Thursday, August 31, 2017

Hhmm, That's Different...

Church and windmill, Waldfeucht, Bundesrepublik Deutschland
Many moons ago, when the world wasn't as insane as it is today, my tribe resided in the Federal Republic of Germany, fast by the border with the Netherlands. A lovely town, I saw that church spire and that windmill nearly everyday for seven plus years. (For those who want to know such things, that's a Catholic church, bearing the name of Saint Lambert of Maastricht, which is in the Netherlands, go figure. At least St. Lambert is local, Maastricht is about 27 miles from Waldfeucht. Which, incidentally, translates to "damp forest" in English.)


On the aerial view below, the "A" in the red (ish) circle is at the end of what was our driveway. (No, it wasn't actually painted on the street, Google did it back in 2013 when I first grabbed that screen shot. For proof look at the next screen shot, not now, wait for it...)

It was a nice place and we all enjoyed our time in Germany. I wrote about that here. Now the post I had planned for today involved the places I had lived and how much I like trees, but there is such a thing as too many trees, (yes, I'm looking at you Louisiana). Now when I went to Google Maps to grab a newer overhead of Das alte Gehöft for that post, I noticed that something was, well, different. One of the things was not like the other (different time of year and camera angles aside). That difference threw me off the original post (which I still will do, just not today) and sidetracked me to this one.

Google Maps
Below is the overhead I grabbed today, er yesterday (dang space-time anomalies!), notice anything different (other than the aforementioned time of year and camera angle)?

Look carefully (I know John in Philly has it nailed already).

See it?

Google Maps
Well, I noticed it pretty quickly as I lived there, so let me break it down for you. The picture on the left closely resembles our abode when we departed in the spring of '99. (Yes, yes, I know, in the last century...) On the right is the new overhead which gave me my WTF moment on Wednesday.

Those trees by the light green arrows (now gone) were a favorite hiding place of our cat Pat, during his biweekly escapes from Stalag 13, I mean, the house. He'd head over there and get himself under this one low bush covered with prickly things (I know, I know, they're called thorns) and chuckle in his feline way that we couldn't get to him. He would eventually return with us, but only on his terms. Cats, it's what they do...

One lovely day in the high summer, when we hadn't seen any rain for some time, some knucklehead strolling by on the road (which passes under the arrows) tossed his still lit cigarette into the trees. One of which was a pine tree, lots and lots of dry needles underneath. Yup, set it ablaze he did (had to be a guy, trust me).

Our American neighbor in the other half of our duplex (for such our dwelling was) closest to the blazing trees said she had smelled something burning but was late for work so she didn't bother to investigate. Fortunately, The Missus Herself thought the smell far too strong and the amount of smoke (which was starting to fill Schloss OAFS) far too much to be just a small fire.

She called me, she notified one of the neighbors who had a bit of English and who called the Fire Brigade (Feuerbrigade auf Deutsch) and by the time Yours Truly arrived on scene the excitement was mostly over. When the other Amerikaner came home he was (a) surprised that the lady of his house didn't pay more attention to her surroundings and (b) informed me that in their garage, stored next to the wall (on the other side of which was a roaring fire) were three freshly filled propane tanks for their gas grill.

So if we had not been at home... (Boom, no more house!)

Now south of Schloss OAFS pointed to by the orange arrow (hhmm, might be a Dutch arrow) there is, in the left photo, a nice open space. We played throw and catch (baseball and football) in that little field and the odd game of badminton (not odd as in rare but odd in that we weren't very good at it), and which various and sundry Germans in automobiles used as a shortcut from the paved street in front of the houses to the dirt road running behind the houses.

One guy had the temerity to blow his horn at us while we were playing in that open space. I asked him in English and in German if the grassy field upon which the battle of Waterloo was won, er, the grassy field upon which we were engaged in sport-like activities looked even remotely like an actual road. I also mentioned that he should perhaps, if he didn't actually own the land, to take his Teutonic self elsewhere. I may have actually been rude and used strong language. It's possible, in fact likely, that I did so.

But I digress...

If you will note, in the right photo there is no longer a grassy field but a rather substantial dwelling. (Well, it's bigger than Schloss OAFS at any rate.)

