It’s not often one gets to talk to a preeminent scientist one on one, much less get to talk to two of them over breakfast; but today, by fortuitous chance, I got to do just that…

Drs. Walter Munk and Art Baggeroer invited me to join them and I quickly accepted, and then had an OH S**T moment wondering if I was going to get asked any questions!  I’d actually done data collections for both these gents back in the day, and have read/followed both their published papers over the years, as what they did impacted my job in the Navy.

Both of these guys are legends in the fields of acoustics and oceanography; to put it mildly, they are arguably in the top five Oceanographers/Acousticians in the world. Both of them have contributed significantly the world’s understanding of the seas, and specifically to the Navy’s success in operations at sea, understanding of the ocean and acoustics, and systems development  over many years and platforms in the Navy.

Dr. Munk is 94 years young, and still takes an active interest in what’s going on, and still consults occasionally to a variety of organizations.  Dr. Baggeroer is still active at MIT and a Navy consultant on a variety of programs.   

Thankfully, I got asked no questions; I just got to just listen to them go back and forth over 40 years of experimentation, systems development, and people they’d interacted with!

And I can’t help but wonder if they really realize how LARGE their impact has been, and how many lives they’ve potentially saved by their research…

And they are both truly nice gents… 🙂

This one is worth watching…

For those who appreciate motocycles, this from a 1935 Police demonstration!!!

Those old boys ‘knew’ what they were doing!  

My dad rode with the El Karubah Shrine Temple motorcycle patrol back in the 1940s-50s and they did some of the same maneuvers… Except they were doing them on the big Harley Ultra Glides!  And I remember them talking about 30 ‘motors’ being the standard parade unit.  Sadly, I can’t find any pics of them, but I did find this pic of a few Shriners with their bikes.  The motto then, as now, is “We ride so that others may walk.”

Y’all have a good day, ya hear….

They Lied…

San Diego is NOT sunny and warm…

It’s cold, raining and windy as hell… grumble…

The Last Six Seconds…

You will never forget nor regret reading this. These are the true heroes that are going to war to protect us…

Semper Fi ~ The Last Six Seconds

On Nov 13, 2010, Lt General John Kelly , USMC, gave a speech to the Semper Fi Society of St. Louis , MO.   This was four days after his son, Lt Robert Kelly USMC, was killed by an IED while on his 3rd Combat tour.

During his speech, General Kelly spoke about the dedication and valor of our young men and women who step forward each and every day to protect us.

He never mentioned the loss of his own son.   He closed the speech with the moving account of the last six seconds in the lives of two young Marines who died with rifles blazing to protect their brother Marines.

“I will leave you with a story about the kind of people they are, about the quality of the steel in their backs, about the kind of dedication they bring to our country while they serve in uniform and forever after as veterans.

Two years ago when I was the Commander of all U.S. and Iraqi forces, in fact, the 22nd of April 2008, two Marine infantry battalions, 1/9 “The Walking Dead,” and 2/8 were switching out in Ramadi.

One battalion in the closing days of their deployment going home very soon, the other just starting its seven-month combat tour.  Two Marines, Corporal Jonathan Yale and Lance Corporal Jordan Haerter, 22 and 20 years old respectively, one from each battalion, were assuming the watch together at the entrance gate of an outpost that contained a makeshift barracks housing 50 Marines.

The same broken down ramshackle building was also home to 100 Iraqi police, also my men and our allies in the fight against the terrorists in Ramadi, a city until recently the most dangerous city on earth and owned by Al Qaeda.

Yale was a dirt poor mixed-race kid from Virginia with a wife and daughter, and a mother and sister who lived with him and whom he supported as well.  He did this on a yearly salary of less than $23,000.

Haerter, on the other hand, was a middle class white kid from Long Island.  They were from two completely different worlds.  Had they not joined the Marines they would never have met each other, or understood that multiple America ‘s exist simultaneously depending on one’s race, education level, economic status, and where you might have been born.

But they were Marines, combat Marines, forged in the same crucible of Marine training, and because of this bond they were brothers as close, or closer, than if they were born of the same woman.

The mission orders they received from the sergeant squad leader I am sure went something like, “Okay you two clowns, stand this post and let no unauthorized personnel or vehicles pass.  You clear?”

