Thursday, December 29, 2005
Scott Ott at Scrappleface has a humorous look at the event (non-event according to NYT).
Those of us who could actually read the Constitution already knew that the wall of separation was a fabrication based on a comment in a letter from Thomas Jefferson to a Baptist minister, assuring said minister that the government would keep out of personal religious matters.
Of course, this is in keeping with the Times' War on America, as documented by Michelle Malkin.
Sunday, December 25, 2005
Now, Mary was engaged to a man named Joseph and when she returned he was quite startled to see that she was three months pregnant. He thought about quietly divorcing her, but an angel appeared to him in a dream and told him not to worry. So they went ahead with the marriage plans. However, about that time, there was a census and Joseph and Mary went to Bethlehem to register. Due to the traffic, and the fact that they traveled slowly (Mary being pregnant and all), they arrived late at night and all the hotels were filled. One innkeeper kindly allowed them to stay in a barn. Mary gave birth to their first-born son and called him Jesus. Mary wrapped Jesus in swaddling clothes and laid him in a feed trough. (Later people would call him the Bread from Heaven.)
God was so proud of the birth, that He sent angels again, causing a great light in the sky. They announced the birth to shepherds. The shepherds were so excited, they ran to see. After the excitement died down and the census was complete, Mary and Joseph took care to perform the required rituals and were amazed by some prophecies that people made about the baby. Joseph prepared a home for his growing family in Bethlehem.
Now, when the angels lighted up the sky, magi from the East noticed. They spent some time gathering gifts and organizing a caravan, then set out for Jerusalem (where else would the King of the Jews be, but the capitol?) After nearly two years, they arrived at the palace and enquired about the new king. Herod's scribes told them they had missed it by a few miles and might want to check Bethlehem. They told Herod the time of the star and were surprised that it appeared again as they left the palace. The "star" led them to the house and they saw the young child, but did not return to Herod.
God also warned Joseph to flee, thereby escaping the slaughter of those under two by Herod. They stayed in Egypt for a while. Once Herod died, they returned to Israel and Joseph's original hometown of Nazareth. They stayed there until Jesus was ready for his Bar-Mitzvah. But that is another story.
Merry Christmas again.
Saturday, December 24, 2005
First, the really short version (John 3:16):
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
Then, the slightly longer version (John 1:1-5,9-14 - KJV) (John 1:1-5,9-14 - NIV)
Have a blessed Christmas season.
Saturday, December 17, 2005
Here's a sample:
Iraqis vote, Zarqawi fidgets
At all those purple middle digits
He can’t do a thing
In Iraq, freedom rings!
Thuggies dressed in women’s underwear
Tuesday, December 13, 2005
Of course, next on the liberal chopping block are Bill Frist and Tom DeLay. Frist faces charges of insider trading since he divested himself of medical stocks just before they went down. The fact that he had tried to remove those stocks for over six months to avoid an apparent conflict of interest seems to have no bearing on the accusation.
Delay, although having some charges thrown out, still faces a money-laundering indictment, which will no doubt prove just as spurious as the charges against Limbaugh. The politics of personal destruction rumbles on with the Washington "climate of corruption". Has anyone heard of the Barrett Report?
Monday, December 12, 2005
Wonder how long it will take for the Democrats to admit that their polling numbers were outright lies? Here are some actual results:
- 76 percent of Iraqis express confidence that this week's elections will produce a stable government
- 57 percent of Iraqis prefer democracy to either strongman rule or an Islamic state
- 99 percent of Iraqis support women voting or working as medical doctors
- 63 percent feel very safe in their own neighborhood, up sharply from an Oxford poll in June 2004
- This survey finds 10- to 13-point gains in ratings of local crime protection, security and medical care, as well as in the still-problematic areas of electric supply and jobs.
OK. But we do have good news from Iraq. The voting has started. This marks the third in the country's experiments in representative governments. Turnout is expected to be high as in the previous elections.
Wednesday, December 07, 2005
Notice that you could double up payment 1 and Payment 2 by simply adding $100 to payment 1. Adding another $101 to payment 2 takes care of payments 3 and 4.
Adding $102 to payment 3 takes care of payments 5 and 6.
and so on. In fact, you could simply add $105 to the payment for six months to knock six payments off the end of the mortgage. You invest $1,260 to save $3,594.
