When I first enlisted in the service in 1978, the end of Vietnam was 5 years distant. The fall of Saigon was just three years prior. Many of the anti-war baby boomers called people in the military “Baby killers!” They associated our patriot soldiers with the war mongers that ran the country. We never wore our uniforms in public.
After Desert Storm, the pride in the military was restored. Americans would now religiously support the troops regardless of the foreign policy. Soldiers were proud to wear their uniforms in public and were given copious compliments for their service. We always support the soldier. Once the inept leadership in Washington committed our troops to wars of choice, we must support them.
Everyone knows that Iraq was a mistake. However, Americans committed their boys and girls to Iraq and blood was shed. The Iraq war would be won on certain terms, however, the Obama administration would abandon all the work that was done. In order to prove a 2007 campaign position that the surge would not work, he abandoned Iraq. He could have amended the Bush Status of Forces agreement and left a rapid reaction force in the country. Instead, he withdrew and left Iraq to fend for itself. Then when ISIS and their 3000 to 5000 troops rolled into town, the Shiites ran from their posts. They would basically give ISIS five thousand humvees and all manner of military hardware.
At that point in time, ISIS could have been squashed by US forces. Obama would pay zero attention with his thumb stuck up his ass. ISIS would plunder Iraq’s banks to the tune of utter billions. Enough money to pay the soldiers of a large land army. Hence, Obama created an Iraq civil war. He would destabilize Libya and encourage revolution in Egypt. he would also transfer arms from Benghazi to Syria. Would these weapons end up in the hands of ISIS?
Obama wasted almost a decade of blood and treasure to prove a position in 2007.
Now we have a Republican president with a neocon asskisser as VP. Every single Republican administration since Carter has run up Federal spending and deficits and got us into a war. We can now expect Republicans to run up debt and shop for another war.
The U.S. House, Senate, and Executive are simply the entertainment division of the military-industrial complex, the surveillance Industrial complex, the computer Industrial complex, the drug companies and the healthcare system.
Expect Trump to seek a huge spending increase for our military while our seniors can’t pay their utility bills.
Wars of choice are sold to the American people as a national interest when stock values go down. All of it is a lie.
The last 15 years have been an atrocity. Because of Bush and Obama, my mother’s beloved homeland of Germany is being overrun by sleeper cell ISIS terrorists.
Make America great again is basically code for Make America Neocon again.
Lets see what kind of bullshit they feed us this time.
I voted for Gary Johnson…
OK, I am done now! Now it is time to edit. WTF?
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When it was over at March AFB, I would seek transfer to McChord Maintenance. I had left maintenance in good standing at McChord in 1991. I had left March maintenance in good standing in 1990. They had seen how I worked hard to earn my 5-level in minimum time before transferring to the 728th. With 15 years time in grade, the maintenance folks at McChord actually showed me that they were putting me in a Master slot. They were bending over backward to welcome me.
My last road trip from March would go through Death valley to see the golden bloom of flowers that show themselves once in decades. I would then spend a few days in Babbitt, Nevada with friends from grade school. We would spend the night on Walker lake and see the August supermoon rise above the end of the massive lake.
The first drive down the long McChord road to maintenance was Pavlovian. My BP would rise, I would get an ache in my heart, and the feelings of 313th rejection would invade my mind. I was a piece of shit to them.
My supervisor at maintenance was one of the best trainers and NCO any organization had to offer. I had known him since 1989. Instead of going with the flow, I would mentally implode and engage in the final destruction of my military power base. He would attempt to help me resolve my demise, but it would be to no avail. I would give them the dysfunctional person that the fucking 313th fancied me as. It would become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
In return, the Squadron Commander would block my ability to stay at the maintenance job. Hell, I hadn’t even gone to get uniforms or do any sort of base check in. Moreover, the manning folks would later only allow me to work pushing on cargo, given that maintenance was now in full on rejection mode. They did not want me around their precious C-17. They would also give me the opportunity to go back to March. but I declined.
My retirement ceremony was sitting by myself in a hanger with a C-17 watching some Chief retire and a maintenance monkey showing everyone how he could turn on power on a C-17.
At March AFB, with 15 years time in grade, I could have been promoted for a day and retired. The rules would change. Not only would I have to stay 2 years after C-17 training, I would have to endure 3 years as an E-7 for the retirement aspect. Everybody else was promoted to Master and then left. I would have to play the game another 3 or 4 years just for $300 a month in retirement pay. The final kicker that set off my final mental demise was observing one of the Senior masters that I would be working for. He thought he was some kind of C-17 Gawd and would sit there in self-absorbed silence. He would not acknowledge a person when they came in the room and thought his shit did not stink. He showed that he did not value human equity or even the most rudimentary requirements for communication sustaining or nourishing interaction. No smile. No handshake. No kindness or professional courtesy. I wanted to shout out, “You are a fucking ass hole aren’t you, too good to say hello? Fuck you!” There would be no way in hell that I would lower myself to this level of crap interaction skills. I had worked with the best people in maintenance at March, and this fella’s professional demeanor smelled like an outhouse rotting in the Arizona sun. I would rather fuck a pig than work for a fella like that. I mean, you’ve got to be kidding me.
By August of 2005, I was making $250,000 a year in rents and equity growth not counting my wife’s $120,000 a year NIKE income with stock options. I had built a building and a business from scratch and run a successful business until I was activated. I had a 4-year college degree in technology, education, and training. I had an A&P license and FE tickets. Above all, I had decades of aviation experience from Boeing to operations and maintenance. Had I been mentally healthy, and been able to muster the professionalism that had been presented to me at the 452nd, I would have run the 446th flight line. This mother fucker had nothing on my me except functional mental health. By August 2005, my blood pressure was 160 over 120 and my military moxy was completely gone. Instead of self-managing so the organization would tolerate me, I could not tolerate them. I would retire January 2006. I blew off all the bullshit retirement classes and the exit physical and told the Wing to simply put me in the Retired Reserves.
The loss of status would be atrocious. At one point, the associative anxiety disorder and loss of military affiliation would make me feel like I was having a heart attack. I would have to go to the VA emergency room and be put on BP meds along with a mental evaluation. Of course, there would be nothing wrong with me and as a conservative in the fight, I would never ask for a handout. After seeing all the patriot wounded, I would be ashamed to ask for anything save happiness and contentment. I had way too much dignity to ever ask for any sort of military welfare. Claiming any level of stress disorder would have been a cop-out and an insult to the troops that went door to door in Iraq.
I would email an ART at the 729th asking for a slot and he would say yes on my very last day prior to going to Retired Reserve. God bless you! You do not know what that meant to me at that time. Thank you from the very bottom of my heart.
The next 5 years would be hell as I repeatedly fixated with being in uniform again. I had lost status. I had lost a business. The less than spectacular camaraderie was replaced with zero communication. Even though I was a multi-millionaire, that status would mean nothing next to the loss of status as a C-141C Flight Engineer.
At night, I would have fitful dreams about being in the Air Force uniform. My wife and all my friends would stand by as the desire to serve would rise and fall for years. I was going to do this and I was going to do that. They would stand by me and nourish me back to full strength.
The transition after service from 1978 to 2006 would be horrendous. Brodheads had been serving in uniform on the North American continent since 1664. In addition, I was conditioned to love the military by a father that spent 22 years in SAC and was exposed to Agent Orange for 6 months in the jungles of Vietnam. My entire life was a strict schedule of patriot conditioning.
