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     Do you know who said the following quote?  E-mail me!

"Optimism (light) is the power that ultimately defeats fear (darkness)."

Thursday, December 29, 2005

C-17s BRING IT ON!!!

You really have to admit, if anyone is going to create a sight that looks like an old WWII photo, it'd have to be the United States Air Force. I mean, is there any ROOM for any "real birds" in this shot?!

And, to top it all off, when SEVENTEEN C-17s assigned to the 437th and 315th Airlift Wings start doing low-level tacticals over the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia, the scream of the engines has got to be AWESOME!!! I still remember the days of a C-141 or C-5 just sloooowly coming in to Rhein Main AFB. But, when ya got tacticals and funky stuff in a C-5, best place to be is either around Charleston AFB or Travis AFB - WHAT A SIGHT!!!

Turns out that this was the largest formation of C-17s to fly from one base, ever!

The record was held previously by McChord AFB WA with 15 C-17s in formation.

This was a training mission that took the 437th and 315th all over the southeast to do low-level air drops and standard flight level refueling practice. Some stats from the article on AF.mil:
"On average, Charleston's C-17s move more than 295 tons of cargo every day. About 45 percent of all air cargo bound for American warfighters in Iraq and Afghanistan originates here."

"If fully loaded, the 17 airlifters would be able haul more than 2,890,000 pounds of cargo or more than 1,734 passengers."
All I can say is, thanks for being there! Without this kind of support, Air Mobility Command would be hard pressed to get into mid-to-large places and deploy quickly. Top this off with a few of my favorite Hercs, and you got the makings of "Bring it On!"

Stay Tuned to ...

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Optimism Trumps Fear #9

It's Christmas for us here back at home. It's Christmas for the men and women who selflessly volunteer to protect all of us back here at home. It's Christmas for the fallen that have been laid to rest, with honors, at Arlington National Cemetery who sacrificed their lives to protect us here at home. For those of you that saw my post a few days ago (yes, it's origin was here), there is someone special here at home who sacrifices every year for those that have fallen - and supports those serving now or who have served in the past. Mr. Morrill Worcester makes a scene that is just this poignant possible:

Everyone, please remember Mr. Worcester, his family, and his company as they remember all of us (those that have served, are serving now, or who died serving). God Bless, and God Speed!

As for the best of the best, the U.S. Military is taking names and kickin' keesters! As you can see from the last weeks , it's 25 -to- 1 GOOD to SETBACK! You just can't beat positive progress like this with a stick! Biggest bits of news for our 9th installment are troop reductions, weapons caches captured and destroyed, and a new spot: Terrorist Darwin Awards!

First off I think it best, even though this has been widely covered all over, during Mr. Rumsfeld's (SECDEF) visit of the troops he gave a great speech with some thanks for the troops and some thanks for the troops. He spent a considerable amount of time during each of his visits ensuring that everyone there heard his appreciative, heart felt, praise and admiration for their service, commitment, dedication, sacrifice, and vision to see freedom come to the Middle East.

As he spoke he let on that the number of U.S. Troops are beginning to decrease due to deployments being held back now and some that were to occur early next year. This dove tails nicely into what the Bush Administration has been telling us: as security increases and control resumes under Iraqi leadership, U.S. involvement decreases. Signs that things are going well like the 1st election last year, Iraqi self-security getting better every day, civilians turning in terrorists to the authorities, and an even larger and more historic election just this month proves that Iraqi control is increasing. Let's be honest, as their involvement and control increases, we can begin to bring our troops home. From the SECDEF comes two good Christmas presents: praise and thanks, and troop deployments held back in the theater. Sounds good, let's keep it going!

Quite a few news releases provide background into weapons caches that have been captured and also destroyed. In fact, in one air assault operation, we scored some 6 terrorists and a weapons cache of varied ordinance on an island in the Tigris River! Nice double play, folks! In two of the other press releases civilians are attributed for capturing 15 rocket launched weapons in a home and 26 60-millimeter mortar rounds (obviously for IEDs) found at another home. Civilians are continuing to increase the pressure because as there are more eyes there are less places to hide. It's a good thing, and so are the numerous instances of weapons caches and IED factories being found out, ordinance captured, and then the destruction of IED making materials.

You know it's getting bad for the terrorists as time slips away, the pressure is increasing, and mistakes begin to happen more often. That's why when these factors become reality, training and a cool head screwed on tight is your best bet. For a couple of bonehead terrorists, their heads weren't so much cool as they were, well, no longer necessary? Seems these two gents were trying to place an IED along the road and it, well, detonated. Bad hair day all around, wouldn't you say? Then, we picked up two more hapless lost causes trying to assist the wounded terrorist in evading capture.
Homemade IED: Free
Terrorists it takes to bury an IED: Two
Unstable explosive device going off in your hands: Deadly
Being caught running away: Priceless
Yikes. Cowardly actions beget dire negative consequences for a couple of terrorists. Darwin?

Well, we've got a big list for you with only one setback, so on to the wrap-up!

