27 May 2006

Memorial Day

National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in the "Punch Bowl", Honolulu
Aisne-Marne American Cemetery, Belleau, France
Margraten CEMETERY, Holland
Tomb of the Unknown Solider
USS Arizona in Pearl Harbor
Missing Man Formation of Hawaiian Air National Guard Unit.
Burial At Sea onboard USS Harry S. Truman CVN-75
Arlington National Cemetary, Arlington VA

Omaha Cemetary, Normandy France

The Lyrics to the Navy Hymn also known as Eternal Father by John B. Dykes:

Eternal Father strong to save Whose arm hath bound the restless wave Who
bidd'st the mighty ocean deep Its own appointed limits keep Oh, hear us when we
cry to Thee For those in peril on the sea!

O Christ! Whose voice the waters heard And hushed their raging at Thy word Who walked'st on the foaming deep And calm amidst its rage didst sleep Oh hear us when we cry to Thee For those in peril on the sea!

Most Holy Spirit Who didst brood Upon the chaos dark and rude And bid its angry tumult cease And give for wild confusion peace Oh hear us when we cry to Thee For those in peril on the sea!

O Trinity of love and power Our brethren shield in danger's hour From rock and tempest, fire and foe Protect them wheresoe'er they go Thus evermore shall rise to Thee Glad hymns of praise from land and sea


22 May 2006

Dating and being in the military

I have spent this past weekend attending a couple social functions with friends. The first was this past Friday, when I went with a buddy to his wedding. It was a nice day for for the wedding and the reception afterwards was great as well. I spent some of my time talking to one of the bridesmaids, who happened to catch my eye, we had a pretty easy going conversation. That was up until she mentioned how she felt sorry for the new bride. I asked her why and this bridesmaid gave me a look. One that just seemed to say, "As if I really need to tell you." She then went on to say how the bridesmaid knows for a fact how many Sailors (and army troopers, Marines, and USAF airman) all have girls at other posts or duty stations. Even those that claim to remain faithful aren't. I then got into a pretty long discussion with her about my own experiences both as a child growing up in a military town and then as a member myself. I told her that what every BS she may have experienced by a couple of jokers just shouldn't jade her to all the possibilities out there. I also went on to tell her that the sword cuts both ways, for as many guys leave girls there are girls out there that leave us guys alone while we are on deployment. Or they are only looking to marry us to get out of their little dinky hometowns in some places, ala "Officer and a Gentleman". For that little speech all that I got was a pat on the head an a comment to the effect that I keep living in my little dream world. At which I shot gunned the glass of red wine I had and said my good luck to the new married coupled and called it day.

I came home and thought about this discussion long and hard. I came to a realization that it is very hard to date and become married to someone while your in the military. I believe it is worst when you are an enlisted member then as an officer. There are a few things that I have noticed while trying to find the right person for me. Maybe I am completely off base about these observations, but this is what I see and have decided on how things seem to work.

First off, it seems that the dating pool grows exponentially smaller the closer you are to military installations. I spent 5 years in Norfolk and so far have spent about 2 years in a smaller town outside a US Navy base on the US west coast. Anytime I go to a church social, various club meetings, or even just strike up conversations with people in the park. The first thing out of their mouths were "Are you military?" I think to myself how that matters. It was explained to me by a girlfriend that I had while going through some schooling as NAS Pensacola. In a few towns and cities, and especially those that have multiple military bases in the geographic area. So those people that a service member meets in their age range are covered by the following. Either their husband, wife, father, brother, sister, mother, uncle, aunt are (or were) in the military so they know all about the separation, the joy of coming home, the constant moving, the low pay, etc. Some of them don't want to live in that life so they really want to move on and away from that. What is worst though are those that you run across that live in the smaller towns and want to leave so they end up marrying just to escape that small town. That just seems to start all sorts of pain.

Second most common thing that I see when trying to date is living down the stereotype that all a person in uniform is looking for is a quick date. Someone to help them try and pass the loneliness of being away from home. I don't know how true that this one is. I do know that a couple of times in a few places that I have been station, all I have looked for in love is someone to hang out with and talk about things other then work. Someone to talk to about things such as the weather, what to do for dinner, whether beer is to be better tasting or less filling; just basic life type of topics. However, there have been a few times that I wanted more to a relationship then just intimacy. So how hard is that idea to impress on to the various women that I talk to. It seems to be incredibly hard to.

This just some of the things that I have noticed while trying to date and be in the military. I am not expecting to hailed as a conquering hero or a rock star with thousands of women throwing themselves on me, to the point that I have to beat them off with a stick. Yet, I would like to be able to talk to a woman and not be dismissed just out right because I am in the military.
Oh well as they say in a song; Que Serra, Serra, whatever will be, will be.

