31 August 2015
Update from the Heartland
24.8.15 – 30.8.15
This was not a good week . . . into every life a little darkness comes.
On Thursday, Channing Samuel Morse [USAFA 1970], 67, died doing one of the things he truly enjoyed in life – flying. Details of the incident are rather scarce at the moment. Chan was flying a single-engine, single place, Piper PA-25 Pawnee tow plane in support of the Wounded Warrior Project, offering glider flights to disabled veterans. He had completed a glider release and was on approach to Crystal Airport, Llano, California. The NTSB is investigating the accident. Chan served a tour in Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War as a combat search and rescue pilot flying Sikorsky HH-53B/C “Jolly Green Giant” helicopters – quite a few stories in that service alone. Chan and I were in the same section of Class 73 at the U.S. Navy Test Pilot School, NAS Patuxent River, Maryland, and we remained friends and colleagues since completing our education and training. As fate would have it, Chan and I came back together as experimental test pilots with Hughes Helicopters (McDonnell Douglas Helicopter Company, and later Boeing). We worked together on a revolutionary, digital, fly-by-wire, flight control system in support of the Army’s LHX program. Chan went to a long list of major aircraft development and certification programs including various forms of the NOTAR (NO TAil Rotor) system. When he reached mandatory retirement age, he left Boeing and started his consulting and pilot services company. Chan was a highly accomplished and skilled pilot. He was the 1988 recipient of the Experimental Test Pilot Society’s Iven C. Kincheloe Award for his NOTAR work. May God rest your immortal soul, Chan. You will be sorely missed.
On Tuesday, Lieutenant General Frank Emmanuel Petersen Jr., USMC (Ret.), 83, passed away. I knew Frank by reputation, as a fellow but more senior Marine aviator. I met him, shook his hand and got to know him when I joined the Board of Directors, National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP) in 1991. I knew him as a generous, amicable, humorous man of considerable wisdom, compassion, insight and presence. Frank made history as the first American citizen with dark skin pigmentation to become a Marine aviator and later a Marine general. He served this Grand Republic through four decades including the tumultuous 60’s and 70’s. The honor of serving the NMDP mission became all the more exciting and enjoyable with his friendship and contributions. I strongly encourage everyone to read and learn his story in Frank’s autobiography, “Into the Tiger’s Jaw,” published by Presidio Press, 1998. Rest well, my friend . . . you have earned it.
News from the economic front:
-- The People's Bank of China (PBC) cut interest rates by another quarter point and reduced bank-reserve requirements by half a point amid market turmoil. The Chinese government continues to struggle with their slowing economy and volatile market reactions. The rest of us hang-on and watch.
Comments and contributions from Update no.714:
“Thanks for your update. Looks like we might have our comms sorted! I’m testing on yourself, my colonial friend. Your update is the shortest ever and I have missed the opportunity to put some of my views for what, some months. Ah well let’s see. It’s getting passed bedtime here you’ll be amused perhaps to hear that my lap top programme(s) was sorted by a lad in India working for our British Telecom…working on the telephone and taking command of the lap top.
“Nasty flying accident here at Shoreham on the south coast where a Hawker Hunter plummeted onto a busy main road during a display. It was a twin seat Mk7, the pilot survived critically injured but currently 12 killed in their cars. The aircraft appeared to loop over the show and then flattened out instead of climbing away and fell into some trees and the road. I never flew in one but worked on them on 65 Squadron a Battle of Britain Squadron. A good aircraft.”
Amazing how all this technology works, huh. So glad, you got things sorted out. Glad to have you back in battery.
Yeah, the Shoreham accident has been big in the news in the colonies since it happened. He is not the first pilot to get caught in such a maneuver. Rather infamous Thunderbirds solo F-16 accident a few years back . . . virtually a duplicate. I hope the investigators get to talk to the pilot.
The Hunter was a good aircraft. I never flew it either. The Swiss had several squadrons and may still be operating them.
“I have just finished an unsuccessful five-month run for Justice Court (part time small claims and misdemeanors judge), motivated almost solely by the revulsion I felt when a few days before the qualifying deadline I had a chance encounter with the incumbent. I had known him as a mean and arrogant attorney and for the past fifteen years had heard of his open disdain for some defendants in the courtroom. His words that February day had some reference to his verbal admonitions to defendants who used as an excuse for their debts a delay in receiving their ‘check’ to pay their bills, voicing a general attitude that I admit sometimes feeling about worthless welfare recipients who should be working but one that I would never allow to enter into my dialogue on or off the bench as a general pattern of treatment for an assumed set of facts. It sparked a recollection of the day sixteen years ago when he arrived unannounced at my law office to assure me that I need not run, as urged by some supporters, for the position of the dying incumbent because he was going to get the job and had some prodigious amount of money already committed to the campaign. It was classic behavior for him. He ran. I did not. He got the job. I could not stand the thought of another four years for him without at least offering a choice for the electorate.
