By lex, on February 28th, 2012
Very much in the eye of the beholder, according to the admittedly partisan Hinderaker, who surveys the legacy media’s response to “Act of Valor“:
By lex, on October 6th, 2011
H.G. Wells wrote of a Victorian gentleman visiting the far and distant future, one in which society had devolved into two separate species, the Morlocks – who live and labor under the earth, keeping the world’s machinery and infrastructure intact, and the Eloi, a “child-like, frail group, living a banal life of ease on the surface of the earth..” who, “(having) solved all problems that required strength, intelligence, or virtue, have slowly become dissolute and naive. They are… smaller than modern humans, having shoulder-length curly hair, chins that ran to a point, large eyes, small ears, and small mouths with bright red thin lips. They are of sub-human intelligence, though apparently intelligent enough to speak, and they have a primitive language. They do not perform much work…”
By lex, on July 4th, 2011
My father was born in 1916, and grew up in Glen Allen, Virginia, just north of Richmond. Glen Allen has become a suburb of Richmond these days, but back then it defined rural. Dad’s father worked the railroads. Mom was born in 1920 and grew up in Wyoming County, Pennsylvania. Her old man had gone from coal miner to soldier in the Great War before coming back home again to serve as a paymaster for the company. He died in the aftermath of a train robbery that left the family destitute, and what with the Great Depression going on in their childhoods, those were hard times all around. She always kept the larder full, and my old man ate heartily. They remembered times when hunger wasn’t something that came up just prior to lunchtime, but rather something you lived with.
Right here in America.
By lex, on June 19th, 2006
Something ASM826 wrote in comments the other day, and inspired by the latest bit of insipidity set loose upon an amazed and often embarrassed world set me to thinking:
I have been thinking about this interview since I read about it a few days ago. Patriotism is not a uniquely American trait. Others have held it. It makes the most sense when there is a clash between societies and someone believes that theirs is the superior.
For example: Winston Churchill was questioned by cabinet about negotiating a settlement with Nazi Germany, and his reply was, “ if this long island story of ours is to end at last, let it end when each one of us lies choking in his own blood upon the ground.”
Not much question where he stood, eh? No matter what problems his country had, compared with the alternative he thought Britain was better. Not much question where U.S. patriots stand, either. This country is better. The things we share and believe are better. Even our problems are better.
Flying the flag, loving my country, and feeling contempt for people who can, see the obvious value of the things that I love about the United States isn, pandering. It‚Äôs my personal response, welling up out of who I am.
By lex, on December 7th, 2005
It was a long time ago, now.
But never forget:
When a West Coast ship enters Pearl Harbor, as it inevitably will either going to, or returning from a forward deployment, the ship will “man rails” on either side of the ship and “render honors” to the USS Arizona as they pass.
Sometimes an old salt will look at the young Sailors coming into the Navy and breathe a soft sigh of despair – many of them are so very different from those of us whom they will replace. But when you see them fight for a spot up on the steaming flight deck inbound to the harbor, when you see them compete with the embarked Marines for sharpness of dress and military bearing, when you see them stand at attention and present-arms with ramrod stiff postures and deadly seriousness in their eyes, you know: It’s going to be OK.
Spent thousands of days/nights in hotels over the years hauling the freight in the purple jets. Always, always dreaded the hotels packed with high school kids attending some big function.
This video redeems them all. There is hope that our next generation gets it.
Warning: you might mist up just a little bit.
Guns.com has an interesting article on the CIA’s once secret art collection that detailed its Operations in World War 2, the Cold War and the GWOT:
Everything the CIA touches becomes shrouded in mystery, including their “Intelligence Art Collection.” While most people don’t have access to the paintings and sculptures inside the CIA, the Southern Museum of Flight in Alabama is open to the public and displays replicas in their exhibit called “Shadow Gallery, The Art of Intelligence,”
The boing boing article goes on the say that the art collection is also available for viewing online at the CIAs website.
Other than the painting above heres another on of my favorites:
The painting is called “Seven Days in the Arctic:
During the Cold War, the United States and the Soviet Union competed for every advantage, including study of the Arctic for its strategic value. For seven days in May 1962, under Project COLDFEET, the US Intelligence Community pursued an opportunity to collect intelligence from an abandoned Soviet drift station on a floating ice island deep in the Arctic. The Soviets had hastily evacuated the station when shifting ice made its aircraft runway unusable, abandoning the remote base and its equipment and research materials. Upon discovering that the station had been abandoned, the Intelligence Community formed a team of officers from the Office of Naval Research, the Defense Intelligence Agency, the US Air Force, and the CIA to develop a plan conceived by US Navy Lt.(jg) Leonard LeSchack, to parachute specialists on to the site and retrieve them using a unique airborne pickup device, Robert Fulton’s Skyhook. The Skyhook was an adaptation of devices Great Britain and the United States had used in the 1940s and early 1950s to allow fixed-wing aircraft to pick up people or objects from the ground without landing. Fulton’s device had been tested, but it had never been used operationally.
