Saturday, September 30, 2006

Football

Today was the Air Force first homage of the season.
We played the New Mexico “Lobo’s”.
These guys already hate us because we were the reason they didn’t get to go to a bowl game last season.
We won.
And not by a little either.
It was 24/7.
We wooped ‘em good.

We’re actually doing well this season.

OCF

I got to bake tonight.
I showed up early and asked if I could help.
So Mrs. Wade took me to the kitchen and got me a recipe to make.
I made Cinnamon Rolls.
They came out really good too.

Zemke

Tonight was or exemplar dinner.
Each class chooses a historical figure that they look up to.
Previous class exemplars have included Gen Patton, Gen Carl Spaatz, and General Billy Mitchell.
The Class of 2009 choose Col Hubert “Hub” Zemke.

Zemke was really cool.
He led a fighter squadron during WWII.
They escorted bombers to their target.
Zemke used a different strategy to escorting.
Instead of chasing after injured enemy fighters that were fleeing the battle to score more kills,
They stayed with the bombers.
Because of this,
None of the squadron became Aces while in that squadron,
But they never lost a bomber to enemy fighters.

One day,
On the way back from a mission,
The weather got really bad.
The wings were ripped off his plane and he crash landed in German territory.
Needless to say he got captured.

When he got to the POW camp,
He found himself the senior officer among 9,000 POWs.
The camp was in miserable condition.
By the time the war was over,
He had taken over the camp,
Convinced the Germans to surrender,
And had more weapons than the guards did.

Yeah,
This guy was awesome.
And another cool little piece of trivia,
He flew P-51s,
And we’re the 51st class.
How sweet is that.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Running

So I was out running...
I was on a straight road,
Headed north,
Away from the Academy.

And then...
I here this roar.
I knew the sound instantly.
I looked up and saw I was right.

A four ship formation of F-16s flew over head.
And then disapeared over the ridge in front of me.

For Chris

For me

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Vote Bird

Yes it is that time of year again...
The campaing season has started.
Who am I kidding...
The elections have already started.
And this year,
The Air Force has entered the political areana.
Thats' right,
The Bird is going up against the other college mascots,
(If you can call this place a college)
In the Capital One Bowl Mascot Challenge.
Right now,
The Bird is tied for second.
He needs your help.
So do your patriotic duty and Vote Bird.
You are allowed to vote once a day,
And it only takes two minutes.
So get out there and rock the vote.

VOTE BIRD!

Friday, September 22, 2006

The Weather

It's Snowing!!!

And you know what that means...
(Or maybe you don't)
Noon Meal Formation is canceled!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Rugby

Rugby was fun.
We played Squadron 8.
And it just so happens,
That the Wing Commander is in Squadron 8.
And he’s on their Rugby team.
The 4*’s enjoyed that.
They all were going to see who could get the most tackles on him.
But he’s a big guy,
So they didn’t get much opportunity to take him down.

I did get a take down on him though.
Yeah…
I got to tackle the Wing Commander.

JSF F-35 Lightning II Simulator

They brought the JSF Simulator here last week.
That was a lot of fun.
I spent the better part of an hour playing in it.

I got the hang of it so quickly,
The guys running it left me to do what I wanted with it.
One time,
I was coming in for a landing in the A model.
I landed like a normal plane,
And then I decided I wanted to take off vertically.
So I looked around and found the simulator control panel.
I flipped a switch and was instantly in the B model.
I pushed the only button in the cockpit,
And the plane converted to VTOL mode.
So I took off vertically,
Climbed a few hundred feet,
And converted back to normal flight.
I had hit Mach 1.1 in less than a minute.
Definitely a sweet plane.

