Life in the Air Force

"Missing someone gets easier everyday because even though you are one day further from the last time you saw them, you are one day closer to the next time you will." ~Source Unknown~

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Baby Girl

I'm having a girl!! Audrey Grace

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Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Hiatus

I probably will not be blogging much if at all for the next 6 weeks or so. I will be going to Airman Leadership School on Thursday. I have to go to ALS before I can pin on my Staff Sergeant stripe in December. Its going to be like getting re-blued (or like going back to basic without the yelling)!!

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Hindsight is 20/20

I’m sick of everyone tossing around the blame for Hurricane Katrina. Why must someone be to blame? It was a hurricane from Mother Nature, how can it be anyone’s fault that the Gulf Coast was hit by a Cat 4 Hurricane? If you must blame someone, blame God. He rules our earth and for some divine reason, brought about Hurricane Katrina. Maybe to punish us for laughing at Mother Nature’s strength? Maybe it is to show us mortals here on Earth that we are not invincible? Maybe it is the fault of all mankind for our cockiness and pride. Who ever thought that something like this hurricane could happen in this day and age? New Orleans is reduced to a third world country in living conditions. Did anyone believe that was possible in America? No, we thought we could beat Mother Nature. But the entire world has been proven wrong… again. How many lessons do we need?

While there may have been some bad decision-making on the part of the Louisiana Government, why do we have to try and place blame at their feet? At the time, I’m sure they thought they were doing what was best. Or maybe they still held onto the belief that nothing, not even a Cat 4 hurricane, could bring about the kind of destruction and devastation that Hurricane Katrina did. Maybe that is why they made the decisions they did. But that is the fault of all mankind’s hubris, not one or two people. As if they wanted this to happen. I’m sure, if they could, they would go back in time and make different decisions and would do anything in their power to save even one person’s life from this tragedy. Unless you are a completely corrupt person, no one would wish this kind of destruction on anyone… therefore I’m sure if they had known the results of their decisions beforehand, they would have made different ones. I firmly believe that everyone acted with the best interest of the people in mind. They did the best they could, how can we fault them for that? I’m sure that many people are regretting decisions they have made, but there is nothing to be done right now, except to learn lessons for next time and focus on rebuilding the lives and the city that was shattered. Hindsight is 20/20. And never underestimate the power of Mother Nature. I just don’t think it’s fair to blame anyone for a natural disaster.

No one was spared in this tragic and destructive storm. Rich and poor, black and white, everyone from that region has lost something or someone, there was no discrimination. Mother Nature does not believe in discrimination. Some believe that the slow response was because of race or because the majority of the population left behind were poor. What a bunch of hogwash! In crises like these, you see the American people band together with no regard for race, religion, sex, etc. It is a sight to see! We Americans, so divided, come together for a common cause… to save people and help rebuild lives! It is the only good thing that comes from these times of sadness… Quite similar to 9/11.

There are many examples throughout time of mankind’s hubris… and many examples of mankind being taught a serious lesson about cockiness. How about Titanic? They didn’t even think lifeboats for all the passengers were worth taking up extra deck space. We look back now and we think how could they have been so stupid and thoughtless?? But we have the knowledge of the horrible sinking of Titanic. Had we been around in the days of the Titanic, we might have thought the lifeboats were a waste as well. The word “Unsinkable” permeated their minds so that they truly believed that nothing in the world could sink the mighty Titanic. How pompous is that? To think, that a man-made ship was immune to Mother Nature’s strength! How arrogant! Mankind would have to be shown, again, that we are not invincible. Once again, Mother Nature is in control. Once we think we can control Mother Nature is when our first mistake is made. We have to be reminded that we are only humans, capable of many things, but still weak compared to the force of Mother Nature. Why should anyone take seriously reports of icebergs, when Titanic is unsinkable? Everyone believed it. In reality, it was quite easy to sink the Titanic. In hindsight, we think, how stupid?? “If only” this, “If only” that. All the things that could have been done to save all those innocent lives!! In the aftermath of the Titanic sinking of course the blame had to be placed on someone and it was. But why? If the Captain had known the fate of the Titanic, no doubt he would have made different decisions. If Bruce Ismay had known, he wouldn’t have ordered the Titanic to go even faster through icy waters, but these people acted out of cockiness. “If only” these people had believed in the powers of Mother Nature and mankind’s invincibility, thousands of lives would have been saved!