I am also sure Yale and Haerter then rolled their eyes and said in unison something like, “Yes Sergeant,” with just enough attitude that made the point without saying the words, “No kidding sweetheart, we know what we’re doing.”  They then relieved two other Marines on watch and took up their post at the entry control point of Joint Security Station Nasser, in the Sophia section of Ramadi, Al Anbar, Iraq ..

A few minutes later a large blue truck turned down the alley way – perhaps 60-70 yards in length, and sped its way through the serpentine of concrete jersey walls.  The truck stopped just short of where the two were posted and detonated, killing them both catastrophically.

Twenty-four brick masonry houses were damaged or destroyed.  A mosque 100 yards away collapsed.  The truck’s engine came to rest two hundred yards away knocking most of a house down before it stopped.  Our explosive experts reckoned the blast was made of 2,000 pounds of explosives.  Two died, and because these two young infantrymen didn’t have it in their DNA to run from danger, they saved 150 of their Iraqi and American brothers-in-arms.

When I read the situation report about the incident a few hours after it happened I called the regimental commander for details as something about this struck me as different.  Marines dying or being seriously wounded is commonplace in combat.  We expect Marines regardless of rank or MOS to stand their ground and do their duty, and even die in the process, if that is what the mission takes.  But this just seemed different.

The regimental commander had just returned from the site and he agreed, but reported that there were no American witnesses to the event – just Iraqi police.  I figured if there was any chance of finding out what actually happened and then to decorate the two Marines to acknowledge their bravery, I’d have to do it as a combat award that requires two eye-witnesses and we figured the bureaucrats back in Washington would never buy Iraqi statements.   If it had any chance at all, it had to come under the signature of a general officer.

I traveled to Ramadi the next day and spoke individually to a half-dozen Iraqi police all of whom told the same story.  The blue truck turned down into the alley and immediately sped up as it made its way through the serpentine.  They all said, “We knew immediately what was going on as soon as the two Marines began firing.”

The Iraqi police then related that some of them also fired, and then to a man, ran for safety just prior to the explosion.  All survived.  Many were injured, some seriously.  One of the Iraqis elaborated and with tears welling up said, “They’d run like any normal man would to save his life.”  “What he didn’t know until then,” he said, “And what he learned that very instant, was that Marines are not normal.”  Choking past the emotion he said, “Sir, in the name of God no sane man would have stood there and done what they did.”  “No sane man.”  “They saved us all.”

What we didn’t know at the time, and only learned a couple of days later after I wrote a summary and submitted both Yale and Haerter for posthumous Navy Crosses, was that one of our security cameras, damaged initially in the blast, recorded some of the suicide attack.  It happened exactly as the Iraqis had described it.  It took exactly six seconds from when the truck entered the alley until it detonated.

You can watch the last six seconds of their young lives.  Putting myself in their heads I supposed it took about a second for the two Marines to separately come to the same conclusion about what was going on once the truck came into their view at the far end of the alley.  Exactly no time to talk it over, or call the sergeant to ask what they should do.  Only enough time to take half an instant and think about what the sergeant told them to do only a few minutes before, “Let no unauthorized personnel or vehicles pass.”  The two Marines had about five seconds left to live.

It took maybe another two seconds for them to present their weapons, take aim, and open up.  By this time the truck was half-way through the barriers and gaining speed the whole time.  Here, the recording shows a number of Iraqi police, some of whom had fired their AKs, now scattering like the normal and rational men they were – some running right past the Marines.  They had three seconds left to live.

For about two seconds more, the recording shows the Marines’ weapons firing non-stop the truck’s windshield exploding into shards of glass as their rounds take it apart and tore in to the body of the ( I deleted) who is trying to get past them to kill their brothers – American and Iraqi-bedded down in the barracks totally unaware of the fact that their lives at that moment depended entirely on two Marines standing their ground.

If they had been aware, they would have known they were safe because two Marines stood between them and a crazed suicide bomber.  The recording shows the truck careening to a stop immediately in front of the two Marines.  In all of the instantaneous violence Yale and Haerter never hesitated.  By all reports and by the recording, they never stepped back.  They never even started to step aside.  They never even shifted their weight.  With their feet spread shoulder width apart, they leaned into the danger, firing as fast as they could work their weapons.  They had only one second left to live.

The truck explodes.  The camera goes blank.  Two young men go to their God.  Six seconds.  Not enough time to think about their families, their country, their flag, or about their lives or their deaths, but more than enough time for two very brave young men to do their duty into eternity.  That is the kind of people who are on watch all over the world tonight – for you.

