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Second Look

 

By lex, on January 20th, 2010

Courtesy of occasional reader Scott, a second look at the explosively actuated command pin bolt issue from Strategy Page:

Only a small percentage of reliefs have to do with professional failings (a collision or serious accident, failing a major inspection or just continued poor performance.) Most reliefs were, and still are, for adultery, drunkenness or theft. With more women aboard warships, there have been more reliefs for, as sailors like to put it, “zipper failure.” There may have been more than are indicated, as sexual misconduct is often difficult to prove, and a captain who is having zipper control problems often has other shortcomings as well. Senior commanders traditionally act prudently and relieve a ship commander who demonstrates a pattern of minor problems and who they “lack confidence in.”

Many naval officers see the problem not of too many captains being relieved, but too many unqualified officers getting command of ships in the first place. Not every naval officer qualified for ship command. Only a small percentage of the 53,000 commissioned officers gets one. The competition for ship commands is pretty intense. This, despite the fact that officers know that, whatever goes wrong on the ship, the captain is responsible.

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Transformational

By lex, on January 1st, 2010

Two dog fight hops today down at Montgomery, and the news came as a bit of a surprise, what with today’s holiday being a federal and your correspondent already on the hook for three flights tomorrow. But it wasn’t like I had plans and between the five flights this weekend I might almost make enough to get checked out in that Citabria down Gillespie way.

Getting a hundred hours in her to satisfy the insurers at my weekend gig is something I will have to sort out over the course of the next several decades.

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Veterans Day

By lex, on November 11th, 2009

At 1100 on the 11th day of the 11th month, the guns finally fell silent, but not before 10 million young men fell, never to rise again, with another 20 million maimed, and nearly 8 million missing, forever. The world got its first look at modern, industrial warfare on a massive scale and turned away revolted. Promised those left behind that this would be it, the war to end all wars.

It was a promise that went sadly unfulfilled.

DF-SC-84-11899

Joseph Ambrose, an 86-year-old World War I veteran, attends the dedication day parade for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in 1982, holding the flag that covered the casket of his son, who had been killed in the Korean War.

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Happy Feet

By lex, on November 9th, 2009

So, as previewed earlier, I thithered down to Gillespie Field Sunday afternoon for to take another hack at landing an aircraft what has the center of gravity aft of the mains. Met CFI Dave, a kindly gentleman of a certain age with a lovely hangar set up including the Citabria parked outdoors, a cherry Cessna 310 in the hangar alongside an absolutely gorgeous Stearman.

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Flight Log

By lex, on November 8th, 2009

Yestiddy was two flights down at Montgomery, dogfights the pair. In the mighty Varga Kachina, 1200 pounds of twisted steel and sex appeal. The weather but indifferently suited to our needs, a heavy marine layer – not to be confused with the overweight occupant of some Oceanside trailer park – blanketing the coastline. Instead we worked our way north, o’er the top of a quiescent Marine Corps Air Station Miramar (snatched as it was from the Navy, several years back) to a holler between Black Mountain and Lake Hodges.

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Hazing

By lex, on October 22nd, 2009

When I was a squadron CO, I got a report one morning that one of our young female sailors had been taped to a chair and rolled around the hangar bay by some of the junior night check maintainers. A first class petty officer had wandered by and laughed off the whole thing, which had only lasted a few moments. The sailor had considered it all kind of a lark, an initiation rite. She was not in the least offended.

I was.

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Lest We Forget

By lex, on September 18th, 2009

LestWeForget

For many years I was stationed at NAS Lemoore, California. The base took its hits back during the Vietnam War, a fact to which the little brass plaques on the chapel entry bore mute testimony. Some folks came back. Some were left behind.

None of them were forgotten.

My son and I ended up one day at a little park in town. He was only ten or so, and stepped on a granite marker laid flat on the grass on the southwest side of the park. A dignified lady of a certain age, neatly dressed with her gray hair pulled back in a pony tail spoke to him, not at all unkindly.

“Watch where you step, son. That marker lies there for all those who no longer stand among us.”

I never learned her story. I didn’t have to.

It must have been hard, I think, to have been left behind like that.

For her. For him.

All the way around.

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