All we can do from these disasters is to learn from them… there is no point in placing blame. Thousands of people have already suffered enough. The bottom line is that Hurricane Katrina was a catastrophe. Learn from the mistakes and move on. Stop blaming everyone!!!

Letter to Airmen from the Chief of Staff

DEPARTMENT OF THE AIR FORCE
OFFICE OF THE CHIEF OF STAFF
WASHINGTOfll, DC
2 September 2005

To the Airmen of the United States Air Force,

We are a Nation at war. Today marks the 1,426th day we've been fighting Operation ENDURING FREEDOM. World War II lasted 1,347 days. We've now been fighting the Global War on Terror for 2 1/2 months longer than World War II. From the day DESERT STORM kicked off, January 17th 1991, the Air Force has been in continuous combat. For 14 years our enemies have shot at us and for 14 years we've returned the favor. But no matter how long the road, we must never lose our focus on winning this fight.

Today, we are engaged more than ever... from across the globe to here at home. From taking the fight to the enemy in Iraq; to rebuilding lives in the wake of hurricane Katrina; to controlling satellites on the other side of the world; to fighting forest fires in the Rockies; to patrolling the skies over America -you can be proud of the work your Air Force is doing to protect our country. I'm incredibly proud to be a member of an Air Force family that has over 106,000 Airmen assigned or deployed in 64 countries, on every continent, and in every time zone throughout the world.

We have handled each and every task brought before us with lethal efficiency, because ofyou. It is an honor to work and fight alongside you in service to our Republic. The 684,000 active, Reserve, Guard, and civilians of the United States Air Force are truly a total force. We stand alongside our Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, and Merchant Marine brethren ready to answer the Nation's call. We fight together. We triumph together. Our promise to the joint team is that as Airmen we will always be the best in the world at what we do: dominating Air and Space from 1 inch above the ground to 100,000 miles above the earth.

Today, we have three major challenges facing our Air Force. First and foremost is accomplishing the combatant tasks the President and Secretary of Defense assign. The tasks will be ones we've done before and ones we've never undertaken. Second, we must preserve that which makes us the most feared air force in the world- our people. Our culture of excellence must continue to develop Airmen... Airmen who are the most adaptable, most skilled, most professional, and most lethal the world has ever known. Third, we face the difficult task of operating the oldest inventory in the history of the United States Air Force. My senior leadership will work to break this vicious cycle. I need you, our Airmen on the line, to continue making the mission happen.

As we work towards a more secure, more peaceful tomorrow... look around. Behind us you'll see a proud, rich heritage. And in front of us is a limitless horizon. So let's push it up, go to work and make the mission happen.

T. MICHAEL MOSELEY
General, USAF
Chief of Staff

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Hurricane Katrina

I got this message from Andi’s World… http://www.andisworld.typepad.com/

From the battlefield to the disaster-zone. The following e-mail was received from Chaplain Craig Combs - author of "The Iraq Journals" that are published here at WBAP.com

Dear friends and supporters,

As with all of you, I have been struck with the reality of the incredible devastation and heartache caused by Hurricane Katrina. As I pondered what it must feel like to have your home, your car and pretty much all that you own simply wiped from the face of the earth and no place of your own to go to and no means to get there, it hit me: “Even Soldiers in the middle of a desert combat zone have it better than these 100’s of 1000’s of people!” We still have electricity and water and food and transportation. We even have air conditioning, for crying out loud! As I pondered what we could do besides pray, one of my Soldiers said, “Hey Chaplain, we need to send all the stuff we’ve gotten in these care packages back to the US for all those people who have nothing.”

Leave it to the selfless and sacrificial enlisted Soldiers to come up with such a generous and thoughtful idea. God bless ‘em!

Well, we may not be able to send the extra stuff we have back, but I thought I would at least write you and ask a favor. Since we Soldiers really have all we need, and especially since we are on the short end of our deployment, I would like to ask you to start sending your thoughtful and incredible care packages intended for us to the people ravaged by the hurricane. You have all been so generous and the Soldiers have been overwhelmed by your generosity and thoughtfulness. But we all agree that we are not in need like these people are in need. They are desperate. They really could use all the personal hygiene and food items and other helpful things you have all been sending. What a way to continue your patriotism and support for America.