21 May 2006

The un-honorable Representative Murtha

I was traveling most of last week and really didn't have the time to sit down and put these thoughts into the system. I was watching and listening to it happen though and what is happening has started to burn me up.

The Pennsylvania 12th District Representative John P. Murtha. This district covers Pittsburgh, Johnstown, and most of the surrounding counties of those two cities. Since 2004 Rep. Murtha has been against the war in Iraq. That is his right to oppose what the government is doing. In 2005, he sponsored the House Joint Resolution 73 (aka H.J. 73) asking the president to redeploy a majority of US military forces in Iraq back home and keep only a token force on hand to assist the new Iraqi government. Though not much else has occurred with this bill it is was the first thing to bring Rep Murtha, who is a Democrat, to the fore front of the current Democrats fight against the president. He was formerly a US Marine from 1952 till 1990, serving both as an enlisted member and then was given a chance to serve as an officer in the mid 50's. He converted from active duty over to become a drilling reservist in 1959 and took command of the USMCR unit in Johnstown, PA. He activated himself in 1965 and served a term as part of a battalion staff officer from 1966 till 1967. So Rep. Murtha does know what know about being a member of the US military.

Even more recently Rep. Murtha has found himself another issue to use for hating the President and in doing so has been trashing his fellow Marines. On November 19th of 2005, a convoy came under fire in the town of Haditha while doing a security patrol. At the end of an IED and a fire-fight between gunmen and the Marines over 15 civilians were killed. The initial report from the on-scene commander was that the civilians were killed by the IED. However, with in a few months that changed and the commander of the 1st Marine Division relieved the battalion commander and two company commanders of the same battalion. It later came out that the JAG corps was investigating the incident to see if the Marines operated outside of the rules of engagement and could have potentially violated the rules of war. Rep. Murtha has picked this up and even before the full UCMJ Article 32 investigation (which is in the military similar to a civilian grand jury investigation) had been completed, started to fire off his mouth stating that in thin veiled words that this was no better then another My Lai. This is a completely unfair, yet typical of modern American treatment, of accused people. What is worse about this whole thing is how Rep. Murtha is using this to further his own (and possibily the Democrats) political agenda by claiming even before all the evidence and the trial has been done that the US Marines of that convoy are guilty of to quote "in cold blood". One can see just by using News Google that this quote by Rep. Murtha has just spun up the radical left and the anti-war folks along with most of the media both in the US and on the outside.
This Rep. Murtha is very un-honorable and of piss poor attitude to take of fellow Marines. Let alone of the standard un-written ideal of the US that one is assumed to be inoccent until proven guilty by a court of law infront of thier peers. Yet as I look at this incident and at Rep. Murtha, I honestly believe that this is nothing more then a typical radical Democratic tactic and similar to another Democrat I just wish I could think of his name.

Seeing these people do this too fellow servicemembers isn't right and it burns me up. I know that not every member of the US military or any military is a hero type, yet not all of them are as what is put out by the radical left either. Dumb, aggresive, robots who couldn't get a job someplace in this failing (or great depending on the politico party in charge) economy. As I look at it these guys are no better then ex-cops that become politicos and turn on their buddies in the police force. Asking for investigations into various police brutality incidents that pop up in the media or police graft incidents. They then will try and stand there the next minute and use those same groups to try and further their own agenda at various photo ops.
It just makes me sick to my stomach to watch things like that go on.

10 May 2006

How to show some military appreciation

Today I was invited by a friend of mine to sit through a military appreciation month luncheon that was being hosted by the local rotary club in the town that I am living in right now. It was an alright affair and I was on my best behavior. At the end the key note speaker asked what we could do to better appreciate those members of the local population who choose to go into harms way and they mentioned that instead of flying ribbions or magnetic signs that one should give to those charitable organizations that try to give a back to the military members.

I left that luncheon, thinking about that last statement and then took a step back to think of some of the organiztations that try to provide the best for the military. Here are few that if you have a chance and a spare check or two you could consider writing to or talking your company into dontating too.

The USO. They are a special group in my heart. Though Bob Hope and his holiday specials are almost what we think of the USO. They do a whole lot more. In nearly every major International Airports in the USA and those that are close military installations, they offer a little hideaway for those military members and thier dependants to rest for a little bit outside of usual hussle and bussle of the airport grind. It is a place were you can put your feet up, grab a quick bite to eat, make a phone call home or to your next duty station, catch some TV. For a few airports that I have been through such as Sea-Tac in Seattle and Philadelphia International they use to even offer some bunks, showers and a wake up call for those that are catching red eyes out bound or back into the US. That was a godsend the few times that I had to personally play catch up with the ship and after traveling all day felt like dog dirt. A few other things that the USO do is for overseas billets they offer tours, culture understandings, rec rooms, librarys, and a chance to try and experience just that little bit of home while deployed overseas.