The GOOD = 25
Secretary Of Defense Makes Surprise Holiday Visit to Soldiers -- 12/25/2005
Secretary Of Defense Awards Life-Saving Soldier -- 12/25/2005
Air Assault Operation Nets Suspects, Weapons Cache -- 12/24/2005
Iraq: Large Cache Destroyed Near Bayji -- 12/24/2005
Joint Statement By Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad and General George Casey -- 12/23/2005
SECDEF Announces Plans for Troop Reductions in Iraq -- 12/23/2005
Mosul Media Emir and Administrator Captured -- 12/23/2005
U.S. CENTAF Pakistan Relief Summary -- 12/23/2005
SECDEF Visits Camp Fallujah, Announces U.S. Troop Reductions -- 12/23/2005
Three Terrorists Caught Emplacing Bomb -- 12/23/2005
Iraqi Citizen Helps Coalition Forces -- 12/23/2005
Secretary Of Defense Visits Troops At Camp Victory -- 12/22/2005
Rumsfeld Visits Bagram, Kandahar -- 12/22/2005
Afghan, Coalition Forces Repel Attack, Discover Cache -- 12/22/2005
Polish Prime Minister Visits Camp Echo -- 12/22/2005
U.S. Patrol Finds Munitions Cache -- 12/21/2005
Operation Moonlight Concludes -- 12/21/2005
Nine Insurgents Killed, 16 Detained in Overnight Raids -- 12/21/2005
Terrorist Bomb Detonates on Bombers -- 12/20/2005
Iraqi Army Division Certified -- 12/20/2005
Ukrainian Task Force Ends Service in MNDCS -- 12/19/2005
Vice President Makes Surprise Visit to Taji -- 12/19/2005
Iraqi Forces Lead Operation Moonlight -- 12/19/2005
International Women's Forum Inducts Female Afghan Army Officer -- 12/19/2005
Citizen Tip Leads Task Force Baghdad Soldiers to Mortar Cache -- 12/19/2005

Soldiers Plead Guilty to Charges of Abuse -- 12/19/2005

It's NICE - 0 again!!!

Stay Tuned to ...

Saturday, December 24, 2005

USAF AWACS -- Operation Just Clause

In just 23 hours, the U.S. Air Force will be executing a very important mission: Operation Just Clause. A mission that will last for upwards of 6 hours and criss-cross the United States. Very dedicated and highly trained personnel from the 552nd Air Control Wing, 964th Airborne Air Control Squadron, are deep in the midst of this mission. This mission comes to them as this very famous team from Tinker AFB OK are celebrating their 50th Anniversary!

They have been training all year for a mission that covers thousands and thousands of miles, requiring a refueling (most likely the 196th ARS Grizzlies of CA or the 344th ARS of Seymour Johnson NC) operation in an undisclosed location in the midwestern United States. Maybe the 350th ARS Red Falcons (old Beale AFB - my old home) of the 22nd Air Refueling Wing are called up - it's all Need to Know OPSEC and I haven't been briefed. Rats.

This mission is so important, in fact, that for the first time Santa's flight plan has been given to the U.S. Air Force. As Captain Bob Krause, the 552 Air Control Wing Public Affairs officer, states:
"Previously considered sensitive information, AWACS crews are for the first time privy to Santa’s exact flight plans he will follow early Christmas morning. This year Santa will make his arrival in New England and follow a north and south flight plan gradually working his way west toward California."

"Mission crews spent most of today preparing for this unique mission. Of primary concern was the tremendous performance of Santa's sleigh.
It seems that the flight profile far exceeds the physical performance of the E-3 AWACS. But, not to worry, the "Eyes in the Skies" don't really need to be "right on his tail", so to speak. As Aircraft Commander Captain Chris Egan puts it:
"We really don't have the performance to keep up with Santa's sleigh but we do have the equipment on board to track a circumference around him. We can't chase him around the sky, but we'll keep a good track on him."
Uh-huh - with JTIDS (Joint Tactical Information Distribution System) employed and NORAD always ever watchful, Santa is sure to be safe and toys will get where they are supposed to be on time! I'll let Kyle Mullen the 964th Airborne Air Control Squadron Mission Crew Commander say it best:
"We provide the unique ability to flight-follow right with Santa. We're going to make sure he gets where he needs to go and gets the toys to the kids."
Rest assured boys and girls - Santa's Gonna be here, he'll be safe, and your United States Air Force keeps the skies clear!


Stay Tuned to ...

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Christmas at Arlington National Cemetery

Our brave men and women buried at Arlington National Cemetery deserve this country's greatest thanks. Worcester Wreath Company's owner Morrill Worcester deserves this country's greatest thanks and warmest regards for the greater than 5,000 wreaths donated to grace the headstones of the fallen.

Here are the words, straight from Mr. Morrill Worcester himself:
"We couldn't do anything in this country if it wasn't for the people who gave their lives to protect us. It's a great honor to be able to come here and pay our respects."
This photo, and the volunteers who made it possible -- past and present -- brings the sacrifices made by everyone in the United States Military to the fore.

TSgt. Lisa Rodier has volunteered to help place wreaths to honor those that have gone before us. Hearing her describe her emotions and the fact that,
"You get a feeling you can't get from anything else"
What she said that struck me the most, and says it like it is,
"These people sacrificed their lives for me and my children, so why can't I sacrifice a little time for them?"
We shall never forget. We shall leave no one behind. We shall support to the end. We shall honor and protect the Constitution of the United States of America. We shall defend this nation from its enemies, foreign and domestic. We shall fight to end tyranny and oppression. We shall not waiver. We stand and fight. We stand together. We stand strong.