Lastly, My great plus Granduncle would be the Commander of the Western department during the American Revolution. He had also served with George Washington through many battles as well as Valley Forge. He would almost be Court Marshaled for using military recruitment appropriations to feed his starving troops versus recruiting more men. He would be stripped of his command for the remainder of the war after putting his life on the line for close to a decade. George Washington would promote him to general as well. We were among the Founding Fathers and supported the troop’s tooth and nail. I would be stripped of my military affiliation after diligent service to the country. I honored my family name and did what I had to do. Mental derangement and incompetence would force me from the field. Brodheads rose up against British Tyranny before George Washington even got out of bed. This Brodhead would help recruit folks from McChord only to be shit on by a few. Brodheads would serve during 8 long years of the American revolution only to be shit on by the War department.
You see, in order to remove myself from the Air Force and enjoy the freedom that I had fought for, I would have to murder my status. That was the only way out for me. It would have to be a dirty divorce. No, if and of butts. I would burn the bridge at both ends and let it fall into the Potomac. There was no other way out.
Today, I am entirely healed up and a very happy person. Instead of retiring a Master, I bought another rental and promoted myself. In lieu of a $300 a month retirement increase and dealing with McChord assholes, I can look forward to $1500 more a month and none of the bullshit. I am my father’s son and I learned from his mistakes. Brodheads took care of the troops at Valley Forge under the direst circumstances. I would take care of the troops flying air evacuations out of Iraq. The Founding Fathers were our “Band of Brothers”. The 730th would be mine. That’s all I have got. Now if you will excuse me, I have to count through these Benjamins and head to the bank……..I love you all !!!!!!
The American tax paying citizen pays a whole bunch of money to train an aviator or Flight Engineer rather. The cost is said to be in the millions by the time a Flight Engineer upgrades to 1st Engineer. Only a tiny little fraction of a fraction of a fraction of people get to be an aviator in the USAF or USAF Reserves. For me, the world was my classroom. Because of hard working tax paying citizens, I was afforded the opportunity to experience countries and cultures across the globe. The cost that the American people have invested into me, if it were added all up, would be a staggeringly expensive figure. Not only am I cognizant of the world and its people, I learned a high level of interaction skill while working with the professionals at the 730th Airlift Squadron.
Every once in awhile, the MAC or AMC aviator is handed a jewel to go along with the gravy of worldwide travel. On one occasion, the crew was tasked with taking a broke C-141C back to Ramstein AB, Germany from Sigonella NAS, Itay. The pressure door would not lock, so the aircraft could not be flown above 10,000 feet and was unusable for down range air evacuations.
During preflight activities, we were able to get the cargo ramp closed and locked. We would then take off and attempt to pressurize. As soon as the ramp had a few PSI on it, it would come unlocked. Of course, we would depressurize and attempt to close it again, but it was even worse in flight. The ramp mechanism would not complete its closing cycle whatsoever. We would then have to fly at 9999 feet from Sicily to Germany. The route would take us across the southern shores of France and west of the Alps and Lake Geneva, Switzerland. In essence, we would travel almost the entire north to south length of France on a clear day in July. The scenery was green and unbelievable. We would not turn east to Ramstein AB until almost the very end of France. We would travel from the Mediterranean to the Atlantic ocean at 10,000 feet over France.
When we weren’t flying the Iraq air evacuation, the 730th would be tasked with other missions and destinations. I would be put on a mission to Darwin, Australia. While I had been all over Australia and New Zealand, I had not been to the northern coast city of Darwin. It was quite interesting. On our way back to March AFB, we would transition Japan. Because the weather was extremely bad, we would divert into Sendai International airport in Japan before heading on to Misawa. Sendai would be flooded when the Tsunami devastated Japan and caused the Fukushima disaster.
At the end of July 2003, my wife would land a job at NIKE as a senior manager in quality. I would get 4 days off, and look for a house in Hillsboro, Oregon. We would purchase a rambler dump on 3/4 of an acre. Then it was out into the system again. Once I returned from that mission, I would get 3 days leave to move our home from Kirkland, Washington to Oregon.
In February 2004, my year activation would be over. The folks at the 730th understood that I had lost a business of 8 years because of the activation and they allowed me to stay on Active Duty for 6 more months. At about this time, the last 32 C-141C aircraft would begin their final journey to the boneyard. I cannot remember the actual dates of each departure, but they were leaving to go to the glue factory.
The best C-141C models were kept for last. The birds that broke or had copious K writeups or expired phase and depot inspections went first.
16 C-141C aircraft would be reduced to 12. 12 aircraft would become 8.
8 would become 4 and so on. All the while, 452nd maintenance would keep the few birds we had left in impeccable order and airworthiness. Their efforts were extraordinary excellence and diligent competence and experience in action. It was a thing of beauty.
In May of 2004, the 730th Airlift Squadron would retire its flag and be shut down. The squadron would have a flag retirement ceremony. It was a heart-wrenching affair for me. I would cry like a baby as the flag was taken down. Later we would have a final squadron dinner where the flag would be folded. We would also have a B-17 aircrew member that had flown for the 452nd during WWII.
During the early part of 2004, I would finally receive my 20-year letter that would secure my reserve retirement. Like my father who had retired in 1973 when Vietnam ended, I was done in the same fashion. Instead of the scourge of Agent Orange to contend with, I was simply burned out and encouraged to leave by a few contemptuous assholes.
Later that year, I would be provided the honor of flying a C-141C to her final resting place. It wasn’t really a resting place. The once glorious and mighty C-141C would be ripped apart by a massive piece of heavy equipment with a cutting jaw that would cut through it’s proud wings. The large instrument of aviation death would cut through the body of the bird like an eagle being field dressed and gutted alive.
The crew would sign their names, and give the wonderful Starlifter a soothing pat on the forward fuselage like it was the neck of a horse. We would say our goodbyes and hop on a van that would take us to the hotel in old town Tucson. The C-141C would watch us leave thinking we would be back to fly the blue skies once again. I would hear the whinny of the stallion asking us when would we be back. The trusted steed would give us assurances that it would be ready when we return. She would let us start her engines and push the throttles to the limit. She promised us fun and a wonderful trip breaking the surly bonds. She said that we could take her through the canyons as fast as she could go. I would then hear the digging of hooves and a stammer from the Mighty C-141. The forms were clean. The aircraft was spotless. The aircraft, like a robust cowpony, was healthy and ready to go. It would settle in to wait for our return, like the family pup when we went off to work. We would not look back. We were leaving the old family hound at the humane society to get the needle. We all looked straight ahead and would move on. I would look back as we left, and watch as a yuke was coming to take the Starlifter to the glue factory. Assuredly as this wonderful aircraft was going to die, my lust for aviation ended at that moment.
But first, we would be treated to a tour of the boneyard and see all our old C-141 Starlifter friends waiting to be slaughtered. For me, it was like the movie “Cars.” I could see their faces. Some would be missing engines. Many would be missing flight surfaces or a tail section. Many were simply cut to pieces and left for the buzzards to pick through the carcass. I saw the McChord planes that I had cut my teeth on. Planes with distinct personalities. Some broke alot and where ramp queens or can birds. Others were cold. Many had ugly paint jobs but refused to break out in the system. Others never missed a lick. All of them had flown utter millions of our patriots across the globe. They were the most beloved airframes in the history of the United States Air Force. They would be replaced by the C-17 and the FE would become an assortment of microchips. some plastic, and a flight display menu.
