The Bow Ramp

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Some Call It Plagerism

The other day, I was rummaging around in the attic looking for my old dividers. No luck finding them, but I did come across an old keepsake from my carrier days. Now Cdr. Salamander has his Sunday Funnies, and Lex has his carrier tales, so I figured why not flatter them by copying their methods. Therefore, I present to you (in installments) some of the following:

This is the cover sheet from the bound collection of cartoons that graced the Air Plans aboard the USS Ranger (CV-61) during the first half of my tour aboard. Unlike your average editorial cartoons, or what you read in the Sunday paper, they don't make much sense to most folks as they don't have the background to understand the context. Many of them will be funny to anyone who ever deployed on a carrier, a lot more of them, you would need to know the characters and situations to really appreciate them. Any way, here come the first two.

This one should be funny to anyone who ever made a Westpac cruise. When approaching the Asian side of the puddle, there was an area we called the "Bear box" that was where we usually encountered Soviet "Bear" bombers that would come out to perform recon/spying/intimitation.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

No, I am NOT a Marine -- but that wouldn't be a bad thing if I was

Naturally, the Marine Corps birthday party was a blast. Marines are not only good at breaking things, but at having fun as well. It was a fairly small gathering (not many Marines in this neck of the woods) but in trhis case, size didn't matter. Yours truly actually won a prize in the camo face painting contest. Since I didn't bring my camera to the party, much of it was worn off by the time I got home at 0-dark-thirty. BTW, I am wearing the prize. I like it, but really wanted the Kabar. Oh well..

Needless to say, we were booted out of the after-party, party at closing time.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Happy Birthday USMC

As I mentioned in the previous post, I went to the Marine Corps birthday ceremony today at the ROTC building at the Oregon State campus. Although not a Marine myself, I have many strong connections to the Corps and like to support them. Here is a photo I took.

The Marine on the left is Pat Parsons and the Marine on the right is Ed Elizondo.
One of the traditions of the Corps is that the first piece of the birthday cake is given to the honored guest, and the second piece is shared by the youngest and oldest marine present. Ed Elizondo was the youngest marine. After serving in Iraq, he was accepted into a commissioning program, and is attending OSU. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to get a photo of him with the oldest marine present, but Pat was pretty close. These two span over 60 years of USMC history.

The honored guest was a Capt. who had been sent by his unit to bring some personal items of 2nd. Lt. Fredrick Pokorney, Jr. back to his family, and OSU. 2nd. Lt. Pokorney died along with several other Marines in "Bloody Sunday" March 23, 2003 in An Nasiriya, Iraq. He was posthumously awarded the Silver Star. Like Ed Elizondo, Fred Pokorney was an enlisted Marine who went to OSU and obtained a commission. It was a touching reminder that being in the military is not just another job. That is one of the reasons that there exists such a bond between warriors that transends race, religion, and politics. All such people are truely Americans first.

Well Done -- Now Get Busy

Those in the military are pretty familiar with being thanked for a job well done, and then being told to get back to work.

Team Navy has reached the Project Valour-IT goal first. If you don't yet know about Valour-IT, follow the link, or scroll down for more information. "Bravo Zulu" to everyone who donated - woo hoo, bragging rights! Now, we have two days left in the drive, and Team Navy asks you to support our fellow service the United States Marine Corps. This is a specially good time for Navy to pitch in with the Marines as today is the 231st. birthday of the Corps and later this morning I will be attending the ceremonies at the OSU ROTC building.

For many years, I carried water for the Marines -- and chow, and ammo, and vehicles, etc. It didn't matter that I was just a taxi driver for them. I knew I had an important job supporting the "pointy end," and I have always had a great admiration for the Leathernecks.

Now lets get busy again and help the Marines reach their goal. The donation button on the right sidebar now points to the USMC donation site.

Remember, your donation actually goes to all wounded in need regardless of which service they belong to. This is just a little friendly competition for fund raising.

As for me, I am going to hit the donate button once more and then go out and have some Marine Corps birthday cake. That cake will taste extra sweet today.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Now That's Courage...

