Monday, August 27, 2007

"What the Captain Said"

This came from my last Captain, Nick Kougias, who flew in the Air Force and had to suffer through the DFW to LAX all night Red Eye’s with me plying him with story after story. The cassette tape he gave me sounded like it came out his trunk from Vietnam and if you can imagine a salty southern sounding pilot, full of piss and vinegar talking, then you can hear his voice in the following transcripts.
Semper Fi,
PS, Happy Birthday Poppa John

“What the Captain said”

The following correspondence was recorded by a civilian reporter, who interviewed a shy, unassuming F-4 Phantom Fighter pilot. So the reporter wouldn’t misconstrue the fighter pilots reply, the wing information Officer was on hand as a monitor to make certain the “Real” Air Force story was told.

The Captain was first asked his opinion of his F-4C aircraft

Captain: It’s so F***ing maneuverable that you can fly up your own ass with it.
Wing PAO (Public Affairs Officer): What the Captain means is, that he has found the F-4C to be highly maneuverable at all altitudes and he considers it an excellent aircraft for all missions assigned.

Reporter: I suppose Captain, that you have flown a number of missions over North Vietnam, what do you think of the SAMS used by the North Vietnamese?

Captain: Why those stupid bastards couldn’t hit a bull in the ass with a bass fiddle, we fake the shit out them, no sweat.
POA: What the Captain means, is that the surface to air missiles around Hanoi poses a serious threat to our air operations and that our pilots have a healthy respect for them.

Reporter: I suppose Captain that you flown missions to the south, what kind of ordnance do you use and what kind of targets do you hit?

Captain: Well, I’ll tell ya, mostly we aim at kicking the shit out of Vietnamese villages. My favorite ordnance is Napalm. Man that stuff just sucks the air out of their friggin’ lungs and makes one son of a bitchin fire.
PAO: What the Captain means is that airstrikes in South Vietnam are often against VietCong structures and all operations are always under the positive control of a forward air controller or FAC. The ordnance employed are conventional 500 and 750 pound bombs and 20mm cannon fire.

Reporter: I suppose you have spent an R and R in Hong Kong, what was your impression of the oriental girls?

Captain: Yeah, I went to Hong Kong. As far as those Oriental broads, I don’t care which way the runway runs, North or South, East or West, a piece of ass is a piece of ass.
PAO: What the Captain means is, that he finds the delicately featured Oriental girls fascinating and he was very impressed with their fine manners and thinks their naivety is most charming.

Reporter: Tell me Captain, have you flown any missions other then over North and South Vietnam?

Captain: You bet your sweet ass I’ve flown other missions then over North and South Vietnam. We get fragged nearly every day to fly into Laos. The F**kers throw everything at you but the kitchen sink. Even the God dam kids have sling shots.
PAO: What the Captain means is that he has occasionally be scheduled to fly missions in the extreme Western DMZ and he has a healthy respect for the flack in that area.

Reporter: I understand that no one in the 12th tactical fighter wing has scored a MIG yet, what seems to be the problem?

Captain: Why you peckerhead, if you knew anything about what you’re talking about, the problem is MIGS. If we got fragged by those by those numb nuts in the 7th for those counters in MIG valley. You can bet your sweet ass that we’d get some of them Mothers. Those glory hounds at UBon get all them Frags, while we settle for fighting friggin the war. Those MOTHERS at UBon are sitting on their fat asses killing MIG’s and we’re stuck bombing the Goddamn cabbage patches.

PAO: What the Captain means is that each element in the Seventh Air Force is
responsible for doing its assigned job in the air war. Some units are
assigned the job of neutralizing enemy air strength by hunting out MIGs and
other elements are assigned bombing missions and interdiction of enemy
supply routes.

Correspondent: Of all the targets you've hit in Vietnam , which one was the
most satisfying?

Captain: Well, sh*t, it was when we were scheduled for that suspected VC
vegetable garden. I dropped napalm in the middle of the f**kin' cabbage, and
my wingman splashed it real good with six of those 750-pound mothers and
spread the fire all the way to the friggin' beets and carrots.

PAO: What the Captain means is that the great variety of tactical targets
available throughout Vietnam makes the F-4C the perfect aircraft to provide
flexible response.

Correspondent: What do you consider the most difficult target you've stuck
in North Vietnam ?

Captain: The friggin' bridges. I must have dropped 40 tons of bombs on those
swayin' bamboo mothers, and I ain't hit one of the bastards yet.

PAO: What the Captain means is that interdicting bridges along enemy supply
routes is very important and that bridges present quite a difficult target.
The best way to accomplish this task is to crater the approaches to
the bridge.

Correspondent: I noticed, in touring the base, that you have aluminum
matting on the taxiways. Would you care to comment on its effectiveness and
usefulness in Vietnam ?

