Tuesday, August 9, 2011


This is for all you snowbirds who live parttime or fulltime in TheSunshime State because you just can't stand to shovel snow. Turn up your volume and click on: http://www.youtube.com/embed/7KhSMKfU8HE?rel=0

Sunday, August 7, 2011


"Ring Stories" are part of Naval Academy lore. Tales of how a class ring was lost, and then years later recovered, almost by miracle, remind us of the treasure and mystique we wear on the ring finger of our left hand. Here is another ring story that I think will catch your fancy. It was written by Gilbert King, who has written a number of books, in addition to this article for the Smithsonian online magazine. You can read it by clicking on: http://www.blogger.com/


One of three flying examples left in the world, this rebuilt Mitsubishi A6M3 Model 22 "Zero" WWII Japanese fighter on display at the AirVenture air and trade show in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. This aircraft is owned and operated by the Commemorative Air Force's Southern California Wing, based at Camarillo.

To watch the video click on the URL below. Video (runs 4:52):


There are lots of external and cockpit views and some air-to-air shots. The video is hosted and narrated by the Zero's American pilot. He also talks about how it compares with the Corsair and Hellcat.

Well worth a look.


A FIGHTER PILOT'S TRIBUTE TO SEALs. Some of you may have been fighter pilots, others have known them. A brash group of people. I know a few of the younger tribe and they do very well. In particular there is one guy who was CO of the TOPGUN School and retired after 25 years of fulsome service. He wrote the following praise about the SEALS. Do read it.

I’ve Met Them
By lex, on August 6th, 2011
I don’t believe I ever met any of the fallen heroes from DevGru. I don’t know their names, have not seen their faces. They shun recognition from anyone not of their tribe, knowing that no one not of them can appreciate what they have gone through, what they have accomplished, what they have been forced to do. But I have met them, or men like them.

I also know fighter pilots, know them well. They give pride of place to few, their arrogance is legendary, even if overblown by those who envy their accomplishments. I’ve known fighter pilots who can make an airplane sing, who can turn the turbulent world of air combat into an operatic ballet, with themselves as the conductor. Knowing every beat and stanza, placidly certain of the denouement. But I never knew a fighter pilot who in his most private self would not tip his head to those few, those noble few, who are qualified to bring death to our nation’s foes by sea, air and land.

I never knew an admiral I respected more as a man than a second class petty officer SEAL.

I believed that if I had played the game the way it was meant to be played, and caught a few lucky breaks, I might have made flag rank. I know that I do not have now, and never did have, what it takes to be a Navy SEAL.

The selection process is rigorous, the training syllabus withering. You may think you have what it makes to be a member of the teams. But if the instructional staff has doubts about your intelligence, your dedication, your ability to work as a member of a team, your physical stamina and endurance, you are done. There is no court of secondary appeal. And when they have decided that you do not have what it takes to make the grade, to fight alongside their beloved brothers in arms, you will leave thinking it was your decision. You will ring the bell and be grateful.

For those few who make the cut, those who get to wear the Budweiser, the real challenges are yet to come. The challenge now is not to make the cut, it is not to grasp the intricacies of advanced training. The challenge is to go to places so utterly foreign, and fight foes so thoroughly implacable that to take the mission is to willingly part with all that you have, and all that you love, and place everything in the balance in a desperate gamble.

You will be expensively and thoroughly trained, of course. You will have practiced until your motions seem involuntary. You will have in your company men who know, trust and love you in their own rough way. You will have certain knowledge of the justice of your cause, and the depravity of your enemy. But you will also know that fate plays its own games as you feel the beat of your own heart in your breast, knowing – as young men should never have to know – that when you’re on a mission, the next beat is not promised. Knowing that the fog of war is ineluctable, no matter your training, experience and skill.

Knowing that things can and will go wrong.

And you go anyway. Night after night, week after week, taunting fate.

You go knowing that it is not merely your own life that trembles in the balance, but the lives of those you love, and who depend upon you. You go knowing that there is something more important even than those things: It is the idea we as a nation represent, whose best exemplification is those you fight alongside. You do not dwell on it, nor do you wear it on your sleeve. But it is there nonetheless.

I know this because I have met them.

They are as humble in their public presentation as fighter pilots are ostentatiously obnoxious. A fighter pilot may feel that he has something to prove, a SEAL knows that he does not. At least not before mere mortals. The only beings that a SEAL feels obligated to prove himself to are his God and his teammates. And in the places that they insert themselves, God is rarely in the room.

