06 February 2008

USAF: Which bases are getting what aircraft? (AirEnquirer..er, Air Force Times)

Taken with a grain of salt

Which bases are getting what aircraft?

Posted : Wednesday Jan 16, 2008 10:56:23 EST

The list is out.

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. T. Michael Moseley has released the “roadmap” for the Air Force’s future, detailing which bases are in the running to house the service’s next-generation aircraft.

The outline of future forces is the result of meetings with top leaders from the regular Air Force, the Air National Guard and the Air Force Reserve in December, according to an Air Force press release.

The potential sites for each mission are:

MQ-1 Predator
* Cannon Air Force Base, N.M.

* Ellington Field, Texas

* Fort Huachuca/Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz.

* Grand Forks Air Force Base/Hector International Airport, N.D.

* March Air Reserve Base/Southern California Logistics Airport, Calif.

RQ-4 Global Hawk
* Grand Forks Air Force Base, N.D.

* Andersen Air Force Base, Guam

Distributed Common Ground System (Processing, Exploitation, and Dissemination of Intelligence Data)
* Hulman Regional Airport, Ind.

* Otis Air National Guard Base, Mass.

KC-X (Next-generation tanker aircraft)
* Altus Air Force Base, Okla.

* Andrews Air Force Base, Md.

* Bangor International Airport, Maine

* Birmingham International Airport, Ala.

* Edwards Air Force Base, Calif.

* Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska

* Fairchild Air Force Base, Wash.

* Forbes Field, Kan.

* Grand Forks Air Force Base, N.D.

* Grissom Air Reserve Base, Ind.

* Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii

* Lincoln Municipal Airport, Neb.

* MacDill Air Force Base, Fla.

* March Air Reserve Base, Calif.

* McConnell Air Force Base, Kan.

* McGhee Tyson Airport, Tenn.

* McGuire Air Force Base, N.J.

* Pease Air National Guard Base, N.H.

* Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, Ariz.

* Pittsburgh International Airport, Pa.

* Rickenbacker International Airport, Ohio

* Salt Lake City International Airport, Utah

* Scott Air Force Base, Ill.

* Selfridge Air National Guard Base, Mich.

* Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, N.C.

* Sioux Gateway Airport, Iowa

* Tinker Air Force Base, Okla.

Joint Cargo Aircraft
* W.K. Kellogg Airport, Mich.

* Bradley International Airport, Conn.

* Hector International Airport, N.D.

* Key Field, Miss.

* Luiz Munoz International Airport, Puerto Rico

* Mansfield Regional Airport, Ohio

* Martin State Airport, Md.

CSAR-X (Combat Search and Rescue Helicopter)
* Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz.

* Francis Gabreski Air National Guard Base, N.Y.

* Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M.

* Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska

* Moffett Field, Calif.

* Moody Air Force Base, Ga.

* Nellis Air Force Base, Nev.

* Patrick Air Force Base, Fla.

F-35A Lightning II
* Andrews Air Force Base, Md.

* Barksdale Air Force Base, La.

* Boise Air Terminal, Idaho

* Buckley Air Force Base, Colo.

* Burlington International Airport, Vt.

* Dannelly Field, Ala.

* Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz.

* Des Moines International Airport, Iowa

* Duluth International Airport, Minn.

* Edwards Air Force Base, Calif.

* Eglin Air Force Base, Fla.

* Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska

* Fort Smith Municipal Airport, Ark.

* Fort Wayne International Airport, Ind.

* NAS Joint Reserve Base, Fort Worth, Texas

* Hill Air Force Base, Utah

* Homestead Air Reserve Base, Fla.

* Kelly Field Annex, Texas

* Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M.

* Luke Air Force Base, Ariz.

* Madison Truax Field, Wisc.

* Martin State Airport, Md.

* Moody Air Force Base, Ga.

* Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho

* Nellis Air Force Base, Nev.

* Selfridge Air National Guard Base, Mich.

* Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, N.C.

* Shaw Air Force Base/McEntire Air National Guard Base, S.C.

* Sioux Falls Joe Foss Field, S.D.

* Toledo Express International Airport, Ohio

* Tucson International Airport, Ariz.

* Tulsa International Airport, Okla.

* Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo.

F-35A Lightning II or F-22 Raptor
* Atlantic City International Airport, N.J.

* Barnes Air National Guard Base, Mass.

* Fresno Air Terminal, Calif.

* Great Falls International Airport, Mont.

* Jacksonville International Airport, Fla.

* Klamath Falls International Airport, Ore.

* NAS Joint Reserve Base, New Orleans, La.

* Portland International Airport, Ore.

F-22 Raptor
* Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii

* Holloman Air Force Base, N.M.

Next-Generation Bomber
* Dyess Air Force Base, Texas

* Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D.

* Barksdale Air Force Base, La.

* Minot Air Force Base, N.D.

MQ-9 Reaper
* Cannon Air Force Base, N.M.

* Fort Drum/Syracuse, N.Y.

CV-22 Osprey
* Cannon Air Force Base, N.M.


The JCAs will go to the bases that lost their current flying gigs...throw a dog a bone.

My Predictions (Big grain of sea salt)

Cannon, Duke Field, Patrick, Kirtland, Moody. No more, no less.

MQ-1 -
Do not expect Cannon to get (but will get the MQ-9)

CV-22 -
Add Kirtland, Elmendorf, Moody, Patrick
Keep Cannon

RQ-4 -
Beale only (with Osan as a tenant unit)

Add Offutt

KC-X -
Every gaddammed airport in the nation

in 2037
Dyess and Ellsworth only

25 December 2007

Merry Christmas

To all have a Merry and Blessed Christmas.

