Tuesday, April 29, 2008

April Book of the Month

John J. Pershing
Commander-in-Chief, American Expeditionary Forces
Dedicated to The Unknown Soldier

John J. ’Black Jack’ Pershing, 1860-1948, was one of America’s most famous Army officers known world wide for his untiring energy, faithfulness, and gallantry. His extraordinary personal efforts during WWI of insisting that America field its own Army with its own command structure rather than augmenting ally troops set the stage for America to become a world power during the 20th century. However, the warnings Pershing implored in Experiences about being ill prepared to meet aggression were largely ignored in the lead up to WWII. Some still feel we have not fully integrated that simple but critical aspect of national survival into our cultural ethos.

Pershing thus becomes another example in a long line of our citizens from ordinary circumstances who stepped forth upon the international stage in time of need. He graduated from West Point in 1886 and was appointed the overall American Commander in Europe during WWI. General Pershing ended his career as Army Chief of Staff retiring in 1924 fully recognized as a heroic and fearless warrior in defense of our Country.

Thousands of adoring American citizens, many ‘his doughboys’, along with numerous foreign dignitaries attended Pershing’s 1948 funeral service. Pershing is buried at Arlington National Cemetery along with his two grandsons, 2Lt. R.W. Pershing and Col. J.W. Pershing. General Pershing’s wife, Helen Frances Warren, and three daughters died in a tragic fire that destroyed the quarters at the Presidio of San Francisco August 1915 with only his son, Warren, surviving.

For Pershing to carry on with the burden of his professional duties after such a life-wrenching event speaks to the greatness of this man. But, carry on he did leading the American fighting forces to victory during WWI: the ‘War to End all Wars’. As his memoirs, My Experiences in the World War cover only WWI; the following is a short web based biography of Pershing’s full Army experience and personal life that is informative and fascinating. Click on: Arlington National Cemetery Website.

John Joseph Pershing
September 13, 1860(1860-09-13)July 15, 1948 (aged 87)

Published in 1931 General Pershing’s primary purpose in writing Experiences, the story of the American Expeditionary Forces in France, was to convey the many timeless lessons should the Country ever be called to arms again. WWI found us absorbed in the pursuits of peace and listening to no warnings of danger about the coming European conflagration. During the early part of the 20th century, Congress had authorized limited preparations for defense but none for aggression. Thus, it took years for the Country to change its habits in order to meet the realities of modern military combat in Europe.

Those lessons Pershing warned about were again largely unheeded during the 1920’s and 30’s in the lead up to WWII as they have been for other conflicts that America has entered. However, since 1945 the people of the United States have been constantly engaged in the level of preparedness it feels it needs to meet its obligation to ensure our personal and economic freedoms. The present internal political conflict regarding terrorism is an example of such debate and the lessons that Pershing warns are again in question. Can we change the very habits of our lives to meet the realities of Non-nation, long term, domestic and international aggression that we are now confronting?

The importance of Pershing’s contributions to America’s prominent position in world affairs today was profound. They are largely the result of his activities in Europe beginning in 1917 where he firmly insisted upon an independent American Army. France and England both wanted American troops to be divided among their armies feeling America’s contribution to the Great War was to be men and material rather than an independent fighting force. Pershing would have none of that.

Adding to Pershing’s stature of national importance concerning the U.S. becoming a world power was his insistence upon rigid combat troop training in the US before embarking for Europe. The methods for military training that Pershing began in 1917 were the foundation for the mobilization of WWII that produced the finest, most far-flung military force the world had ever seen. Those same concepts of an independent American fighting force with its own Commander undergoing disciplined training are still a major asset of our military and its ability to attract recruits. The professionalism of our citizen military has made it today’s most trusted and respected of all government institutions.

It is truly unbelievable how dismally unprepared America was to face modern warfare at the time. Here was the situation for Army aviation. The Air Service Section of the Signal Corps consisted of 65 officers and about 1,000 men. There were 35 officers who could fly and only about 5 of those could meet the requirements of the then modern battle conditions. None had any technical experience with aircraft guns, bombs, or bombing devices. The Corps had 55 training planes all without war equipment; of the 55 planes, 51 were obsolete and the other four obsolescent; the Corps could not put a single squadron in the field. It was estimated that we would eventually need 300 squadrons each with an average of 24 officers, 180 men, and 18 airplanes. The Army, Navy, and Marines, were all facing the same deplorable operational readiness conditions.

