29 April 2006

A nation of immigrants

I have been paying attention to this whole illegal vs legal immigration debate that has seem to pop up recently. This sort of debate is not uncommon in this nation's history. However, I haven't seen such hatred and vitriol in the longest time as the debate currently has become. I don't know if it is the extremists on both sides of the aisle trying to direct it, but this is starting to get silly. This nation has always been a nation of immigration and movement. Even the Native Americans weren't here originally, the immigrated from different parts of Europe and Asia. Most of the people here have arrived at some time in their families history.

I know my own family were mainly immigrants from Germany at two different time periods. My fathers side came to the US during the rise of Otto Von Bismarck in Prussia and his attempts to unite the Prussian states. My great-great-great-and a few more greats-grandfather arrived in New Orleans around 1858 and settled into the Illinois side of the St. Louis area starting a blacksmith and carpentry shop. He joined the militia and because of previous military service (he fought as a member of his local Prussian citiy's Milita) was elected to be captain of the company from the area. The company he was with marched south with Gen. Sherman and meet his future wife up in around the hills of Georgia and the rest as they say is history. I read notes and journals of his and his family from that time period. He was happy to be an American and to be in American making do with what he could to make his town better and to become integrated. He belonged to the local social German social club, the local Civil War vets group and basically turned himself into a find upstanding member of the city, state, and nation. Though they spoke German for the most part, they also learned to speak and write English and made sure that their kids "...became fine Americans too by speaking only English to them." The worst thing that happened to my father's family was that my great-grandmother's family had to change their name because of the hate stirred up by President Woodward Wilson's (a progressive democrat by the way) about the German people. So they changed their name from a traditional Germanic sounding one to a more English (as in UK) sounding one. One of my relatives actually dug up an article about a lynch mob from St. Louis coming close to stringing up cousin of the family because he spoke with a slight German accent and was applying to work for a manufacturing company making ship boiler parts for the World War one war effort.

My mothers side most of her family arrived around the turn of the century. My great-grandfather settled into an area around Philadelphia. He went to work at a local manufacturing mill. After being settled for a couple of years paid to bring his wife over from Germany. They both came through one of the receiving areas for immigrant control in Philadelphia. After being cleared by the authorities, then became American citizens. From there both of them became up-standing members of the town they lived in. My great-grandmother stayed at home as was the family tradition, while my great-grandfather worked at the mill and served as a member of the volunteer fire-squad. They made sure that their 3 kids went to school and although they could speak English it was with a heavy accent, they too made sure that the kids learned English and became Americans as well. My grandfather picked up his nickname because of the fact that up until his father passed away he use to be able to speak German with an understanding. His mother took to English better then his father, so after joining the Navy himself (my grandfather)during World War 2. He lost for the most part how to speak German, since most of the people he knew in town and the navy spoke English.
Again, this side of the family went through all sorts of problems during World War 1, when my great-grandfather was actually investigated by the precursor of the FBI and almost lost his job. However the company found that he was a hard worker and that he had no ties to any of the "evil Germans" stereotypes that the Wilson administration had created. Though a few of their neighbors had to move because of the hate being created. The worst though happened during the run up to and the start of World War 2. The family was again investigate by the FBI for ties to German or Italian fascists. Mainly because my great-grandfather use to play cards at the social club with a couple of gentlemen who had very loose ties to the German-American Bund. He was cleared of doing nothing more then just knowing a couple of people and sharing a card and kind word with them. It did affect my grandfather and his brother, because they both had joined the Navy. My grandfather had the capability to enter the intelligence side of the house, again because he could speak German with some degree of fluency, however because the FBI had flagged the family instead be became an engine mechanic working down in Corpus Christi Naval Air Station working on N3N's that were used to train new US Naval Aviators. My uncle was talented enough to get into electronics, but instead he had to chose something non-vital and instead went on to become a Hospital Corpsman and served on a US Navy LST that was part of the D-Day landings and was attacked by a German E-Boat on a return from Normandy with injured soldiers. He rose to the occasion and from reading the paperwork on him was award the Navy-Marine Corps Medal for being the surviving corpsman of the ships company and directing the treatment of over 20 severely injured personnel. At the end of the war my grandfather got out of the Navy and went to work for Pepperidge Mill factory in his home town and settled down. My uncle went on to serve a few more years and retired as a HM1 from the Philadelphia Naval Hospital and went on to serve as a health inspector for same town he grew up in. My uncle died of a heart attack before I had a chance to really know him. Both of them though became what their parents wanted of them and that was to become productive members of America.

Why do I bring all of this up? Well the big debate is over whether we should give carte blanc passes to citizenship to a number of the illegals. That seems to me a spit in the face and a kick in the knee to all of those that struggled and have struggled to become citizens of this great nation through out its history and have faced the problems of trying to assimilate themselves into this nation while still staying true to their own heritage. So why do those that are protesting un willing to try and assimilate themselves and take the measures that are required to become American Citizens?

Some bad days at the office

I like to collect aviation photos and navy related photos. I hawk a number of different photo uploading sites looking for interesting photos. Along with trading some with friends who do the same thing. Anyhow, here are some shots that I have dug up from when a bad day happens while flying naval aircraft.

A shot of a AD-6 settling after suffering a bad catapult shot while trying to launch onboard the USS Valley Forge CV-45, also known as the Happy Valley.

The shot of an AD-6 where the pilot has mis-judged his landing and is about the smack the flight deck and spin over the side. One can only guess what caused this incident. I am close to thinking that he got a wave off too late from the LSO. The Platform you can see just to the right side of the picture and at the end of the flight deck

A KA-6D of VA-176 catching fire on the flight deck. But you can see the air crew has already jettisoned the canopy and are either getting ready to eject or jump out. The flightdeck member near the bottom of the shot is or has signaled the fire to the aircrew. If I remember what lead up to this from the person who sent it to me was this. The connection between the centerline drop tank and the fuel lines failed and started to spew fuel at hi pressure all over the place. Which was then caught in the hot exhaust. Heat and JP-5 don't mix well.

This was a shot taken by an uncle of mine. From when he was onboard the USS Constellation CV-64 during the Vietnam war. This looks like a typical scene of aircraft getting ready to launch. However in the back ground is an F-4B of one of the fighter squadrons onboard just hanging off the side of the ship. What had happen was that the plane had its brakes fail while recovering and the pilot spun into catwalk in the area on the bow of the ship from where the angle deck ended. They had to leave the plane there until the ship returned to NS Subic Bay in the Philippines for a pier crane to lift the plane out of its problem. They were able to resuce the crew by using the deck crane "Tilly" with a basket over the side and after the crash and smash crews broke the canopies, they pulled the aircrew to safety. My uncle told me that the RIO turned in his wings that next day after spending some time in sickbay recovering.

A shot of another AD-6 this time landing on the USS Philippine Sea CV-47. Due to damage of some sort, the plane has exploded and you can see the engine wants to keep going down the flight deck.

Anyhow, Naval Aviation is a dangerous job and when you have accidents they can be pretty bad. Just keep that in mind each time you watch "Top Gun",older epsoides of "JAG", and even some better movies such as "Bridges At Toko-Ri" or "Men of the Fighting Lady" .

Oh and if any of you fine readers have some interesting pictures of naval aircraft or navy ships I would love to get them. Use my email link at the sidebar to contact me.


27 April 2006

The demographics of the US Military or how anti-military folks have it wrong.

