With the celebration over for the 4th of July and our nations birthday properly recognized, let's pause to remember that it is peace we seek. The efforts toward that peace do not start with bravado, but with solemn remembrance of the sacrifices that are necessary to secure that peace.
Eternal Father, Strong to save, Whose arm hath bound the restless wave, Who bid'st the mighty Ocean deep Its own appointed limits keep; O hear us when we cry to thee, for those in peril on the sea.
O Christ! Whose voice the waters heard And hushed their raging at Thy word, Who walked'st on the foaming deep, and calm amidst its rage didst sleep; Oh hear us when we cry to Thee For those in peril on the sea!
O Trinity of love and power! Our brethren shield in danger's hour; From rock and tempest, fire and foe, Protect them wheresoe'er they go; Thus evermore shall rise to Thee, Glad hymns of praise from land and sea.
Rick Reilly is a Boulder son, who writes for Sports Illustrated. Here's an email/post going around attributed to him. I've re-posted for a simple reason. We work in and around aircraft and spacecraft is this class. There are simply no words to describe the experience of these machines. Rick's words start to convey some of that experience.
Someday you may be invited to fly in the back-seat of one of your country's most powerful fighter jets. Many of you already have . John Elway, John Stockton, Tiger Woods to name a few. If you get this opportunity, let me urge you, with the greatest sincerity ... >
Move to Guam
Change your name.
Fake your own death!
Whatever you do .
Do Not Go!!! I know.
The U.S. Navy invited me to try it. I was thrilled. I was pumped. I was toast! I should've known when they told me my pilot would be Chip (Biff) King of Fighter Squadron 213 at Naval Air Station Oceana in Virginia Beach.
Whatever you're thinking a Top Gun named Chip (Biff) King looks like, triple it. He's about six-foot, tan, ice-blue eyes, wavy surfer hair, finger-crippling handshake -- the kind of man who wrestles dyspeptic alligators in his leisure time. If you see this man, run the other way. Fast.
Biff King was born to fly. His father, Jack King, was for years the voice of NASA missions. ("T-minus 15 seconds and counting ..." Remember?) Chip would charge neighborhood kids a quarter each to hear his dad. Jack would wake up from naps surrounded by nine-year-olds waiting for him to say, "We have a liftoff."
Biff was to fly me in an F-14D Tomcat, a ridiculously powerful $60 million weapon with nearly as much thrust as weight, not unlike Colin Montgomerie. I was worried about getting airsick, so the night before the flight I asked Biff if there was something I should eat the next morning.
"Bananas," he said.
"For the potassium?" I asked.
"No," Biff said, "because they taste about the same coming up as they do going down."
The next morning, out on the tarmac, I had on my flight suit with my name sewn over the left breast. (No call sign -- like Crash or Sticky or Leadfoot, but still, very cool.) I carried my helmet in the crook of my arm, as Biff had instructed. If ever in my life I had a chance to nail Nicole Kidman, this was it.
A fighter pilot named Psycho gave me a safety briefing and then fastened me into my ejection seat, which, when employed, would "egress" me out of the plane at such a velocity that I would be immediately knocked unconscious.
Just as I was thinking about aborting the flight, the canopy closed over me, and Biff gave the ground crew a thumbs-up. In minutes we were firing nose up at 600 mph. We leveled out and then canopy-rolled over another F-14.
Those 20 minutes were the rush of my life. Unfortunately, the ride lasted 80. It was like being on the roller coaster at Six Flags Over Hell. Only without rails. We did barrel rolls, snap rolls, loops, yanks and banks. We dived, rose and dived again, sometimes with a vertical velocity of 10,000 feet per minute. We chased another F-14, and it chased us.
We broke the speed of sound. Sea was sky and sky was sea. Flying at 200 feet we did 90-degree turns at 550 mph, creating a G force of 6.5, which is to say I felt as if 6.5 times my body weight was smashing against me, thereby approximating life as Mrs. Colin Montgomerie.
And I egressed the bananas.
And I egressed the pizza from the night before.
And the lunch before that.
I egressed a box of Milk Duds from the sixth grade.
I made Linda Blair look polite. Because of the G's, I was egressing stuff that I never thought would be egressed.
I went through not one airsick bag, but two.
Biff said I passed out. Twice. I was coated in sweat. At one point, as we were coming in upside down in a banked curve on a mock bombing target and the G's were flattening me like a tortilla and I was in and out of consciousness, I realized I was the first person in history to throw down.
I used to know 'cool'. Cool was Elway throwing a touchdown pass, or Norman making a five-iron bite. But now I really know 'cool'. Cool is guys like Biff, men with cast-iron stomachs and Freon nerves. I wouldn't go up there again for Derek Jeter's black book, but I'm glad Biff does every day, and for less a year than a rookie reliever makes in a home stand.
