Friday, April 27, 2007
1-Colors: The Color Guard prepares to leave the Upper Quadrangle for the regimental march to the cemetery in Blacksburg. Photo by Rick Griffiths.
2-March: Cadet Andrew Archut leads the regiment through the streets of Blacksburg neighborhoods. Photo by Josh Armstrong.
3-Honor Guard: A cadet honor guard brought the casket into the church for the funeral mass...
4-Moving: ...and after the mass processed to the burial site.
5-Flag: The Honor Guard folded the National Flag which was then presented to the La Porte family.
6-Regiment: The full cadet regiment was arrayed along the hills of the cemetery. Photo by Michael Kiernan.
7-White Cords: At the end of the service, Cadet La Porte's classmates placed their white Presidential Citation cords on their classmate's casket. Photo by John McCormick.
8-Highty-Tighties: Matt's unit, the Highty-Tighties, prepares to lead the regiment back to the Upper Quad after the ceremony.
9-VMI Cadets: A contingent of cadets from VMI honored our fallen cadet and marched with the regiment. We were honored to have them with us.
10-Cords: May our fallen young man rest in peace.
Rest easy, Cadet La Porte. I'll see you in the Wild Blue.
Thursday, April 26, 2007
The Airman's Creed
Okay, seriously, I think the Creed is a good idea. I'm just a little skeptical considering that the Army adopted theirs just four years ago. The USAF has been for too long the service that never REALLY went into combat. As long as you weren't actual aircrew, you were "safe." To be fair, the Army was much the same way for most of the Cold War. You had combat units, that did things like shoot people and blow stuff up, and you had support units, that did things like drive trucks, inventory supplies, and make sure the mail was on time. Separate worlds. I've always been a big fan of the Marines "every Marine a rifleman" philosophy. The concept that even if all you do is push paper all day long, you are still trained as a rifleman and, more importantly, you have the mental preparedness and fortitude to act as a rifleman if need be. You're prepared. Maybe not prepared to go clear houses in Anbar for six months, but physically and mentally prepared to defend yourself and your comrades if it comes down to that.
This Airman's Creed is a step in that direction. Little known fact is that the USAF has been on a continuous war footing for going on 17 years now. We bombed Saddam and protected the Shi'ites and Kurds since the Persian Gulf War, we bombed the Serbs a few times, and we bombed the Taliban. This is part of the reason why our weapons systems are wearing out so quickly, but that's a whole 'nother story. The point here is that the facts of the matter are that the USAF has been at war since 1990, but talk to a lot of Airmen in the '90s and you wouldn't know that. It's only after 9/11 and the step up in our expeditionary posture that the USAF has come to embrace the "warrior ethos" (another thing stolen from the Army.) Better late than never, I suppose.
What is warrior ethos? In the words of CSAF Moseley, "This warrior ethos exhibits a hardiness of spirit, and moral and physical courage." Put bluntly, its remembering that we are actually a military service in the business of blowing up things and killing people, not a flying club that occasionally gets to make things go boom.
Here's the Creed:
I AM AN AMERICAN AIRMAN.
I AM A WARRIOR.
I HAVE ANSWERED MY NATION’S CALL.
I AM AN AMERICAN AIRMAN.
MY MISSION IS TO FLY, FIGHT, AND WIN.
I AM FAITHFUL TO A PROUD HERITAGE,
A TRADITION OF HONOR,
AND A LEGACY OF VALOR.
I AM AN AMERICAN AIRMAN,
GUARDIAN OF FREEDOM AND JUSTICE,
MY NATION’S SWORD AND SHIELD,
ITS SENTRY AND AVENGER.
I DEFEND MY COUNTRY WITH MY LIFE.
I AM AN AMERICAN AIRMAN:
WINGMAN, LEADER, WARRIOR.
I WILL NEVER LEAVE AN AIRMAN BEHIND,
I WILL NEVER FALTER,
AND I WILL NOT FAIL.
We mantain weapons of mass destruction;
We operate tools of reconstruction.
One of us gets punked,
You all get jumped.
You kill one,
We kill two.