I have stated in previous postings that I read Mrs. Michelle Malkin from time to time. Today she posted something that caused me to sit up and think and do some research. It is about the ROTC program at UNC-Chapel Hill, they had their building vandalized. One of the most common comments made by anti-military folks is how the US military purposely recruits from the inner-cities, the lower-income, and lower educated Americans and sends all of those people to go out and fight the wars started by rich, educated, white folks.
So digging around via the US Department of Defense's own homepage, www.defenselink.mil, I found the bi-annual report of population representation, over as a link on the Office of Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness. Which is run by the Honorable Dr. David S. C. Chu, who by the way was in the US military as a junior officer during Vietnam and actual served over there.
Anyhow, getting back to my comments, if you check out the following web page for the Population Representation of 2002. Over all this website is full of interesting stats concerning one of the largest employers in the United States of America. That is the US Military. It covers and breaks everything down from ages, ethnicity, sex, education, etc. Typical government stats. There are some interesting highlights and for those of you motivated to read this it will give you some wonderful insight in to the basic stats of those who join the US Military. The report writers also contrast this to the National average of civilian workers as reported to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.
So now that we have the basics out of the way, let us take a look at a few salient and important statistics about the US Military.

First off, ethnicity or race.
Looking at this page for those that apply to join the military (which since 1998 the study has included both Officers and enlisted of all the branches and in 1999 the US Coast Guard was included in the study). Then if we look at these two pages for the enlisted and then these pages for the officers. We can see something very interesting. First off, out of the 309,000 applicants to enter the US Military over 64% of them were white males across the board (into all of the major branches). Followed by about 19% were blacks coming into the US military (the highest being in to US Navy and then the US Air Force). Almost the same sort of break down occurs among women. However, the percentages are lower for white women coming in by about 10% and higher by 10% of black women.
Just think about that one for a second folks. What does that tell us, well remembering just my basic stats class from high school, that the US military sees a higher number of White men applying to join up and a large number of white and black women join up. Now the study makes it clear that the applicants are those who and I quote from the summary page:

Applicants are those individuals who express an interest in joining one of
the military services by visiting a recruiter and then following through with
their intentions by completing background paperwork and submitting to a physical
and/or taking the ASVAB. Not all applicants are eligible to enlist, for example
certain medical conditions disqualify an applicant from serving in the military.
Some applicants change their mind regarding enlistment before completing the
process. Thus, not all applicants join one of the Services (those that do join
are called accessions, see the next section for a discussion of Active Component

Accessions as laid out in the quote above are those who look at it all that the services offer and for one reason or another decide to walk away. Well the numbers are just about the same if you look at the writers break down on the next few pages.
For those that actually make it into the active duty force the break down is even more interesting in that it doesn't change. Looking at this page here and this one . We can see that the numbers still run higher for most folks that are considered white Caucasians. Hmmm.....
You know I could go on with all of this, but you all can read it for yourselves and draw your own conclusions about the break down of race in the US Military. Let us move on.

2nd: Education.
The second most common complaint about the US Military is they sucker uneducated people to join up. Well that isn't true at all either. Again looking at their stats just for the active duty force on this page. Which covers the Enlisted only, the report writers break education down the following ways, again to quote the report:

Tier 1—Regular high school graduates, adult diploma holders, and non-graduates
with at least 15 hours of college credit.
Tier 2—Alternative credential
holders, including those with a General Education Development (GED) certificate
of high school equivalency.
Tier 3—Those with no education credential.

So just looking at the active duty folks (IE the regular Army, Navy, Air Force). Across the board well above 90% of them have achieved at least a High School Diploma. Hmmmm.... compare that stat to this one,
which contrasts the education levels of the US Military vs the civilian work force. On average the US military enlisted members are better educated then those just entering the work force or those in the basic laborer position by 2-3%.
While the actual applicants themselves, well just look at this table. You will see that again on an average most of those that apply for the US military are in the Tier I range at 89% or better across the race spectrum. When compared to the civilian population who are just barely breaking out of the 80's.
Most population statisticians will tell you that for a work force the earning potential of of your work force is wholly dependent on their education. So if over 90% of the applicants are in the Tier 1 group which as the report says are High School Grads, have a night school diploma, or even though they didn't finish high school have at least 15+ credits of college then these are people that are usually in the middle class by most economic observers. Hmmm....

3rd point that I want to bring up is where these people work.
Again looking at the report we see this table. Which breaks down by race and by broad general fields where a precentage of personnel work just in the active duty force. I could go into in detail, but basic cut and dry about this is the following about where people work, there are not a higher precentage of any race in any of the more dangerous fields in the military.


I have have been writing this off and one for about 3hrs now and I just came to a realization. Which is the folks that will want to read this will read it and take some of the information that I am presenting as a possibility that the US military isn't as racists as the kooks on the extreme left wing want to present it. So the people that I am hoping are going to read this are my fellow mil bloggers and take some of the information I present and put thier own spin on it from what they see in the trenches, on the flight decks, in the submarines, on the flight line, and in the 5-sided wind tunnel.
To those of you that don't believe in the US Military, well the most I can say is thank you for your support.

*Recently edited 31DEC06 to fix broken links

A little bit of history for you all.

One of the first Joint Ops, between the US Army and the US Navy occurred on the 18th of April 1942. Here is the US Department of Defense's website tribute page to it. The Doolittle Raid, were a number of B-25B's were flown off the USS Hornet to bomb Tokyo. There are also a couple of good books about the incident, the first if Gen. Doolittle's own autobiography "I Could Never Be So Lucky Again : An Autobiography" and then there is the book written by then Captain Ted Lawson called "Thirty Seconds over Tokyo". Capt. Lawson's book was later made into a movie during the war .

Just something to think about as you watch the news and listen to the war in Iraq. That there are still heroes and will always be heroes in this world. The folks that rise up to achieve something important, but don't think about it until others recognize them.

20 April 2006

Hi jinks, Fun, and excitement while ashore part 4

Last time on the new hit blog "Southern Air Pirate's Haze Gray Thoughts ", we saw Southern and his crew come to Miami and deal with an expiration of liberty, meet some interesting girls in a boat before the sheriff broke them up, Be a tour guide on USS Old Ship, Now for the final part of "Hi jinks, Fun, and excitement while ashore".

