Anniversaries

There were a couple of anniversaries yesterday, that are worth noting.

First, on 18 September 1947, the United States Air Force came into existence. Born out of the Army Air Forces, it had long been recognized that it should be a separate service. Even General of the Army/General of the Air Force (the only man to hold five-star rank in two services, and the only man to hold five-star rank in the Air Force) Henry H. (Hap) Arnold understood that separating in the preparation for and during World War Two was inadvisable. But with that war behind us, it was time to look to the future

And so following the Royal Air Force which became a separate service in 1918, it became so in America as well. The Navy looking at the British model strongly opposed the idea, noting that the RAF had taken over the fleet air arm. At a conference in Key West, it was agreed that the navy would keep its own air arm, as did the marines. And so now America has the two strongest air forces in the world.

As noted here right now the  Air Force faces challenges:

In strategic terms, the Air Force faces major challenges. As Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson put it this week, “What we know now from analysis” is that “the Air Force is too small for what the nation expects of us.” Wilson noted that the new National Defense Strategy says the military must “defend the homeland, provide a credible nuclear deterrent, win against a major power while encountering a rogue nation, all while managing violent extremists. Each of those missions relies heavily on America’s Air Force.”

Based on past performance, I’d guess they’ll come through for us, as they always have, but we really need to do better.

And so now, again looking to the future we have another new service aborning, mostly out of the Air Force, the Space Force. It’s probably a good idea, but it’s going to have to rely heavily on its older brother for a time, to get it all sorted out.

And so we owe thanks to the brave men and women whose bravery has kept us safe since 1947. Happy Birthday, Air Force, Keep ’em Flying and press on.

 


A few years before the establishment of the air force, there was a battle that was pretty important for    American history but perhaps even more important in English history. 881 years before the USAF King Harold Hardrada of Norway met King Harold Godwineson of England at Stamford Bridge. It’s quite a story, and my friend The Clerk of Oxford tells it better than I can.

Harold Hardrada’s army landing in England, in a 13th-century English manuscript
(CUL MS Ee.3.59, f.31)

On or around 18 September in the autumn of 1066, the king of Norway, Harald Hardrada, arrived on the coast of Yorkshire with a large army. In his company was Tostig, the brother of Harold Godwineson, king of England, who had joined forces with the Norwegians against his brother. Harold Godwineson himself was occupied elsewhere, on the south coast, having spent the summer awaiting a Norman invasion which had not – yet – come. Soon after their arrival the Norwegian forces won a battle at Fulford, near York, but were defeated a few days later by the English king at Stamford Bridge. In this battle, Harald Hardrada was killed. Accounts of the Norwegian invasion of 1066 in medieval English sources tend to be fairly brief, since it came to be overshadowed by the Battle of Hastings a few weeks later; but in Scandinavian history Harald Hardrada was a major figure, and so many Old Norse sources tell detailed and powerful narratives about the last days of his life. Written centuries after the events they describe, they are not really intended to be reliable sources for what actually happened in 1066; instead, they show us how later Norse writers thought about this period of history, which was (among other things) a turning-point in England’s relationship with the Scandinavian world.

One such is a text called Hemings þáttr, a narrative written in Iceland in the thirteenth century, which deals at length with the attempted Norwegian invasion of England, the Norman Conquest, and its aftermath. Following other Norse sources, it tells how Harald’s last days were marked by a cluster of omens which seemed to show the king that his death was approaching; Harald is shown embarking on the invasion with a sense of foreboding, increasingly confident that this will be his last expedition, the end of a magnificent career. He has been talked into it by Tostig, egged on to ambition by a bitter and vengeful man – Tostig is jealous of his brother, wants power for himself, and is trying to use the Norwegian king to get it. Harald knows Tostig is using him, knows he can’t be trusted, and yet agrees to support him. Almost before he has done so, the bad omens start: Harald’s men have threatening dreams, sailors report mysterious fires at sea and blood pouring out of the sky, a ghost rises up from a graveyard to prophesy that the king will fall. Worst of all, before setting sail, Harald has a vision of St Olaf, his martyred half-brother, who angrily chastises him for what he is about to do. Harald is shaken and Tostig, a wily ‘man of many words’, has to talk him round, telling him it’s just some ‘English witchcraft’ trying to frighten him. But the signs could not be clearer that this invasion will not end well.

