Challenge Coin Update

Ladies and Gentlemen please, turn your attention to me:

A Challenge Coin Update

I haven’t been keeping careful track of the number of outgoing coins, but if my monkey math counting skills are working there appear to be about 130 or so left.

A number of you who responded to the thread we used to get a count for the order haven’t actually ordered yet. I don’t want you to miss out before they are gone.

As a reminder:

Dorothy Olson has kindly agreed to collect names and addresses and to compile mailing labels. I’ve been to the USPS to confirm that the envelopes I have will work and to figure out the postage. Dorothy’s coin is in the mail to test it out.

Costs: $6.00 per coin. Shipping is $2.55 for one coin and $.50 for each additional coin. This will work for packages up to 13 oz. which is 6 coins or so. Being a recovering accountant, I brushed off my rusty skill and worked out this handy table:

Number Price Postage Total
1 6.00 2.55 $ 8.55
2 12.00 3.05 $15.05
3 18.00 3.55 $21.55
4 24.00 4.05 $28.05
5 30.00 4.55 $34.55
6 36.00 5.05 $41.05

If you wanted more than 6 we will have to either send two packages or I will have to work out the postage separately. It shouldn’t be a big deal.

Hopefully, you have a Pay Pal account. If so, send the appropriate amount to Daryle.LaMonica@Hotmail.com and please remember use “Send Money to Family or Friends” and don’t mention that it’s for a purchase or product. That way they won’t bang me for their fee.

Also, and this is important, send an email with your name and address to Dorothy Olson at dorothyolson3405@q.com

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In Memory of CAPT Carroll “Lex” LeFon, and the Wonderful Community He Fostered

Welcome. The idea was floated that a ‘talk amongst yourselves’ blog would be a good addition to for the Non-Facebook Crowd. Here it is.

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Beliefs

By lex, on October 22nd, 2003

As opposed to certainties…

My son (17) is out tonight with his girlfriend and her mom. Wonderful people, liberal as they come. I’ve talked a couple of times with the GF, who has expressed to me a concern that she might offend me if she shared her political views with me. She deems me perhaps a right-wing knuckle-dragger, much given to the taking of umbrage. I am in the military after all – what else might one expect?

I don’t know that I really am all that conservative – I like to think of myself as being more of a libertarian, with a slight conservative bent, but unchained by the orthodoxies of either political camp. I took one of those on line tests a few months back that basically confirmed that, on a four axis chart.

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Going fast, stopping in a hurry

By lex, on October 13th, 2003

 

The jet is going about 150 mph. In the time it took for you to read that first sentence, it would have hit the deck and stopped, the arresting gear shrieking as it converted the energy of 33,000 pounds of strike fighter through an elaborately reeved system of inch thick woven steel cables, buffered by enormous hydraulic cylinders. Upon landing, the pilot’s body would surge against the four-point restraint system, with the ballistic inertial reel locking, to keep his face from going through the instrument panel. It would be not unlike a high speed car crash. To an observer outside the jet, the noise would have been deafening.

This was in the daytime. For a pilot with even a modicum of experience, this would be considered fun.

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The Hive

 

By lex, on October 12th, 2003

lex

Ninety thousand tons of diplomacy. Four and half acres of sovereign US territory, going where it will, as it will. Some French midshipmen I was escorting 20 years ago got their first look at a US style carrier (USS John F. Kennedy) in Norfolk, Virginia. One of them, the most talkative (and that was a keen competition) said to me, “la porte-avion, c’est grande, c’est giantesque, mais ce n’est pas tellement belle.”

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The Daily Commute

By lex, on October 9th, 2003

Zen and the art of motorcycle riding on Hwy 5.

Lex

This is the daily ride. That is not the daily rider. That’s the Kat, who not only is morally sure that she’s the boss of me, but thinks it with such authority that I cannot be quite sure she’s not right. A true force of nature.