13 December 2007

The new "gunship" or the "Alan Parsons Project"

SOURCE: FlightGlobal
Boeing installs laser weapon on C-130
By Stephen Trimble

Boeing moved closer earlier this month to realizing a seven-year goal to
demonstrate a high-powered laser as a weapon aboard a Lockheed Martin
The Advanced Tactical Laser (ATL), including its 12,000lb integrated module
was integrated on the aircraft on 4 December. The combined system also was
aligned with the beam control system.
Boeing plans to demonstrate the combined system in 2008 for the US Special
Operations Command, completing an advanced concept technology demonstration
project begun in 2001.
“Next year, we will fire the laser at ground targets, demonstrating the
military utility of this transformational directed energy weapon,” Scott
Fancher, VP and general manager of Boeing Missile Defense Systems, said in a

Boeing has installed a 12,000 pound high-energy chemical laser module on board a C-130H aircraft, as part of the US Air force Advanced Tactical Laser (ATL) Advanced Concept Technology Demonstration (CTD) program. The module was moved into place aboard the aircraft and aligned with the previously-installed beam control system, which will direct the laser beam to its target. The aircraft is being prepared to conduct a series of tests leading up to a planned demonstration flight in 2008.
"Next year, we will fire the laser at ground targets, demonstrating the military utility of this transformational directed energy weapon." said Scott Fancher, vice president and general manager of Boeing Missile Defense Systems. The test team will fire the laser through a rotating turret that extends through the aircraft's belly. ATL, which Boeing is developing for the U.S. Department of Defense, will destroy, damage or disable targets with little to no collateral damage, supporting missions on the battlefield and in urban operations.

The program achieved two other major milestones earlier this year. "Low-power" flight tests were completed in June at Kirtland; the ATL aircraft used its flight demonstration hardware and a low-power laser to find and track moving and stationary ground targets. The flight demonstration hardware includes the beam control system; weapon system consoles, which display high-resolution imagery and enable the tracking of targets; and sensors. The low-power laser, a surrogate for the high-energy laser, hit its intended target in each of more than a dozen tests. Also, in late July, the high-energy laser concluded laboratory testing at the Davis Advanced Laser Facility at Kirtland, demonstrating reliable operations in more than 50 firings.

Boeing's Advanced Tactical Laser industry team includes L-3 Communications/Brashear, which made the laser turret, and HYTEC, Inc., which made various structural elements of the weapon system.

Airborne Tactical Laser (ATL)

The Airborne tactical Laser is a Special Operations Command (SOCOM) sponsored Advanced Concept Technology demonstration (ACTD) program, designed to demonstrate the use of high power tactical lasers from an airborne platform.
Under the program, a chemical oxygen-iodine laser (COIL) will be installed on a modified C-130H transport aircraft, simulating a future AC-130 laser equipped gunship. The airborne tactical laser will be able to destroy, damage or disable targets at tactical ranges with little to no collateral damage, supporting missions on the battlefield and in urban operations. The laser will be able to place a 10-centimeter-wide beam with enough energy to melt and slice through a metal target from a distance of 15 kilometers. ATL is expected to produce scaleable effects, meaning the weapon operator will be able to select the degree and nature of the damage done to a target by choosing a specific aimpoint and laser shot duration. For example, targeting the fuel tank of a vehicle could result in total destruction of the vehicle, while targeting a tire might result in the vehicle stopping without injury to the driver.

The program is led by Boeing, which is assisted by an industry team including L-3 Communications/Brashear, which made the laser turret, and HYTEC, Inc., which made various structural elements of the weapon system. Boeing began flight testing of a surrogate solid-state laser in October 2006. The aircraft used a surrogate solid-state "low-power" laser for search and track of ground targets. The system utilizes the hardware designed for the high power chemical laser, which includes the beam director and optical control bench, controlling and directing the laser beam to its target; weapon system consoles, which will display high-resolution imagery and enable the tracking of targets; and sensors.

The high power chemical laser destined for the program was also tested for the first time on Sept 21st, the ground, generating the "first light" of the high-energy chemical laser in ground tests. In december 2007, the high power module was installed on the aircraft and by 2008 it is scheduled to fire in-flight at mission-representative ground targets to demonstrate the military utility of high energy-lasers. The test team will fire the laser through a rotating turret that extends through an existing 50-inch-diameter hole in the aircraft's belly. Future potential ATL platforms could be the C-130 and MV-22 tilt-rotor aircraft.

12 October 2007

Navy SEAL Lt. Michael Murphy Medal of Honor


SAN DIEGO — Two years after his death in a harrowing firefight on an Afghanistan mountaintop, Lt. Michael Murphy, a Navy SEAL officer from Long Island, N.Y., will be bestowed with the nation’s highest combat honor, the Congressional Medal of Honor, Navy officials said.

Lt. Ligia Cohen, a Navy spokeswoman at the Pentagon, confirmed the award.

The announcement of the Medal of Honor — the first awarded to a Navy officer or sailor for combat actions in Iraq or Afghanistan — came Thursday during a White House briefing.

The medal will be presented to Murphy’s family during a 2:30 p.m. ceremony Oct. 22 at the White House, Cohen said. In addition, the late officer will be honored at two other events: the inclusion of his name on a wall at the Pentagon Hall of Heroes at 11 a.m. Oct. 23, and the presentation of the Medal of Honor flag at the Navy Memorial at 6 p.m. Oct. 23.

Froggy Ruminations - SEAL Memorial at the Punchbowl MUST READ
Froggy Ruminations - The One
Pundit Review - Blackfive podcast about the battle
Blackfive (Froggy) - Mike Murphy Beach
Blackfive - "HERO" - SEAL Lieutenant Mike Murphy Considered for MOH
Blackfive - Danny Dietz - Navy SEAL Hero's Memorial Opposed
Blackfive - Marcus Luttrell is "The One" - Sole Surviving Navy SEAL
Blackfive - US Navy SEAL Danny Dietz Memorial

God Speed, God Bless

08 October 2007

Fitting Quote even for today

"Congressmen who willfully take actions during wartime
that damage morale, and undermine the military are
saboteurs and should be arrested, exiled or hanged."

~Abraham Lincoln~

25 September 2007

C-130s play the BRAC version of the game twister

185th AS leaving

OK, so let me get this straight...
The 185th AS have lost its H2 Aircraft to Pittsburgh’s 911 AW. Pittsburg who has flown the H3 will receive the Older H2s and sends its H3s to Pope Air Force base so that the H3s can fly Active duty missions... Milwaukee who gave up its airplanes to pope back in May will also be joined by Pittsburgh’s H3 aircraft. This is good news for active duty C-130 crews...much newer nicer aircraft.

Selfridge just gave up its aircraft to receive KC-135s (and the F-16s up there will convert to the A-10)

I am just glad that none are converting to the bloody C-130J

Clear as mud?

Does anyone have anything to add or share?

19 September 2007

Hillary Clinton. Politics as usual

Out of the candidates running, Rudy is not my first choice...but this is a good video and I thought I would post it for those who have not had the opportunity to see/hear it.

General Petraeus deserves better. Our men and women fighting deserve better. America deserves better...