By the time they reach the English coast, the relationship between the king and his English egger-on is strained. One thing that’s interesting about this part of the story is how precise the geographical references are, compared to the English sources; the Old Norse sources are much more specific about locating Harold and Tostig in particular places as they travel along the coast of Yorkshire, and Cleveland, Scarborough, and Ravenser are all mentioned by name. (Sometimes medieval Icelandic writers knew more about northern England than historians in the south of England did.)

Keep reading at the link. It’s quite the story, and well told. This battle, often overlooked, has in my mind at least ramifications that echo down to the present, stopping the revival of Cnut’s Scandinavian empire and weakening King Harold just enough for Duke William to beat him, sucking England into continental Europe for the next 500 years.

And yes, do buy her book, it’s one of my favorites. Here is the US Amazon link. I liked her writing enough to order it from Amazon UK before it was available here, and never regretted it.

Manic Monday

U.S. Soldiers from Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 4th Infantry Regiment, U.S. Army Europe and members of Romania’s 21st Mountain Division assess an area of land. (U.S. Army photo by Christopher S. Barnhart/Released)

Manic Monday again, I see. Britain has gotten itself into a constitutional swamp underlaid with quicksand, and in America, the government has so far refused to police the police. In both countries, there is a growing feeling that the government is out of the sovereign people’s control, and the rule of law itself is endangered. Not to mention the suspicion of many that a large part of the civil service (on both sides of the pond) is at best seditious, if not quite treasonous. So, it’s not like I have nothing to write about, it’s that I don’t really want to.

I also suspect you’re as tired of the mess as I am, and, like me, suspect there is not a lot we can do about it anyway. So how about a breath of fresh air.

But we can always feel better when we look around. From Hong Kong where protestors have been carrying the old colonial flag (how unPC) and the British union flag and our own star-spangled banner to Venezuela people always look to us with a longing in their hearts, for most people do wish to be free. Our countries remain the best and almost only hope for truly oppressed people everywhere in the world, and the better thay knew us, the more they wish to be with us. Far smarter than our own elites, I say.

Then there are our military people. I’ve been known to get emotional in my admiration for them, but others have noticed as well. Like a Frenchman, yeah that’s what I said, a Frenchman had something nice to say about American soldiers. Very nice, in fact. Via American Thinker.

Blogger and veteran Wes O’Donnell has translated an editorial in a French newspaper from a French soldier serving with a prestigious U.S. infantry battalion. I recommend reading the whole thing. Here are some excerpts:

US soldiers are in top physical shape compared to the French, and it appears much better in infantry tactics. The soldier notes:

Heavily built, fed at the earliest age with Gatorade, proteins, and creatine — they are all heads and shoulders taller than us and their muscles remind us of Rambo. Our frames are amusingly skinny to them — we are wimps, even the strongest of us — and because of that they often mistake us [the French] for Afghans. [snip] Even if some of them are a bit on the heavy side, all of them provide us everyday with lessons in infantry know-how. Beyond the wearing of a combat kit that never seems to discomfort them (helmet strap, helmet, combat goggles, rifles etc.) the long hours of watch at the outpost never seem to annoy them in the slightest.

In combat, US soldiers go on the offense in every encounter with the enemy in contrast to soldiers of other nations who have been taught to first defend and await orders:

And combat? If you have seen Rambo you have seen it all — always coming to the rescue when one of our teams gets in trouble, and always in the shortest delay. That is one of their tricks: they switch from T-shirt and sandals to combat ready in three minutes. Arriving in contact with the enemy, the way they fight is simple and disconcerting: they just charge! They disembark and assault in stride, they bomb first and ask questions later — which cuts any pussyfooting short.

And finally:

To those who bestow us with the honor of sharing their combat outposts and who everyday give proof of their military excellence, to those who pay the daily tribute of America’s army’s deployment on Afghan soil, to those we owned this article, ourselves hoping that we will always remain worthy of them and to always continue hearing them say that we are all the same band of brothers.