COLDFEET came to life on 28 May, when LeSchack and Air Force Major James F. Smith were dropped on to the abandoned post from a B-17. The plane belonged to CIA proprietary Intermountain Aviation and was flown by the company’s pilots, Connie Seigrist and Doug Price, accompanied by a polar navigator borrowed from Pan American Airlines and other Intermountain crew members to operate the recovery equipment. On 2 June, under extremely difficult conditions caused by poor visibility and high winds, the B-17 returned to make three successful passes with the Skyhook to collect the men and the Soviet material they had retrieved. The mission yielded information on the Soviet Union’s Arctic research activities, including evidence of advanced research on acoustical systems to detect under-ice US submarines and efforts to develop Arctic anti-submarine warfare techniques.
The painting’s unveiling at CIA headquarters on 21 April 2008 and the ceremony honoring COLDFEET participants brought team members together for the first time in 46 years. Many of the family members who joined them had never been to CIA Headquarters, let alone heard of the contributions their relatives had made in an extraordinarily challenging Cold War mission.
I had never heard of Project COLDFEET:
What became known as Operation Coldfeet began in May 1961, when a naval aircraft flying an aeromagnetic survey over the Arctic Ocean reported sighting an abandoned Soviet drift station. A few days later, the Soviets announced that they had been forced to leave Station NP 9 (a different station, NP 8 ended up being the target) when the ice runway used to supply it had been destroyed by a pressure ridge, and it was assumed that it would be crushed in the Arctic Ocean.
The prospect of examining an abandoned Soviet ice station attracted the interest of the U.S. Navy’s Office of Naval Research. The previous year, ONR had set an acoustical surveillance network on a U.S. drift station used to monitor Soviet submarines. ONR assumed that the Soviets would have a similar system to keep track of American submarines as they transited the polar ice pack, but there was no direct evidence to support this. Also, ONR wanted to compare Soviet efforts on drift stations with U.S. operations. The problem was how to get to NP 9. It was far too deep into the ice pack to be reached by an icebreaker, and it was out of helicopter range.
To Captain John Cadwalader, who would command Operation Coldfeet, it looked like “a wonderful opportunity” to make use of the Fulton surface-to-air recovery system. Following a recommendation by Dr. Max Britton, head of the Arctic program in the Geography Branch of ONR, Rear Admiral L. D. Coates, Chief of Naval Research, authorized preliminary planning for the mission while he sought final approval from the Chief of Naval Operations. The mission was scheduled for September 1961, a time of good weather and ample daylight. NP 9 would be within 600 miles (970 km) of the U.S. Air Force base at Thule, Greenland, the planned launching point for the operation.
ONR selected two highly qualified investigators for the ground assignment. Major James Smith, USAF, was an experienced paratrooper and Russian linguist who had served on U.S. Drift Stations Alpha and Charlie. Lieutenant Leonard A. LeSchack, USNR, a former Antarctic geophysicist, had set up the surveillance system on T-3 in 1960. Although not jump qualified, he quickly went through the Navy parachuting course at Naval Air Station Lakehurst, New Jersey. During the summer, the two men trained on the Fulton retrieval system, working in Maryland with an experienced P2V Neptune crew at the Naval Air Test Center at NAS Patuxent River, Maryland.
Because formal clearance had arrived too late and NP 9 had drifted too far away, the project was put on hold, but in March 1962 news came forward that another ice station (NP 8) had also been abandoned, which was in reach from Canadian airfields. As NP 8 also was a more up-to-date facility than NP 9, the project’s target was shifted to NP 8.
On 28 May 1962, a converted CIA B-17 Flying Fortress 44-85531, registered as N809Z, piloted by Connie Seigrist and Douglas Price dropped both men by parachute on NP 8. On 1 June, Seigrist and Price returned and a pick-up was made of the Soviet equipment that had been gathered and of both men, using a Fulton Skyhook system installed on the B-17. This mission required the use of three separate extractions—first for the Soviet equipment, then of LeSchack and finally of Smith.
Operation Coldfeet was a success. The mission yielded information on the Soviet Union’s Arctic research activities, including evidence of advanced research on acoustical systems to detect under-ice U.S. submarines and efforts to develop Arctic anti-submarine warfare techniques.
It’s a rather small collection that’s available for online viewing but it gives glimpse into some interesting history.
The painting I’d REALLY love to see is the one about Project AZORIAN.
Looks like there’s going to have to a trip to the Southern Museum of Flight to see other paintings in the collection.