Monthly Archives: March 2013

Sparyka Nation Wounded Warrior 5K Run

The runners waiting to start

The runners waiting to start

At the moment I’m in an NCO school at Ft Eustis, Virginia. On of my classmates found out that Spartyka Nation was running a benefit 5k run for the Wounded Warrior Project at Virginia Beach this weekend, and we decided to go. As it turns out one of our group had been assisted by the WWP, so there was a personal element to the trip. Virginia Beach, while a major tourist attraction, is no stranger to the military with a strong Naval presence at nearby Norfolk, Oceana and Little Creek as well as nearby Ft Eustis and Langley Air Force Base. With those kinds of neighbors, it’s not surprising there was a good turn out even though it was a little cool.

The runners waiting to start

The runners waiting to start

The run itself was an out and back along the boardwalk which made for a nice running surface. It was the typical gaggle at the start, but within a couple of minutes everyone was sorted out and running at whatever their comfortable pace was. It was a pleasant run, and a great way to get off post and get a little fresh air.

The group of us from class

The group of us from class

For information on similar events check out and


Filed under Other Stuff, Uncategorized

0-100 in 2.5 Seconds

This 15 minute video, produced by Grumman Aerospace in the 70s, details the different requirements of Navy planes from land-based planes.

For one thing, I did not know that that once the tail hook catches, the entire fuselage flexes – think of the 1000s of landings a plane makes in its life, and the engineering that goes into this …

[XBradTC- I fixed the embed]


by | March 30, 2013 · 2:14 pm

An Anniversary, Of Sorts

From the Usual USAF Source:

Anniversary of US Pullout from Vietnam  Forty years ago, on March 29, 1973, the last US ground troops withdrew from Vietnam, marking the end of direct US involvement in the Vietnam War. President Nixon addressed the nation that day, saying: “For the first time in 12 years, no American military forces are in Vietnam. All of our American POWs are on their way home.” The withdrawal came two months after the United States, South Vietnam, and North Vietnam concluded the Paris peace accords. They failed to bring peace as Saigon would ultimately fall on April 30, 1975, to North Vietnamese communist forces, ending the long conflict. (C-Span webpage with video of Nixon’s address.)

For a selection of Air Force Magazine articles over the years on the Vietnam War, see:

Commissioned in Hanoi
Leaving No One Behind
The Lessons of Vietnam
Linebacker II
Return to Vietnam
Stennis Slams McNamara

We were in Vietnam for 12 years… from 1961 until 1973.  One of my very first… mayhap even THE first… war stories revolves around our involvement there and my relationship with the war.  It’s September, 1963 and I’m in the end-game o’ basic training at Lackland AFB in San Antonio, part o’ said end-game being spending a couple o’ days on the obstacle course, or whatever they call it now.  My flight was taking a smoke break after spending a couple o’ hours running through mud, walking across logs, and climbing vertical obstacles when this fat Staff Sergeant TI (that would be Training Instructor, for you non-mil types) started barking at us.  He said something that IMMEDIATELY caught our attention, to the effect o’…

“You Ladies better gotdamned well pay ATTENTION to what we’re teaching you here, coz you’ll NEED it when we send yer asses to Veet-Nam!”

“Veet-Nam?” sez one of my fellow airmen… not me… “What’s Veet-Nam?”

“We’re fightin’ a WAR there, Boy!  So pay attention!”

We all looked at one another and silently mouthed “war?”  What war?  Who knew?  The answer is that in 1963 damned few people in these United States knew we were at war in Vietnam but we… the members of my flight and the nation as a whole… would find out soon enough.

Cross-posted at EIP.


Filed under Other Stuff, Vietnam

What Are They Thinking?


Apparently someone in the US military decided that flying a couple of B-2 bombers over the Korean peninsula was a good idea. Things in North Korea are a bit unsettled at the moment. The NORKS recently repudiated the 1953 Armistice Agreement which arranged a cease fire between the two Koreas, China and the UN (mostly the USA but there were other nations involved in the fighting on our side).

There’s more here: North Korea Readies Rockets

Now I’m no Clausewitz but with the NORKS all riled up, I’m not sure I’d be poking their cage at the moment. Let ’em calm down a bit, then perhaps remind them who the big dog is.

Or perhaps this is a way to get the American public’s mind off the 2nd Amendment and the Obummer’s other foibles? A little foreign adventure to keep the masses occupied?

When are we going to have our Reichstag Fire? Can I bring the marshmallows?