So as I said last time, I have a family member whose father owned a club down here in Miami. After talking to my cousin's wife she gave me the address to her father's club and the number to his home. So around lunch time I called him first at his house, thinking of inviting him out to the ship and show him around and probably enjoy lunch. Didn't get an answer there, so I tried the club. After getting a secretary and fighting to try and get through her to talk to this gentleman for about 15mins. I finally was able to get through and talk to him. He said that he couldn't do lunch since he was meeting with members of the Chamber of Commerce and screening a few new DJ's for his club. So it was going to be a working lunch. However, he told me that it was free for me and some of my friends to get in that night at the club if I wanted to. All I had to due was walk up to the bouncer and say that Mr. Big was my friend and I could get in.
So after spending a great day at a beach side restaurant and bar watching the U of Miami vs FSU game and watching the girls in bikini's or short-shorts. We all pile into a cab and head over to this club. It was over near Miami Beach and actual had an entrance that sat on the beach along with one that was street side. The place was really moving and grooving. It also had the standard Hollywood cliched entrance set up. That is the long velvet rope, large muscle bound bouncer, people waiting to get in; you get the idea right? So I took it all in for a few moments, now I came from a small town that had a college in it where even the most happening place was just a little college bar that has some disco lights and a DJ. Nothing too exciting. Here I am with about 5 of my close friends getting ready to step into the serious big leagues. Then I also notice the typical clothing that the people were wearing and I realized that all of us were seriously under dressed. Most of those people waiting to get in were wearing some bordering on "Miami Vice" wear up to some very upscale Brooks Brothers gear. Most of us were in a simple polo shirt and either blue jeans or some slacks.
A couple of my friends wanted to back down, so did I to a point, yet at the same time this man gave me this offer and I didn't know when I would be back in to the Miami area. So I walked from where the cab dropped us across the street to the entrance. I walked up to the the bouncer, who looked like a very bad cross of Randy the Macho Man Savage and Peyton Manning. If you can't imagine this, think of a person with Peyton's face but with the muscles of Randy "The Macho Man". This bouncer just didn't seem to have that look to scare anyone.
Anyhow, I walk up to this joker and first thing out of his mouth is to me is; "What the F---- are you doing! You need to leave."
Upon which I turned on the charm and proceeded to tell him that I was here to speak with Mr. Big and if he would be so kind as to take the phone on his little podium and make a call.
He then told me to do something, that I really consider to be a physical impossibility.
Most of my friends told me to back down and just leave the asshole alone to pretend he is big and bad; that I should just leave him alone with his "Road house" fantasy.
I said again in a very nice tone if I could borrow his phone so that I could call a cab. At which the joker agreed, however he let me dial (moron!). So I dialed my friend in the club and told him what was up. After the bouncer heard me start to drop names he tried to grab the phone from me. My friend put a call over their radio that the bouncer was to let me and anyone else in my party in, and oh stop by the ticket booth and collect his last pay check.
So the floor manager for the club came out and escorted us in, all the time making apologies. I stated I was cool with the whole experience. My best friend from work, Jason stated that he had been thrown out of worst clubs before and in general the rest of the guys I was with though annoyed were cool with it and amazed once we got out to our table. Which was a semi-private booth in a corner close to the dance floor. On top of that there were a number of very stunning girls in this place.
We found out that is was a place where you paid 10-15 dollars to get in the door and had a table for the night, then it was close to 60-80 dollars for the drinks. What they did was the table had the basic drink mixing set and they would bring you a bottle or two and enough glasses so you could make some basic drinks. That was if you paid to sit at a table. The other way this place made cash was with just having people pay a 5-8 dollar cover and they could order drinks from the bar tenders or waitress's. Overall, we all looked at each other and realized that we were going to be paying through the nose for some serious drinking.
As we sat around taking the whole place in, my family friend showed up and introduced himself around to everyone. He also told us that drinks were on the house for us, all we had to do was show our military IDs to the waitress's or bar tenders.
So it was like that after a while we adjusted to everything. Got to meet the people the next table over from us, dance on the floor. In general have a great time.
That was about midnight, the next table over from us had some very nice looking girls and a couple male companions all sitting there drinking. Most of us were taking these 4 girls and trying to figure out how to separate them from their dates. It was my friend Jason, who took the initiative mainly cause he was half in the bag, so he just got up from our table and walked over to these girls and started to make small talk. Now Jason is 6ft and weighed in around 220-250 even and had a build of a football player and was one of those types of guys would could get any girl he talked to after about 5-10 minutes, he also never meet a fight that he didn't like. Anyhow, the guys these girls were with had the look of annoyance on their face. So the rest of us walked up to stand behind Jason. Cause you can't let a shipmate down nor get into a fight alone.
As the conversation progressed and the girls were starting to leave their dates and start for our table. One of the guys answered up with this statement and it basically lead to us leaving a lot earlier then we all planned, "You don't have the balls to try and steal my girl friend from me."
Jason answered up with this action and statement, he dropped his jeans and skivvies and said "Why I do believe I have the balls joker and am probably more of a man then your tiny manhood could ever be for these girls"

I don't know if any of you fine readers out there have ever been in a moment were it seemed all time stopped and your little Jimmy Cricket answered up that some quick phrase about your life. However, the minute that happened it did seem as though time stopped, my Jimmy Cricket told me that I was going to jail and that I should grab my friends and run. However it was worst then that, all the music seemed to stop everyone in this club looked at us, 4 sailors dressed like average joes and one with his pants around his ankles screaming for everyone to look at his manhood. At which, I said "Check please." told the rest of the guys to get Jason dressed and into a cab ready to roll to the boat, I would be right behind. It was a quick run to the door, with Jason screaming his phone number to the girls and that he could take on their boyfriends.
I asked the floor manager to take me up to Mr. Big's office. I was absolutely mortified and scared. I walked into a place that had a small window that looked over the place and cameras watching everything else along with a radio repeater from the bouncers radio system. I came in ready to apologize and faced a high back chair looking at the window. I started to make my apologies, when my friend answered up that he in 25yrs of running various clubs and hotels never had seen anything like that. I started again to make my apologies when he spun around and was laughing like a hyena. He told me that it was great to have a few guys like us to shake some of these stuff shirts up for a while. It did them good, he gave me a card and told me if I was ever in the area again to drop on by any time to say hi or stay and enjoy the club again. I bounded down to the door, got in the cab and went back to the ship. Still wondering if the police were waiting for me at fleet landing to arrest us for being public nuisances.
We made it back to the boat with about an hour and a half to spare till it was time to come in. Most of the rest of the guys wanted to stay out, I told them I had enough fun and excitement for the night. So I staggered on board, grabbed a soda from the geedunk machines near my shop. Went in watched some TV as thought about the night. After firing off an email to my new friend again apologizing for the incident and asking if he was free for breakfast in the morning, I staggered off to bed.

19 April 2006

What the Hell happened to my country!

One of the op-ed people that I read from time to time is Michelle Malkin. Now I don't agree with her a hundred percent of the time, but she does challenge me to think about the ideas that she presents. The same is true when I read Thomas Friedman or any of the other op-ed folks that present their ideas in my local newspaper or online at the Opinion Journal.
So she commented on the incident at UCSC between the Students Against War of UCSC and US Military recruiters. First by commenting on it and then posting the press release that the UCSC SAW released themselves in another comment about the incident. Basically Mrs. Malkin got in the middle of a hate filled war between those on the left side of the aisle and the right.
Some of the people that read her web page proceeded to use the information in a public press release to contact the people involve and they left hate email, voice mail, and general harassment. Then those on the left started to do the same to Mrs. Malkin and other websites that posted about her little fight. Finally, a number of the left leaning websites have linked to a website that purports to attack racists in America. This site has a link to their own briefing on Mrs. Malkin with her contact information.
I have been thinking about all of this and wonder how some of this hate and animosity is going to go before we have an incident, similar to what happened in Holland back in 2004. Where a film maker, started to ask tough questions of the Islamic faith, and a religious leader made inflammatory remarks about the film maker. This in turn lead to him being shot and stabbed by a man of Moroccan background.
I remember a few years back during the major height of the abortion debate, a number of groups for the anti-abortion side used the new power of the internet to post doctors information of those that they suspected of doing abortions. This in turned lead to a few of them being killed by unbalanced people.
I would just love to know at what time in history that politics changed in the United States. Where it was decided that you had to belong on either the black or the white side of a subject. Where if you asked tough questions to either side of a debate you were attacked as a hate monger/idiot/moron and whatever else you can think of. Even worst is some how more and more violence is getting involved in American Politics, the worst are those of my generation or just younger. Those kids that grew up under the Reagan era and the started to become interested while Bush Sr and Clinton were in office. What use to be simple, non-violent protests against the systems that their parents or grandparents did has now become drag out street fights between the system and these kids.
Yet when you challenge them to a lively debate and try to get some of these people to talk about the subject outside of their prepared statements, a deer in the headlights look appears or they leave screaming that you are an or finally they just act like little kids that are aged 2-4 and not the grown adults they purport to be.
Somewhere the free flow and exchange of debate between two sides has stopped. That isn't' good folks. When the exchange stops, then bad things happen. They usually go from bad to worst before they will ever get better.
I know that some people give the idea that the stoppage of ideas is because of a rise of Political Correctness, but I am not completely sure. Rather I would just attribute it to the extremists on both sides that have seized the public air waves and blaming the other side for the problems in the world. Whether that is Air America, Rush Limbaugh, Bill O'Reilly or whoever else it out there. We have seen extremists seized control of nearly all major debates and prevented honest and frank discussion between people. I try to listen to all of these people, I don't have to agree with them but I do try and listen to understand what is ticking through their minds, let alone that they try and get me to think about what they are saying. Then either I agree with it or I generate my own response to the issue being raise.
It really isn't that hard folks, just take time out to think about both the groups you belong too and those that you don't agree with. Take a chance and listen to what they are saying, because if you don't then all we are doing to talking past each other. When that happens no one is listening.