You can add principal at any time, without making any special arrangements with the mortgage company.
For the sake of argument, let's assume that your monthly discretionary income is exactly $1,000. If the money you spent on clothes came from that, no harm, no foul - unless you want to buy something else this month. Suppose you had other things you wanted to buy. Reach for that handy store charge card and we'll pay for it next month - out of next month's discretionary income. Aye, there's the rub.
In this scenario, you have just obligated income that you don't have yet. You have just guaranteed that you have NO discretionary income next month, because you have already obligated it. You spent next month's income before it actually came in. Now, if you control your spending and your income continues, no harm, no foul. After next month, you will return to having discretionary income. Suppose you had a sudden illness (like a heart attack, maybe) that stopped your income. You now have to pay money that you don't have. Of course, things like that probably won't happen.
What is more likely is that you will find something you want to buy next month as well. But you owe that pesky $1,000. Well, lookie here: The nice store will let you pay less than the $1,000, so you can still buy something next month. As long as you pay the minimum payment, everyone is happy and you still got a great deal on those clothes. Ya think?
I was going to give the name of a nationally known clothing store, but decided against it. The following figures are taken from an actual revolving credit account: Minimum Finance Charge per Month = $1. This rarely comes in to play, but if the finance charge computed to less than $1, they will still charge you $1. The reason that rarely happens is the Annual Percentage Rate is 22.8%. The only way the finance charge would calculate to less than $1 is if your balance were only $4.38. Update: Finance charge is $1 when the balance is $52.63. (Sorry for any confusion.) The minimum monthly payment works out to 5% of the outstanding balance, or $50 the first month.
You figure you can live with only $950 in discretionary income, so you decide to pay $50 a month until the balance is zero. You can verify these figures in any spreadsheet. Simply add the interest (22.8% / 12) per month and subtract $50 until the balance is zero. In a mere 26 months, you will have achieved your goal. You will have paid a total of $1,270.08 (that, by the way, is $20 more than the non-sale price of the items). But you can do better. The minimum monthly payment for balances under $200 is $10. Suppose you paid only the actual minimum payments. In a mere 76 months (that is six years and four months for those without a calculator), you would have paid a total of $1,532.98 for the $1,250 worth of merchandise that you charged for $1,000.
Let's say you decide to devote 10% of your discretionary income to paying this bill. After paying $100 for 11 months, you would owe $20.35. You pay that in the 12th month and in a mere year you have paid $1,120.35 for the items.
By now, I hope you get the idea. Those monthly payments can add up to quite a bit. That's why the car commercials no longer tell you what you will actually pay for the car, they tell you what your MONTHLY PAYMENT will be. That's why the "interest only" mortgages emphasize the amount you "save" each month over a conventional mortgage. Never mind that a conventional mortgage will eventually have a zero balance, while the interest only loan will always have the intial balance.
Oh, on the subject of mortgages (or any long-term loan), you can cut the number of payments (and therefore the amount you actually pay) substantially by making double payments early in the loan. You have an $800 mortgage and you are thinking "I can't pay $1,600 on this note each month". You don't have to. Look at your amortization schedule. You are probably only getting $150 of that $800 applied to principal. To double the payment, you simply include an extra $150 (Total of $950 in our example) with your normal payment.
Or, you could calculate what the payments would be for a 15-year instead of a 30-year mortgage. For example a $100,000 mortgage at 6% would have payments of $599.55 (principal and interest) for a 30-year mortgage and $843.86 (principal and interest) for a 15-year mortgage. The 30-year motgage will cost $215,838.19 and the 15-year one will cost $151,894.23. You do the math.
Sunday, December 04, 2005
Write down the number of times each week that you eat chicken. This number must be between 1 and 9. If you don't eat chicken, just pick a number from 1 to 9. Remember the number. Now do the following:
- Multiply the number by 25 (you can use the calculator that comes with the operating system).
- Add 50.
- Multiply by 40.
- Add the two digit year for your last birthday (for me that would be 05, might be 04 for some. Next year at this time, mine would be 06).
- Subtract the four-digit year of your birth.
I wish my professors had been able to put the definition ("The study of allocating scarce resources that have alternative uses") and principles (starting with the role of prices) of economics so succinctly. Mr. Sowell not only makes economics understandable, he makes it almost fun. You will enjoy his many expanations of why high-minded policies for example, rent control) result in unintended consequences (like a shortage of affordable living space in New York and San Francisco).
