|Evening in Arizona - getting ready to fly.|
Wednesday, December 18, 2013
Tuesday, November 05, 2013
|Classmate Willy studying after hours back at the dorm.|
Friday, October 18, 2013
|Arlington National Cemetery, Section 4|
It was sometime in 1974, I couldn't really tell you now what time of year it was, but I was "home" on leave during the 18 month long process to become an E-2B Hawkeye avionics technician. I use quotes on the word home because while I had joined the Navy out of Oxon Hill, Maryland, my parents had since bought their first house in a nicer part of the state. I had no connection to that area, and being a night owl I cruised my old stomping grounds around Marlow Heights. All night business establishments were the exception rather than the rule in the 70's, and about the only thing open was a Dunkin' Donuts on St Barnabas Rd. Having recently discovered Robert Heinlein (I was, and still am, a huge science fiction fan) I had stumbled across a 7/11 that stocked a bunch of his books, probably ordered by mistake. When I got tired of cruising the area and visiting school friends that I really didn't have much in common with anymore I would settle in at the counter with a never ending cup of coffee and read. At least at first.
More after the break
|The donut shop. That's Simon' Valiant parked in his usual spot.|
It turns out that after midnight there was a whole crew of people, regulars, who also liked to drink coffee and socialize. Marcia and Bernie would be working the store, making and selling donuts along with Joe, Ted, Denise and who ever else happened to be on the back shift that week while Tex, Corlis and a whole cast of regulars whose names now escape me would solve the problems of the world. Simon was one of the regulars, sitting in the corner working a crossword puzzle until the conversation got interesting.
Born Emil Sasse, Simon was heroin chic before it became a fashion. No, he wasn't into drugs. You see, Simon had diabetes - the bad type. Then in his twenties, he had already outlived his life expectancy. He was a very intelligent man, a great conversationalist, and if he ever got depressed or felt sorry for himself, I never saw it.
Over the years whenever I was in the DC area I'd stop and hang out at the donut shop, and he could always be counted on showing up after midnight. When I deployed on the Midway, he was one of the people that wrote regularly and kept me in touch with the world. He would also take all the advertising cards out of magazines - the ones that were to get more information on some product or the other - and fill in my name and address to make sure that whenever there was a mail call, I could count on getting something strange. The best one I remember was a really nice brochure for modular jail cells. Even though I was mostly on the other side of the country, if not the world, we stayed in touch over the years.
I had been out of the Navy for several years and was working in New Jersey when Simon fell and broke his hip. Even though he was only 33, his bones were more like those of an 80 year old. His medical condition had been worsening over the last years and he refused to be put on any sort of life support. He passed away 30 years ago today.
|The only picture I have of Simon. He wanted me to know what I was missing.|
His father being a WWII veteran he was buried at Arlington, next to his younger brother and his mother. I wasn't able to get there in time for the viewing, but I did make the burial service. Last April while I was at Ft Eustis I went to Arlington to visit my Moms grave, and while I was there I located his family grave site. His father had since passed away and I felt bad for a man who had buried his wife and two sons. I only met his sister once, at the funeral, but I hope at least that she's doing well.
I would be lying if I said that I think about Simon daily, but he is frequently on my mind, along with the others that used to join us in our long, rambling conversations. I miss him.
Simon was my friend.
Tuesday, October 01, 2013
If it were up to me, I'd say leave the Federal Government shut down, and let's get back to the states being in charge of their own destinies. As was once stated by an individual far more eloquent than I, let Washington, DC return to the malarial swamp from which it rose.
A pox on them all...
Monday, September 16, 2013
|136 launches on a pilot training mission|
Now that the wars are winding down and we don't have an impending deployment on the schedule we're starting to grapple with the return to a peacetime status, though this is going to be something of a process. In Aviation this is going to mean fewer flying hours available to the units, and the while the types of training we do will largely remain the same, the quantity of it will likely go down. How much depends on what kind of budgets we end up with over the next few years.
Some of that money will come from DOD. If you've ever wondered why a state would have a unit that does it little visible use (field artillery or helicopter gunships, for example) the answer is simply that it's a lot cheaper to keep that equipment in the Guard than it is to keep it in the active inventory. The state gets the benefit of the additional man power along with the funds to maintain the equipment. Everyone is happy.
So while things will get understandably tighter, we'll still be training pilots, crew chiefs and maintenance staff. We'll be doing fewer advanced training missions, saving those for our annual training, and I expect over time our staffing will be reduced, along with the active services. It's going to be a change, but I think that will be a good thing.
