Send ’em up, I’ll wait!

In addition to communicating with the local Air Traffic Control facility, all aircraft in the Persian Gulf AOR are required to give the Iranian Air Defense Radar (military) a ten minute ‘heads up’ if they will be transiting Iranian airspace. This is a common procedure for commercial aircraft and involves giving them your call sign, transponder code, type aircraft, and points of origin and destination. I just flew with a guy who overheard this conversation on the VHF Guard (emergency) frequency 121.5 MHz while flying from Europe to Dubai

image001

The conversation went like this…

Iranian Air Defense Radar: ‘Unknown aircraft you are in Iranian airspace. Identify yourself.’

Aircraft: ‘This is a United States aircraft. I am in Iraqi airspace.’

Air Defense Radar: ‘You are in Iranian airspace. If you do not depart our airspace we will launch interceptor aircraft!’

Aircraft: ‘This is a United States Marine Corps FA-18 fighter. Send ’em up, I’ll wait!’

Air Defense Radar: Absolute silence

I don’t know the veracity of this story. Nonetheless, it’s a great story.

God and the USMC

https://i2.wp.com/kevinpierpont.com/library/wp-content/uploads/2006/11/usmc-ega.jpg


A United States Marine was attending some college courses between
assignments. He had completed missions in Iraq and Afghanistan. One of the courses had a professor who was an avowed atheist and a member of the ACLU .


One day the professor shocked the class when he came in he looked to the ceiling and flatly stated; ‘God, if you are real, then I want you to knock me off this platform. I’ll give you exactly 15 minutes.’ The lecture room fell silent. You could hear a pin drop.

Ten minutes went by and the professor proclaimed, ‘Here I am God. I’m still waiting.’ It got down to the last couple of minutes when the
Marine got out of his chair, went up to the professor, and cold-cocked him, knocking him off the platform. The professor was out cold.

The Marine went back to his seat and sat there, silently. The other
students were shocked, stunned, and sat there looking on in silence.

The professor eventually came to, noticeably shaken, looked at the Marine and asked, ‘What the heck is the matter with you? Why did you do that?’ The Marine calmly replied, ‘God was too busy today protecting American soldiers who are protecting your right to say stupid stuff and act like an idiot.  So, He sent me.’

World War II: Raising the Flag on Mt. Suribachi

“The raising of that flag on Suribachi means a Marine Corps for the next 500 years.”
James Forrestal – Secretary of the Navy – 23rd February 1945″

Among the men who fought on Iwo Jima, uncommon valor was a common virtue.”
Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz – 16th March 1945

Unfortunately, someone somewhere down the years spilled coffee (?) on this photo.  When Grandpa Les pulled out pictures to show us, invariably he would choose this as one of them.  He was proud of his service and this is one of the most famous scenes from the war.

Grandpa Les was understandably proud of the moment and cherished the unique momento of history.  After all, books have been written about this moment in history. This moment has been memorialized with the United State Marine Corps Memorial and the recent movie Flags of Our Fathers.

Phantoms

I haven’t seen my Dad for a while. It’s an odd relationship that I have with my father. If we are together, we can lapse into conversation as if we’d just seen each other yesterday. If I’m not there with him, it’s as if I don’t exist. It’s a bit odd. But I’ve come to accept it. I have always felt like I know my father well. Even when I couldn’t quite figure out how I should react to him. If I see him when I’m home. I see him. If not. It’s just the way it is.It’s just his way. He lives in the present. He deals in the here and now. If you’re not in the moment with him, you don’t exist. It’s a coping mechanism, I believe. It was a long road to come to the realization that it wasn’t personal.

Early in my life, I reacted harshly to my memories of my father and his mistakes.

Resentment. Anger. Hate.

Ultimately, I turned away from those and decided to walk a different path.

Acceptance. Love. Fate.

He is what he is. I have no desire to change the man. And the effort would drive a man insane. An email every now and again would be nice, though. lol

One thing that I remember clearly about my father from childhood is that he had a fascination with the F4 Phantom. Pops was a Jarhead. A Devil Dawg. He served a tour in ‘Nam. Up near Da Nang on China Beach at the foot of Marble Mountain. I’m sure that an F4 or two probably covered his platoon out on patrol. The Huey UH1. The Patton Tank. Things I remember distinctly from childhood. Visiting Fort Knox and Patton Museum. I still smile when I pass the Patton Museum.

I was doing research for a post for my blog. A new post on Vietnam that I’ll put up at a later date. Vietnam always brings my father to mind. So I googled F4 Phantom and found the video below. The Phantoms are all but retired. They’ve been put to rest so to speak. The wars are over. I hope that the same can be said for my father. The name of the F4 is somewhat symbolic of my father. He is a bit of a phantom as well. He has been a shadow in the lives of his children. Existing on the peripheral of our vision. Rarely daring to venture closer. It’s fitting. It’s also a perfect video as the aircraft is taking off. (Lest someone think I’m angry, I’m not. I laughed when I typed that. lol)

In 2006, I visited Da Nang. I went there to go where my father had been during the war. I walked around Marble Mountain. Explored the fields around it. Explored it’s caves and sanctuaries. I sat and marvelled that I was fortunate enough to make such a journey. Fortunate enough to see Vietnam in peace. As it was meant to be. I sat and wondered what it was like for a young man to land on China Beach. Full combat load. Ready to fight. What is it like to move in to the country and attack ancient cities like Hue.

China Beach is a beautiful stretch of white sand. Da Nang is a modern city of 3 Million. Da Nang. It’s a peaceful place now. The Marble Mountain is a tourist attraction. It juts into the sky on the outskirts of Da Nang. A few hundred meters from China Beach and the sea. The top of Marble Mountain was knocked off during the war. Even so, it’s a beautiful place to visit. Tranquil. Perfect for reflection on the miracles, fortune and wonder of my life. Yet, like Vietnam and the Veterans who served there, it is scarred.

I met a couple of Vietnam War vets while I was in Vietnam. One guy probably served with my Dad. He was with the 1st MARDIV in 68-69. Perhaps, he ran into my Pops and they had a beer together. A very possible happenstance.

I found beauty and peace on my trip to Vietnam. The Vietnamese people were extremely welcoming. Nice folks. Especially out in the rural areas. I hope my Dad has found as much beauty. As much peace.

It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.

Kahlil Gibran