Archive for the ‘duty’ Category

Navy Blue Angels: Aircraft 4 Is Missing; Formations Remain Spectacular

November 2, 2008

When a pilot crashes with his aircraft, the reasons can take months and even years to determine.  When man fails without his machine, the history of mankind tells us the reasons swiftly sometimes….

By Lindsay Kastner
San Antonio Press – News

An afternoon performance by the Navy’s Blue Angels was a crowd-pleaser even though the six-jet squadron flew only five planes Saturday, after two team members were removed from duty last week.

The team members, including one pilot, were removed from duty Oct. 26 after allegations of an inappropriate relationship, Blue Angels spokesman Marine Capt. Tyson Dunkelberger confirmed.

Members of the U.S. Navy Blue Angels precision flying team perform ...

Several spectators at the AirFest 2008, part of a weeklong San Antonio salute to the military, said they noticed the show was down a plane, but were unfazed by the absence. Jet number four was clearly missing from the team’s formations.

Mario and Sylvia Perez said they loved Saturday’s show despite the missing plane.

“He kept on asking, ‘Where’s the sixth one? Where’s the sixth one?’” Sylvia Perez said.

Chuck Pollack also noted the vacancy on the team, but wondered if it was combat-related.

“I thought it was perfect the way they were flying,” said Pollack, who last saw the Blue Angels perform four or five years ago.

With just five jets, some formations were changed — for instance the jets flew in a letter V shape instead of their hallmark diamond or delta formation, Dunkleberger said. There are no backup pilots who can step in when one of the Blue Angels is unable to fly, according to the team’s website.

The Blue Angels also flew what is called a “low show” instead of their preferred “high show” Saturday, which limits some maneuvers the pilots can perform. But Dunkleberger said that was a safety decision that had nothing to do with the removal of the two team members.

“The low show was just due to the cloud level today,” he said.

Dunkelberger said the team commonly practices with fewer than six planes and is ready to perform without its full complement of jets.

“That was pretty good, fun, air show as far as I was concerned,” he said, of the demonstration.

Many in the crowd agreed.

“It was super,” said spectator Larry Priest. “They put on an awesome show. It wouldn’t make any difference if they had three planes.”

Dunkelberger would not release the names of the individuals — a male and a female — who are no longer participating in team duties.

“It’s a privacy thing for those individuals,” he said. “It’s administrative in nature, not judicial.”

In addition to flying, the Blue Angels visit schools and hospitals as they tour.

“We have additional people that can fill those roles,” Dunkelberger said, noting that the team also includes C-135 pilots who step in when jet pilots aren’t available.

He said he did not know how long the members might be off the team, saying that has not been determined yet.

“They’ve basically just been relieved of their duties at this point.”

The Blue Angels perform again today at Lackland AFB’s Kelly Field Annex, where AirFest 2008 continues. Their 2008 season ends Nov. 15 after shows at the Kennedy Space Center and at their home base in Pensacola, Fla.

Related:

Navy Blue Angels Flying Today; As In War, Operations Continue Despite Any Setback

Navy Blue Angels Flying Today; As In War, Operations Continue Despite Any Setback

November 1, 2008

The Blue Angels will fly today, one day after it was made public that two team members were removed from duty because of an alleged inappropriate relationship.
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The Blues fly in San Antonio today and Sunday.

On Thursday, the Blue Angels announced that the removal of the team members would force the squadron to fly five jets instead of the standard six jets for the rest of the season, which concludes Nov. 14-15 at Pensacola Naval Air Station.

No new details were released Friday, and the team members’ names have not been made public.

The allegations involve a male and a female team member. The Military Times reported Thursday that one of the individuals is a pilot.

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Related:
Navy Blue Angels: Aircraft 4 Is Missing; Formations Remain Spectacular
When a pilot crashes with his aircraft, the reasons can take months and even years to determine.  When man fails without his machine, the history of mankind tells us the reasons swiftly sometimes….

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The allegations are under review by Rear Adm. Mark Guadagnini, chief of Naval air training.

–Pensacola News Journal
November 1, 2008

Blue Angels on Delta Formation.jpg
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AP: A spokesman for the U.S. Navy Blue Angels says the stunt-flying team will be down one jet the rest of its season after removing two members from duty for having an inappropriate relationship.

Capt. Tyson Dunkelberger, a spokesman for the team based at Naval Air Station Pensacola, said Thursday the squadron will finish its last three air shows next month with five jets.