Captain: You're f**kin' right. I'd like to make a comment. Most of us pilots
are well hung, but sh**, you don't know what hung is until you get hung up
on one of the friggin' bumps on that goddamn stuff.

PAO: What the Captain means is that the aluminum matting is quite
satisfactory as a temporary expedient but requires some finesse in taxiing
and braking the aircraft.

Correspondent: Did you have an opportunity to meet your wife on leave in Honolulu , and did you enjoy the visit with her?

Captain: Yeah, I met my wife in Honolulu, but I forgot to check the calendar, so the whole five days were friggin' vell combat- proof a completely dry run.

PAO: What the Captain means is that it was wonderful to get together with his wife and learn firsthand about the family and how things were at home.

Correspondent: Thank you for your time, Captain.

Captain: Screw you--why don't you bastards print the real story, instead of all that crap?

PAO: What the Captain means is that he enjoyed this opportunity to discuss his tour with you.

Correspondent: One final question. Could you reduce your impression of the war into a simple phrase or statement, Captain?

Captain: You bet your ass I can. It's a f**ked up war.

PAO: What the Captain means is . . . it's a F**KED UP WAR.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Sean Hannity is my Hero "Freedom Alliance"

Sean Hannity, what a guy!

OK, call me goofy, but I like Sean Hannity and I love to watch Fox News. In Iraq, the Government-owned Armed Forces Network split the programming time between first, Fox News; second, Communist News Network (CNN); and finally, some old TV reruns. Sometimes they would switch it around and you might miss Hannity and Colmes if you weren’t paying attention. Bottom line, I just like the way he presents himself on TV and he seems like a very genuine guy.

For several years now, Sean, in conjunction with the Freedom Alliance, has put on a series of “Freedom Concerts” around the country for a very WORTHY cause. The Freedom Alliance, founded by LtCol Oliver North in 1990, created a trust fund for the children of our active-duty Marines and Soldiers who have either given their lives for our country or have received 100% disability. The Alliance is amazing, for they have raised over ten million dollars so far for the 2,220 plus children who have lost their father or mother since their founding. Think about it. All those kids, ranging from newborns to teenagers, will be taken care of when the time comes for them to attend college, and their parents’ sacrifice will not be forgotten. I am in awe of this program; and my admiration for Sean, Col. North, and The Freedom Alliance continues to grow.

My parents purchased their tickets earlier, and I really wanted to go, but with schedule conflicts, I wasn’t sure if I could attend until the last minute. I called Mike, one of the staff members for Mark Davis on WBAP 820, and asked if there was a way to still get tickets. He took my number and said, “I’ll give you a shout back.” True to his word, he called back with an extra ticket. Turns out, a gentleman named Mike Loyd, wasn’t able to make it, and donated his tickets back to the station. Talk about happy! The other lucky ticket recipient, Kelly, picked up the tickets, and we met up with her and her family at the Nokia Theater. What a great time!! Kelly and Mike, I owe you guys a big cold beer!

Now, the kicker of the entire story is that I called Sean’s talk line, and told the screener I would love to meet Sean. Why? Well, because he was my hero. She said it would be up to Sean so I tossed in, “Well, would it help if he knew I was the poster boy on his sponsor’s website,” I told her the story of getting the coffee from Bruce, the CEO of BocaJava, and finding out when I returned from Iraq that they used me on their website banner (pretty honored by that, by the way). She started typing on her computer, and then put me through on the air with Sean. But, it was the tail end of the show, so he says, “Hey Col, stay on the line.” The next thing I knew, I was talking to his assistant Eileen who arranged for three backstage passes to meet him.

(My Mom was there but the only good picture taken was by her, my camera froze)

Guys, I can tell you that when he walks into the room, he has a magnetic charge that permeates the air! I’m sure you’ve met the type—he could be your best friend from college that you haven’t seen in twenty years, and you pick up right where you left off years ago. He makes you feel like the VIP. Thing is that he was that way with everyone. During the show they had four soldiers from Fort Hood on a live satellite feed to over twenty five thousand folks in the audience, and then they brought out their wives, mothers, fathers, girlfriends, and kids to talk to them. He and Col. North REALLY care for our servicemen and it shows. I sure wish that guys like George Soros would spend their vast hoards of money to help out the military families like Sean and Freedom Alliance does.

(back stage with Mark Davis from WBAP 820am)

Anyway, it’s a great show for a worthy cause, and you would have loved hearing the former Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich who told us that since Homeland Security and the INS can’t track illegal aliens, they ought to use the same technology that Fed-Ex does. If they can track forty-five million packages worldwide, why don’t we just send all these illegal aliens a package then have Fed-Ex track them for the US Government. That was pretty funny. One of the neatest moments was when he asked the audience to turn on their cell phones like people used to click their cigarette lighters. All those pinpoints of lights waving in the theater were so moving!

