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College Football Week 9…

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Photo from Yahoo.

 

Hey Y’all,

 

How can it be week nine already? Didn’t we just start this journey a few days ago? I guess not since the calendar says it is week nine. A fantastic game last week between FSU and Notre Dame. I hope we have a couple of games that match the intensity and drama of last week. I will give you a maybe on that. By the way, I predicted 34-30 an Notre Dame win, had the last second score been allowed it would have been 34-30. I will stop patting myself on the back later. Ha ha.

This is my ranking Top Ten non SEC-programs that have a chance to make the playoff. This is not my top ten college football schools. It is the top ten teams that have the best chance to get into the playoff system.

  1. Florida State- The mantra of a tournament is to survive and move on. The Noles are doing what they need to do and with an off week, they will look to move back into the top spot.
  2. Baylor-(OUT) Last week, I wrote this: “Baylor should win, but something tells me that WV will win 48-45.” I was wrong, WV won going away and putting Baylor and the Big 12 out of the playoff race. Sorry TCU, your hopes went away with Baylor.
  3. TCU- TCU won big and is probably out. Texas Tech isn’t a good enough team to move the needle back to their favor. Look for them to make the Cotton Bowl and play Marshall.
  4. Notre Dame-Last week, I wrote this. “Someone will get a big win tonight.” I was wrong because both teams won big. With the loss and taking the National Champions to the limit, look for Notre Dame to run the table and get a rematch against FSU. The Irish will take the week off before starting a string of road games to finish the season.
  5. Oklahoma-(OUT) I am glad I can put the sooners off the list. How tough is it to win a weak Big 12? Tougher than it looks. Expect the Sooners to play Alabama in the Disappointment Bowl.
  6. Oregon- Right now, they are having a tough go with Cal. It is tough to keep backing the Ducks only to have them continue to disappoint. Should they falter, pencil in the winner of Michigan State/Ohio State into the playoffs.
  7. Michigan State/Ohio State- Until they play each other, we will just expect these two teams to keep rolling a conference that is weaker than the Sun Belt.

 

CLEMSON (OUT)

USC (OUT)

UCLA (OUT) ARIZONA (OUT)

 

In my heart, I love the underdog. This is the only team from the non-Power 5 that could make the playoff.

 

  1. Marshall- The bully beat down of really bad Florida teams continues as Marshall hosts Florida Atlantic. Too bad they don’t get to play the Gators. You can start to pencil Marshall in the Cotton Bowl.

 

BYU (OUT)

Utah State (OUT)

Colorado State(OUT)

Arkansas State (OUT)

 

 

I can’t resist looking at the SEC this week as it is showdown Saturday in the conference that most everyone thinks is the best ion football.

Ole Miss goes on the road to Death Valley. This is a true test for the Rebels, maybe more of a test than Alabama was at home for them. Ole Miss 34-LSU 10.

Mississippi State was off last week and might as well be off this week going up to Lexington to play Kentucky. The baddest team in the land will reign supreme. 63-3.

Auburn was also off last week and hosts South Carolina. The Tigers should win 63-3 setting up next week’s version of the game of the century against Ole Miss.

Alabama plays at Tennessee. The charade will continue for Bama but not for much longer. Bama 55-10.

 

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I can’t get enough of this picture. Photo from Yahoo.

 

Georgia will take the week off before playing major disappointment Florida.

 

No changes for the Top 4.

  1. Ole Miss
  2. Auburn
  3. Mississippi State
  4. Georgia

 

 

I thought that the PAC 12 would get two teams in the playoff not possible any longer. The door is wide open for Notre Dame, but they have to win out. The SEC is looking for two teams and the Big Ten will get a team if MSU or OSU can win out and Notre Dame/Oregon stumbles. I don’t think the committee wants an all-SEC Championship Game.

SEC Champion Ole Miss Rebels will play Number four Mississippi State. Ole Miss wins.

SEC runner up Florida State will play Notre Dame. Notre Dame wins.

Ole Miss will defeat Notre Dame 45-10 and win the National Championship.

 

 

My little sweetyboof…

Rob Akers

Chuck the Nav, Dale and Crummy standing with my and my little monster sometime between 2005-06. Photo from rob akers.