18 April 2006

Japanese Solider found in the Ukriane after 60yrs

The article here is from an online news clearing house.

Just a interesting article I found while catching up with the news. I had heard of Japanese soliders being found through out the Pacific up to 20 and 30yrs after the war ended. A number of them were found in the Phillippines and on Guam still believed the war was being fought.

Hi jinks, Fun, and excitement while ashore part 3

Last Southern Time and on this Southern Channel we learn that our hero had pulled into Miami/ Ft. Lauderdale for their "Fleet Week" celebration. He was trying to survive his duty day and had just been flashed by some fine, up standing members of the U of Miami female student body.

So after seeing this boat with all these good looking female bodies going by very early in the morning on a really nice morning. It made me feel happy to live. About 10minutes after that fun and excitement, the voice of god came over the flight deck announce system.
"Alright folks, you have seen the exciting highlight of the day. Man up for your tour spots, first tour group is on its way up. Stand by to run el 4, el 4 going to the flight deck, run el 4."
Upon which a loud ringing and buzzing happened and in the far corner of the ship's flight deck the aircraft elevator named "elevator 4" went up from the hangar bay with about 200 people all being lead by the poor saps who actually had to travel all over the ship taking people to the different tour spots. After it stopped and the safety stanchions were taken down, the tour guides basically let people go and say once you have walked the flight deck and told everyone meet up at the base of the island and they would go one with the rest of the tour.
Now I was standing under neath an F-14 we had and because "Top Gun" is generally one of people most favorite movies they can identify with it right away, I was mobbed by about 100 some odd people all trying to take pictures of it. They ducked underneath it as they walked from the nose to the tail, took pictures of it all from all over, put their kids in front of it took pictures, put their kids next to me in and had me hold them as they took pictures of me with their pictures. To me it filled me with a large about of pride about being in the Navy and doing the job that I like to do. I also gave my little spiel about what was being shown at this moment in the aircraft launch procedure. Gave a description of all the chaos that went on to launch and recover aircraft. Fielded questions, etc. Like I said, I really enjoyed and got pride out of people saying. The whole day went like that, elevator 4 would run, a mass a people, answer questions, tried to keep the people from bumping their heads on the airplanes, send them on their happy way to see the rest of USS Old Ship
The scariest moments during my day was when a couple of "Mr. Geedunks" were all looking around the plane and stared to get right under the tail hook and take pictures of the assembly. Well even though the hook was had a safety pin in it, it still weights about 75-80 pounds and comes down with some force when there isn't any hydraulic power on the plane. I had seen it happen earlier in a different underway period watch an experienced maintainer actually break his foot because when he pulled the safety pin out to ready the airplane to be moved the tail hook wasn't completely stowed and it came down and the point landed on his foot. Crushed the steel toe of his safety boot right around his toes and broke his foot.
The best moment was when a group of high school girls came through from their school science class and came to look at where science and math could lead them. While their teacher/chaperone's was off looking at something else they surrounded me and had pictures taken with me, wearing my white hat and neckerchief, both individually and as a group. A couple of the attractive girls when they had their pictures taken with kissed me on each cheek. A couple of them when they had their individual photos taken tried to re-enact the closing scene from "Officer and a Gentleman". You know the one there Richard Gere's character carried Debra Winger's character out of the paper mill. That moment gave me a warm and fuzzy feeling for a different reason. I traded information with the instructor for that group and corresponded with that little group for a couple of years. I think a couple of those girls thought about it and maybe got turned by my recruiting efforts because I just saw one of them going through aircraft specific training recently were I am at now, and last time I talked to them was about 6-7yrs ago.
The part that broke my heart about that day was when a tour group from the local veterans group came on board. There were the Desert Storm vets, Vietnam War vets, Korean, and some World War 2 vets. When they all came up, I did my spiel and listen intently with rapture as they told some of their war stories. Yet it was when one of the World War 2 vets who came up to me hobbling on a cane with a vest marked with the vets hall that he belonged to on, thanked me for doing my job. I talked to him for a little bit and found out that he was on the other USS Oldship during World War 2 from the start to the end. I got looking at his vest again and saw that they had stitch into a spot where we normally wear our ribbons that he had a couple of the ribbons reserved for some heroics that fall between the Navy Cross and the Navy Achievement medal. Seeing a member of the World War 2 generation come up and give me the hand shake and a pat on the back again gave me the emotion overload.
The last moment from that day that really got my warm and fuzzy meter pegged was when a kid that wasn't much older then 5 or 6 came up to me and asked me if I was a real sailor. It was almost like that Applebee's commerical, that shows the kid talking to the proby firefighter and asking him if he is a real fire fighter.

I went through this day doing this in 4hr stints from 8am till about 730 that night. At the end of the day even though I had intially bitch and complianed as was my right being an E-3 about being tasked with it initally. I really felt good and proud to be wearing my uniform that day. That night when i had a quick chance to hit the pier and use the phones down there I made some calls home and to some other family. Talking a cousin and his wife, she mentioned that her father owned a club down in the Miami area. I had meet the man once when I was up seeing them and playing with thier kids. He was an interesting man to sit and talk with, he had spent a lot of time in the FL and Bermuda area running various night clubs and resturants, he left me with an open invitation that if I was ever in the region I could get in free. My cousin's wife gave me the name of this night club, I decided with my day of liberty the next day to go and visit the place when it opened.

15 April 2006

College and my future

One of the things I did this past week was enjoy time with my family and friends. We went up in to the mountains near a cousin's home and did some fishing, beer drinking, and talk about our lives. Due to my job, I hadn't had a chance to be with them that often.
Most of my family is blue-collar. The cousins that I spent time with were pipefitters by trade and have been doing that for about 20-30yrs. My grandfather taught my dad how to weld and be a pipe fitter as well. My dad took his welding skills and for a while played around in the dirt track racing circut in the mid-west while playing around in college. He joined the Navy near when his draft number was getting called up and the rest is history as they say.
Well I putzed around in college too when I graduated from Hometown HS. I didn't really do much beyond not care about school, now that I think about it I was just burned out of school and wanted to get away. So too joined the Navy and have enjoyed it since.
During this little get together, one of the things that was brought up by everyone I talked to was how they wished they could of gone to college. The person (my oldest cousin living near me) I was staying with was about the same age as my father was was looking to retire. It was interesting to hear from him that he had wish he went to college instead of going right out and getting a trade. One of the really interesting things he did was go up to Alaska and work on sections of the oil pipeline. I know that he earned enough and put away some money for his kids to go to college and was proud of how they turned out. There was plenty of that coming too from some of the other friends and family that I hung out with.
So after coming home a couple of days ago, I have decided to do it and am going back to school. I have decided to start slow and take a class at a college featured at the local Navy College office. I don't know how much I will get done, but I want to get back into the groove. See if I like staying up until the crack of dawn finishing a postion paper, you know all the rest of the fun college stuff. I am almost 30 and have moved past the typical drunken frat boy stuff, so i don't really need to experience that side. Got enough of that being overseas at various port calls, besides some places in S. Europe are more fun then any frat party I have ever been too.
Maybe I will get enough done to drop an officer conversion package and convert to the dark side and become a regular line officer. That would be something to be down in Pensacola after 90-day wonder school and have ensign bars pinned on my shoulders by my father while he wears a "CWO for CNO " or "Hard to be humble when your a Mustang" t-shirt.