Brits destroy own C-130J. New info...not good.

Back in Feb of 2007 the RAF had to destroy one of their own C-130Js. When the story first came out the news and reports were saying that it had hit an IED...now the story is horrifically different; Electrical fire!! Y'all know I am not a fan of the J model but it is way too new and way too expensive to have electrical problems. Now, was it from a mod or a specification on Brit only planes or is this something that can effect ALL C-130J aircraft?

Thank God that the 58+crew made it out safe...

I will be looking into this to find the report on the official cause of the problem.

Link to news story

These airplanes are too expensive and the lives of those on board are too precious for these kinds of problems to exist.

14 September 2007

James Brolin: Asshole of the year! or, the "happy 9/11" guy.

James Brolin: Asshole!

9/11 on the Chaz & AJ show in New Haven, Connecticut while trying to promote his new movie "The Hunting Party". James says something I thought even he and all the other worthless actors turned wannabe politician were above.. I was wrong. He stoops to an all time low in the "Who HerkEng thinks is classy" book.
Listen to his comments about 9/11...

He doesn't just sit there and disagree with what happened. He didn't say how he feels about how Bush created that horrific day...no, he goes and slaps everyone in the nation; he personally slaps every family member who died that horrific day. He slapped every family member of every service men who has served in war after that tragic day (living or not).

Here is a rough transcript posted by the Marooned In Marin blog

Brolin: "It's kind of a parody on uh, how come we can't catch war criminals with all of our sophisticated stuff you know.

Chaz or AJ: That's something we've been talking about a lot today on this show for obvious reasons, being the sixth anniversary of the September 11 attacks

Brolin: Right! Oh yeah. Oh Happy 9/11!

Chaz/AJ: Well that's kind of a weird thing to say.

Brolin: (Laughs) I hear silence. Well.

Chaz/AJ: Well we're right outside of New York I mean I know people
(Right!)...who lost family members so we don't say "Happy 9/11" here

Brolin: Celebrate the day, right?

Chaz/AJ: Yeah well, we kind of commemorate the day by remembering those who were lost and the families they left behind

BROLIN: I understand. It's a horrible situation how they've
been left behind even now by anybody who might uh...

Chaz/AJ: I think you'd be better off talking about this movie.

What a heartless miserable bastard.

Burn in hell with your unhappy miserable wife James...

11 September 2007

My 9/11/01

My crew and I were in Clearwater Florida delivering the President’s Helicopter ground/maintenance crews of Marine Helicopter Squadron One (HMX-1), "The Nighthawks,” with parts and an engine. We went out the night before...the usual for a TDY crew... Hooters for dinner and then out to find some bars, sort of stoked to be on a presidential support mission. But we only took the first half. We just had to drop them off and then home in the morning.... My Pilot and I were to be in the Simulator the next day.
We took off like it was any other flight...but I can't tell you how quickly that had changed. At first everyone including the air controllers were confused...mistaking the initial report for a small plane. (Or was it hoping that it had been a small plane)... then slowly more and more info was being relayed to us. We were discussing how if the weather was good.... No one could accidentally hit those huge buildings...and also remember, we had no visuals at all...only mental pictures...somehow it was relayed to us that they needed the plane back incase the Group needed to send them out for some reason. So through much coordination we did not have to land at a close airport...slowly it got more and more quiet in the air as the planes all landed. By the time we flew over DFW seeing all the planes on the ground and none in the air (most of the time you can spot 20 or so planes in the area taking off or landing. The controllers were all very short but to the point, but scared at the same time. Almost too professional. The talk over the radios were so different than all other flights I have ever been on... instead of direction the controllers were giving us updates.... for almost 2 hours after we heard about the buildings falling...no one said a word other than to talk to ATC or to run a checklist...We landed back at Our base and let the maintainers have back their plane so they could get her ready for alert status. We were told to go to debrief and then into the squadron. Security was already so very tight. A guy I had known for 4 years was asking to see my ID to go into the squadron... and at every door the same. The only people where were in the squadron were the people checking IDs, the higher-ups, and the schedulers...just as we figured we were sent home to go to bed and enter Bravo alert (have to be able to get to base and take the plane off in two hours). I could not do this, I could not sleep. I just entered my apartment and turned on the TV...it was my first glimpse of what had happened. I was in shock. The mental pictures could not compare to the reality. For three days I did nothing but sit on alert and watch TV. I could not stop...
I remember being so damn angry, not sad. Not scared, but pissed off that this happened on our own soil.

I flew again three days later. Everyone was still in shock. No one said a word save the few commands we have in the plane...Everyone was calling each other by their real names. No nicknames...no jokes. No small talk. We were delivering Gas Generators to McGuire AFB and into NYC in case they needed them. In case something else was to happen. As we got home the next day we had our orders in our hands. We were deploying. And fast. The prep for war had already started.
After the shock of what I saw on TV had settled...all I did was pray... Pray for our Country to stay strong. I prayed for my brothers and sisters in the military to stay safe. And thanked God that we had G.W. Bush in Office to see us through.

I was not a daddy then heck, I wasn't even married yet. Every time I had deployed after 9/11 I knew what we were fighting for. Those pictures of my wife and kids in my flight helmet reminded me of all those daddies and mommies that died that day in those very tall buildings who for no fault of their own will never see their families again. Their families left with a never healing wound. We must keep in mind who are enemy is. We must keep in mind what they will continue to do to us. We must never falter from our fight. Keep steady. Keep firm and every day kiss your kids. Kiss your Wife and most of all, pray to God.

31 August 2007

RAF looses another C-130, Crew safe...

The RAF had another blow yesterday when after a reported heavy landing on an unsecured strip outside of Kabul. The C-130K was based out of RAF Lyneham in 47 squadron. I am getting word that it was XV205, a special forces modified aircraft knows as the C-130K, C.1. If this is the case, I have flown in her back in 1998 or 99. A great little airplane.

I am just very glad that everyone was alright.

Here is the BBC video

30 August 2007

Plane carrying Shelby and Cramer fired on above Iraq

A C-130 aircraft carrying an Alabama senator and congressman was fired on this evening as it was flying from Baghdad to Amman, Jordan.

The airplane was carrying Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., and Rep. Bud Cramer, D-Huntsville, and two other senators.

Three rockets were shot at the plane and were "near misses," Shelby said in a telephone interview. He said the pilot took evasive maneuvers to avoid the rockets. The plane landed safely in Amman at about 4 p.m. central.