Something stinks to high heaven in Washington D.C. and I’m pretty sure it’s not the Potomac when the tide is out.

Or am I being overly sensitive? What’s your take?


Filed under International Affairs

We Few, We happy Few….

I recently posted a comment or two on the last post of OldAFSarge (“Where do we go from here?”) where I made reference to a new acquaintance I made yesterday, Clive Stevens, a local amateur historian with special knowledge of the acclaimed work of the eminent American author, Dr Stephen E Ambrose.

Clive Stevens grew up in Wiltshire, England. As a senior at college, he embarked upon detailed research into the history of the American military who were based in England during World War 2. He started with the American Parachute Infantry Regiments for no better reason than so many people in his community had first hand knowledge of the `friendly occupation` as it was sometimes known. For Clive grew up near the village of Aldbourne, which Lexicans may recall was where the men of Easy Company, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division, United Staes Army were based for their advanced tactical training in preparation for the invasion of Normandy on June 6th 1944. Easy Company is now immortalised in the TV mini series, “Band of Brothers”.

I thought it would be interesting to add a little of Clive’s work by posting an extract from a 2004 publication of his entitled `The Gathering of Eagles`

`In June 1991, as a prelude to the publication [of band of Brothers] Dr Ambrose led a trans Atlantic tour made up of three Easy Company veterans and a group of historians from the University of New Orleans; the object of the trip being to trace the path of Easy company from their beginnings in Toccoa, GA, through to their capture of Hitler’s `Eagles Nest` in Berchtesgaden.

Sadly the tour was not scheduled to include Aldbourne, but following a meeting in London between Marlborough amateur historian Neil Stevens [Clive’s brother] and the three veterans of Easy Company, a detour was hastily arranged. Therefore, the following day the tour group made a fleeting visit to the village en route from Aldershot to Portsmouth for the cross channel ferry to Normandy. During the brief visit that followed, the group toured the village on foot, visited the last remaining stable block at High Town [a troops billet] and partook in the church fete on the village green. Neil then gave the three VIP veterans, namely Dick Winters, Don Malarkey and Carwood Lipton, a whistlestop tour of their old haunts in a WW2 Willy’s Jeep, before posing for photographs in the jeep in front of the stable block. The date was Saturday June 29th 1991 and for Dick Winters it was his first return to the village since WW2. Upon his return home Dick wrote the following to Neil:

“It was very nice of you, your parents and friends to go to the trouble of making an extra effort to make our visit to Aldbourne a very special and emotional day. I have never seen Aldbourne in such a festive mood. It was wonderful to see all the children having a good time at the puppet show on the village green, the happy faces at the flea market tables and a regular crowd of people in every direction you turned. The jeep ride you gave us to the surrounding hillsides and the view down onto the village, all bringing back good memories. All of these factors are the same reasons why, as we were returning to Aldbourne after the Normandy campaign, we all felt as if we were returning to our home”

By the end of 1991 Ambrose’s book was finished and upon publication in 1992 it sold extensively throughout the world. Despite this international exposure it would be almost 10 years before Stephen Spielberg, captivated by Ambrose’s work, set about creating the most expensive dramatisation ever made for television.`

Of course, what followed Mr Speilberg’s HBO tv series made the aforementioned veterans something approaching Hollywood- style celebrities. It must have been a massive shock after so many years. So, fellow Lexicans and others, I hope you enjoyed this little peep behind, or perhaps that should be ahead of the `Band of Brothers` at a time before the book was published and when comparatively few people had ever heard of them.  It is stories like this that make me passionate about how our history was shaped and the importance of remembrance of those who shaped it.


Filed under History, Paratroopers

Iterating With the Diametric Leg

military fighter pilots
Pulled this from the Spam Filter this morning, too weird (and bizarre) to just throw away and not share. Or something to that effect…

Now, one time this bade is dry trading floor, then Iterate
with the diametric leg. They fifty-fifty own the car been more
than set aside seen by the USCG outset, not put out in circulation for the
executive chairs fourth part backs to shell forth with their condemnations.

Yeah, bro’. Don’t be shelling forth with those condemnations. Otherwise…


Well, they DID mention the Coast Guard (I think) so yeah, it’s relevant.


Filed under Humor

Where Do We Go From Here?


Apache Scout
by Frank McCarthy

For the first time, virtually ever, there was no “Daily Lex” today. Todd has done a superb job taking care of this for a year now. Yes, others have stepped in from time to time but Todd has really done the heavy lifting. He has laid this burden down, as he said he would. Though I was ready for this, still when I came here today it was, “Uh, oh yeah. Yesterday was it. Well, now what?”

