Archive for the 'military' Category

LTV A7 Corsair II

LTV A7 Corsair II

A couple of days ago, we were camped in Montrose, Colorado. On our way out of town, we passed the Airport where this Ling Temco Vought (LTV) A7 Corsair II was mounted on a pedestal. I read that the last of these subsonic Navy attack aircraft has been decommissioned.

The sight of this (clickable) image (courtesy The Better Half) brought memories back to me. In the early sixties, I was stationed at the US Naval Missile Center, Point Mugu, CA. We had the big brother of the A7 on our aircraft line. Our F8U Corsair I aircraft were used to control drone aircraft flown downrange to be used as targets for air to air missile practice.

Later in my aerospace career, I was assigned to a project where our customer was LTV in Dallas, TX. The job was to evaluate and demonstrate Forward Looking Infrared (FLIR) sensors potentially to be installed in the Corsair II. We spent a couple of weeks with prototype equipment at NAS Dallas.

It is always nice to see these old aircraft preserved for posterity. I do not know if any of these are still flown by civilians in refurbished aircraft. It would be nice to see one flying.

A Conflict in Ancestry

correct-flags.gifI recently mentioned in a previous post that I have been casually tracing our ancestry. In so doing, I discovered a couple of days ago that I have two ancestors on my Father’s side, each of which fought on opposite sides in the Civil War.

One of my Great2 Grandfathers* on my Dad’s Mother’s side fought for the Union in the 6th Regiment, West Virginia Infantry whose primary mission was to protect the B&O Railway across the Appalachians. He was a private in Company I and was wounded in the leg during a skirmish in 1865. After he recovered, he was discharged and received a $12 pension per month. Big money in those days.

*The superscript “2” above denotes this is a Great-great Grandfather

My Great Grandfather on My Dad’s Father’s side fought for the Confederacy in the 5th Regiment, Georgia Cavalry that engaged Union forces under Sherman in Georgia and the Carolinas. This ancestor was also listed as a private and was attached to Company H, the “Mounted Rifles,” who eventually surrendered to the Union in 1865. This ancestor was paroled and relocated to Colorado where he eventually married my Great Grandmother who bore my Grandfather, my Dad’s Dad.

Since the number of ancestors doubles with each generation, there is a fairly good probability that some of the ancestors were participating in major historical events as was the case above. I went back a couple more generations and found one of the ancestors buried in a grave denoting his participation in the Revolutionary War. I’m sure I will find more tidbits like that as I progress through my ancestry.

D-Day Astronomical Data

Invasion Map

Astronomical Data from the US Naval Observatory for Normandy, France on June 6, 1944, shows that the “OPERATION OVERLORD” invasion took place with a sixteen hour sunrise to sunset time and under a full moon during the night. I do not know if the astronomical timing was a factor in setting the date of the invasion. Nothing is mentioned in the Wikipedia Article as to astronomical information.

It was the greatest military undertaking in history, where the tactics and diversions were carefully planned. Operation Overlord and its sub-operations made for a very complex and ultimately successful invasion to free Europe from the Axis and Nazi stranglehold. Supreme Commander Ike had this to say to the Allied Forces as they prepared for the invasion:

You are about to embark upon the Great Crusade, toward which we have striven these many months. The eyes of the world are upon you. The hopes and prayers of liberty-loving people everywhere march with you. In company with our brave Allies and brothers-in-arms on other Fronts, you will bring about the destruction of the German war machine, the elimination of Nazi tyranny over the oppressed peoples of Europe, and security for ourselves in a free world.

— General Dwight D. Eisenhower, Letter to Allied Forces

(Clickable Image)

This Day in History

Fat Man Atomic BombSeventy-one years ago on this date, The United States of America took a risky, but important, step in ending World War Two. The Enola Gay, a B-29 Superfortress dropped Little Boy, the first atomic bomb used in warfare on the Japanese city of Hiroshima. Three days later, Fat Man, a plutonium nuclear weapon was deployed on the Japanese city of Nagasaki. The latter device is pictured in the image above.

These nuclear weapons remain the only use of such devices in warfare to date. The effects of these two weapons was to end hostilities between the US and Allies and Imperial Japan. Millions of lives were saved as a result because of the termination of what might have been another several years of losses on both sides of both military and civilian lives.

Now, all seriousness aside, I must share a humorous anecdote about this date in history from the proprietor of Lagniappe’s Lair who resides in New Orleans . . .

71 years ago today, we took a decisive step to ending World War Two.

Most of the media no longer brings this day up. Mustn’t offend all the “victims”, ya know.

But the other day, I had occasion to mention this day’s historical significance and…well let us say that it did not go all that well.

The bar that I was in was contemplating a theme party for tonight. They do them weekly but didn’t know what to do for tonight. I remembered what day it was and I suggested that they do a “Hiroshima Day” theme. Everyone looked at me all puzzled so I explained what the date meant and said “Just tell everyone to wear something Japanese, come on in and get bombed!”

And once again, I was reminded that I live on a very blue island in the middle of an otherwise wonderfully red state. The wails of anguish could probably be heard on the next block, and…well let’s just say that I wasn’t the most popular person there after that.

Oh well…it’s not like there’s a shortage of bars around here.

Anyone got any more hipster repellent? I seem to be out for the moment.

That made both The Better Half and I chuckle when we read it.

US Army to Replace M9 Sidearm

M9I read a post on Fox Business News regarding the impending decision by the US Army to select a sidearm to replace the venerable Beretta M9 pistol now in service. According to the author, there are only two publicly traded companies in the running, Smith & Wesson and General Dynamics.

The post I read, Who will Replace the Beretta M9?, lists several of the dozen or so companies in the hunt for the lucrative Army contract:

  • Beretta, offering its new APX model handgun
  • Czech gunsmith Ceska Zbrojovka offering the CZ P-09
  • FN Herstal and its Five-Seven Mk 2
  • Sig Sauer with the P320
  • Glock, bidding the Glock 17 and Glock 22
  • Smith & Wesson and General Dynamics, bidding the former’s M&P polymer handgun paired with the latter’s ammunition

Among those several companies mentioned, we only have experience with two of them, owning both Glock and S&W products, and are pleased with both. I have two Glocks, Fat Man (G-30 .45 ACP) and Little Boy (G-26 9X19 mm). The Better Half owns two J-frame S&W revolvers (.38 Special) and we each own a S&W 686 revolver in .357 magnum. The last of our S&W guns are the 908 series in 9X19 each of us owning one.

Since neither of us own any stock in Smith & Wesson or General Dynamics, we have no financial interest in the outcome of the Army’s selection. We simply hope the Army will get the best possible sidearm for our soldiers.

Veterans Day 2015

Veterans Day 2015

To all my fellow Veterans and our active Military, The Better Half and I say thanks for your service and may God bless you all.

V-22 Osprey Sighting

V-22 Osprey

During our desert crossing today, The Better Half photographed a V-22 Osprey flying low near Interstate 10 near Desert Center, CA. We don’t know if this aircraft was attached to a Marine squadron at Twenty Nine Palms, CA or Yuma, AZ.

There were two of these that appeared to have been on the ground north of the interstate as we traveled westbound on I-10. Both aircraft lifted off from the desert and then turned eastbound, apparently parallel to the interstate.

This is the best of several shots that TBH took of the aircraft as they passed almost directly overhead as we were driving. We have seen Ospreys aloft several times in the deserts between California and Arizona. Clickable image.

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