The various relief societys; Navy-Marine Corps Relief, US Air Force Aid Society; Army Emergancy Relief ; and finally US Coast Guard Mutal Assistanace. These are all independent agencies that offer wonderful services for the military member and thier families. I know that NMCR provides emergancy cash to try and fly someone home for emergancy leave. They provide free credit counseling or will help direct them to credit counseling. Provide classes to new spouses of military members on how to handle deployments and access to support groups. These are wonderful groups that are only recongized when they need money or when they rise up to do the impossible. Yet they are constantly trying to do the impossible, every day.

Those are the ones that I think of right away that have minium overheard and every dollar or hour that you donate to those groups goes to help those in uniform right away. Just something to think about.

04 May 2006

Another pair of Vietnam MIA's come home

I grew up in a military family. My father spent 22yrs in the Navy working on the Grumman A-6 Intruder. He worked on it and maintained the electronics in them. He spent 2 cruises off Vietnam. Once in 1968 and again in 1973-1973. A number of the people he became real good friends with were pilots or Naval Flight Officers that flew in the A-6 up north into Vietnam. As a kid I grew up listening to sea stories that sometimes began with "There I was with Cool Hand...." Or "There I was on board the USS with VA-XX....". One of the other things that I also grew up with was a few of these guys use to wear MIA bracelets. A number of them also served with a few of the guys that are listed on the Vietnam Memorial Wall and those that are still listed as MIA's. I have also meet a few people that were POW's near then end of the war of the North Vietnamese and listening to them talk about their experiences sort of pulled at my heart as a kid.
Why do I bring this up? Well I read in my local paper about the remains of 2 USAF MIA's from Vietnam were identified this past week. Here is a local write up from the paper near my home town, Seattle Times page on the family . I am glad that this family finally has closure some 30yrs after their fathers, husbands, sons, brothers went missing.

It is really amazing what the folks at the Defense Prisoner of War/Missing Personnel Office, have been doing since the increase use of DNA. They also have teams in all over the world looking at remains, fragments of material trying to bring home nearly all of the missing from World War 2 on up to the 1991 Persian Gulf war. I raise a glass in toast to their office and hope that they can bring home all of them.

For those interested, here is the link to the Virtual Wall, which has a large number of those listed on the Vietnam Memorial wall in Washington DC, along with a picture and a short write up about the person. If you haven't been to the wall yourself it is something to see. I have been there twice. Once with a couple friends and and again all by myself. The wall like the American Cemetery in Normandy, it gives you a moment to take a step back and think.

03 May 2006

You might be a.....

Had this one passed on to me by a friend of mine. A few of the names in the orignal post were deleted to protect them.

You Might Be a Maintainer If...