Saturday, August 31, 2013
|On the wash rack|
Monday, August 26, 2013
|Briefing for a Bambi Bucket Mission.|
Tuesday, August 20, 2013
You've no doubt noticed the above picture is in black and white... I recently got a nice film camera and have been testing out a process to digitize the images. I developed the negative normally then scanned it into my Epson V600 photo scanner, which handles negatives and slides as well as prints. Next I'll be trying color negatives.
Hasselblad 500C/M with the 150mm f4 Sonnar lens set at f22, 1/500 sec using Tri X Professional film (ASA 400).
Monday, August 05, 2013
|Chalk 2 poses for us - we tried to give everyone in both birds a chance to get a decent picture|
More after the break
Wednesday, July 24, 2013
Wednesday, July 10, 2013
|The Hero Mission crews|
Our company had the honor to help take William "Billy" Warneke home today, transporting his remains from Prescott to Marana for his funeral. Billy was one of he Granite Mountain Hot Shot team, and was also a Marine.
Thursday, July 04, 2013
Friday, June 28, 2013
Monday, June 10, 2013
|Parked in a field in Canita, Panama|
More after the break...
Wednesday, June 05, 2013
Monday, May 27, 2013
Tuesday, May 21, 2013
|Sling loading a HMMWV|
|Hooking up the load|
Wednesday, May 15, 2013
|One of the coastal artillery batteries that once protected the Panama Canal|
Saturday, April 13, 2013
|Monitor mock up deck, stern looking forward|
More below the fold...
Saturday, March 30, 2013
|The runners waiting to start|
At the moment I'm in an NCO school at Ft Eustis, Virginia. On of my classmates found out that Spartyka Nation was running a benefit 5k run for the Wounded Warrior Project at Virginia Beach this weekend, and we decided to go. As it turns out one of our group had been assisted by the WWP, so there was a personal element to the trip. Virginia Beach, while a major tourist attraction, is no stranger to the military with a strong Naval presence at nearby Norfolk, Oceana and Little Creek as well as nearby Ft Eustis and Langley Air Force Base. With those kinds of neighbors, it's not surprising there was a good turn out even though it was a little cool.
|Everyone evened out by the turnaround point|
|The group of us from class|
For information on similar events check out http://www.spartykanation.com and http://www.woundedwarriorproject.org/.
Sunday, March 17, 2013
|Front to back - PSL-54, M-21, M-24 and M-40A1|
More after the break
Thursday, March 14, 2013
Wednesday, February 27, 2013
|Mod Team member upgrades some wiring|
Wednesday, February 13, 2013
Thursday, February 07, 2013
Tuesday, January 29, 2013
|Sunrise at the workplace|
Sometimes you need to adjust your outlook. This morning I got in, got myself a cup of coffee and grabbing my camera and flash headed to the ramp to catch a sunrise photo of one of our birds. So here I am - 0700 on a crisp morning getting ready to work on some pretty neat hardware, and I remember what it was like going to work in a cubicle every day. Yeah, my day perked right up.
Saturday, January 19, 2013
|A T700 engine partially disrobed...|
We have regular inspections on our helicopters, many of which are based on flight hours. They range from the 40 hour and 120 hour inspections which get progressively more thorough to the phase maintenance where major disassembly, inspection and repairs take place. This engine was pulled as part of a phase inspection. During the borescope inspection of the compressor some damaged blades were found so the case was split so the blades could be repaired. You can see a very clear picture of the first five stages of compression in our engine - a sixth stage is just out of sight on the left. The inlet side of the engine is to the right, with the accessory module on top of it. Think of all the stuff on your car engine - starter, alternator, oil pump, fuel pump, etc., all that stuff is driven off this module. On the left side of the picture is the hot section of the engine. Those holes around the outside of the casing are where the fuel injectors go. When the engine is running a ring of fire that doesn't touch any of the case or combustion liner (it's way too hot) provides all the energy to power the helicopter, in this case about 1500 horsepower. Not attached at the moment, although you can see it on the bench near the wall to the left is the power turbine section. All the hot air from the hot section spins a couple of turbines that turn the shaft sticking up in the air which is attached to the main transmission in the helicopter. Interestingly enough, 80% of the air that goes through the engine provides cooling, only 20% is used for combustion. That's a lot of energy in a small place.
Thursday, January 10, 2013
Since I've been been doing most of my posting over on the PhotoPogue site lately, I thought I'd put up a Blackhawk picture for the new year to let you know I'm still here. We're in a reconstitution phase in our battalion, getting new people up to speed as some of the older hands move upwards and onwards. More to come in the near future, but for now I hope everyone had a safe and happy Christmas and New Years holiday!