After a while,
General Borne, the Dean of Faculty, came down to check out the simulator.
That would have been a good time to disappear,
But my bag was on the other side of the room.
Best to become invisible.
It didn’t work.
The folks running the simulator asked her if she would like to fly.
She looked at me,
And said, “ Cadet TheEarthCanBeMoved, would you like to fly it?”
Thinks: “Stealth has been compromised! Begin evasive actions!”
“No thank you maam, I just finished flying.”
Backpack status: Still out of range.
So she climbs in the cockpit and they show her how to fly it.
I figure now her attention is diverted,
So I can stay and watch.
Wrong!
Yeah…
Her assistant starts asking me questions,
And I wound up helping show her how the plane works.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Yarr!!!

So I was at breakfast,
When one of my 4*’s says,
(With a pirate accent)
“Yarr! Cadet TheEarthCanBeMoved,
Sir, may I make a statement.”
(This is what they have to do when they want to say something,
Except with out the “Yarr”)
I’m a little confused,
So I say,
“Yeah, sure. What’s up?”
“Yarr Sir, It here be International Talk Like A Pirate Day”
“Uh huh…”
“Aye Sir! It is”
“Alrighy then… You have fun with that”

My 4*’s can be rather entertaining at times.

Edit:
And it gets better.
We’re standing at the tables for lunch.
Then,
Over the speakers…
(With a pirate accent)
“Yarr, Wing Tench hut.
Yarr, Wing at ease ya scallywags.
Wing take seats.”

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Parents Weekend

Labor day weekend was fun.
My family came up and we went camping.
Met with Chris and his dad and his sponsor family.
We met them out in the middle of National Forest.
There was almost no one else out there.
Had fun.

According to Chris,
I should have either died,
Or been seriously injured several times that day.

We took the 4-Wheeler out to a jump he had been to before.
He showed me how to do it,
And then I tried.
The first thing that went through my mind while flying through the air was,
“This feels a lot higher than it looked like he went.”
And it was.
He said my wheels were seven feet off the ground.
His were like three.
He said the highest he’d seen was four or five.

It gets better.
While leading the group down a trail through a field,
I noticed two jeeps coming the opposite direction,
So I tried to pull my bike off the road and drive just to the right of it.
Except I got stuck in a rut.
So the bike dumped me.
I hit the ground and did a combat roll,
Jumped up,
And got back on the bike.
According to Chris,
I was doing close to 50 mph.
All I got was a scratch.

And the scariest part about the whole thing,
Is that it didn’t scare me.
I know that means I’ll keep on going until it does scare me.
And I know that’ll be as I’m flying off a cliff.
Then it’ll be to late.
That’s the part that scares me.

So we went out on the trails.
My dad, mom, Sis, Chris, and I.
I took lead that time while Chris followed.
I usually look back to make sure that the group is still behind me.
But this time we were going down a particularly rough trail.
So before I got a chance to look over it had been a while.When I did,
There was no one behind me.
So I pulled over and waited.

After a while Chris comes and tells me what’s up,
He told me my sister had fallen off her bike.
I asked her if she was ok.
His answer,
"I don't know"
So I took off back up the trail I had just come down.
I know I was going a lot faster than I should have.But as far as I could tell,
I didn't have much a choice.
My sis had fallen off her bike and I didn't know her condition.

When I got there,
She was fine.
She was already back on her bike ready to go.
We decided that the sun was getting low,
And it was time to head back to camp.
We were planning to go see a movie and we had to be moving if we were going to make it.

When we got back to camp,
I let Chris know what I was thinking.
If your going to tell me my sister fell,
And I ask if she's ok,
I don't want to hear "I don't know."
That is the wrong answer.

We went into town to see the movie.
We saw Step Up.
I liked it.
I thought it was a good movie.
It was clean,
And had a good story line.
(Even if it was predictable)

And I got to go clothes shopping.
I finally got some decent civilian clothes.
Mainly swing stuff,
But it looks nice.

And that was my Labor Day weekend.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Got Robotics?

Lunch

So I was at lunch,
When my sergeant walks up to me and says,
"So how long did it take the firstie to clean up his room?"
Is stood there for a minute trying to figure out what he was talking about.
Then I realized he had found my video on google.
Yeah...
He thought it was funny.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

How It Should Have Ended

Element Board

So...
The Four Degrees are supposed to make an element board.
This is just a poster of with the pictures of the seven of us on it.
I didn’t know they were doing this.
So when I got an Email from one of them asking for a picture of me,
I sent them the first good one I found.
And then a week later,
I saw it printed out blown up on a wall.