You kill one more,
We kill you.
You drop a bomb,
We want war.
We drop a bomb,
You dont want no more.
We are airmen.
Wednesday, April 25, 2007
In any case, if you're wondering why I'm awake so damn early, I have a nasty case of Eustachian tube blockage probably brought on by this pseudo-cold I've been nursing the past week; my right ear is fine, but my left ear feels like it is at about 10,000 feet AGL.
More later if I'm still awake...it's ANZAC Day and the USAF has a new Airman's Creed.
Tuesday, April 24, 2007
Snark of the Day
I felt that an appropriate subtitle would be, "As if the World Isn't Screwed Up Enough."
C/3c Matthew La Porte
"Matthew was a professional and hardworking cadet who was dedicated to improving himself in the Air Force ROTC program," said Col. Dan Lentz, commander of ROTC Detachment 875. "He was working hard to prepare for ROTC field training this summer, and he was committed to serving as an officer in the Air Force when he graduated. We mourn his passing as we mourn all of the persons who lost their lives during the shootings. We offer our thoughts and prayers to all those who have suffered during this tragedy."
Here's some more on Matthew from some other sources:
"DUMONT -- Matt La Porte's bearing was obvious from a young age.
He would address elders as ma’am and sir, said Marie Grieco, who has lived next door to La Porte's family in Dumont for more than 20 years.
“Listen up, Matthew, I’m Mrs. Grieco," she'd say to him. "You don’t have to call me ma’am.’”
But that was Matt's way, those who knew him said.
During summers home from boarding school, La Porte biked to a lifeguarding job at the Cresskill Municipal Pool. In the fall, on his way back to school, he could be seen leaving home in a crisp blue uniform and military cap.La Porte was one of two recent graduates from Carson Long Military Institute in Pennsylvania, enrolled at Virginia Tech, where he was a sophomore."
" MATTHEW LA PORTE believed he was blessed with a second chance in life.
The self-described "troubled boy" from North Jersey entered seventh grade at a military boarding school in 1999 filled with doubt and bitterness.
But during his years at Carson Long Military Institute in central Pennsylvania, La Porte turned himself around. He forged friendships, got good grades and evolved into a campus leader.
In a heartfelt yearbook entry, La Porte described a spiritual journey, a metamorphosis from foolish boy to responsible man upon his 2005 graduation with top honors.
"He felt himself changing," La Porte wrote. "He changed so much, that I am not quite sure if that boy and I are the same person. Now I know that Carson Long was my second chance. . . . I'm ever thankful. I've made it."
That troubled student, he wrote of himself, "learned how to be responsible for himself and eventually, also for others. He changed so much, that I am not quite sure if that boy and I are the same person. Now, I know that Carson Long was my second chance, and nothing could make me more proud than to be standing here today, at the end of this experience -- this journey on which most don't even dare to embark."
As a cadet leader, Mr. La Porte was often calm and calculating, displaying an ability to deal with challenges that "was just phenomenal," said Lt. Colonel Rodney P. Grove, the school's commander of cadets.
"I know that as an air force officer he would have been outstanding," he said. "I also know that he was looking for something in his life that would allow him to really make a difference in other people's lives. He was desperate to make a difference."
Mr. La Porte's family was first notified of his death by the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets, of which their son was a member, and then later by the Virginia state police. Chief Venezio said he spoke with the La Porte family this morning, and described them as a private family "who are suffering greatly."
In his oration, Mr. La Porte spoke of them -- his mother, father, and sister Priscilla.
"You've been relentless and persistent, putting your all into me," he wrote. "I love you. And Dad, I hope that I've become a man in your eyes, and that whatever I do in life, you are proud of me."
I'm rather speechless. Such a waste. The Air Force lost a good cadet and a good potential officer that day. More importantly, students lost a friend and a family lost a son and a brother.
Matthew La Porte
"Air Force pinched by Iraq ground war"
"WASHINGTON - The Air Force's top general expressed frustration on Tuesday with the reassignment of troops under his command to ground jobs for which they were not trained, ranging from guarding prisoners to driving trucks and typing.Something like this, perhaps?
