The Dragoneers

December 1st, 2011

My first novel is finally published in Kindle. To avoid confusion, I adopted the pen name, C. D. Sutherland, which is just another way of saying me. 

 

Let me tell you a little about this first novel.

 

The Dragoneers is a coming of age story, a bildungsroman some literary critiques might say, about Susah, a talented young woman, who refuses to join her three brothers in helping her father advance the family business. She wants to do something exciting with her life. While this story could have been set in any time, the fantastical world she lives in amplifies each step nearly beyond the bounds of imagination.

 

Against her parents’ wishes, Susah leaves home on a quest to become one of the dragoneers—an elite fraternity of warriors sworn to defend the ancient garden of Eden against all trespassers. 

Meanwhile, deep in a lair inside of Sethopolis’ roughest neighborhood, an evil giantess dreams of seizing the secrets of immortality and other powers, which she believes are hidden within the walls of the forbidden garden. Realizing she can’t achieve her dream with her own resources, she joins forces with a fallen angel, nearly as old as time itself.  

 

Seemingly unaware of the dangers awaiting her, Susah faces the greatest of all challenges. With the fate of the human race depending on their performance, will the dragoneers succeed in defending the garden of Eden against the forces of evil? And even if they succeed, will Susah survive the pivotal battle of good verses evil? 

 

This adventure builds on the little we know about the antediluvian world and overlays it with a blend of technology, supernatural powers, fire-and-ice-breathing, flying dragons, giants, and martial arts to begin Susah’s adventure to discover herself. Climb aboard and hang on for the ride of your life. 

 

This 100,000 word, Genesis-based fantasy will attract those interested in speculative fiction about the antediluvian world and will  also appeal to readers of general fantasy as well as military fiction. 

 

Those folks who’ve flown the B-52 might see some things that feel familiar, just saying. Some body once told me, “write what you know.”

We don’t post here much lately, but I pray this day finds all of the Band of Brothers in good health and enjoying life.

The Chuck

11 – 11 – 11: Veterans Day 2011. Thank you for your service.

November 11th, 2011

We sleep safely in our beds because rough men and women stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm.

IN HONORING OF THOSE WHO LEFT

September 30th, 2011


September 30, 2011

Good news and bad news.


First of all–the good news.  I’m back.  After 19 months of a rewarding job with a very busy tempo–I should be able to share with you a few thoughts on a more regular basis.  There’s more I’ll talk about later but for now, I’ll try to keep it light and Easy.


Driven by recent federal spending cuts for the Department of Defense–in particular the Air Force–a myriad contractors were laid-off from their positions at Air Force Global Strike Command (AFGSC).  Which is also the bad news.


In the shadow of unprecedented federal spending, defense spending is being cut while a global war, albeit one renamed “Overseas Contingency Operations,” also known as OCO (pronouced Oh Ko) continues to rage.  At the same time, our enemies are mustering capabilities against us, in part fueled by our national spending.


What was light about that?


How about, “due to the gutting of the MAJCOM and the dismissal of the proprietors of corporate knowledge and expertise, we have invented a new way of honoring those who are no longer with us:

 

Flying the Flag at one-third staff .”


There’s an Easy solution to this protocol Challenger–just get it right next time.


It just makes sense.

 


7-11-2011

July 11th, 2011

This place is almost a ghost town.  I don’t come here hardly at all either. We’ll keep the lights on in case we start having more time to comment.

I’m still trying to keep the boys safe, but a court as order “supervised visitation” … as it turns out, courts just about never deny that limited level of access.  Of course, I’m paying a professional to do the monitoring, lest harm come to the boys.

On a more fun side, and in keeping with the spirit of “11” rumor has it the first of my 11 novels will be release on 11 November 2011.  I guess I had to wait for the numbers to align. I’ll broadcast more as the actual date gets closer.

Still working the same place.

