Author Archives: msgtbuck

Milton Caniff and the Air Force, Both My Father’s and Mine

This month’s issue of Air Force Magazine has a wonderful article about cartoonist Milton Caniff, a man who was a daily read for me from about the third grade until well into my adult years.  Here’s an example of his work, from a time before my time:

In the most famous Caniff Sunday page of all time, the “Let’s Take a Walk, Terry” segment on Oct. 17, 1943, Corkin walks around the flight line with newly fledged pilot Terry and delivers an inspirational talk about the war and the Air Force.This page, often reprinted, was “read” into the Congressional Record and appeared as an Air Force Magazine guest editorial in September 1985. Click for larger.

As the caption notes… that’s a lot o’ mileage for a simple comic strip.  That particular strip is an example of “Terry and the Pirates,” but my boyhood hero was Steve Canyon, Caniff’s follow-on strip after “Terry.”  Somehow or other I just KNEW my father and Col. Canyon knew each other… I had zero doubts about that until I got somewhat older and obtained a better (or worse) grasp on reality.

Still and even, I followed the adventures of Colonel Canyon every day as a boy.  It’s not much of a stretch to say the good colonel had as big an impact on my first career decision as my father did… I wanted to BE Steve Canyon, or someone just like him, at the very least.

I almost got there…

There’s much more of Caniff’s artwork at the Air Force Mag link above, but you have to view the article as a PDF.  Cross-posted at EIP.

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Filed under Air Force

THIS Won’t Last Long

I like it, but I’m thinkin’ Daddy Hagel and his Navy command won’t.

H/t: a tweet/instagram pic from Iowahawk.

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Filed under Good Stuff

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.

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Filed under Other Stuff, Vietnam

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.

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Filed under Airplanes, USAF

CNX

From the Usual USAF Source:

Out of the Public Eye: Due to the budget sequester, the Air Force has cancelled all aviation support to public events for at least the remainder of Fiscal 2013, and is standing down the Thunderbirds aerial demonstration team to preserve flying hours for readiness needs, announced service officials. “Engaging with the public is a core Air Force mission and communicating and connecting with the public is more important today than ever before. However, faced with deep budget cuts, we have no choice but to stop public aviation support,” said Brig. Gen. Les Kodlick, Air Force public affairs director, in the service’s March 1 release. Effective March 1, Active Duty, Air National Guard, and Air Force Reserve units ceased all aviation support at air shows, tradeshows, and open houses, unless the event includes only local static assets; they also stopped flyovers (including at funerals and military graduations), orientation flights, heritage flights, and F-22 demonstration flights, states the release. Cancellation of the Thunderbirds’ 2013 flying season takes effect on April 1, according to the release. Thunderbirds and heritage flight crews will complete their certification procedures in case the budget allows resumption of scheduled events in 2013, states the release. (See also Sequestration’s Disconnect.)

Rumor has it the Blue Angles (<=== not a typo) will follow suit:

Update on Blue Angels canceled rumors: With sequestration in effect, NAF El Centro, which marks the beginning of the 2013 air show season, could be in jeopardy of being nixed. Because Obama and Congress failed to prevent the sequester from occurring Friday, the popular Blue Angles (<=== typo) air show could be scrapped as part of mandatory spending cuts. However, at this time, no official word has been given. With April fast approaching, fans want clarity.

I saw this coming from a long ways off.

(Cross-posted from EIP)

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Filed under Naval Aviation, Plane Pr0n, USAF

Plane Pr0n of a Different Sort

Chief of Staff 2013 Reading List Released: Gen. Mark Welsh, Air Force Chief of Staff, issued his 2013 reading list for airmen. The list features 14 books, but is not limited to reading recommendations since it also includes seven films, 11 pieces of art, 10 songs, three photographers’ galleries, and seven TED talks. These selections “highlight our heritage and fighting spirit, as well as encourage innovation and forward thinking,” wrote Welsh in his introductory message. “We are the world’s greatest air force because of our airmen . . . and we must continue to strengthen that team,” he stated. “Take a look at the list and find something that grabs your attention. Hopefully it’ll expand your mind, and ultimately make our great team even better,” he concluded. (See also the 2012 list.)

I believe this is the first time the Chief of Staff’s reading list has included art, photography, and anything from the TED talks.  There’s enough stuff in the links above to keep an aviation historian (or buff, you choose) busy for hours and hours.  I began with a quick look at the art link and found this, among other things:

There’s mo’ betta stuff at the art link, and it’s ALL good.  Check out the TED Talks, too.  Hell… everything is good, if not great, here.

(Re-blogged from EIP and PLEASE excuse the formatting errors… I’m NOT a WordPress kinda guy.)

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Filed under Plane Pr0n, USAF

On Board Red Bird III

That would be the private jet that flies the Red Wings… and the Detroit Tigers, whoever THEY are… around the country.

Nice ride, eh?  Mr. and Mrs. Ilitch sure treat their players well.

Cross-posted from EIP.

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Filed under Airplanes, Other Stuff, Plane Pr0n

Next Week’s Weather

From a G+ post by Chris Aultman on #EndOfTheWorld.  There’s some funny stuff at that hashtag.

Cross-posted at EIP.

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Filed under Humor

Brave New World

First X-47B Catapult Shot: Northrop Grumman and the Navy completed the first catapult launch of the X-47B remotely piloted aircraft in a shore-based test shot from NAS Patuxent River, Md. This event was “the Navy’s first catapult launch of an unmanned system,” according to Northrop Grumman’s release on Nov. 29, the same day as the launch. “Today’s successful launch is another critical milestone in the carrier-suitability testing phase of the UCAS-D program,” said Mike Mackey, director of Northrop Grumman’s Unmanned Combat Air System Demonstrator program. After launch, the X-47B flew a series of standard maneuvers, including a holding pattern and a deck landing approach over the Chesapeake Bay, in preparation for carrier trials that are scheduled to begin next year, states the release. Ground handlers also tested the company’s handheld control display unit that is designed to taxi, position, and recover the X-47. Testers plan more launches from Pax River over the next several weeks. Another X-47 vehicle last week embarked on the USS Harry Truman (CVN-75) to begin “deck handling trials” with the CDU; those activities are scheduled to continue through mid December.

From an item in the Air Force Association’s Daily Report.

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Filed under Naval Aviation

In Which We Re-enforce Certain Stereotypes

Cross-posted from EIP

From an Undisclosed Location in the Middle East…

And from the comments to this vid on the Tube O’ You:

Awesome video. Us Army folks in Iraq spoke of the mythical resorts that the Air Force reside upon as if they were fables of ancient desert kings who lived by sparkling oases and waterfalls…lol, I see it wasn’t too far from the truth! I love that part about “wash it all down with some Emirates”. I miss that damn water.

Yup.  That’s how we roll, Bitchez.

(SN1 sends — he’s deployed and I’m not)

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Filed under USAF