 

 

Hey Y’all,

 

I know I have been slightly distant lately and I apologize. I have been on vacation from work and have been enjoying the wonderful side of time off away from my job. I have transformed from vampire to human and tonight was one of the few that I have been awake past eleven in the last two weeks. So many good things that I could share with you but there is one thing that stands far and above all other things that have happened in the past couple of weeks.

 

On Sunday, my oldest daughter was baptized into Jesus’ death and resurrected a new creature of perfection. I am so proud of her and her decision to be a beacon of light in the world. I don’t normally go religious here out of respect for the free will of all my friends. I don’t want to be that guy that wears his faith on his sleeve or projects a lack of confidence by constantly harping about the Bible is the Word of God while ignoring the fact that we all have the freedom to believe what we chose to believe.

 

I know that many of you have a different opinion and I respect that. But within my family, yesterday was a day worthy of celebration. I thank you all for the opportunity to openly be who I am and to be so unabashedly proud of a brave little lady.

 

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3/4 of the family celebrating her decision. Photo from Carl Anderson.

 

 

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Photo from Yahoo.

 

College Football Week 8

 

Hey Y’all,

 

Another great week of college football in store for today. Hope you got time for your first true elimination game tonight. Florida State verses Notre Dame. Florida State does not have the remaining schedule to come back after this loss. I think the media and college football in general has tired of Jameis Winston and his consistent time spend in the spotlight for off field activities. I would expect if they lose tonight and with their remaining schedule they are out if they lose. Notre Dame still has a upper echelon team in USC to play and they could fight back with a close loss. I predict Notre Dame to win tonight 34-30.

This is my ranking Top Ten non SEC-programs that have a chance to make the playoff. This is not my top ten college football schools. It is the top ten teams that have the best chance to get into the playoff system.

  1. Florida State- The mantra of a tournament is to survive and move on. Must win tonight because the likes of Louisville, Miami, Virginia, Boston College and Florida are not strong enough to bring them back.
  2. Baylor-Last week, I wrote this: “Look for Baylor to win a low scoring game.” I guess I should have been a little clearer since it was a low scoring game 61-58. I meant to say “Look for Baylor to win a low scoring basketball game.” Look for another low scoring basketball game today as the Bears travel to West Virginia. The Mountaineers are tough at home and have pushed some big time teams this year. Baylor should win, but something tells me that WV will win 48-45.
  3. Notre Dame-Here is their first game of the playoff. Survive and advance is the only rule. Their quarterback Everett Golston has only lost one game in his entire college career and that was the National Championship game against Alabama. Jameis Winston is undefeated in his college career. Someone will get a big win tonight.
  4. Oregon- The schedule is now coming back to the Ducks. Stanford is still lurking out there but it is at home and every other game is winnable. I had Oregon sitting on one loss at this point, it was just to UCLA not to Arizona. I think you can make plans to see the Ducks in the playoff. I know they are farther down the line, sitting at number 9 in the top 25 but they will be moving back up.Oklahoma-The
  5. Michigan State/Ohio State- The Big Ten is still alive because of Michigan State and Ohio State. The conference has a championship game so the winner of this isn’t promised anything more than a rematch. Until then MSU plays at Indiana who is starting a true freshman. This might be a bloodbath. OSU is hosting Rutgers and no one this side of New Jersey is expecting the Knights to win.
  6. Sooners are still alive and have an outside chance because TCU lost their focus against Baylor. Must win this week against Kansas State and must beat Baylor. The window is closing rapidly for all the teams in the Big 12 as the SEC is making their case for two teams in the playoff.
  7. TCU-Their defense allowed 24 straight points and let Baylor off the hook. You can’t take a quarter off only to lose like they did still and expect to make the playoffs. Stranger things have happened but with the SEC aiming to get two teams in the playoffs, TCU is probably out.

 

CLEMSON (OUT)

USC (OUT)

UCLA (OUT)

ARIZONA (OUT)

 

In my heart, I love the underdog. This is the only team from the non-Power 5 that could make the playoff.

 

  1. Marshall- Florida International is up and they will not offer the Thundering Herd anything more than another win. Marshall is looking good for a New Year’s game but unless the wheels fall off the big boys in the SEC, Marshall may be on the outside looking in because of their schedule.

 

 

BYU (OUT)

UTAH STATE (OUT)

COLORADO STATE (OUT)

ARKANSAS STATE (OUT)

 

 

I still look to the SEC as the best confrence. Here is this week’s rundown of the games.