The Chuck

Torra Borra

May 19th, 2011

I can neither confirm nor deny it was me…but I was misquoted..I never said 55,000 feet for altitude. I think the transcript machine they use hears what it wants. I was in my car hiding from the 50 degree global warming spring we are having here, during one of the many disaster prep exercises that happen all the time, when I got lucky calling the Limbaugh show. (I thought I had escaped these Disaster Prep fun and games when I retired…not so much). He was talking about Torra Borra again. Always says that he heard they got Osama when they turned Torra Borra to 6000 degrees. I’m pretty sure Osama was gone way before that strike. Although Me and Covey, Moondog and Dag were bombing up there shortly after Osama made his retreat to the Hindu Kush mts. We worked with one of the \”Cowboy\” special forces FAC\’s who was talking to us as he was running up the mountain to stay in visual contact with what he thought was Osama and company. He described him as a \”Tall commander on horseback\” directing troops. We were able to target two JDAMs on the coordinates the Cowboy gave us, however both went way wide into the next valley. Everyone got real concerned that something was wrong with our jet or the weapons so we locked up the rest and RTB\’s. We didn’t want to kill any good guys with JDAM\’s that were missing by miles. Several days later we got put into a three ship with the 96th BS CC as lead to be part of a big \”news Media\” boondoggle event. They had a C-130 with the \’Mother of all Bombs\” on board to blast Torra Borra. Heraldo and the other sickofant news media idiots were down at the base of the mountains watching and reporting. We watched the C-130 strike then got called in to finish the job with full loads of M-82\’s. I remember this flight cause our COMSEC load crapped out on the always crappy ARC-210 radio setup. You all remember having to time share the KY COMSEC between the two radios. Well our ARC-210 wouldn’t hold a COMSEC load so we had to fly around as number 3 with no SA to what was happening. Lead was doing all the coordination for strike timing and target coordinates. All we got was the awful radio squeal when they transmitted. Two (Lt Col Doug ?? forgot his last name…he worked at the Ops Group at KBAD …good guy though) did as good as he could at relaying a little SA to us. We finally got our target assignment and rolled in behind lead and two, each of us rippling 45 Mk 82\’s. Let me think…that’s 22 thousand pounds per load times 3. The Mother of all Bombs looked pretty feeble compared to the Buff strike. The news media reported it so. But we missed Osama and the Seals shot him in the face. Probably a better way do the rat basted..Up close and personal. By the way it was Lt Col Doug, Fifi and crew that should be recognized for a history making bomb run on the Taliban idiots that were trying a final push to knock out the northern alliance up by Bahgram airfield. Another of the SF Cowboy types was directing the airstrike while he was under fire from a quad 4 AAA piece used as a ground cannon. They worked the Buff onto an advancing column of Taliban goons. Doug and company laid a perfect string of 45 Mk-82\’s right down the column of gomers killing a HUGE number. Yup…that\’s right..Mk 82\’s..not JDAM or JASM or any other sexy PGM. Just good old radar bombing with gravity weapons. Ya! take that jack-wagons that say the Buff couldn’t hit the side of a barn with gravity\’s. The Taliban who were left standing began to retreat and kept on retreating right out of Afghanistan. That one Buff strike turned the tide of the war. Later the Cowboy SF dude made contact with Fifi and Doug. He had a video of the strike. He was so relieved (saved his life) and so impressed, he personally nominated that crew for a DFC or something better. The AF turned it down…something about bombers not being significant and fighters were the only ones qualified for recognition..blaa blaa blaa. So..I tried my little piss-ant way to get the BUFF recognition on a national radio show…I don\’t think it worked. Cheers Ponch

Mystery BUFF pilot …

May 19th, 2011

http://www.rushlimbaugh.com/home/daily/site_051711/content/01125108.guest.html

Wear of the Flag patch

April 17th, 2011

I thought, at least, Andy might appreciate the “model-command” command’s instructions on the wear of the US Flag option on the flight suit’s left sleeve.