Privation instead, and hardship. Monastic devotion to fitness, warrior prowess and to each other. Long days of preparation and rehearsal. Slow, creeping hours of approach to contact and moments of fierce combat. Expecting no quarter, and giving little. Living in each moment while knowing that each could be the last. Buttressed by the man to your left or right. Face forward to the foe.

Fight and win, or fight and die. No ejection seats.

We had a tradition at TOPGUN of instructor staff leaving something for those they leave behind. One officer left a plaque which read, “For those who know, no explanation is necessary. For those who don’t, no explanation is possible.”

Monday, August 1, 2011


Our national debt will bite us in the butt. This guy seems a bit over the top, but forget his hype and listen to his message. LINK

Sunday, July 31, 2011


July 2011
Dear Season Ticket Holders and Blue & Gold Members,

The Naval Academy Athletic Association (NAAA) has an excellent tradition of success in academics and athletics. As many of you know the NAAA is responsible for the conduct of its athletics programs and actions of all organizations and individuals engaged in promoting the athletics interest of the Academy.

Our success is in large part due to you – our loyal supporters. As a member of the NCAA and Patriot League Conference, the Naval Academy is obligated to abide by NCAA rules and regulations governing the eligibility, amateur status and recruitment of student-athletes. Under these rules, alumni and friends of the Academy are just as responsible for rules compliance as our coaches and staff. Thus, the NAAA must take every effort to educate those supporting our programs.
Our best Advice: If you have to think twice about the propriety of any action, please ask before you do!!! Contact the coach, athletic director or compliance office (410.293.8936). In general, you may not provide anything or make special arrangements for student-athletes AND past student-athletes that are not available to the general student population. This list is intended as a guide and is not exhaustive:

Rules Governing Currently Enrolled Student-Athletes:
DO NOT give money to any student-athletes, even if it’s for the purpose of paying expenses to amateur competitions. For instance, alumni cannot sponsor a golfer or tennis player who competes in a pro-am competition over the summer.
DO NOT provide ‘extra benefits’ to student-athletes. The NCAA considers extra benefits to be: taking a student-athlete out to dinner, providing any gift of material value (including cash loans, free use of an automobile, Birthday/Christmas presents/cards or co-signing a loan), not charging or providing special discounts for professional services that other students have to pay full price for (haircuts, dental work, rent, etc).
DO NOT buy athletic event tickets from student-athletes. The NCAA prohibits a student-athlete from receiving and selling tickets.
DO call a NAAA coach, athletic director or compliance office to ask questions about permissibility of activities.
DO invite a team to meet with alumni or friends when in a city where they play. Always make arrangements through our head coach or athletics department administrator.
Rules Governing the Attendance of High School Athletes at Alumni Events:
DO NOT invite select high school student-athletes to alumni events whether on or off-campus. NCAA rules PROHIBIT contact. Alumni and friends of the Academy can entertain high school students under certain conditions that do not involve singling out student-athletes for special treatment such as inviting all high school seniors to a Blue & Gold Admissions Event.
DO tell athletic department personnel invited to speak at alumni functions if high school student-athletes will be in attendance. There are certain time periods when coaches are prohibited from any contact with a student-athlete off-campus.
Rules Governing Contact with Recruitable High School Students-Athletes (9th Grade through 12th Grade / 7th Grade for men’s basketball)
DO NOT provide transportation to USNA for a local high school or junior college athlete who wants to visit our campus.
DO NOT entertain in any way or give gifts, benefits, special treatments or free services to any high school or junior college student-athlete or his/her parents/guardians/relatives or high school, prep school or community college coaches.
DO NOT arrange face-to-face meetings with or go talk to a prospect, his/her parents/guardians/relatives, but you can attend a high school and two year college athletic event.
DO NOT provide a free ticket or transport a high school or junior college athlete to any NAAA athletic event in Annapolis or any other city.
DO NOT bring any prospect to an alumni gathering or NAAA Booster event. Your own son/daughter would be an exception.
DO NOT telephone, write or e-mail to high school or junior college athletes about attending the Academy.
DO call or write a NAAA coach if you know a talented prospective student-athlete who might benefit our program.
Do give prospects the NAAA website (http://pacmail.em.marketinghq.net/c.html?rtr=on&s=x7ier2,3siq,1c,52i5,7tic,7igh,i645&MLM_MID=176930&MLM_UNIQUEID=55931cef75) information so they can learn more about our programs.
DO feel free to offer your assistance to a NAAA coach who is recruiting in your city.
DO continue existing friendships with families of prospects, but please do not attempt to recruit the prospect for any sport.