Yes, now what? Does someone else pick up the task or do we say farewell to the “Daily Lex”? I fear that The Lexicans might wither and eventually be neglected, left to gather dust on the virtual bookshelf. Does anyone have any ideas or suggestions as to what we do next?

We knew this day would come. So my brothers and sisters, what’s next?

And thanks Todd. “Ya done good!”


Filed under Lex, Lexicans

F-102 and F-106 Flight Testing

Convair’s delta-winged interceptors, the F-102 Delta Dagger and F-106 Delta Dart are icons of the Cold War. Both aircraft had generally the same configuration but the Delta Dart was a more refined design.

The video below shows some of the flight testing that took place with the F-102 up to the year 1957. Footage includes climate testing in Alaska, radome testing through simulated rain, TF-102 flight tests, F-102 structural modifications, the F-102 sidestick testing program, external fuel tank testing, TF and F-102 weapons testing for the MB-1 Genie and AIM-4 Falcon air to air missiles.

Right about this time period, the F-106 made it’s first flight and gradually envelope expansion testing.

It’s important to note that although the technology has changed, the method by which modern combat aircraft are tested hasn’t. Yes, computer processing power has grown in leaps and bounds but there’s no substitute for actual flight test.

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Filed under Aeronautical Engineering, Air Force, Airplanes, Flying, History, Plane Pr0n, USAF



Lockheed’s F-104 Starfighter, really properly called the “zipper,” was one of the first combat aircraft capable of sustained Mach 2 flight. It had a relatively short career with the USAF’s Air Defense Command (ADC) going from 1958 to 1969.

The Zipper was far more popular among NATO nations, seeing use not only as a fighter but also a stikefighter/fighter-bomber.


German F-104Gs were used heavily in the fighter bomber role. At its peak in the mid-1970s, the Luftwaffe operated five F-104 -equipped fighter bomber wings, two interceptor wings and two tactical reconnaissance wings.

The Marineflieger operated a further two wings of F-104s in the maritime strike and reconnaissance roles. The service history with the Luftwaffe was relatively chequered. Even famous fighter ace Erich Hartmann (the Commanding Officer of the Luftwaffe’s first jet fighter squadron) judged the Zipper as unsafe for use as a combat aircraft. Most losses were due to operating the aircraft at low-level, high speed resulting in controlled flight into terrain (CFIT). 110 pilots were lost in Luftwaffe service.

The video below is from the little-known Marineflieger F-104 display team called “The Vikings.” The video also shows Marinefliegergeschwader 2 (West German Naval Air Wing 2)’s conversion to the Tornado IDS to continue service in the maritime strike role.

A few things I noticed:

Bending the Zipper around especially at low-level took some stones. You can keep your 170kt approach speed and your  150 kt minimum touchdown speed, thank you very much. Then again you only live once right?

The Zipper didn’t take kindly to ham-fisted drivers. You can learn more about flying the Zipper here.

They called NAS Moffett Field and AFB. The variety of aircraft at the different airshow was kinda interesting.

On another note, The Starfighters carry on the great tradition of the Zipper and continue to fly a few examples of her at airshows.


Filed under Air Force, Airplanes, Naval Aviation, Plane Pr0n, USAF

A Runnin’ Mate For Fifi

From the Usual USAF Source

Group Aims to Return Vintage B-29 to Flying Status: A recently formed non-profit group aims to support the refurbishment of a World War II B-29 bomber named Doc and its return to flying condition, according to a release from the organization. “This airplane is a national treasure,” said Jeff Turner, chairman of the board of Doc’s Friends, formed by aviation enthusiasts and business leaders in Wichita, Kan. “We will not rest until we raise enough funds to restore Doc, find a permanent home, and operate Doc as a flying museum for the world to see,” he added. Group members believe that Doc is the last-known B-29 that is restorable to flying condition, states the March 11 release. Boeing built Doc in Wichita in 1944. Decommissioned in 1956, the bomber spent more than four decades in the California desert until aviation enthusiasts rescued it and brought it to Wichita in 2000. Doc’s Friends now has ownership of the bomber, which currently resides in hangar space donated by Boeing for the restoration work, states the release.

And there’s this, from the Doc’s Friends web site:

Good on ’em.  Fifi needs a running partner.


Filed under Airplanes, USAF