If any of you gentle readers out there have any good pictures of a Mustang Patch, LDO/CWO patch that poke fun celebration of thier status when compared to regular line officers please email me a link. I would love to add one to my collection of pictures near the bottom of this blog.

Military Recuriters still being harassed at colleges

So catching up with the news while you have been out of contact with the world can be interesting and daunting. One of the things that happened to catch my eye was this about the protest against military recruiters at a UC Santa Cruz job fair. That was followed by this and this. Now UC Santa Cruz has been catching fire and flak from the conservative side of the house and doesn't like it.
Again I am no legal eagle, but the Solomon amendment (read it again)made it abundantly clear and as I pointed out in my earlier post on this same subject. The amendment makes it clear that the Secretary of Defense can pull all federal funding to this institute of higher education.
What does it mean, well to quote the law:

Covered Funds. - (1) The limitation established in
subsection (a) applies to the

(A) Any funds made available for the Department of

(B) Any funds made available in a Departments of Labor, Health
and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations
(2) The limitation established in
subsection (b) applies to the

(A) Funds described in paragraph

(B) Any funds made available for the Department of
Homeland Security.

Okay. So that includes all money from the US Department of Defense, Department of Labor, HHS, Education, and selected other members of the executive branch.
Well we don't take money from the Department of Defense? You don't? What about projects funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency? They give out loans and grants to all sort of technology, science, biology sciences. DARPA were some of the people that funded the initial development of the world wide web. They have developed some of the newer riot control agents used by police forces through out the US like pepper spray rounds that can be fired from a shotgun and containment foam. They have their fingers in a large number of different projects. Think of losing some of that money.
US Department of Labor gives you funding things such as equal employment opportunity council, training to understand workers rights, wage rights, training on health plans, training for understanding your OHSA rights, etc.
Department of HHS gives you money for the lower income housing for college students, the student health centers, funding to those medical sciences and health sciences related to studying AIDS/Cancer/the common cold/flu, substance abuse, etc.
There are probably more portions of the federal government that is paid out to schools for other various projects.
So if you or your children are graduate students or even professors and wonder where your going to get your funding for your project, don't come complain to the federal government when students take to doing more then just peaceful protesting of military recruiters. It is amazing how fast people change their tune when you start to affect their pocket book.

Like I said before if you want to protest the military fine, but do it nicely and with some sort of civility. Just like you can't block access to abortion clinics, access to military recruiters can't be blocked anymore. What to do? Well you could put up a table near the recruiters and counter recruit. You could stage a civil protest just on the outside of near the building or on the lawn outside of the building they are in and make your statement . Again blocking access or acting like this, is very stupid and will actually turn your audience away from you.

Anyhow, I believe in the right of the First amendment and believe in the right to protest. It is absolutely amazing what happened during civil non-violent protests through out this nations history. You know the history that isn't taught anymore in schools. Yet, I don't believe in being stupid, just plain ignorant, and rabble-rousing. Amazing too how many times people were turned off pretty fast and quickly from violent protests or counter protests in this nations history as well.
I wonder if there will be hell to pay in the next couple of weeks if something doesn't changes for UCSC.