We Marines believe that God gave America the greatest gift he could bestow to man while he lived on this earth – freedom.  We also believe he gave us another gift nearly as precious – our soldiers, sailors, airmen, Coast Guardsmen, and Marines – to safeguard that gift and guarantee no force on this earth can ever steal it away.

It has been my distinct honor to have been with you here today.  Rest assured our America , this experiment in democracy started over two centuries ago, will forever remain the “land of the free and home of the brave” so long as we never run out of tough young Americans who are willing to look beyond their own self-interest and comfortable lives, and go into the darkest and most dangerous places on earth to hunt down, and kill, those who would do us harm.


An expatriate (in abbreviated form, expat) is a person temporarily or permanently residing in a country and culture other than that of the person’s upbringing. The word comes from the Latin terms ex (“out of”) and patria (“country, fatherland”). 

Got an email from a friend last night, one of my old crew mates apparently died of a heart attack in Thailand three days ago…

He retired and got on an airplane and left the US, “Never to darken the doorstep again”… He’d been through a bad divorce leading up to his retirement, and I think he’d just had enough. We’d flown together back in the early-mid 70s in SEA, and he’d loved it; when he left that was where he was headed.

In honor of ‘Reggie’ and all the other Expats…

And before you ask, yes Earthquake was a real person…
Link HERE.



From Hong Kong and Shanghai, to far-off Tibet

This legend is growing with time

Of the behemoth creature who flies in the sky

His three hundred pounds shake the earth when he walks

Yet he soars with the grace of a loon

The legend makes claim that this beast from the earth

Is known as Earthquake McGoon.

While still a mere lad in his tenderest years

He seemed a precocious young boy

Who knew naught of views like women and beer

To his parson a true pride and joy

But tales of “The East” and streetcars that ran

In an easterly-westerly  way

Sowed dreams of wild oats in your young heros head

He vowed he’d go there to stay.

So J.B. McGovern cast off all his chains

Took the name of Earthquake McGoon.

He yearned to carouse on a far eastern claim

Where he would have plenty of room.

He then learned to fly like a bird in the sky

With Wee Willie, the Don and the rest.

He staked out a claim in that far-flung domain

And lived with a Mandarin’s best.

The timbered teak floors in the bars that he entered

Would ground with deep pain at his weight.

He’d heist at his paunch and in thunderous tones

Say, “Fill her up, Matey.  It’s late,

This hollowedout leg that’s supporting me now

Will hold half a keg of your best,

This stomach of mine which protrudes to your bar

I am certain will hold all the rest.”

But it looked like the doom of Earthquake McGoon

And we swore he would never come back

When he deadsticked his plane into Liushow one day

His future looked truly quite blank

They threw him in Jail and granted no bail

They took both his shoes off his feet

Yet he stomped on the floor and beat on the door

For whiskey and something to eat.

In fear of their lives or because of the din

From this behemoth creature within

His captures  relented  and gave him a bottle

Of rice wine diluted with gin

But they still wouldn’t feed this ponderous hulk

Whose temper grew worse by the day

And quaking  with fear they fmally released him

After six months  and a day.

His ponderous stomach  a hundred  pounds shy

And sporting  a wonderful beard

He came back to fly once again like a bird

And bellowed, “I never was skeered

I’ve eaten them out of their prisoners fare

Drank all of their rice wine and gin

My eating and drinking have turned  back the tide

Those (censored) just had to give in.”

So believe what I say, friend, and lend me an ear

To prove to yourself  if you must

That the legend of Earthquake, the mouth and beard

Is a true as a Venus bust

Go down into Kowloon, in Gingles back room

And there staring  you in the face

Is this behemoth creature, his hand on ·his prop

With a smile on his lecherous face.

From Hong Kong and Shanghai  to far-off Tibet

This legend is growing  with time

Of the behemoth creature who flies in the sky

Who knows neither reason or rhyme

His three hundred  pounds shake the earth when he walks

Yet he soars with the grace of a loon

The legend makes claim that this beast from the east 
Is known as Earthquake McGoon.

Al Kindt (another CAT/Air America pilot)

One to think about…

After reading the headlines about the US soldier who shot up
Afghanistan civilians, I couldn’t help noticing an irony. There is
all this clamor (SecDef) to try this guy quickly and execute him, never mind his having suffered a traumatic brain injury.