Realizing that the incentives created by public policy trump the intentions of that policy, helps explain many apparent anomalies, like how lower taxes (wthin bounds) generate higher income to the government, or how wage and price controls contribute to a shortages and long lines. Why a centrally planned economy cannot match the efficiency of a market economy (We all saw the demonstrations of that in Russia, but some think it was the conduct of planning, rather than the idea of planning that was the problem).
Friday, December 02, 2005
Our economy added 215,000 jobs for the month of November. We've added nearly 4.5 million new jobs in the last two-and-a-half years. Third-quarter growth of this year was 4.3 percent. That's in spite of the fact that we had hurricanes and high gasoline prices. The unemployment rate is 5 percent. And that's lower than the average for the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s.
Thursday, December 01, 2005
I will try to not be away so long in the future. I had a slight setback last week, but I am mending well. I should be able to return to work by the middle or end of January. I am walking longer and can sit at the computer longer. Thanks to all of you for your prayers and thoughts. Thanks, also, for the birthday wishes.
About the WOT
I am so glad that there is at least one Democrat with some spine and some sense. Joe Lieberman wrote an excellent piece for the Opinion Journal. This took a lot of guts, because he is bucking not only the media, but the rest of his party. Read the article.
Iraqi people are in reach of a watershed transformation from the primitive, killing tyranny of Saddam to modern, self-governing, self-securing nationhood--unless the great American military that has given them and us this unexpected opportunity is prematurely withdrawn. ...
None of these remarkable changes would have happened without the coalition forces led by the U.S. And, I am convinced, almost all of the progress in Iraq and throughout the Middle East will be lost if those forces are withdrawn faster than the Iraqi military is capable of securing the country.
In case you missed it, the president gave a great speech at Annapolis yesterday. In the speech, he outlines the strategy for victory. Also posted on the White House site is a fact sheet about training the Iraqi security forces. The president quotes Senator Lieberman:
As Democratic Senator Joe Lieberman said recently, setting an artificial timetable would "discourage our troops because it seems to be heading for the door. It will encourage the terrorists, it will confuse the Iraqi people."
Senator Lieberman is right. Setting an artificial deadline to withdraw would send a message across the world that America is a weak and an unreliable ally. Setting an artificial deadline to withdraw would send a signal to our enemies -- that if they wait long enough, America will cut and run and abandon its friends. And setting an artificial deadline to withdraw would vindicate the terrorists' tactics of beheadings and suicide bombings and mass murder -- and invite new attacks on America. To all who wear the uniform, I make you this pledge: America will not run in the face of car bombers and assassins so long as I am your Commander-in-Chief.
One more thing
In case you want to help our soldiers and support our troops, you can adopt a soldier at Rush Limbaugh's site. Do it.
Sunday, November 20, 2005
Shortly after 5:00 AM on October 29, I woke with an unpleasant pressure in my chest. I took two Tums thinking it might be gas pains. My wife woke and said I didn't look good. Since the pain did not want to leave, I agreed that I should maybe go to the emergency room at Prattville's only hospital. We also agreed that maybe calling 911 would be appropriate. All this commotion woke my mother-in-love who had been living with us for a little over a year. She suggested I take a nitroglycerin capsule in case it was a heart attack. She said if not, I would get a headache. I moved downstairs so that the emergency guys would not have to carry me down. I was sitting on the bottom steps when they arrived. I had no headache, but an elephant had decided to sit on my chest.
They assessed my situation and gave me some aspirin and another nitroglycerin capsule. After a short ride to the hospital, I was met by Dr. John Williams, who happened to be a cardiologist. He rapidly diagnosed me as having a heart attack and sent me to Jackson Hospital in Montgomery. They took me directly to the catheterization lab where he perfomed an angioplasty. That relieved the chest pain completely. I was awake for that procedure. I was also awake when Dr. Stephen Kwan, a thoracic surgeon, arrived and informed me that I had rather severe blockages in five arteries and he was going to operate on me. Somewhere between the cath lab and the operating room, the sleepy medicine took over. I was not awake for the chest surgery.