Something from the original post struck me:

Each man knows he can count on the support of a whole people who provides them through the mail all that an American could miss in such a remote front-line location: books, chewing gums, razorblades, Gatorade, toothpaste, etc. In such a way that every man is aware of how much the American people backs him in his difficult mission.

And that is something almost uniquely American, and one of our great strengths. And it’s remarkable in a country that less than 250 years ago so despised professional soldiers that it abolished the army. For most of us, what we used to call ‘the Big Green Machine’ is nearly the only part of the American government that we trust.

“This we’ll defend”, indeed. I hope we prove to be worthy of them.

America Goes to War

We all, if we are old enough, remember the horror we felt 18 years ago this morning. I happened to be home and watching the morning news, never, not once in my life have I been so shocked, and yes, angered. But we all were, I still remember the picture of a German destroyer coming alongside one of our warships on a NATO exercise,  rails manned, stars and stripes at the foretruck, and a homemade sign on the bridge, “We are with you”, it said.

We talk of this every year, as our parents and grandparents talked of Pearl Harbor, and it was the same kind of thing, out of the blue, mass casualties, and a coming together. Sadly that last didn’t last very long. My remembrance of the day is here, and I’ve spoken of the heroes of the day before as well, here. Both are, I think, worth rereading.

But we are continually learning more, and seeing people in a new light. Garrett M. Graff published in Politico last week an excerpt of his book: The Only Plane in the Sky: An Oral History of 9/11. Even the excerpt moved me to tears and a huge respect for all those mentioned in it. I’m not sure how ‘fair use’ plays out here, but I think we should be all right with his chosen excerpt, and perhaps a couple pictures. I hope so, I want you to read this.

Gary Walters, chief usher, White House: It was a little bit before 9 a.m. when Mrs. Bush came downstairs—I met her at the elevator. As we were walking out, I remember we were talking about Christmas decorations.

Laura Bush, first lady: My Secret Service agent, the head of my detail, Ron Sprinkle, leaned over to me as I got into the car and said, “A plane has hit the World Trade Center.”

Condoleezza Rice, national security adviser, White House: I thought, Well, that’s a strange accident. I called the president. We talked about how odd it was. Then I went down for my staff meeting.

Matthew Waxman, National Security Council, White House: I had started about six weeks earlier as Condi Rice’s executive assistant. At about 9:00 o’clock, we would have a daily Situation Room meeting for the national security adviser and all the senior directors. It was during that meeting that the second plane hit.

Mary Matalin, aide to Vice President Dick Cheney: I was with the Vice President when the second plane hit, and we knew instantly that this was not an accident.

Condoleezza Rice: It was the moment that changed everything.

Matthew Waxman: We went into full crisis response mode.

Mary Matalin: We went right into work mode. While we were in his office making calls to New York, making calls to the president, making calls wherever they needed to be made, the Secret Service barged into his office.

Dick Cheney, vice president: Radar caught sight of an airliner heading toward the White House at 500 miles an hour.

Lewis “Scooter” Libby, chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney: We learn that a plane is five miles out and has dropped below 500 feet and can’t be found; it’s missing. You look at your watch and think, Hmmm, five miles out, 500 miles an hour. Tick, tick, tick.

Dick Cheney: My Secret Service agent said, “Sir, we have to leave now.” He grabbed me and propelled me out of my office, down the hall and into the underground shelter in the White House.

Mary Matalin: My jaw dropped and the jaws of my colleagues dropped because we had never seen anything like that.

Condoleezza Rice: The Secret Service came in and they said, “You have got to go to the bunker.” I remember being driven along, almost propelled along. We had no idea where it was safe and where it wasn’t. We didn’t think the bunker of the White House was safe at that point.

Dick Cheney: They practice this—you move, whether you want to be moved or not, you’re going.

Gary Walters: The Secret Service officers started yelling, “Get out, get out, everybody get out of the White House grounds.” I remember early on, the chaos. People running, screaming. Fear was in my mind.

Christine Limerick, housekeeper, White House: The look on the faces of the Secret Service agents who were told that they had to stay—I will never forget that because we had at least the opportunity to flee.

