Monthly Archives: August 2018

California Dreaming

 

By lex, on January 20th, 2009

So, anyway, I’ve been doing the due diligence on getting that tailwheel endorsement, just for the novelty that’s in it. Reached out to a local bidnessman * on the recommendation of an occasional reader. On the phone the entrepreneur sounded like he was maybe 10 years old. His chief pilot * being maybe younger.

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Slack Day

By lex, on January 3rd, 2009

The morning started out easily enough. I was trying to Google a Waco YMF-5 with a glass cockpit that I’d seen in AOPA magazine, but the article wasn’t on line. It did lead me to a jaunt through the Elysian Fields of 21st Century, open-cockpit biplanes. Starting at ~$350k. Which is a lot, it seems to me. For an open cockpit biplane. Before you add the Garmin G1000 **glass cockpit.

Slack Day

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Pueblo Suit

By lex, on December 31st, 2008

The USS Pueblo was a signals intelligence ship captured by the North Koreans on 23 January 1968 by forces of the Democratic Peoples’ Republic of Korea while operating in international waters. Her CO surrendered the ship after the loss of one sailor killed and ten wounded, but – significantly, to those in the sea service – without having fired a shot in return.

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Death Dance

By lex, on December 30th, 2008

It seems to me that all this talk about “proportionality” in the ongoing brawl between Israel and Hamas misses the point. This has nothing at all to do with proportionality, nor even the relative merits of their various arguments, and everything to do with the mutual aspirations of the antagonists. These aspirations overlap in a ven diagram of violence.

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Navy Cross

By lex, on December 29th, 2008

It means not running:

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Small blessings

By lex, on February 18th, 2007

When I was a junior officer, we suffered a much higher mishap rate than we do now, and the Naval Safety Center would issue a weekly summary of mishaps for prominent display on the tack boards in squadron common rooms. I first became aware of the weekly summaries in my first jet training squadron, but couldn’t by myself puzzle out the coding used to classify aircraft damages and personal injuries. Finally I mustered up the courage to ask an instructor what the various codes meant.

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Phase VI

 

Posted by Lex, on December 16th, 2008

Phases I and II for Operation Iraqi Freedom were deployment and battlefield preparation. Phase III  was major combat operations – it was over in weeks. Phase IV – post-MCO stabilization and force drawdown – took a very great deal longer and cost more in blood and treasure than most people expected. With the signing of a Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) between the Iraqi and US governments, planning for Stage V – redeployment of forces home – has already begun.

Now it’s time for Phase VI.

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Christmas Eve, 2008

By lex, on December 24th, 2008

Hopefully, you have by now completed your holiday shopping, gentle reader. And are now kicking yourself for having missed out on all the steep discounts * everywhere on offer. Longtime readers know that this season has bittersweet connotations for your host. I’ve joyful memories of childhood anticipation, mature reflection on the meaning of the day and a hole in my life that will not be filled on this side of the veil.**

But even in that there is hope.

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CV-22 Osprey Deploys

By lex, on December 19th, 2008

To Africa and back:

For the first time ever, a detachment of V-22 Ospreys deployed from its home base in the United States, flying across the Atlantic Ocean to an exercise in northern Africa.

Four CV-22 Ospreys from the Hurlburt Field, Fla.-based 8th Special Operations Squadron lifted off in October from the sand dunes and palm trees of their Gulf coast base and flew more than 6,000 miles to the rock-strewn deserts of Bamako, Mali.

The aircraft operated for about three weeks there in support of Operation Flintlock – a joint 10th Special Forces Group and North African commando exercise intended to sharpen combat skills and build military-to-military relations.

But it was also a coming out party for the special operations version of the Osprey.

I have to admit to a certain skepticism when it comes to the Osprey. The machine seemed to me a fusion of all the worst characteristics or fixed- and rotor-wing aircraft, lacking the purpose-driven efficiency of the former while elevating the complexity of the latter – no mean feat. It also seemed as though it was being pushed as much by “dual use” congressmen hoping to leverage military R&D to open up spoke airports bearing their names in rural backwaters than any military necessity.

Yet here we are.

You kids get off my lawn.

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The Battle of the Bulge

 

By lex, on December 16th, 2008

Today that’s often taken to mean bravely foregoing a second croissant. Sixty-four years ago today, the term had a very different connotation indeed.

Having successfully lodged and expanded a beach head in Normandy in June of 1944, Allied forces spent the rest of that month and most of July trying to breakout through the French hedgerows – a brutal battle of attrition requiring on-the-battlefield innovation.

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