I would also see the B-52G and KC-135A models that I had worked on in SAC. My entire career from 1978 to 2005 was being presented before me in the throws of mechanical death. .
On this sortie, I had the honor to fly with the 729th Chief Loadmaster and a wonderful Air Reserve Technician. I was supposed to crew rest in Tuscon. We were going to eat out on the town and enjoy a wonderful dinner, with good Mexican beer and positive regard. It would be a wake of sorts. I thank them for the sincere gesture. Instead, I would follow the pilots to the airport and head back to Ontario and away from the aviation carnage.
My last sortie on a C-141C would be in March of 2005. My final flight would be a 2 hour local. I was done. This realization would be topped off with another staged humiliation event tendered by the overzealous. The big mouth from the East coast and an ass from the 313th would ridicule me in front of others and suggest I leave the Squadron and go back to Washington. They said that nobody liked me and I should just quit. By then the sadistic aspects of the immature military environment had taken its toll. I was punch drunk from 4 decades of abuse and no longer cared. I just felt sorry for the wretches. They were on their own. Instead of becoming equally aggressive and responding to their downright evil cores, I thought of the $3 million I had made in my civilian endeavors. They could kiss my ass too. My last sortie would be with Fiedlervision. An awesome human.
My father retired from SAC when Vietnam ended, and then succumbed to the effects of Agent Orange. Like clockwork, when I received my 20-year letter the military mental mill stop churning and the power would go off. I would shut down. I was just a line flyer without a job and no higher aspirations. My reputation as an unsavory person would preclude my getting an FE job anywhere. No KC-10A. No C-5. No C-130. Oh well, we all make our own beds.
I had been asked several times by several people to stay and cross train. I would not spend taxpayer money unless I was 100% committed. I would not stay and soak up UTA money when the planes were gone either. I did not have a job, therefore I was not needed. I could not fathom getting paid to sit around in Moreno valley when my wife was home alone. She was always home alone. I had earned my freedom. I left and joined my beloved wife and partner in life.
That was the end of the best 5 years of my Air Force Career. It was the end of the line for the C-141, the Northern Alliance, and my career in the service. The American tax payer would get every single pennies worth.
On May 1st 2003, George Walker Bush would give his “Mission Accomplished” speech on an aircraft carrier. The accomplishment was the eradication of balance of power among nation-states in the Middle East. Iraq was no longer a hedge against Iran dominance in the region. The destruction of Saddam Hussein’s power construct would also let radical Islam out of the bag. In order to validate the Iraq war, George Walker Bush would go nuts looking for WMD. Alas, he would find zero chemical weapons. It seems that Saddam Hussein had destroyed all of his chemical weapons per the UN sanctions. The US military would eventually find yellow cake, but no chemical weapons.
Instead of looking for non-existent chemical weapons, George Walker Bush should have been looking for the millions of Howitzer and T54 tank shells. Instead, trenches full of artillery shells were covered up and used against American forces on the “Highway of death” and elsewhere.
May of 2003 did not see any slow down in wounded warriors. Every single C-141C that left Iraq was loaded with wounded. While I was not privy to the sorties that Wright Patterson was flying, all the sorties that I would be on to Iraq were filled to the brim. “Mission Accomplished was simply foolery that pissed off more Suni Muslims. Invariably, the Sunni guerrilla fighters shoved “Mission Accomplished” up Geedub’s ass.
In May 2003, George Walker Bush would put Paul Bremer in charge of the post-Mission Accomplished Iraq. In turn, Bremer would allow the Shiite Muslims to purge the Iraq military of Sunni Muslims. In essence, the Sunni power structure was replaced with the Shiite power structure. In lieu of consensus building and a government with equal representation, the Sunni Muslims were shit on. In lieu of a professional Sunni military core that would have subdued insurgents, and controlled a post-Saddam Hussein Iraq, we would get Shiites that ran from their posts. The Sunnis would retaliate by attacking the US military and Shiite Mosques etc. They would also use the massive stockpiles of hidden artillery shells for improvised explosive devices or IEDs.
The US military was not ready for IEDs. Most of the Humvees were susceptible to IEDs as well as small arms fire. When an IED exploded under a Humvee, the explosion would push the floor of the Humvee into the roof and kill the troops inside. Even when an IED explosion missed a Humvee completely, it would still lead to concussions and brain injuries.
When George Walker Bush landed on a carrier wearing a flight suit, it was somewhat of an insult. He used his Texas Air Guard position to skip out on Vietnam. He then used 911 to start wars of choice. While the C-141C was hauling wounded patriots, Geedub was parading around in a flight suit like it was a movie prop. The Yale history major cokehead that did not show up to fly did not understand history.
The Middle East had totally bought off on “Sykes-Picot” or the partitioning of the Levant after WWI. Except for Kuwait, Iraq honored the borders determined by Sykes-Picot. The world had a madman dictator in Iraq that controlled radical Islam. There were no terrorists. There were no Al Qaeda. In fact, Sykes-picot and the Cold war construct was working quite well corraling Iraq and hedging Iran. The history major would take it upon himself to screw that up.
George Walker Bush was no Lawrence of Arabia.
Once Paul Bremer messed up the diplomatic aspect of a post-Saddam Hussein Iraq, the US military would have to go door to door in places like Fallujah. The US military is for defeating the enemy not as an extension of an inept foreign policy. So, not only did the Yale history major not understand history, he abused our military and actually had 18-year-olds going door to door to confiscate weaponry and subdue insurgents.
In America, when a foreign power invades one’s country, we are not called insurgents. We are called freedom fighters. The Sunnis in Iraq were protecting their own country and way of life.
Iraq had nothing to do with 911 and never perpetrated one incident of terror in America or any other country except Kuwait.
May to Christmas would be a blur. One trip to Germany and the Middle East would turn into the next. Each air evacuation would be full of wounded patriots.
On one particular mission, we would pick up a huge Army dude that weighed over 350 lbs and was probably 6 foot 5. He was playing college ball as an offensive lineman when 911 occurred. He was a litter patient and had lost a leg above the knee because of an IED. It took 6 tired Medtech and a few aircrew to lift him on the litter station. We chatted for a bit and he told me how he used to play college ball. He also had a newborn waiting for him at home. I was so moved by him that I ended up giving him a new Denver Bronco Tshirt that had been given to me by the Chief Engineer. I knew it wouldn’t fit him, so I said keep this for your boy. I then left him. I would come back later to find him clutching the Bronco Tshirt fast asleep.
During the Christmas holidays, I volunteered to go out again so the Flight Engineers locally could spend Christmas together. I was from out of state, and my wife said it was ok. We would end up doing a Christmas air evacuation to a Muslim country. When we stopped at the shoppette on our way to the flight line, I would buy gobs of gummi bears and chocolates. The Med-crew would decorate the aircraft bulkhead with every manner of Christmasy stuff. A few of the Medtechs and Flight Nurses even had elf hats on. After we had loaded all the patients from Balad, we showered them with candy and good tidings.
On many of the air evacuations, I would take the time to talk with the litter patients, ask them if they needed anything, and thanked them for their patriotism and selfless sacrifice.
Every single patriot that boarded my aircraft was a dignified trooper and acted in an honorable way. I was in awe of their patience, demeanor, and behavior while on the C-141C.
