's because it was closer to both pairs of grandparents.

I don't remember, I was just a baby.

At any rate, that team is the guys I played football with in high school. For the seniors it had been four years together. Two-a-days in the hot August sun, practice five days a week once school started, a game every Saturday. I remember some of it, I've forgotten probably more than I remember. Bits and pieces of games and practices will sometimes spring into my mind from out of the blue.

The picture is from just before the last game I ever played of organized football. I recovered a fumble in that game, it was against the rival's second string, we were getting slaughtered. But it still felt good. Those guys in the picture were all pretty good guys, most of whom I called friend.

A few of those young lads are dead now. Cancer, accidents, even one suicide. I think back to how young we all were. Heck, I even had hair, all of it dark, still thick but starting to thin out in the front.

Looking at the picture again, and the two guys I'm sitting between, it struck me. All three of us served. Army, Air Force, and Navy. All three of us made it a career.

Odd that...

Or maybe not, those were different times.

Geez, I still can't get over how much hair I had...

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Watch This

As Juvat has said, more than once, "fighter pilot" is as much an attitude as it is a job description. There are many pilots who fly fighters, many of them are also fighter pilots. Those two groups do not match up one for one.

I have a fighter pilot watch. To my knowledge there are only two people on the planet who have these who cannot fly an aircraft. I am one, The WSO's father-in-law, Hornet Dad, is the other. Hornet Dad is, as you might have figured by now, Big Time's father, and a lovely man he is.

So what's the big deal with the watch you might ask, I can go to a store and buy one of those, right? Uh, no. Not unless things have changed since Big Time left the Knighthawks. (Any Hawks out there with knowledge of these things feel free to chime in.)

So back in the day when the mighty ENTERPRISE still sailed the seas and brought death and destruction to the enemies of freedom, Big Time  was a pilot in VFA-136, a part of the Big E's air wing. He was also the procurer of fine time pieces for the squadron. Big Time was, and still is, a big time piece guy. He had a deal with the company who makes these watches. Here's a close up of that watch -

Above the day/date readout is an F/A-18E coming straight at you, underneath are the "Wings of Gold" of a naval aviator. On the left is the squadron patch of VFA-136, the mighty Knighthawks. Each watch has a serial number and mine has my initials on the back. I don't know if the others have initials, perhaps a callsign instead. But The WSO thought it would be cool to put my initials on my watch.

My initials? C.A.G. or as inscribed on my watch: CAG.

Um, okay Sarge, you've got your initials on your watch, so?

According to the pedia of Wiki -
Initially and during WWII, the commander of the air group (known as the "CAG") was the most senior officer of the embarked squadrons and was expected to personally lead all major strike operations, coordinating the attacks of the carrier's fighter, bomber, and torpedo planes in combat. The CAG was a department head of the ship reporting to the carrier's commanding officer.

In 1963 when Carrier Air Groups were retitled Wings, the commander retained the legacy title of "CAG" which continues to this day.

After WWII until 1983, CAGs were typically post-squadron command aviators in the rank of Commander. Though the CAG was in command of the air wing, he functioned as one of the carrier's department heads reporting to the carrier's commanding officer when the wing was embarked. The CAG would typically subsequently promote to Captain and would track to command of a deep draft support vessel followed by command of an aircraft carrier once greater seniority was achieved in the rank of Captain. In 1983, Secretary of the Navy John Lehman elevated the CAG position to the rank of Captain and made the position coequal with the Captain of the aircraft carrier in which the air wing embarked, with both officers reporting directly to the embarked Flag Officer who was Commander of the Carrier Battle Group. During the period of transition when some air wings were still commanded by Commander CAGs and some were commanded by the new Captain CAGs, the new Captain CAGs were referred to as "Super CAG." The term "Super CAG" quickly reverted to the traditional "CAG" once all air wings had made the transition. Later a slightly junior Captain was added as the Deputy CAG (DCAG), with the DCAG assisting the CAG until he/she eventually "fleets up" to the CAG position. This system remains in place today.
I also have a beer mug, from VFA-2, The WSO's old outfit.

I have the ball cap too. Gotta have the ball cap.
When The WSO was ordering the mug, one of her squadron mates asked, "Why are you ordering a mug for CAG?"

"It's for my Dad."

"Your Dad's a CAG?!?"

"Well, yes and no. His initials are 'C' 'A' 'G'"

"Your Dad's a CAG and those are his initials too?!?"

"Uh no. My Dad's a retired Master Sergeant..."


Well, she was talking to a pilot. Takes a little longer to explain.

Guns! Guns! Guns!

Yup, got the Knighthawk ball cap to go with the watch.
I've got my eye on you too Bear!
As a bonus, here's some sweet F-16 gun camera footage. According to the guy who posted this on the Tube o' You -
Various F-16 gun camera circa 1982 from Kunsan Air Base Korea Juvat F-16s from the Wolf Pack. First four clips are from missions flown in Cope Thunder mock air combat exercised out of Clark Air Base, Philippines. Last clip is a "Juvat" doing a high speed low level and dive bomb pass in South Korea. Probably during a Team Spirit exercise.
(The video lead in says "circa 1984." Just to let you know that I was paying attention.)

Yup, our own Juvat's old outfit, the 80th Fighter Squadron. I worked on their Phantoms, Juvat broke flew their Phantoms. This is great stuff if you know what you're seeing and hearing. I do. I'll bet this brings back a lot of memories for some of you guys...

And while flying fighters is exhilarating, the groaning and grunting is from the pilot fighting off the G-forces. The Viper can pull a lot of G.

Oh yeah baby. Fight's on!