Category Archives: Uncategorized

Warbirds – F-16 Fighting Falcon

Our latest edition of Warbirds brings us to the General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon.  This storied Cold War veteran took its first flight on January 20, 1974.

f-16 fighting falcon thunderbird

Requests for proposals in the 1972 Lightweight Fighter (LWF)  initiative brought five companies into competition.  General Dynamics and Northrop were eventually awarded contracts for prototype production.  During a near disastrous taxi test the XF-16 was forced into an unscheduled first flight to avoid destroying the aircraft.  Despite this, the Falcon went on to win the joint U.S. and NATO Air Combat Fighter competition – outperforming the Saab 37E “Eurofighter”, the Dassault-Breguet Mirage F1M-53, the SEPECAT Jaguar, and the Northrop P-530 Cobra (similar to the XF-17).  Citing better maneuverability, greater range, and lower operating costs, the Secretary of the Air Force announced in 1975 its intent to order the first 650 F-16’s.

f-16 fighting falcon line drawing

The first delivery of an F-16A to the USAF occurred on January 6, 1979.  Operational deployment began on October 1, 1980 with the 34th Tactical Fighter Squadron at Hill AFB in Utah.  Since then, over 4500 units of a variety of models have been built.  Air forces of 25 nations have had the F-16 in their service.

f-16 fighting falcon weapons load display

The first combat experiences of the Falcon took place during the 1981 Lebanese Civil War.  F-16s of the Israeli Air Force (IAF) successfully downed in air-to-air combat a Syrian Mi-8 helicopter and a MiG-21.  Later that year, a combined flight of IAF F-16s and F-15s destroyed the nearly completed Iraqi nuclear plant at Osirak.

In the 1980s, NATO and US deployment of the F-16 provided an effective counter to the massive deployments of Warsaw Pact aircraft in Eastern Europe.  Innumerable aerial challenges occurred through the end of the Cold War, but no real combat.  The first action seen by US and NATO F-16s occurred during the 1991 Gulf War – Operation Desert Storm.  From January 16 to February 28, F-16s flew over 13,000 sorties with seven aircraft lost.  Of these losses, only three were due to enemy fire.  Despite their heavy operational tempo, it would be 1992 before the first USAF F-16 would get an air-to-air kill.  During enforcement of the US/UK no-fly zones over Iraq, an F-16D shot down a Mig-25 with an AIM-120 AMRAAM.  This event also marked the first kill by an AMRAAM missile.

f-16 fighting falcon burning iraqi oil wells

F-16s continued to provide vital service throughout the next two decades.  Action was seen in the Balkans in ’93,’94, and ’99 as well as Pakistan from ’86 to ’88 against  Afghan Air Forces.  Later, the Falcons saw combat in Operation Iraqi Freedom (’03-’10) and during operations of the IAF in Lebanon in ’06 as well as from ’08 to ’09.  Today, Japanese and South Korean F-16s routinely deal with aerial challenges from Russian, North Korean, and even Chinese threats.

f-16 fighting falcon show of force

With the ongoing upgrade scheme, the USAF plans to keep the F-16 in service through 2025.  However, with the delayed acquisitions of the F-35 Lightning II, the Fighting Falcon may see its US service extended well beyond that date.  You should expect to see them in the air forces of other nations quite a bit longer.

This is a great documentary on the USAF Thunderbirds, their history, and the F-16. Enjoy!

Theodore Roosevelt on Immigration

Theodore Roosevelt on Immigrants and being an American – January 3, 1919

“In the first place we should insist that if the immigrant who comes here in good faith becomes an American and assimilates himself to us, he shall be treated on an exact equality with everyone else, for it is an outrage to discriminate against any such man because of creed, or birthplace, or origin. But this is predicated upon the man’s becoming in very fact an American, and nothing but an American. If he tries to keep segregated with men of his own origin and separated from the rest of America, then he isn’t doing his part as an American. There can be no divided allegiance here. Any man who says he is an American, but something else also, isn’t an American at all. We have room for but one flag, the American flag, and this excludes the red flag, which symbolizes all wars against liberty and civilization, just as much as it excludes any foreign flag of a nation to which we are hostile. We have room for but one language here, and that is the English language for we intend to see that the crucible turns our people out as Americans, and American nationality, and not as dwellers in a polyglot boarding house; and we have room for but one soul[sic] loyalty and that is a loyalty to the American people.”