I wonder if that bloody German in the BMW tries to drive through that house? I think it would be rather annoying sitting in one's Küche having a bit of sausage and perhaps some beer and having some annoying chap sitting in your driveway blowing his horn, perhaps expecting you to move your house so he could drive through.

I wonder if he had to do this when he bought the car?


I first saw that cartoon over at Barbacat's place, tickled me it did. I should mention that The Naviguesser drives a BMW, I think he owns two actually. And while he's not an a-hole, he does drive extensively in California traffic, so...

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

The Equal of Any People Anywhere

Robert Smalls, a slave pilot, led a daring escape during the Civil War. While the captain of the ship was ashore, Smalls quietly piloted the Confederate steamer Planter from Charleston, South Carolina, to the safety of the Union fleet outside Ft. Sumter. The crew and passengers consisted of 16 people, seven of whom were women and children. Once beyond Confederate waters, Smalls raised a white bed sheet as a flag of truce. In addition to the ship, cargo and passengers, Smalls brought word that the Confederates had abandoned their position on the Stono River in South Carolina. Upon turning her over to the Union, Smalls said, "I thought the Planter might be of some use to Uncle Abe." Smalls and his crew received the customary prize money for the captured ship. He was made the pilot of the ship until 1866.
Back in March of this year I had the chance to visit the National Museum of the United States Navy at the Washington Navy Yard (where The Nuke works). I chronicled that visit over a couple of posts but the first was here.

It was a really quick visit while we waited for The Nuke to return from her office (we had just flown in from Little Rhody and she had to stop by her workplace to do something for the admiral). I took a metric crap ton of photos with my cell phone (pretty much running the battery down to naught) but came away with a number of stories. This is one.

This story started over at Bayou Renaissance Man with this post of his. The story sounded familiar, the face on the cover of the book looked familiar, so out came the cell phone and after scrolling through all those photos, there he was, Robert Smalls. The opening photo is a detail from one of the photos I took at the Navy Museum, the text below is a copy of the text under the photo in the museum. (It wasn't all that legible in the photo.)

Mr. Smalls had quite a career. He represented South Carolina in Congress (as a Republican) for a spell and one quote attributed to him seems particularly apt to me in these somewhat trouble modern times...
"My race needs no special defense, for the past history of them in this country proves them to be the equal of any people anywhere. All they need is an equal chance in the battle of life." Representative Robert Smalls said. (Source)
He's absolutely correct.

For as long as this country has existed, people of all races, creeds, and religions have contributed to make these here United States a beacon of hope to the world. If we go down into the darkness, that's it, game over man.

We need to move beyond such petty considerations. We are Americans, we should be setting the example to the rest of the world that a representative, Constitutional Republic such as ours works, and works well. Sure there are bumps in the road, nothing worth having is easy.

Mr. Smalls seized his freedom, he stood up for what he believed in. He made a difference.

There are those who insist on seeing our differences, and setting one group above another, I hate that.

We are, One Nation, Under God, Indivisible...

Now let's make that liberty and justice for ALL part a reality.

Or we shall have no peace.

You can read more about Robert Smalls here and read about the author of the book Peter mentioned in his post here.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Well, That's Awkward...

Google Street View
So the Muse gave me an idea for a post, sounded excellent. I was going to call it "Roots" (no Tuna, Kunta Kinte doesn't play a role, nor is it about carrots, parsnips, or other root vegetables), it would be a tale of how I live in Little Rhody, but I'm not from here, etc., etc. Seems though that I had already written a similar post three years ago, here.

Then I had the thought of presenting that selfsame post as a rerun. But, I have resolved to only do reruns on Sunday. Today, for those without access to any sources of information, ain't Sunday. Unless you're reading this in the indeterminate future, where it might be Sunday. So if you're reading this, and it is Sunday, stop. Read it tomorrow. (That last bit is for people in the future, any day which is not Tuesday, 29 August 2017. Now if you're reading this in the past, cool. How did you do that and what are next week's winning lottery numbers?)

Anyhoo. So great idea, but I've already done it. Which is something that happens with increasing age. You tell the same stories over and over again. (Which is particularly annoying if you don't have many stories to begin with.) The progeny will often interrupt one of my stories with, "Dad, we've heard that story before..."

Moi: "But it's an excellent story."

Progeny: "Not really Dad..."