Ole Miss will host Tennessee and they might have their hands full. The Tennessee quarterback is really good and they will be able to score. There is an outside chance that the Vols make this close. Ole Miss 37-UT 31.

 

Texas AM at Alabama-Someone is out after this game. To be honest, both teams are out but for now we will pretend that there is still hope. Alabama 24 AM 21.

 

Georgia at Arkansas. One day, Arkansas will win a game but it won’t be this week. UGA 37-Pigs 17.

 

Mississippi State and Auburn are enjoying a week off. Nothing helps a team move up the standings like a bye week.

 

  1. Ole Miss
  2. Auburn
  3. Mississippi State
  4. Georgia
  5. No one else matters anymore. Ouch, that must hurt Bama Fan.

 

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What is he thinking? Maybe it is “I wish I had a QB.” Photo form yahoo.

 

 

I thought that the PAC 12 would get two teams in the playoff but not possible any longer. The door is wide open for Notre Dame, but they have to win out. The SEC is looking for two teams and the Big Ten will get a team if MSU or OSU can win out and someone stumbles. The Big 12 will be left on the outside looking in.

SEC Champion Ole Miss Rebels will play Number four Notre Dame. Ole Miss wins.

SEC runner up Mississippi State will play PAC 12 Champion Oregon. Oregon wins.

Oregon will defeat Ole Miss 45-27 and win the National Championship.

 

 

College Football…Week 7…

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College Football Week 7

 

Hey Y’all,

 

Last weekend was a great weekend for college football. Finally we had a full slate of good teams playing good teams. It was a fun couple of hours as the endings of four great games came down to the wire. We can hope that this week gives us as much enjoyment. This week a couple of teams will be eliminated from making the playoff. It will be high drama out west as the PAC-12 fights for relevance. The Big 12 may find itself on the outside looking in and the ACC’s hopes depend entirely on Florida State. The SEC is still in contention for one spot and Michigan State/Notre Dame are playing for the fourth spot. And Marshall is still out there. Only one word can adequately describe the madness; fun!

This is my ranking Top Ten non SEC-programs that have a chance to make the playoff. This is not my top ten college football schools. It is the top ten teams that have the best chance to get into the playoff system.

  1. Florida State- Hello Syracuse. The number one ranked team in the land will play on the road and very early in the day. It shouldn’t be a problem but Florida State seems to be playing up/down to their competition. Their schedule isn’t that strong and any misstep from here on and they will be on the outside looking in. Norte Dame is up next, this might be a classic trap game.
  2. Baylor-Last week, I wrote this: “The Big 12 could be a different conference this time next week.” It is a different conference with the addition of TCU to the mix. If TCU can contain Bryce Petty, then you can put TCU in the driver’s seat to win the conference and claim one of the playoff spots. One of Baylor’s defensive ends is out for the season, but as long as they have Petty they have a chance. Look for Baylor to win a fun game.
  3. TCU-If defense wins championships, then TCU can win it all. Their mission this week is simple, go to Waco and win this game. This is will be a nail bitter.
  4. Notre Dame-The Irish did what they needed to do last week, win and advance. North Carolina is making the trip to South Bend and they are a good team. But not good enough to ruin the game next week against Florida State.
  5. Oklahoma-Tough loss to TCU. The biggest Baylor fans in the nation outside of Waco reside in Norman Oklahoma. If TCU wins this weekend, the Sooners are out because no one can stop the Frogs. Oh yea, they have their annual game with Texas. Look for a bully beat down this week.
  6. Oregon- The Wildcats were dangerous and they started off this week of insanity. Oregon plays at UCLA this week. It is a must win for the Ducks.
  7. UCLA-UCLA has been playing with fire all year and late Saturday night, Utah burned them. They host Oregon this week and I just don’t see them winning this game. I predict this is the last week we talk about UCLA.
  8. Arizona and Michigan State- Both teams are forcing themselves onto the radar. I have to respect their play on the field and they deserve a mention. Arizona plays USC at home this week and they have to win to maintain their relevance. Michigan State has a one game season against Ohio State to make their case for the playoffs. Oregon’s loss to Arizona really hurt Michigan State as much as it hurt the Ducks.

 

Clemson (OUT)

USC (OUT)

 

In my heart, I love the underdog. This is the only team from the non-Power 5 that could make the playoff.