Yeah…
My sergeant got a kick out of that…

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Watch closely

Watch very closely.
There are to groups of people.
One group is wearing white shirts,
And one group wearing black shirts.
Focus on the group wearing white shirts.
How many times do the people in white shirts pass the basketball to each other?

Video

Edit: Watch the video before viewing the comments.

Huh?...

Today we had a rather large number of Chinese Air Force and Army Cadets over for lunch.
I guess thats a good thing.
It means our leadership trusts them.

Monday, September 11, 2006



From a Classmate

It’s been one year since I joined the military and this morning I took a bus into London. Wearing jeans, a t-shirt and an iPod, and leaving my camera at home, I was stopped by summer tourists with maps and accents I’d never heard before as I made my way through the city on the tube. But maybe they mistook me for a Londoner because I knew exactly where I was going.

Tavistock Square is a quiet, one block park carved out of the middle of office buildings and apartments, where trees and benches and paths and picnickers defy busy city streets. And one year ago here on the 7th of July a terrorist boarded a bus and detonated a bomb, shearing the red double-decker in half and sending the top deck into the air amidst a sea of fire and metal and flesh. That day, three other blasts in different locations would send London into pandemonium and turn the city into the newest battlefield of global conflict.

I had been to places like this before, in Lower Manhattan and downtown Amman. Tavistock Square was the most recent stop in an intensely personal journey that began one year ago when I entered U.S. Air Force Academy at Colorado Springs. But my journey is just one of many thousands in my generation who have committed to serving and training to become military officers under the ominous and urgent shadow of this global war. During this year we’ve been pushed to our absolute limits – physically, mentally, and emotionally. In just one year, the transformation my classmates and I have undergone has made us virtually unrecognizable from our former selves – and we’re just beginning to write the history of how our generation will meet the challenges of the Long War.

One year ago, a friend I know spent his summer refueling and repairing Cessnas on the tarmac of his small hometown airport in Omaha. This year, he’ll be observing from the flight deck of a special operations cargo plane with night vision goggles hanging from his helmet as he watches the European countryside race past two hundred feet below. One day he’ll be the aircraft commander who leads his crew to air drop badly needed humanitarian aid into a war-torn African village… and when the parachutes rapidly unfurl over the crates of food and water and medicine above the village, the sound will resonate louder than any speech ever given at the United Nations.

One year ago, a guy I know spent the night partying on the beach with his friends. They had been through a tough year of military preparatory school and they spent the night launching fireworks out over the Gulf of Mexico and saying goodbye to their girlfriends… at least for awhile. This year, he’ll get the chance to hang his feet off the back of a combat helicopter buzzing over the English coastline and toss target flares into the North Sea. He’ll feel the rush and horrible power of firing a heavy machine gun from that helicopter. He’ll be humbled and shaken by the experience, but one day he’ll be the pilot of a helicopter that will evacuate Americans from an embassy in a war zone.

One year ago, a girl I know spent her summers wakeboarding with her friends on Tampa Bay. This year, she’ll strap into a fighter jet and witness close air support maneuvers from the back seat. She’ll be scared to death and sick to her stomach, but one day she’ll be the pilot who is urgently re-tasked in mid-flight to attack an emerging target of opportunity. With poise and confidence she’ll punch the fighter jet’s afterburners and arm her laser-guided bombs, and she’ll make certain the insurgent safe house is anything but.

One year ago, a guy I know ran a high school cross country race for his personal best time. Drenched in sweat and out of breath, he cheered on his teammates as they each crossed the finish line. This year, he’ll find himself running across another field, this time with an assault rifle. This year, laden with body armor, he’ll find himself leading his team not to a finish line, but into an enemy encampment. Drenched with sweat and out of breath, he’ll yell out commands and give orders to his teammates, orchestrating order out of chaos while projectiles fly and percussions echo at close quarters. He’ll be in training and the bullets will be filled with paint and not lead, but soon he may need to use the same poise and leadership in the towns and streets of central Iraq.