Speaking of stories...

When I retired from the Air Force we all lived with my parents for a couple of months while I searched for gainful employment. One day, shortly after arriving in New Hampshire, The Missus Herself and I went up the road to visit with my maternal grandmother and her "boyfriend." (Dude was in his eighties which is why boyfriend is in quotes. Before you get the wrong idea, my grandfather had passed away something like 25 years before then, so it ain't like Gram was stepping out or anything... But I digress.)

Gram: "So Mel, do you remember Chris and his wife?"

(If you gather that Mel wasn't quite all there, you're spot on. Not nuts or senile or anything, he just told the same stories over and over, and... Oh, wait. Never mind.)

Mel: "Of course I do. How have you been?"

Your Humble Scribe: "I'm doing well Mel, we just got back from Germany."

Mel: "I was in Italy during the war."

YHS: "I know Mel, you've told me a few stories of those days."

Mel: "So were you in Germany when the Nazis surrendered?"

YHS: "Yes, Mel. I killed Hitler. OW!!" (The "ow" is because the love of my life kicked me in the shin, quite hard I might add, when I mentioned that I had killed Hitler. And yes, I received the "you're an idiot" look. Actually it was the industrial strength, don't try this at home, "you're an idiot" look.)

And yes, my grandmother was also not pleased that I was having a bit of fun with her beau.

Speaking of Mel. The Nuke is a very clever and perceptive lass, always has been. When she first went up to her great-grandmother's house after we retired, she knew about Mel but thought that he didn't live at Great Gram's place. (He did, off and on. He had his own place, but, well, come on, do I really need to explain that...)

She saw a room with a small desk and a couch and on the door it was labeled "Mel's Room," with labeling tape. (Odd now that I think of it. Do most 80-somethings label the rooms in their abodes? Something to consider...)

The Nuke asked her Great Gram, "Why does Mel have a room in your house?"

Great Gram: "That's where Mel sleeps when he stays over night."

The Nuke: "How come there's no bed in that room?"

Great Gram: "..."

Great Gram: "Want cookies?"

 The Nuke and The WSO: "YAY!! Cookies!!"

Later on though, The Nuke asked me that very same question as to the lack of a bed in "Mel's Room."

YHS: "Um, um, maybe Mel likes sleeping on the floor. I mean he was in the Army in Italy during the war and..."

The Nuke: "I'm asking Mom."

Damn Muse is in the other room giggling. She's making me pay for those few days off when I wasn't returning her calls.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Sustained by his fellows

Well...It's the first day of school.  The kids are coming.  More time would be useful, but alas, "Time waits for no School District" (or something along those lines).

Hurricane Harvey didn't have much impact 200 miles inland.  Although, I did hear a person in line at the Grocery Store (They rationed Tortillas, two packs per family.  That was all I saw that was limited.  Really?  Tortillas?  That's some prepper food right there!).

Lost my train of thought....Oh yeah, I heard a person in line at the Grocery Store mentioned her concern for the Storm Surge and how much damage in might cause in town.  I asked her if she meant our town.

"Yep!  We need to be watchful for it."

"You do realize that the elevation here is 1760'?


"If the storm surge reaches here, we're probably in deeper Kimchi than we'll be able to handle."

Some people's children.  Or to quote a George Carlin line, "The '60s sure were good for you weren't they?"

In any case, we got a couple of inches of rain spread out over 24 hours, so got absorbed by the soil real well.  Winds were gusting 20-30K.  All in all, not so bad.  Corpus, Houston and Rockport got hit pretty hard though.

But, it's been a long couple of months and the next few weeks will still be "eventful". I'm tired, so, I'm going with an old standby.

As I've worked my way through this list, I've noticed a few trends.  Vietnam Recipients were primarily Fighter Pilots, with a couple of FACs, some Enlisted Aircrew and a couple of Heavy Drivers.  WWII were primarily B-17 and B-24 crewmembers with a few Fighter Pilot recipients also.  

Which if you've studied the Air Force's roles in those conflicts, make perfect sense.  But there were some unique situations also.  3 were awarded for actions in Ground Combat (Chair Force? Ground Combat?)  A1C Pitsenbarger and CMSGT Etchberger in Vietnam and Maj Hamilton in WWII.