When I was kicked out of the military, I had to write a letter to the Wyoming Air Guard and tell them why I wanted back in. I told them that I wanted to save lives instead of being around nuclear weapons or serving in SAC. I would get my wish in its entirety. As a dependent, I had grown up with the children of Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines. On this day, I was being afforded the honor and duty of transporting the people that I had grown up with back to safe havens after service on the battlefield.
During the closing years of the C-141, I believe all the remaining C-141C aircrews were afforded the opportunity to fly the Hanoi Taxi to and from Iraq on an Air evacuation. The proud aircraft had flown our POWs from Vietnam. There was something very special about this bird. The combination of wounded warriors and this aircraft would send me into the crew latrine to sob uncontrollably. I would also cry at the Vietnam war memorial.
The core of the 730th was tried and truly experienced aviators that shunned non-value adding extraneous gibberish flew the line, and got the job done. The aviators from the 313th and 97th that had been poddy trained at gun point, knew their jobs and toed the line. The unit could expect nothing less than 100% standardized perfection from the 730th and the “Northern Alliance!” When we went out on a mission, the mission was completed in a solid and safe fashion.
The boys and girls that made up the leadership group were also experienced, awesome, and the products of several decades of aviation synergy and legacy. They espoused a spirit of inclusion and common respect. Instead of politically charged posturing, they were task oriented and supported the line flyers. For the most part, there were no examinations and the leadership cadre let us do our jobs.
In reality, I was blessed to be associated with the 730th and the Northern Alliance. Their efforts and professionalism were worthy of an outstanding unit award. The final hours of the C-141C would be aviation excellence in action from the flying leadership to the hard working folks that fixed the aircraft. The Med-crews achieved success under the most trying circumstances and treated the patriots in their care like babes in arms.
The leadership saw to it that everyone maintained a feeling of belonging. Going out for Italian dinners became a mainstay.
Meanwhile, the aircrews from Wright Patterson AFB were flying in and out of Iraq every single day of the week. Just as they carried the load during the Al Qaeda relocation venture, they carried 85% of the Medivac load related to Iraq. Of course, the Flight Engineers had something to work towards. Wright Patterson would be getting the C-5 and the FE would keep a job.
The March aircrews would fly to Ramstein AB, sit for several days on Bravo and then do a mission to Iraq and back. Then it was back to March AB.
During one particular mission, I would meet up with a 728th C-17 crew while they were leaving the base shopette at 11 AM. I knew the pilots and loads and exchanged a few lines of verbiage. The next day I would see them at 1 pm unloading bags from the aircrew bus. They had been to Afghanistan and back. They had worked from at least 9 AM to 1 PM the next day, and completed a 28 hour crew duty day.
For me the first few days at Ramstein AB after crossing the pond were brutal. I was an overweight 9 hour a night sleeper. I would sleep 13 hours after an augmented day, wake up in the afternoon, and look for someplace to eat. I would go for a brisk long walk and then by 8 Pm, I would go back and sleep 13 hours again. For me, international flying became absolute torture. In addition, my blood pressure after a cup of stiff MAC coffee would exceed 160 over 120. Moreover, my kidneys began to ache from high blood pressure and drinking soft drinks and coffee. To get through a long augmented second half, I would eat too much and drink coffee. I could still pass the flight physical, but the clock was ticking.
Show times became an emotional sucking event. If it was good crew, I could look forward to positive regard and positive interaction. If the crew did not like me, I could look forward to 8 days of less than spectacular behavior and flat lined social nourishment. I did not want to be looked on as an interaction liability, but for many, my persona was written in stone or stamped into the detail parts of my existence. Things would get worse after crossing the pond. I would fight the bipolar aviator disorder that was brought on by time zones. I would feel like shit at Ramstein AB. It was no longer fun and became a combination of physiological torture and contemptible interaction with a few of my associates. I had to play the game and made the adjustments.
I wanted to be a C-17 Load but my body was telling me something completely different and so was my wife.
The defining moment for me as it related to cross training to the C-17 came about on the ramp at Ramstein AB. We had just landed after a long crew duty day to Iraq and back. The aircraft was full of wounded. More wounded than normal. The wounded were tired, beat up, and downtrodden looking. The Med-crew had been working diligently on a few patriots that were severely wounded. We had almost lost a patient in flight had it not been for the efforts of a Flight Surgeon and some very dedicated Flight Nurses.
Everyone was tired. The Med crew seemed to stumble when moving equipment or carrying litter patients. I always insisted that the fucking C-141C APU be shut down ASAP so as not to cause further physiological trauma to the patients or the Med-crew. I liked a very quite time when we arrived in Germany so the patients could relax absent of APU noise. The loud noise had the tendency to rush the Med-crew at the end of a 20 hour day. The noise was both a safety issue and an unacceptable nuisance.
On this mission, we parked on the right side of a C-17. The modern and empowered C-17 aircraft Crew Chiefs, with their new expanded role, were running the APU. It was 50 degrees outside. I walked over and kindly asked the Crew Chiefs to shut the fucking APU down because we were unloading wounded patriots. Of course, they said that they were cooling the avionics and then acted with disregard and contempt. I could have raised my voice and yelled shut the damn APU off or I am going to call your supervisor. By then, however, I no longer had the capacity or the inclination to negotiate, arbitrate or mitigate morons. The loathsome and mind numbing moan of the C-17 APU would emit heinous and detestable waves of sound and vibration that would sicken my core. I had grown used to the sound of the C-141 Auxilary power unit. For some reason, I found the C-17 APU as abhorrent and rejectable. In fact, I hated it.
My dedication to Air Force aviation died on that day. It died at that moment. The C-17 became something to avoid. Besides, my being had been filled to the brim with organizational caca. The shelf life had expired. There was simply no room left for any more bureaucracy bullshit. The card had been fully punched, but the store was closed. There would be no free meal or a valued and cherished path to another aircraft. I could not get it up. The moan of the C-17 APU was Pavlovian. It would inundate my core with all manner of negative feelings. It would become a symbol of everything I had endured in the service, and I could no longer abide the abuse. It would usher in the end of the line.
I would turn back to the C-141C and watch as the Med-crew struggled to unload the aircraft while the sickening moan of the C-17 APU violated the environment. The patriots did not deserve that, and neither did the Med-crew. The Crew Chiefs utter lack of empathy was simply garbage. Running the C-17 APU was more important than creating a quiet environment for our returning wounded. Oh well, I was an obsolete FE. It was time to move on.
On long mission legs, I would pace back and forth between the bulkhead and the comfort pallet. I had enough of the flying game. Before I could quit, I would do my best flying air evacuations. I would wait patiently for my 20-year letter and the retirement of the C-141C. When it was done, I was done. We would go out of the Air Force inventory together.
In May of 2003, the 730th aircrews started staging out of Sigonella NAS, Italy for a short while. It was beautiful in Sicily and hot too. On one mission, we were billeted at the Sig Inn across the street from the base. It was a nice hotel for the most part; however, the air conditioning system was being repaired. In addition, the building seemed to not be insulated and had huge windows. We were at the rooms at the end of the pool, so the massive sliding glass windows cooked the rooms for an entire day and then retained heat until 4 AM in the morning. The room was 90 degrees at midnight. Moreover, the air was stagnating with not a breeze to be felt. I even tried sleeping on the balcony.