Thanks again for your generosity from all our Soldiers. Don’t forget, as I’m sure you haven’t, to pray for those affected by the hurricane as you’re praying for all of us. Prayer and support of those in need in not only an American ideal, it is a Christian one. God bless you all for all you do to make us feel so appreciated for what we do.

From the heart,
Ch Craig Combs

Does the United States of America have the best troops in the world, or what?

I'd have to agree with the above statement...

New Orleans

My friend lives in Lafayette which is about 2 hours west of New Orleans. I was pretty scared for her and her family before Hurricane Katrina hit because I wasn’t sure if they would be affected by the storms path or not. I wasn’t sure exactly how far away Lafayette was from New Orleans, but I knew it was fairly close. Turns out that Lafayette was barely affected by the storm itself, but they are very much affected by the aftermath of the storm. Lafayette and the small towns around it are now flooded with refugees from New Orleans. The population has doubled there!! She told me they even had to close a local Albertson’s for fear of being robbed!
Since the storm, I have not been able to contact her. Every time I call it says the phone line is busy and to call back again. I knew by then that she was most likely ok since she was in Lafayette, but I wasn’t so sure about her fiancé who is in the Air Force Guard. I knew he would have been called up to go to New Orleans and was probably there during the storm. Well I was finally able to talk to her a couple days ago when she called me. Thank God she and her family are all ok. Her fiancé was in New Orleans during the storm... and in the aftermath, as the city began to flood, he was trapped in a flooded building for a few days. My friend, not knowing whereabouts in New Orleans he was, tried calling his unit. They told her he was safe and gave her the location of where he was at. Even if she had no way of contacting him, at least she knew he was safe. Well, he was safe, but he was not at the location his unit had thought, as my friend soon found out. He was finally able to get through to her on his cell phone and it turned out that he was not where he was thought to have been. The truth was, they had no idea where he was! She called the unit back and told them where he really was, but they refused to believe her, insisting that he was at the first location they had told her. By then, I’m sure the unit was quite sick of her as she had already called numerous times at that point. Finally, since they still refused to believe where he was, she finally had him call his unit himself.
I’m just so relieved and thankful that she and her family are ok. I know one other person that lives in New Orleans, but I do not have a number to contact him even if I wanted to. I pray that he is ok…
My friend joked with me on the phone saying, “Aren’t you glad you got to see New Orleans when you did?” “Yes”, I said, “I really am, but I’ll see it again someday soon.” I had gone to visit her for New Year’s in 2004. It was my very first time in New Orleans. For some reason, I have always wanted to go to New Orleans. It seemed like a very interesting city and I was very interested and curious about its history and architecture. New Orleans did not disappoint me. I absolutely LOVED New Orleans… its culture, its architecture, its history, its food, just the oldness of it intrigued me. And, of course, the partying.
We were there during the Sugar Bowl between LSU and Oklahoma. What an amazing night that was! It was like Mardi Gras, only better. There were fans everywhere, decked out in red/white or purple/yellow, cheering on the corners or booing the opposite teams, but all in good fun. I did not personally have a favorite to win, but I figured since my friend was from LA, I might as well be an LSU fan for the night. So we went and bought some LSU shirts and cheered along with the LSU fans. I’ve never seen such hard core team spirit before that night. What a blast we had!! When I had originally planned on coming there, we were looking for hotels in the French Quarter and couldn’t figure out why everything was so expensive. We had no idea the Sugar Bowl was that week!! My time in New Orleans was definitely one of the best in my life.
Since the Hurricane that destroyed so much and battered New Orleans, I have wondered if the town would ever be the same as when I was there. Besides worrying about my friend and all the millions of people affected by Hurricane Katrina, I was also worried about the fate of New Orleans itself. What will become of this historic city? To wipe it away, would be such a terrible shame. Many polls say that the majority of people believe New Orleans cannot be repaired. I disagree… I know they will rebuild New Orleans to its former glory. Luckily, many historic sites and buildings were spared, what does that tell you? New Orleans is here to stay!

