Wednesday, February 28, 2007

eulogy of a fighter pilot

I was reminded of the Great Santini when a guy in my squadron sent this out earlier this week. This my not have been my experience as the child of a fighter pilot, but I can relate to the the way his children idolized their father. This is Col Don Conroy's eulogy, given by his son, Pay Conroy. Full text here, or you can just google "Eulogy of a fighter pilot" for more. This is a great memory of a great man, enjoy.
The children of fighter pilots tell different stories than other kids do. None of our fathers can write a will or sell a life insurance policy or fill out a prescription or administer a flue shot or explain what a poet meant. We tell of fathers who land on aircraft carriers at pitch-black night with the wind howling out of the China Sea. Our fathers wiped out aircraft batteries in the Philippines and set Japanese soldiers on fire when they made the mistake of trying to overwhelm our troops on the ground..

Your Dads ran the barber shops and worked at the post office and delivered the packages on time and sold the cars, while our Dads were blowing up fuel depots near Seoul, were providing extraordinarily courageous close air support to the beleaguered Marines at the Chosin Reservoir, and who once turned the Naktong River red with blood of a retreating North Korean battalion. We tell of men who made widows of the wives of our nations' enemies and who made orphans out of all their children.

You don't like war or violence? Or napalm? Or rockets? Or cannons or death rained down from the sky? Then let's talk about your fathers, not ours. When we talk about the aviators who raised us and the Marines who loved us, we can look you in the eye and say "you would not like to have been American's enemies when our fathers passed overhead". We were raised by the men who made the United States of America the safest country on earth in the bloodiest century in all recorded history. Our fathers made sacred those strange, singing names of battlefields across the Pacific: Guadalcanal, Iwo Jima, Okinawa, the Chosin Reservoir, Khe Sanh and a thousand more. We grew up attending the funerals of Marines slain in these battles. Your fathers made communities like Beaufort decent and prosperous and functional; our fathers made the world safe for democracy.
Here is how my father appeared to me as a boy. He came from a race of giants and demi-gods from a mythical land known as Chicago. He married the most beautiful girl ever to come crawling out of the poor and lowborn south, and there were times when I thought we were being raised by Zeus and Athena. After Happy Hour my father would drive his car home at a hundred miles an hour to see his wife and seven children. He would get out of his car, a strapping flight jacketed matinee idol, and walk toward his house, his knuckles dragging along the ground, his shoes stepping on and killing small animals in his slouching amble toward the home place.

My sister, Carol, stationed at the door, would call out, "Godzilla's home!" and we seven children would scamper toward the door to watch his entry. The door would be flung open and the strongest Marine aviator on earth would shout, "Stand by for a fighter pilot!" He would then line his seven kids up against the wall and say,

"Who's the greatest of them all?" "You are, O Great Santini, you are." "Who knows all, sees all, and hears all?" "You do, O Great Santini, you do."

We were not in the middle of a normal childhood, yet none of us were sure since it was the only childhood we would ever have. For all we knew other men were coming home and shouting to their families, "Stand by for a pharmacist," or "Stand by for a chiropractor".
When he flew back toward the carrier that day, he received a call from an Army Colonel on the ground who had witnessed the route of the North Koreans across the river. "Could you go pass over the troops fifty miles south of here? They've been catching hell for a week or more. It'd do them good to know you flyboys are around." He flew those fifty miles and came over a mountain and saw a thousand troops lumbered down in foxholes. He and Bill Lundin went in low so these troops could read the insignias and know the American aviators had entered the fray. My father said, "Thousands of guys came screaming out of their foxholes, son. It sounded like a world series game. I got goose pimples in the cockpit. Get goose pimples telling it forty-eight years later. I dipped my wings, waved to the guys. The roar they let out. I hear it now. I hear it now."

During the Cuban Missile Crisis, my mother took me out to the air station where we watched Dad's squadron scramble on the runway on their bases at Roosevelt Road and Guantanamo. In the car as we watched the A-4's take off, my mother began to say the rosary. "You praying for Dad and his men, Mom?" I asked her. "No, son. I'm praying for the repose of the souls of the Cuban pilots they're going to kill."

Later I would ask my father what his squadron's mission was during the Missile Crisis. "To clear the air of MIGS over Cuba," he said. "You think you could've done it?" The Great Santini answered, "There wouldn't have been a bluebird flying over that island, son."

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Saturday, February 24, 2007

don't cross gramps

This is awesome. Who says growing old means you can't take on muggers anymore?
US tourist allegedly kills mugger with bare hands

A tour bus of US senior citizens defended themselves against a group of alleged muggers, sending two of them fleeing and killing a third in the Atlantic coast city of Limon, Costa Rica police said on Thursday.

One of the tourists - a retired member of the US military - put assailant Warner Segura in a head lock and broke his clavicle after the 20-year-old and two other men armed with a knife and gun held up their tour bus Wednesday, said Luis Hernandez, the police chief of Limon, 130 kilometers (80 miles) east of San Jose.

The two other men fled when the 12 senior citizens started defending themselves. The tourists then drove Segura to the Red Cross where the man was declared dead. The Red Cross also treated one of the tourists for an anxiety attack, Hernandez said.

Via Instapundit.


Tuesday, February 20, 2007

quarter-life crisis

I figured this was the time in my life to have a sports car. He's a beaut. And yes my car is a boy. My last car was named Crush.... any ideas for this one? Big red just doesn't fit.