Ian Rifield, special agent, U.S. Secret Service: We were fairly confident that plane was going to hit us. The supervisor in the [Secret Service’s] Joint Operations Center basically said, “Anybody who survives the impact, we’ll go to an alternate center, and we’ll continue.” It wasn’t a joke.

Dick Cheney: A few moments later, I found myself in a fortified White House command post somewhere down below.

Commander Anthony Barnes, deputy director, Presidential Contingency Programs, White House: Vice President Cheney arrived in the bunker, along with his wife. The PEOC is not a single chamber; there are three or four rooms. The operations chamber is where my watch team was fielding phone calls. Then there’s the conference room area where Mr. Cheney and Condi Rice were—that’s the space that had the TV monitors, telephones, and whatever else.

Mary Matalin: It took a while for everybody to actually get to that area. It hadn’t been used for its intended purpose—which was to be a bomb shelter—since its inception.

Commander Anthony Barnes: Shortly thereafter, I looked around and there was Condi Rice, there was Karen Hughes, there was Mary Matalin, there was [Transportation Secretary] Norm Mineta. Mr. Mineta put up on one of the TV monitors a feed of where every airplane across the entire nation was. We looked at that thing—there must have been thousands of little airplane symbols on it.

Mary Matalin: The vice president was squarely seated in the center. It was emotional, but it was really work, work, work. We were trying to locate first and foremost all the planes. Identify the planes. Ground all the planes.

Commander Anthony Barnes: That first hour was mass confusion because there was so much erroneous information. It was hard to tell what was fact and what wasn’t. We couldn’t confirm much of this stuff, so we had to take it on face value until proven otherwise.

At 9:59 a.m., those inside the bunker—as well as millions more glued to TV screens around the country—watched in horror as the South Tower fell.

Mary Matalin: We saw the building collapse.

Commander Anthony Barnes: There was a deafening silence, and a lot of gasping and “Oh my god” and that kind of thing.

Mary Matalin: Disbelief.

Commander Anthony Barnes: There are four or five very large, 55-inch television screens in the PEOC. We would put the different news stations—ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC—on those monitors. I remember Cheney being as flabbergasted as the rest of us were sitting there watching on these monitors. Back in those days, a 55-inch TV monitor was a really big TV. It was almost bigger than life as the towers collapsed.

Dick Cheney: In the years since, I’ve heard speculation that I’m a different man after 9/11. I wouldn’t say that. But I’ll freely admit that watching a coordinated, devastating attack on our country from an underground bunker at the White House can affect how you view your responsibilities.

Mary Matalin: We had to go right back to work.

Richard Clarke, counterterrorism advisor, White House: Many of us thought that we might not leave the White House alive.

Matthew Waxman: One of the things we were all very conscious of down in the PEOC was that the White House Situation Room was staffed with our close colleagues and friends who were staying in those spots despite a clear danger. The Situation Room, which is only half-a-floor below ground, was abuzz with activity, from people who wouldn’t normally be posted there, but who felt duty bound to stay there to help manage the crisis. Especially early in the day, there was a palpable sense that close friends and colleagues might be in some significant danger.

Ian Rifield: There was a sense of frustration too, because we were sitting there. Everybody wanted to fight back. We’re trained to go to the problem, and we were sitting there. There was a lot of tension in that regard. You wanted to do something to protect the complex and the office of the president even better than we were, but we were doing the best we could with what we had. […]

Commander Anthony Barnes: I was running liaison between the ops guys who had Pentagon officials on the phone and the conference room [in the PEOC] where the principals were. The Pentagon thought there was another hijacked airplane, and they were asking for permission to shoot down an identified hijacked commercial aircraft. I asked the vice president that question and he answered it in the affirmative. I asked again to be sure. “Sir, I am confirming that you have given permission?” For me, being a military member and an aviator—understanding the absolute depth of what that question was and what that answer was—I wanted to make sure that there was no mistake whatsoever about what was being asked. Without hesitation, in the affirmative, he said any confirmed hijacked airplane may be engaged and shot down.

Col. Matthew Klimow, executive assistant to the Vice Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Richard Myers, Pentagon: No one had ever contemplated the need to shoot down a civilian airliner.