Being from the Northwest, I was accustomed to sleeping in a room that was around 65 degrees. The colder the better. I loved it when my head would hit my own cool and clean down pillow. The pillows at the Sig Inn were flat polyester filled bullshit that was almost hot to the touch. The addition of a roommate made the event completely counter to what I was accustomed to. I would negotiate maybe a 1/2 hour of sleep before the showtime for the next mission. I think the Rem sleep portion was complete with dreams of being caged and fucked in the ass by TACC.
I wasn’t alone, a few of our female Loads had not slept either. But then again, the 730th had bullet proof female Loads that busted their ass and could compete with any of the male Loads in the squadron. They sucked up the lack of sleep before they left their rooms and were ready to rock and roll. Under the most trying circumstances, the 730th Gals engaged the job with professionalism, extreme tenacity, and leadership by example. They always did the deed in a more than acceptable manner and simply got down to business.
The 730th Aircrew wasn’t the only ones that slept like shit. The Med crew had also stayed at the Sig Inn and were dragging their asses like German Africa Corps prisoners at the port of Tunis in May of 1943.
During the bus ride to the aircraft, I brought up the lack of sleeping situation to the A/C. I mean, the crew would now be up close to 40 hours when the mission was completed at Ramstein AB. However, just by bringing up a safety of flight issue, I was skewered by the A/C for the entire ride to the aircraft. The only saving grace was that the student engineer had to take it out of Sig while I slept in the Flight Engineer bunk. The gasper air would be full blast as I limped quickly off to sleep after inspecting the aftermath of the sparking carnage in the back. I would do the second half. I would fly in and out of Baghdad or Balad or whatever. I always did the second half of the augmented day. For my entire time in the flying game, I was the designated second half Flight Engineer. As the bottom wrung of the squadron and a pseudo-Reserve Bum, I always did the second half. For the entire 14 years of flying, I was the augmented second half designee. If I wasn’t flying with fucking students that could not ride the panel for more than a few hours, I was flying with guys that worked at Boeing and were getting a check ride. My nickname at the 728th was Mach 2. Sometimes all I needed to complete a 12-hour tour on the panel was a 15-minute power nap and some concentrated stinking shitty Mac coffee that had been sitting there for 3 days.
The lack of sleep by the Med crew would manifest itself by a Medtech wrapping a power line around the flap jack screw on the right wing. Once we took off from Balad AB, Iraq on our way to Ramstein, all hell broke lose in the back of the airplane when we went gear up. The power line would wrap around the jack screw and then the sparks would fly.
I felt for the guy and figured he had learned his lesson. Of course, they would write him up etc.
On this same trip out of Sigonella on May 3rd, 2003, my wife would send me an email and tell me that she had been laid off from here job at Eddie Bauer. She was the director of Quality and was downsized out of a job. The VP of the company would take her job. The year previous, we had attended a big party at her house. I would celebrate my birthday in silence as we made our way to Germany.
When we arrived at Ramstein, many of the Med crew had been up for two days and two nights, but they still did the job. They would muster the last of their physical and professional capabilities reconfiguring the aircraft. I was alway in awe of these human beings. They always gave every ounce of their being in order to take care of others. the divide between the C-141 aircrew ethos and the Med crew could not have been wider. Aircrew could be self-centered egotistical maniacs while the Med crew were extreme people persons. On many trips, I would be actively encouraged to censor myself with movies etc. Downstairs, however, I was greeted with acceptance, attention span and kindness. Upstairs, I would have to suffer through a pilot showing Gracie fight videos or suicide videos of people shooting themselves in the mouth.that deserves a WTF? I mean who watches internet suicide videos? Who shows other people that they watch internet suicide videos? Whaaaaaat The fuck?
My dad said that I could “talk the hind leg off a dead jackass.” He said that if he could rig my mouth up to the differential of the 1966 Ford Country sedan, I could propel the car to New Hampshire. As an aviator, I had such a heinously big mouth that I would drive aircraft commanders to yank the headsets off. On the flight deck, I was supposed to be silent and composed. When I ran my automotive business, I was supposed to lead and be able to muster successful interaction skills and communication skills. At my shop, the comeback rate for failures was less than a fraction of a percent. During the entire Iraq war activation of 18 months, I broke one time on purpose. This represents a 100% on-time departure rate for the close to 100 sorties I would fly. When you flew with me, during war time, you never ever broke. That is a perfect safety record in my fucking book.
Sigonella was a blast. I would make little trips into the tiny village of Mota and buy Sicilian tomatoes and pasta. I would finally talk the crew into getting together and eating at the “Paradise!” We would eat excellent authentic Italian fare and toast the day with excellent wine and beer. By then, I was able to harness my large mouth and enjoy the social synergy of the group without becoming a pain in the liability ass.
Some trips were excellent. The aircraft commander led an egoless environment and made eye contact that connected with your core during a welcoming handshake at show time. Others were distant. The [proof was in the pudding out in the system. A solid AC new how to deal with TACC and command post, get the best billeting, or course maintenance into fixing the damn airplane. he or she put the crew first and could logically and aggressively move a mission. Flying with other Aircraft Commanders was like pulling teeth. They were leadership liabilities and treated the enlisted with disrespect. When it came to dealing with TACC or safety of flight issues, they through the book away and condemned others for speaking up.
On one particular trip, I was flying with a low time FE that thought of himself as an ex-Navy alfa male hot shot. He was a good looking fellow and was used to things being handed to him on a platter. He was on the successful side or natural selection and the pilots must have liked him. Flying with him simply sucked. Instead of taking all the crew downtown to party after a long mission, he would talk the pilots into playing favorites and engaging in the tactics of exclusion. Then when you flew with him on an augmented day, he was too much of a pussy to ride the panel for any length of time. During a showtime for a sortie from Ramstein AB to March, he showed up with a full on cold and was doped up flu pills. He had been self-medicating and showed up sick as hell to fly. I tried to call safety of flight, but the same A/C that skewered me on the sortie out of Sig gave me a bunch of grief. Of course, the pussy ex-Navy dickhead would take it out of Germany only to start passing out at the panel after we hit cruise. I then had to take the aircraft from Germany to California. The pilot was a newly wed, so the thought fucking his new wife was the priority. When I got back to March, I would get cold and be down for the count for 10 days. I was sick as hell. After a few days, the scheduler would be calling for me to go on another mission. Thanks to cherry, I was sick as a dog and his self-medicating and showing up for a mission adversely impacted readiness.
On later missions, the Ex-Navy fair-haired boy that was high on the natural selection scale would go through my computer on the flight deck while I was sleeping in preparation for another second half. He would do this several times without me knowing it. Imagine an aircraft Commander that would stand idly by or encouraged an enlisted man to violate the privacy of an NCO. Their collective terms of endearment were to violate a person privacy and then ridicule them. To top it off, the enlisted man took a picture of the pilot’s dick and buried it in my computer. While showing my mother in law the pictures of Iraq and Germany, here pops up a guys cock in a flight suit. Niiiiice!!
As a small child, I had seen how youngsters abused one another or ridiculed others to make themselves look good. I always got the short end of the stick and had to fight off the bullies. I knew all too well how it feels to be singled out for harassment and ridicule. I treated others as I would want to be treated. I never made personal attacks or flipped people incessant shit. In reality, bullies are sad jealous cowards with low opinion of themselves. So anyways, thanks Cherry for being an immature little asshole and rifling through my personal computer when I covered for your pussy ass. Thanks for sucking off the pilots and playing the flight deck court jester as terms of endearment. Thanks for the disrespect and outright insulting behavior you tendered on my person. You treated me like I was your little flying bitch.