Sunday, February 18, 2007

don't go flyin in memphis

I would not want to see this on final...

But then, Memphis Center does not like us anyway, so I generally do not wonder up that way.

These are photos taken near Memphis International of a local flock of black birds.

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Saturday, February 17, 2007


It was about time I got around to posting my first 'fuge video. No sound unfortunately, but I think its pretty funny. For those of you that do not know, every Air Force fighter pilot goes to the centrifuge to test their ability to pull G's. What aircraft you will fly determines the amount of G's you are tested with. Before I flew the T-38, my classmates and I were tested. You can see the amount of G's in the upper left corner.

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Friday, February 16, 2007

the way to this girl's heart

My favorite beer.... but I don't really discriminate all that much. It's just what showed up on my desk on that holiday I won't mention. Secret admirer's who give beer are highly encouraged.


Thursday, February 15, 2007

a jab

At some of my favorite grunts...

You know I love you guys. Someday you'll love me too when you're calling me in for that air strike...

UPDATE: Thanks for the link from Mrs. Greyhawk over at the Mudville Gazette.

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Tuesday, February 13, 2007

this does not bode well

And I thought I was going to triple turn today..... HA! I'm so glad I spent hours yesterday working on our schedule.

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Monday, February 12, 2007

some af humor

Photos via eDodo.

And for the Zoomies out there....

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Monday, February 05, 2007

view from the office

Somewhere over Southern Georgia....


Sunday, February 04, 2007

the fray gets tweet rides + concert review

Last Tuesday the stars aligned and the winds blew The Fray and Mute Math to Starkville, MS for our listening pleasure. But before they stepped on stage, the dudes from the Fray were blessed with a T-37 formation sortie. That's right, one of the guys in my squadron went to high school with a couple of them back in the day and the higher ups deemed the top 40 wonders worthy of an orientation ride. So two two-ship formations cast them into the burning blue where they flew three feet from each other cheating death. After returning safely and kissing the ground they walked on, they stuck around the squadron bar to take pictures and sign autographs. While I was not squeeling at the top of my lungs or foaming at the mouth, I did take the opportunity to snap a photo with the frontman, who was looking somewhat worse for the wear.

Thankfully their expereince did not affect their performance later that night. My roommate and I were stuck in the nosebleed section with the hippie college riff raff (for the most part) that made me feel old (at 24?), but it was still a good time. I have to admit though Mute Math stole the show. How could you not love a band that rocks the keytar with a lead singer who jumps around like a kangaroo on crack? The boys from New Orleans have more energy than I have ever seen on stage, and they definatly sacrifce for their art. For example:

Mute Math is now on tour in the UK, but I would highly recommend seeing them if you ever get the chance.

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back to school, sort of

Tomorrow marks my first day of earning my master's. I'm starting out one class at a time to see how much work it actually takes, but my goal is to get it done before I move on to my next jet. I'm actually excited to get this started, and I'm doing National Security, so hopefully it will be interesting and no doubt relevant. I'm kind of bummed I have to do the whole distance learning thing, but its darn near impossible for pilots to go to school in residence. Plus I want to build up as many hours as I can. There is a plus side to not actually attending a university however.... Kudos to T.F. Boggs for the hilarious Top Ten of what he's learned in school:
1. There is no truth.

2. One great piece of literature can change the world.

3. Truth doesn’t matter, that is of course unless it applies to fiction.

4. Bush is quite possibly the antichrist. Not an antichrist, but possibly The antichrist.

5. Never admit you are in the military unless you do not want to be taken seriously again.

6. It’s better not to think on your own. Just follow what your teacher tells you.

7. Driving sucks when the only possible thing that might blow up on you is some 18-year-old girl you almost hit because she stepped into the street while talking on her cell phone, while arguing with her parents that her bank account is low, while being 20 minutes late to class, while wearing really ugly snow boots, and all the while wearing jogging pants that would have been appropriate for the weather but have long ceased to hold any functionality since they have been cut off just below the knee.

8. Terrorists would all lay their weapons down if they just understood how to read fiction sophisticatedly.

9. If you don’t read the New York Times you cannot have an accurate grasp on what’s going on in the world.

10. The single greatest tragedy to happen in the United States in the past 37 years was the Kent State shootings on May 4th 1970.

I think seven needs a post all on its own. Yours truely is highlighted in the comments. I think the gauntlet has been thrown, and I might have a bit of a blog crush... But anyway, I want to apologize if posts are even lighter than normal due to the increased time I'll be spending on an education I actually have to spend money on.

i think that's about right

Your Taste in Music:

Alternative Rock: High Influence
Country: High Influence
Punk: High Influence
90's Alternative: Medium Influence
90's Pop: Medium Influence


Friday, February 02, 2007

tell us what you really think mr. arkin

I guess I had to throw my hat in the ring for the whole William Arkin fiasco, just because it is so appalling.

Michelle Malkin weighs in. "If I were a Washington Post editor, I would seriously consider giving Arkin a few days off. Pronto."

Blackfive gives an eloquent FU. Video via Hot Air.

Blackfive's thought's on Arkin's rebuttal blog.

I think we should make this guy live the life of an airmen or soldier for one week and see how spoiled or hallowed they are treated.