Major General Larry Arnold: I told Rick Findley in Colorado Springs [at NORAD’s headquarters], “Rick, we have to have permission. We may have to shoot down this aircraft that is coming toward Washington, D.C. We need presidential authority.”

Major Dan Caine, F-16 pilot, D.C. Air National Guard, Andrews Air Force Base, Maryland: I handed our wing commander the phone to talk to the high levels of government to get the rules of engagement.[…]

Col. Matthew Klimow: It was a very painful discussion for all of us. We didn’t want the burden of shooting down the airliner to be on the shoulders of a single fighter pilot, but we also didn’t want to have that pilot go all the way up the chain of command to get permission to shoot. It was decided the pilots should do their best to try to wave the airplane off, and if it’s clear the airplane is headed into a heavily populated area, the authority to shoot can be given to a regional commander.

THE CALL

Lt. Heather “Lucky” Penney, F-16 pilot, D.C. Air National Guard: This sounds counterintuitive, but when the magnitude of the situation hit me, I really lost all emotion. It was really much more focused on, What are the things I need to do to enable us to protect our capital? What are the things I need to do to facilitate us getting airborne?

Brigadier General David Wherley, commander, D.C. Air National Guard, Andrews Air Force Base, Maryland: My translation of the rules to Sass was, “You have weapons-free flight-lead control.” I said, “Do you understand what I’m asking you to do?” [Sasseville and Penney] both said yes. I told them to be careful.

Lt. Col. Marc Sasseville, F-16 pilot, U.S. Air Force: As we’re going out to the jets, Lucky and I had a quick conversation about what it is that we were going to do and how we were basically going to do the unthinkable if we had to.

Lt. Heather “Lucky” Penney: We would be ramming the aircraft. We didn’t have [missiles] on board to shoot the airplane down. As we were putting on our flight gear in the life support shop, Sass looked at me and said, “I’ll ram the cockpit.” I made the decision I would take the tail off the aircraft.

Lt. Col. Marc Sasseville: We didn’t have a whole lot of options.

Lt. Heather “Lucky” Penney: I had never been trained to scramble [mobilize] the aircraft. It would typically take about 20 minutes to start the jets, get the avionics systems going, go through all the preflight checks to make sure the systems were operating properly, program the computers in the aircraft. That’s not even including the time to look at the forms, do the walk-around of the airplane, and whatnot. We usually planned about half-an-hour to 40 minutes from the time you walked out the door to the time that you actually took off.

Col. George Degnon, vice commander, 113th Wing, Andrews Air Force Base: We did everything humanly possible to get the aircraft in the air.

Major General Larry Arnold, commander of the 1st Air Force, the Continental United States North American Aerospace Defense Command, Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida: Bob Marr quotes me as saying that I told him that we would “take lives in the air to save lives on the ground.”

Lt. Heather “Lucky” Penney, F-16 pilot, D.C. Air National Guard: Seeing the Pentagon was surreal. It was totally surreal to see this billowing black smoke. We didn’t get high. We were at about 3,000 feet. We never got above 3,000 feet, at least on that first sweep out.

Lt. Col. Marc Sasseville: There was all this smoke in my cockpit. It made me nauseous to be honest with you—not from an Ugh, this stinks, it was more from an Oh my God, we’ve been hit on our own soil and we’ve been hit big. I couldn’t believe they had gotten through and they managed to pull off this attack.

Lt. Heather “Lucky” Penney: The real heroes are the passengers on Flight 93 who were willing to sacrifice themselves.

Lt. Col. Marc Sasseville: They made the decision we didn’t have to make.

There is much more at Politico and  I really want you to read it all. It includes the transcripts and remembrances of the phone calls and cockpit voice recorder from Flight 93.

Too often we talk about heroes, and often we exaggerate. We don’t here, from Vice President Cheney right down to the passengers and crew that took down flight 93, we can truly say,  The soul of the United States of America in action.

Thus ended the first day, many would follow.

 

Invasion!

When we weren’t looking, we were invaded. In its 101st year, the Royal Air Force has blitzed America, and it is quite wonderful.

Huh, you may ask, but its a tale easily told. The Red Arrows, the demonstration team of the British Royal Air Force are touring the US and Canada.