AFI36-2903_AFGSCSUP 1 JANUARY 2010

3.2.5.4.1. (Added) Left Sleeve. The US flag or any official patch for units in which the member served while performing a global strike mission may be worn on the left sleeve. Members may also wear the Weapons School, USAF Test Pilot School, or other official Air Force school patches upon completion of the appropriate school. Morale patches are not authorized for wear. Installation commanders may authorize the wear of subdued emblems during base contingency or heightened threat operations. EXCEPTION: The US flag will never be subdued. Deployed personnel will follow theater emblem requirements.

 As my grandfather used to say, “I’d rather fail at something which will eventually win than to win at something which will eventually lose.”

March comes in as a Lion or Lamb?

March 12th, 2011

In light of recent natural disasters or man-made, I wasn’t sure about writing or not this month…with the 8.9 earthquake that hit Japan or the one that hit Christchurch, New Zealand and not to mention the fighting going on in Libya or unrest across the Middle East.

Makes you wonder about the statement; “wars and rumors of wars” or “there will be famines and earthquakes in various places”?

Speaking of war, I finally finished my King Tiger tank project called; “The Road to St Vith”.  This diorama portrays an SdKfz 182 Königstiger tank assigned 2/Kompanie, Schwere Panzer Abteilung 506; (Heavy Tank Battalion 506 or s.Pz.Abt.506) supporting the Grenadier-Regiment 294 (18.Volks-Grenadier Division) just outside Andler, Belgium.  The sPzAbt 506 were the only Heer (Regular Army) King Tiger unit to be engaged in the Ardennes Offense of December 1944 – Wacht am Rhein.

king-tiger-01a.jpg  king-tiger-03a.jpg

The King Tiger was straight from Dragon’s 1/35 Kingtiger (Battle of Bulge) kit except I added zimmerit from an after-market kit from Eduard.Yep, there’s sixteen figures;  four came with kit other four from Dragon’s German Combat Unit, Ardennes 1944/45, four from Academy Models WW-II German Infantry ’44  and the tank figures came from MiniArt Models German Tank Crew Winter ’43-’45. 

 king-tiger-02a.jpg  king-tiger-05a.jpg

I knew I needed a barbed wire fence, but didn’t want to spend the money on another “kit.” 

 king-tiger-11a.jpg  king-tiger-17a.jpg

So after reading articles on-line, I was able to scratch build the fences.  The following on-line article was the best…

http://www.armorama.com/modules.php?op=modload&name=Sections&file=index&req=viewarticle&artid=107 

  king-tiger-12a.jpg king-tiger-13a.jpg 

The project took about eight months to complete, between hunting, Christmas, and the Honey-Do lists.Hope all is well on each of your fronts and take care…

king-tiger-18a.jpg

Until next time,

Andy

I made it!

February 11th, 2011

Yea, it’s been awhile…and every time I try to remember the 11th, something would always distract me…

For instance, Heather booked a film down in New Orleans with Christian Slater and Christopher Walken called “The Power of Few”.  From what I’ve gathered it has a bunch of vignettes that come together in the end.  Heather plays the role of “the Reserved Women” but gets a name by the end of the film.  http://thepoweroffew.com/  or http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0817545/   She’s listed under the full crew and cast… http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0817545/fullcredits#cast 

Heather also flew out to LA to cover a charity event and help host.  Then she flew up to St Louis to film her webisode…similar to a TV episode, but made for the internet.  They call it “Trigger”.  She plays a housewife, gets abducted, has amnesia and does all this fights/martial arts but can’t remember why she knows this stuff…stay tuned for its release…

Even though water was scarce this duck season, Jim Melvin and his son and I managed to bag our limits of wood ducks every time we went out!  After 20 minutes of shooting and knocking them down, we would stop and take a head count.  Another time we were out and I nailed two with one shot…and Jim is my witness…he saw the whole thing! 