I did awake with a breathing tube down my throat, pain in my chest and what felt like bruised lungs. Every time the breathing machine pumped oxygen, it thumped agains my left lung or something. Anyway, the pain there was much worse than the pain on the way to the hospital and it kept beating on me. In spite of that, I drifted in and out of sleep. I remember having the thought, "It's a good thing they did this all at once, because there is no way I want to do this again."
I drifted in and out of consciousness until Sunday when they told me I had to breathe on my own if I wanted that breathing tube out. Later that day I was breathing well enough that they did take the tube out. It still hurt to breathe, but at least I could almost talk. I spent another night in the ICU before they thought I was doing well enough to go up to the ward. My precious wife, Pat, had stayed at the hospital that whole time. She would stay in the room with me until I was discharged.
Once in the cardiac care unit (3 West), I had a pretty fixed daily routine. They offered me food for lunch and supper, but I was not ready to eat. I did eat starting with breakfast Tuesday. They got me out of bed and sitting up as soon as they could on Tuesday. I learned to sit and rise without using my arms, only the leg muscles. I walked with assistance around the nurse's station at least once each day. Each day I was making progress, but there was something the doctor did not like about my lungs, so I went back to surgery on Thursday. So much for going home by the weekend.
One of the strangest things to me was the perception of time and space. When I closed my eyes, I did not see dark. I saw what appeared to be a stucco wall that looked like it was within arms reach. The wall had discernible grainy patterns. Time seemed to drag by at night. I was awake about half the time, seemingly sleeping a minute at a time the first night and gradually sleeping about five minutes at a time. When I came home I was up to sleeping an hour at a time. Even now, I sleep about three hours at a time.
I walk about an hour each day, so my time alternates between sleeping, breathing (using a special incentive device that shows what volume of air you are moving), walking, eating, and sitting with my legs up. Today I saw the doctor for a follow up. He removed the stitch from my abdomen and the staples from my leg, listened to my lungs and checked my blood pressure. He seemed pleased and schedule me for another visit in two months.
OK, I promise not to mention this anymore.
Sunday, November 13, 2005
Two weeks ago yesterday, I got up at 5AM and was not feeling well. We cleverly called 911 and some nice gentlemen escorted me to the local hospital where the duty officer happened to be a cardiologist. He sent me immediately to a larger hospital because I was having a heart attack.
Five bypasses later , I was moved to the recovery room, where I spent the night. Then they moved me to the cardiac recovery unit where I spent the week. I came home on Tuesday, but did not feel a lot like blogging or answering eMail.
Each day I get better. Today I was able to sit up enough to compose this. Developing...
Thursday, October 27, 2005
So far the investigation of a leak of a non-covert CIA operative's name (which was readily available from IRS sources and society magazines) has not accomplished the "i" word. (impeach Bush) Even conservative pundit, Cal Thomas, has called for his head.
Exhulting over American death #2,000 in Iraq, they have failed to note the passage of the Iraqi constitution, the rebuiilding of Iraq's infrastructure (except to complain that we are rebuilding it when New Orleans is down the drain), or the general revulsion many Arabs are now displaying toward the "insurgents" who blow up children and soft targets.
Let's trot out critics of the "regime" like the former chief of staff for Colin Powell who complains about the President and Vice President "hijacking foreign policy". Wonder who he thinks is supposed to set foreign policy if not the elected leaders of the country? The unelected career (mostly left wing) staffers within the State Department.
Where is Teddy Roosevelt when you need him?
Thursday, October 20, 2005
|What||Tax Returns||Adjusted Gross Income||Taxes Paid|
|How||Number||% of Total||Million $||%of Total||Million $||%of Total|
Monday, October 17, 2005
Friday, October 07, 2005
Thursday, October 06, 2005
Larry Elder examines some of the criticism and makes this interesting point:
How does one artfully say that out of a small percentage of America's population -- 13 percent -- blacks account for 37.2 percent of all those arrested for violent crimes, 54.4 percent of all robbery arrestees, and are the known offenders in 51.3 percent of all murders? The murder rate in the city of New Orleans stands at over 7.5 times the national average, and authorities convict only one in four arrested for homicide.Read the whole article.
I said all that to say this: The TV news coverage of Katrina focused almost exclusively on the poor blacks from New Orleans. Forget the rich black folks and rich or poor white folks who lost all their property in neighboring Mississippi or in Alabama or Florida from the four previous hurricanes. Forget also the welfare mentality that led to the evacuation failure, just blame Bush for his failure to rescue the New Orleans residents.