Pershing’s memoirs in My Experiences in the World War also recognizes the remarkable efforts of the American people, the soldiers, and his General Staff in meeting the needs of a modern war that included thousands of horses needing care, thousands of motorized vehicles needing maintenance, and thousands of men to be trained for combat. In addition, much of the infrastructure in France and Britain had to be rebuilt to accommodate the influx of the American Army. It is because of Pershing’s efforts in coalescing America and the free world in an ultimate victory during this tragic era of the first modern world war that he was so revered by his troops and our allies. He was a ‘larger than life’ figure for those who knew him, for those who served under him, and for those who became free because of him. Their dedication to him was above all reproach.

Experiences will be especially interesting to C-133 crewmembers as a large portion is dedicated to the flying forces at the time. The training, planes, airfields, navigation, and other operational tasks were shockingly primitive compared to the 1960’s and archaic in today’s world of the USAF. This revealing memoir published by Pershing about the American military world of the early 20th century and its need to engage on an international front set the stage for our modern force structure. The C-133 was a small but important part of that continuum leading to America’s rise to this present period of preeminence as the world’s only superpower.

During The War to End All Wars America suffered 53,513 hostile deaths, 204,002 wounded, and 63,195 non-hostile deaths caused mostly by the flu epidemic that swept through Army camps in 1918. Kansas City, MO, hosts Liberty Memorial that is noted as probably the most outstanding monument to WWI veterans in the nation. Its museum is the only one in the U.S. specializing in the WWI period. Experiences is well worth reading as General Pershing guides us through a historical time of change for our military forces and our Country. Enjoy!

Reviewed by Richard Spencer
39th ATS , DAFB, 1962-1965

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Russian Cargo Jet

Amazing pictures of a massive Russian cargo jet...

Dimensions anybody???

Busted Fly-Over

You probably won't ever again see the maneuver to rejoin the formation flown by a Vermont National Guard F-16 pilot at the Red Sox 2008 Opening Day ceremony.

The out-of-position pilot performed a maneuver which has resulted in his grounding for remedial training. The way he remedied his error busted an altitude limit, but having video of the maneuver likely added to the attention he's received.
The maneuver came just as the Boston Symphony Orchestra was finished playing the National Anthem.

Click here to watch the opening ceremony and the flyover:


Submitted by Sandy Sandstrom

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Sneak Preview

Coming Soon!
April Book of the Month

John Joseph Pershing
September 13, 1860(1860-09-13)July 15, 1948 (aged 87)

Nickname Black Jack

Monday, April 21, 2008

Way Cool Toy!

Thanks to Gerry Coleman for the following video!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

When the Music Stopped

For those who are unaware, at a military theater, the National Anthem is played before every movie. From a Chaplain in Iraq:

I recently attended a showing of 'Superman 3,' here at LSA Anaconda. We have a large auditorium we use for movies, as well as memorial services and other large gatherings. As is the custom back in the States, we stood and snapped to attention when the National Anthem began before the main feature.

All was going as planned until about three-quarters of the way through The National Anthem the music stopped. Now, what would happen if this occurred with 1,000 18-22 year-olds back in the States? I imagine there would be hoots, catcalls, laughter, a few rude comments; and everyone would sit down and call for a movie. Of course, that is, if they had stood for the National Anthem in the first place.

Here, the 1,000 Soldiers continued to stand at attention, eyes fixed forward. The music started again. The Soldiers continued to quietly stand at attention. And again, at the same point, the music stopped. What would you expect to happen? Even here I would imagine laughter, as everyone finally sat down and expected the movie to start. But here, you could have heard a pin drop. Every Soldier continued to stand at attention. Suddenly there was a lone voice, then a dozen, and quickly the room was filled with the voices of a thousand soldiers, finishing where the recording left off: “And the rockets red glare, the bombs bursting in air, gave proof through the night that our flag was still there. Oh, say does that Star-Spangled Banner yet wave, o'er the land of the free, and the home of the brave?”

It was the most inspiring moment I have had here in Iraq. I wanted you to know what kind of Soldiers are serving you here. Remember them as they fight for you! Pass this along as a reminder to others to be ever in prayer for all our soldiers serving us here at home and abroad. For many have already paid the ultimate price.

Written by Chaplain Jim Higgins
LSA Anaconda is at the Ballad Airport in Iraq, north of Baghdad

Provided by Sandy Sandstrom

Friday, April 18, 2008

Hole in the Wing??

How does this happen to a C-5? As yet unexplained! Thanks, Sandy.....

Thursday, April 17, 2008

How Do You Spell "Assume?"

His request approved, the Fox News photographer quickly used a cell phone to call the local airport to charter a flight. He was told a twin engine plane would be waiting for him at the airport.

Arriving at the airfield, he spotted a plane warming up outside a hanger. He jumped in with his bag, slammed the door shut, and shouted, 'Let's go'.

The pilot taxied out, swung the plane into the wind and took off.

Once in the air, the photographer instructed the pilot, 'Fly over the valley and make low passes so I can take pictures of the fires on the hillsides.'