Then last month we took our sons over to the panhandle of Texas to shoot some geese.  The first day we hunted with a group of five guys to make nine and we shot out limit.  Jake shot a nice speckle-belly that he’s getting mounted.  The next day it was just the four of us.  We would have reached our limit again.  We were about a mile from this watering hole that the geese were roosting on.  Then some knuckleheads decide to hunt ducks on that same watering hole and unloaded their guns.  Needless to say there were thousands of geese lifting off and flying the coup.  Unfortunately we weren’t able to get any.  It was another hour and a half before we shot another goose that made a low pass over us.  So we called it a day.  Clayton bagged a nice speckle-belly that he’s getting mounted.  We were six geese short of our limit, but 14 was still a pretty good haul. 

1st Day’s Hunt      2nd Day’s Hunt

I’m still working on models…current project is a King Tiger tank during the Battle of the Bugle…more on that when I finish it this month.  Speaking on models, remember that M48 Patton I did a while back?  Well it looks like it may get auctioned off as a fund raiser for the USMC Vietnam Tankers Association.  I’m working with a member so things are just on the drawing board for now… 

Due to family pressure and a group of board gamers, I’ve come out of the Dark Ages and now have a Facebook page…Heather set up the page and I filled in the blanks…I’ve heard there’s a bunch of Andy Blooms, so just look for the skinny 1st Lt with one of those old gray headsets on…

O’well…until next time…

Andy

December 2010

December 11th, 2010

Hey guys,

Sorry I haven’t written much lately, but my life has grown complicated.

Cindy and I have been immersed in a complex struggle to protect two of our grandchildren.  Last week our middle daughter was finally convicted of battery for the 2 April assault on Cindy. We have another court date later this week concerning the custody of the developmentally delayed twins, who have been in under our protection since 1 April.  We have no guarantees, but we are committed to protecting the boys within the limits of the law, as the State of Louisiana is making the major decisions.

The details up to now would be sufficient for a thriller novel, unfortunately I don’t have the ending yet.  Time will provide it.

I’m blessed with employment enough to cover the legal expenses, so this has NOT turned into a financial burden for us.  The boys are enrolled in special education programs and are receiving speech and occupational therapy twice a week.  In addition, we’re working with them very much at home.  Thus, you’ve probably noticed I haven’t written any political columns for many months, and sad to say, my fiction writing has suffered the same fate for now.

I’m a little premature in sharing all of this, but I wanted to let you know that I’m still reading the posts as you make them.  In addition, I post job information on contractor positions as I find out about them, just in case anybody was thinking about that option.

More to follow …

The Chuck

Contractor Job opening. (A4/7 @ Barksdale)

November 7th, 2010

The PWS job description is listed below and is very broad.  We’re looking for the candidate to have above average Access database skills and possibly some manpower experience.

If you know of anyone that might be interested in this position please let me know.  As always, contractor jobs aren’t long-term job security, but they usually pay better than those jobs.  The current contract expires in late September 2011.  The future beyond that is like always, a roller-coaster ride.

1.5.17 Air and Space Expeditionary Forces Security Cell:

1.5.17.1 Provide, systems and specialty engineering resource management assistance to HQ AFGSC/A4/7 requirements for the ICBM/Bomber weapon systems and space assets. Perform engineering analyses and studies to assist in defining requirements, evaluating alternative solutions, identifying design risks and supporting studies of hardware and software in support of AFSPC security initiatives. Communicate effectively with customers and clearly present technical approaches and findings. Provide system engineering and weapon system support to AFGSC in the areas of ICBM/Bomber/WSA nuclear security, unauthorized launch, and weapon system physical security. Support system effectiveness evaluations and provide engineering support in the interaction with outside agencies as identified by AFGSC. Support and participate in technical interchange meetings, program status and design reviews, program audits, progress report meetings and other meetings having significant technical content. Participate in support to the security modernization for the weapon system. Recommend approaches for new or improved processes. Provide assistance to lead specialized experiments, studies, and analysis as required. Interface with AFGSC/A4/7 customers to determine needs and provide status updates.  Perform analyses of alternatives, cost-benefit analyses and other engineering assessments and support as needed to ensure continued security of the weapon system. Must stay abreast of technical documents and reports.

