October 7th, 2013 · General
I am sorry to report the passing of MSG (ret) Nicholas Oresko this evening. MSG Oresko was the oldest living recipient of the Medal of Honor. He passed following complications from surgery. He was surrounded by members of all branches of the armed forces. He passed peacefully and no doubt is now in the company of Basilone, Howard, Shuggart, Gordon, Murphy and so many others.
RIP MSG Oresko
Rank and organization: Master Sergeant, U.S. Army, Company C, 302d Infantry, 94th Infantry Division. Place and date: Near Tettington, Germany, 23 January 1945. Entered service at: Bayonne, N.J. Birth: Bayonne, N.J. G.O. No.: 95, 30 October 1945.
M/Sgt. Oresko was a platoon leader with Company C, in an attack against strong enemy positions. Deadly automatic fire from the flanks pinned down his unit. Realizing that a machinegun in anearby bunker must be eliminated, he swiftly worked ahead alone, braving bullets which struck about him, until close enough to throw a grenade into the German position. He rushed the bunkerand, with pointblank rifle fire, killed all the hostile occupants who survived the grenade blast. Another machinegun opened up on him, knocking him down and seriously wounding him in the hip.
Refusing to withdraw from the battle, he placed himself at the head of his platoon to continue the assault. As withering machinegun and rifle fire swept the area, he struck out alone in advance of his men to a second bunker. With a grenade, he crippled the dug-in machinegun defending this position and then wiped out the troops manning it with his rifle, completing his second self-imposed,1-man attack. Although weak from loss of blood, he refused to be evacuated until assured the mission was successfully accomplished. Through quick thinking, indomitable courage, and unswervingdevotion to the attack in the face of bitter resistance and while wounded, M /Sgt. Oresko killed 12 Germans, prevented a delay in the assault, and made it possible for Company C to obtain itsobjective with minimum casualties.
October 3rd, 2013 · General
I was on a cross country in Training Command to North Island NAS in San Diego sometime in the fall of 1985. As a boot ensign, I didn’t know the first thing about San Diego or anything like that, so I just went to the Navy Exchange, bought some junk munchies and this new book I had heard about, “The Hunt for Red October”.
I spent the next day and a half, totqally absorbed, devouering that thing. It was superb storytelling. Thus began many years of enjoyment reading Tom Clany’s work.
Too young…66 years old. RIP, Tom Clancy. May your carrier have a bone in her teeth with a stiff wind down the angle…safe flying!
Author Tom Clancy dies
Best-selling novelist Tom Clancy, whose spy thrillers made him one of the most popular writers of the last three decades, died Tuesday in a Baltimore hospital after a short illness. He was 66.
On Wednesday, Penguin Group (USA) released news of his death, but declined to name the cause.
Clancy enjoyed wild success as a novelist, penning thrillers that orbit military espionage, political scandal, and terrorism often set during and after the Cold War. As a military technology buff, he crafted his plots with such accuracy that CNN noted he gained a “loyal following within the armed forces in the United States and abroad.”
His first novel, The Hunt For Red October, about the defection of a Soviet naval captain, came out in 1984 when Clancy was 33 years old, and launched him immediately into a successful career.
Retired Air Force Gen. Charles Horner told Clancy in an interview posted by Penguin Group that when he read the book, his eyes popped: “I was on active duty then, and I had access to a lot of secrets. … You knew things that people weren’t supposed to know.”
Clancy often denied having special access to military secrets, but Horner called his accuracy and portrayal of U.S. military and intelligence operations “amazing.” Clancy responded with a smirk, saying finding his information was easy: “It’s all out in the open. I call it ‘connect the dots.’”
Seventeen of Clancy’s novels made in to The New York Times bestseller list, and Hollywood turned six of them into well-known movies, including “The Hunt for Red October, (1990), starring Sean Connery as Captain Ramius, and Patriot Games, (1992), starring Harrison Ford.
Though Clancy was a Roman Catholic, his novels dealt with geopolitical struggles rather than religion. He was a hard-core conservative and Republican, and a staunch supporter of the U.S. military. A week after the 9/11 attacks, he indirectly blamed the political left for the devastation, telling Bill O’Reilly: “The CIA was gutted by people on the political left who don’t like intelligence operations … and as a result of that, as an indirect result of that, we lost 5,000 citizens last week.”
Clancy’s support for the military was almost paternal. He told Horner: “There is no truer representation of our country than the people it sends into the field to fight for it. And the people who wear our uniform and carry our rifles into combat, they’re our kids, and our job is to support them, because they are protecting us.”
September 22nd, 2013 · General
Preparations are pretty much finalized for the Warrior Aviation Fly-over in honor of USAF Majors James E Sizemore and Howard V Andre at Arlington Cemetery tomorrow at noon.
My ejection-seat checkout for the L-39 is at 0800 or so. Full Brief at 0900. Walk at 1030, takeoff at 1100. We’ll be holding at Nottingham VORTAC (southwest from Andrews). Push time around 1155, Time on Top Arlington 1202. The B-25 will lead the first formation with the P-51 and P-47 on the wings. The A-26 will fly by solo in trail, which is the aircraft the Majors were flying. To follow are the L-39s with a missing man pull. Another L-39 will be offset to the west as a photo aircraft.