14 April 2006

20yrs ago today another strike against terrorism

So in an earlier post I talked about how my father was involved with the freedom of navigation exercise against Libya in 1986 while sailing on board the USS Coral Sea. Well today, 14APR06 (or 15th depending on which side of Zulu you sit), 20yrs ago today he was in the ready room as the CAG brief his squadron on their part of Operation El Dorado Canyon. This is his story, again as mention before some of this is coming from human memory so some of the details are little hazy.
I mentioned that at various times during the previous 3 months of operations VQ-2 was flying their electronic intelligence birds (EA-3B's or EP-3's) collecting intelligence. What sort of intelligence? Well they were listening in to satellite phone calls, tracking movement of Soviet units in and out of Libya, tracking Libya units moving around the country, and just anything that radiates a radio signal. Heck they even record the evening news and sitcoms on the TV service. So after the FON, the Coral Maru's battle group pulled into Meissina in Italy. One of the more interesting incidents that occurred during the transit to Meissina was that a US TV news crew had hired out a private aircraft to try and over fly the battle group just near the end of the FON exercise. They were intercepted by an F-18, flown by a marine. While trying to direct them away from the battle group the news crew tried to interview him over the guard channel. The US Navy had published a notice to mariners and airmen stating that overflight of the battle group during the FON was prohibited with in 50nm of the fleet. So this pilot was watching his navigation equipment count down, and after exhausting his attempts to prevent the overflight he closed the attempted interview with this; "I don't know about you all but I have one of the best designed ECM systems in the world. If you chose to continue on your flight path you may be shot down by the ships down below and I don't want to get in their way between a dumb missile and their dumb target." Upon which he flew off and after taking some pictures for intelligence purposes flew back to his patrol position. All the while the first ship came up on guard with the standard phrase that the news crew was approaching a US Navy task force, if they had read NOTAM xxx and that if they don't turn away they will be shot down. Needless to say they turned away a few minutes later. He isn't sure if that part of the their piece on the operations go on the nightly news, but the audio record from the carriers side was played for a while in the ready rooms during the rest of the cruise.
Part of his squadron was over in Sigonella getting a few of the aircraft repaired more in depth then what the ship could provide at the depot facility there. Then on April 5th a bomb detonated at a West Berlin disco. This disco was frequented by members of the US Army unit based in Berlin. It killed 2 American Service members and injured about 200 hundred others. That night through both direct means and national technical means, intelligence services detected a radio signal going back to Tripoli from the suspected terrorist group that did the attack. That was all that Pres Reagan needed, to push the issued. The ship received orders to get underway that next day, they had to cut back their shore visit to Messina. My father stayed behind in Sigonellia overseeing the repair job with a stay back maintenance det. He was the officer in charge of the maintenance guys, while the 4 aircrew they had played around. It really wasn't that bad, 9-10hrs of work and then off to enjoy the city of Sigonellia, cause of a shortage of official government transportation and lodging at the base. The guys were put up in a 3-star hotel and were issued by the NAS Sigonellia 4 brand new BMW 325I's. So the aircrew got one, my father got one, the 2 Chiefs got one and the rest of the guys from E-6 on down had to share (about another 10guys). My father remembered were he came from though, so there were a few times so he would offer a ride to some of the junior enlisted or tell the Chiefs to ride with him while the junior enlisted had one more car to ride in.
Meanwhile the ship sailed out to their favorite location, the Gulf of Sirte, she was later joined by the USS America Battle group and again 6th Fleet flew on board from his headquarters at Naples. There was talk about bringing the USS Saratoga back, but she had already out chopped (meaning that she had already left operational control of the fleet commander) and was already overdue to be home by about 2 weeks due to her being need for the March operations.
Around the 10th the two aircraft that his squadron, VA-55, had left with the depot were put back together and had passed their functional check flight to make sure that everything worked. So the beach det cleaned up and got ready to catch the C-2 Greyhound out to the ship.
The flight out was uneventful, however the landing was different. He didn't get a chance to get completely out before he was being hounded by his department officer (the squadron maintenance officer) to get all the aircraft in an up and up situation. It was the 11th of April, and the word was that the president was thinking of direction action against Libyans for their continuing support of international terrorists.
The night of the 13th was when the real change occurred again in the ready room. Nearly all the maps that were put up to track home and cruise were taken down and replaced with very large maps of Libya and the surround seas. On top of that the squadron intel officer had put colored pins at various locations and had placed colored circular transparency material on top of various places. These represented things such search radars (and their ranges), AAA, SAM's, suspected and known fighter units, etc. Also placed with a piece of parachute cord attached to it was a cardboard cut out of the ship. The string had sharpie marks on it to represent ranges on typical load outs.
That night the skipper scheduled an AOM, or all officers meeting, where he laid out what was going on, to get the SAR data up to date, review squadron and air wing procedures for downed aircraft, and finally to collect and letters home.
The morning of the 14th opened to a bunch of commotion on the flight deck and the setting of the no smoking lamp. The magazine rats were breaking out weapons and getting them staged for lifting to the flight deck where they were going to be loaded on the right aircraft. The flight sked was in the mail box my father made for his stateroom door. Both he and his roommate looked it over and realized that the day was going to be very busy. 8 aircraft were scheduled to fly. 6 aircraft were scheduled to fly down town, with 2 as turning spares. A turning spare is an aircraft that has the engine running, the aircrew in it, and it is ready to take of and replace an aircraft that can't do it. Think of it like this, a NASCAR team who have a car turning up in the garage just in case the other car blows a engine or a gets into a bad wreck. That car would then come rolling out of the garage and right into the race. Same idea with a turning spare.
Anyhow, breakfast and lunch were kind of muted in the wardroom and in the ready room. Most of the talk was attempts to be light and tried to be fun, yet there was that air of the mission hung over everyone head. When my father got back in the ready room just after lunch is when the official word came in over the squadron telephone and planning circuit for the TV. The President of the United States had authorized a retaliatory strike against Libya in response for overwhelming evidence that they were continuing to support international terrorism. The targets had come in as well, the two A-6 squadrons the Navy was providing in this mission were going to strike targets in the Benghazi Peninsula. F-18's and A-7's were going to strike selected air defense sites in the country and flying all the way out of RAF Lakenheath was the USAF and they were supplying F-111F's which were going to strike targets in Tripoli and the surrounding country side.
Now a quick aside here, kind reader. Following the Church Committee hearings, post Watergate and Vietnam war. It came out about a number of illegal activities that the FBI, CIA, and other US intelligence agencies operations in the previous 2 decades. Such things as assassination of various foreign leaders. President Ford wrote and signed in EO 11905 which forbid any member of the US Executive Branch from ordering the assassination of a foreign leader. This was later modified by President Reagan with EO 12333 , which further drew the lines hard and fast on what could and couldn't be done by US intelligence agencies. This further defined assassination and who could and couldn't order it. Check out the link and read paragraph 2.11. Okay now that this has been said, back to the story, but keep this little tidbit in the back of your mind.
So it was found out that the Warhorses were going to bomb the airfield at Benina. Because it was believed that this is how the terrorists tied to the Achille Lauro flew out of their training camp into Alexandria and because of the MiG-23 and MiG-25 fighters based out of there could cause problems with any of the strike packages over in Tripoli. VA-34 the other A-6 squadron based on the USS America was tasked with bombing the Jamahiriyah (located in the city of Benghazi) barracks. Again because they housed members of Abu Nidal's group and other members of other various terrorist groups before then were shipped overseas on their heinous missions. The F111F's were tasked with taking down Tripoli airfield, the terrorist camp near Murat Sidi Bilal, and the Azizyah training barracks in downtown Tripoli.
The US during the time frame of the 8th up to the 11th hour on the 14th tried to get overfly rights from the Spanish and the French. Both of which denied it, so in turn the USAF units had to fly over 1300 miles out of England down around the Iberian Peninsula, through the straits of Gibraltar and over to the targets. They had to refuel over 11 times just one way.
While all of that was happening the crews that were going to fly that night were reviewing for the umptenth time safe ejection areas, the SERE cards, air defenses, etc. All while waiting for take off time. The idea was that everyone was going to hit at the same time or at least with in minutes of each other. The call came for flight ops and my father got dressed in his flight deck ensemble and like before went up top to watch the planes off and to check up on the maintainers to see how they were doing. My father got some minor flash backs looking at all the aircraft armed to the teeth up there on the flight deck waiting for the chance to fly; he served as one of the maintainers for another A-6 squadron during their 68 Tet cruise and the 1972-73 Easter Offensive cruise. Fighters with their air to air missiles, aircraft configured in the Iron Hand mission, bombers with a full load of bombs.
The engine turn up was given and everything looked good, so he went back down to the ready room to wait out the rest of the launch and recovery. Yet seconds in to the launch one of the go birds had a problem with is radar system that upon initial look was going to take some serious troubleshooting to correct, so they let loose one of the turning spares. One of the other birds had a minor problem with its TRAM turret, it got hung up while trying to get unstowed. The flight deck troubleshooter looked at it for a few minutes, bleed a bit of the hyd pressure. He had the B/N stow it and unstow it a few times more and everything worked on the up and up. The squadron's flight deck representative asked the crew if they wanted to go and they gave the go signal. So they still went
After the launch and while listening in on the ready room radio to the squadron common circuit, the bird that had a problem with their TRAM turret had it got caught up while trying to unstow. They still wanted to go, but CAG called them back and told them that unless they had an up and up system not to go. So his squadron had 2 aborts. Meanwhile the two spares had a chance to go instead. Everyone in the Navy's side of the house hit their tankers and loitered a few minutes before receiving the go word from the E-2's that were orbiting over the area directing traffic. The guys when in and did their job, the score the next morning was that over 90% of the targets were hit. Shown that night was some of the TRAM video on the ships TV service so the rest of the ship could see what was struck and they also had an explanation from the CAG of what was being struck and what was being seen on the video. After that most of that video was forwarded to the Pentagon. Loss was only 1 F111F which it is believed was shot down over the Gulf of Sirte. My father remembers that the ship in turn launched some extra aircraft and had a couple of helos standing by ready to ferry any crew rescued from a ship back to the carriers, after a call came in from the tankers that one of the F111F's was missing.
The next few days were interesting, on the BBC radio and on the various video of the US broadcast news that they got following the strike showed that while most in the US agreed with what was done. However, most of European governments and intellectual elite was up in arms, even more so when Libyan State TV came out and showed Qaddafi in bandages and with morning the lost of one of his adopted children. Now it is known that Qaddafi, like most other despotic Arabic rulers, live a nomadic lifestyle. They never stay in the same place twice in a row, sometime no one but the leader knows up to when the bus stops and everyone piles out for the night. So it just happened to be that Qaddafi was staying near the Murat Sidi Bilal terrorist camp that night. It also happen to be that the F111F that dropped the bombs there went long/short/wide with part of their stick and a couple landed near his portion of the training camp. No one knew he was there. The French a few days afterwards, and to this day, claim that the errant bomb that landed near their embassy in Tripoli was because the air crew didn't like flying the long way around. Well that is total BS too; because it was stressed, at least to the Navy strike crews, that if they were going to be dropping bombs on known military targets. However, if a civilian asset was too close or moved to close to the target then the run was to be called off. In the case of the French embassy, the US showed the FLIR video and showed how the aircraft were attack the Azizyah barracks in downtown Tripoli and how either due to dust of previous bombs or from a failed guidance head the laser guided bomb dropped on those barracks went long/short/wide and landed in the French compound. Overall, when the ship came home later that spring they were welcomed home like every sailor in the Norfolk area and the Qaddafi calmed his terrorist ambitions for a while. My father and a few of my family members are proud of what they did there and proved that the A-6 and the tactics for strike warfare that the US Navy had developed post Vietnam would work and wouldn't end up like the Bekka Valley fiasco from about 3yrs previously.

Where have I been?

I took a week off in real life. Escaped up into the moutains with some friends and family to enjoy the cold air, cold water and get my mind straight about life, work, and hobbies. I just got back about 12hrs ago and after passing out for that time period. I now feel refreshed and relaxed, and almost ready to go back to work next Monday. That being said there will probably be a glut of postings in the next 48hrs coming up. Be prepared.

