Concluding a Career

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I was given a most amazing opportunity last month and the timing of the opportunity could not have been more perfect! I was offered the chance to give the keynote address at the Peoria County Memorial Day Observance on Monday, … Continue reading

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The Beginning of the End

I’ve recently learned that my request to retire from active service this summer has been approved.

Now I actually have to figure out once and for all what I want to be when I grow up! Valid (or at least humorous) suggestions are welcome in the comments section!

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Things I Enjoy Saying

As I was walking back from work today I tried to think of a few quips I like to offer others. I do not have a particularly good reason for thinking about this particular topic. It does follow along the line of thought into which I fell summer 2003 when I was deployed with some of my Panton compadres to Singapore; and I thought out of sheer random curiosity to ask my friends to please “Tell me the first sentence of your favorite story.” That tale is covered elsewhere; perhaps someday I’ll republish it here. Without further ado, here are the couple phrases I like to turn:

I’m probably smarter than you. But I doubt it.
– Normally I rehearse in my mind saying this to folks I whom I believe are condescending. In such situations I sometimes feel like I need to push them back onto their heels a little bit with a blunt assertion of superiority. With the same breath I offer them a sort of a philosophical “Face-saver.” I’ve used this phrase a couple times, but only with people I’m certain will understand the entire phrase.

Me: “I have good news, and I have bad news. Which do you want me to explain first?
Nearly Everyone: “What’s the bad news?
Me: “The bad news is that I’m a pessimist, and I don’t have any bad news. The good news is. . . .
– This is often good for a laugh.

If I’m approaching the right person I’ve also had some success with the sister of the above phrase:

Me: “I have good news, and I have bad news. Which do you want me to explain first?
Occasional Good-Natured Person: “I’d like to hear the good news first!”
Me: “The good news is that I’m a pessimist, and all I have is bad news!
– This was met with a grinning groan, as best I remember

I hope you enjoy my sense of humor as much as I do! On the other hand, when an audience clearly does not enjoy my sense of humor as much as I do, I like to say “I’m sorry, I thought that was going to be funny.” I probably say that a bit too often. Once upon a time that phrase was good for a chuckle at minimum, but it’s clearly gotten old.

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Adding to the Absurdity

One of my frequent reads over at PJ Media is fellow (former) St Louisan Stephen Green at VodkaPundit (who “Covers the absurd in American politics,” and does it quite nicely from a libertarian frame of reference). I finally got a chance to weigh in at the comment section on a short article he posted about the probable pending retirement of the Air Force’s A-10 Thunderbolt II (better known as the “Warthog” or just simply the “‘Hog.”)

The A-10 is an amazing airplane piloted and maintained by great folks, several of whom I’m proud to call mentors and friends. As of now, I don’t believe Congress has given its approval to retire the jet from the fleet; the proposal to retire it has been made by the Air Force and seems to have been ratified by the Executive branch in the 2015 budget proposal. In the VodkaPundit article commentary, I attempted to explain a couple of the reasons the A-10 is likely to get the axe. It’s an imperfect, incomplete explanation, but I felt it was best to leave it where I did.

Whether it retires sooner or later, the ‘Hog has certainly earned its place in the annals of aviation history as a close air support all-star. It will be a fitting testament to the patriotism and dedication of the Americans who designed, built, maintained, and flew it. It will be great to keep it in place for a little while longer. But when its time comes, I hope it retires with its record intact.

There have been precedents for obsolescent technology hanging on just a bit too long, to the detriment of the system as a whole. For the most recent examples, take a virtual tour of the Saddam-era Iraqi Air Force; or walk the ground of the Beka’a Valley circa June 1982 (if you dare), and try to not let your feet get cut on the shards of the decimated Syrian Air Force. Granted, the technology in those instances was operated poorly. But fleets of third generation fighters with support from single-digit surface to air missile (SAM) batteries were no match for well-flown fourth generation fighters.

Aviation history is ushering in its fifth generation fighters. The sixth generation went onto the drawing board several years ago. The historical lesson needs to be taken to heart. The A-10s time is nearly spent, along with the rest of the fourth generation jets.

I’ve seen a lot of jets that were fine for their time flown one last time to Davis-Monthan Air Force Base’s “Boneyard.” It was the right thing to do, even if it was a little sad to know that birds like the Phantom, the Corsair, the Intruder, the Raven, and the Tomcat put their gear down for the final time.

One final “Base, Gear, Stop” radio call to D-M Tower is certainly better than the alternative radio call in combat.

Posted in Military Affairs, Rest of World Military, Rest of World Military, Uncategorized, USAF | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Genesis of No Twelve-Step Program

Just in case anyone happens to click over here from the Ace of Spades blog comments section: I was just kidding, I don’t actually have a Twelve-step program that helps transition lurkers into commenters.

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Amazing Camaro Sale!

I want to say “Thank you” to whomever purchased this 2014 Camaro COPO (Central Office Production Order) at Barrett-Jackson.  (Image Credit (as best I can tell): Copyright 2014 Drew Phillips / AOL

2014 Chevy Camaro COPO Auctioned at Barrett-Jackson for $700k for Achilles Freedom Team of Wounded Warriors

2014 Chevy Camaro COPO Auctioned at Barrett-Jackson for $700k for Achilles Freedom Team of Wounded Warriors

There look to have been other charity auctions there.

I can’t wait until I get to attend another Barrett-Jackson auction! It’s been a long time.

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A New Kind of Sunroof?

This gives a whole new meaning to the term “Sunroof!”

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Merry Christmas 2013

Another year is almost ready for the ‘Recent History” archive!
May your New Year 2014 be blessed and happy!

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Updated:: Now with 100% more Christmas Tree!

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From a Certain Point of View

The title is a reference to a parcel of dialogue from one of my favorite childhood movies (the guessing contest to “Name the movie” will be hosted in the comments section below).  One character says to another something to the effect “You’ll find many of the truths we cling to depend upon our point of view.”  This was the quip that came to mind immediately after reading the paragraph below at the UK Telegraph:

For among the rebel lines in al-Safira flutters the black flag of the al-Nusra Brigade, the jihadist group that recently declared its allegiance to al-Qaeda. Known for their fighting prowess honed in Iraq, they are now taking the lead in nearly every frontline in the Syrian war, and earlier this month, pushed to within just over a mile of al-Safira, only to for the Syrian troops to regain the ground last week.

 In particular, the statement “Known for their fighting prowess honed in Iraq,” caught me. 

I suppose from a “Spirit of George Orwell’s writing” point of view “Fighting prowess honed in Iraq” can be some sort of contextual shorthand for “Expertly dodged American combat forces by blending in amongst the native population making only occassional and furtive covert ambush-style attacks which were operationally and strategically ineffective, and eventually succumbed anyway to either American combat forces or Iraqis who tired of you hiding amongst them when you weren’t treating them barbarously.”

I would have loved to have posted this to Twitter, but I just couldn’t figure out a way to condense that down to 140 characters.

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Praying for Boston

Forth For Freedom

Forth For Freedom

I feel compelled to share this photo today. I’m praying for Boston, I hope you will too.

Twitter: #prayforboston.

Follow me on Twitter: @CPenningroth

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