 

  1. Marshall- Middle Tennessee is the next victim for the Thundering Herd. Another blowout is in store. Marshall really needs to get into Top 25. They are for real, but because they schedule is so weak, no one is noticing.
  2. BYU (OUT)-They lost their Quarterback and lost the game. Good bye BYU, we hardly knew you.

 

Utah State (OUT)

Colorado State(OUT)

Arkansas State (OUT)

 

 

I can’t resist looking at the SEC this week as it is showdown Saturday in the conference that most everyone thinks is the best ion football.

Ole Miss did what few other than myself predicted and beat Alabama. Now they have to go to Texas AM and win again. I think they will win another close and exciting game. Ole Miss 38 Texas AM 33

 

 

Mississippi State hosts Auburn. Last week I said: “I am not as high on State as others.” They put an old school beat down on the Aggies. Now, they bring in the Tigers. This should be the game of the week. Even if Auburn losses, they are not out of the playoff. If the Bulldogs lose, they are probably out. Auburn 44 Miss State 17.

 

Alabama at Arkansas-Only in adversity do we see true character. Alabama is in a dangerous place playing a dangerous team. I hate to write the following words but Arkansas is a good football team and are much better than their record. If Bama losses, their playoff chances are done no matter how much ESPN loves them. Tide 24 Pigs 27.

 

Georgia at Missouri-I am following them for the next three weeks because of our good friend Karlene. They play at Missouri, at Arkansas and host Florida. This is a tough three game slate verses some high quality teams that can beat Georgia. The nightmare for the SEC is that Georgia drops one of these games and losses to Auburn in early November. They still win the east and play a one or two loss western conference opponent in the SEC title game. Georgia wins and no team from the SEC makes the playoff.

 

SEC Top 6 for the playoff.

  1. Ole Miss
  2. Auburn
  3. Mississippi State
  4. Alabama
  5. Texas AM
  6. Georgia

 

 

I thought that the PAC 12 would get two teams in the playoff and that is still possible but it will not be Oregon AND UCLA. Oklahoma still has a chance if Baylor beats TCU and Oklahoma beats Baylor. Ole Miss controls their destiny. The door is opening for Notre Dame.

PAC 12 Champion Oregon will be the number one seed playing the SEC Champion Ole Miss Rebels. Oregon wins.

Big 12 Champion Oklahoma will be the number two seed playing PAC 12 runner up UCLA. Oklahoma wins.

Oregon will defeat Oklahoma 45-37 and win the National Championship.

 

 

College Football Playoff Predictions…

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This is so last year. Photo from Yahoo.

 

 

 

Hey Y’all,

 

I am re-running this series over here. It is currently running on the Magill Review. In late August Josh and I documented our predictions about which teams would play in the first College Playoff Series. Of course the lower divisions of College Football have been playing for a true championship for several years. But why let the facts get in the way of progress? I will update this series each week and we will all see how well I can see the future.

 

College football is entering its first year of the FBS championship playoff. For the next four months, I and the editor of the Magill Review will make our predictions about how this will all play out. The editors of the Magill Review will cover the famed Southeastern Conference while I will cover the rest of the nation.

 

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Guess he never expected to win last year because he is playing like he doesnt want to repeat this year. Photo from Yahoo.

 

This is my ranking Top Eight non SEC-programs that have a chance to make the playoff. This is not my top eight college football schools. It is the top eight teams that have the best chance to get into the playoff system.

  1. Oklahoma-TCU is up and they will give the Sooner Nation everything they want and more. Don’t be surprised if OU loses this one. The question is can TCU score enough points. If TCU pulls off the upset, they will be on this list to make the playoff.
  2. Oregon- The Wildcats from Arizona will visit the Ducks Thursday night. On paper this should be an easy victory but the Cats are dangerous.
  3. UCLA-UCLA showed why they are on this list with a relatively easy win over Arizona State. Utah is next on the schedule. Are the Bruins for real? I don’t know but we will find out next week when they host Oregon.
  4. Florida State- They finally have a cupcake to feast on. They play Wake Forrest this week and that should look like a number one team. Syracuse will be next week and then the showdown with Notre Dame.
  5. Notre Dame-A big game is next for the Irish. Stanford will be in South Bend and will give the Irish everything they want. This is a must win for Notre Dame.
  6. Baylor-On the road to play the Longhorns. Look for little brother to put an old school beat down on Texas. TCU is next week. The Big 12 could be a different conference this time next week.