  • Your supervisor has found you sleeping on a drop tank on the line.
  • Troublshooting a jet is easier than troubleshooting your spouse.
  • JP-5 smells like Liz Clabournes new perfume.
  • Your house smells like a drop tank.
  • The galley refuses to serve you because you smell like JP-5
  • even though your in your civies.
  • You use canopy wipes to blow your nose.
  • You have QA and five other people drop an engine in your car.
  • You play baseball with a ball of ordnance tape and a dipstick.
  • You feel the need to ask your wife to act as QA when you change out the light bulb.
  • You instinctively know that the law of accessibility is the art of getting a part that's 10 inches big through a 5 inch access hole.
  • You've run into a FOD gripe reading something like this: "Gremlins playing football in stbd. elevator." and you signed it off "Took away football and the gremlins went home." (I actually got that gripe at VT-5 and the maintenance chiefs took a dim view of the signoff).
  • You have ever used or wanted to use one of the following signoffs:*Inspected system, found Stick Actuator Erratic (or Inop.). New one on order.*Inspected system, found nut behind the stick loose. Retightened.*Radio OK, found short circuit between pilot's earphones.
  • You know you're a rotary wing maintainer if you can tell what type of helicopter is turning, or flying by, by the sound of the rotors.
  • You know you're a maintainer, especially in units that use the crew chief concept, if you think this is your aircraft--you just let the pilots drive it from time to time.
  • You've ever had your shop chief ask you, "What do you think this is, the factory?" when trying to do the job right. (I still have that problem, and I do work for the factory. Go figure)
  • You've ever had to remind the maintenance control types (or your boss on the civilian side) that there is no side of the road at 2500 (25000 for fixed wing aircraft) feet, and the job will be done when it is done right.
  • When your loyalty is to your aircraft, not the flight or production schedule.
  • NX finally gets an early secure on a Friday night and as you begin your tool inventory you realize you have a missing tool.
  • You've answered Maintenance Control with "Speak to me, oh Great One who knows nothing," on the radio.
  • You've ever had to find a C-clamp on a Sunday at Pearl Harbor so the ADs can change an oil filter. Then you have to take it back because they brought the wrong filter.
  • You've kicked a drop tank to seat it and tried to choke the new guy for doing the same.
  • You "borrow" every garden hose on Ford Island to do a wash job because the load masters needed the saved weight for their surfboards.
  • Your CO knows it's smarter to give the AOs a per diem check than a government credit card for the Fallon Det.
  • You have written on a piece of ordnance, "You bring it back, you download it!"
  • You almost cry when you find out one of your birds was used as a target and it didn't make it.
  • You've spent so many chow breaks in the squadron coffee mess that when you retire, it starts losing money.
  • You realize that of all the planes you've worked on, only three are left in the fleet and only your last command still exists.
  • You have slept on the concrete under a wing.
  • You have said, "Oh...yes sir, it's supposed to look like that."
  • You have sucked LOX to cure a hangover.
  • You know what JP4 or JP8 tastes like.
  • You have used a piece of safety wire as a toothpick.
  • You have said, "My boots are black!" Or you have spray-painted them black.
  • You refer to a pilot as a "stick actuator."
  • You have been told to get "some prop wash and a yard of flightline."
  • You have worked a 14-hour shift on an aircraft that isn't flying the next day.
  • You have said, "As long as she starts every other try, you'll be fine sir."
  • You believe the aircraft has a soul.
  • You talk to the aircraft.
  • You defueled an aircraft an hour after refueling it.
  • The only thing you know about a city is where to find a cold drink and a quick bit to eat..
  • You know more about your coworkers than you do about your own family.
  • You have looked for pictures of "your" aircraft in aviation books.
  • You have wished one pilot would just say, "Great aircraft!"
  • You take it as a badge of honor to be just called a "Det Hound."
  • You relieve yourself outdoors more often than indoors.
  • You can't comprehend why everyone doesn't want to be a maintainer.
  • You have worn someone else's hat to chow.
  • You have wiped down leaks just before a crew showed up.
  • You have stood on wheel chocks to keep your feet dry.
  • You have used dykes to trim a fingernail.
  • All you care about is the flight schedule and your days off.
  • You have slept in the afterburner of a spare engine during an exercise. The afterburner of an F-4 engine really isn't a bad place to sleep, in a pinch.
  • You ever used a B-1-Charlie instead of a HT-900 heat gun on heat shrink
  • You ever held a conversation with your buddy on a busy flight deck using only hand signals.
  • You know more airplane part numbers, pins and wire numbers better than you know your own telephone number.
  • You have told aircrew to get out of the seat so you could get in there to fix a gripe...right.
  • You can quote malfunction codes or status codes from memory.
  • Your green wheel book is nothing but mini schematics and cheat sheets.
  • You've ever CDI'd anything in your dress blues because you were on watch and were the only CDI available.
  • You've ever fixed all your jets as fast and good as possible, so you could play a game of spades.
  • You didn't leave the flight deck once all shift until your relief showed up 12 hours later.
  • You've memorized all the bureau numbers of all the jets you've worked on.
  • You know that aircraft do not like to fly in inclement weather, so they choose those days to break.
  • You know that a hotel room in Bangor is the same as a hotel room in Tucson.
  • You know that it is possible to survive for weeks at a time on nothing but airline and airport food (or food from vending machines...).
  • You know exactly how many seconds it takes to heat up a honey bun on a ground power unit motor.
  • You know that three-day-old reheated coffee is capable of stripping the chrome off an oleo strut and should be disposed of as hazardous waste.
  • You know that wherever you are, it is as good as it gets for now.
  • You know that if it isn't in writing, it doesn't exist.
  • You know to believe none of what you hear and only half of what you see, and to take everything with a really huge grain of salt.
  • You've learned that there are only two really good aviation jobs in the world; the one you left and the one you are going to next.
  • You've learned that there is as much or more to be learned from a bad manager as there is from a good one.
  • You've learned that maintenance planners schedule heavy checks on weekends and holidays so as to not interfere with your other job duties, but ruin your "off time."