An eMail circulated last week with the title "Things I learned from watching TV" that skewered the media coverage and some of the absurd events in New Orleans - like people who were "acting out of hunger" stealing large-screen plasma TVs, complaining that the government-provided credit cards were not enough, etc. My son sent it to me and I apparently forwarded it on to others. One of the recipients - a brother in Christ - complained that it was offensive. I had to admit that, if you forgot about the media coverage and focused only on the points in the eMail, you could conclude that the message was attacking black people instead of the New Orleans insanity. I apologized, sincerely. Apparently Bill Bennett is not the only one who made a mistake last week.
Monday, October 03, 2005
CHIEF OF NAVAL OPERATIONS SPEECH
I thought it was an excellent speech, but I wanted to cite the date, time and location, so I contacted the Navy for the details. They replied that this was certainly NOT made by Admiral Mullen. Turns out it was not a speech at all. It was an article written by a retired Navy Chief (Petty Officer, that is). Thanks to LT Bill Couch, USN, for directing me to the source. Here are the author's* comments on the eMail confusion.
"Someone had either liked (or disliked) my words enough to copy them into an email, and forward it one or more friends. Perhaps the original forwarder was dazzled by my sterling wit and brilliant logic, and simply could not wait to share them with his or her friends. Or, maybe he or she found my writing disjointed enough or offensive enough to hold up as an object of ridicule. I cannot say, although I will admit to having a personal favorite among those alternatives.
Somewhere along the line, it picked up the headline "Navy Chief Lets Loose a Broadside." So far, so good. I am a retired Navy Chief, and you could certainly argue that I was loosing a broadside. If you haven't read it, "The Wrong Army" is a fairly opinionated piece. (Okay, it's a very opinionated piece.) So that header was appropriate, even if I hadn't chosen it myself.
If the shape shifting had ended there, nothing else would have happened, apart from a lot of people circulating an email from an old Navy Chief. But, after a few hundred bounces, the header of the email became "Navy Chief of Operations Lets Loose a Broadside." Now we were starting to get into the danger zone. Someone could look at that header, and easily conclude that the words that followed were straight from the mouth of the CNO. Not good. But the header of the email wasn't through changing yet. A few hundred bounces later, it had acquired another headline: "Speech by the Chief of Naval Operations." By this time, all mention of retired Navy Chief Petty Officer Jeff Edwards had vanished from the email. It was squarely marked as the work of the Chief of Naval Operations.
Be sure to follow the links above. I am sure you will enjoy reading the original article and the author's commentary.
Jeff Edwards is a retired U.S. Navy Chief Petty Officer, and an Anti-Submarine Warfare Specialist.
Friday, September 30, 2005
Opening the show was a local group called the Space Cowboys who did a little country, rock, and easy listening tunes. Starting promptly at 5PM, they performed for an hour before the Lt Dan Band took the stage a little after 6PM.
The Lt Dan Band performed until 7:30, took a 20 minute break and continued until 9PM. Then came back for an encore due to the crowd's cheers and applause. It was truly a great show. One highlight for me was Gary Sinise talking about the good things going on in Iraq. The soldiers are building schools and Gary formed an outreach called Operation Iraqi Children, which provides school supplies to the troops so they can pass them out to the Iraqi children. In the wake of the two major hurricanes, Operation Iraqi Children is expanding its efforts to provide assistance to the many Americans affected.
If you ever get the chance to view a Lt Dan Band concert, take it.
Thursday, September 29, 2005
Also, John Roberts was confirmed today by 78 to 22, in spite of bloviating by the usual suspects. Even "moderate" Hillary Clinton voted no. Here are the "Nay" voters:
All the Republicans and 23 Democrats voted "Yea"
All I can say is "Yay." Now if only the President will nominate Janice Rogers Brown for "the O'Connor seat".