I've discovered another unique case.  Captain Darrell R. Lindsey received the Medal in WWII.  He was the only B-26 pilot to receive the award.  The fact that his name is on the monument pictured above is grounds enough to tell his story.  The facts of the mission justify the award.

Captain Lindsey enlisted in the Army Air Corps a little over a month after Pearl Harbor.  Initially he was trained as a bombardier, but (details are a little hazy) apparently got reassigned and trained as a pilot in the B-26 Marauder.  

Probably as a result of that retraining, he arrived in England in Early 1944 as a Captain and Flight Commander and immediately started flying missions preparing the battlefield for the Normandy Invasion.  The Marauder was not intended to fly missions deep into Germany, but was designed to be fast and carry a decent load.  As such was well suited for interdiction of Rail, and Road transportation networks.

Over the course of the next 5 months, Captain Lindsey flew 45 missions and gained a reputation as a superb pilot and leader.  On August 9th, he was selected to lead a mission to destroy one of the few remaining railroad bridges that could resupply the Germans defending against the Allies in Northwest France.

The target is in the top center,  The gray mass at the bottom is Paris.
The target was a small town named L'Isle Adam, and although the Luftwaffe was pretty well eliminated as a threat in the air, their AAA (Hiss!) was still plentiful and well provisioned.

As the formation is beginning its attack, Captain Lindsey's plane is hit by AAA with minor damage and he continues the attack.  Approaching the release point, the Marauder is hit in the right engine, which catches fire, and the explosion throws them out of formation.  

Captain Lindsey is able to recover the aircraft, rejoin the formation as lead and continue the attack.  His right wing is engulfed in flames.  After dropping their weapons, and maneuvering clear of the target, he directs his crew to bail out, holding the plane straight and level for them to do so.  
Mission Photographs

The last person to leave is the bombardier who offers to drop the landing gear before he jumps so that Captain Lindsey will have a place to leave the aircraft.  At this point, the right wing (which is full of highly combustible AvGas) is almost completely engulfed in flames.

Captain Lindsey declines the offer saying that he believes that would cause a loss of control and orders the Bombardier to bail out.  Which he does.

Immediately thereafter, the right wing explodes and the Marauder enters a steep dive and crashes.  Captain Lindsey did not make it out.
I thought this poignant.  The after action report for the mission.

While at SAMS at Ft Leavenworth (affectionately widely known as the "Book a Day" Club), one of the required readings was S.L.A. Marshall's "Men against Fire". An interesting book with some unexpected (at the time) observations of people in combat.  

“I hold it to be of the simplest truths of war that the thing which enables an infantry soldier to keep going with his weapons is the near presence or the presumed presence of a comrade…He is sustained by his fellows primarily and by his weapons secondarily.”  
I found that quote here, and it's not exactly clear that it came from Marshall or one of the other authors quoted (wouldn't want to get crossways with the copyright Nazi's now would we?).

However, it does make the point.  People in Combat are willing to go to extraordinary lengths, beyond what mere mortals should be expected to, to preserve their comrades.  Not for their country specifically, not for the flag, not for the Medal.  To save their comrades.

That....To me. Is Honor!

Rest in Peace, Warrior!

Captain Lindsey's Citation:

"On 9 August 1944, Capt. Lindsey led a formation of 30 B-26 medium bombers in a hazardous mission to destroy the strategic enemy held L'lsle Adam railroad bridge over the Seine in occupied France. With most of the bridges over the Seine destroyed, the heavily fortified L'Isle Adam bridge was of inestimable value to the enemy in moving troops, supplies, and equipment to Paris. Capt. Lindsey was fully aware of the fierce resistance that would be encountered. Shortly after reaching enemy territory the formation was buffeted with heavy and accurate antiaircraft fire. By skillful evasive action, Capt. Lindsey was able to elude much of the enemy flak, but just before entering the bombing run his B-26 was peppered with holes. During the bombing run the enemy fire was even more intense, and Capt. Lindsey's right engine received a direct hit and burst into flames. Despite the fact that his ship was hurled out of formation by the violence of the concussion, Capt. Lindsey brilliantly maneuvered back into the lead position without disrupting the flight. Fully aware that the gasoline tanks might explode at any moment, Capt. Lindsey gallantly elected to continue the perilous bombing run. With fire streaming from his right engine and his right wing half enveloped in flames, he led his formation over the target upon which the bombs were dropped with telling effect. Immediately after the objective was attacked, Capt. Lindsey gave the order for the crew to parachute from the doomed aircraft. With magnificent coolness and superb pilotage, and without regard for his own life, he held the swiftly descending airplane in a steady glide until the members of the crew could jump to safety. With the right wing completely enveloped in flames and an explosion of the gasoline tank imminent, Capt. Lindsey still remained unperturbed. The last man to leave the stricken plane was the bombardier, who offered to lower the wheels so that Capt. Lindsey might escape from the nose. Realizing that this might throw the aircraft into an uncontrollable spin and jeopardize the bombardier's chances to escape, Capt. Lindsey refused the offer. Immediately after the bombardier had bailed out, and before Capt. Lindsey was able to follow, the right gasoline tank exploded. The aircraft sheathed in fire, went into a steep dive and was seen to explode as it crashed. All who are living today from this plane owe their lives to the fact that Capt. Lindsey remained cool and showed supreme courage in this emergency."

If any of you that have been stationed in Germany and are familiar with this Air Force Station near Wiesbaden, yes, it was named after Captain Lindsey.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Pleasant Memories

Google Street View
Growing up, we would go over to Maine (from Vermont) a couple of times every summer. Sometimes for just the day, sometimes overnight, staying in a small motel between days at the beach. Wells, Maine was always a favorite place.

When I was still in the Air Force, my Mom and Dad managed to get a place of their own in Wells. It wasn't much, just a trailer my Dad bought from a contact at his work place (which surprised Mom, a lot), which sat on a rented plot at a sort of camp ground, motor home park. Like I said, it wasn't much but it was awesome.

The trailer sat on that patch of land in the opening photo just to the left of that tree with the red leaves (which was where Dick and Peg's place was, full timers there). Right where that walled off area sits. (No, I have no idea what that is, the next photo is an overhead view, the yellow arrow shows where their trailer used to be.) That building to the right was not there. It's why my parents don't have their place anymore.

Google Earth
Back in '97 is the first time I got a look at the place. I flew back to the States from Germany with The Naviguessor in August so he could attend NROTC INDOC (which is a story for another time, all three of the progeny went through it, it's only a week, but felt longer), prior to the start of his freshman year at Worcester Polytech.

My Mom and I drive him down to Worcester, met The Naviguessor's instructors (one of whom was, of course, a Marine Drill Instructor), had a cook out with the staff and the other new midshipmen, then Mom and I headed up to Maine for a couple of days so I could see their place. (Dad had to work, otherwise he would have been there. Dad loved Maine.)

I loved it at first sight. I've always loved Maine but now my parents had their own place there. Knowing that I'd be retiring in a couple of years, I envisioned being able to visit Maine from time to time and stay at their place.

Well, it worked out just like that for a few years. Until some rich guy bought the land, tossed all the seniors out (there were more there than just my parents, most of them lived there full time) and my parents had to get rid of the trailer. But it was great while it lasted.

My Dad spent as much time as he could up there. Even in the winter. He said it was the only time he could enjoy the beach as it wasn't very crowded!

I have fond memories of that place. Miss it.

Google Street View
This restaurant, The Fisherman's Catch, was just down the hill from my parents' place. Good food, nothing fancy, think paper plates, plastic utensils and paper towels on wires above the tables. As you might expect, seafood was their specialty and they did it well. The place was right on the edge of the salt marshes. Beautiful surroundings.

One year Dad got a video camera for Christmas. A few days afterwards he was up in Maine playing around with it, walking down the road in these pictures. As he went by the restaurant he announced that this was "The Catch of the Day, er, The Fisherman's Wharf, er, some damned restaurant whose name I can't remember." Ever since we purposely would misname it just to get him riled up.

Worked every time.

(The other funny thing about that day was that Dad unknowingly left the camera on while he strolled down the road, muttering about everything under the sun. Hhmm, I just realized that when I'm driving by myself, I sound just like my Dad. Not sure if that's a good thing!)

Another view of The Catch of the Day, er, I mean The Fisherman's Catch...