"I was looking out the window, a little small window, and I saw a shell or something," Shelby said. "And then I see a flare. Our plane started maneuvering and changing directions and shaking all around."

24 August 2007

On Deck with the Hercules: or, "LOOK MA, NO HOOK"

OK, I felt sort of bad about bagging on "TheNavy" the other day...It was all fun and games, see, I grew up in a Navy town, and to top it off, my Pops was a Jarhead (way before I trickled out)

Ahhh those days I remember riding my bike up to the approach end of the runways at Miramar and having the landing F-14As just a few feet over my head...great days, OK, I guess I sort of like "TheNavy" guys n' gals.

One of the coolest things ever done with a C-130!!

C-130 Hercules Lands on U.S.S. Forrestal

When one reviews the encyclopedic range of accomplishments by the C-130 Hercules and its valiant aircrews over the years, surely one of the most astounding took place in October 1963 when the U.S. Navy decided to try to land a Hercules on an aircraft carrier. Was it possible? Who would believe that the big, four-engine C-130 with its bulky fuselage and 132-foot wing span could land on the deck of a carrier?

Not only was it possible, it was done in moderately rough seas 500 miles out in the North Atlantic off the coast of Boston. In so doing, the airplane became the largest and heaviest aircraft to ever land on an aircraft carrier, a record that stands to this day.

When Lt. James H. Flatley III was told about his new assignment, he thought somebody was pulling his leg. "Operate a C-130 off an aircraft carrier? Somebody's got to be kidding," he said. But they weren't kidding. In fact, the Chief of Naval Operations himself had ordered a feasibility study on operating the big propjet aboard the Norfolk-based U.S.S. Forrestal (CVA-59). The Navy was trying to find out whether they could use the Hercules as a "Super COD" - a "Carrier Onboard Delivery" aircraft. The airplane then used for such tasks was the Grumman C-1 Trader, a twin piston-engine bird with a limited payload capacity and 300-mile range. If an aircraft carrier is operating in mid-ocean, it has no "onboard delivery" system to fall back on and must come nearer land before taking aboard even urgently needed items. The Hercules was stable and reliable, with a long cruising range and capable of carrying large payloads.

The aircraft, a KC-130F refueler transport (BuNo 149798), on loan from the U.S. Marines, was delivered on 8 October. Lockheed's only modifications to the original plane included installing a smaller nose-landing gear orifice, an improved anti-skid braking system, and removal of the underwing refueling pods. "The big worry was whether we could meet the maximum sink rate of nine feet per second," Flatley said. As it turned out, the Navy was amazed to find they were able to better this mark by a substantial margin.

In addition to Flatley, the crew consisted of Lt.Cmdr. W.W. Stovall, copilot; ADR-1 E.F. Brennan, flight engineer; and Lockheed engineering flight test pilot Ted H. Limmer, Jr. The initial sea-born landings on 30 October 1963 were made into a 40-knot wind. Altogether, the crew successfully negotiated 29 touch-and-go landings, 21 unarrested full-stop landings, and 21 unassisted takeoffs at gross weights of 85,000 pounds up to 121,000 pounds. At 85,000 pounds, the KC-130F came to a complete stop within 267 feet, about twice the aircraft's wing span! The Navy was delighted to discover that even with a maximum payload, the plane used only 745 feet for takeoff and 460 feet for landing roll. The short landing roll resulted from close coordination between Flatley and Jerry Daugherty, the carrier's landing signal officer. Daugherty, later to become a captain and assigned to the Naval Air Systems Command, gave Flatley an engine "chop" while still three or four feet off the deck.

Lockheed's Ted Limmer, who checked out fighter pilot Flatley in the C-130, stayed on for some of the initial touch-and-go and full-stop landings. "The last landing I participated in, we touched down about 150 feet from the end, stopped in 270 feet more and launched from that position, using what was left of the deck. We still had a couple hundred feet left when we lifted off. Admiral Brown was flabbergasted."

The plane's wingspan cleared the Forrestal's flight deck "island" control tower by just under 15 feet as the plane roared down the deck on a specially painted line. Lockheed's chief engineer, Art E. Flock was aboard to observe the testing. "The sea was pretty big that day. I was up on the captain's bridge. I watched a man on the ship's bow as that bow must have gone up and down 30 feet." The speed of the shop was increased 10 knots to reduce yaw motion and to reduce wind direction. Thus, when the plane landed, it had a 40 to 50 knot wind on the nose. "That airplane stopped right opposite the captain's bridge," recalled Flock. "There was cheering and laughing. There on the side of the fuselage, a big sign had been painted on that said, "LOOK MA, NO HOOK."

From the accumulated test data, the Navy concluded that with the C-130 Hercules, it would be possible to lift 25,000 pounds of cargo 2,500 miles and land it on a carrier. Even so, the idea was considered a bit too risky for the C-130 and the Navy elected to use a smaller COD aircraft. For his effort, the Navy awarded Flatley the Distinguished Flying Cross.

Excerpts from Herk: Hero of the Skies, by Joseph Earl Dabney, Airlines Publications and Sales, Ltd., 1979.

17 August 2007

C-130 Hercules Headquarters passes the reigns to Herky Birds.com

This has sort of been an inevitable thing. Scott Gager has not really updated C-130HQ in quite some time.
Besides thinking that the new name is dorky, Herky Birds.com
will be a winner with lots of support. The picture database is already outstanding and it is only going to get better. I hope that there is more contribution in the new site and I am eager to see her grow.

Good job guys (gals)

C-130 Hercules Headquarters


14 August 2007

We have lost one of our own; TSgt Joey Link, Rest in Peace.

With a sad heart I report that we have lost one of our own. I was trying to wait to post this until the final autopsy report was available but it looks like that will take a while. I did not know Joey Link, he must have come to Dyess just as I was leaving but I can not tell you how close to home that this hits. I think it would almost be less shocking if it had been a result of war or an accident but from a simple trip that we have all taken dozens of times? Rumors are spreading that it was a result of a spider bite while in Djibouti but who knows? I will wait for the report. TSgt Joey Link Passed away Sunday August 5th in Landstuhl Regional Medical Center Germany. My deepest sympathy goes out to all of his family.

As always, Patriot Guard was on the ball and did a great job organizing the ride.
Stars and Stripes

Dyess AFB News

Legacy Guest Book

Rest in Peace Joey

05 July 2007

Piasecki Speed Hawk X-49A; or how to make a fourty year old idea new again...