“It was interesting. His financial report showed that he received and spent more than three times what I spent of my own funds, I having announced at the outset that in the interests of an independent judiciary I would not accept any contributions. His reported contributors included large gifts from the four-decade Godfather of [anon.] County politics and several count seat attorneys who were among those sorely disappointed by my election to replace their favorite state court trial judge twenty-five years ago and are still smarting from the reforms I put in place in that court. The incumbent's hundreds of yard signs and larger duplicate roadside signs were all illegal, lacking any of the required subscription of approval by any committee or the candidate or any identification of who paid for them, while many of my modest yard signs disappeared from the yards of my supporters in his home town. And with a well-organized and financed campaign, he received more than three times as many votes as I got!
“Oh well, sometimes those ‘egocentric, narcissistic, flamboyant, arrogant people’ you refer to prevail in our system, but it was worth it to give the judge a run for his money. I think your friend, my brother Bob would have been proud of me for trying, if not for being so [family]-like stubborn about perceived principle.
“My loyal brother-in-law called and lovingly congratulated me for losing and returning to my hard earned retirement....”
I did not intend to strike a nerve; for that, I offer my most humble apologies.
Further, I shall add my voice to your brother-in-law’s words and congratulate you for an honorable campaign . . . regardless of the outcome.
Yes, I acknowledge the assholes often win. As a side note, I hung up my spurs as an experimental test pilot in 1988, to go into management for one primary reason: to prove you did not have to be an asshole to success in business. I failed. Only assholes are successful. I am content with my accomplishments, nonetheless.
Your brother was indeed very proud of you. He told me in many ways.
. . . follow-up comment:
“How nice of you to respond!
“I didn't mean to suggest that you had struck any nerve, so no need to apologize.”
A different contribution:
“In regards to humility, Golda Meir, the former Israeli Prime Minister used to say, ‘Don't be so humble, you're not that great.’ I think she said that to nobody in particular.”
Oh my, I certainly recognize my paucity of greatness, however, I have always found comfort in humility. Further, I have always found humility a far more admirable trait than arrogance, or worse bombastic arrogance. I have always believed in the old adage, let your actions speak for you.
. . . follow-up comment:
“I did not mean to direct my reply to you personally. I thought that, like me, you and some of your readers would find this somewhat amusing. I agree with the adage you quoted. Here is one that came to my mind, from Proverbs 27:2. ‘Let another praise you and not your own mouth.’”
. . . my follow-up reply:
Thank you for your concern and explanation. I did not find any offense or take it personally.
I had not heard the Meir quote before, so thank you for that as well. This exchange will be in this week’s Update for the benefit of the readers.
Proverbs offered the same wisdom in the words of the Good Book.
The last contribution this week:
“Email kerfuffle, huh? I like your choice of words. I am baffled as well, but certainly more than somewhat. I am extremely baffled. Aside from one thinking they are above the law, I really don’t understand how this could happen. Certainly many of those in the State Department must have known something was not right. When dealing with classified material, as you and I have both done over the years, we know fully the consequences of mishandling classified material. But still, I am puzzled as to how someone in the State Department could think that the volumes of sensitive information they deal with, sending and receiving, would not be classified. But I think I may be getting off track. There was protocol in place for there not to exist personal email accounts with which to conduct State Department business, and forms to sign acknowledging such. I know what happens when I do not sign the acknowledgment form—I lose my job. And why is there such difficulty in recovering the lost emails? It is ludicrous to think the Hillary server was not backed up by Platte River. You or I would be sitting in jail right now had we conducted ourselves in the manner in which some people at the State Department have done. Please believe me when I say it is painfully difficult to ask without expletives what the heck is going on with our State Department? Where is the leadership for an organization that must espouse integrity at the highest level? Blood pressure rising. Better call it quits for now.”
Good observation. Having spent some time on the dark side, our working papers, notes and such – precursors of actual published documents – were always considered classified at the highest of the source material involved, until the product document could be evaluated, and properly and appropriately classified. That was back in the days of pencils and typewriters, before electronic media. I can’t imagine the rules are appreciably different today.
We do not have the details of specific, applicable conversations back when SecState Clinton decided she was not going to abide State Dept. or USG policy, but likewise, I cannot imagine some conversation between Hillary and security folks when she decided to conduct her business on a separate, private server, not under the control of USG IT security professionals.
As SecState, her thoughts by themselves could easily be considered highly classified regardless of any labeling. Further, there is no way to label on-going communications, thus they should be considered classified until determined otherwise. The SecState IS A SOURCE, not an analysis product, and had to be a highly classified source.
Bottom line: her decision to mix personal and private electronic media on her private server was wrong, full stop! Whomever enabled her in doing so was also wrong. To me, it was the arrogance of privilege, quite akin to the royal prerogative – I am not a fan.
My very best wishes to all. Take care of yourselves and each other.