It’s one of those quirks of these things that we don’t often get to see the Reds, nor do the Brits see the Birds and the Blues that much. These teams are as their names indicate, an exemplary showcase of British and American airpower. Sadly there is little reason to demonstrate it to each other, we’ve watched each other in admiration since at least 1942, we Americans know how great the RAF is, and they kind of like us too,

It’s more important to remind the rest of the world what happens when you poke too much at the Eagle, or twist the Lions tale. The fact that one tends to get both is a fact of history that is remarkable, and probably could only happen amongst the Anglo-Saxons, but the fact it is. Doesn’t matter if Mercia or East  Anglia rules, all join in. It also matters to our countries to sell their military our products, of course. The fact that that lowers the cost for us all is a benefit.

 

Sir Humphrey over at Thin Pinstriped Line spoke some about this:

The value of the Red Arrows is that they provide a globally recognisable and iconic brand that is associated with the UK. Much like most other nations maintain some form of air display team, they provide a visible sign of UK influence and interest globally that can facilitate many open doors.

The fact that the aircraft used is the much loved and hugely successful BAE Systems Hawk helps the Team support the wider export opportunities for this superb jet. Seeing one of the older variants put through its paces highlights the potential of the airframe in a memorable manner, which will hopefully help when interested parties then get to see what the newer generation of T2 is capable of for training aircrew.

From an influence perspective, the breathtaking nature of the Teams display and iconic paint scheme helps create the conditions whereby people want to see the display in person. Their reputation and ability to draw crowds is a vital tool in the battle for winning influence on the global diplomatic stage.

The impact the Reds have in doing this is powerful – for instance, a good publicity shot can land on the front page of most papers in a country – Humphrey has been in the Middle East when the Reds were present, and practically every paper carried the visit on their front page.

In simple terms, the Reds open the door to enable the rest of UK Government and industry partners to pile in and deliver key diplomatic objectives. For example, the presence of the Reds at an airshow may lead senior military and government figures, often elusive and hard to reach, and who the UK would like to have a bilateral with to attend, enabling the setting up of key contacts and conversations that would otherwise not happen.

He’s correct, and it’s just as true for our teams as well. It’s also a hell of a recruiting tool. The first time I saw the Blues was their practice day at Purdue back when they were flying F-4J’s. You don’t get a better example of America’s power than seeing, hearing, and feeling as a Phantom overflies you at perhaps 500 feet.

And that is part of why the Reds are here, they are promoting STEM education. And that’s as should be, a joint mission. Here are some details:

Date Event name Website
07/08/2019 Halifax
08/08/2019 Halifax
09/08/2019 Halifax
10/08/2019 Halifax
11/08/2019 Halifax (flypast)
12/08/2019 Halifax
13/08/2019 Halifax
13/08/2019 Ottawa (flypast)
13/08/2019 Gatineau-Ottawa Airshow http://aerogatineauottawa.com
14/08/2019 Chicago
15/08/2019 Chicago
16/08/2019 Chicago
17/08/2019 Chicago – Air and Water Show https://www.chicago.gov/city/en/depts/dca/supp_info/chicago_air_and_watershow.html
18/08/2019 Chicago – Air and Water Show https://www.chicago.gov/city/en/depts/dca/supp_info/chicago_air_and_watershow.html
19/08/2019 Boston
21/08/2019 Atlantic City – display at Thunder Over The Boardwalk https://airshow.acchamber.com
22/08/2019 New York
23/08/2019 New York
24/08/2019 New York Airshow, Stewart International https://airshowny.com
24/08/2019 The Hamptons
25/08/2019 New York Airshow, Stewart International https://airshowny.com
25/08/2019 Washington DC
26/08/2019 Washington DC
27/08/2019 Washington DC
28/08/2019 Washington DC
28/08/2019 Niagara Falls
28/08/2019 Toronto
29/08/2019 Toronto
30/08/2019 Toronto
31/08/2019 Toronto – Canadian International Airshow https://theex.com/main/entertainment/canadian-international-air-show/air-show
01/09/2019 Toronto – Canadian International Airshow https://theex.com/main/entertainment/canadian-international-air-show/air-show
02/09/2019 Toronto – Canadian International Airshow https://theex.com/main/entertainment/canadian-international-air-show/air-show
03/09/2019 Toronto
04/09/2019 Toronto
05/09/2019 Toronto
05/09/2019 Dayton, Ohio
06/09/2019 St. Louis
07/09/2019 Spirit of St. Louis Airshow & STEM Expo http://spirit-airshow.com
08/09/2019 Spirit of St. Louis Airshow & STEM Expo http://spirit-airshow.com
09/09/2019 St. Louis
09/09/2019 Fort Worth/Dallas
10/09/2019 Fort Worth/Dallas
11/09/2019 Fort Worth/Dallas
11/09/2019 Houston
12/09/2019 Fort Worth/Dallas
13/09/2019 Fort Worth/Dallas
14/09/2019 Fort Worth/Dallas
15/09/2019 Fort Worth/Dallas
16/09/2019 Fort Worth/Dallas
17/09/2019 Denver
18/09/2019 Denver
18/09/2019 Portland
19/09/2019 Portland
20/09/2019 Portland – The Oregon International Airshow https://oregonairshow.com/
21/09/2019 Portland – The Oregon International Airshow https://oregonairshow.com/
22/09/2019 Portland – The Oregon International Airshow https://oregonairshow.com/
23/09/2019 Portland
23/09/2019 Seattle
24/09/2019 Seattle
24/09/2019 Vancouver
25/09/2019 Vancouver
26/09/2019 Victoria (flypast)
26/09/2019 Vancouver (flypast)
27/09/2019 Vancouver
27/09/2019 San Diego – Miramar Airshow https://www.miramarairshow.com
28/09/2019 San Diego – Miramar Airshow https://www.miramarairshow.com
29/09/2019 San Diego – Miramar Airshow https://www.miramarairshow.com
01/10/2019 San Francisco
02/10/2019 San Francisco
02/10/2019 Long Beach
04/10/2019 Los Angeles – The Great Pacific Airshow https://pacificairshow.com
05/10/2019 Los Angeles – The Great Pacific Airshow https://pacificairshow.com
06/10/2019 Los Angeles – The Great Pacific Airshow https://pacificairshow.com
08/10/2019 Rapid City

Dates are British fashion DD/MM/YYYY. If you’re anywhere near one of these, you really should see them. I have once, and they are quite awesome.

The RAF page for the Tour is here, and should not be missed.

Of Rights and Needs

The gun confiscation people (who want us to believe that they simply want ‘common-sense gun regulation’) make a lot of noise about what we need. In the first place, they haven’t a clue what living in the middle of Nebraska is like, let alone Alaska, but they think one size fits all legislation is just fine. They’re wrong of course.

But that is not the real point. The Constitution and especially The Bill of Rights is the American guarantee of the freedom and the sovereignty of the people and no one else.

It harks back to Jefferson’s words in the Declaration of Independence:

That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

As we all know the Declaration is not law, I like to call it a mission statement. That mission is to create a country of free people, who can say and do as they please without fear of the government. The Consitution and the Bill of Rights were written to secure these rights through time.

Shortly after the Constitutional Convention, Pennsylvania called a convention to consider it, including whether it needed a Bill of Rights appended. John Smilie warned:

“Congress may give us a select militia which will, in fact, be a standing army-or Congress, afraid of a general militia, may say there shall be no militia at all. When a select militia is formed; the people in general may be disarmed.”

Carrying this point forward Tenche Coxe a prolific writer on the Consitution and the rights of Americans wrote this:

The power of the sword, say the minority of Pennsylvania, is in the hands of Congress. My friends and countrymen, it is not so, for THE POWERS OF THE SWORD ARE IN THE HANDS OF THE YEOMANRY OF AMERICA FROM SIXTEEN TO SIXTY.  The militia of these free commonwealths, entitled and accustomed to their arms, when compared with any possible army, must be tremendous and irresistible. Who are the militia? are they not ourselves. Is it feared, then, that we shall turn our arms each man against his own bosom. Congress have no power to disarm the militia. Their swords, and every other terrible implement of the soldier, are the birthright of an American. What clause in the state or federal constitution hath given away that important right…. The unlimited power of the sword is not in the hands of either the federal or state governments, but where I trust in God it will ever remain, in the hands of the people.

