"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 10, 2009

Not a bad day

lWell, since my BSG review wasn't sufficient for some of my fans, here's some news from the front for ya'll. Not gonna lie, there were some rough patches to this week, mostly on the ground job side where we've experienced significant friction in getting certain events planned and executed. Some of it's been self-inflicted, and some of it was due to the plodding inertia of higher's bureaucracy. And, since I generate the master flight plan for the week, complaints inevitably come back to me. Some are valid, but others amount to whining about not having enough flight hours, standing too much duty, etc; and those have a tendency to spool me up as they're generally baseless. I have over twenty pilots in the squadron whom I need to schedule more or less evenly on a weekly basis; I do the best I can, and things like weather, lack of tasking, and higher's intransigence are out of my control. Some people get lucky and all their scheduling goes; others have apparently offended the weather gods and only get scheduled during sandstorms. In the end, it all evens out; but that doesn't stop a stream of people coming through our office doors convinced that I've singled them out for bad deals all week. That, coupled with some 16-hour days, not getting much flight time myself, and a general lack of sleep and caffeine made me fairly irritable for most of the week.

But I got a couple hours of flight time earlier this week, and today we got to go out and play with some Navy SEALs and their Iraqi proteges, which was pretty fun. We conducted raid rehearsals, which boiled down to landing in the dirt, kicking out the grunts, and then taking off again while they practiced shwacking bad guys. We repeated this a few times in a few different configurations, and while it may not seem terribly exciting by itself, landing in clouds of dust is always good training, and it was a welcome break from flying to the same zones with the same loads of passengers and cargo every day. The SpecOps guys got to run around and do what they do, the Iraqis got the kind of training that will someday make them capable of executing their own high-speed missions, and I got to fly around so close to the ground that we may or may not have whacked the tail skid coming in to one of our landings (I also might have made someone throw up in their helmet during my maneuvering, and blown one ass over tea-kettle on take-off). It was very reminiscent of our AeroScout operations last year, which I miss dearly since they were the only tactical missions we ever got to go on. Anyway, bombing around and doing some tactical shiznit was like a relief valve, and I felt much better about life by the end of the day.

Of course, the Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away, which means I have nothing nearly as exciting to do tomorrow. Perhaps I'll be able to sneak away for a few minutes and get some pics of Abraham's well down in the wadi. And tonight, I'll hope that grunt was able to get the smell of his lunch out of his helmet . . .

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