Archive for September, 2008

Images of the WIFF

Saturday, September 13th, 2008

Here are the images I promised on the WIFF – I was able to get a hold of the, possibly original, negatives to scan.  Bill Purdue, pilot type in Academics, knew I was working on that B-52 stuff for the 11th and allowed be to borrow them for a day or two.   These were scanned in 600 dpi, so they could be turned into a 11×16 size picture without loosing any quality.

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 Almost forgot, James – Yellowstone was about 1 ½ hours from where I went to school in Bozeman.  Occasionally my roommates & I would take off and stay in West Yellowstone to hunt elk.  From what mom tells me, Yellowstone has done a good job recovering from the huge fires in the mid to late ‘80s.

A side note for those ever heading to Glacier National Park…according to the Park Rangers, all the glaciers in that area will be gone by 2012!

Bob & Yak – hope you’re doing okay down there!

Nukes and the Air Force

Friday, September 12th, 2008

Here is an article off the Houston Chronicle (one of the few non-Ike [hurricane] articles:

WASHINGTON — A Pentagon advisory group condemned the Air Force for a dramatic deterioration in managing the nation’s nuclear arsenal, and recommended today that it consolidate nuclear responsibilities under one command.

The decline has eroded international confidence in the United States’ ability to provide a nuclear umbrella of protection, the task force said in rolling out more than 30 recommended changes in the structure, funding, inspections and staffing of the Air Force’s nuclear responsibilities.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates told Pentagon reporters today that the advisory group made a strong argument for unifying its nuclear management.

“One of the concerns that I had,” based on previous revelations about shortcomings in the Air Force’s stewardship of its nuclear arsenal,” is the lack of unity of command and not having one person or organization accountable for the overall mission,” Gates said.

He added that while he isn’t sure what the right answer is, the Air Force is considering the idea.

The latest review is one of several studies and reports triggered by a series of Air Force blunders in its handling of nuclear-related materials — missteps that prompted Gates to sack the top civilian and military leaders of the service earlier this year.

After Gates spoke, James Schlesinger, a former defense secretary who chaired the advisory panel, told reporters that the Air Force’s division of command over nuclear matters had led to a deterioration in control, staffing and resources.

The panel’s report concluded that there has been “an unambiguous, dramatic and unacceptable decline in the Air Force’s commitment to perform the nuclear mission and, until very recently, little has been done to reverse it.”

Panel members, said Schlesinger, were surprised that the situation had declined more than they had anticipated.

Schlesinger said a central recommendation of his group was that the Air Force convert its existing Air Force Space Command — which now has responsibility for the service’s land-based nuclear missiles but not other nuclear weapons — into an organization called Air Force Strategic Command. The new entity would “be held accountable for the efficacy of the nuclear mission,” he said.

Under the existing Air Force structure, responsibility for the bombers and fighters that can deliver nuclear weapons is held by Air Combat Command, and Air Mobility Command has responsibility for the refueling aircraft used to operate with the nuclear bombers and fighters.

The new plan, said Schlesinger, would also shift control of the supply chain from the Defense Logistics Agency to the Air Force — addressing a key issue in one of the foul-ups that triggered the review and recommended overhaul.

In early June, Gates sacked then Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Michael Moseley and Air Force Secretary Michael Wynne, blaming them for failing to fully address several nuclear-related mishaps, including the mistaken shipment to Taiwan of four electrical fuses for ballistic missile warheads.

The report endorsed plans for the Air Force to take over control of its inventory. Air Force officials have already begun that shift.

Also, in August 2007, an Air Force B-52 bomber was mistakenly armed with six nuclear-tipped cruise missiles and flown from Minot Air Force Base, N.D., to Barksdale Air Force Base, La. At the time, the pilot and crew were unaware they had nuclear arms aboard.

Gates brought in new leaders who immediately vowed to restore confidence in the battered service.

So far they have made a number of adjustments, including an increase in high-level staff, a reorganization of its missile units, revised maintenance procedures and an ongoing review of the inspection process. Schlesinger also said the Air Force is budgeting about $1.5 billion in the fiscal year 2010 budget to address some of the problems.

Air Force Gen. Norton Schwartz, the new chief of staff, has said he plans to use the reinstatement of about 14,000 jobs in the service to bolster its nuclear staffing and beef up intelligence and surveillance.