(Meeting Ollie North, the man who started it all)

I also got to meet him, and my folks got to say “hi” to Col. North who they know from years of going to the same barber in Arlington. He was really surprised to see them in Dallas! Governor Mitt Romney also puts on a great speech. All great Americans! In addition, the musicians were awesome and were constantly giving tribute to the service members and veterans of all wars. As my Dad said, “he felt like a jumping jack from standing up so many times with the other veterans!” They had Colin Raye, Lee Greenwood, and the Montgomery Gentry Band. All of them were just great! Bottom line is that if you can make the September 11th show in New York City, I sure recommend you do it!!

(Lee Greenwood who sings, Proud to be an American)

Well, have a great day and talk to you soon.
Semper Fi,
PS, Sean if you are reading this, thanks again

Friday, August 10, 2007

Running of the bulls part II

The bull came charging out of the ally, and off again down the street. I hobbled over to find out what happened to Dave. As I turned the corner, there he was, a bloody mess, crumpled in the corner with his large intestines spilled out over the street...
No really he was safe and sound. Turns out that he leaped up and grabbed a wrought iron balcony overhang below someone’s window. He was hanging on for dear life as he dangled above the beast until the bull could be chased away. He thought I was dead from the hit, I thought he was dead...

We drank more beer, exchanged stories, and ate more bull balls at Michael’s house. Having survived the initial bull that day, we decided to play with the bulls again the next day. This time it was in a different part of town, at a four-way intersection with hills going up two of the streets. Our crew found safe purchase above one of the streets with a good view of all the action. I decided I would be the hero,

(see the guy in the center of the picture looking down, that's me)

and ventured out into the street where the bull was running around while the rest of the guys cheered me on and drank beer while sitting on the wall. Down in the center of town, I met up with some locals who talked me into doing the “Toro, Toro” thing with the bull. I took the challenge, being the super dumb 27-year-old Marine. Taking the cape, I began to tease the bull that was only twenty feet from me.

(look at the dumb American in the white tee-shirt holding the cape)
Everyone else sort of moved off, and once again, the bull had me in his target sight. He charged. My adrenalin was out of control; the sweat poured from my face, and I felt like I was about to take a dump as this three-thousand-pound bull started coming at me. At the last second, I performed a perfect sidestep as he went right by me at full speed. I think it was at that moment I realized that a) this was dumb and b) I didn’t want to die.

(Man this is dumb, what you don't see is me running away fast)

Dropping the cape, I ran as fast as I could away from all the action, and had my guys pull me up on the wall. I never did the bull thing again and it never happened on my watch while visiting Lajes. Now did I ever tell you about swimming with the Great Whites off the coast of Australia?
Semper Fi,

PS,Just remember; never run in a straight line from a bull, always zigzag…

Thursday, August 09, 2007

No Bull

The trip to Rota Spain was fairly routine, and we had a nice stopover in Lajes, a small Portuguese island in the Azores. Both places hold a special place in my heart, but it was this homeward-bound trip home from Rota that sticks out in my mind. There were four pilots on board trying to eek out as much flight time as we could on this trip so there was a lot of time shooting the bull and reading books.

The Aircraft Commander, a great guy named Mark, who we all called “The Sheik” which is kind of funny because he was an Italian-type guy with an Irish surname. Then there was another guy named “Wedge,” a new Captain, and about ready to upgrade to Aircraft Commander. He was a bit different so we just let him do his own thing. The junior guy on the trip was a brand new copilot named Dave who always had this quiet, complete babe-in-the-woods type innocence. He is now the Commanding Officer for one of the Fleet VMGR Squadrons. Where does the time go?

The flight to Lajes takes about three hours, not considered a long time in the Herk, but when you have eaten something that doesn’t agree with you…it’s a lifetime. “Wedge” got up and started to fumble for the honey bucket on the ramp. Everyone walks by it, but most don’t know how to operate it. It’s basically a round can with a toilet seat that flips down over top so you can relieve yourself. With a typical “Wedge” move, he got it down, but didn’t put a plastic bag in the bucket. When we arrived in Lajes, he had this bucket stuffed into a plastic bag with the remnants of upset stomach inside. At the Billeting Office, I asked him what he was going to do with his present, and he said, “I’ll clean it out in the shower.” That was enough for me so I leaned over to the young Airman at the desk, and told him I wanted a room on the other side of the building from this yo-yo since we all shared bathrooms.

