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cajuncody

A good minute for military related topics

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I received this from my sister and plan to use it with our pack (with minor changes for a couple of inappropriate phrases.

Kristi

 

Below is an article written by Rick Reilly of Sports Illustrated. He details his experiences when given the opportunity to fly in a F-14 Tomcat. If you aren't laughing out loud by the time you get to "Milk Duds," your sense of humor is broken.

 

 

"Now this message is for America's most famous athletes:

 

 

 

Someday you may be invited to fly in the back-seat of one of your country's most powerful fighter jets. Many of you already have ... John Elway, John Stockton, Tiger Woods to name a few. If you get this opportunity, let me urge you, with the greatest sincerity...

 

Move to Guam.

Change your name.

Fake your own death!

Whatever you do .

Do Not Go!!!

 

 

I know. The U.S. Navy invited me to try it. I was thrilled. I was pumped. I was toast! I should've known when they told me my pilot would be Chip (Biff) King of Fighter Squadron 213 at Naval Air Station Oceana in Virginia Beach.

 

Whatever you're thinking a Top Gun named Chip (Biff) King looks like, triple it. He's about six-feet, tan, ice-blue eyes, wavy surfer hair, finger-crippling handshake -- the kind of man who wrestles dyspeptic alligators in his leisure time. If you see this man, run the other way. Fast.

 

Biff King was born to fly. His father, Jack King, was for years the voice of NASA missions. ("T-minus 15 seconds and counting ....." Remember?) Chip would charge neighborhood kids a quarter each to hear his dad. Jack would wake up from naps surrounded by nine-year-olds waiting for him to say, "We have a liftoff."

 

Biff was to fly me in an F-14D Tomcat, a ridiculously powerful $60 million weapon with nearly as much thrust as weight, not unlike Colin Montgomerie. I was worried about getting airsick, so the night before the flight I asked Biff if there was something I should eat the next morning.

 

"Bananas," he said.

 

"For the potassium?" I asked.

 

"No," Biff said, "because they taste about the same coming up as they do going down."

 

The next morning, out on the tarmac, I had on my flight suit with my name sewn over the left breast. (No call sign -- like Crash or Sticky or Leadfoot . but, still, very cool.) I carried my helmet in the crook of my arm, as Biff had instructed. If ever in my life I had a chance to nail Nicole Kidman, this was it.

 

A fighter pilot named Psycho gave me a safety briefing and then fastened me into my ejection seat, which, when employed, would "egress" me out of the plane at such a velocity that I would be immediately knocked unconscious.

 

Just as I was thinking about aborting the flight, the canopy closed over me, and Biff gave the ground crew a thumbs-up. In minutes we were firing nose up at 600 mph. We leveled out and then canopy-rolled over another F-14.

 

 

 

 

Those 20 minutes were the rush of my life. Unfortunately, the ride lasted 80. It was like being on the roller coaster at Six Flags Over Hell. Only without rails. We did barrel rolls, sap rolls, loops, yanks and banks. We dived, rose and dived again, sometimes with a vertical velocity of 10,000 feet per minute. We chased another F-14, and it chased us.

 

 

We broke the speed of sound. Sea was sky and sky was sea. Flying at 200 feet we did 90-degree turns at 550 mph, creating a G force of 6.5, which is to say I felt as if 6.5 times my body weight was smashing against me, thereby approximating life as Mrs. Colin Montgomerie.

 

And I egressed the bananas. I egressed the pizza from the night before.

 

 

And the lunch before that. I egressed a box of Milk Duds from the sixth grade. I made Linda Blair look polite. Because of the G's, I was egressing stuff that did not even want to be egressed. I went through not one airsick bag, but two.

 

Biff said I passed out. Twice. I was coated in sweat. At one point, as we were coming in upside down in a banked curve on a mock bombing target and the G's were flattening me like a tortilla and I was in and out of consciousness, I realized I was the first person in history to throw down.

 

I used to know cool. Cool was Elway throwing a touchdown pass, or Norman making a five-iron bite. But now I really know cool. Cool is guys like Biff, men with cast-iron stomachs and freon nerves. I wouldn't go up there again for Derek Jeter's black book, but I'm glad Biff does every day, and for less a year than a rookie reliever makes in a home stand.

 

A week later, when the spins finally stopped, Biff called. He said he and the fighters had the perfect call sign for me. Said he'd send it on a patch for my flight suit.

 

What is it? I asked.

 

"Two Bags."

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Maybe this isn't quite a Scoutmaster's minute, but it's worth posting.

 

From the Texarkana Gazette, 2003:

 

Here Rests In Honored Glory An American Soldier Known But To God.

 

So reads the inscription etched into the white granite tomb that marks the resting place of America's official unknown soldiers. The Tomb of the Unknowns remains one of the United States' most revered sites, a permanent reminder of this country's commitment to honor those who died fighting for its freedom. Last week, that commitment was upheld in a way some people might not have even noticed or even thought about.

 

When practically every government employee in Washington was beating a hasty retreat to avoid the aftereffects of Hurricane Isabel, a small group of men decided their commitment to duty, honor and country was more important than personal safety or comfort.

 

Tomb Guard Sentinels, the elite soldiers of the 3rd U.S. Infantry regiment chosen to act as guards at the Tomb, opted to sustain their constant vigil at the Tomb of the Unknowns rather than flee the oncoming bad weather. To them it was a matter of honoring their personal and professional obligations to the men and women who served before them and who serve now - and obviously do not have the luxury of serving their country only when skies are blue and the sun shines down upon them.

 

Although the Tomb of the Unknowns is watched over by Tomb Guards 24 hours a day, 365 days a year regardless of weather conditions, to have soldiers so duty-bound as to ignore their own personal well-being is an example of real patriotism and a real reminder of the sacrifices made to secure the principles of liberty.

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I do not have a link to the article, but I will provide the link from where I got that text and its citation. It should suffice.

 

http://snopes.com/military/isabel.htm

 

There are citations at the bottom of the webpage which read:

 

Associated Press. "State and Regional News."

Texarkana Gazette. 24 September 2003.

 

Texarkana Gazette. "In Our View: Tomb of the Unknowns."

23 September 2003.

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