Why are we in this debt fix? It’s the elderly, stupid.
By , Published: July 28
If leadership is the capacity to take people where they need to go — whether or not they realize it or want it — then we’ve had almost no leadership in these weeks of frustrating and maddening debate over the budget and debt ceiling. There’s been an unspoken consensus among President Obama, congressional Democrats and Republicans not to discuss the central issue underlying the standoff. We’ve heard lots about “compromise” or its absence. We’ve had dueling budgets with differing mixes of spending cuts and tax increases. But we’ve heard almost nothing of the main problem that makes the budget so intractable.
It’s the elderly, stupid.
By now, it’s obvious that we need to rewrite the social contract that, over the past half-century, has transformed the federal government’s main task into transferring income from workers to retirees. In 1960, national defense was the government’s main job; it constituted 52 percent of federal outlays. In 2011 — even with two wars — it is 20 percent and falling. Meanwhile, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and other retiree programs constitute roughly half of non-interest federal spending.
These transfers have become so huge that, unless checked, they will sabotage America’s future. The facts are known: By 2035, the 65-and-over population will nearly double, and health costs remain uncontrolled; the combination automatically expands federal spending (as a share of the economy) by about one-third from 2005 levels. This tidal wave of spending means one or all of the following: (a) much higher taxes; (b) the gutting of other government services, from the Weather Service to medical research; (c) a partial and dangerous disarmament; (d) large and unstable deficits.
Older Americans do not intend to ruin America, but as a group, that’s what they’re about. On average, the federal government supports each American 65 and over by about $26,000 a year (about $14,000 through Social Security, $12,000 through Medicare). At 65, the average American will live almost 20 more years. Should these sizable annual subsidies begin later and be less for some? It’s hard to discuss the budget realistically if you ignore most of what the budget does.
That’s been our course. Obama poses as one brave guy for even broaching “entitlement reform” with fellow Democrats. What he hasn’t done is to ask — in language that is clear and comprehensible to ordinary people — whether many healthy, reasonably well-off seniors deserve all the subsidies they receive. That would be leadership. Obama is having none of it. But the shunning is bipartisan. Tea Party advocates broadly deplore government spending without acknowledging that most of it goes for popular Social Security and Medicare.
I have written about these issues for years. But facts are no match for the self-interest of about 50 million Social Security and Medicare recipients and a natural sympathy for older people and for people who eagerly look forward to retirement. Public opinion becomes contradictory. While 70 percent of respondents in a Pew Research Center poll judged budget deficits a “major problem,” 64 percent rejected higher Medicare premiums and 58 percent opposed gradual increases in Social Security’s retirement age.
What sustains these contradictions is a mythology holding that, once people hit 65, most become poor. This justifies political dogma among Democrats that resists Social Security or Medicare cuts of even one dollar.
But the premise is wrong. True, some elderly live hand-to-mouth; many more are comfortable, and some are wealthy. The Kaiser Family Foundation reports the following for Medicare beneficiaries in 2010: 25 percent had savings and retirement accounts averaging $207,000 or more; among homeowners (four-fifths of those 65 and older), three-quarters had equity in their houses averaging $132,000; about 25 percent had incomes exceeding $47,000 (that’s for individuals, and couples would be higher).
The essential budget question is how much we allow federal spending on the elderly to crowd out other national priorities. All else is subordinate. Yet, our “leaders” don’t debate this question with candor or intelligence. We have a generation of politicians cowed and controlled by AARP. We need to ask how much today’s programs constitute a genuine “safety net” to protect the vulnerable (which is good) and how much they simply subsidize retirees’ private pleasures.
Our politicians make perfunctory bows to entitlement reform and consider that they’ve discharged their duty, even if nothing changes. We need to recognize that federal retiree programs often represent middle-class welfare. Past taxes were never “saved” to pay future benefits. We need to ask the hard questions: Who deserves help and who doesn’t? Because Social Security and Medicare are so intertwined in our social fabric, changing them could never be easy. But the fact that we’ve evaded the choices for so long is why the present budget impasse has been so tortuous and why, if we continue our avoidance, there will be others.USNA CLASS OF 1951 DISCUSSION BLOG