God bless the United States of America.

God Bless the President of the United States.

God Bless the


UPDATE - December 22nd, 2005 [11:29a]

Thanks, big time, to Kit and her Beloved Marine for catching a HUGE oops in my post above. I was typing so fast I criss-crossed a statement and left out some very important words. I have changed a few sentences - please forgive my previous "gimbal lock" situation. :)

I want to thank the following folks for linking back to my little slice of the blogosphere:
Kit @ Euphoric Reality
Folks @ Freedom Folks
Bigshoulders @ Toungue-tied Lightning
SwiftVets @ SwiftVets and POWs for Truth
I thank you all very much for sharing your readers with me. I am sure that you all feel, as do I, that this is a very important and poignant photo. The U.S. Air Force has been kind enough to share it, and it is good that we all recognize the efforts of one man to draw other volunteers to honor our fallen brothers.

The story of sacrifice that everyone at rest in Arlington National Cemetery speaks volumes - for the World! There are many militaries in this world. A very small handful do what they do for others. An even smaller number have volunteers fighting the fight.

Our volunteers, the United States Military, jump into any fight because they know some day the fight may come home. And we will not rest until those that:

  • Want to hurt us
  • Hurt our families
  • Threaten our way of life
  • Destroy the strength and power of the AMERICAN SPIRIT
are vanquished and sent packing!

Remember, do not waken the sleeping giant. You just don't know what you'll be dealing with - but we do.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to everyone.

God Bless.

Stay Tuned to ...

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Monty Python Character?

" How can you tell 'e's a King? "
" 'Cause 'e 'asn't got $@!* all over 'im. "


" I'm being REPRESSED! "

Take the quiz, join Gunn Nutt and I! If not, Naughty Evil Zoot will seek you out.

Wait a minute?!

What Monty Python Character are you?

Well, u-- um, can we come up and have a look?
Take this quiz!

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Optimism Trumps Fear #8

The banner for this blog says it all, optimism ultimately defeats fear! The eighth installment of the latest Press Releases is a firecracker! This is truly a great day, 'cause IT'S ALL GOOD! Yeah! Take a look: The GOOD = 15, SETBACKS = 0, and CORRECTIONS = 0. Our brave men and women are top drawer, and the Iraqi forces are picking up for more and more of the security - obviously a good thing!

I'm sure there are tons of blogs out there going over the elections. I figured I'd drop some photos out there I picked up from MNSTC Iraq -- Multi-National Security Transition Command - Iraq. The photos came from the most recent copy of their MNSTC-I Newsletter - The Advisor. Enjoy!

[U.S. Army Photo - Dec. 17th Vol. 2 Issue 51 of MNSTC-I: The Advisor]

[U.S. Army Photo - Dec. 17th Vol. 2 Issue 51 of MNSTC-I: The Advisor]

[U.S. Army Photo - Dec. 17th Vol. 2 Issue 51 of MNSTC-I: The Advisor]

It's a short list, so let's just carry on to the wrap-up!

The GOOD = 15
Major IED Manufacturing Cache Discovered -- 12/18/2005
U.S. Navy Sailor Rescued in Arabian Gulf -- 12/18/2005
Bulgarians End Service in MNDCS -- 12/18/2005
Arrest Warrant Issued For Iraqi Terrorist Leader With Ties To Zarqawi -- 12/17/2005
U.S. Seabees Turnover Operations -- 12/16/2005
Iraqi And Coalition Forces Help Pave the way for Voters in al Anbar -- 12/15/2005
U.S. Military Releases Dozens of Afghan Detainees from Bagram -- 12/15/2005
History in the Making, Early Morning Brings Iraqi Voters -- 12/15/2005
Iraqi, U.S. Forces Security Tight as Polls Open -- 12/15/2005
Iraqi, U.S. Forces Prepare Security at Polling Sites -- 12/15/2005
Task Force Baghdad Soldiers Nab 28 Suspected Terrorists -- 12/14/2005
U.S., Iraqi Forces Keep Baghdad Streets Safe for Election -- 12/13/2005
Renovation of a School in al-Kut is Completed -- 12/13/2005
Detainee Voter Turnout Overwhelming -- 12/13/2005
ISF and MNF Continue Sweep of Terrorists and Weapons -- 12/12/2005

Progress ONLY - Yeah!!!

Carry On!!!

Stay Tuned to ...

Argh - TAGGED by Gunn Nutt!

Alright, Gunn Nutt, Trix are for Kids!

Having been tagged with the Quirkiest-Meme by , I began to draw from friends and close confidants (yeah, I got those!). In review, I feel that, they're all WHACKED! Nothing is wrong with me one bit.

OK, maybe a small bit ... well, alright, 5 things at the MOST!

I do have one thing to say about this little blogism known as Meme-Chucking, when and why did this start? Did the first person to do this think that by "tagging" a friend that they'd become enamored and always be true? This is the web and bloggers can get links and trackbacks and HTs ... Meme-Chucking?

Talk like a Pirate day seems, better! Write like a Pirate? Ahh-Harrrr!!!

"Stagger, stagger, crawl, crawl, stagger ..." (name the movie - eh? betcha!)