A week later, when the spins finally stopped, Biff called. He said he and the fighters had the perfect call sign for me and said he'd send it on a patch for my flight suit.
In the beginning was the word, and the word was God. In the beginning was God, and all else was darkness and void, and without form. So God created the heavens and the Earth. He created the sun, and the moon, and the stars, so that light might pierce the darkness. The Earth God divided between the land and sea, and these he filled with many assorted creatures.
And the dark, salty, slimy creatures that inhabited the murky depths of the oceans, God called sailors. And he dressed then accordingly with little trousers that looked like bells at the bottom and with shirts that had cute little flaps. He also gave them long sideburns and shabby beards. God nicknamed the "squids" and banished them to a lifetime at sea, so that normal folks would not have to associate with them. To further identify these unloved creatures, he called them "petty" and "commodore," instead of titles worthy of red-blooded men.
And the flakey creatures of the land, God called soldiers. And with a twinkle in His eye and a sense of humor that only He could have, God made their trousers too short and the covers too large. He also gave them pockets so they might warm their hands. And to adorn their uniforms, God gave them badges in quantities. And gave them emblems and crests.
On the 5th day, He thought about creating some creatures for which He designated a Greyhound bus driver's uniform. After more thought he called them flyboys.
On the 7th day, God rested. And on the 8th day, at 0730, God looked down upon the Earth and was not happy.
So he thought about His labors, and in His divine wisdom God created a new creature. And this he called a Marine. And these Marines, who God created in His own image, were to be of the air and the land and of the sea. And these He gave many wonderful uniforms. Some were green, some were blue with red trim. And in the early days, some were tan. He gave them practical fighting uniforms, so they could wage war against the forces of Satan and evil. He gave them service uniforms for their daily work and training, so they might be sharp and ready. And He gave them evening and dress uniforms, so they might promenade with their ladies on Saturday night and impress everyone. He even gave them swords, so that people who were not impressed could be dealt with accordingly.
And at the end of the 8th day, God looked down upon Earth and saw it was good. But God was still not happy. Because in the course of His labors, He had forgotten one thing. He did not give a Marine uniform for Himself. But He thought and finally was satisfied knowing that not everyone can be a Marine.
Semper Fi Mac
Three out of Five our our PP&C staff on defense programs are Marines, Army aviators, Navy, Coast Guard aviators, or Air Force. There is a special sort of experience needed for PP&C in defense. Team, fidelity, most of all the dedication to the mission. The mission is the purpose for our existence. The successful launch, the successful flight test, the deployment of the system to the end user. In this side of our business, the end user is not called the Customer, he (she) is called the War Fighter.
Every one's go some kind of comment on the current Auto Industry debacle. Some informed. Some not so. Some simple rants - informed or not. So philosophical. Some just more of the same. OK, here's mine.
In my titled role in a small firm, and a similar titled role in a very large firm, if I came to my boss or to the board in the midst of a financial, product acceptance, and quality crisis with a totally lame response that sounded like
Gee I have no Plan-B, just give me the money I need now to fix my problem
I'd be fired on the spot.
Why are we still talking to these knuckle heads? Why does the board even allow them back in the building. Add to the three the UAW guy, who in 2006 took home $158,126, who figured out how to con the big 3 into paying his member 95% of their salary for NOT working.
"As democracy is perfected, the office of president represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron" – H. L. Mencken (1880 - 1956)
Unlike the British, we drag out the national elections until everyone (mostly) is simply worn out. The result seems to be that we become susceptible to professional messaging. Advertising works, otherwise they wouldn't spend money on it. Along the way the hype and hyperbole continue to rise. To provide some actual information in this "silly season" I've come to rely on "fact check sites."
Eternal Father, strong to save,Whose arm hath bound the restless wave, Who biddest the mighty ocean deep Its own appointed limits keep; Oh, hear us when we cry to Thee, For those in peril on the sea!
O Christ! Whose voice the waters heard And hushed their raging at Thy Word, Who walked on the foaming deep, And calm amidst its rage didst sleep; Oh, hear us when we cry to Thee, For those in peril on the sea!
Most Holy Spirit! Who didst brood Upon the chaos dark and rude, And bid its angry tumult cease, And give, for wild confusion, peace; Oh, hear us when we cry to Thee, For those in peril on the sea!
O Trinity of love and power! Our family shield in danger’s hour; From rock and tempest, fire and foe, Protect us wheresoever we go; Thus evermore shall rise to Thee Glad hymns of praise from land and sea.