 

Clemson (OUT)

USC (OUT)

 

In my heart, I love the underdog. This is the only team from the non-Power 5 that could make the playoff.

 

  1. Marshall- Old Dominion is the next victim for the Thundering Herd. Another blowout is in store. Marshall needs to start getting Top 25 votes very soon.
  2. BYU-Friday night the Cougars host Utah State. There is more to this match-up than meets the eye and Utah State is desperate for a victory. Like Marshall, BYU needs to start moving up the polls.

 

Utah State (OUT)

Colorado State(Out)

Arkansas State (Out)

 

 

I can’t resist looking at the SEC this week as it is showdown Saturday in the conference that most everyone thinks is the best ion football.

 

Ole Miss Rebels host Alabama. This is a game that I looked at a month ago and thought would tip the scales of power west to the state of Mississippi. I am not as high on Ole Miss now that I have seen their QB Bo Wallace in action. He didn’t take the quantum step I expected, but they are still a very good football team and still have the best QB in the stadium. Alabama is stacked across the board but I still feel an upset here. Ole Miss 30 Alabama 24.

 

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It is a stare down contest. The trophy made Coach Sabin blink last year. This might be the cloest he gets to the Championship trophy this year. Photo from yahoo.

 

Mississippi State hosts Texas AM. I am not as high on State as others but I also think that the Aggies have been reading their press clipping too much and got lucky against Arkansas. State beat LSU but I don’t think they run the table this season. Texas AM 45 Mississippi State 24.

 

Auburn hosts LSU. The Tigers are playing the Tigers and I assure everyone that the Tigers will win. I think LSU is a dangerous team since the upset to Mississippi State and I think they get the best of Auburn in a mild upset. LSU 34 Auburn 30.

 

Here is my prediction on the playoff teams in order. I predict Ole Miss to be the only team to come out of the SEC.

PAC 12 Champion Oregon will be the number one seed playing the SEC Champion Ole Miss Rebels. Oregon wins.

Big 12 Champion Oklahoma will be the number two seed playing PAC 12 runner up UCLA. Oklahoma wins.

Oregon will defeat Oklahoma 45-37 and win the National Championship.

 

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Here is the new trophy. My prediction is that the Oregon Ducks will hoist it in victory this year. Photo from yahoo.

 

 

Off Again…

chicken

Back again to Salem. I kept looking for something that I left here but I never found it. Photo form yahoo.

 

 

Hey Y’all,

 

I am very tempted to opine about all the missteps made by those that we entrust to keep us safe in the world. Just to think that those at the highest levels of the Government and Intelligence community failed to take the threat posed by ISIL seriously. Or the fact that the security at the White House was shown to be massively inadequate, or the minor issue of a government contractor being able to smuggle a couple gallons of gasoline into the heart of the computer network of one of the busiest Air Traffic Control Center in the world for the express purpose of shutting down Chicago Center. Tonight I read that someone came down with a touch of Ebola in Dallas. According to the health care community, unless you come in direct contact with contaminated fluids, there is little to no chance you can contract the disease. All of these “little mistakes” are extremely disturbing but I will be a good citizen and continue to trust the elected leaders to keep me safe. I have my full confidence that super Senator Lindsey Graham is standing on that wall tonight watching all of our backs. Since we are all safe, I think we need some more story time.

 

For those who are new to the story time series, the intended audience for these stories are my kids. This series exists so that in ten years or so, my kids will have a good idea of who Dad was before they were born. I do write about real people who are currently serving in the military. I make a concerted effort to protect the identity of those folks and of those who have since retired. All of these stories are from my personal point of view and are based on my personal memories. I try to accurately tell these stories. It is not my intention to make myself the hero because that isn’t the truth. I was just a guy doing a job. I made my share of mistakes and when appropriate, I will share those with you as well. Before I began the story time series, almost eighteen months ago, this particular deployment came to mind as a reason not to tell my stories. This was a tough rotation, not because I was a knucklehead, but because a couple of my guys really struggled during this two month rotation. Please understand that everyone who wears the uniform in a time of war has earned the highest respect and honor, including Carlos and Bobby.