  • You're a newly frocked 3rd class Petty Officer and already a shop supervisor because the rest of your shop is either on leave, on det., SIQ, restricted, or on baby leave.
  • You have heard a CDI say " Well I guess it will work."
  • You are faster than IETMS.
  • Your kids know you as "when are you coming home?"
  • You look forward to the words "FOD walkdown."
  • You hate the other shifts more than your mother in law.
  • You have been told by a master chief that your uniform looks like a bag of crap.
  • You have told a pilot "Don't worry about that. It's just a little residual fluid, Sir."
  • You have signed off on an aircraft and can't remember what the hell it was you signed off on?
  • You have been told by a Master Chief that YOU look like a bag of crap.
  • You broke at least 50 cheaply made Navy tools.
  • You have been told to go get an ID 10T form.
  • You think hydraulic fluid is the lifeblood of the airplane, and tastes like your supervisor's coffee.
  • You have referred to an airplane as "YOU expletive" and referred to it again five minutes later as "THAT expletive."
  • You forgot to shave and didn't notice until you got yelled at for it.
  • You can hear the airplane creaking from your rack.
  • You can make the airplane creak from your rack.
  • You can sleep through flight ops.
  • You refer to your supervisor in unkind words after he or she leaves.
  • You have watched the sun come up over an FA-18 Super Hornet while on watch and thought "Boy am I glad I don't live in Iraq!"
  • You big worry is washing your hands BEFORE you make a visit to the head.
  • You wonder why day check works 8 hours and night check works 1 hours, and look forward to 12 on and 12 off onboard ship.
  • You work all night swapping engines for a Tomcat even though you're not assigned to the engine shop.
  • You inhale chow in between launch and recovery.
  • You get mad when everyone tells you how to do your job.
  • You don't understand why everyone gets mad when you tell them how to do their job.
  • You begin to look like E.T. because you are wearing your cranial all the time.
  • You sign off a write-up with "could not duplicate gripe".
  • You say "I'm not sleeping; I'm just checking the inside of my eyelids".
  • You get out of the change of command ceremony because you have to work an aircraft.
  • You screen your calls because you're afraid your shop is going to ask you to come to work early.
  • You go into work early because your shop needs you.
  • You supervise a Midshipman cleaning up his vomit from his backseat ride.
  • You keep your head on a swivel.
  • You refer to work as home, and home as work interchangeable without notice that you have done it.
  • You have ever said, "You don't really NEED that item, to fly, sir."
  • You have ever thought, "If I only had a roll of duct or 500-mile-an-hour tape."
  • You know your best friend's nickname but have no idea what that person's real name is.
  • You can identify an aircraft by the engine sounds.
  • You don't mind the taste of aircraft soap anymore.
  • You have worked the night shift so long that admin thinks you are a new check in.
  • You think that your wrist is calibrated.
  • You keep trying to get into your e-mail with your NALCOMIS log-in.
  • You have spoken to your family using hand signals.
  • You can tell whether an aircraft is using JP-5 or JP-8 from the exhaust smell.
  • You have left messages via grease pencil in a nose wheel well.
  • You have tried to order a new aircraft.
  • You have ordered enough parts to build a new aircraft.
  • You have seen a gripe written as "System does not work in O-F-F position."
  • You have tried to sign off a gripe as "Removed and Replaced Pilot" instead of "Operator Error."
  • You have fallen asleep while holding a flashlight for someone.
  • You have been asked to be at a mandatory meeting, told to report to your division chief, and assigned to fix a preflight gripe at the same time.
  • You have corrected a gripe with a "Technical Tap."
  • You have said, "It must be an electrical problem."
  • You have said to QA, "they all look like that."
  • You have started a wash job at the end of the shift and been told, "nobody goes home until it's done."
  • You fear QA more than you fear the skipper
  • You ever wanted to signed of a MAF with "R and R'ed aircrew."
  • You work nights and fear going in on Sunday to see what day check left you on Friday.
  • You ever have been yelled at waiting for another shop to get out of your way.
  • You ever had to play musical parts on deployment or det.
  • You have ever used hand signals around your family and get mad when they don't understand them.
  • You know it's the AT's fault no matter what the problem.
  • You have ever asked yourself, "Why didn't I go I-level when I had the chance?"
  • Half the fingers on your hands have cuts from safety wire or cotter pins.
  • You might be a maintainer if you have ever heard a troubleshooter tell a pilot "Don't worry sir it isolates in flight."
  • You know what "FIFI" means from the maintenance shack (F#@% it--Fly it).
  • You love Friday mornings after a "C" shift, so you can visit the "Taxi Stand" in Rota, Spain and watch people go to work.
  • You know it's wrong if you're still at the taxi stand when they get off work.
  • You have used a straight-slot screw driver as a prying tool.
    You used a scribe to remove cotter pins.
  • You used MEK to remove paint from your hands.
  • You used TRIK (Freon) to clean grease from your hands.
  • You refuse to use the words "I can't do it" or "It can't be done"
  • You made a cotter pin out of a coat hanger.
  • You know what a blind folded "sit-up" is.
  • It is too quiet to sleep after a carrier deployment.
  • You dive the duct and someone puts the turn screen on while you are in the intake.
  • You have figured out how to take a job that takes 2 hours, and do it in 30 minutes.
  • You used a pair of "Vise-Gripes" to squeeze a solid rivet.
  • You used a nickel, dime, or a quarter and a pair of "Vise-Gripes" to remove Hi-Torque fasteners from an FA-1
  • You have memorized the panels that come off of an aircraft during a phase inspection.
  • You have ever been tapped up and hosed down on the wash rack on your birthday.
  • You have ever put axle grease on the seal of your buddy's goggles.
  • You ever tapped nickels to a prox switch.
  • You think you are Gods gift to naval aviation.
  • Your car has been primed with zinc chromate.
  • You have used safety wire to fish a tool out of an aircraft.
  • If you have ever been short sheeted or short sheeted someone (by the way, this is dying art)
  • You have met the "Air Boss" during flight quarters.
  • You have used bubble wrap as a pillow.
  • You use a "cruise" box as a rack, cause you never see your own.
  • Only thing embroided on your name patch is "DET KING".
  • You name every hangar queen "Christine".
  • You give AT's your special tanning lotion, which is lube oil.
  • Put "moly b" on your Supervisors goggles and ear pads.
  • The most worn out tool in your tool box is hammer and flat tip screwdriver.