Both Piasecki and Lockheed have tried something similar in the past. Lockheed doing it with it's competitor against the Hughes AH-64 Apache. The AH-56 Cheyenne had a (un)conventional main rotor paired with wings that also provided lift, a conventional tail rotor as well as a pusher prop rotor in the rear for added speed. Top speed was around 400 km/h. The AH-56 first flew on September 21, 1967. after a failure of one of the prototyped that lead to the death of the pilot the Army chose in favor of the AH-64.
Piasecki also tried a similar design in the early 1960s with its Piasecki 16H Pathfinder I and Pathfinder II. The Pathfinder I was powered by a PT6B-2 405 shp engine while the Pathfinder II was powered by a 1,250shp T58-GE-8. The Pathfinder I could reach a speed of 370 km/h.( no mention of the speed of the Pathfinder II).

On June 29, 2007 Piasecki did it again with the SpeedHawk a highly modified version of the already old UH-60 Black Hawk.

form an "secret projects" aviation forum:

Late Friday, Piasecki Aircraft re-entered the helicopter history books with a 15 minute flight of its unique compound helicopter design, the X-49A SpeedHawk.

Lifting off at Boeing’s Rotorcraft Div., Wilmington, Del, test facility at 7.50 pm the flight test team - which had worked all week to resolve a pesky shaft vibration problem - put the aircraft through a series of turns and a short forward flight sequence.

Pilots Steve Schellburg and ‘Snake’ Jackson guided the SH-60F-based helicopter - modified with its Piasecki-designed VTDP (vectored thrust ducted propeller) tail assembly - on a maiden voyage reportedly free of any problems.

A clearly delighted company chief executive John Piasecki tells rotorhub he regards the flight as the ‘beginning of the beginning’ for the return of compound helicopter flight efficiencies to the rotorcraft industry.

Compunds promise radical increases in speed and range for conventional helicopters by off-loading rotors in favor of wingborne flight.

The Piasecki design uses a ducted propeller to provide motive thrust, as well as vectored control of direction.

‘It’s been a long, long time coming, and we’re all savoring the moment,’ he said.

The team is utilising Boeing flight test telemetry facilities at Wilmington once used for V-22 testing, and - as reported in rotorhub last week - the latter is co-operating on the program because of potential interest in the VTDP design for future applications.

Piasecki has just signed a $3.1-million development contract with the Army’s AATD (Aviation Applied Technology Directorate) organisation in Ft. Eustis, Va., one of the more a forward-looking agencies often associated with pushing rotorcraft technology boundaries.

Piasecki says a 100-hour flight test program now lies ahead.

‘The schedule is still fluid but we anticipate being able to get this done within the rest of the year.’ The program will receive incremental funding as it progresses, he said.

The success of the first flight has enormous potential significance for a technology that many have often derided as impractical.

The Piasecki organisation stuck to its guns, however, working the problem resolutely for many, many years, drawing on bursts of funding enthusiasm mostly from within the Navy, the US Marine Corps and the Army.

‘A lot of people said this day would never come,’ Piasecki said. ‘Well, they were wrong.’

* A personal loss - the sudden death last week of Carl, USMC sergeant son of Terry Crews a well regarded figure in the helicopter industry - motivated the flight to be dedicated to him, Piasecki said.

03 July 2007

Independence Day

O say can you see, by the dawn's early light,
What so proudly we hail'd at the twilight's last gleaming,
Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight
O'er the ramparts we watch'd were so gallantly streaming?
And the rocket's red glare, the bomb bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there,
O say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

On the shore dimly seen through the mists of the deep
Where the foe's haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o'er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning's first beam,
In full glory reflected now shines in the stream,
'Tis the star-spangled banner - O long may it wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore,
That the havoc of war and the battle's confusion
A home and a Country should leave us no more?
Their blood has wash'd out their foul footstep's pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave,
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

O thus be it ever when freemen shall stand
Between their lov'd home and the war's desolation!
Blest with vict'ry and peace may the heav'n rescued land
Praise the power that hath made and preserv'd us a nation!
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto - "In God is our trust,"
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.
Francis Scott Key-Sept. 14, 1814

I do not remember the last time so much conversation has been made of Independence Day as it has this year over the importance of the day its self and why we celebrate. Even after I had joined the Air Force it was just a day to flip burgers and enjoy life. That changed as I had aged a tad. Then September 11, 2001 occurred and all of our lives had changed. Even that very next year on Independence day we were all deployed and it was real to us but it had already died down back in the States. Our Independence was threatened by those who are willing to do whatever it takes to tear it out of our hands...and we sure as hell will fight them tooth and nail for the independence of our people, of our land, of our will and our hearts. It seemed to us that even that next year on July 4th 2002 that the spirit that had fallen over our nation had dwindled once again and then every year less and less sprit was shown on the streets, parade grounds, baseball games, back yard BBQs...But this year seems different. But why? What does the 231st year of our declared Independence mean? Why now? Everyone seems excited to celibate our freedom, Show support for those fighting in Uniform and to offer remorse to those who have fallen for us and our way of life. I want to thank you all for your support, your love, your will, your hearts, your fight, your desire and your patriotism. God knows, in these times we all could use just a tad more.

Take care and God Bless

28 June 2007

Here is the full list of Combat Wombats; MC-130W Combat Spear

Here you go, you have asked for it and I provide.

These are the C-130s that will make up the MC-130W Combat Wombat (damn it, I mean Combat Spear...I do seriously)list.

87-9284 (c/n 5125)(from the 357th AS, Maxwell AFB AFRC)

87-9286 (c/n 5127) (from the 357th AS, Maxwell AFB AFRC)(here is this baby in Kandahar, Afghanistan)

87-9288 (c/n 5129) (from the 96th AS, Minneapolis-St. Paul IAP, MN AFRC)

88-1301 (c/n 5162)(from the 130th AS, WV ANG)

88-1302 (c/n 5163)(From the 130th AS, WV ANG)
no photo

88-1303 (c/n 5164) (From the 130th AS, WV ANG)

88-1304 (c/n 5165) (130th AS, WV ANG)

88-1305 (c/n 5166) (130th AS, WV ANG) Taken while in Poland

88-1306 (c/n 5167)(130th AS, WV ANG)

88-1307 (c/n 5168)(130th AS, WV ANG)

88-1308 (c/n 5169)(130th AS, WV ANG)

89-1051 (c/n 5198)(from the 155th AS, Tennessee ANG)

90-1057 (c/n 5240)(from the 204th AS, Hawaii ANG)
(no photo)

27 June 2007

RIP Maj. Gregory D. Young

Godspeed Grumpy

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - An Oregon Air National Guard pilot who died when his F-15A crashed into the Pacific Ocean was in training that included mock dogfighting with Marine Corps Reserve warplanes, military officials said Wednesday.