Dunkelberger would not identify the two members but said the relationship was between a man and a woman. All six of the F-18 stunt pilots are men, and 23 of the 133-member squadron are women.

Dunkelberger says a military administrative hearing will be held to determine further disciplinary actions, which could include removal from the military.

Halfhearted at State?

November 7, 2007

By John E. Carey
The Washington Times
November 7, 2007

For the first time since the Vietnam War, the State Department has notified career diplomats, or Foreign Service Officers (FSO), that they may be required to accept overseas postings not of their choosing. The order from Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was necessary to fill 50 or fewer posts in the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad.

FSOs immediately began to express outrage that they might have to leave cushier assignments for tasks in what could be a danger zone. So Miss Rice convened State’s version of a venting session they call a “Town Hall Meeting.”

A 36-year veteran of the diplomatic corps, Jack Crotty, came to the microphone to say: “It’s one thing if someone believes in what’s going on over there and volunteers, but it’s another thing to send someone over there on a forced assignment. I’m sorry, but basically that’s a potential death sentence and you know it. Who will raise our children if we are dead or seriously wounded?”

According to reporters, many of Mr. Crotty’s colleagues applauded.

Outraged military personnel, too disciplined to express anger to the media, contacted several retired military people like myself to ask, “What about our service? What about our children? And why are the elite of the State Department allowed to pick and choose their assignments without repercussions? Didn’t we all take the same oath?”

The fact is that the oath FSOs, and everyone of any importance at the State Department, takes is the same oath military personnel take. But there is a vast difference in the way that oath is respected, apparently.

Military people know they face the Uniform Code of Military Justice if they refuse orders. They know they may wind up standing before a court martial. State Department people, it seems, feel completely within their right to defy the secretary of state and their president. Herein lies the dilemma.

After the tragedy of September 11, 2001, the president of the United States declared a war on terror and the Defense Department mobilized for war. At Foggy Bottom, many career diplomats yawned. What started as apathy has morphed into defiance.

And our military men and women know this.

But it wasn’t just the active duty military who took Mr. Crotty’s remarks and his colleagues’ apparent approval as a serious affront: Retired military and Foreign Service officers began to buzz on the Internet.

Mike Benge is a retired FSO who should know something about duty, honor and respect for those who serve and abide by their oath.
 

Mike was in the Marine Corps before he joined what is now the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). In Vietnam, he served as a Foreign Service officer doing what is now termed “nation-building.”

In 1968, Mike was captured by the North Vietnamese communists and held hostage for more than five years, most of it in the infamous Hanoi Hilton. But since Mike was not a uniformed member of the armed forces, he was not a prisoner of war (POW), so he was held in isolation.

After his release in 1973, Mike again returned to Vietnam as a volunteer and continued his work until the communist takeover in 1975.

Mike, along with many of his colleagues who view service much differently from the current crowd at State, expressed outrage beyond belief that senior State Department officers today are not aware of — or have so little respect for — their oath and their distinguished lineage

Mike sent us this message: “We had many fine Foreign Service officers who served in Vietnam, quite a few from the State Department who served in various capacities including in danger zones out in the provinces. The closest thing to a ‘green zone’ perhaps was service in Saigon — which was sometimes dangerous,” Mike wrote.

“Every one of these dedicated State Department officers in Vietnam did an excellent job, and many gave the ultimate sacrifice of their lives in service of their country — 27 State Department officials gave the final sacrifice for their countrymen, I believe. Many more from USAID and other government agencies lost their lives, and some like me, were taken prisoner,” wrote Mr. Mike Benge

Now, is the United States of America mobilized for and fighting a “Global War Against Terror” or not? Knowing that senior State Department officers can choose not to participate without any repercussions makes one wonder.

John E. Carey is a retired career military officer, former president of International Defense Consultants Inc. and a frequent contributor to The Washington Times.

Meet “Bud” Day; Read His Medal Of Honor Story

November 6, 2007

By John E. Carey

George E. “Bud” Day served the United States through three wars. After quitting High School he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps for World War II. He served 30 months in the South Pacific. After the war, he used his GI Bill benefits to become a lawyer and a pilot.

During the Korean War he served two tours flying F-84 fighters.

USAF F-84E Thunderjet

During the Vietnam War he was shot down, captured by the Communists, escaped, and lived for two weeks off the land and in the jungle before he was captured again.