Google Street View
I always got a charge out of the old fishing boat. I think that's what happens to old boats in Maine, they wind up outside of restaurants!

Google Street View
Another view of the boat, the salt marshes in the background. Go past that treeline in the distance and you're in the Atlantic.

Google Street View
The salt marshes to the south of the road, see a lot of cranes, egrets, cormorants, ducks, and the like out there. Oh yes, and seagulls. Lots of seagulls around, though they don't really hang out in the marshes.

Google Street View
The red circle is where my parents' place was, all that green is the marshes. The place labeled Hobbs Harborside, used to be Lord's Harborside where the food was fantastic and the staff superb. Yes, it has slipped a bit at the new place. I ate at Hobbs once, just for old time's sake. It wasn't the same. Okay, but meh.

Dad told me of a time when he and Mom went there for lunch and George and Barbara Bush were in attendance, as was Waylon Jennings. (The Bush place in Kennebunkport is just up the coast from Wells, been by there a few times. On the road, not to visit. More's the pity...)

Spent a long weekend with my Dad in Wells. He took me up to Portland for a job interview (he had a blast motoring me around after I retired, helping me look for a job). I remember well sitting around in the living room, having a beer or two with the old man, watching Kelly's Heroes on his little TV. Nothing fancy but I remember it well.

Heck, even our old cat Pat visited the place one weekend along with the rest of the family. He seemed to like it.

Pleasant memories of a time now long gone.

It's been too long since I visited Maine, three years to be exact (I wrote of the last visit here, when The Missus Herself and I went up for the weekend with my Mom). I need to get back up there.

But it isn't the same, not since the "old" days when they had their own place.

I miss that place.

I miss my Dad...

Saturday, August 26, 2017

The 60s

Shaun had a nice post about the 1960s over at his place on Friday, it brought back some pretty good memories. I read the post at lunch, then went back to work thinking how great the 60s were.

Then it struck me, hard.

The 60s, great for some. Not for others.

I'm getting to be a crotchety old bastard these days, too much going on in the world, too much going on in my head. I didn't feel much like blogging Friday night, so I listened to a lot of music from back in the day. Not Shaun's fault, I really have fond memories of the 60s, but I can't help but remember what else was going on in the rest of the world during that decade.

There are times I wish I was old enough to have gone, most of the time I'm damned glad I wasn't.

I shake the hand of every Vietnam veteran I meet. Thanks isn't enough. Never will be, but to my elder brothers and sisters in arms - Thanks. I love you guys. I mourn those left lost.

Never forget...

Photo by Army Sgt. 1st Class Michael J. Carden (Source)
Retired Marine Corps Capt. Ronald E. Hoover Sr. admires the Three Servicemen Statue on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., July 8, 2010. The statue, which was unveiled in 1984, was rededicated after six weeks of restoration work. Hoover, a native of Carlisle, Pa., served two tours in Vietnam and retired from the Marine Corps in 1974.
DoD photo by Army Sgt. 1st Class Michael J. Carden  (Source)

58,307 names...

That's how I remember the 60s.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Sailboats in The Mist

Boats are kind of a big deal here in Little Rhody, which is one of its attractions. Even if you can't afford a boat, you can see boats, everywhere.

The America's Cup was, and remains, a big deal in the waters off my little state. Newport, Rhode Island, is often referred to as the "Sailing Capital of the World." Newporters take their sailing pretty seriously.

My office mate is a Newporter and a sailor, I wrote about a trip with him here. He's giving this Old AF Sarge a real education in the civilian side of things nautical. (When I mentioned in this post about sailing aboard "a gaff-rigged schooner," I didn't really know what that meant. Now I do!)

Those sailboats in the opening photo are J-Class yachts -
A J-Class yacht is a single-masted racing sailboat built to the specifications of Nathanael Herreshoff's* Universal Rule. The J-Class are considered the peak racers of the era when the Universal Rule determined eligibility in the America's Cup. (Source)
Currently there are six of those magnificent boats in the area. I got to see them sailing down the Bay on Tuesday, in the mist.

You can see a good shot of the J-Class in the opening photo of this article. A lot of good photos really.

From where I work we could see these boats in the mist, and these are huge sailboats, six of them in fairly confined waters. In the mist, it was like looking back in time.

I love living in Little Rhody...