Yet Major Hasan, who shot up Fort Hood while screaming Allah Akbar, still hasn’t stood trial, and they are still debating whether
he was insane, even with the clear evidence regarding his motive:
slay as many infidels as possible. So we have a guy in a war zone
who cracks, and he must be executed immediately.

But this Muslim psychiatrist who was stateside in a nice safe office all day murders 13, wounds 29 of our own guys, and they try to argue the poor lad suffered post-traumatic stress syndrome, from
listening to real soldiers who had actual battle experience.

Two and a half years later, they still haven’t tried the murderous bastard.

This is NOT the military I served in…  Just sayin…


Had lunch with a friend who is an active LEO here in Northern Virginia, and we got to talking about ‘profiling’.

Not in the way you might think, but OUR profiles…

Are you a ‘high’ or ‘low’ profile person?  How do you perceive yourself, and how do others perceive you???

By now you’re probably wondering WTF I’m talking about…

Your vehicle- Is it distinctive?  Vanity plates?  NRA stickers? Bumper stickers?  Odd color/make/model?

I’ll admit mine does have vanity plates and a couple of stickers.  Why you may ask???

Without getting into specifics, he talked about two different cases here in NOVA where ‘distinctive’ vehicles were part of investigations…

In one, it was a case of trying to push blame on someone other than the actual perp, and the course of the investigation finally got around to that individual a week or so after the actual ‘act’ was perpetrated.  The individual was ‘placed’ at the scene through his vehicle/license plate description provided by “witnesses”…

Only problem, he was able to prove his vehicle was actually IN THE SHOP at the time he was supposedly at the scene!!!  And he was able to prove he was home at the time, thanks to emails sent from his home computer.  

The witnesses finally admitted they had seen the vehicle before, and happened to remember the plate and description, and just spouted that when questioned…  

The other case was a ‘get even’ set up, where again a vehicle was used to prove ‘guilt’ due to it’s distinctive plate and bumper stickers. In that case it apparently took much longer to ‘clear’ the individual, and that was by luck more than anything else (apparently a parking garage camera finally cleared him).

That led into a discussion of high/low profile clothes…  Do you wear a “shoot me first” vest?  Loud Hawaiian shirts?  Jackets when it’s warm out?  3XL shirts that hang to your knees???

In this case, I am low profile… 

He said about 50% of the time he can pick out who is carrying just by their clothing…  The ‘bad’ part is apparently some of the gangbangers are also catching on, and targeting those individuals  to get their weapons, or break into their vehicles hoping the weapon is left in the car.  

Another point he made is he picks out a lot of CCW people by their attention to their surroundings and having one hand free at all times.  He said paying attention will, many times ‘cue’ him to that person, and he goes down his mental checklist, then goes back to scanning for the perps.  He said the perps tend to be much more furtive,  and once he sees one, he starts looking for others (as most gangbangers tend to run in groups of at least three or more)…  AND they tend to ‘pat’ their weapons, just to make sure they haven’t moved from the carry position…

As far as open carry, he said if the gun is in a holster, he doesn’t ‘worry’ about it. 

YMMV, but I’d be curious to hear your thoughts on this…

A Real Tribute- 98 years in the making…

Nuff said…

Edit- Appears this is a fake per Snopes… Thanks DT for pointing this out.

Father’s advice to his son…

                The following is a father’s advice to his son just moments before he gets on the bus that will carry him off to join the Navy.

                “Son, you are getting ready to embark on a great adventure as many of the men in our family have done since your great-great-great-great-great-great-great grandfather did many            hundreds of years ago.


                There will be many dangers ahead that you will encounter. Remember your training and obey your commanders, this will keep you alive during the arduous days of battle. Always stay with the plan, if you deviate from it you will be in grave jeopardy.

                When the time of battle is over, be wary as you go into the towns and cities ahead because there are many hidden dangers lurking there. There will be many temptations to lure you away from your brothers in arms and this could put you in danger even if it seems safe at the time. In every town there will be a street that will be most treacherous of all there will be strong drink to dull your

senses, loud and crude songs to suppress your hearing, and wild women of ill repute to enable your enemy to catch you off guard. My advice to you as a former sailor is simple – Whatever you do…

                FIND THAT STREET.”
Now the ‘funny’ part is today at lunch a couple of us were talking, and one of the guys sons is currently stationed in Japan, and he was bitching via email to his dad about how the “Honch” didn’t live up to his dad’s sea stories… He said he dug out a picture of the Honch back in the day (one that the wife didn’t know he’d kept), and sent it to his son via email.  Apparently the son responded that it wasn’t ‘fair’… That is was obiously a LOT more ‘fun’ back in our day 🙂 

New Rules for Old Farts…

Another one from the mil-email… This one is SOOOO true…

If you remember when health insurance was optional, you are an old fart.