This quote made the rounds as an e-mail a while back and I hadn’t gotten around to sharing it.  Well, I finally got around to researching it and just needed to correct a couple minor mistakes so that it be taken in the proper context.  First, the quote is NOT from a 1907 speech made by Roosevelt while still in office.  The text actually comes from a letter he wrote in 1919 just days before his death.  I also restored a couple lines that had been edited out.  If you would like to see the original document from the Manuscript Division of the Library of Congress, it can be viewed here.

During my research on this I found some other quotes by Teddy Roosevelton along similar lines.  Here are a couple.

“Let us say to the immigrant not that we hope he will learn English, but that he has got to learn it.  Let the immigrant who does not learn it go back.  He has got to consider the interest of the United States or he should not stay here.  He must be made to see that his opportunities in this country depend on his knowing English and observing American standards.  the employer cannot be permitted to regard him only as an industrial asset.

We must in every way possible encourage the immigrant to rise, help him up, give him a chance to help himself.  If we try to carry him he may well prove not well worth carrying.  We must in turn insist upon his showing the same standard of fealty to this country and to join us in raising the level of our common American citizenship.”

Excerpted from a speach by former President Roosevelt from The New York Times of February 2, 1916.

“I appeal to all our citizens no matter what land their forefathers came from, to keep this ever in mind, and to shun with scorn and contempt the sinister intrigues and mischiefmakers who would seek to divide them along lines of creed, or birthplace or of national origin…  The effort to keep our citizenship divided against itself by the use of the hyphen and along the lines of national origin is certain to breed a spirit of bitterness and prejudice and dislike between great bodies of our citizens.  If some citizens band together as German-Americans or Irish-Americans, then after a while others are certain to band together as English-Americans or Scandanavian-Americans, and every such banding together, means down at the bottom an effort against the interest of straight-out American citizenship, an effort to bring into our nation the bitter Old World rivalries and jealousies and hatreds.”

Memorial Day speech by former President Roosevelt from The Washington Post of June 1, 1916.

Now, I am not a big fan of either Roosevelt.  But Teddy, despite being the first progressive president, was still able to recognize the exceptional nature of America and that it needed to be protected from enemies both foreign and domestic.

A Soldier’s Christmas Wish

Let’s never forget those whose sacrifices make us free and able to celebrate and worship as we please in this holiday season as well as the rest of the year. Published in the Magic City Morning Star December 24, 2009, this work really captures the feeling.  Transcript is posted below the video.

This poem was written by an Australian Peacekeeping stationed overseas. His request, send this to as many people as you can.  Credit is due to all of the service men and women for our being able to celebrate Christmas.  Let’s try to pay a bit of what we owe to these heroes.

