"But war, in a good cause, is not the greatest evil which a nation can suffer. War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things: the decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks nothing worth a war, is worse. When a people are used as mere human instruments for firing cannon or thrusting bayonets, in the service and for the selfish purposes of a master, such war degrades a people. A war to protect other human beings against tyrannical injustice – a war to give victory to their own ideas of right and good, and which is their own war, carried on for an honest purpose by their free choice – is often the means of their regeneration. A man who has nothing which he is willing to fight for, nothing which he cares more about than he does about his personal safety, is a miserable creature who has no chance of being free, unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself. As long as justice and injustice have not terminated their ever-renewing fight for ascendancy in the affairs of mankind, human beings must be willing, when need is, to do battle for the one against the other."

Friday, April 25, 2008


For any number of reasons. Getting close to the end of our deployment and feeling the days just drag on by the closer we get to going home may have something to do with it. But I think primarily it's because while technically I'm on the night shift, the last two days I've been on missions that started when the sun was down and ended in broad daylight, well past our normal land times. The first night-into-day exercise involved last-minute tasking important enough to launch us at the end of our work-day; fair enough, this sometimes happens with raids and the like. Then last night, what was supposed to be a normal 'ass-and-trash' cargo-hauling mission out east turned into a maintenance marathon when our lead aircraft developed an oil leak on its main gearbox and had to shut down for repairs. There are lots of gearboxes on our helicopter, some of which are redundant (i.e. we have three engines with associated gearboxes to transmit power into the rotor system; we can fly with only one of them if we have to). However, the main gearbox is what our main rotor blades are actually attached to; if that runs out of oil, the gearbox eats itself, the blades stop turning, and you assume the flight characteristics of a 50,000 pound rock. So, I shut down my bird and waited for five hours on the tarmac at TQ as dash one dumped oil into its gearbox, tightened screws, threw things and cursed (well, the crew did that; the aircraft itself sat serenely and somewhat contemptuously on the pavement). By the time repairs were completed, it was well after sunrise (and we had another small delay when my crew chief noticed that hey, there's no oil in our tail rotor gearbox, so we had to pop open another can of lubricants. Fortunately, a Phrog squadron donated several cases of oil for dash one, so there was plenty to go around). We got home as our day sections were spinning up on the line. And my bed could only be reached through another hour of paperwork and debriefing. My spelling is starting to deteriorate. I must find a place to study the inside of my eyelids for awhile. I am tired.

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