  • Signed off gripe as "Cycled APU switch to O-N position, works 4.0".
  • Air Boss calls you out by first name.
  • You have every tool from your tool box in your coverall pockets.
  • Pilot tells you throttle feels tight, so you reach over and release the friction locks( P- guys, you know what I'm saying).
  • In your own personal toolbox at home you have inventory sheet and make your friends log out each tool on your logbook.
  • You only know Day Check as "Play Check" and Night Check as "Stay Check".
  • You know you're a maintainer when you start every sentence as "Back in the day" or "When I was in (fill in squadron)".
  • Your picture is not in any "Cruisebooks", cause you were pulling a 2- hour shift fixing "Christine".
  • The paperwork you just filled out weighs more the the aircraft you just made flyable.
  • You've ever worked in a fuel cell with a half mask cause the Rhine Air was on the brink.
  • As a plane captain, you've ever "told" the pilots to pull their heads out of their butt and quit messing around.
  • Pre-ex knows you by your first name.
  • You have stashed away enough parts to rebuild an entire rotor head during a "D" phase.
  • You can quote WUCS from memory.
  • You have slept in the hell hole of a SH-0B using seat cushions for padding.
  • You know the difference between "Big Bertha" and "Big Breaker."
  • You've ever had to open a lock with a pair of wrenches.
  • You know immediately what two wrenches are needed to open that lock.
  • You've ever slept on top of the dog house at work and in it when you got home.
  • You've ever worked from colors the night before to colors the morning.
  • You've ever "tagged" another squadrons aircraft with command insignias (zappers) while it was parked at your hangar.
  • You were hung from the crane or zip-tied to a troop seat when you first checked in.
  • While on watch, you've had to do a lift with the crane because no one else knew how to operate the darn thing.
  • Everything you eat is in sandwich form.
  • You have eaten dinner from a paper plate, but you are not really sure it's yours. Same with soda cans.
  • If you think JP-, 8802 and moly B are interchangeable with mustard, mayo and ketchup.
  • You get very suspicious if your sandwich does not have greasy fingerprints on it.
  • The only vegetables you can identify with is french fries and potato chips.
  • You envy the AIMD guys who work only 12 hours a day.
  • You envy the AIMD avionics guys who are wearing foul weather coats in the middle of the desert.
  • You continually fill the ship CO's box with "suggestions" to turn off the bosun's pipe so night check can get some sleep.
  • You can quote per diem and exchange rates from memory.
  • You laugh like hell when a VIP sits in a puddle of hydraulic fluid you "forgot" to wipe up.
  • You ever started a conversation with a pilot with "Godd*** it, Sir."
  • Your re-enlistment "benny book" is still full when you transfer.
  • You were late to your re-enlistment because you were the only CDI available.
  • You make jewelry from safety wire while waiting for the bird to come back. You think underwear is merely a suggestion.
  • You wonder what exactly is a "HOLIDAY ROUTINE"?
  • You have re-attached the sole of your boot with 8802 because there's no money for a new pair.
  • You establish the det "MWR Fund" two weeks before you leave.
  • You threaten the AK with bodily harm if he doesn't ship the mysterious cruise box marked "MWR Fund".
  • You've ever sent a MAF to another shop just to have them send it back to you.
  • You believe a hammer is a necessary tool no matter what the job.
  • You judge how well you've done a job by how many tools you broke to complete it.
  • You use a screwdriver for a punch or a chisel.
  • You've ever seen "Your aircraft" as a static display.
  • You can change a jet tire faster than you can change a car tire.
  • You wonder why NASCAR pit crews need pneumatic guns to change tires that fast.
  • You've ever boasted about how many tools you've broken in one night.
  • You've ever drug your feet so you can avoid hangar-bay cleanup.
  • You have a list of answers for people who ask you "what you're doing."
  • You've ever watched an air show and were pissed off because you knew you were going to have to fix that aircraft the next day.
  • You've ever taken off from a flight deck, but not landed on one (or vise versa).
  • You know what a "hell hole" is.
  • You can tell where a tool landed by the last sound you heard.
  • You know exactly how many of your model jets are left in service.
  • You've ever seen anyone taped to a chair in a hangar bay.
  • You refer to ship's company as "boat chucks."
  • You've ever been the subject of a safety stand-down.
  • You have to check your pockets every time you leave your shop.
  • You can quote passages in maintenance publication faster than a religious person can quote scripture.
  • You've ever joked about getting a calibration seal tattooed on your elbow.
  • You've tried to decline a position because you like working too much.
  • Your shop is an escape from family.
  • You look down on other shops because you don't think they work as hard as yours. Of course, they think the same of your shop.
  • You're careful of what you say around a jet in fear that you might offend it.
  • You can reminisce about clubs in the countries you've visited but regret not having seen more sights.
  • You rate countries on how attractive the locals are..
  • You have more spare parts in your desk drawer than supply has
  • given to your shop.
  • You take your own spare parts on det or deployment.
  • You know at least two names for every part of an aircraft.
  • You ever launched from the "HOT SPOT" then you know that "#181 You think that underwear is merely a suggestion" isn't true because of metal zippers........ouch!!!
  • The flight deck isn't as bad as they made it seem - it's worse.
  • One good AZ beats 10 lousy AE's.
  • There are at least 10 types of capacitors.
  • Theory tells you how a circuit works, not why it does not work.
  • Not everything works according to the specs in the pub.
  • Anything practical you learn will be obsolete before you use it, except the complex math, which you never will use.
  • Always try to fix the hardware with software.
  • Overtime pay? What overtime pay?
  • Pilots and 120s, not maintainers, make the rules.
  • If you like junk food, caffeine and all-nighters, go O-level.
  • You wiped down leak before aircrew sees it
  • If it's leaking that means it's fully serviced.
  • Don't mess with it, if ain't nothing wrong with it.
  • The more maintenance you do, the more you break it
  • If ain't in the book, ain't gonna happen
  • You get the book and sit on it.
  • It's good, forget it, fly it.
  • During maintenance meeting, it's easy to write in the passdown log "DAY-OFF".
  • You talk to your aircraft "C'mon Baby, you and me again".
  • You whisper your aircraft during launch "Come back good...you hear"
  • What crack? Patch it with ordnance tape good enough.
  • Righty tighty, lefty loosy.