 

When we last left off, it was early 2004 and my wife had a confirmed case of severe pregnancy. Fortunately the doctors assured us that she would recover sometime over the summer. Of course they never told me that after the pregnancy that there would be a little monster that I was responsible for. I was already the father of two pound puppies. I successfully completed an obedience training course and had even managed to teach the dogs to go outside to potty. I wondered how much harder a kid would be.

 

In the winter/spring of 2004, the optics of the Iraq War looked fairly good. We were a year into the occupation, Saddam had been captured and the hope of the elected leaders was that the resistance from the insurgents would soon slack off. Please don’t read anything into the fact that these are the same non-elected leaders that failed to take the current threat of ISIL seriously. Anyway as the draw down began, our tasking went from down to three airplanes and six crews per 60 day rotation. It was a welcome relief to everyone because we collectively felt that the end was in sight. I was scheduled to be de-activated following the next rotation from February to April. Once again we were scheduled to live at Ali Al Salem Air Base in Kuwait.

 

Carlos at Talill

This is Carlos at Talill Air Base in Iraq. Taken sometime in the summer of 2003. He was working tactics over there and when he could, he always went flying with my crew. Carlos is a great guy and fun to hang out with on a deployment. Photo from rob akers

 

We left out of Charleston as a five man crew. This rotation I had Carlos P. as my co-pilot, Bobby I. as my Navigator, Rich L. as the Flight Engineer and Mark C. as the Load Master. Both Carlos and Bobby are fantastic guys, I really think highly of them and would have no problem asking for advice from them about a life issue. But during this time period, they were not ready for primetime in Iraq. Normally, I wouldn’t even bring this up but to be fair in this documentation of this period of life, the next several stories cannot be accurately told without mentioning their short comings. Watching these guys struggle day in and day out helped me understand why I needed to get out of the military a few years later. Carlos’ issues were directly due to the fact that he didn’t spend enough time in the books and learning the airplane. Carlos is a fantastic pilot and I would let my family ride in the back of his airline. But there is a different mentality when flying in combat and Carlos just didn’t have the experience in the C-130 to fly the way I wanted him to fly. Likewise, Bobby was a great Navigator in the late 80’s and early 90’s. At one time he could look through a sextant port, find three stars and plot his position anywhere on the Earth. But as the years passed on Bobby was focused on his career and raising his family. During the mid to late 90’s as technology advanced at a rapid rate, he didn’t keep up. He rose on rank until he was the Squadron Commander. This took him further away from flying duties and when he deployed on this rotation, he was really struggling to keep up. He was a nervous wreck because he didn’t understand how the systems actually worked while the irregular schedule wreaked havoc on his body. It was a tough time for him.

 

Rich Lockard Iraq

This is Richie in early 2003. He is wearing his full combat gear. In the back ground is Chris W talking. I dont know who took the picture but it is from the collection of Billy G.

 

Rich L. was known by his nickname of “Fluffy.” For years, I called him “Fluff” and never thought anything about it. I still don’t know why he was tagged with that name but when we were flying together in August 2003, I learned that he didn’t care for the moniker. From that day forward, I called him Rich or Richie. Mark C. is a big old boy from back in the holler. He is a fairly quiet guy with a sweet personality. Of all the men in the Squadron, Mark is one of the most peaceful men I have ever known. He usually doesn’t say much, but when he speaks I learned from experience that his words carry real significance. Mark and Richie were best friends and on Drill weekend, they were thick as thieves. As much as I was concerned about having Carlos and Bobby doing the flying/navigating, I was excited to have the solid support from Richie and Mark. When we got to Salem and got our room assignments, I was assigned to live with Carlos and Bobby in a room. I begged Richie and Mark to let me stay in their room. They had every right to tell me no, but thankfully they said I could sleep in the top bunk. They put up with my obnoxious snoring on a nightly basis and I am eternally grateful for their kindness.