What happens in the field stays in the field but that event took the cake. You fucked over a fellow enlisted man in order to entertain a few officer dicks. Bravo !!! Bravo!! Fuck you!
Any officer that lets an enlisted man rifle through a subordinates computer and then lets him take a picture of his dick does not belong in a leadership role. He belongs on an internet porn site….
I would return to March after getting married and shutting down a small business with an 8-year clientele. My employee would be let go as well. I would pay off all my vendors, cancel the expensive insurance, and pay the state and city tax bill.
When I got back to March AFB, the well-oiled group of professionals was putting everything together for the Wing activation. The powers that be determined that Wright [patterson would be the staging area for the C-141C aircrews. A C-9 Nightingale shuttle would be established that would haul several crews at a time. Once we arrived at Wright-Patterson AFB, the crews would go into a stage and billet at the Hope Inn. When our crew’s number came up we would then operate a C-141C to Mildenhall AB, England and enter another stage. Mildenhall AB is where our maintenance folks were stationed after activation. The aircrews would stay three to a room in Mildenhall billeting and the aircrews would have to stay in an old abandoned dormitory with leaking pipes and water on the floor. The 452nd maintenance folks worked their asses off at Mildenhall and kept the C-141C in the air. They were great to work with.
Mildenhall AB had been upgraded, and it sported a world class chow hall eatery. The food was delicious.
At the beginning of the 2nd Gulf war, the C-141C was tasked with flying war material to Kuwait International. Our first missions would fly cargo for the 3 Corps out of Fort Hood Texas to England and then through loaded to Kuwait. Brodheads fought in Mexico, served with sam Houston in Congress, said yah to the Annexation of Texas , and authored the bill that paid off texas debt after it’s war of independnce with Mexico.
Kuwait International would be a massive staging area for incoming Air Force logistics assets. The ramp and taxiways would be filled with heavy aviation assets from end to end. There were KC-10As, C-130s, C-5Bs, and C-141C models. We would dump our cargo have a subway sandwich and wait to take off again. The sortie from Mildenhall AB, England to Kuwait International was a 9 to 10-hour affair. A normal ground time would be about 2 hours or enough time to gas up and get out of the third world Muslim shithole. On this particular day, a C-5 was broke at the head of the line and kept everyone from leaving. The C-5 piece of leaking shit kept a dozen heavy aviation assets from taking off and returning to Mildenhall AB or Ramstein AB, Germany. So there we sat because nobody could taxi by them. For 5 hours we sat there. Alas after almost a day of sitting, the piece of shit FRED finally took off. By the time we were airborne, we had already completed a 16 hour crew duty day and it was 7.5 hours back to Mildenhall, AB.
When we had a day off, this German FE student dude and I would go to Trafalgar square and James Park. We would drive a rental car to Cambridge and then take the tube to Soho. Along the way, I was disturbed with the graffiti on the stone walls that had lined these British tracks since the invention of the steam engine. While in downtown London, we would cross the Thames and view the Parliment. Our lunch would be at an all you can eat pizza place and cost $60. The pizza sucked.
Brodheads left London in 1664 on British Man-O-wars. My Great Plus Grandfather would be second in command of the Nichols expedition and lead the 400 British troops that forced the surrender of New Amsterdam. He would leave on Man-O-wars only 20 years after Lord Cromwell and decades before to the Battle of Trafalgar. We would establish English speaking rule and rename New Amsterdam to New York. This Brodhead would return on the mighty C-141 and reacquaint himself with his Britsih imperialist bastard core. Unlike many, I am not ashamed of my British or German heritage. Screw that.
Our crew would make several trips from Army bases in the states to Wright-Patterson and Mildenhall hauling the products of war. However, once Franks started his rapid Blitzkrieg offensive, the entire contingent of 32 C-141C models would be shifted to a dedicated air evacuation role. Wright -Patterson would volunteer to do the heavy lifting once again and perform a daily mission from Ramstein to Iraq and back. March, on the other hand, would do a weekly Bravo alert which backed up the Wright-Patterson crews.
During the first part of the war, a mission down to Kuwait or Baghdad was 9 hours down and 7 hours back depending on winds. We had to fly almost the entire length of the Saudi Arabia peninsula and then make a left turn to Kuwait. Once Baghdad was secured, we would then make another left turn overfly Kuwait and land at Baghdad international. We would arrive at night with all the lights and air conditioning systems turned off to reduce heat and light signatures. The infrared missile defense system would be armed as well. Once we landed in the pitch black night, we would sit on the ground for several hours as the Med crews load the aircraft with wounded soldiers. They would pack the airplane with litter patients and walk wounded. The aircrew would do a concurrent refuel as well. Once the plane was loaded to the hilt and gassed up, we would take off before dawn again and fly the 7 hours back to Ramstein AB, Germany. For the hardworking Med crews, a Baghdad trip was close to 26-hour affair. the trip would encompass 3 hours on the ground during preflight, 9 hours down, 4 hours on the ground in Baghdad, 7 hours back and up to 2 hours unloading patients and reconfiguring the aircraft for the next bunch.
When all of Iraq was subdued and secured, the medivac stage in Iraq would be moved to Balad Airbase in Iraq. Then instead of flying the Saudi peninsula, the missions were ragged over the Black sea and turned south over Iraq between Turkey and Iran. This mission routing cut the flying time to 5 down and 4 back. A crew duty day was reduced to a tolerable less than 16 hours. the once slow patient pick-up became a 2-hour event as well.
At Ramstein AB, Germany, we were no longer 3 to a room. We had our own rooms on base or stayed at a nice hotel off base. When I had a day off, I would rent an Audi A$ turbo diesel with a 6-speed transmission and go and see my German Aunts, uncles, and cousins.I would spend the night in the old farmhouse that had been in the German family name for over 300 years. During Hitler’s Third Reich the farm was nationalized by the NAZIs because my German Grandfather would not take the oath to Hitler. As a former conservative senator in the Weimar republic, he was on Hitler’s shitlist. he would go into hiding. Eventually he would be sent to Dachau along with thousands of German veterans that had fought during WWI and supported the Kaiser. My mother remembers the smell from the Dachau smoke stacks when they live in Dachau waiting for Zeppy to be released. On the autobahn, I would coax the Audi up to 230 Kilometers an hour. I would cruise at 145 miles an hour from Ramstein to just outside of Munich and scratch that off the bucket list. .
After several months of being three to a room and working our asses off, we had a day off in Germany. The crew would go out and knock down some German Beers at an Irish pub. We were to enter a Bravo alert to back up the medivac of Jessica Lynch our of Iraq. I was hung-over like a bitch. A C-17 would posture the Jessica Lynch Bravo away from us. We also moved to a different hotel while I was extremely hung-over. I was saved by a co-pilot that had some plop plop fizz fizz in her flight bag.
By this time, the 452nd at March AFB raised the bullshit flag concerning the stage at Wright-Patterson. March crews would fly direct to Ramstein AB and enter the stage there. It was a brutally long mission but not as bad as flying Ramstein AB, Bangor, Maine to Moreno Valley, California.
Ramstein was a blast. The crews would head downtown to have dinner. A good aircraft commander made all the difference. A few of our pilots were quite the host. They would set us up with excellent hotels or take us to the O-club for an all you can eat buffet. They made certain that their enlisted were taken care of in every way. They made certain that the experience in Germany during wartime would be remembered fondly while we were on this earth.