Humor in the Uniform

I have gotten hit up by a few people recently in email on why I post a large amount of humorous stories or events on this blog. Well, mainly because I work a stress filled job and the chance to find humor is important to me to maintain balance. So that is why I have a lot of my posts about funny events that have occured to either myself or my co-workers while on or off duty. It is strange, but most of us in the military will find humor in some of the strangest ways (a short story I knew a guy at a command who use to just fire up a song from the movie "Flash Dance" on his stero and while in the shop dance like the Flash Dancer did in the movie). It is also strange but it seems to get worst (as in raunchy, nastier, etc) the longer we are deployed away from our kin. I guess it is the easiest way for all of us to deal with our stress of being away, the stress of doing the job in and out, and just stress in general. So that is why I put up mainly humorous stories about my adventures in life.

Some fun times on the radio

I work on aircraft electronics. Sometimes it is required to actually climb up into the airplane and fire the misbehaving electronic box up and play around with it to try and make it work. Or to at least see if the aircrew were right in their initial assessment of the problem. Sometimes playing around can lead to some funny adventures, this is one of those. The names have been changed to protect the guilty and the innocent.....

It was a semi-beautiful day while haze gray and underway in the Persian Gulf. We had been flying operations in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, the squadron I was assigned to at the time was in charge of providing electronic intelligence to the ground pounders. We have 3 radios in the plane. Also after a certain calender period the cards that have the common frequencies used change. So for the work center that I belong to spends a lot of time on the radio doing checks and repairs to make sure that they can work for transmission and receiving. To the point that I think all of us could get the FCC radio operators licences without any problem. So it came to be this day that one of the birds we had to fly that night, had radio problems on 2 of the 3 radios. On top of that the calendar period had expired so there was a mass radio event to make sure that everyone in the aviation side of the battle group was on the right card with the right codes.
We had to make a call to radio central on the carrier and to the E-2 bubbas on board the carrier. So myself, a co-worker, and our division officer were all in this broke bird and listen to the following:

"Rider, XXX 502, requesting comm check radio 1. How do you read me?"
Silence for about 10 mins.
"Rider, XXX 502, requesting comm check radio 1 plain. How do you read me?"
Again, silence for about 10 mins.
"Anyone Rider, XXX 502, requesting comm check."
This time we all heard the following,
"XXX 502, Red Crown, I heard you loud and clear on my channel. Now get off my g--dang channel."
Upon hearing this we all talked to each other via the inter phone system and commented on who was screwed up us or Red Crown. Then it started,
"Rider, XXX 101 requesting comm check plain."
"Rider, XXX 207 requesting comm check plain."
"Rider, XXX 300 requesting comm check plain."
"Rider, XXX 707 requesting comm check plain."
"Rider, XXX 601 requesting comm check plain."
"To all XXX members, this is Red Crown get off my frequency or I will have the next joker up on charges."
"Rider, XXX 412 requesting comm check plain."
"XXX 412, Get off my m-----f---ing channel."
Which then lead to this wonderful exchange on the same frequency,
"Red Crown, Rider Actual, You have 30minutes to get that joker over to me"
"99 Aircraft, 99 Aircraft, Rider, event zero canceled. All parties muster in ward room one for briefing."
Upon which myself and the rest of my party unhooked from our plane.
This gave us a good laugh for a couple of days. Someone in one of the other squadrons supposedly had it all recorded on a digital voice recorder and was going to make an MP3 of it. I don't know what happened on that front.
It just showed how even the most prepared organization can make mistakes. The good mistakes are the ones that can cause you to laugh out loud at the stupidity of the system.

01 May 2006

The local immigration rally

This past weekend the town that I live in right now had its own immigration rally. I don't think it would have lived up to what those that asked for the immigration rally on 01MAY06 wanted, but that is alright this one in town was better. It was a celebration of the local town's own heritage.
The town I live in was initially settle by 3 people in the 1850's. The place served as a basic trading and outfitting post for those going fishing in the waters around here. Then around the turn of the century during a wave of European immigration into the US a number of Dutch settled in the area, along with a couple low land areas in some cities near by. They then turned to logging and really made the town grow in to the little city it was. They also gave it some flavor. So for as long as I can remember, they have had a celebration of these Dutch settlers. In recent years though the celebration has also turned to a number of other people that have emigrated to the area from other places around the world. Primarily from the Pacific rim, with the US Navy service members who meet women overseas got married and brought them home. So during this little weekend celebration not only are the Dutch celebrated but also, Filipinos, Hawaiians, Japanese, Koreans, and a general hodge podge of people are seen around in traditional dress. They have a big parade on Saturday that follows with a 2 day street carnival and you see people doing dancing, talking about their heritage, serving traditional foods, and in general getting out meeting their neighbors. This is almost a great Norman Rockwell or Currier and Ives moment of Americana.
But what really makes this whole thing really interesting is that the Friday before they also have a big whooped do at one of the local halls in town where the oath of citizenship is issued to those newest American citizens who live in town and then they are featured on a parade float.

Seeing this celebration happen this past weekend in town to me gave a real contrast to the protests that happened today in through out the nation. That contrast was on how to really celebrate your heritage and to celebrate your love for the city, state, country that you live in.

101st Keyboards

I mainly read what could be considered "right-wing" blogs. However, at times I have read some "left wing" blogs if they believe in classical liberal ideals (that is promoting democracy around the world, Kennedy Style diplomacy, etc). The other thing I read with interest from time to time is military blogs, or milblogs for short, so that I can get an idea on what other people in the services see and their own opinions about ideas. It is strange I know, but we are not mindless automatons who march to whatever drum is being played by a politico.
So what is even funnier to read how some of the milbloggers are reporting on the good news coming from the fronts of home, Afghanistan, Iraq, and other major areas of the war on terrorism being challenged by some of the more extremist and angry (and unfortuantely typically modern) liberal. They have challenged a number of the milbloggers by calling them "chicken hawks" to start with, then to attack these bloggers own experiences, and just be unwilling to enter into an intelligent debate about issues.
So the milbloggers in an attempt to shake off the hate (yes Virginia, that is hate these liberal bloggers are spouting), like a duck to water, created the 101st Fighting Keyboardists. A blogger who runs, Captain's Quarters, has the full details on the idea.
A number of milbloggers and other right wing bloggers have picked up and joined the roles. It is really interesting, because these are the people who are on the front lines, near them, in the command control staffs, or just people interested in making sure that good news comes out about the war on terrorism and how the military is doing.
Why are the milbloggers and most of the rest of the right wing writing about the war and in general some of the hate and punditry that is coming out now a days? I think it is because they honestly believe in have an honesty and open debate about the issue and to show that for every bombing/assassination/murder by terrorist, every prisoner abuse scandal, every supposed contract screw up; that there is good going on in this war. That countries that have been embroiled in war for the better part of 10+yrs are getting rebuilt, children are seeing a future beyond becoming cannon fodder for some tyrannical regimes war machine, and finally that maybe just maybe it is up to the US and the rest of the industrialized world to bring the idea of basic rights of humans to these nations.
I don't know if I am completely ready to sign on yet with the 101st, but I do believe in their idea. It will take me a while probably to warm up to signing my name on the dotted line. I do know this though, I will try my hardest to challenge on a logical level those that live just for emotion and the right now. I guess you could probably call me a sympathizer to the 101st ideals for right now. Probably more to this as I take some more time to think about it.