1.5.17.2 Assist in the management of the development of selected tasks or the execution of selected activities. Provides expert assistance on technical issues related to his assigned tasks. Maintain positive awareness of and reports progress on technical assignments; coordinates direction with AFGSC A4/7 on all assigned tasks. Provide task progress, status, and data results to the assigned task lead and AFGSC customers. Coordinate with the customers to resolve technical and performance issues and to develop and implement plans for the development of the Regional Training Center. Provide, systems and specialty engineering resource management resources to meet HQ AFGSC requirements for system engineering support. Provide assistance to perform complex engineering/scientific tasks including planning, analyses, trade studies, problem resolution and associated systems engineering support tasks necessary to develop, produce, deploy, operate, maintain security, and test and evaluate missile, command control communications, basing, reentry and launch vehicle systems and technology. Provide assistance to support AFGSC/A4/7 meetings or briefings with other DoD and outside agencies.

1.5.17.3 Assist in the management of the development of selected tasks or the execution of selected activities. Acts as the authority on technical issues related to AFGSC/A4/7 assigned tasks. Monitors and reports on progress on technical assignments and seeks direction as needed. Provide task progress, status, and data results to the assigned task lead and AFGSC customers. Coordinates with the customer to resolve technical and performance issues. Provide daily systems engineering support and project management functions to AFGSC Security Forces division at customer’s location. Tasks include; Work the FY10-15 budget submissions, obtain dollars in FY06-11 to maintain Security Forces programs, work to solidify the FY05 financial plan, and get Space Roadmap funding, and headquarters staff projects. Demonstrates skill and ability to perform complex engineering/scientific tasks including planning, analyses, trade studies, problem resolution and associated systems engineering support tasks necessary to develop, produce, deploy, operate, maintain security, and test and evaluate missile, command control communications, basing, reentry and launch vehicle systems and technology. Support AF meetings or briefings with other DoD and outside agencies.

Heros

September 24th, 2010

Strange History

            Its funny the things you remember, especially after the long, rich and rewarding experiences we all had serving in the Air Force.  Some of the stuff I think I remember, I often challenge as inaccurate or mixed with too much TV or too many movies.  Most of the stuff is near impossible to relate to folks who don’t share our common backgrounds.  Today, I was shocked back into reality by a story I happened to stumble on in the Los Angeles Times.  It was an Obituary for a lady that recently passed away in England.  In the story…and perhaps this is why it caught my eye… details of her remarkable life where chronicled.   She was a decorated war hero from WWII as a British spy operating behind enemy lines in Europe.  As I read the details of her life I suddenly realized that the story was very familiar.  I had heard this story years before in a different setting.  It was at Squadron Officers School…circa 1989.  At SOS the Air Force hired motivational speakers to fill in the curriculum.  One of the key note speakers — that everyone that had gone before me had recommended I not miss—was a British lady who had been highly decorated for her exploits in Europe during the war.  She was so highly thought of at SOS that there was a life size oil painting of her in the main administration building.  You could purchase smaller versions of the painting and have her autograph them….many SOS attendees did just this after hearing her speak.   I attended her presentation and it was everything and more of what I expected from the stories  from folks who recommended her.  She told and incredible story of heroism, luck, brutality, personnel endurance and sacrifice.  There was not one dry eye in the big blue bedroom by the time she was done.   Many of the flights raised money to take her out to dinner and get their autographed paintings.  After I returned, I made sure to recommend her presentations to those who where next in line.  One such individual was Capt John Kiecana.  Yes “Johnny 3K” ( another story) he took my advice and reported to SOS.  However, after he returned he relayed to my great surprise and shock, that the lady was found out to be a fraud…she had lied about the whole story of her life!  I could not believe it…it was one of the most convincing emotional packed riveting stories I had ever heard.  I can’t imagine how the Air Force reacted to the discovery as they had invested so much in her credibility and had exposed so many junior officers to her deceit.  In hind sight I began to revisit what she had told us and began to realize that no one human being could have done what she said she had done …so I believed.  I dismissed the whole event and added the affair to one more bullshit Air Force façade.  Now twenty years later I discover that there really was a war hero that did these impossible feats of bravery.  The SOS lady had assumed this hero’s identity and embellished on the facts to make her story more saleable to the suckers that hired her.  