For the most part, everyone got along and were seasoned aviation veterans. The Loadmasters never missed a beat and worked their asses off as well. We all worked together as a crew a well-oiled machine.
I was given the wonderful opportunity to work with a world-class flying unit full of professionals. Everyone knew their place and everyone gave 150%. The 729th and 730th did their absolute best to support our patriots in the field. It was the proudest and most honorable time in my life.
One last thought: George W Busch really never showed up to fly at his Vietnam Avoidance Air Guard unit in Texas. Instead of a list of sorties and Air Guard participation records, Americans were treated to a photo of him on a fighter’s wing and one Air Guard Unit pay stub. That was it. Of course, the Yale silver spoon Cokehead would later deploy millions of people to the Middle East, abuse aircrews, and where out new equipment. The biggest insult to our troops was the constant deployments to a war zone. In fact, some of our Army folks were deployed a dozen times in an 8 year period. Then at 10 years, many of these patriots were released from the service to meet manning reductions. While George Herbert Walker Bush a dedicated fighter pilot during WWII, Gee Dubb didn’t do shit in the military. In fact, the taxpayers paid a huge sum of money to put junior through flight training. After that, he did not even show up. In 2002 he stated no nation building. Then he does the complete opposite and lets his donor list run his shitty foreign policy. Hell, Junior wasn’t even from Texas, Rick Perry, on the other hand, was a Texan true to form, a solid governor and an Air Force Pilot that actually showed up to fly. Rick was not a Bush protege at all. In fact, the comparison is an insult.
Rick Perry would fly the C-130 out of Mildenhall as an officer in the United states Air Force.
By the time Wolf Blitzer was posing in front of the big screen and the fireworks AKAK had ushered in the 2nd Gulf War, I had been flying only 12 years. With only around 3500 hours, I was considered a beginner. At McChord, we had engineers that had been flying from the time they were 18 in Vietnam on flying boxcars. They would then fly the C-141 until they reached high year tenure. As C-141A/B/C engineers, they had been watching pilots flip switches for several decades and utter thousands of times. I mean after one has watched a pilot flip a C-141 switch for the 2000th time, one could be considered qualified to render a valid opinion. Having flown with old heads and young heads, my interpretation of the pilots in the 730th during war time was simply a thing of beauty.
Most every single 730th pilot save a few fresh aviators were seasoned professionals. They had been there done that over and over again. They had the Tshirt, wrote the book, and pumped the fat German lady from behind. The 730th was packed full of Pilots that did the job with perfection.
I, on the other hand, was a loud mouth liability that needed to be verbally disciplined quite frequently. Most of the pilots flew for the airlines in the two-man cockpit. The loud and obnoxious Flight Engineer with zero transactional analysis and communication skills had been replaced by a black box and a rewrite of normal procedures etc. The push of a button and digital automation replaced the requirement for interaction with a third person in the cockpit. In reality, these commercial aviators basically tolerated to their best ability the three man cockpit. They did a pretty good job too.
To make the 20 hour days tolerable, we would watch movies on the flight deck or MMA fights. There were no examiners around that poddy trained at gunpoint. One would not be Q3ed and sent to a shrink for blocking the view of an oil gauge. The trip across the pond seemed to be cut in half when “Band of Brothers was playing!” Had it been the 313th, watching a movie on the flight deck would have been punishable by death. But then again, we were Rebels Flying Knights.
With the arrival of the C-17 at Charleston AFB and McChord AFB, Flight Engineers sensed a change in communication and professional respect levels from Crew chiefs and specialists out in the system. They knew we were obsolete and they were part of a new weapon system that would be around for the next 50 years. At hard MAC system locations like Hickham, the Crew Chief demeanors changed. Some showed outright contempt for the enlisted aviators as their C-17 knowledge base and their adaption to the new C-17 ops and maintenance environment imprinted. They were stepping up to the plate.
Another negative aspect of the extinction of the C-141 Flight Engineer was the lack of FNG interest. The C-141 units were no longer the domain of former Crew Chiefs and Jet mechs that competed for an Engineer seat and a trip to Clark AB. Nobody was jumping the C-17 ship for an FE job on the C-141. In fact, some units were left with recruiting “cook level candidates!” Most never even pushed a B4 stand, read a tech order, or even touched a TF33. However, if they made it through Altus and upgrade training and their personalities were politically aggressive, they could successfully compete for cruise engineer or pseudo second engineers. They have kept around for laughs and to relieve real engineers when the aircraft was safely on cruise for a bathroom break. Just watch the little gauge and wake me if there is a light. At McChord, during the 1990s, some of our new 730th FE recruits would never have been selected and if they were, they would have been eaten alive on the line. An Active Duty unit would have driven them to madness from abuse and ridicule. At March AFB, they were simply left alone and worked with.
By the time I had 3500 hours, I could fix the C-141B/C by massaging the fuselage or tapping on an engine component. While the pilots were scribing with their palm pilots, I would be opening cowling and thumping on things. I was one of the greatest Flight Engineers that ever lived.
So, there we were at Mildenhall AB England and George Walker Bush had pulled the trigger. The fireworks would go off over Baghdad and Wolf Blitzer would be masturbating to war porn on CNN. Unlike the war correspondents of WWII and Vietnam who tempered their views of war with humanity, Wolf Blitzer is the Gulf War cheerleader boy. Wolfie is simply infatuated with bombing Muslims. He is the “Lets get ready to rumble” on an international scale. “Two men enter one man leaves!” “Two men enter one man leaves!”
When the third augmented day hauling “technicals” to Kuwait was done, we headed back to March AFB. We were on Active Duty. The officers would see a substantial raise or cut in pay and the enlisted bums would ascend out of poverty level. An enlisted Reserve Bum would fly more than Active duty for like $1200 a month. When activated, their paycheck would be huge. Many would make $6000 a month and fly only as much as Active Duty at McChord. It was a massive payday for many.
The biggest paradigm for a Reserve Bum is staying at 4-star hotels out in the system and coming home to an old used car and a room in a boarding house or camping trailer.
Another benefit was that all the eat your young C-141 Active Duty units were gone and a few unit equipped Reserve units had the show all to themselves.
When we arrived at March, I would have to plead with the scheduler to go home and take care of business. I would get a few days to go and shut down my small business and lay off an employee. I would also get married. Then it was back to March after a cavity search at Sea-Tac and a rotund TSA lady taking a full frontal nudity photo. Welcome to 2003 and the Bush Doctrine.
In 2003, I would learn what being an Active Duty Engineer was all about. As a reservist, I ran a small business, flew worldwide 7 to 10 days a month while purchasing, remodeling and renting houses. I worked every day of the week and had to hustle to make money. When I was on Active Duty, I performed the mission, ate greasy food at the base snack bar, and sat on my ass. In the process, I lost moxy and my BP went north. I figured after all the big shot Active Duty BS we heard from ex-Active Duty Flight Engineers, that being on Active duty was a high-level function of Greek Gods or something. The reality is that there is more bullshit than deeds. I did way more work for less money as a Reserve Bum with a business. All the bullshit was simply smoke and mirrors grandiose propaganda.
The 18 months on Active duty would destroy my blood pressure and weaken the abilities that I depended upon to be a success. I would never be able to hold the head of steam that I had sustained before activation. I became lethargic and eased into the sedentary Active Duty role. The experience would destroy decades of professional conditioning and I would regress. My ability to prioritize, compartmentalize and multitask would be compromised. I would no longer be 1st on the depth chart that I had come to master. I would be practice squad material or cut from my own standards. I now understood what long term conditioning from a government job does to people. I now understood how retired Active Duty have a hard time adapting after retirement.