Bud’s Medal of Honor Citation reads:“On 26 August 1967, Col. Day was forced to eject from his aircraft over North Vietnam when it was hit by ground fire. His right arm was broken in 3 places, and his left knee was badly sprained. He was immediately captured by hostile forces and taken to a prison camp where he was interrogated and severely tortured. After causing the guards to relax their vigilance, Col. Day escaped into the jungle and began the trek toward South Vietnam. Despite injuries inflicted by fragments of a bomb or rocket, he continued southward surviving only on a few berries and uncooked frogs. He successfully evaded enemy patrols and reached the Ben Hai River, where he encountered U.S. artillery barrages. With the aid of a bamboo log float, Col. Day swam across the river and entered the demilitarized zone. Due to delirium, he lost his sense of direction and wandered aimlessly for several days. After several unsuccessful attempts to signal U.S. aircraft, he was ambushed and recaptured by the Viet Cong, sustaining gunshot wounds to his left hand and thigh. He was returned to the prison from which he had escaped and later was moved to Hanoi after giving his captors false information to questions put before him. Physically, Col. Day was totally debilitated and unable to perform even the simplest task for himself. Despite his many injuries, he continued to offer maximum resistance. His personal bravery in the face of deadly enemy pressure was significant in saving the lives of fellow aviators who were still flying against the enemy. Col. Day’s conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of the U.S. Air Force and reflect great credit upon himself and the U.S. Armed Forces.”

Col. Day in dress uniform.

Bud Day is one of my American heroes. He is among a special class of people some Americans can never understand. To me, Bud Day is one of those Americans we can never thank enough.

We honor every single man and woman who ever wore the uniform of the United States on Veterans’ Day. We honor those now gone and those still living. But in one way, I think of Veterans’ Day as “Bud Day Day!”

But Bud is humble and would never hear of it. In fact, he may be a tad embarrassed by this essay.

But Bud teaches us never to give up. This is a most precious gift to many in life. By telling ones self to “Always Persevere,” the largest challenges in life can be overcome.

Bud is the most highly decorated U.S. serviceman since Douglas MacArthur. Because he always persevered.

I interviewed Bud and his wife of fifty-seven years, Doris, for this Veteran’s Day tribute.

When George Day strapped himself into his F-100 on 26 August 1967 for a mission over Vietnam, he had no idea he was about to start a six year odyssey of a prisoner of war.

F-100A with the original short tail fin.

He was a 41 year old veteran of combat in World War II and Korea.

He was in the Vietnam War by choice: at his age and with his experience he could have retired or taken a desk job.

“I went because it was my duty,” Bud told me. “That’s where I needed to be. I had more flying hours than anyone in Southeast Asia. I needed to be there.”

Doris still recalls that day, the day a chaplain, a U.S. Air Force notification officer and a woman from the base Family Services organization notified her that Bud had been shot down. “They were very nice, very professional.”

Among veterans and military people there are so many Bud Day stories, all of them true, that there isn’t room to publish all of them here. One of my favorites is this.

In February, 1971 Bud and several other prisoners at the Hoa Loa camp gathered for a religious service, which was forbidden. The guards burst into the group, carbines at the ready. Bud Day stood calmly and began to sing “The Star Spangled Banner”, our National Anthem. Commander James Bond Stockdale, the highest ranking prisoner, joined in. The entire camp erupted to the singing of “The Star Spangled Banner.”

Later Stockdale would write, “Our minds were now free and we knew it.”

Fittingly, five years later, the President of the United States presented the Medal of Honor to Bud Day and his friend James Stockdale in one ceremony.

Mr. Carey is a retired military officer and the former president of International Defense Consultants, Inc.

This was first published in:
The Washington Times
Veterans’ Day November 11, 2006

State Department Memories from The Hanoi Hilton

November 4, 2007

Introduction By John E. Carey, Peace and Freedom: Maybe State Department employees, even those with 36 years of service like Mr. Jack  Croddy, need an occasional reminder of their proud heritage. 

United States
Department of State
Seal of the United States Department of State

Last Wednesday, October 31, 2007, Senior Foreign Service Officer Jack Croddy stood up at a “Town Hall Meeting” at the United States Department of State and addressed the Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice with these words:

“It’s one thing if someone believes in what’s going on over there and volunteers, but it’s another thing to send someone over there on a forced assignment. I’m sorry, but basically that’s a potential death sentence and you know it. Who will raise our children if we are dead or seriously wounded?” 