 

On the morning we were scheduled to depart. We were the first flight of three airplanes so that we could stop at New Castle Airport in Delaware to pick up some additional people from the Delaware guard. We were about two hours ahead of the next two airplanes and the plan was to meet up in the Azores Islands where we would spend the night. I really wanted to get to the Azores ahead of the other crews so we could check into the dorms and get a head start on the midnight dinner at the bowling alley before the other crews showed up. We departed on time and went to Delaware as planned. We picked up the guys, took on some extra gas, and raided the snack machine. It seemed like forever to get some extra gas and clearance to depart. Finally, we started up and taxied out to hold short of the runway when Bobby said that he couldn’t get the navigation system to align. The SCNS (self-contained navigation system) is a complex system of internal laser ringed gyros that is updated by GPS using both satellite and land based navigation aids to determine its position to within a couple of feet. The first alignment is done before the engine start and it takes eight minutes to align. The enhanced alignment is done after the airplane is moved and turned in a different direction taking an additional four minutes.

 

The first thing a Navigator does when they get onto the airplane is to start the aligning process. Out of his normal routine and habit patterns, Bobby shut down the SCNS and then forgot to re-start the alignment sequence when we walked back to the airplane on the ramp in Delaware. When we started the airplane and taxied out, the airplane had no idea where it was and had no ability to find a little island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. When Bobby figured out what was wrong, I suggested that he do an air alignment. Unfortunately, he forgot to bring his manuals that detailed the process to complete the air alignment. The military always has a back-up plan and part of the required publications for the co-pilot is the Navigation manual known as the Dash 4. Carlos pulled out two outdated books from his publication briefcase but neither of them were the Dash 4. Because I was an Instructor in the airplane, I was required to carry a set of Co-Pilot manuals. My kit was strapped down in the back and I knew that I could access them if they were needed.

 

Bobby’s suggestion was to return to the ramp and start over. After the airplane was completely shut down, then he would re-start the SCNS. After eight minutes we could re-start the engines and begin the process again. His idea was the safest but I had too much pride to confess to the world that we were a bunch of knuckleheads. I always carried a small handheld GPS in my flight bag with extra batteries. I had already pulled it out and had it resting on the dash. I called it my “Nav in a box.” Before I announced my plan, I called out on the radio frequency to the other two airplanes. Both airplanes were within radio range which meant they were close enough. I asked my little buddy Scott L. to turn on the air to air TACAN which is a radio signal that is transmitted thru the airplane’s radio. The signal allows anyone to tune into the same frequency to get a range and bearing to the station which in this case is the airplane. I knew that with the air to air TACAN, the “Nav in a Box”, and my books in the back we had a real good chance to find the little island in the middle of the ocean.

 

I should have asked the crew if they wanted to go, but I just announced that we were going. I told Carlos to call the tower and get permission to take off. Eight hours later, the “Nav in the Box” got us close enough to pick up the navigation aids on the Azores Islands and soon afterwards we were in “radar contact.” Crisis averted and the adventure began.

 

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Richie loved war movies. Starting the first night of the rotation, we constantly had a movie going on the DVD player. I guess some of Robert Duvall’s character had rubbed off on me. At least that is my excuse and no I have never smelled Napalm. Photo from Yahoo.

 

Until next time, keep on rockin.

 

 

 

 

Tumble Weed and Sheamus…

tumbleweed

Like a good neighbor, tumble weed is here! Photo from yahoo.

 

 

Hey Y’all,

 

Busy week at home, but who am I fooling? They are all busy weeks. On Tuesday, I ran into an old buddy down in Memphis. Before I welcome Tumble Weed into the online family, please allow me to introduce him. We first met in October 1995, I was interviewing for a pilot position in Charleston, WV with the Air Guard. There were six of us on that interview board. Mentally I ranked the guys and I really didn’t like my chances.

Tumble Weed was the number one pick in my mind. When he interviewed he had over a thousand hours, he was a Certified Flight Instructor, he had a couple years’ worth of experience flying passengers over the Grand Canyon and he was working in the Flight Records department for the Guard Unit. They knew him, I had just met him and I knew that he was a great dude.

The next guy up was John B. John was a local guy, he was the personal assistant to the Commander but he didn’t have any flight experience. I put John as tied for the second choice.

Jamie A was also number two. His Uncle was already a pilot in the unit. Both he and his Dad were mechanics in the Unit as well. It was a family affair and I figured a clinch for a pilot spot.

At this point, I was praying they had three spots and I couldn’t figure any scenario where I could be selected above these guys.

The fourth guy was also in the unit as a mechanic and the fifth guy was like me and off the street. But he lived just down the road in Huntington.