It’s a great commuter, if you like that sort of thing. Where I live in Sandy Eggo is about 25 miles from where I work, which means that traffic is an ever-present factor in my life. There’s this thing called “the Merge” that is entirely unpredictable. It can be about cars all moving at 80 mph in close formation like a synchronized swimming team on meth, and then for no comprehensible reason it can turn into a parking lot. And back again. God forbid someone has a fender bender in the opposite direction lane: traffic will stop in both directions. You could maybe see a body part, who knows? Just as well to slow down and see.

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Is there anybody out there?

Wed – October 8, 2003

by lex

A day in the life of a staff officer (sigh)

Powerpoint. You may have heard of it, a Microsoft product. If you haven’t count yourself among the lucky…

Thirteen years ago I was an adversary instructor in Key West, Florida. A fleet lieutenant. It was a good life, flying three types of jets in a day’s work: F-16, F-5, A-4. All BFM (basic fighter maneuvers) and ACM (air combat maneuvers) – dogfighting. Also you taught tactics classes, with your peers. It was The Best Job Ever.

We had this program we used to craft our slideshows, Harvard Graphics. There was a tablet and pen tool, for the artistically inclined. It was pretty cool, you spent a month or so researching your topic (forward quarter missiles and tactics) and about three weeks putting the presento together, a murder board from the staff (comment: “you’re talking way too fast,” I know, I know, that’s just who I am), and you were pretty much done.

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Hwaet!

Tue – October 7, 2003

by lex

So. Today I am a blogger.

Lex

This picture is from an aircraft carrier at sea in the Arabian Gulf. March, 2003. Those of you keeping up on current events at the time may realize that the ugly green things in the scarcely more attractive grey jackets behind me are JDAMs – Joint Direct Attack Munitions. They are about to be elevated to the flight deck, for an arranged marriage with FA-18’s and F-14’s. The union will be brief, however – these bombs are destined for the palaces of thuggish, dictatorial regimes, revetted armor formations and sadly, poorly lead, poorly motivated conscripts standing in the way of the Third Infantry Division and First Marine Division, First Marine Expeditionary Force. Ordinarily, we aviators don’t think in terms of people on the receiving end, we talk of targets “serviced.” Except when we’ve got troopers on the ground: some frightened, pimply-faced 19 year old kid from some town in Iowa that we’ll never meet, wearing desert cammies and carrying a rifle – when there are American Soldiers on the ground, then it gets personal. You can spare a thought for the wetware on the receiving end of the machine- the kid has no politics, it’s either this or the plastic shredder… you can feel sorry for him for the bad luck that brought his coordinates to your cockpit, but you can’t dwell. You’ll be back tomorrow.

As for JDAMs, for smart weapons they’re fairly dumb, they don’t know where they’re going yet – but soon they will be told, and they’re going to fall desperately in love with the targets of their affection. A union devoutly to be wished, to be sure – but ultimately a destructive relationship. So it goes…

That was, what? seven months ago. Since I’m a Sailor, and not a Soldier, I’m home now. Pray for the boys over there, they’re doing this for us, they’re doing it for you…

When I first thought about serving my country, I considered the Air Force, but decided I’d rather be in the military instead. My father told me once that in the Army, you’d live like rats and die like gentlemen. In the Navy, you’d live like gentlemen, and die like rats. I rather counted on living, and that has made all the difference.

Quote Yeats to me and you’ve won my heart…

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Callsigns

 

By lex, on May 14th, 2004

Military aviators typically have radio “callsigns,” or handles. Much like a CB radio enthusiast might, with the difference being that they are generally chosen for the nugget pilot rather than by him. We have very few pilots nicknamed “Ace,” for example, and if you find one named “Maverick,” you can be fairly confident that there is what passes for an elevated degree of sarcasm in there somewhere. Believe it or not, joining the fleet and getting your callsign can involve a fair amount of stress – once a moniker gets hung on you, it’s yours for life. Unless you commit some act of egregious buffoonery, landing with the gear up for example, which will be simply too juicy an event not to remind you of for the rest of your professional life, “Wheels.” And it’s worse than useless to object to the handle you’re given, since any evident chink in a fighter pilot’s psychological armor must of necessity be poked and prodded until the blood ceases to run. Never let ‘em see you sweat.

No slack in fighter attack.

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