Soldier’s Christmas Wish

By Unknown Original Author
T’was the night before Christmas, He lived all alone
In a one bedroom house, made of plaster and stone.
I had come down the chimney, with presents to give,
And to see just who, in this home, did live.
I looked all about, a strange sight I did see,
No tinsel, no presents, Not even a tree.
No stocking by mantle, just boots filled with sand,
On the wall hung pictures, of far distant lands.
With medals and badges, Awards of all kinds,
A sober thought, came through my mind.
For this house was different, it was dark and dreary,
I found the home of a soldier, once I could see clearly.
The soldier lay sleeping, Silent, alone,
Curled up on the floor, in this one bedroom home.
The face was so gentle, the room in disorder,
Not how I pictured, (A United States) Soldier.
Was this the hero, of whom I’d just read?
Curled up on a poncho, the floor for a bed?
I realised the families, that I saw this night,
Owed their lives to these soldiers, who were willing to fight.
Soon round the world, the children would play,
And grownups would celebrate, a bright Christmas day.
They all enjoyed freedom, Each month of the year,
Because of the soldiers, like the one lying here.
I couldn’t help wonder, How many lay alone,
On a cold Christmas Eve, in a land far from home.
The very thought brought, a tear to my eye,
I dropped to my knees, and started to cry.
The soldier awakened, and I heard a rough voice,
“Santa don’t cry, This life is my choice;
I fight for freedom, I don’t ask for more,
My life is my God, My country, my corps.”
The soldier rolled over, and drifted to sleep,
I couldn’t control it, I continued to weep.
I kept watch for hours, So silent and still,
And we both shivered, from the cold night’s chill.
I did not want to leave, on that cold, dark, night,
This guardian of honour, So willing to fight.
Then the soldier rolled over, With a voice soft and pure,
Whispered, “carry on Santa, It’s Christmas Day, all is secure.”
One look at my watch, and I knew he was right.
“Merry Christmas my friend, and to all, a good night.”

(Thank you Herta for sending this to me.  God bless!)

Lost and Found – July 25th Edition

What to remember about July 25th…

  • 1780  General Horatio Gates takes command of southern Continental forces
  • 1861  Congress passes Crittendon-Johnson Resolution stating that the war is for reunion not to end slavery
  • 1866  Future president Ulysses S. Grant promoted to the rank of General of the Army; 1st to hold that rank
  • 1868  Wyoming becomes a U.S. territory
  • 1897  American author Jack London takes sail for Klondike gold rush
  • 1898  U.S. forces begin invasion of Puerto Rico during that Spanish-American War
  • 1943  Benito Mussolini voted out of power and arrested
  • 1985  American actor Rock Hudson is 1st celebrity to announce that he has AIDS
  • 1994   Israel and Jordan sign Washington Declaration formally ending the state of war begun in 1948
  • 2000  1st and only crash of a supersonic Concorde Jet
  • 2010  Wikileaks releases over 75,000 classified U.S. military documents from the 2004-2009 period of the war in Afghanistan

10 Commandments Of Logic

Pretty self-explanatory.  Perhaps someone should print these onto a card that will fit in your wallet.

10 commandments of logic


(Found on Facebook.  Thanks for sharing WB)

Rick Perry is officially in the race.

Governor Rick Perry has now officially joined the ever-growing field of Republican candidates for the Presidency.

Governor Perry’s Presidential announcement:

I have been a fan of governor Perry for years.  During his tenure as governor of Texas, the state generated over a third of all private sector jobs since 2001.  He has unabashedly promoted his state – going so far as to actively poach companies from the corrupt bureaucracies and crushing regulatory burdens of blue states.  Unapologetically supportive of the second amendment and our military, he brings a much needed focus on core conservative values to the race.  This seems tempered with a recognition that not every international problem requires American intervention.  Acknowledging our long standing allies and supporting nations that actually share our values and goals is a definite step in the right direction.

I was a  delegate at Presidency Five in Orlando in 2012 so I have had a chance to see him up close and at his worst.  With the health challenges he was facing at the time, many have said that it might have been prudent to stay out of the race.  Some pundits now say that it will be a stumbling block for his 2016 campaign.   However, even the short campaign of 2012 will have lent Perry and his supporters valuable experience going forward.

There is still a lot of time before anyone should be making their final choice.  But, among a field that contains several RINOs and moderate (read liberal in disguise) Republicans, Governor Rick Perry is definitely worth watching.