When will this go the way of Shields and Yarnell? Memes are in parks and sometimes at lame office parties or even in those "B" Movies that come on real late at night on some indy-station in your home town, right?! How is it that this continues, with a sick twisted perversion known only to bloggers, without there being the Meme-Police (wasn't that a song by Cheap Trick) to save the day? Was the origin of this charade from that really bad line in Rocky Horror Picture Show where they all say, "Meme-Loaf Again?"

On to my list:

1.) Using the wrong word or idea in a sentence, where it doesn't really belong, as the conversation progresses. Take, well, Meme-Police or Meme-Loaf ... need I say more?
2.) Changing the definition of a word when I know the person using that word hasn't the foggiest when the context is right for the application of that word. This drives many of my friends and family insane. Although, it has brought many a friend closer - so, I still do it!
3.) Recounting movie trivia/monty python quips/mr bean gags/faulty towers scenes/Blue Collar Comedy Hour-isms/Star Trek (the ONLY one, no variants!) life lessons to no end, wasting precious time, and having a hoot doing it! I have been dubbed, "Walking IMDB", "Font of Useless Knowledge", and "Random Factoid". I apply the same sort of fervor for word-trickery (see Quirks #1 and #2).

4.) I've been told I should have been a lawyer because I won't let go of a point until all perspectives have been recognized. This is interminable and makes me an insufferable bore. I love the whole picture and continue to explore it - well, until I'm satisfied that I'm right and you know that that is true as well. Just agree, it's easier for all of us!

5.) I will carry out a gag to the end, poker face on, never giving up my comrades. Rules of the game first: if you go on vacation for longer than 2 weeks you are a target; nothing is sacred except pictures of family and expensive trinkets and awards; if you get wigged at the smallest of things, ohhhhh, you are a target; anything small and insignificant is included in the gag - no detail left out; if you think you're cool and sometimes "above" others, ohhhhh, you are a target; if you can take a gag, you are a target; if you can deliver a gag, you are a target. Two cases in point to be covered below in 5a and 5b as evidence, and 5c has random small gags.

5a.) COO is out for about 2 weeks over Christmas. He is a FREAK for his paperwork and loves order (as do I, so, he's a target!). There is a huge sale of Christmas decorations at ToysRUs - hmmmm, ammo. 3 hours later we have: a 5 week old Christmas tree is in his office fully illuminated; about 500-600 Christmas lights ALL OVER; a blow up Rudolf over his monitor on his desk; Christmas Kermit tacked up on his cork board with the old wreath around it; all is contracts and paperwork has been replaced by stuff from the recycling bin and some was shredded (with appropriate header and stuff to make him sweat); as a precaution, all contracts have been marked, filed, and stored in numbered boxes (by me, freak) so that he can continue without a hitch; ceiling to floor wrapping paper all the way around his desk and the old tree, with a big bow. Ahhh, art.

5b.) CEO leaves for 2 weeks to go windsurfing in some warm place (scum). He LOVES a good gag so he's a target. 45 minutes later (yes, really) we now have: 5 bags of sand, 4 2x6s, chaise lounge, pineapple drink, about 100 festive lights (some are reused from 5a above), Latin tunes playing 24x7; all were combined into a full desk area beach scene with a cheap Hawaiian Shirt on the back of the lounge chair. He used that setup for about 2 weeks before I tore it all down (investors were coming to visit). No animals were harmed in this gag, and no one in building management had to touch a thing - my mess, my responsibility!

5c.) Use rubber cement and glue EVERYTHING to the desk: phone, handset, keyboard, mouse, loose change, books (not legal stuff, just fun stuff), CDs, pencils and pens, tape dispenser, paper clip claw, random paper clips, rubber bands (there's a dichotomy rubber cement gluing rubber bands), and a few folders were glued to the organizer dividers. Block the transmit lead in the phone handset so that the target can hear the caller but the caller cannot hear them - use with caution! Reprogram the keys so that the wrong key is typed - Macs are great for this! Create a May Pole in the center of the VPs office with a coat/hat stand, toilet paper, and colored pens - don't forget the confetti! Installing desk drawers upside down or without draw bottom boards.
Sheesh, I've got tons ...

Anyway, for quirks, I have a few. Who has quirks out there? Maybe you?

Chromed Curses
Silent Republican
Camp Katrina
In Training

You can bail on the Meme-Chucking if ya want. But, I feel that others should check out your blogs if they don't already. So, a little link-love goin' your way!

Stay Tuned to ...

Thursday, December 15, 2005

F-22A Into the BLUE!!!

Oh, last week I mentioned how it's a good thing the A-10 is on our side. I mean, to see that bird coming down range with gattling gun-A-blazin' ...

This bird, well, ya can't see her comin' ... again, you want the F-22A on your side!


Comin' at ya - or ... not ... you'll never know.

Stay Tuned to ...

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Optimism Trumps Fear #7

The banner for this blog says it all, optimism ultimately defeats fear! OK, Lucky Number 7, or the seventh installment of the latest Press Releases. There's obviously some bad folks still making a mess of things. The good thing is, our brave men and women are on it, and we all see nothing but success.