He was identified as Maj. Gregory D. Young, 34, of St. Helens, Ore., the Guard said.

The remains were found Tuesday evening nearly 40 miles west of Cannon Beach, on the northern end of the Oregon coast, Guard officials said. The F-15 was destroyed on impact when it went down about five hours earlier, they said.

Air National Guard officials praised fast action by the Coast Guard, saying its helicopters were on the scene in about 30 minutes.

They said the announcement that the remains had been recovered was delayed until Wednesday morning at the request of the family.

Guard officials at a press conference Wednesday would not speculate on what happened and offered few details about such conditions as the altitude of the fighters.

The single-seat F15A is among the older of the F-15 series and is being phased out in favor of a longer-range F15C model. There also is an F-15B, which is a two-seater.

The age of the plane that crashed Tuesday was not immediately available.

"He was a very talented young man with many years of dedicated service to the protection of the freedoms we enjoy today," said Col. Steven Gregg, commander of the 142nd Fighter Wing of the Oregon Air National Guard stationed in Portland.

Gregg said the ocean was from 700 to 1,700 feet deep at the crash site, but some parts could wash ashore. He urged people who find what might be parts of the jet not to touch them and to contact authorities because the carbon fiber used in its construction can be harmful if mishandled.

The training exercise pitted four F-15s from the Oregon Guard against a like number of F/A-18s from a Marine Corps Reserve unit stationed near Fort Worth, Texas.

It was designed to sharpen fighting skills by giving the pilots experience in flying against a different kind of aircraft, Guard officials said. The training was preparation for an August exercise at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada, Guard officials said.

Air National Guard spokeswoman Maj. Misti Mazzia said Young had about 700 hours of flying time in F-15s and more than 1,000 hours in other military aircraft, but had not been on a combat tour.

He had previously been stationed in Texas and Idaho and joined the 142nd in Portland in March 2006.

She said the F-15s commonly train at speeds of around 400 mph but can reach 1,000 mph if they have to.

A fellow pilot reported to searchers from the Coast Guard that no parachute was seen. The Coast Guard sent helicopters, cutters and a C-130 aircraft, and said it had found a debris field.

"The nature of flying combat fighter aircraft is one that implies operating on a razor's edge," said Brig. Gen. Dan O'Hollaren, commander of the Oregon Air National Guard. "Because the 142nd Fighter Wing has performed so magnificently for so long in all arenas, we may be lulled into a sense that all of this is routine and mundane. Yesterday's event confirms that it is not."

Skies were mostly clear with some high clouds when the accident occurred about 1:35 p.m.

The Guard said an Air Force Safety Board would investigate the crash. O'Hollaren pledged that it would "leave no unanswered question on the table."

Mazzia said the fighter wing has suspended F-15 flights for the rest of the week so that the unit can grieve and focus on the investigation. Most of the unit's more than 30 pilots are commercial airline pilots, she said.

Flags drooped at half-staff on the base Wednesday. A memorial service will be set later.

She said it was the first time the wing had lost an F-15, which it started flying in 1989.

She said the wing lost an F-4 that same year and had lost F-101s but did not know when.

Oregon State University spokesman Todd Simmons said Young graduated in 1996 with a degree in civil engineering and a minor in aerospace studies.

In 1996 he was a cadet in OSU's Air Force Reserve Officers' Training Corps and was one of 46 picked to take part in a 55-week Euro-NATO joint jet pilot training program.

Quote of the week (27 June 07)

"Prepare for the unknown by studying how others in the past have coped with the unforeseeable and the unpredictable."

-- General George Patton Jr

26 June 2007

Well, that didn't last too long... DC-10 Water Taker "SUPERTANKER" Grounded

DC-10 a near casualty of fire
Media News
Article Last Updated: 06/25/2007 10:45:20 PM PDT

The new, largely experimental supertanker, a wide-body jetliner converted to an aerial firefighting aircraft and placed on call for the state this year by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, almost crashed Monday evening fighting a blaze in Kern County. The California Department of Forestry said the DC-10 was grounded after the mishap and cannot assist in the blazes currently ravaging California until completion of an investigation.

The tanker encountered severe turbulence while operating on the White Fire, causing the aircraft to descend and strike the top of several trees. The flight crew was able to fly out of the turbulence and safely return to their base at Victorville. There were no injuries to the flight crew or anyone on the ground.

- Media News
Supertanker grounded

09:35 AM PDT on Tuesday, June 26, 2007

A firefighting supertanker jumbo jet has been grounded at its Victorville hub while fire officials investigate what caused the plane to make an emergency landing Monday night.
The DC-10 airtanker used by the state firefighting agency, Cal Fire, was forced to return to Victorville about 5:20 p.m. Monday after it struck the top of several trees while fighting the White forest fire in Kern County, according to a statement by Cal Fire.
The plane, which carries 12,000 gallons of water or fire retardant, struck severe turbulence near Bison Peak south of Tehachapi, but was able to apply power and fly to the Victorville airport.

A modified DC-10 prepares to drop fire retardant on a wildfire near Idyllwild in 2006. The airtanker has been grounded after it struck the top of several trees while fighting the White forest fire Monday in Kern County, according to a statement by Cal Fire.

An investigation crew will conduct a complete structural overview of the plane this morning in Victorville as part of the incident investigation, according to the statement. The plane will remain grounded and out of service until the investigation is complete.
- John Asbury

25 June 2007

-=WINGS=- C-130 Hercules... Watch this if you love the Herk

If you love the Herk, you have to see this!
I remember seeing this footage (I think it was way before the Wings channel was even on Cable)a while ago. It seams like every school related to the C-130 in the USAF plays this at least once while you attend :) I look back and am so proud of the plane...and proud that it was the only on I was truly assigned to while I was in the service.

