Friday, April 22, 2016

Wings, Go Figure

Wings, Go Figure

You would think that I tire of experiencing and writing about my metaphorical Strings of Historical Experience.  As you can see, I do not.

When it has nothing to do with motorcycles, RC Aircraft or fishing I am not fond of running errands all over this wonderful little town.  But it is a beautiful day and one may be ecstatic about the future by just breathing in and out.  So, breathing in and out, I walk into my primary healthcare physicians office to make an appointment for my annual physical.  I am only 74, what could go wrong?

As I close the door to the office, my gaze fell on a gentleman that I could have sworn I had seen or met before.  The plasma string does its job and starts spinning around in the abyss while I converse with the person behind the desk and finally set a mutual date for the exam. 

I now have one of my favorite chores of the day that must be done without moving from my current position.  I start with the right wallet and discover what I am looking for is not in that wallet.  I now go for the left wallet and in there, I find a place to put my oversized SSN and VA cards into a secure but visible location.

I know before I turnaround that I am going to speak to man in the chair and see if we have anything in common.  I walk over toward him and he stands before I reach his outstretched hand.  This boy is one of us, some how I know, but not really.

I tell the gent that his face is very familiar but I can not put a name or place to his face.  I sit down across from him and he seems warm and friendly. We touch on the regular places, times and conditions but find no commonality.  I don't believe it for a minute.

Then, out of the blue he blurts out Semper Fi.  My God its another Marine in sheep's clothing.  We do the obligatory, when did you go in and when did you get out fairly quickly and I tell him my experiences with 232 and he immediately gets  a wry smile on his face. 

If you have ever written a Fitness Report you will understand just how hard it is to say something unique about an individual when you are writing 20 or more reports.  I am anticipating some comment that I will remember when I have to write his report.  This is one hell of a long way from "Hey how are you?" to working on a mythical FitRep.  My new brother says nothing and just stares at me. Nothing is forthcoming and I give my new friend by best WHAT! The stories now flow unrestricted.  He recounted several tails of 232 when she was his sister squadron at Kaneohe Bay, HI flying F-8's  I hope my passion for this bad ass looking aircraft was not completely obvious.  I lowered my eyes to think about his memory and they fell on a joyous sight.  This Marine fighter pilot was the only man, other than my best friend Dick Ward who had a set of Naval Aviator wings bent and cut to make a finger ring for nothing more than pride of accomplishment.  He must have had the wings for a long time because back in the day, we used to polish the wings often and with vigor to flatten out the vertical lines on the shield bisecting a fouled anchor.  The object, of course, is to find ways to be slightly different from all the other pilots and look salty.  I told him he was the only guy other than Dick I knew who had a set of wings on his finger and he replied that I was only the second guy he knew who had wings cut and bent.

I find it sort of disappointing that the US Navy spends about $1.5M @ in 1966 dollars to train a Naval Aviator so adding a set of wings for wear on your uniform and another set of wings to wear on a finger does not seem excessive.  They could make it optional and have the Aviator pay a part of the cost of the ring.  It's a little bit like being a ring knocker without any BS or BA or date.  Just a plain set of Aviator Wings.  Way cool.

We talked for awhile about the Corps and what was happening to a group that for over two hundred years had done the bidding of the nation and lived up to its motto, "Always Faithful".  That loyalty had, for over two hundred years, been abused, slandered, made to do without except an order to do even more with less and seldom shielded the soldiers of the sea from the greed and avarice of the politics of the DC elite and their one and only loyalty toward reelection.  It must take a special kind of character to intentionally make a decision that will enrich you personally and at the same time cause financial, physical and/or mental anguish for millions, many whom voted for you.  They are able to do this because they can spin a story of corruption or greed or avarice, take you pick, just to get reelected.

Do you sleep well?  If so, WHY!  Because there is soooooo much money in DC, most of it from taxpayers, it can be used to gain access to the inner sanctum's of the decision making process. Decisions made in the halls of the offices of the Senate and the House are as likely to be compacts with the devil as not.  The reader may have a different view, but if you get the opportunity have a one on one with one of these guys, you will not be surprised at the shallowness of their personalities.  They have reasons:  They are in and out of meetings, hearings, speech making on the floor, TV, Radio and Twitter deadlines, selling their souls to get the money to run again for this ungodly and, according to most polls, the lowest rated profession in all of America.  Why?  Two reasons.  One, they can make a fortune while in office and two, in less than a week on the job, they will have become addicted to the power, the perks and the privileges of the office.

This may be the most powerful of addictions on the planet.  There are few acts, natural and unnatural they won't perform, lies they won't tell, stories they won't spin but most of all the screwing they will give to the American taxpayer just to get reelected.

I met a stranger today who turned out to be one of the better representations of a Band of Brothers who. strangely, like most of us, is, if not pissed to the max, is incredibly disappointed with all of the "leadership" that goes missing every minute of every day.  I find myself speaking of four star officers who may have, at one time, been combat leaders of the very best quality, would crawl over razor wire to take care of their troops, insured that all of worth were rewarded in kind and saw to care and feeding of the stressed families at home.  Now, in terms that are as odious to write as they are to read they have become, just to stay alive in the DC political arena, cowards and weaklings who will not stand up for the fighting force in which, at some time in the past, he served as a military commander, a motivator, steadfast in combat, loyal to those who work until they can give no more and those who are killed and maimed in a war that these same four stars are now responsible for executing.  The civilians take the training money and these so called Joint Chiefs of Staff wring their hands and huddle in fear of a non-combatant, pencil necked geek who expects loyalty up the chain but has no thoughts of loyalty down the chain.  These five see their fighting forces dwindling to third world capability and do nothing.  They see men with whom they  serve and served being driven from the service, relieved of command without cause, speak truthfully of conditions but speak in way that is not in alignment with current policies.  They see all this and do nothing.  Not one resignation in protest to policies and ROE that puts Airmen, Soldiers, Marines and Sailors in harms way and denies them the tools and rules to kick ass and win a military victory from a rag tag 7th century bunch of uneducated yet fearsome individuals.  While knowing that a permanent or long term ground victory is almost out of the question, these same four stars allow their troops to be rotated and rotated and rotated until they have burned the fire from their hearts, lost wives and children to the frequent and long separations and with a criminal, my opinion, sense of apathy toward our combat veterans abrogated their last vestige of military discipline and loyalty from all who, by law, must follow the orders from those who now lack the moral authority to participate any further in their current positions and rank.  As if to partially make up for past failures, they should all stand up in front of every MSM TV camera and resign in mass and tell their story of the last seven years of waging war under the current administration.  It is the very least they can do.

All I really wanted to do was tell you about the ring on the finger of a fellow Marine combat pilot.