Wednesday, September 21, 2005
Northern California Marine Moms
Tuesday, September 20, 2005
I vote that we pass on the whole Democratic plan, otherwise we will be taking away the reason that people work, and a lot of their self respect. How can you have self respect if you have been excluded from the very programs and practices that make every American a part of the American Way. If I am excluded from participation in providing for my self, my family and moreover my own future, I have been relegated to a different class of citizen. I must in some way be of less worth and dignity than those who have NOT been relegated to this secondary category. Someone has decided for me that I am less able, less worthwhile, and in general a human being of less ultimate value than my fellows. I am not being discriminated on because of the color of my skin, or my ethnicity or religious preference, but simply because it has been decided that I do not earn enough money in the course of a year to qualify for inclusion in all of the rights and RESPONSIBILITIES that my forebears fought and gave their lives to secure and protect. We must look at this from more than one perspective...not only does it unfairly shift the burden from each and every American to a select segment of the population, but it takes away the God given responsibility given at the expulsion from the Garden, to be responsible for your own food, raiment and shelter. You arbitrarily take that responsibility away, and you are on your way to taking away the reason for which we conduct our selves in responsible fashion. For what purpose will anyone strive to better themselves, they will be taken care of but most certainly in BONDAGE to that system. I am a free American, keep your 'second class citizenship'. Should we not take a lesson from the former Soviet Union, if you let part of the people pay for all of the people then no one but the Government will have any money.
A businessman was rushing to work and saw some disheveled individual selling pencils. Because the businessman was in a hurry, he just dropped some money in the bucket and hurried on. Then he stopped and went back and got his pencil, saying something like: "You are an honest person trying to make an honest living selling pencils. I forgot to take my pencil." Years later, as the story goes, the businessman was at a chamber of commerce function when a neatly dressed man came up to him and introduced himself. He asked if the businessman remembered him. The businessman said no. The other gentlemen then said something like this: "I was that hobo selling pencils a few years ago. When you came back to get your pencil, you gave me my dignity. I am now a success, thanks to your reminding me that I was not a beggar, but a businessman."
Cool story. Ziglar says it is true.
Sunday, September 18, 2005
Celebrating the Air Force’s 58th Birthday, Sept. 18, 2005
On Sept. 18 we mark the creation of the world’s most powerful Air Force. With the stroke of President Harry Truman’s pen, our quest to become an independent service became a reality 58 years ago.
In the nearly six decades since it became a separate service, the Air Force has seen the world change in almost unimaginable ways. We fought wars in Southeast Asia –
We are now living in a time of momentous change around the globe. We are seeing the seeds of democracy beginning to take root in
Katrina Relief Operations: However, before we get to those issues, let us focus on the situation that has commanded most of the nation’s attention in the past three weeks. We have been transfixed by the images from our
The military response to this disaster has been nothing short of amazing. Every service – Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard – has performed magnificently, and thousands of men and women in uniform are still on the job as we speak. Here is what the Air Force, the Air National Guard, and the Air Force Reserve have been doing in the days since Katrina hit.
Day after day, we watched helicopter rescuers pluck men, women and children from rooftops, where they scrambled to escape rising flood waters. This has been the largest search and rescue operation since
Rescue helicopters operated around the clock, using night vision goggles to pull people trapped in their houses at night. One of those rescuers was Senior Airman Jack Earnshaw, a pararescueman from Nellis Air Force Base in
They make it look easy, but the fact is these rescues are dangerous. They demand every bit of skill these rescue teams can muster, as they dodge power lines, trees, and confined spaces to reach flood victims. But, Earnshaw said, “There’s nothing more rewarding than giving back to our country. You really feel like you’re giving back and serving Americans.”
There is another team we don’t see, behind the scenes, making sure these helicopters are ready to fly every mission. Our helicopter maintenance troops have done a superb job. Sergeant Robert Marchewka is a production superintendent from the 347th Maintenance Squadron at Moody AFB,
We also saw an amazing effort at the
Air Force aeromedical teams from all around the country deployed to
Our aircrews have been delivering an amazing amount of food and critical supplies to
Air Force assets are being called on in many other ways, as well. For example, a reconnaissance aircraft from Offutt AFB is being used to capture aerial imagery of the Gulf Region. These images are used by FEMA to quickly assess the status of roads and evacuation routes and evaluate the extent of damage to critical facilities such as oil rigs, hospitals, and military installations.
Guardsmen and Reservists are working side-by-side with their active-duty counterparts, helping with security, law enforcement, medical, aircraft maintenance, communications, civil engineering, and dozens of other specialties. They are conducting search-and-rescue operations, evacuating residents, distributing food and water, and providing communications support to this hard-hit region.
At Maxwell AFB,
The chief of the National Guard Bureau, Army Lt. Gen. H. Steven Blum, put it this way: “The first citizen-soldiers responded to the shot heard ‘round the world. Now we’re responding to the storm heard ‘round the world.”