Gen. Michael Moseley, the Air Force chief of staff, said that over 20,000 airmen have been assigned worldwide into roles outside their specialties.
He said people were being assigned to jobs they weren't trained for. He cited Air Force airmen being used to guard prisoners and to serve as drivers and cited one instance in which an Air Force surgeon was assigned typing chores after three days at her new post.
"We got her back," Moseley said.Others are being assigned to help the Army provide security in Iraq and Afghanistan."
"4/10/2007 - BALAD AIR BASE, Iraq (AFNEWS) -- An Airman performing a vehicle search might be a C-17 Globemaster III loadmaster. The Airman providing escort for local nationals could be a medical technician.In another life, I very easily could've enlisted and would've (hopefully) gotten into something involving intel. If I got told that I got to fly over to the Sandbox for four months and watch over TCNs filling sandbags and emptying out the latrines, I'd be pretty damn pissed. If I was on my second or third time over there to do this, I'd be really pissed. It's one thing to send Security Forces and transporters over there to do their jobs (protecting bases, both inside and outside the wire, running convoys, etc.) It's quite another to very quickly retrain people whose jobs have nothing to do with basic force protection and send them to do stuff that has no relation to the job they originally signed up to do.
But, regardless of their primary Air Force Specialty Code, or AFSC, Airmen such as these provide force protection while assigned to the 332nd Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron have one mission: to maintain base defense inside the wire with steely-eyed vigilance.
More than 120 force protection Airmen carry this responsibility with them every day as they perform vehicle and personnel searches, provide escort, and issue identification for third-country and local nationals working.
Force protection Airmen undergo a three-day training course after arriving here to certify them as escorts for the many foreign and host nationals who work on Balad."
Back to CSAF Moseley:
"He said the swap-outs come at a time when the Air Force's budget is burdened, when there is little money for new aircraft and when maintaining an aging fleet of older planes, some of them going back to the 1950s and 1960s, is getting increasingly expensive.So our operational and maintenance costs are going up, yet our budget is being cut, and we don't get the money we need to buy new aircraft. Sounds like a plan for success.
"Operational and maintenance costs have gone up 180 percent over the past 10 years, operating these old aircraft," he said."
On top of that, the Pentagon is "temporarily" stealing the USAF and USN budgets to pay for the Army's operations:
"The Defense Department also said it plans to ask Congress to approve the temporary reprogramming of $1.6 billion from Navy and Air Force pay accounts to the Army's operating account."Does anyone else see a problem with this?
UPDATE: Just realized happened to notice what USAF and USN accounts DoD is "temporarily reprogramming" from. The PAY accounts. Gen. Moseley's response?
“Somebody’s going to have to pay us back,” Moseley said. “You have to pay people every day when they come to work. A: it’s the right thing to do, and B: it’s kind of the law,” he added.
Friday, April 06, 2007
Too Much Hooah
When you watch Top Gun in Spanish and are still able to repeat, verbatim, almost all the lines in the film.
Wednesday, April 04, 2007
Lat: 41.99 Lon: -93.62 Elev: 954.724
Last Update on Apr 4, 7:53 am CDT
|Overcast and Windy |
Emphasis mine. Yes, the windchill is currently 2°F. Also, it's snowing. Forecast for today:
Today: Scattered flurries before 10am. Partly cloudy, with a high near 35. Wind chill values as low as 10. Windy, with a northwest wind around 25 mph, with gusts as high as 34 mph.
I. HATE. IOWA.
Also, apropos of nothing, since it is April and a week ago it was 80 degrees+, ISU Dept. of Residence turned off the heat. And won't be turning it back on because it's a pain in the ass to do so. So we have no heat and the air temp is 20 degrees. I'll say it again.
I. HATE. IOWA.
First up is Candyman, Christina Aguilera's tribute to the Andrews Sisters. Love all the '40s/WWII stuff in this video.
Next is the Killers' Read My Mind, which is the result of the Killers going to Tokyo, messing around for a day, and recording all of it. Make sure to check out the Elvis impersonator and Gachapin.