What else is there? (i know there is another result, but nothing the U.S. Military does causes that result)

Three big stories for this last week. The first is a Girl's School in Mosul received much needed support in the form of school supplies, and some TLC. The #3 Terrorist on the 2nd Brigade's High Value Individual list was nabbed two days ago. And, this last story is in regards to all the assistance being provided, still, in Pakistan after the devastating quakes.

School supplies were delivered to the Ninewa Middle School for girls in the Al-Faisaliya neighborhood in Mosul by Operation Iraqi Children team members on November 29th. As has been reported before, there are many such missions happening every day where local Iraqis are receiving support big and small from the U.S. Military. This specific trip shows that in Iraq, education is very important part of the rebuilding of the Iraqi people and their nation. Starting the momentum in some of the smallest corners will pay larger and larger dividends as the Global War on Terror progresses. Signs are very evident that these people-to-people missions are catalysts in the local Iraqi citizenry turning over terrorists to the authorities.

Speaking of turning over some bad apples to the authorities, it seems that the highest ranking terrorist to ever be turned in to the authorities by locals happened two days ago on December 9th. The #3 Terrorist on the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 28th Infantry Division High Value Individual list was turned over to authorities by local citizens that are fed up with these outsiders ruining their country. This terrorist was picked up in Ramadi and was wanted for murder, kidnapping, you know, the usual. It's such a great thing to see Iraqis helping to clean up their own country. No matter how small it seems, it still remains true, victory comes in ever increasing bites at the heals of the enemy.

Shifting to another theater, in Pakistan, some giant milestones have been passed recently. is reporting that U.S. helicopters reached the first milestone on December 3rd by delivering more than 5,000 tons of aid the disaster stricken area. And on December 4th the second milestone of treating the 5,000th patient in the U.S. Hospital in Muzaffarabad. Both Task Force Eagle and the 212th MASH comprise nearly 1,000 U.S. Military personnel dedicated to the disaster relief after that devastating earthquake on October 11th. As always, in time of need, the U.S. Military responds and performs at and above the level of the best of the best!

Now, on to the major highlights from last weeks cleanup efforts.

Bad Lots
There were 52 detainees scooped off the street from the combined effort between soldiers from the 1st Battalion, 1st Brigade, 4th Iraqi Army Division, the local police force, and our troops from 1st Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division. Operation Able Rising Force has been operating north of Tikrit to locate and then round up the suspected terrorists. Turns out that 3 of the 52 were wanted for IED specific attacks against the Iraqi locals as well as the combined forces of the U.S. Military and the Iraqi Military.

That LOOONG Arm!
The Central Criminal Court of Iraq was a hive of activity lately. In one case they threw the book at 4 members of the Mosul Bombing Cell led by Abu Talha. They violated Article 194 of the Iraqi Penal Code which covers terrorists attacking Iraqi Police, Iraqi National Guard, and Coalition Forces. All four were sentenced and received life sentences. Not sure, but the article says that a life sentence equals 20 years - that's some bad jail time! And, it seems that these terrorists were all foreign fighters: they were from Jordan, Syria and Algeria. Naturally they all entered Iraq illegally, perpetrated crimes of murder, terrorism, and possession of illegal weapons. They were caught in the house where the kidnapped Governor of Anbar was found dead after the fighting and arrests were complete.

In another case the Central Criminal Court of Iraq sentenced 3 al Qaeda Adhamiya Terrorist Cell Members to 15, 10, and 10 years in prison. In the article it states that these 3 were responsible for helping to get anti-Iraqi terrorists into Iraq from Morocco, Tunisia, and North Africa. I'm sorry, but these areas only sound familiar to me because of World War II! None of these places really like the United States of America, and since Iraq is the best place to engage, looks like these folks are more than willing to take up arms against the U.S. Military - again. It is a different day, and a different war. I really think these hardliners should rethink taking on the U.S. Military.

Do people just stop reading history? Are more and more leaders bent on fighting the U.S. Military not students of Military History? I think the wisdom inside a box of Cracker Jacks would serve them better than their current will and drive to fight us! Sheesh.

OK, on to the wrap-up!

[Ending December 11th, 2005]

The GOOD = 17
IRAQ: Operation Skinner Concludes -- 12/11/2005
IRAQ: U.S. Patrol Finds Munitions Cache Along Side of Road -- 12/10/2005
IRAQ: Three al Qaeda Terrorist Cell Members Sentenced by the Central Criminal Court of Iraq -- 12/10/2005
IRAQ: More Detained as a Result Of Operation Able Rising Force -- 12/10/2005
IRAQ: Mosul Bombing Cell Members Sentenced to Life Imprisonment by the Central C -- 12/10/2005
Ramadi Terrorist Brought in -- 12/09/2005
Busy Day in North Central Iraq -- 12/09/2005
Iraqi Girls School Receives Needed Supplies -- 12/09/2005
Afghans Deliver Blankets, Clothes to Displaced Citizens -- 12/08/2005
Operation Rams Concludes -- 12/07/2005
Major Cache Uncovered Near Tuz -- 12/07/2005
Coalition and Iraqi Forces to set the Stage for Safe and Secure Election -- 12/06/2005
Operation Rams Continues -- 12/05/2005
U.S. Military Tops 5,000 Milestone Twice -- 12/05/2005
Operation Rams Kicks Off in Ramadi -- 12/05/2005
24 Terror Suspects Taken Off Streets of Baghdad -- 12/05/2005
Task Force Baghdad Soldiers Find Two Weapons Caches -- 12/05/2005