Asked today if his confidence has been restored, Gates said he believes the new Air Force leaders are putting a high priority on the nuclear mission and have begun taking corrective actions.

He said he is confident the short-term problems that led to the Taiwan shipment and the Minot flight have been addressed and won’t be repeated. But, he said he wants to be sure that longer-term issues, such as staffing and funding boosts, have been addressed.

“I won’t be completely assured until all of the corrective measures have been taken,” Gates said.

Sept 11, Houston TX and all is clear…

Thursday, September 11th, 2008

Good Evening everyone,

My report from Houston is the sky is clear.  Earlier the bands of clouds came and now are gone, so the storm is not too far behind.

Most of my hurricanes have been spent in AL, or typhoons on Guam.  I have joked about opening a white water rafting resort, Grand Opening Saturday.  I actually had a few friends today ask me if I was still going to open the Resort with the storm coming.  I then had to tell them the  opening is the storm as I live 100 yeards or so from a huge bayou.

I have to tell you something I did in Court.  Last week I had a hearing / trial to try to save a familes home.  It was foreclosed on, problem is the family was paying their mortgage.  I went for a TRO from a higher court this week and the other attorney helping me and I got a TRO (Temporary Restraining Order).  This is the 1st time in 3 weeks I have seen that family smile.

No other attorney would help these people, as they do not have very much money.  We have 2 -4 more hearings and trials to get their home back, but I am trying.

Legal work is All office work.  To spice up, this work, I am also getting some Vietnam Vets in to the office, who stated they can and will do bad things to VA people.  I unfortunately do not tell them they can barely move, and they (nor me) am 21 and in the jungle.  I told one Veteran I did not do criminal defense, and he had better knock it off or I would not be helping him.  He boasted once more and I had to tell him a story.  It got him to actually listen.  As he stated, I actually knew what it was like.

I assume by tomorrow night it will be bad here, so I better go, just wanted to tell everyone hello, and that I enjoy reading the article, I am just swamped trying to get my firm up and running and handle cases, so I apologize for being lax on the articles writing.  I actually have a free night thanks to Ike, and I will get my plants in tomorrow and hope the apartmant and van survive.

Wishing all of you a great week, and rest of September.

God Bless all of you on this day, Bob

Thursday, September 11th, 2008

Was not sure if I wanted to write on this day or not…for some, it’s a sad day of remembrance.  For others, hope for a day without living in fear.  And for others, just to come home from the fight in one piece.  Each one of us has a story to tell of where we were and what we were doing.  It’s good to remember and not forget the price paid for our freedoms or to take it too lightly.As for the last couple of months of not writing, I’ve either on the road traveling for work or vacation time.Took my daughter & son-in-law to Montana last month to visit mom…to see the big open skies & breathe that fresh mountain air again!  It was the first time for the kids or at least my daughter can remember!  We left for Glacier National Park the first day there and stayed in an old chalet style hotel on Many Glacier Lake that was built in the ‘30s.  Our bedroom window & back door opened to the deck with the lake and mountains as our background.  The next day we took off for the East Glacier side to take the “Going-to-the-Sun” road.  Mom said the best way to travel that road is from the east side going to the west side.  Manly because the road is literally built on a cliff!  And by traveling west, you are along the mountain side and not on the edge of the road looking down 7000 to 8000 feet!  And it’s STRAIGHT down!   Yea, I shouldn’t be afraid of heights because I flew jets…NOT!Many Glacier  Logan’s Pass

When we arrived at Logan’s Pass, we hiked back into the “Hiding Lake” area and came across some mountain goats…the park’s & Great Northern Railroad’s mascot.

The whole Gang!  Kids with a kid

We spent two days up in that area before returning back to mom’s place in Great Falls.  The next day we rested then traveled south to another National Park – Grant Kohers Ranch – one of the original big ranches in Montana.  These folks were considered the Rockefellers of the west.  Some of the stories the rangers told were ones about taking trips.  Since the wife loved the theater & Broadway, she would plan her trips back east 6 months in advance just to get there in time for the show!  Another one was when the husband set out one time to go see relatives back in Germany that it took him 18 months to make the journey…from the time he left until he returned home!  After spending a night in Helena, we went down to, what we thought was a ghost town.  But in 10 years since my mom visited the place with dad, it has people living there.  We guessed that they’re trying to get any silver or gold out of the ground still.  We visited their little cemetery on the backside of one mountain.  Very sad, most of the tombstones were kids anywhere from a few days old up to 16 years old and all died within a two year period, 1889-90.  My daughter did some research when we got home.  Apparently the town was hit with diphtheria, which manly attacks kids!We spent a week visiting mom, but it was too short!  So mom is thinking about next year.  We would both fly into Salt Lake UT and visit the National Parks in the southwest corner of the state!