Perhaps as the real lesson, that was not communicated at SOS, was detailed in the Obituary.  It seems that Eileen Nearne, the real WWII hero, died alone and in obscurity, never letting on about her unbelievable history.  Only after her death did they find hidden awards, medals, records and memorabilia, including French currency used during the war she had kept secretly.   The greatest lesson from this story,  one not shared at SOS, was that humility is more often than not, a quality found amongst the real heroes in life.  What a profound lesson for today’s pop culture polluted society where clamor for fame and fortune is more important then integraty and honor.

http://www.latimes.com/news/obituaries/la-me-eileen-nearne-20100923,0,2821603.story

Eileen Nearne, a reclusive World War II heroine who operated as an undercover radio transmitter in France during the D-day invasion, helping coordinate the Allied war effort until she was caught by the Gestapo, died Sept. 2 of a heart attack at her home in southwest England. She was 89.

Nearne, who was known as Agent Rose, maintained her secrecy and never discussed her wartime exploits with her neighbors in Torquay, the seaside town in Devon where she lived until her death.

Her bravery was not widely acknowledged until local officials went into her apartment after her death and found a treasure trove of medals, records and memorabilia, including French currency used during the war.



During World War II, Nearne worked with the Special Operations Executive, a clandestine operation set up by Prime Minister Winston Churchill to carry out acts of sabotage and espionage against the Nazis, who were occupying Western Europe.

Nearne’s mission to France in 1944 — when she was just 23, posing as a French shop girl — was to operate a wireless transmitter that served as a vital link between the French resistance and war planners in London.

John Pentreath, county manager for the Royal British Legion veterans’ charity, said Nearne was captured behind enemy lines with a radio transmitter and was sent to the Ravensbruck concentration camp. She later escaped and was ultimately liberated by American forces.

“It’s a staggering story for a young girl,” he said. “We hold her in awe and huge respect. All Brits do. We are very disappointed we didn’t know about her when she was alive; we would have dearly loved to have made contact with her.”

Historian M.R.D. Foot, who had access to Nearne’s secret account of her activities, said she was the only British agent with an operating transmitter in the Paris area during the crucial period from March 1944 until she was caught by the Germans in July 1944.

“She was there during D-day,” he said. “What she did was extremely important. She was arranging for weapons and explosive drops, and those were used to help cut the Germans’ rail lines.”

He said Nearne showed bravery and discretion when she refused to talk about clandestine operations even after being subjected to extreme treatment.

After the war, Nearne was awarded an MBE, or Member of the Order of the British Empire, in recognition of her services. She lived for most of the rest of her life with her sister Jacqueline, who had also served in the Special Operations Executive.

Since her sister’s death in 1982, Nearne had lived alone.

The saga of Nearne’s lonely death and her wartime service touched a nerve in Britain. The Times of London said in an editorial that she seemed to resemble Eleanor Rigby, the spinster who died alone in a song by the Beatles.

“Her life deserves to be sung about every bit as much as Eleanor Rigby’s,” the editorial said.

On Tuesday, hundreds mourned Nearne during her funeral in Devon.

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Comments (1)

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Kelley at 8:19 AM September 24, 2010 Hollywood should be making a movie about her war exploits rather than the one about that Gotti fellow.

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