Terrorist Detonates Bomb in Coffee Shop -- 12/07/2005
Suicide Bombers Attack Iraqi Police Academy -- 12/06/2005
Three U.S. Soldiers Injured by IED Near Deh Chopan -- 12/05/2005

IRAQ: Two Members of PMOI Abducted (UPDATE 1) -- 12/11/2005
Suicide Bombers Attack Police Academy (UPDATE 1) -- 12/06/2005
Update To December 1st Improvised Explosive Device Attack -- 12/06/2005
UPDATE: CH-47 Hard Landings -- 12/05/2005

Stay Tuned to ...

Friday, December 09, 2005

Crew Chiefs LOVE? Parked on Echo 4!

OK, I didn't intend for this to be a photo-blog today, but, this just brought back way too many memories.

(I hope A1C Caleb Pangborn doesn't mind me using his photo!)

If there ever was a tighter bond, it is between a plane and her Crew Chief! I have to tell you, there are sooo many times I can remember these sorts of conversations ...

Late at night, swing shift, cold and rainy, I'm on my back trying to remove the radome for the Doppler Nav antenna, flippin' speed handle is wet and the fasteners are being buggers (you Herc folks, you know the deal), and a head pops down with a big grin:
"Hey, can I help? She's gotta go in about 3 or so hours."

"I'm almost there - R-Square the antenna, quick check, she'll be ready ..." {grunt - screech - another bad fastener}

"It doesn't sound so good under there - how many?" (they always ask - there's an acceptable number of bad fasteners, and it's tight!)

"Uhhh, you better call sheet metal ..." (I hate this part, 'cause I know it's gonna blow his whole shift!)

"No problem - they owe me. And, hey, they're all in the chow hall right now, we're out here, and she's gotta go. I'll be back in a bit ..."

"OK, I'm crankin' on this as fast as I can."
Now, I'm pretty sure he was gone longer than it seemed. I swear I had just barely heard his boots going away from our parking spot! Then, here's that big grin again, and behind it is a speed handle and another crawler (great for races, when you're bored!) ...
"Move over - I'll take the aft side and we'll meet in the middle."

"You don't have to help - I am sure there's more stuff you need to do. Really."

"Hey, if they can't tell where they are going and where they are now, who cares what else is busted - it's all a wash! Drift into East German airspace ain't pretty, ya know?!"

['nother big grin!]

"Alright. Makes this go faster, that's for sure!"

"Hey, why don't you get crankin' on the antenna, and I'll just keep up on these. Maybe by the time sheet metal gets here, you can be ready to do the Ops Check ..."

"Great idea. This won't take long to R-Square."
Moments later, I'm not the only one worrying. I can hear as he is getting closer and closer to the end of his run, there is a bunch of "brass" on the tarmac. Damned if he didn't start pre-clearing all the holes for sheet metal!!! I've got the antenna out and am coming back with the new one.

Next thing ya know, sheet metal is here, looking around and kinda annoyed - then they see me. I'm kinda a bad omen for these guys. Every time I get under a '130' in ISO Docks, they sorta, cringe. There's more brass on the ground than at a live fire range full of Airborne Guys! That just means lots-O-work, in a small space on your back, and the tools are heavy and flat out not very cooperative all the time.

The reason I'm so tough on these fasteners? There was a crew that had a rapid depressurization, in flight, and there was a mishap. Just so happens that the Doppler Radome wasn't the prime culprit, but when it popped a few other things went bad. I'd hate to be inflight if that happened to me, and since I'm on the ground all the time, I won't let it happen to anyone else.

Turns out, the Chief and I were on the same wavelength - he knew who I was, too. His '130' was not going on a mission and have a failure either - no way!

From that moment on, it was like a well oiled machine. I did a quick check, which only made them have to stand around for about 20 minutes. This at least gave me the assurance that the antenna was good - full ASN-35 checks and such could wait until they finished.

As soon as sheet metal was gone, he and I buttoned her up, I fired up all systems, and in under 90 minutes we had all of this stuff done. Not earth shattering times, like at Red Flag, but hey, we worked together.

And that is ultimately the point, isn't it? When you truly love something, you'll do anything. All of us were for the mission. All of us had our jobs to do. We loved what we do ...

The Crew Chief - it's all about that Girl on Echo 4!

Stay Tuned to ...

US Air Force NEW Mission Statement

Just says it all!

Stay Tuned to ...

A-10s In A Row -- SWEET!!!

This photo just says, ooooh ...

It must be complete and utterly discomboobilating to see these coming at you, gattling gun (GAU-8 Avenger) blazing, ripping through the airspace. Damn good thing these are on OUR side!!!

More later - I've been developing a new blog template. So, sorry for the "radio silence" for so long. Keep things going ever positive!

Stay Tuned to ...

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Optimism Trumps Fear #6

The banner for this blog says it all, optimism ultimately defeats fear! Here's the sixth installment of the latest Press Releases. Progress, PROGRESS, PROGRESS!

Hello? Any positive reports out there from the greater stream of news? Thought not. Oh well, you know where to get the GOOD NEWS and weekly roundups!