I’ve finished making my MB-2 or NBS-1 Martin Bomber in 11th BS marking that was used in the famous “battleship” experiment to prove Billy Mitchell’s theories.  Hey Reed, name that base in the photo! This will be the last model for awhile; I’ve ungraded my computer and want to try my hand at making some movies for YouTube – B-52 stuff.

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Hey, I do have some images of the WIFF, both from the tanker & bomber.  I was able to get the original negatives and scan them.  I’ll try and get them posted later, have to help Heather with her acting stuff and need to go.Until next time,Take care – Andy 

11 Sep – James

Thursday, September 11th, 2008

Hi BOB,

Hope all of you and yours are well.  I’m concerned about Ike hitting the Texas coast and watching that closely.  My daughter spent 12 hours in Houston traffic trying to evacuate during Rita and I hope that sort of thing doesn’t happen again.  Mostly I hope everyone stays safe and dry.

Lynn and I just returned from Yellowstone.  I now understand why it is the most popular US national park.  We went on a 4.5 mile hike which went along the crest of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River, through a field of geothermally active boiling mudpots, by a lake where a wolf was cooling off after a fresh kill and then though a grassy plain – just unbelievably beautiful.   Crowds were gone since it was after Labor Day, so it was as if we had the place to ourselves.  We were only there four days, but you could spend a lifetime there.

 I’m doing a little research for two upcoming family reunions (father and mother’s side) in WV and MD at the end of this month.  My work was made a lot easier when I found a distant cousin whose great grandfather was my great grandfather’s brother.  She had already written a book about my mother’s side of the family and much of the part of it that I was interested in was posted on the internet.  It was a real joy to correspond with her. 

Reed, that was a fantastic story about Desert Storm.  Thanks for sharing that.  Chuck, thanks for all the time and energy you put into this effort to connect crewdogs.  I think it is worth the effort. 

Best Regards

James

PS  Chuck, is there an easy way to upload pictures?  I went into the help menu and my eyes glassed over about halfway through the preliminary section:)  Using the upload box on the Manage view, the image took over the entire screen.  I know I’m missing something.

11 September 2008 – The Chuck

Thursday, September 11th, 2008

This is a tough day.  None of us living today will forget 11 September 2001 (a.k.a. 9/11) nor should we.  Here’s a link for those wanting a memory jolt.

Speaking of memory jolts.  A B-52 warrior passed me some of the last pictures of Balls-34 (60-034).  It was taken to final parking at the Bone Yard back on 14 Aug.

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Wisdom is acquired through experience.   More often than not, wisdom is obtained through mistakes rather than through  well-executed, perfect plans.  We’ve all become the wiser when we’ve discovered the stove was hot, a bee stings, ice-covered steps are slick, the dog bites, not everyone is your friend, and good intentions only carry you so far.

Some of us have learned that min-fuel really means min-fuel, there’s a good reason we don’t do overheads in a Buff, and if you can finish your Air Force career without being passed-over or fired–you weren’t just lucky–you had very some powerful friends.

I’m glad that along the way I’ve had friends like you to fly, fight, and win with.  Today I fight more with getting my belt buckled, shoes tied, and finding time to write.

Writing a novel is different from writing doctrine, Combat Crew articles, or even telling a story.  I discovered that my skills were woefully under-developed–so I’m still working on them.

I’m taking an advanced writers course with a talented, local writer (Connie Cox) and it helps.  Here’s a quick story before I end this short post.

Two nights ago, Connie gave our small group some advanced tactics of word-smithing.  I applied it to the first page of my manuscript–keep in mind that this is my 25th rewrite and two rewrites ago I won third prize in the Amazon dot com Break Through Novel Award– when I was done I had 13 edits to the first 12 lines of my novel.

I’m just an old crew dawg learning new tricks everyday.

Eventually I’ll have something to interest an editor.

I hope to have my first novel published before I make my way to the Bone-Yard for old bomber pilots.  I’m thinking 2009 is going to be a very special year–lipstick or not.

What say ye?