And one year ago, a guy I know was having trouble working up the courage to ask his high school’s prom queen out on a date. This year, he’ll be working up the courage to let go of an airplane for the first time one mile above the earth’s surface and freefall before pulling his parachute and maneuvering to a drop zone the size of a postage stamp. He’ll visit his hometown months later with jump wings on his chest and ask if the former prom queen is still available – she will be.

I continued in London until the battery drained on my iPod. At the end of the day, while the long summer sun still burned late and low in the sky, I took the train north back to East Anglia and back to the Royal Air Force base where I spent my summer in England. Walking back to my dorm I passed a small memorial made of rock and marble next to a round-about. Two tall, green hedges in the shape of towers stood in the center of a concrete courtyard with five sides forming a pentagon. Then I saw two small children playing around a bench on the memorial, laughing and comparing their long shadows against those of the towers. Then one pointed to the engraved marble at the foot of the towers and their mother bent down to them, held their hands then said something quietly. She found words, but I could not.

What the American people need to know is that there still exist hundreds of thousands of young men and women in America who have made the decision to contribute to this fight. We’re contributing in public service, the military, and on college campuses across the country. Many in our generation – most in our generation, will not join us in this choice. Yet we think it’s worth it. We joined not because we want war, but because war is the most repulsive and despicable thing we know, and we’re certain that without a struggle for democracy, stability, and human liberty in the Middle East there can be no peace. And just maybe one day – many, many summers away from this one – we’ll be the generation that finishes this fight.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Weekend

This weekend was fun.
Didn’t start so fun though.
I sat CQ for 8 hours.
So I didn’t get to bed until 2:30 in the morning.
And then I got up at 5 to help out a local bike and run event.
Had fun doing that.
Sliced several thousand bagels,
Mixed a ton of Gatorade,
But it was fun nonetheless.

Afterwards I went for a hike with my OCF group.
We went up over the mountains and back into the woods.
It was about 7 miles long.
Fun stuff.
When we got there,
I was tasked with preparing food and building a fire.
So I started up the charcoal for the hotdogs
And then did what I usually did back in scouts.
I sent all the guys out into the woods to find dead trees for me to burn.
Then I did what I did what I did back in scouts again.
I burned every bit of it.
The group didn’t have any axes or saws,
So we had to improvise.
They were trying to spilt the logs by…
Jumping on them,
Throwing rocks on them,
Throwing the logs on the bigger rocks,
And banging them against the telephone pole.

Needless to say,
It was most entertaining.

One of the girls said they were gonna start calling me “sparky”.
That’s what some of the guys back in scouts used to call me.
This whole trip was a lot like scouts.

Friday, September 1, 2006

Classes

I took my parents to some of my classes today.
They went with me to German and Physics.
We had a sub for both classes.

German class was funny.
My dad was feeding answers to the cadets behind the teachers back.
That was entertaining.

Physics was ok.
Had some demos and a review for a test coming up.

A Sikorsky MH-53 PaveLow III had come in from NM during my German class.
(That’s a really big helicopter)
So we got to take a quick tour and watch them take off.
The pilot was showing off,
So it looked really cool.

They cancelled the parade because of storms.
There was much rejoicing.
Much to the amusement of my parents.

1000's Night

That was fun.
I met my family at Arnold Hall for dinner.
We talked for a while until it was time for Swing Club.
They insisted that they just wanted to watch.
So I let them.
And I did show off a bit more than normal.
Just to see the reaction on their face.

I finally got my mom and dad out on the floor.
I taught them Swing and Tango.
But my dad still needs a little work on the steps.

Even my sister danced with me.
I consider this an accomplishment since she thinks I'm stuck in the 20's because I like this stuff.
She did really well too.
I was impressed.