Again, what a great week to tell you about! Even though we've had two really bad situations (CH-47 Emergency Landings), all in all the good stuff just keeps happening. We all can breath a sigh of relief to learn that those six soldiers injured in the two emergency landings are in stable condition. The Good Lord is watching out for them! God Speed!

I didn't get the opportunity at our last "round up" to talk about Operation Thunder Blitz! The primary objective is to clean up the local areas prior to the elections (Iraqi Elections, not US - sheesh, always looking for some sort of evil-angle!) so that Iraqis can vote. It's a major Clean Up on Aisle 5 whereby terrorists and varying weapons are getting the attention they deserve! So, it's sorta like the Giant Zamboni Machine in the Iraqi Theater!

[Photo Courtesy About.com and Zamboni.com]

Once they are done, we can drop the puck and get down to some serious work that makes for awesome history! I mean, all these boneheads need 5 minutes in the box (OK, stay on the hockey analogy, please) for major blue line offenses!!! Cross the line, get time!

Great news, have you read it already?!

"Wait for it ..."

Iraqi Government Assumes Control Of Borders!

Boo-Yah baby!

This is a GREAT step forward, and makes transition to the Iraqis truly possible. One good thing is that Iraq is in control of the flow of "terrorists for hire"! You can just hear it when you read the words straight from Iraqi's Minister of Defense, Saadoun al-Dulaimi:
"This is a historic day for Iraq," said al-Dulaimi. "I won't forget this day. The insurgents terrorists are no longer controlling the border. Our friends have helped us. We are now a country of freedom, of human rights, and of peace."
[i did the strike-through - more accurate!]

The ceremony was held on November 30th. It highlighted one more major success in the Global War on Terror, focused mainly in Iraq at this time. This success is the direct result of the cooperation of the Ministry of Defense, the Ministry of the Interior, and the Multi-National Force Iraq. This is truly historic! I hope that you have been able to see this news in other places than just here!?

To keep the momentum going, there was a very important conference held on November 29th and 30th. The primary goal was to set the strategic direction for Operation Iraqi Freedom in CY-2006. During the conference, Fatmir Mediu the Albania Minister of Defense was quite clear in stating that there is widespread progress in Iraq. In fact, the quote provides is as follows:
"... we need to share the same belief that Iraq is heading toward democracy and that the Iraqis are not left alone in their progress."
Again, words that the rest of the PMM (Prevaricating Media Machine) needs to heed and take to heart. Maybe someday ...

OH! And for those of you, and I know who you are, still take great interest in the Air Force, how about something new? It seems that there was another very historic flight, not like the one I reported on, but historic all the same! The Iraqi Air Force took control of their first C-130 flight just this last week! Now, to most this sounds trivial, but for those of us that have been responsible for thousands upon thousands of sorties, getting your first "bird"

in the air is AWESOME! I suspect the flight plan was within operational limits for their mission and in some small way supported a minor part of the overall mission. BUT, and that is a very big word here, they can now begin to take their airspace under control. That says a ton to those military history buffs out there. I can hear the words ringing true right now, "He who rules the air ..."

Oh yeah.

Bad Lots
Alright, when there are 33 terror suspects captured in one day, you gotta figure our troops are on the hunt! I mean, you just gotta read this quote from the press release:
"Moving rapidly into the area, hundreds of U.S. Soldiers from 3rd Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment and Iraqi Forces from the 1st Battalion, 2nd Commando Brigade (Wolf Battalion) took the enemy by surprise by securing seven different objectives areas along the Tigris River."

Yeah, our troops are "broken". Uh-huh, our troops are "hand to mouth".

Our troops are the best in the world! Sheesh!

Let's see, compare one conflict lasting decades and in the same theater, new forces, a campaign lasting a few weeks, with limited casualties. Can you think of another super power that just couldn't "seal the deal" and the great fighting force that "smeared the opposition"? I can say one word, and I think you'll be right there with me. Need I say the theater of campaign? It starts with an "A" ...

That LOOONG Arm!
To lock this one down, when it comes to the long arm of the law, I figured it'd be good to hear about this little activity. It seems that between the Iraqi and U.S. Military we removed more than 4,200 mortar rounds discarded/stored near Kirkuk. I guess the Iraqi soldiers discovered it and began to clear the area. Then, "lions and tigers and bears, oh my" it seems they quickly realized that there was more to be had than at first glance. From that point they figured a quick call to the 101st Airborne Division’s 1st Brigade Combat Team would be a good idea. When all this stuff is buried under concrete blocks and sand, sometimes there is more and more - ya just don't know. TSgt. Jennifer Wayne of the EOD Team said:
"I'm glad we found it over someone else. All those rounds are potential IEDs. We just stopped that many more IEDs."
Too true. And ya know, the less of those as we approach the elections, the better!

Well, carry on, here are the highlights!