06 April 2006

Hijinks, Fun, and excitement while ashore Part 2

So the last time we left our hero, Southern Air Pirate, he found out that he was going to have a port visit and in the Miami/Ft. Lauderdale area.

So it came to be that we were pulling in to be part of a Ft. Lauderdale's Fleet week celebration. One of the things that the chamber of commerence arranged was an "Adopt-A-Sailor" program. Basically a situation were a sailor gets to spend a day with an adoption family, have a home cooked meal possible go out and see some of the sights and in general be ambassadors. So they had this listing posted outside the MWR office of what sort of people were willing to adopt sailors. There were the usual civic minded groups, a couple families, but the most interesting was there were a number of single women in the age range of 25 to 35. What was even more interesting is that on the listing was what these women suggested they would do their adoption. Most of them had listed shopping and dinner. One lady who was in her mid 30’s had put down and I quote, “I have a red 2 person sports car and like to go to the beach for fun and am willing to cook a dinner”. Now I am not a smart man by any means, but a sports car, a lady in her 30’s, and dinner may lead to something else. I was a chicken and did sign on for that one. Rather I went with something safe and went out with a nice family one the first night in port. Had dinner with a nice couple and their kids and had a great dinner. A friend of mine with the lady in the sports car, they had dinner and then some.
The second day I had the duty and was tasked that morning at duty section quarters to be a tour guide. A number of us were posted at selected positions around ship to describe what was going on and how that portion of the ship did. I was put underneath an F-14 that was in the kneel with the wings out and looked like it was ready to take the cat stroke and fly. We were handed a cue card with what to say, but since I was a big fan of the F-14 and USS Oldship and had been studying for my air warfare wings, I knew it all. The tour guides were all told that we would be posted for about 4 hr rotations and the tour groups were going to come onboard starting around 0830. We had to be posted around 0815.
I went up to my positioned and enjoyed watching as the Indian summer sun rose in the east. Now we were tied up at the Cruise liner piers and facing the way to the out bound channel. The real funny thing was that since it was an Indian summer there were a number of people out on boats. There were a bunch of us standing there on the flight deck when down the channel came some louder then normal music and in the slight distance was a decent sized Bayliner with a number of nice looking girls onboard. They had a paper sign on the side that said “U of Miami welcomes USS Oldship to Miami”. Just as they passed this group of tour guides we heard them scream hello and wave. We waved back and then just like they these girls, all flashed us. Upon which really got our attention and caused us to cheer and wave just a little bit more. A few guys were looking for paper to fold up and throw down to them with their cell phone numbers. This little boat was getting ready to turn around and flash us again when the local Dade County Sheriff’s police boat showed up and told them to move on.
I have a ton of respect for the police, but they do know how to ruin a moment of joy and a chance to get a pretty girls number.

05 April 2006

More on denying access to Recuritiers and losing money to public schools

So, yesterday I talked a little about I-86 an intiative in Seattle to ban military recruiters from schools. I talked a little bit about my own problems with college and how I feel forcing every student to attend college right out of High School is a waste. Digging around the portion of the No Child Left Behind Act that really makes this issue important to everyone, not just military members and thier dependents is the Solomon Amendment. Before the No Child Left Behind Act there was the Impact Aid law.
First off Impact Aid is designed and was written to provided payment to the local school districts which have federal property in portions of their coverage. Basically, depending on how many students actually attend the schools in the district there is a math formula that defines how much money the US Department of Defense and US Department of Education will pay out for that child's parent or parents living and working on said federal property. This was done to make up for the lost of property tax on the federal installation and those members that lived in federal housing and don't have to pay property taxes.
In other words, let us take the fictional town of Mayberry. If the Marine Corps depot that Gomer Pyle worked on was in the Mayberry School District and he had a child in the Mayberry Schools then a precentage of money from the DoD's operating budget and the Department of Education's budget would go to Mayberry specifically ear marked for that child to the Mayberry School District, let us just say about 5 dollars. If you multiply that number by let us just say 30,000 students and say that 10% are dependents of military members then we actually have about 3000 kids that the school district is receving aid for in just the K-12 grades. Those 3000 kids mulitplied by the 5 dollars a head then we have $15000 coming in to the school district just for having a warm body in a seat. Hmmmm, 15000 with having to pass a bond or raise taxes in anyway coming in every fiscal year from the federal government that is ear marked just for your school district. Who wouldn't want to lose that money?

Now the Solomon amendment is written to talk about higher education institutions as it is laid out here from the header of the amendment title,

Sec. 983. Institutions of higher education that prevent ROTC
access or military recruiting on campus: denial of
grants and contracts from Department of Defense,
Department of Education, and certain other
departments and agencies
So it seems to say that those places of higher education (which some could draw to mean college) that deny ROTC and military Recruiting access will be denied federal funds for thier schools. I am not a legal eagle by training at all. So I have to go with my understanding of the rule of law and the english language. This portion of NCLB act can be amended again and the wording of this section of Title 10 (title 10 of the US Code covers the military and defense department), to included general public schools. So think about that one just for a minute. If enough congressional critters get annoyed about the way that a PTA (or PTSA), a school board, or school administration denying access. Then they could pass another amendment within another bill (which senators and representatives do all the time). That will pull all sorts of money out of public schooling. What sort of money? Well, to start with Impact Aid can be pulled, then could be help for low-income students, various grants, basically any dollar that has been given to the school district by the federal government for education.
So back to real world loses:
Taking our Mayberry example again, if the PTA or even the school board decided they didn't like the military recruiters there and passed a resoultion to ban them from the schools as a show of support for the military using animals. If the Department of Defense decided to try and use the Solomon amendment, then that 15K that Mayberry got for having a USMC base in town would disappear, the money to provide a free breakfast and cheaper lunch meals to low-income students, money that is provided to offset migrant workers passing through the county, etc. Let us just say about 5.5million dollars all disappeared cause of this. How would this district make up the money? Well they would have to pass bonds and raise taxes. We all know how the average American hates to pay taxes and if the county is a credit risk then the number and amount of bonds they can issue will be limited. Overall, it will start a death spiral for the school district and cause of other provisions of the NCLB then that would allow more and more students to leave those schools and head to charter and private schools on vouchers.

Long of the short of it is this folks. To deny access to military recruiters to any campus whether it is public high school or any college campus. Is asking for problems in thier wallets. Espically in the K-12 arena since that is a way to cut the schools throats and create a serious education crisis in that city or district. If you hear your school district, PTA, or even city council attempting to do so, protest it. You are just hurting your children not the federal government because you don't agree with a policy of the federal government.

04 April 2006

Deny military recuriters and lose money

I read the paper every morning when I come into work, while getting ready to start work. Just something to balance myself and get caught up on some of the things that I missed over the previous night. In the local paper today they had a statement out of Seattle, Washington. The major city near where my folks live and what I have to pay attention to get an idea of the big things going on back home for my folks. I read this little story in the Seattle Times when I got home. It is about an attempt to have an initiative passed for the next major election to kick military recruiters out of the Seattle School District schools.
Reading this and catching a sound bite from the primary pusher of this initiative, one Amy Hagopian. A former member of the Seattle School District Board and current member of the PTSA for Garfield High School. One of the top schools in the city and to a point the state, for both academics and sports. She use to be a member of the Seattle School Board until she started a flap as member of the PTSA for GHS. She passed a resolution trying to ban military recruiters from with in the walls of GHS. That started a minor broha in Seattle, as an example shown with these articles of the aftermath from the May 9th 2005 meeting. Long story short on this is that in the aftermath, the Federal Government after hearing about this threaten to pull federal funding for all of Seattle schools. The school board pulled back and fired Mrs. Hagopian and told the GHS PTSA to calm down. This all occurred at the height of the fight between recruiters on High Schools and College campus. Which in March of 2006 came to a head when a court case reached the US Supreme Court and lead to a unanimous ruling that military recruiters had to be allowed on college and high school campus with out hassle.