* The Herreshoffs are an old family in Bristol. I drive by the Yacht Museum, where Nathanael Herreshoff's shop used to be, every day.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Well, I Thought It Was Funny

I like Mark Wahlberg, I like his movies, I like his accent.

His best line in a movie, goes something like this...

Well, I thought it was funny.

On a side note, I'm easing back into the blogging thing, slowly. It's driving my Muse crazy, she has all these ideas for posts and I keep telling her, "Meh, maybe tomorrow."

Payback man.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

In Memoriam

Seven from USS Fitzgerald from 7th Fleet...

Sixteen from the KC-130 from VMGR-452...

Five from the Blackhawk from the the 25th Combat Aviation Brigade out of Hawaii...

And now ten from the USS John S. McCain from 7th Fleet...

Thirty-eight of America's finest who won't be going home.

Thirty-eight men and women who gave the last full measure of devotion...

Not lost in combat, but lost in the everyday business of the profession of arms.

To me they all count as deaths in the family, I mourn.

Prayers for those left behind and may God take those fine men and women into Heaven and may He grant peace and comfort to their families and friends.


Tuesday, August 22, 2017

How Rhino's Fly

In an exciting sequel to yesterday's post on Fighter Pilot Cuisine, entitled "When Pigs Fly" which details how to save your career, prepare a meal for millions, thousands, hundreds, Ok a bunch and raise money for charity, today we will discuss "How a Rhino Flies".

No, it has nothing to do with Musca domestica . And with apologies to LUSH, no, this is not about her chariot, the FA-18, or as the Aussies like to call it "The FAY-Aye-Dean".  That aircraft, dear reader(s) (one hopes) is a pretender to the throne.  Johnny come lately.

No, the real Rhino, is this aircraft!


I flew this aircraft, yes, this model, yes this tail number, at Kunsan, which means, Sarge almost certainly worked on this aircraft.

This was the original Rhino.

Since Mrs Juvat is out this evening exploring women's organizations she might wish to join, I got a bit of time to play some airplane videos and as they say in the movies....
Just Play it LOUD, OK!

In any case...I ran across this video explaining the McDonnell Douglas Theory of Aeronautical Engineering.

Specifically stated.

Given enough thrust, even a brick will fly.

Made in 1967, it's a little cheesy by current standards.  I found it hilarious.

It also explains how I "class 26'd" an F-4. The "how" is "Mach Tuck".  The "why" is "I didn't want to see my pink butt impact the Yellow Sea at ~700K Knots at night".  

Those of you who have flown old "Double Ugly", on watching the video, will spend a lot of time saying "Oh, yeah, I forgot about that."

But I'll bet the recording of the Aural tone played at High AOA will cause your knees to come together and your feet to start working the rudder pedals, regardless of how long it's been since you last flew it.  It did for me.

Yes, Dave and VX, I'm talking 'bout you.


Monday, August 21, 2017

When Pigs Fly

So...There I was*........


Basking in the glory of successfully defending the honor of the US Air Force in a gladiatorial contest on the field of Softball at Ft Leavenworth, Ks.  The vanquished had paid their tribute in liquid refreshment and both sides had a mutually hosted feast of ground bovine and, what a person of Hispanic ancestry might call Perritos calientes.  

Along with a few more adult beverages containing hops.  A good time was had by all (except the Marine O-6 who left the field of battle in a funk).

The following Monday, the AF Colonel calls me into his office, congratulates me and says he's got another project for me.

Poy...Fect!   I think.  I'm trying to get my head around ARRRRRMMMMMMEEEE Training sir.  (Click here if you need yet one more reminder of what I'm talking about.) and he wants me to take on a "project".

"Yes, sir, what can I do for you?"

"I'd like to put on a Kentucky Derby party, the first Saturday in May  as a graduation/assignment type party."

"Yes, Sir?"

"I'd like it to have food, adult recreational beverages, Derby Attire and Betting on the horses."


"Yeah, we've got no money in the budget for things like this, so we'll have to self fund.  We'll have betting with the cost of the party coming out of the pot, then the winner(s) get paid and the  rest we'll donate to Charity." (I think it was the Armed Forces Retirement Home, but it's been a while.)

"Yes, Sir. Do we have a program that does that?"