[Ending December 4th, 2005]

The GOOD = 17
USCENTAF Pakistan Relief Summary -- 12/02/2005
New Iraqi Air Force Marks Major Milestone -- 12/02/2005
Operation Shank Begins In Ramadi -- 12/02/2005
Operation Iron Hammer Progresses -- 12/01/2005
Iraqi Government Assumes Control Of Borders -- 12/01/2005
Soldiers Find Weapons Caches, Terrorists On Island -- 11/30/2005
Iraqi 2nd Army Brigade Ready To Take Over Babil Province -- 11/30/2005
Operation Iraqi Freedom Coalition Conference: "Maintaining Post-Election Momentum -- 11/30/2005
Kirkuk Weapons Cache Still Yielding Ammunition -- 11/30/2005
MNDCS Completes Projects in ad Diwaniyah -- 11/30/2005
Iraqi, U.S. Forces Capture 33 Terror Suspects -- 11/30/2005
Iraqi Soldiers and U.S. Marines, Sailors And Soldiers Begin Operations -- 11/30/2005
Multiple Caches Uncovered By Iraqi and U.S. Forces -- 11/29/2005
Iraqi Security Forces Along With Multi-National Forces Continue Partnership to F -- 11/29/2005
Soldiers Seize Weapons Cache, Detain 4 Terrorists -- 11/28/2005
Expeditionary Strike Group 8 Transits the Suez Canal -- 11/28/2005
Massive Weapons Cache Discovered Near Kirkuk -- 11/28/2005

Two CH-47 Chinooks Make Emergency Landings in Southern Afghanistan; Six Injured -- 12/04/2005

Operation Shank Update -- 12/02/2005
Iraq, U.S. Forces Capture 33 Terror Suspects -- 11/30/2005

Stay Tuned to ...

CH-47 Chinooks make EMERGENCY LANDINGS!!!

Six soldiers were injured today when two CH-47 Chinooks made EMERGENCY LANDINGS in southern Afghanistan - both in separate operations against the terrorists there. One of the CH-47s was near a FOB south of Tarin Kowt. In this incident, one Afghan National Army soldier was injured and rushed to a nearby field hospital. The other 5 US Soldiers were injured when their CH-47, during an operation just north of Kandahar, was forced to land which resulted in severe damage to the aircraft.

Always the best to hear in these situations is that none of their injuries were serious, and all the soldiers are in stable condition.

I'll have this highlighted in my wrap up, but here is the link so that you can go there now:

CH-47 Emergency Landings

God Speed for all involved!

Now, if you are the Seattle Times, you hook people in by stringing two stories together to make it LOOK LIKE two soldiers died in the emergency landings.

Here's their headline: Two dead in attack in Afghanistan; U.S. helicopters make emergency landings

Sad how it continues to be readership and headlines that shock over reality. There are actually three separate incidents and two different stories.

Why not separate them? It isn't like they are trying to save print/ink/paper! Sheesh, you can be an excessive environmentalist and save ink and paper from landfills, so ya jockey two stories together - oh, and make it look like one big huge story!

Yikes. Has it been raining up there so much that they are beginning to experience cabin fever, thereby resulting in delirium that affects their stories ... ???

Naw, I think you all know the answer to this one.

Stay Tuned to ...

Thursday, December 01, 2005

The Push is On! Day 8!

Boo-Yah! We're on the home stretch and we took a small detour "across the pond" to hear from Carol of Planningblog.com for the 8th Day of the 14 Day Push Back! I do realize that for me, Andi picked someone that is living where my most recent history began - my Dad is from the UK (Manchester to be exact). He served in the RAF during WWII, at RAF Sculthorpe. I went TDY as a USAF Buck Sergeant to RAF Sculthorpe about 40 years later ... indeed ... ???

I sense the British "air" and "sun" in Carol's post ... just a wee bit.

Someone get me elastics before my braces get caught beneath my rubbers! Where's my bumbershoot?!

Carol is posting from her blog as the London Pushback. Or, as her subheading states, "Living in my own private Idaho." I'm not sure how Idaho and London are on the same plane, but, Idaho has lots of spuds, and Brits eat tons of "chips" ... hmmm ... where's the malt vinegar when ya need it!

Even though Carol longs for the days when warm winter sidewalks can bear her bare feet to pick up "The Times of Old", her point is one that pierces to the heart of the media failure today:
"...biased, untruthful reporting is bad for business."
The L.A. Times may have been a great institution in days of yore. Today, however, Carol posits that as they continue to spin, prevaricate, and omit, their future becomes ever more bleak at an alarming rate. In fact, as fighter pilots will tell you, target fixation is a dangerous thing, and the media does not see the ground rushing at them - they cannot pull out. When the L.A. Times' parent company is instituting layoffs and their advertisers are running for the exits faster than movie goers at a Barbarella Revival Showing, you'd think they'd get a clue and pull up and ease off the throttle!

If you've ever crested the lip of a sand trap to see that dreaded "fried egg" .. uh-huh, you get the picture!

And, if you thought that was all, Carol gives a quick look into what the European Elite (code for the French) see as the most important thing about Saddam's trial. My oh my, what a colossal waste of readership goes on over there!

You really need to go here to get the full effect! You won't be sorry!

Onward and upward folks, as the 14 Day Push Back! powers on. We've heard from Second Amendment Rages, Guest Sages, Flight Level Gauges, and now Media Vestiges. I'm not sure, but since Andi said that our last post is a surprise, $10 says it isn't one of Lady Claridge's Hats! My guess is we all need to circle back and check Andi's Blog for the answer.

Stay Tuned to ...

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