President Ronald Reagan once asked, “Where do we find such people?” And then he answered his own question: “We find them … where we always find them in our hours of need – on [the] main streets and farms of
The Katrina relief operation is a monumental task, but it is only the latest in a series of challenging missions that the Air Force has taken on since its inception. As we mark the creation of the U.S. Air Force, let’s pause for a moment to consider the events that led to our becoming a separate service.
Remembering World War II: This month, and for much of the past year, the world has marked the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II in September 1945. It’s no coincidence that the Air Force became a separate service just two years after the end of that global conflict. World War II was the ultimate proving ground for air power. This global war demonstrated as nothing else could that air power deserved its own service – trained, equipped and led by aviators.
One of the Air Force’s most important “founding fathers” was General Henry “Hap” Arnold. As the only five-star general in Air Force history, Gen. Arnold organized and led the world’s greatest aerial armada to victory against the Nazis in
But it’s also instructive to remember that when “Hap”
You might say that airpower provided the “bookends” for the Second World War. Our nation was drawn into the war by an unprovoked aerial attack on
By the time Gen. Arnold retired in 1946, he had built the Army Air Force into a global aviation powerhouse, with more than 78,500 aircraft and nearly 2.4 million men. Their performance during World War II convinced
But even visionaries like “Hap”
Air Force “blue suiters” have shaped history in many ways in the past six decades. There were the monumental supply efforts of the Berlin Airlift, and the dogfights in “MiG Alley” in the skies over
Global War on Terror: We now find ourselves waging another global war – a global war on terrorism. And like the Second World War, this global war began with a terrible surprise attack on our country.
Just one week ago [Sept. 11], we marked the fourth anniversary of the horrific attacks on
The attacks taught us a painful lesson – that a good defense is no longer good enough. We cannot afford to be hit again, perhaps by even more powerful weapons. We are engaged in a life-and-death struggle with an enemy whose brutality knows no bounds.
In June , President George Bush told the nation, “Many terrorists who kill innocent men, women, and children on the streets of
And that is exactly what the Air Force is doing, along with our sister services. Since Operation Enduring Freedom began in October 2001, followed by Operation Iraqi Freedom in March 2003, the Air Force’s Air Mobility Command has flown more than 52,000 missions. Those missions have moved 1.4 million tons of supplies to
Just to put these numbers in perspective, these airlift operations are second only to the Berlin Airlift in scope. This is a tremendous undertaking, and our people have done a fantastic job bringing all the people, supplies, and equipment halfway around the world. This is truly “Global Reach” in action.
We have more than 23,000 people deployed to the
But these numbers really don’t begin to tell the whole story. Our people are taking on new challenges and new roles, using their ingenuity to help our sister services. You’ve heard the expression “boots on the ground”? Well, today, those boots might just be worn by an Airman. In addition to traditional flying operations, our Airmen are taking on many non-traditional roles, as well.
For example, Air Force people are heavily involved in convoy operations, which is some of the most dangerous duty in
We’re making great use of what we call “UAVs,” or Unmanned Aerial Vehicles. UAVs like the Predator are being equipped with laser-guided missiles. In the Air Force, we like to talk about shortening the “sensor-to-shooter timeline,” meaning the time it takes for us to spot the bad guys and call in an air strike on them. But in the case of the Predator, the sensor is the shooter. Not only can operators on the ground see the bad guys with real-time video images, but now they can take them out with lethal precision, and that’s a good thing.
Our medical teams are operating closer to the front lines than ever before. Because of that, patients are getting advanced medical care within hours, not days or weeks, as they had in the past. The result is that we’re seeing the lowest death rate of wounded Soldiers in any war in history.
Nevertheless, the loss of any of our men and women is deeply felt. As President Bush said, “We mourn every loss of life,” but he promised, “We’ll honor their memories by completing the mission.”
The road to democracy in
What Lies Ahead: The Air Force has truly earned its wings in its first 58 years of existence. We cannot know what challenges lie ahead for those who wear the Air Force uniform. After all, who could have predicted the attacks of September 11th, 2001, or the devastation along the Gulf Coast from Hurricane Katrina? But the Air Force has a rich tradition of rising to meet those challenges. We can be confident that America’s Air Force will be up to the task.