"Juvat, I've reviewed your personnel file, says you've got a Masters in Management Information Systems.  This should be easy for a man of your talents."


Fortunately, the key words in that Degree are Master and Management.  Masters of Management know people that are experts in a lot of different things, and I knew a guy from Holloman who could write this code in his sleep.  

Which I think he did.

But I've at least got almost a year to get everything ready.

My, but doesn't time fly when you're busy.

Pretty soon, it's April.  My wife has been promoted below the zone to Major and so is automatically selected for Field Grade Professional Education and Magically (She WAS a personnel officer) has been assigned to CGSC at Ft Leavenworth where I, also Magically, have been selected for the second year school known as Jedi Training Academy School for Advanced Military Studies.

I'm in the midst of finding adequate quarters for Mrs Juvat and the Most Beautiful Daughter and the rest of us to live in as the 500 sq ft 2 bdrm apartment that Little Juvat and I had been living in during our" bachelor" days  was deemed inadequate by the boss.

I end up finding and renting a split level on the edge of town with a large back yard for kids to play in.

But I've been busy.  

One Monday, I get called into the Colonel's office.  He hasn't forgotten.

"Juvat, how are the plans for the Kentucky Derby party going?"

"Swimmingly, Sir."

"Well, good.  What have we got set up so far?"

"Beer, Kentucky Bourbon for mint juleps."

"Good, Good. What about food?"

"Chips, Dips, stuff like that."

"I was expecting something more substantial."

"Yes, sir.  Anything specific?"

"How about a roast pig?"

 "You're kidding, Sir, right?"

 Later on in my Joint Career, I would learn that the proper answer here would have been "Aye, Aye, Sir." 

 After a brief interlude of the Colonel speaking words which are not fit for repeating in a family blog, I responded "Yes, sir!" 

Called the commissary.  No, they don't sell whole hogs.

Nor does Safeway.

Happened to be driving by a BBQ Joint a few days later.  HMMMMM.

They couldn't support a party for a very large group, but.....They did have the name of a pig farmer who might be able to help.

Gave the man a call.  Turns out he was Retired Air Force Enlisted and a Maintainer.  He'd be happy to help.  I don't recall what his selling price was, but since it was significantly less than my career, I thanked him.

He'd deliver the fully cooked pig to my place the morning of Derby day.

Which he did.

So,  I've got food, Adult recreational beverages, my computer friend has built his program which subtracted the party costs from the pot (there was a minimal door charge) then calculated our own odds based on who was betting what on which horse and figured the payout.

Saturday rolls around.  Guests start arriving all decked out in Derby Attire.  

Evidently, Hats are a BIG thing at the Derby, Source

Mint Juleps start flowing.  The guys are talking with their hands, the ladies are rolling their eyes.

The pig is delivered.  I'm expecting something like this

That's me on the right.  Source

What the farmer delivers is something more like this.  

Fully Cooked of course Source

It takes several of us to get it off the truck and carried around back to the party.  

We've opened betting, and it is going pretty fast and furious.  (The AF contingent was almost completely composed of Pilots with a few logisticians thrown in, Pilots LIKE games of chance.)

The program worked as expected, expenses were covered  and since nobody bet on the long shot that actually won, payouts were minimal and the Charity made out like a bandit.

The pig was delivered fully cooked and delicious........

For the first several helpings....

Mrs. Juvat ran to Wal Mart and bought several boxes of Gallon Sized zip locks and take home bags were distributed.

"No, really,  I don't need three of them!"

"Take them, distribute them to your neighbors."

"No, really."


We put the, still large quantity, remnants of the Pig Carcass in two 65 gallon garbage bags, end to end and carry it out to the street for pick up on Monday.


Sunday was hot.

Monday, the Garbage Collectors just kept on driving.

That afternoon, Little Juvat and I came home from school and Mrs Juvat is standing out there waiting for me. She's not smiling.

We, I mostly, but Little Juvat did his best in between gagging fits,  load the carcass onto the top of the minivan and drive around looking for a mostly empty dumpster.  Finding one behind WalMart we carefully place the fragrant remains in it, and peel rubber in our escape.

Yes, that can be done in a minivan, if you're desperate enough.

Took quite a few years before roast pork was offered again on our menu at Casa Juvat!