Friday, April 17, 2009

Our Courageous Airmen, past & present

For most of America, the war (errrr … Overseas Contingency Operation) in Afghanistan is far away. We often forget the great acts of courage our men and women are performing daily. I ran across this piece put out by SAF/PA in Aimpoints. The heroism it describes is stunning.

And … it describes just one day in the lives of these great people.

Secondly, 10 days or so ago, I had the honor of attending the National Conclave of the Arnold Air Society/Silver Wings. At the luncheon, the speaker was Robert Arnold – grandson of General of the Air Force Hap Arnold. Mr Arnold gave an excellent speech – which we have on our website. My favorite part of the speech is where he describes how his father was named (bottom of page one). Secondly, at the end of the speech, Mr. Arnold quotes his grandfather:

“If the nations of the world find they cannot act in concert, our possession of power will be our only resource. Therefore, we must at all costs, maintain it. All of this [is] expensive, of course, but it is one expense that we must not now or ever skimp or stint. It is the price of security and the price of peace.”

Finally, I would like to commend a book to you. It came out in Dec 08. It is entitled: Surviving Hell by Leo Thorsness. It is about his medal of honor winning mission flying the F-105 in Viet Nam and his six years of captivity, torture, and abuse at the hands of the North Vietnamese. Reading this will help educate you on why it is so important to have a trained, dedicated, and modern Search and Rescue force. It has the added advantage of being readable … and short.

For your consideration.

Michael M. Dunn


Jack said...

Why, when forwarding an article about courage and heroism, would the AFA President chose to degrade the article by starting his comments with a disrespectful, immature and unprofessional reference to a change in the name of effort we are undertaking? This childish reference deflects from the deserved attention the article should rightly receive.
Incidently, there was an article in the NY Times today about an Army unit that was ambushed. It was written from the perspective of the ground effort but it still hightlights how critical air support is in these operations

Jack said...

Why would the AFA President, when forwarding an article about an airman's courage and heroism, make a demeaning, immature and unprofessional reference to a change in the way we describe our contingency operations. His childish wording certainly deflected from the intent to honor the airman.
There was a related article today in the NY times about an Army operation in Afghanistan. It was written from the perspective of the ground unit but also highlighted critical air support in these operations.

Dr. Ron said...

Hap Arnold’s remarks were “spot on” when he made them. But at this moment in history they are problematic. Why? Because it doesn’t matter how great the arsenal if we haven’t the able manpower to operate and maintain that arsenal.

I needn’t tell you what recruiters have told me on the QT about cutting corners scraping up manpower for Iraq and Afghanistan; you already know both the difficulties and the consequences. We can have the greatest arsenal in the world, yet if the average able-bodied and able-minded potential recruit finds himself or herself too good to serve, what will our strategy be in the absence of essential manpower? A conditional enforceable draft is essential. If Americans become as complacent as the Romans did in the 4th century AD, we shall go the way of Rome.

Weapons and weapon systems are vital but the human element must be strong and committed. I, sadly, do not detect that sense of commitment in our younger Americans…in fact they can be arrogantly and rudely negative about the matter of serving. Our society is responsible for such attitudes. I have no great expectations for change.

With all good wishes!

Dr. Ron Ribble
Lt Colonel USAF Ret

dltarefchr said...

Just like our country's founders had visions of success, so did the founders of our Air Force. Hap Arnold's words concerning the maintenance of our military power and the price should be engraved in each of our hearts and minds. We should realize his view and wisdom and support actions to sustain Air Power, an undeniable necessity for America's future security. I, as Patriotic American and a veteran, would gladly pay taxes to secure my country's safety. Sadly, it appears that is not where my taxes go. As we fight the WAR ON TERROR that as the AFA Prresident says, is "Far Away," let's remember it is far away because we are taking it to the terrorists and rogue regimes who support terrorism. It will remain far away unless we redirect our attention and tax dollars to other issues and programs that favor the political few who are disinterested in National Security and are interested only in self prosperity. I commend the AFA President for reminding us that the war IS against terrorism...and semantics won't ever change that.

Frank said...

I do agree with Secretary Gates on the misguided CSAR-X Program as a single service platform. “X” has always designated an experimental aircraft. The CSAR-X program was not an experimental aircraft. Across the board the US needs a new vertical lift program as congress required by FVL Assessments.

There is safe, simple VTOL/CTOL technology available which is known as Modus Verticraft. The fan blades are stored for high speed flight in a disk/hub/rotor. This is the first requirement for any high speed, vertical lift aircraft (the blades are retracted and stored in the disk for high speed flight).

Franklin E. Black
Modus Verticraft, Inc.

Unknown said...

Amen to CSAR. I arranged to have Leo Thorsness be a speaker at one of our Northrop Management club dinners some years ago. It was nice to meet him and listen to him. With our son serving as a PJ for years and part of an elite STS unit in Iraq we have nothing but the greatest respect for this incredible group of people. Too bad the little Napoleon has it in for the USAF.
Nelson Gabert
San Clemente, CA