A-26A TA-646 Sizemore aircraft when shot downA-26A TA-646, the Invader aircraft that Major Sizemore and Major Andre were flying that day.
Major James Elmo Sizemore USAF Nakhon Phanom, Thailand KIA July 8 1969
Major James Elmo Sizemore, USAF
If you are in the DC area tomorrow, weather is supposed to be fantastic, so stop and see if you can see the aluminum sky. We’ll be coming in from south of Reagan National, up the Potomac, over the Pentagon. An ideal place to watch would be the Air Force memorial, just to the west of the Pentagon.
Salute to Majors Sizemore and Andre…welcome home, sirs. We’ve missed you!
To read more about this honor, go back to this post from a few weeks ago. If anyone would still like to contribute to the fuel fund, just hit the link shown.
September 22nd, 2013 · General
You always salute when you leave the ship…whether by foot or by aircraft. The catapult officer (in yellow) is ready to do the “shoot this sucka” thing and the pilot is acknowledging all is ok inside his little world with the salute. Technically, you are supposed to salute when you come ABOARD the ship, as well, but I figured someone along the line somewhere decided a pilot is busy enough putting a 20 or 30 ton fire-belching hundred-and-thirty-knot-traveling aeronautical pointy-nosed killing machine onto a 700-foot runway that is usually traveling away from you, at a 10-degree angle, at 25 or 30 knots and oftentimes pitching up and down 15 or 20 feet in a dutch roll is difficult enough without having to salute at the he fantail and “Request permission to come aboard!”..
September 21st, 2013 · General
Shooter is looking back at the center deck hatch to verify the winds and crosswinds are still ok. This is about a second or two before he gives the launch signal by leaning forward and touching the deck.
What is interesting about this shot, though, is the pilot in the Bug. Its something that, as Cat officers, we had to get used to. Pilots always have their left hand on the throttle on a cat shot and (usually) their right on the stick. Hornet drivers don’t do that. Left hand is still on the throttle (bad juju if that throttle is dragged aft from the cat shot – you do *not* want to be throttling back at that particular point in your flight evolution) but his right hand holds on to a little handle on the canopy rail – no touchy/feely of the stick on a Hornet catapult launch. Whisper could no doubt explain it better (Do some of that pilot sh*t, Whisper!), but the Hornet fly-away attitude is pre-programmed (or pre-set or pre-planned or pre-something) and any stick manipulation by the Nose Gunner results in some wild departure profiles. Hands off, boys and girls. Just looks weird…even now.
September 17th, 2013 · General
Most of you know the story of Neptunus Lex, also known as Capt Carroll LeFon, USN (ret). If not, you can catch up here.
Lex’s wife, Mary (aka The Hobbit) was up at Fallon a few months ago for some ceremonies and remembrances and the Chiefs Mess had a presentation for her. They knew Lex well there (from his squadron days, his TOPGUN days, both as a student and instructor and his XO tour) and respected and loved him as we all did and so they wanted to do something to remember him by. They had this special Battle Flag created honoring Lex, and they gave it to Mary at a brief gathering at the O’Club.
With some assistance from Dave “Padre” Harvey, the flag is now framed and sits in Mary’s house. She wants to pass on that she appreciates their efforts and was honored to receive it.
Mary, second from left.
September 16th, 2013 · General
Slim pickings down at the marina these days, but I did grab this shot of a cormorant and its breakfast! Sorta I know what it looks like – the catfish is jumping right into the maw of death. Actually the bird already had the fish and was flipping it up to get a better bite on it. I watched him for about 10 minutes with this fish and he eventually just let it go and flew off…I guess it was a tad too big for him. As my grandmother used to say when I didn’t finish my plate, “Your eyes were too big for your belly!”
September 7th, 2013 · General
I snuck out last night around 1130 to see if I could get a shot of a rocket launch from NASA’s Wallops Island facility of a package being sent to the moon.
LADEE, or Lunar Atmosphere Dust and Environment Explorer blasted off into the night sky without a problem.
The problems were on my end. I was a tad late getting to my “dark place”, about a 30 minute drive from my house. I arrived with only about 2 minutes to set up, which included getting the tripod set, the camera lens, focus and settings squared away, figuring out the directional orientation and all that jazz. My shutter remote had died a few weeks ago, so I had to us the max exposure setting on the camera, which was only a 30 second exposure.
Having done all that, I saw this reddish/orange point of light, so hit the shutter and hoped for the best. It didn’t turn out that bad, just not the full arcing departure shot I had hoped for. I’ll get a new remote shutter device soon, and wait for the next Wallops shot to see if I can get that iconic image of an full ascent shot as the vehicle departs for the cosmos.
BTW, the horizontal line is an airliner headed to Dulles.
FYI, I was out in Aden, Virginia. The test shot I took first was oriented a bit more east/northeast, pointed back toward Woodbridge and the Washington DC area. The 30 second test shot exposure was indeed at 1125 pm, and even as dark as it seemed, the exposure brought out all the lights from the metro areas to the E/ENE. I’ll have to work better at finding a REAL darker place if I want to take any sky shots in that direction.
September 5th, 2013 · General
For my liberal/progressive friends and family. Thank you for bringing us this moment.
Hat tip to Ace of Spades via Instapundit.