22 June 2007

IRAN can't mess with Oz, or their Navy

I have spent a lot of time in Australia and I have to say (Heaven forbid) if I ever had to leave the US the only other place I would go is Australia. The people have the same kind of spirit as we do and I dig it.

From square one, I was disgusted with how the British acted while they were in capture. I would not be able to live with myself if I was one of them. They only fueled Ahmadinejad's flame. Its seams they had no fight, no spine, no soul.

Thank God for the Aussies!!

Iran 'unable to take Australians'
By Frank Gardner
BBC News security correspondent

Iranian naval forces in the Gulf tried to capture an Australian Navy boarding team but were vigorously repelled, the BBC has learned.

The incident took place before Iran successfully seized 15 British sailors and Marines in March.

The lessons from the earlier attempt do not appear to have been applied in time by British maritime patrols.

The 15 Britons were searching a cargo boat in the Gulf when they were captured over a boundary dispute.

'Having none of it'

When Iranian Revolutionary Guards captured the British sailors and Royal Marines in March, it was not exactly their first attempt.

It turns out that Iranian forces made an earlier concerted attempt to seize a boarding party from the Royal Australian Navy.

The Australians, though, to quote one military source, "were having none of it".

The BBC has been told the Australians re-boarded the vessel they had just searched, aimed their machine guns at the approaching Iranians and warned them to back off, using what was said to be "highly colourful language".

The Iranians withdrew, and the Australians were reportedly lifted off the ship by one of their own helicopters.

The circumstances for the Britons in March were slightly different in that they were caught so much by surprise that, had they attempted to repel the Iranians with their limited firepower, they would doubtless have taken very heavy casualties.

But military sources say that what is of concern is that the Royal Navy did not appear to have taken sufficient account of the lessons of the Australian encounter.

In an oblique reference to the threat from Iran, Britain's First Sea Lord, Admiral Sir Jonathon Band, has recently admitted there was a need for greater strategic awareness in the northern Gulf.

20 June 2007

Hey Rosie, watch this shit.... you cow.

One of the things that have pissed me off almost as much as the terrorist themselves has been the hate America crowd from within. The people who believe that the white house and pentagon were behind the mass killings of 9/11 should be in gitmo as well if I had my way.

Hey Rosie, Do you still think that fuel can't melt steel? Even after the tanker truck destroyed that bridge in San Francisco?

Purdue Press Release

June 12, 2007
Purdue creates scientifically based animation of 9/11 attack

Although most Americans believe they know what brought down the World Trade Center twin towers on Sept. 11, 2001, civil engineers are still seeking answers to questions that could save lives in the future.

Structural engineers need to know from a scientific perspective what happened to the buildings during the terrorist attacks in order to prevent future failures. The search for answers continues with the help of a state-of-the-art animated visualization created by researchers at Purdue University.

Christoph Hoffmann, a professor of computer science and director of Purdue's Rosen Center for Advanced Computing, a division of Information Technology at Purdue, says the animation reveals more information than could be conveyed through a scientific simulation alone.

"Scientific simulations restrict us to showing the things
Disintegrating fuselage of plane after impact that are absolutely essential to the engineer," Hoffmann says. "This gives us a simulation that doesn't deliver much visual information to a layperson. Our animation takes that scientific model and adds back the visual information required to make it a more effective communication tool."

The scientific simulation, the completion of which was announced last September, required several test runs before the researchers were satisfied; the final test run required more than 80 hours of high-performance computing. The simulation depicts how a plane tore through several stories of the World Trade Center north tower within a half-second and found that the weight of the fuel acted like a flash flood of flaming liquid, knocking out essential structural columns within the building and removing fireproofing insulation from other support structures. The simulation used lines and dots to show the aircraft and building during the event.

To develop the new animated visualization, Voicu Popescu, an assistant professor of computer science, developed a translator application that creates a link between computer simulations and computer visualization systems to automatically translate simulation data into a 3-D animation scene.

"This translator is scalable and can be used in other simulations," Popescu says.

The animation (122 MB) can be seen online at http://www.cs.purdue.edu/cgvlab/papers/

A faster-loading version (9 MB) of the video can be found at http://news.uns.purdue.edu/mov/2007/HoffmannWTC.mov

In the animation, elements that were not part of the scientific simulation, such as flames and smoke, are clearly rendered, although the visualization does not show the subsequent effects of the fire.

Even though details were added in this animation, Popescu says the visualization was intentionally kept "non-descript" so that they would not be exploitive of the horrific attack.

"For example, on the airplane there are no airline insignia or windows," Popescu says.

Still, Popescu says the visualization has a realism never seen before.

"The crashes and computer models you often see on television are not scientifically accurate," he says. "This provides an alternative that is useful to the nonexpert but is also scientifically accurate, so it provides a more realistic picture of the event."

The visualization begins with a Google Earth map of lower Manhattan as it appeared on Sept. 11, 2001. The video then shows the damage caused by the aircraft as it hit the north tower, follows the disintegrating plane through the interior, and then shows the airplane metal, ignited fuel, dust and smoke exiting the building on the opposite side.

The simulation found that the airplane's metal skin peeled away shortly after impact and shows how the titanium jet engine shafts flew through the building like bullets.

As with an earlier simulation developed by this team that examined the 9/11 attack on the Pentagon, the World Trade Center simulation showed that it was the weight of the 10,000 gallons of fuel more than anything else that caused the damage.

"It is the weight, the kinetic energy of the fuel that causes much of the damage in these events," Hoffmann says. "If it weren't for the subsequent fire, the structural damage might be almost the same if the planes had been filled with water instead of fuel."

Mete Sozen, Purdue's Kettlehut Distinguished Professor of Structural Engineering and a principal investigator on the simulation project, says the researchers worked for years and used the best computing resources available to recreate the event.

"To estimate the serious damage to the World Trade Center core columns, we assembled a detailed numerical model of the impacting aircraft as well as a detailed numerical model of the top 20 stories of the building," Sozen says. "We then used weeks of supercomputer time over a number of years to simulate the event in many credible angles of impact of the aircraft."

Sozen says the actual damage to the building's facade that was observed was identical to the damage shown by the numerical simulation.

"We calibrated our calculations using data from experiments we had conducted to evaluate the energy imparted from fluid moving at high speed to solid targets," he says. "We concluded that the damage map we calculated for our numerical model of the building would correspond closely to the actual extent of the damage."