I figured that I would be the sixth choice. I did have some good experience but I wasn’t a local guy and when a unit interviews candidates they want a local guy before they take someone who lives three states away. A couple days later, I got a phone call saying that I had been selected. I couldn’t believe it but somehow I made the first cut.

Back to Tumble Weed, he was the number one choice and over the next year we became good friends after hanging out on drill weekend. Because I was older and closing in on the age cutoff, I got pushed to the front of the line while Tumble Week kept plugging away waiting for his time to go to pilot training. Before long, the airlines called and then he started putting off the Guard. About a year later, he and I had a great talk about airlines/military flying. He had a job at a Major Airline and it was time to make the decision to go to military pilot training or to be an Airline Pilot. My advice was to be an Airline Pilot. I don’t think I had anything to do with his decision other than I just validated what he wanted to do.

He went on and stayed with the Airlines, he left the Guard and has had a great life. Now he is a pilot with the same company that I work for. We saw each other in the operations room at the airport and laughed for a few minutes. He told me that he heard that I was writing and asked a few questions about why I started doing it. I gave him the link to the blog. Everyone, we should have a very warm welcome to my friend and really good dude, Tumble Weed.

 

On to business now, last Thursday I was working and awoke from a great sleep at three in the afternoon by the hotel fire alarm. That is never a fun way to wake up. A few years ago it happened and I was sleeping so hard that I jumped out of bed and started pushing the buttons on the alarm clock trying to get it to stop. Another time it happened and I answered the phone. Not all fire alarms sound the same. Last week, no buffoonery but it was annoying all the same and I couldn’t get back to sleep. I worked that night and then stayed up on Friday trying to get back home. It was the day of delays and missed flights so I didn’t get back until three in the afternoon. On the flight, I saw a familiar face and after we landed I delayed walking to baggage claim. The familiar face was a professional wrestler named Sheamus.

 

IMG_0809

Sheamus is a professional athlete. I am a professional zombie. My eyes are swollen shut from lack of sleep. But according to the FAA, I still had just run out of duty day. Does that fact make anyone feel safer? Photo my rob akers.

 

When he walked up, I nervously asked if he would take a picture with me to show my son. To my surprise he said yes and we took the picture. We walked out of the small terminal together and even more to my surprise, that Sheamus was actually a very nice guy. Later, when I showed my son the picture, he started laughing. He was so excited to see one of his favorite wrestlers.

 

tumbleweed 2

This is Sheamus at work. He is really a big dude. Photo from yahoo.

 

My wife was with my daughter going to an away volleyball game and my son and I had boy’s night out. A part of his birthday present was to go to WWE wrestling. After we got home, I got a quick shower and we headed out the door. We ate a nasty meal at McDonalds and went to the Civic Center. We had such a great time that I actually forgot that I had been awake for thirty-six hours. I went into the wrestling event not sure of what to expect. I hoped that I wasn’t surrounded by a bunch of backwoods guys that were loaded up on moonshine and weed. I didn’t want my son exposed to an environment like that. But they were not selling beer and there were kids everywhere, it was respectful and pleasant environment. To my surprise, it was a 100% completely clean, family atmosphere, well as clean and family as it can be when everyone cheers when the bad guy gets hit in the head with a table or a chair.

 

tumbleweed 5

Sheamus flipping another big dude onto his back. This part isnt fake, yes they are trying to be safe but it is still a big dude letting another big dude throw him around. Photo from yahoo.

 

We DVR Monday Night Raw every week and every week some on the show will say a work or two that we don’t want the kids to repeat. But not once did I ever hear any of those words from the crowd or the wrestlers. Those guys do put on a good show and it is most definitely not fake. It may be staged and they knew who is going to win before the match, but you cannot fake a 6-5, 235 pound guy jumping twenty feet into the air and landing on top of another big dude and you cannot fake being slammed onto the mat. I stood next to Sheamus and I can attest that he is huge. I am not a big guy but I know what a big guy looks like. He had to lean way down to fit into the picture with me. Anyway, it was a great time and I honestly say that I will be taking my son to another WWE match because it was very enjoyable.

 

tumbleweed 3

Here is a question for those who think that is fake. Would you lie perfectly still and let the other guy jump ten feet into the air and land on top of you? I wouldnt either. Photo from yahoo.

 

Until next time, keep on rockin.

 

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There is nothing fake about this reaction. Photo from rob akers

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