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

From the Chief

Osama bin Laden and people like him are not at war against our Army or our Marines or our Air Force or our Navy. They are at war against our way of life, and we need to remember that. They want us all dead. Not because they have a better vision of what to do with their populations or how to elevate the human spirit or serve their people better. It's only because we're different, because we're free, becasue we vote, because we have an opinion and because we're allowed to express it.

Gen. John P. Jumper
Air Force Chief of Staff

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

I am an American

I am an American
I owe you no apologies nor will I accept those apologies made for me by others.
If you dislike me—you dislike me not for What I am but for what you are not.
By my own sweat, I have created a lifestyle which I desire for all men.
To the world I have shared my wealth and given my blood, not because of obligation—but by my free will.
I have fed the hungry of the world. Many bit my hand; I used the other hand.
I defeated my enemies in battle, then pulled them up from the ashes of defeat.
Once strong, they again attacked; I turned the other cheek.
Though I am strong, I have never used my strength to rule others.
But do not misjudge me, I will not allow the fear of my own strength to become my weakness.
If you wish to rise, I will give you a helping hand.
But by the grace of God, and I'll first be damned, if I'll let you drag me down so that we may be equal.
D. Ault

Pictures

This is my friend Casey in Iraq who is a TACP.... sorry I can't remember what it stands for right now.

That is me in the middle with a couple of my maintenance buddies.

This is our smoke pit on the side of the HAS (Hardened Aircraft Shelter). Our planes are kept in there as well as my office (thank goodness!). Not much can get through these babies. At night we like to climb to the top of the HAS to relax, smoke, talk, whatever. Sometimes our F-16s were dropping bombs outside the base and we sat up there to see if we could hear them and feel the vibrations, which we did.
And for fun some of the maintenance guys developed a sledding sport... they would take a metal trash can lid and literally sled down the HAS. No one had the guts to start at the top of the HAS (its a lot steeper than it looks). But in case you can't see it in the picture, there is a ledge at the bottom where all the chairs are positioned... as they came flying down the HAS that little ledge would launch them into the air and then promptly landed them on their asses, or on their faces or in the trees or in the bushes. The only funny thing about it, was the image of flying ragdolls slamming into the ground! Personally, it does not seem like that much fun and I told them they were idiots plenty of times to no avail. But they LOVED their sledding game, even though they finished the day with bruises and cuts. Finally the commander had to ban the game as too many people were getting hurt. Go figure!

Hurry up and Wait

Yesterday I had the pleasure of standing on the flight line for Gen Idhe's finne flight. Which means Gen Idhe is leaving Nellis and his finne flight is his last time flying as part of Nellis AFB before he moves on to bigger and better things.
Following the finne flight was a BBQ for anyone and everyone which included a free meal for airman. I went since I hadn't eaten lunch yet and was hungry for some BBQ burgers. But of course, in typical military fashion, going to the BBQ entailed a whole lot of waiting. I'm sure everyone knows the standard military mantra "hurry up and wait". And the food afterward was just a bribe to get us there. After standing around inside the hangar for 15 minutes we were sent out to the flight line to await Gen Idhe's return. They had us line up on the flight line and stand in the baking hot sun for about 30 minutes. By this time, most of us were grumbling about the fact that we are always waiting on some general. It seems once past the rank of Lt Col, there is no longer a need for a watch or for puncuality. But, hey, he is a general after all, I guess that is worth waiting for. Well finally his jet landed and as he taxied by our line, we all saluted in a wave as he taxied by us. As he exited the jet he was greeted with fireman's hoses and champagne.
To tell the honest truth, I only went for the free food, but that ended up taking an hour and a half out of my day. I promise I'm not complaining, I'm used to these types of things being in the military. The good thing about these functions is that I always run into people I haven't seen in a while. That day I ran into a bunch of folks from my last squadron and was reminded again how glad I am that I am no longer in that squadron!

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Fabulous Quote

"War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself."
--- John Stuart Mill
--- English economist & philosopher (1806 - 1873)

I absolutely LOVE this quote that I got from another site, Curiouser and Curiouser, in which I am a guest blogger. Check it out if you get a chance, the link is on my blogroll. Isn't this quote fabulous?

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