The simulation represented the plane and its mass as a mesh of hundreds of thousands of "finite elements," or small squares containing specific physical characteristics. In the visualization, these scientific data points are used to show how airplane components swept through the building and out through the other side as the fuel ignited.

"The aircraft moved through the building as if it were a hot and fast lava flow," Sozen says. "Consequently, much of the fireproofing insulation was ripped off the structure. Even if all of the columns and girders had survived the impact - an unlikely event - the structure would fail as the result of a buckling of the columns. The heat from an ordinary office fire would suffice to soften and weaken the unprotected steel. Evaluation of the effects of the fire on the core column structure, with the insulation removed by the impact, showed that collapse would follow whatever the number of columns cut at the time of the impact."

The animation is the latest in a series of projects by the Purdue team that arose after 9/11 to determine the structural damage that occurs when an airplane collides with a building. Although one goal was to develop structures that can withstand a terrorist attack, the team also has used this research to investigate other scenarios, such as an airplane inadvertently crashing into a building located near an airport.

"This is important work that has many more applications than we first thought," Hoffmann says. "The important thing is that we are learning so much in so many different areas."

The research was funded in part by the National Science Foundation.

Others involved in the research are civil engineering assistant professors Ayhan Irfanoglu and Santiago Puiol, computer science doctoral student Paul Rosen, and civil engineering doctoral students Oscar Ardila and Ingo Brachmann.

Writer: Steve Tally, (765) 494-9809, tally@purdue.edu

Sources: Christoph Hoffmann, (765) 494-6185, cmh@cs.purdue.edu

Voicu Popescu, (765) 496-7347, popescu@cs.purdue.edu

Mete Sozen, (765) 494-2186, sozen@purdue.edu

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096; purduenews@purdue.edu

19 June 2007

Rumor has it... More Wombats

From a great source, there are two more Combat Wombats (MC-130W Combat Spear) that are being modified as we speak err... As I type?

87-9284 (c/n 5125)


87-9288 (c/n 5129)

Both were reciently flying for the 94th Airlift Wing, U.S. Air Force Reserve out of Dobbins AFB in GA.

Legendary fighter pilot Robin Olds dies

Robin Olds was the best there ever was IMHO...
God Speed!

6/15/2007 - U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. (AFPN) -- Legendary fighter pilot, retired Brig. Gen. Robin Olds, died June 14 from congestive heart failure one month short of his 85th birthday.

He was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, on July 14, 1922, the son of Maj. Gen. Robert and Mrs. Eloise Olds. He spent his younger years in Hampton, Va., and attended the United States Military Academy at West Point, where he was an All-American tackle. He graduated in 1943 as a second lieutenant.

Following graduation from pilot training in 1943, General Olds was assigned to the European Theater at the end of World War II, where he flew 107 combat missions in the P-38 Lightning and P-51 Mustang. He shot down 13 enemy aircraft over Europe and became a triple ace 23 years later during the Vietnam War when he downed four MiGS. He flew 152 combat missions in the F-4 Phantom as the wing commander of the 8th Tactical Fighter Wing at Ubon Air Base, Thailand.

General Olds' exploits as the creator and mission commander of Operation Bolo, the most successful aerial battle of the Vietnam War, has been documented in the recent History Channel Dogfights Special series "Air Ambush."

General Olds served his country in assignments to England, Germany, Libya, Thailand and the United States, in positions of squadron, base, group and wing commander, and assignments to Headquarters U.S. Air Force and the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

He was assigned to the first jet P-80 squadron in 1946; was a member of the first jet Aerial Acrobatic Demonstration Team; won second place in the Thompson Trophy Race, jet division, in Cleveland, in 1946; and participated in the first dawn-to-dusk transcontinental round trip flight. He was a squadron commander of Royal Air Force No.1 Fighter Squadron, Sussex, England, during an exchange tour in 1948.

General Olds' military decorations include the Air Force Cross, Distinguished Service Medal, Silver Star with three oak leaf clusters, Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross with five oak leaf clusters, Air Medal with 39 oak leaf clusters, British Distinguished Flying Cross, French Croix de Guerre, Vietnam Air Force Distinguished Service Order, Vietnam Air Gallantry Medal with gold wings, and Vietnam Air Service Medal.

After his duty in Vietnam, General Olds was named commandant of cadets at the U.S. Air Force Academy from 1967 to 1971. His last assignment before retiring from the Air Force in 1973 was as director of safety for the Air Force.

Up to a few months prior to his illness he was frequently called upon as guest speaker and lecturer for his inspirational and motivational talks. He was married to Ella Raines, who died in 1988, and then to Morgan Olds.

General Olds is survived by two daughters, Christina Olds of Vail, Colo., and Susan Scott-Risner of North Bend, Wash.; one granddaughter, Jennifer Newman of Santa Monica, Calif., and half-brother, Fred Olds of Virginia. He died peacefully at his home in Steamboat Springs, Colo., in the company of family and friends.

A memorial service will be held at the U.S. Air Force Academy within the next two weeks. In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to the Red River Valley Fighter Pilots Association toward scholarships for the children or spouses of armed forces aircrew members killed or missing in action.

17 June 2007


My best redeployment was one that landed us home on Father's Day a few years back. My wife and I had no children then but, seeing such joy on the proud papa's face was priceless. I was lucky that I had only one deployment after having my boys and I tell you, it was so hard leaving them yet so easy because you are defending not just your country, but your family as well. It takes a special person to pick up and leave your most loved to serve your country...

I salute you all.

God Bless and Happy Father's Day

15 June 2007

Jumbo Jet Poised To Fight Wildfires In Southern California

VICTORVILLE, Calif. -- A DC-10 firefighting air tanker capable of dropping 12,000 gallons of water or fire retardant is ready for Southern California wildfire missions.

"We think... it is going to be a game changer," said Rick Hatton, a managing partner for jet owner 10 Tanker Air Carrier. "It is very effective, especially when trying to contain a large fire."

A $15 million, three-year contract with California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection takes effect Friday and continues through Oct. 15.

The air tanker, which can create a fire line three-quarters of a mile long in eight seconds, demonstrated its prowess Wednesday.

The Victorville-based jumbo jet, which debuted last year with a limited evaluation contract, won praise in fighting six wildfires in California and one in Washington.

The contract means the jet will be available immediately, rather than on a call-when-needed basis.

This is going to be a great tool," said Mike Padilla, the agency's chief of aviation. "This aircraft has the speed and capacity to go to any fire in California."