The essay below was given to me today by my friend Mike Benge.  Mike was a staffmember of the United States Agency for Internatiional Development, an Agency of the Department of State, in Vietnam when he was scooped up by the communists and ultimately landed in the Hanoi Hilton.  But because Mike was not a member of the uniformed services, he could not be held as a Prisoner of War (POW).  So he was held separately.

For those too young to recall, the “Hanoi Hilton” is the American nickname given to the most infamous of communist North Vietnam’s prisons.

Mike has contributed to America and the world in many ways but I always recall his memory of the “Christmas lights over Hanoi in 1972.”  That essay closes with these simple words: “Yes Christmas lights are pretty, but none will ever be as pretty as those over Hanoi on Christmas ’72.  And  God Bless the pilots and crews of the planes who gave their lives to set us free.”

Mike and I have had contact for several years, and Mike has taught me much and there is not much that I could ever teach Mike.  He is an expert in duty, honor, service to country and service to his fellow man. I first met Mike because of his insightful work writing for the Washington Times.  We share a passion for freedom and human rights, a love of the peoples of Vietnam and a desire to contribute in the world community. Mike would be my half brother as I can never fully honor or equal his time held captive by communists or his stellar contributions to many venues including the History Channel. We cannot regain the past; so we both now man the gates of justice and reality and attempt to keep honest and aware those that might overlook different problems in far away lands. Or in Washington DC, it now seems.

HanoiHilton.jpg

The Hoa Loa Prison (Vietnamese: Hỏa Lò, meaning “fiery furnace”), later known to American prisoners of war as the Hanoi Hilton.
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On the State Department at War
By Mike Benge

Like me, those who choose government service — be they military or civilian — swore an Oath of Service:

“I (person taking oath says own name) do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic. That I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same. That I take this obligation freely and without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion. That I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me, God.”

Although sworn to this Oath of Service, some Foreign Service Officers join not really to serve their country but to be elitists and enjoy the perks of cushy government employment: job security, good retirement package, travel to exotic foreign countries, free housing, generous leave packages, and access to good life and other accompanying bennies – never dreaming that they may someday be called to really serve their country in dangerous situations.

And now when these people have been called to live up to their oath of office, last week at the State Department, officials began crying, “I didn’t sign up for this!” (See: Envoys Resist Forced Iraq Duty, Washington Post, 11/1/07)

Sorry folks, but you did, and it wasn’t even in fine print at the bottom of your Oath that by the way is a binding contract.

After first serving in the Marine Corps, I went to Vietnam with the International Voluntary Services, then joined what is now the U.S. Agency for International Development serving as a foreign service officer doing what is now termed “nation building.”

In 1968, I was captured by the North Vietnamese and was held hostage for over five years. After my release in 1973, I again returned to Vietnam as a volunteer and continued going in an out until the communist takeover in 1975.

My government service spanned 44 ½ years.

We had many fine foreign service officers who served in Vietnam, quite a few from the State Department who served in various capacities including in danger zones out in the provinces.

The closest thing to a “green zone” perhaps was service in Saigon — which was sometimes dangerous.

Every one of these dedicated State Department officers in Vietnam did an excellent job, and many gave the ultimate sacrifice of their lives in service of their country — 27 State Department officials gave the final sacrifice for their countrymen, I believe. Many more from USAID and other government agencies lost their lives, and some like I, were taken prisoner.

None of them went on strike like the present breed of elitists at the State Department; none of them cried, “Not I!”

Related:

For a real hero’s story from the Hanoi Hilton go to:
Meet “Bud” Day; Read His Medal Of Honor Story

Other stories related to the Diplomatic Corps:

Diplomat Jack Croddy: You Don’t Want to Go To Iraq? Step Forward and Meet the Families of the Fallen and Those that Serve

Diplomats Who Refuse Assignments: “Hit The Road, You are Terminated with Prejudice and Without Pay”

The Abyss Between State and Defense

In Iraq: Reporters More Dedicated than the U.S. Foreign Service?

Diplomatic Infighting Hurts Terror War Effort

Rice Tells State Department Staff: You Took an Oath

A Diplomacy of neighborhoods

“Gaffe Machine” Karen Hughes Leaving State Department