For most of you with a military background, you've probably heard the above punchline many times. For those who have not served in the military, the joke is about the service chiefs bragging about the bravery of their respective people. In order to settle who's men are the bravest, they each, in turn, order one or more of their men to perform some suicidal task. The chosen people bravely go to their deaths, each service out performing the previous one with the panache with which they face their untimely fate. Finally the last service chief (pick your favorite military service here) asks someone to perform a fatal act and the person selected tells him to F**k off. The General/Admiral then turns to his peers and says "Now that's courage!"

In real life it doesn't work that way. No military leader would ever order people to their deaths to settle a bet. Yet, in real life, those same leaders have to place their subordinates (and frequently themselves) in harm's way as part of the mission.

The real courage is shown every day by our men and women in uniform who go forth knowing that they face the possibility of injury or death. This courage is demonstrated every day during wartime and in peace. We all know what being on the wrong end of an IED will do to someone. The press is pretty good at publishing the gory details. This post is to remind everyone that other servicemembers end up in the trauma wards for just performing their day-to-day duties supporting the ones at the pointy end of the spear. Those of us who have been there know. As a former sailor, I am particularly aware of the dangers at sea. I have witnessed shipmates sliced, crushed, impaled, seared, smeared, and drowned.

Let's face it, anyone can end up in a hospital missing some hardware. I could be hit by a car while crossing the street. A tree limb might conk me during a wind storm. Yet most people go through their lives not worrying about that sort of thing because, unless you wish to appear in Jackass, you are generally not purposfully placing yourself into danger. Our folks in uniform voluntarily place themselves into dangerous situations and they generally aren't doing it for the money. They do it for you, I, and everyone else out there living in the USA. Please keep that in mind the next time you see some folks on a street corner waving their peace flags and beating their drums. It takes real courage to put your self in harms way for the likes of Code Pink. If you think that just maybe you owe those folks a little more than a parade every November 11th, please consider giving to Project Valour-IT by clicking on the donate button in the right sidebar. The current fundraising drive ends on Veteran's Day. Our goal is within reach. Please help to put us over the top.

Please note: Donating to a particular team does not mean you are targeting your donation to a wounded warrior from a particular service. All money raised goes into the same pot. This competition is merely a method of raising more money and generating a little bragging rights.

Please give as you can. Your donation is, of course, tax deductable.

Thanks in advance.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Imagine This

Unfortunately, the enemy's use of IEDs in lieu of small arms when attacking our forces leads to increases in trauma to the extremities. Now imagine you have been the victim of an IED attack and wake up in the hospital without use of your hands. It shouldn't take much imagination at all to realize how difficult it will be to accomplish anything at all. That is when our service members are likely to be at their lowest. They have survived, but the road to recovery will be long and painful - with no foreknowledge of just how much of a recovery they will make. How wonderful it must be if at that very point of despair, you were given a laptop computer that responds to your voice. With it you will be able to, at least virtually, leave your hospital bed and go anywhere in cyberspace. Check up on your buddies, family, and friends. Look up information about your injuries. Hell, just being able to read will do wonders for the pain and worry.

Now the government hasn't yet decided that a voice activated laptop is necessary equipment for the injured, but that doesn't mean we can't see to it. A few bucks here, a few bucks there -- times millions of people in the USA adds up to quite a lot. It just takes a very minor sacrifice on the part of the public. Would one less meal at a restaurant, or one less video rental be too much to ask in return for what those folks have sacrificed for you?

Please hit the Project Valour-IT donate button on the right sidebar. If you have already donated, you have my eternal gratitude. If you haven't, I'm not going to come after you with a baseball bat, but please think about it. Imagine if it were you in that hospital bed, and the Soldier's Angels had to tell you they just couldn't raise enough money to get a laptop for you.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Dear John, I'm sorry

if you misconstrued my intelligence to the point that you could possibly have believed that your "apology" to our service members would be accepted.

That was the most sorry-assed, unbelievable, insincere, apology I've ever heard from anyone (except you)!

Here's a hint for 'ya Johnny boy. Statements don't live in a vacuum. What you posted on your web site might possibly be believable if the remarks you made the other day weren't part of a forty-year pattern of verbal assault against military personnel. I'm STILL waiting for an apology about your 1971 Congressional testimony. You know, the speech that likened me to Genghis Khan.

If someone gave me the opportunity to bitch-slap either you or Osama bin Laden, I'd have to think long and hard about that before deciding. At least Osama is straightforward about his beliefs.