In short, the Founder’s would have had, in fact, did have, no problem with the citizens’ possession of any and all military weapons. Remember the most advanced weapons of the day were the Pennsylvania rifle, the Brown Bess musket, and bronze smoothbore howitzers, all of which are to this day unregulated.

And yes, this argument does indicate that the National Firearms Act of 1937 is unconstitutional (this is where the licensing of fully automatic weapons and some other devices came in). As the Supreme Court originally ruled only to be pressured by the Roosevelt administration’s court-packing scheme.

You see we are not talking here of needs, we are talking of the rights of a free citizenry, and what may suffice to keep it free.

An interesting note is that Coxe served in a subcabinet role in the Washington, Adams, Jefferson, and Madison administrations. In Jefferson’s administration, you will recall that this was during the Napoleonic Wars, he was responsible for military procurement. In that capacity he wrote to the President:

The free people of these states may be estimated at five millions. The men able to bear arms may be computed at one million. It is respectfully believed and it is most anxiously suggested that measures for the immediate acquisition by purchase, importation and manufacture of muskets, rifles and pistols to arm our one million of effective free men … should be taken into consideration.

I suspect many of us have seen this meme lately

The Founder’s, including the founder of the Democrat Party emphatically, say “YES!

 

A Hero Comes Home

Hi guys. *waves sheepishly*. 🙂 I’ve been having trouble most of the week with my digestive tract, and at least for me, it tends to screw badly with my sleep schedule, and so yesterday, I forced myself to stay awake. Well, today is the perhaps inevitable result, So this won’t be a complex post! 🙂


I suspect most of you have seen this, but it won’t hurt any of us to see it again.

Jackson Proskow, a Canadian journalist had an unusual experience this week, at Dallas Love Field. Let him tell it.

This week, the long flight home took me from the devastating shooting in El Paso, Texas, to Washington, D.C., with a layover in Dallas.

Jackson Proskow

@JProskowGlobal

I’m at the airport in Dallas, waiting for my flight home to DC from El Paso, and something incredible is happening.

50.4K people are talking about this

Dallas became the place where the weight of the world seemed to melt away — the place where the good outweighed the bad for the first time in days.

When we arrived at our gate at Dallas’ Love Field, I noticed a few camera crews waiting. I didn’t think much of it. Perhaps they were waiting for a politician or a newsmaker.

A few minutes later, a gate agent from Southwest Airlines appeared and started handing out American flags.

Then came the announcement over the P.A. system. A gate agent, his voice cracking, told us about the very special arrival we were about to witness.

Jackson Proskow

@JProskowGlobal

I’m at the airport in Dallas, waiting for my flight home to DC from El Paso, and something incredible is happening.

Jackson Proskow

@JProskowGlobal

Our incoming plane is carrying the remains of an American pilot shot down over Vietnam in 1967. His remains were only recently recovered and identified and brought back to the US.

4,961 people are talking about this

Our inbound plane from Oakland was carrying the remains of an American airman, Col. Roy Knight Jr., who was shot down in combat during the Vietnam War in 1967.

Colonel Knight was a Sandy, flying the very last propellor propelled Air For aircraft, the Skyraider, on search and rescue missions, to try and save his fellow airmen. He held the Air Force Cross, Silver Star, Distinguished Flying Cross, Purple Heart, and six air medals. Nothing ordinary about this hero at all, and yet, amongst the “Sandys” nothing unusual either. Some of the best amongst us.

So Love Field and Southwest Airlines did it right. The water arch from the big Oshkosh fire vehicles, the appropriate pomp and circumstance, the little flags and pretty much rapt attention on the concourse, even solemn TSA employees.

But there was a bit off difference when then Captain Knight left for Udorn AB, he left from Love Field, and amongst those saying goodbye was his five-year-old son, who would not see his dad again. Well sort of, that son of Colonel Knight’s commanded the Southwest Fight that brought him home to Love Field.

Welcome Home, Colonel. We’ve missed you.

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