'Why?' asked the pilot.
'Because I'm a photographer for Fox Cable News,' he responded. 'And I need to get some close up shots.'

The pilot was strangely silent for a moment,
finally he stammered, 'So, what you're telling me, is . .. you're NOT my flight instructor?'

Submitted by Bob Becht, Pilot, 1st ATS, '61-'65

Sunday, April 13, 2008

First Anniversary Reminder

Our Hit Counter shows a nice increase in activity the last few months, now approaching 4,000. As you can see in the Archive section, we've listed 67 Posts in the 12 months since we launched this blog right after the last Dover Reunion. And you can access them all by scrolling down, or click on any given month/year and individual Post title, or in Label groups listed at the end of many related Posts (e.g. Help With Blogs). Remember, any time you see an underlined title (usually a different color), that's a Hot Link that will take you to a different site with a simple click on your cursor.

Another great resource is the Related Websites section on the lower right side of the blog. There you'll find a list of Hot Links to many (currently 17) other sites regarding 133 relevant History, AFBs, Museums, Models, etc. Probably the most interesting is Cal Taylor's Book website (Remembering an Unsung Giant) which provides a wealth of information about the original C-133 Project at Douglas Aircraft Company, Mission, Accidents, Tail Numbers, Tech Data, Units, Gallery, still more links, and a Guest Book Sign-in.

And we eagerly solicit your Comments (easy to add after any Post) and suggestions for new interest and information. Please help us keep it "alive!"

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Kirby Chambliss @ Oshkosh

Have you ever seen a pilot do this with an airplane? On purpose??

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Painted Beaver Tail Photos

In an earlier post last October (to see the list of names on the project crew, click on: S/N 90536 has a Beaver Tail!), we first showed photos of the installation done on 30 August. We now have photos of the completed project after the paint job. She's lookin' good!

And again, thanks to Harry Heist for these pictures, and Erich Hausner, who was responsible for getting the blueprints from Boeing so the tail could be made. He got them from the lady in charge of the library, and a retired engineer volunteer who dug them out of the archives.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

World's Largest R/C Airplane

Click on the following YouTube link provided by Sandy Sandstrom. Then maybe our "AMC Museum Team" could build a 133 like that for the next reunion?


Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Pilot Philosophy

The difference between a duck and a co-pilot?
The duck can fly.

A check ride ought to be like a skirt.
Short enough to be interesting, but long enough to cover everything.

Speed is life.
Altitude is life insurance.

It only takes two things to fly:
Airspeed, and money.

The three most dangerous things in aviation:
1. A Doctor or Dentist in a Cessna.
2. Two captains in a DC-9.
3. A flight attendant with a chipped tooth.

Aircraft Identification:
If it's ugly, it's British.
If it's weird, it's French.
If it's ugly and weird, it's Russian.

Without ammunition, the USAF would be just another very expensive flying club.

The three best things in life are a good landing, a good orgasm, and a good bowel movement.
A night carrier landing is one of the few opportunities to experience all three at the same time.

The similarity between air traffic controllers and pilots?
If a pilot screws up, the pilot dies.
If ATC screws up, the pilot dies.

It's better to break ground and head into the wind than to break wind and head into the ground.

The difference between flight attendants and jet engines is that the engines usually quit whining when they get to the gate.

New FAA motto:
'We're not happy, till you're not happy.'

If something hasn't broken on your helicopter--it's about to.
I give that landing a 9 . . on the Richter scale.

Basic Flying Rules:
1. Try to stay in the middle of the air.
2. Do not go near the edges of it.
3. The edges of the air can be recognized by the appearance of ground, buildings, sea, trees and interstellar space. It is much more difficult to fly in the edges.

Unknown landing signal officer to carrier pilot after his 6th unsuccessful landing attempt: 'You've got to land here son. This is where the food is.'

Monday, April 7, 2008

Carrier Landing

Here's some video footage of an A-6 approaching an aircraft carrier and landing. It was taken from the cockpit by the copilot. The conditions are ideal......calm sea, daylight and a stable aircraft. This for all of us who have not had the privilege - - With the volume up, you can even hear the power changes necessary to maintain precision glide slope and prepare for bolter (a.k.a. abort the landing) in the event the arrest wire is missed. Feels like you are in the aircraft. Imagine what this would be like at night in IMC (instrument meteorological conditions - a.k.a. pea soup)!

This is a very neat video. If you look very carefully, shortly before the plane touches down, you can see the "meatball" to the left; the orange light between the row of green lights that tells the pilot he's on heading and on glide slope. Imagine landing on a moving postage stamp!

Thanks to Gulfstream (and former Army) pilot, Bob Ozbolt, for text & video!