My only connection to my mechanic shop and mechanical heritage was visits to a VW shop in Riverside. The only saving grace was the wonderful unit that I belonged too. They made all the difference in the world….
By the end of 18 months, I had saved $70,000 and lived off of the per diem. I would not start up my business again, take unemployment, and languish and stagnate for several years.
Just before John Fitzgerald Kennedy was assassinated, he was pondering the removal of troops from Vietnam. Once the lead of the mail order 6.5mm Carcano bullet blew out the right side of JFK’s head, all bets were off. During the swearing in of LBJ, there were actual smiles while Jackie Kennedy openly mourned and wept with blood and brain matter inundating her pink dress. With JFK out of the picture, Lyndon Banes Johnson set out to validate a massive troop build-up in Vietnam. The symbol for this validation would come via the “Gulf of Tonkin” incident. The Gulf of Tonkin lie would be confirmed by Robert McNamara just before his death.
In reality, Ho Chi min only wanted the unification of Vietnam after French Colonialism. The US forced Ho Ch Min into the hands of the Russians. Vietnam then became a proxy war for armament manufacturers. Just as Hitler needed a war to sustain his war economy, Russia needed weapon sales to prop up their communist regime. Vietnam also became a windfall for the U.S military industrial complex. Of course, Reagan’s “outspend the Soviets plan” during the 1980s was simply another avenue for windfall profits and a continuation of Vietnam-style military spending. It was just named differently. etc. The Korean war staved off the collapse of the U.S. military industrial complex after WWII. Korea, in turn, was replaced by the Cold War and a nuclear arms race. Reagan’s build up replaced Vietnam.
The collapse of the Soviet empire was inevitable. The Soviets needed to rid themselves of the soft underbelly nations anyways. They were basically dead weight and took too much military presence and logistics to sustain. Hence, it was not so much a collapse as a withdrawal and a currency reconstruction. Of course, the Berlin wall would fall and Reagan would be credited with outspending the Soviets? The Soviets were in the throws of communist economic death regardless of reagans’s deficit spending for armaments profit.
When the former Soviet Union collapsed, and withdrew their military support from the soft underbelly, they also withdrew economic and military assistance from Iraq, Syria, and Cuba along with many other countries that were once part of the communist sphere of influence. The Communist empire became bankrupt as avenues for armaments profit dried up. The thousands of tanks that were stationed in the Ukraine, for example, were drained of fuel which was sold on the black market. They were then filled with water. Soviet fighter pilots had to do airshows for fuel. The once mighty Soviet Black Sea Fleet rusted away at the Crimean port city of Sevastopol.
Just as Hitler understood that the German economy which was based on war production would collapse at the end of the 1930s, the Soviets staved off collapse through wars in Korea, Vietnam, and the Cold war, However, while the rest of the world was retooling to a civilian manufacturing economy, the Soviets were dying on the communist vine. In fact, pure Soviet style communism failed miserably. In response, they would turn to more of a free market society run by Russian mobsters etc.
When Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait, the last remnants of arms sales and profit would be taken away from the Russians. After the USA kicked Iraq out of Kuwait, the UN sanctions, no-fly zones, and military presence would kill off Russia/Iraq arms deals. Syria and Libya would remain, however. Moammar Gadaffi’s military warehouses would be full of freshly purchased Russian-made advanced weaponry. Syria would become Russia’s premiere customer for weapons sales.
The USA would put Iraq on the perpetual back burner. The US military Industrial Complex would put Iraq in their “Shopping for Wars shopping cart!”
George Herbert Walker Bush set legitimate mandates related to the liberation of Kuwait. The “Highway of death” carnage and outcries from the rest of the world forced GHW Bush to stop in lieu of going all the way to Baghdad. As a result, the Shiites in the south and the Kurds in the north were left to fend for themselves. Sadam Hussein would use chemical weapons on the Kurds.
To shore up his regime, Saddam Hussein’s Sunni-dominated military would use airpower to squash the uprisings and subjugate the masses once again. In response, The US would create no-fly zones, and apply sanctions. The sanctions would include an “oil for food” program. Saddam Hussein would use the food to support his military while the children of Iraq starved. The US made certain that every bit of oil revenue stayed out of the hands of the Russian military Industrial complex as well.
In response to the gassing of Kurds, The Clinton administration and the UN would force the Iraqis to give up their WMD. Moreover, they were subject to constant inspections.
In order to support the no-fly zones, the Air force flew Northern Watch missions out of Incirlik AB, Turkey, and Southern Watch missions from Daharan in Saudia Arabia. The U.S. military presence in Mecca would lead to the bombing of the Khobar Towers and then the World Trade Center on 9/11/2001. Even though most all of the perpetrators of 911 were Saudi, the George Walker Bush administration would use the symbol of 911 to launch a multi-staged campaign to destabilize the Middle East in addition to ridding Afghanistan of the Taliban. The removal of the Taliban was justified, but it was a police action at the time and did not generate enough armaments revenue. Afghanistan would be put on the back burner of the shopping cart.
Once the U.S. and the Northern Alliance reduced the Taliban in Afghanistan, George Walker Bush set his sites on Iraq. He would use the “Weapons of Mass destruction lie” and direct 911 rage onto an innocent nation. Just as LBJ used the Gulf of Tonkin incident lie to facilitate war, GWB would use the WMD lie to attack Iraq. The military industrial complex would have their huge war for profit. George Walker Bush would employ his shopping cart sell job and commit troops to regime change and the wholesale destabilization of the Middle East. Geedub and the CIA would use a lie to talk Collin Powell into the scheme. He would leave the Republican party as a result. Thus began the worst foreign policy in the history of the United States of America.
Currently, Republicans are posturing to see if they can maximize war profit in Syria. This is why Vladimir Putin went after Hillary Clinton and will be cutting deals with Donald Trump. There will be no no-fly zone in Syria as weapons are funneled in from both sides. The U.S. military industrial complex and the Russian Military Industrial Complex with harvest the Sunni/ Shiite religious Jihad bullshit until the cows come home…
Of course, the 730th would be the tip of the sword. Just before Wold Blitzer would engage his mouth concerning the AKAK in Baghdad, the 730th and the mighty C-141C would be hauling brand new 4 by 4 quad cab Toyota technicals from Mildenhall England to Kuwait International. Complete with .50 caliber machine gun mounts, these “Toyota technicals” were purchased from a dealer in Texas. John Jacob Jingle Heimer, the redhead chess player that loved Manchester United soccer, would be the aircraft commander. We would be activated for Iraq while in England.
Today, the Reagan’s outspend the Soviets agenda has been replaced with the China devalued currency agenda. As the US manufacturing base is obliterated by Chinese workers, the military Industrial complex has to compete with social programs and a massive and intrusive Federal Government for scarce hard revenue. Of course, the US Congress, Senate, and Executive, or the entertainment department of the military Industrial complex will borrow money from China, deficit spend, and pass the bill to our children so they can make money on weapons systems. With republican control of the Federal government, expect deficit spending for profits related to the military industrial complex.
Watch as Trump’s “make America Great again” devolves into “make America neocon again!” Watch as the so-called conservatives pass massive spending increases without any new revenue streams or budget reductions.