So where does that put us? Well I to a point don't have a problem with a gentle, calm counter protest to the military recruiters. However, what I do have a problem with is hassling and harassment of the recruiters because you don't like the current administration or because you don't like a certain policy in effect. On top of that the big push with this current initiative is to push college on kids. I can testify right now contrary to popular opinion not everyone is ready to jump from high school to college. I wasn't one, now 9 years later I am ready to try and go back to college.
College isn't right for everyone right away, and forcing kids to attend college just to make jobs for the various professors isn't right. It took me about 9yrs to figure that out for myself. I was completely tired of school after 12 yrs of public education and I did try when I entered community college to get a transfer degree, but after about a semester and a half I gave up because about half way through that first semester I saw my tuition rise and everything that I start to do on my liberal arts degree disappear into extra credits that counted for nothing. Why? Well that year the state did a review of degrees with its major schools and decided to revamp the requirements for a liberal arts transfer degree.
Why couldn't I get into a state run university right away? Well most of them had requirements that a person had to have a GPA up around 3.7 or better, a few years of lab sciences, a few years of languages, and a bunch of extra credits that trying to fit in.... Well lets us just say that I wasn't going to make it. So instead it was going to be study like hell, find a job, and try to do it all in 2 yrs to achieve a transfer degree. Job...Well finding a job in a 2 college town ain't happening folks. At least not one that could pay for books, gas for the car, and leave enough to eat on. After, getting involved with too many MLM bs and have one manger for a local retail store show me a stack of other resumes and ask me basically, "What makes you stand out from all these other 18-21 yr olds." I went home took a long hard look around, left again and went out to a spot up in the county that let me overlook a lake sat there with a bottle of Coca-cola in my hands and listen to the radio and thought long and hard. I came home, decided to drop out and join the Navy. At the end of that current semester I was in.
After that I went through all the requirements, recruiter, MEPS, long bus/plane ride, boot camp, other schools and then hit the fleet. In what amounted to about 2 yrs, I found myself. I rose to a position where I was basically middle management when I became a 2nd class PO and a work center supervisor. I was responsible for multi-dollar aircraft and equipment. Finally, I found that the break I took was good to clear my mind and actually I learned more as I went through various schools for the Navy and pay attention. Not only because I had to, but also because a lot of what the instructors were teaching me wasn't theory, but cold hard facts and they taught in a way that made sense to me. Also the instructors where there to help me and the rest of my class pass, they would take time out of their day to help us understand again and again if needed to. In college, well they were there to collect a check in my honest opinion.

That is why I feel this current push for this initiative is wrong and stupid. It is denying a chance for kids that don't have anything else in their life to try and rise above their stations in life. Not everyone is fit to go to college right after high school, and with the way that the current economy is running where you need a college degree just to become a low-end cog in the great American company, a spot where a high school diploma use to be able to get you. If the voters of the city of Seattle vote this in I really think that the federal government should pull every last federal dollar out of the Seattle school district and see how they will support the number of their programs with out raising property taxes. Let alone what would happen if the military decides to just pull up stakes and move their bases to someplace else in the state or even country? It is sad to see a city such as Seattle dry up because a number of people with some nice ideas, but misguided ways to achieve them.

*****Edit: Thanks to Mudville Gazette , for putting this up on thier Dawn Patrol for 05APR05*****

Hijinks, Fun, and excitement while ashore Part 1

I had been onboard USS Oldship for about a year and half. Survived the trials of the YARDS. Survived some TAD time to the galley, where I got very fat and then rotated back to my own workcenter. Passed an advancement test and was promoted to third class petty officer. An E-4 for you non-Navy folks, similar to a Corporal in the US Marines or Army. The plan is to cruise in the next year. Prior to that though we have to do various other underways for training periods. To do everything from test and eval the engineering folks (and since I was onboard a nuclear power ship, all the nuclear engineers). Flight deck certifactions, flight deck drills, open deck for the various RAGs and Training wings to produce those glourious men and women who want to fly out to who knows where and come back to a pitching, yawing, ship. Anyhow, you name a portion of the ship it was probably tested and trained and tested again. On top of that we also act as an opponent to a carrier already further along in the testing an training enviroment. So I dealt with doing these various underways. During one of them though where we are off the coast of Florida acting as a Orange Carrier to a blue Force, all the while bringing onboard T-2's and T-45's out of either Merdian or Pensacola; we hear great news. Port Visit! The minute that leaked out of the admirals mess it was on the mess decks of the ship and running from here to there on the ship. Everyone was talking about it and where we all might go. The rumor ran from the Keys over to Pensacola, and up to Jacksonville. While a few more adventurious folks were coming up with the US Virgin Islands or Bermuda. Now we have already been underway for the better part of 2 weeks and been underway since Labor day. So anywhere we go is after the big tourist season. It wasn't until another rumor hit on the phone lines during a GQ that everyone started to know where we going to pull into. Ft Laurderdale for thier fleet week.
I had personally nevery been there nor anyplace south of the I-10 line in Florida. So the thought of being in Ft. Laurderdale and the thought of going back to Florida in general excited me sort of.
Then came the killer about 96hrs before we pulled in. The Boy Captain had scheduled a "Captains Call". This is an event similar to a town meeting where the Captain, XO, CMC, and selected guests get a chance to meet with everyone onboard the ship and field questions. It was during this event that the Boy Captain had the Admiral onboard and put out that this was the first of possible multiple US and Carribean port visits. However, with cruise coming up all of these port visits would come with restrictions. That statement caused a number of the more jaded and salter heads in my workcenter pop up and actually pay attention, instead of the heated game of Spades they were playing.
Then the statement that caused a massive groan through out the ship, which even our submarine escort could of heard. "There will be Liberty experation while in this port visit to establish a tone for future CONUS and cruise ports."
WHAT! Liberty times! What the heck was that I asked.
It was explained to me by one of my more jaded and salter seconds," Southern, a Liberty time is when everyone is supposed to be back home on the ship or in thier hotel rooms. Normally it is done when your overseas and it is to make sure that everyone is behaving themselves and to get the duty section back onboard for tomorrow's duty. Never is it passed out on a port visit in North American let alone with in the borders of the US."


So I haven't posted in about a week and a half. I know that, I really wanted to turn this into a daily blog. However, I have been busy with work. So, sorry about that folks. On top of this I have been trying to frame some stories and events in the best way so that I do not get harrassment from the guilt and convict the innocent, along with trying to bare my soul about everything going on. I am normally a reserved person and pretty quiet about my background and events. I started this so that I could get past that and I am starting to every so slowly get things arranged and start talking about my life.
The hard part about the way that I work right now is that I am supposed to the be working approximately an 9-10 hr day. However, there have been a few days when dealing with a few of the kids that I work with, and some of these kids are physically older then me but mentally 2-3yrs old, and putting up with a constantly in flux schedule for flights. I fix'em while some college educated jokers go up in to the wild gray and break them. That is another post for another time. Anyhow, by the time I get home from starting work at around 1845(6pm for you non-12hr clock folks). All I really want to do is cook dinner sit down, read the paper, while watching my local all news station and then hopefully stay up to catch a few TV shows and progress to bed. It doesn't always work like that. There have been a few times that I have passed out on my couch with a newpaper on my chest and the TV still on.
I am sure that you all can relate to days like that. So please forgive your very humble blogger here for not posting in a few weeks. Now that I have made my aplogies, check out a few recent posting that I have gotten around to doing about the past few weeks events.