The next day as we were to leave, we got word that both compass systems were not working, and we were a ‘no go’ for the trip across the pond. Now most of the time, our visits to this beautiful island are very short and usually in the middle of the night. So a chance to explore it was too tempting. Being the FAGO or “Fun and Games Officer,” the “Sheik” asked me if I could put together something for the crew to do. I found out that the Running of The Bulls was going on in the town of Angra on the other side of the Mountain. I rounded up a couple of taxis for us, and we were off, minus the “Wedge” since he was tied to his bathroom.

I thought it was funny that we were the only Americans there (sticking out like a sore thumb), but since a local guy named Michael and his buddies who invited us to his house for beer and food adopted us, we fit in with the locals a little better. Now picture this—a small home, very quaint with the women cooking in the back room, and the boys telling large tales of past bull fighting in the dining area. The food was incredible. We all dug in, stuffing our faces and putting some large quantities of the local beer down to boot. They, of course, were impressed that we liked his wife’s recipe for Swedish meatballs. As it turns out, we were eating bull balls or whatever was whacked off the local beef. I have to tell you, though, after all the beer, well, “hell, it didn’t matter.”

Our host pulled us aside to pass on some words of wisdom for the Running of The Bulls. Actually, one is let out of his cage with a thirty-foot rope attached to his neck. If the bull gets wild or kills someone, these little guys in the white shirts and black hats step in to save the day, and pull him off the poor guy. At least that was the plan. Our host, Michael, said in broken English and sign language, “If bull comes at you, no run straight, bull catch you. You must do this,” and he used his fingers to show us how to zigzag. It didn’t make sense at first, but I found out why later. The streets where the bulls were released were cobblestone, and the bulls would slip on the stones if you cut hard to either side as he chased you. I’m sure that this escape maneuver was the last thing on our minds—like we would be crazy enough to be that close to the bull.

The crowd moved outside and up the street to where the bulls were pinned up in these large green wooden boxes. I noticed that the front fences of the houses were all elevated above the street and boarded up with plywood to keep the errant bulls from coming over. Folks were lined up, drinking beer and wine, overlooking the festivities from their yards. We followed Michael and his buddies to the start of the event. Thousands of folks were standing around; a charge of electricity was in the air, more of the fear of the unknown I’d imagine. A loud boom resounded as one rocket exploded over the town center alerting the good folks that a bull was on the loose and to watch out. We kept a safe distance back in the crowd as we watched this three thousand-pound bull trample a few folks right off the bat. I would say that we were pretty buzzed by this time, and laughing hard as we ran up the street, following the crowd. I turned back to say something to Dave who was right behind me, and his laughing stopped as a look of panic came over his face. He turned and started running the other way. I turned back and looked up the hill only to see the bull charging downhill. It was the parting of the red sea as I was now the only person in his line of sight. I forgot everything Michael told me and ran as fast as I could, but the bull was catching up to me. I saw some folks ahead on the right yelling at me from behind their barricaded fence motioning for me to run to them.

I cut right and leapt for the top of the wall they had built. The bull was right behind me. I had both hands on the top of the wall, grunting to pull my winded and drunk butt over, and one guy grabbed my belt loop, and started to pull me over. The bull collided with the plywood, glanced off it, and his forehead smacked my right calf knocking me sideways over the wall. My leg was VERY sore, and it felt broken as I giggled like a little girl having escaped death, but that soon passed as I looked over the wall at Dave running around the corner of the next street with the bull right behind him now. The lady and man next to me were exchanging a fast paced, excited conversation as they pointed in Dave’s direction. His wife asked me in broken English if that was my friend. I said, “yes,” and she then said, “I’m sorry but he just ran down a dead-end street.” I knew it was bad when the little men in the black hats ran down there to pull the rope on the bull. I also knew I was dead meat for taking these guys to the Running of the Bull’s and then letting our most junior 1stLt get killed in Lajes. My career was over!!

Standby for part two of No Bull

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Looking for Scott Eaton

Hey Scott,
Your email bounced back, LtCol Voytko said for you to get in contact with him for sure. Email me again with a good email address so I can pass on his contact info to you.

Hey Gang, Check out go to the five million cup project. They are the ones that sent us three boxes of the best coffee in the world. This company is the real deal and I just did an interview with them on being one of the guys who received coffee from Bruce the President. If you want to send something to that special guy/gal over there, go check out Boca Java, I put a link on my site to them, they will hook you up. (I'm also the poster boy on their web site)

Lane Barnholtz over at is putting on a contest to award money to your favorite Charity. I know that Marty had AnySoldier removed so belay my last asking you to vote for A.S.
Lane has a great site and I don't know where he gets the money to give away, but I think it's a wonderful deal. Good luck who ever wins.

Well, What do you want to hear about next? Landing on the USS Lexington or going the speed of sound? How about doing the bull fights in Lajes??
PS, I think Lajes wins out and I'm almost done