If you are polite to strangers, you are an old fart.

If you’ve ever changed a typewriter ribbon, you are an old fart.

If there was only one fat kid in your class, you are an old fart.

If you think “Occupy” is a verb and not a noun, you are an old fart.

If you just want to be left alone, you are an old fart.

If you remember when only sailors had tattoos, you are an old fart.

If you remember when civil rights meant equal rights, not reverse discrimination, you are an old fart.

If you’ve never uploaded naked photographs of yourself, you are an old fart.

If you know how to spell, you are an old fart.

If you ever waited to hear your favorite song on the radio, you are an old fart.

If you remember when being radical meant hating the government, rather than relying on it, you are an old fart.

If you know how to get there better than that GPS contraption, you are an old fart.

If you’ve ever felt shame, you are an old fart.

If you still feel a twinge of dread seeing a phone number with a lot of “9″s and “0″s, you are an old fart.

If you think a nice warm day is just a nice warm day and not proof of impending doom, you are an old fart.

If you ever paid for your own condoms, you are an old fart.

If you know how to fix mechanical devices, you are an old fart.

If the phrase “turn of the century” makes you think of the year 1900, you are an old fart.

If you had a blue mohawk in 11th grade, you are an old fart.

If you remember when Top Gun actually sat in the plane, you are an old fart.

If you’ve ever bought something with cash, you are an old fart.

If you don’t go all the way on the first date, you are an old fart.

If you remember when being a Democrat meant being anti-communist, you are an old fart.

If you remember when “books” were made of paper, you are an old fart.

If you’ve ever played pinball, you are an old fart.

If you remember when sex scandals would ruin a starlet’s career, you are an old fart.

If you’ve ever gotten on an airplane without first being searched, you are an old fart.

If you even know the meaning of the word “bipartisan,” you are an old fart.

If you you don’t have a Facebook page, you are an old fart.

If you do have a MySpace page, you are an old fart.

If you’ve ever used the word “gay” to mean carefree or joyous, you are an old fart.

If you still haven’t scraped that “I believe you Anita!” sticker off your bumper, you are an old fart.

If you kept a few leftover French francs and German marks the last time you visited Europe, you are an old fart.

If you think self-esteem is earned rather than a birthright, you are an old fart.

If you remember when the media at least pretended to be impartial, you are an old fart.

If you ever ate at Sambo’s, you are an old fart.

If you still have some bell-bottom pants way back in your closet from the first time they were cool, you are an old fart.

If you remember when every quarter had an eagle on the back, you are an old fart.

If you hold the door open for ladies, you are an old fart.

If you remember when tech support answered without an accent, you are an old fart.

If you can’t remember why you used to laugh at the phrase “You bet your sweet bippy,” you are an old fart.

If you remember when being on welfare was embarrassing, you are an old fart.

If you know what VHS stands for, you are an old fart.

If you admire successful people, you are an old fart.

If you know what “the blue dress” refers to, you are an old fart.

If a teacher ever smacked you on the knuckles with a ruler, you are an old fart.

If you ever paid for pornography, you are an old fart.

If you think school should be taught in English, you are an old fart.

If you still think music comes on these black vinyl disks called “records,” you are an old fart.

If you played with toy guns when you were a kid, you are an old fart.

If you’ve ever visited a public library, you are an old fart. (Breda excepted)… Just sayin…

If you remember when Apple was a small struggling company, you are an old fart.

If your debate coach taught you to see both sides of an argument, you are an old fart.

If you still have some of those 8-track tapes in the garage, you are an old fart.

If you love your country, you are an old fart.

If you remember when budgets were measured in billions, not trillions, you are an old fart.

If you want to go back to measuring budgets in billions like we used to, you are really an old fart.

If you remember when campus revolutionaries fought against The Man, and weren’t yet The Man themselves, you are an old fart.

If you’d welcome a death panel at this stage, frankly, you are an old fart.

And on THAT note, enjoy the rest of your week…