Governor Perry’s first campaign commercial:

Lost and Found – March 30th Edition

What to remember about March 30th…

  • 1822  United States merges East Florida with West Florida to create the Florida Territory; William Pope Duval becomes 1st governor
  • 1867  United States Secretary of State William H. Seward concludes purchase of Alaska from Russia for roughly 2 cents per acre or $7.2 million
  • 1870  Texas readmitted to the Union following the Civil War and Reconstruction
  • 1944  Britain dispatches 795 aircraft for bombing run on Nuremberg; 95 planes downed are the single greatest loss for Bomber Command in the war
  • 1972  North Vietnamese forces move South across the DMZ beginning the Easter Offensive
  • 1981  President Ronald Reagan is shot outside a Washington, D.C. hotel by John Hinckley, Jr.; 2 others wounded
  • 1982  Space Shuttle Columbia lands after 8-day mission STS-3; 1st and only shuttle landing at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico

hinkley assassination attempt on ronald reagan

Lost and Found – March 28th Edition

What to remember about March 28th…

  • 1834  President Andrew Jackson is censured by Congress for refusing to provide documents requested by lawmakers
  • 1862  Union forces halt Confederate invasion of New Mexico at Battle of Glorieta Pass; hopes of capturing western gold mines are foiled
  • 1910  Near Martigues, France, Henri Fabre becomes first person to successfully fly a seaplane
  • 1969  34th President Dwight D. Eisenhower dies in Washington, D.C. (b. 1890)
  • 1979  Pressure valve fails at Three Mile Island power plant in Pennsylvania; human error overrides safety systems causing worst nuclear accident in U.S. history
  • 1990  President George H. W. Bush posthumously awards Congressional Gold Medal to African-American Olympian Jesse Owens
  • 2006  In tragic rush to judgement, Duke University lacrosse team is suspended after rape allegations arise from off-campus party

Lost and Found – March 26th Edition

What to remember about March 26th…

  • 1776  South Carolina is 1st to break with Britain; takes the lead by declaring independence and by approving new constitution and government
  • 1830  In Palmyra, New York, Book of Mormon goes on sale for first time
  • 1874  American poet Robert Frost is born in San Francisco, California (d. 1963); winner of 4 Pulitzer Prizes
  • 1953  American medical researcher Dr. Jonas Salk announces that he has discovered a vaccine against polio; within just a few years, the number of nationwide new polio cases drops from 58,000 to 6,000
  • 1979  Camp David Accords signed by Egyptian President Anwar el-Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem; 1st peace treaty between the neighbors
  • 1982  Official groundbreaking for Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C.
  • 1987 After one of his victims escapes, torture chamber of serial killer and cannibal Gary Heidnik is discovered in Philadelphia, his depravity is an inspiration for Thomas Harris’ Buffalo Bill character in Silence of the Lambs novel
  • 1997  Bodies of 39 Heaven’s Gate cultists found in California after committing group suicide in anticipation of arrival of aliens with Hale-Bopp comet
  • 1999  Jury in Michigan finds Dr. Jack Kevorkian guilty of second-degree murder for administering lethal dose of medication in “assisted suicide”
  • 2011  Former Congresswoman Geraldine Ferraro dies of cancer in Massachusetts (b. 1935); 1st woman to be a Vice Presidential candidate

Lost and Found – March 24th Edition

What to remember about March 24th…

  • 1765  British Parliament passes quartering act requiring colonies to provide accommodations for troops; authorizes use of private homes as barracks
  • 1834  American explorer, conservationist, and abolitionist John Wesley Powell is born in Mount Morris, New York (d. 1902)
  • 1944  76 Allied prisoners break out od German POW camp Stalag Luft III; event immortalized in 1963 film The Great Escape starring Steve McQueen
  • 1958  Elvis Presley is inducted into the United States Army; earlier deferment allowed him to avoid service in Korea
  • 1965  At University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, anti-war activists and academics hold the 1st “teach-in”; movement will soon spread to other campuses
  • 1989  Supertanker Exxon Valdez runs aground off Prince William Sound in Alaska; drunken captain causes largest oil spill in U.S. history
  • 1996  Astronaut Shannon Lucid becomes 1st American female to live aboard a space station when she joins the crew of Russian Mir
  • 1999 NATO aircraft begin 78 days of bombings in effort to end ethnic warfare in Yugoslavia