Tuesday, June 23, 2015

In the beginning was the word...

Another post from Tales from the Crew Force.  A recollection of my first class session with the 4315th Combat Crew Training Squadron mid-October, 1980, Vandenberg AFB, CA. A humorous introduction to the T.O.-18.

In the Beginning Was the Word.....

The class had assembled in a back class room to be issued copies of Technical Order LGM30F-18, abbreviated to T.O.-18. The Dash 18 was basically Minuteman/ILCS's user manual. The manual was approximately 6 to 7 inches thick enclosed in the standard black government issued three ringed binder. It's contents covered the nuances of the command and control system, every equipment drawer, every control panel, all variety of circuit breakers, electrical flow diagrams. and all pieces of communication gear. And that was just part I. Part II contained all of the required checklist procedures for covering normal operations, emergencies, and trouble shooting. T.O.-18's weapon system coverage could be summed up by one simple term...ad nauseum. For the neophyte, it was daunting and not very user friendly.

Capt Gerry Giaconda introduced the T.O. to the class. With a serious and dramatic gesture, he shouted, "You have now entered a new religion..... and this is your bible!" At that point, he dropped the T.O. which landed on a table top, making a loud crashing noise. The class went dead silent. This was classic B movie material. I bit my lip, trying to keep from bursting out laughing and receiving some brand of administrative admonishment. To this day I always chuckle when I recall this scene.
Note:  ILCS=Improved Launch Control System (Malmstrom AFB and Whiteman AFB)

The Deafening Roar of Silence: A Recollection

I wrote this post on my other blog, Tales from the Crew Force, back in 2007.  I attempted to provide a running narrative for my time on an ICBM launch crew back in the early 1980s. The following is my recollection of a training session in the Missile Procedure Trainer (MPT) back when I was at Vandenberg AFB, CA undergoing IQT, Initial Qualification Training roughly around November, 1980.  The MPT was a simulator, that ran computer driven scenarios for weapon systems and emergency war order training.

The Deafening Roar of Silence

Ray and I were rapidly approaching the end of the course. A few more MPT sessions and EWO classes and we would be ready for our SMES certification check ride. To say that Ray and I were anxious would be an understatement.

One early Saturday morning MPT ride, we had Capt. Chuck P. as our operator/instructor. Chuck was SAC's poster child for apathy. He appeared to "give a rat's ass" about nothing. He had already ran head first into that wall called FIGMO. He was riding out the string until retirement.

We were in the middle of the weapon system portion of the ride. It was a predictable scenario. Processing maintenance teams on and backing them off LFs. A couple of security situations: hard OZ, Sit 7, evolves into a full blown Sit 4 due to an IZ alarm; also occurring as if on cue, FSC passing the duress word from topside. Yep, there's a Comm team screwing around on another LF, should be going into Anti-Jam mode a little later into the ride. Every now and then, the distinctive "Raaap" sound of the CMPG printer. MOSRs, VRSA channel checks and calls to and from JOB Control.

Then......nothing.....dead silence.

When you're in the box, something should be "happening." MPT scenarios are event driven. Ray and I look at one another. Silence in MPT is usually a good indication that something covert has occurred or that something big is about to land in your lap. As infant crew members your taught to hold your hand under the CMPG printer and ask out loud, "How's my equipment cooling air flow and temperature?" If all is well the MPT operator/instructor will respond, "Your cooling air flow and temperature are with normal limits.", or, "You have reduced air flow.", or, "You have normal air flow, but it is very warm." These indications allow you to trouble shoot the situation and depending on your findings, run the applicable situation checklist.

It wasn't an air flow problem, besides Chuck was not responding with any verbal inputs. I asked Ray to do a visual sweep of all circuit breakers figuring that was the issue at hand. So we did just that. All circuit breakers were normal, nothing had popped. I picked up the phone which rang to the MPT control room...no answer. I looked at my watch, ten minutes had elapsed. I looked back at Ray, "Fuck it Ray, it's got to be a popped circuit breaker! Let's do another sweep!" We both accomplished another sweep. Same results as the last. Another glance at my watch, twenty minutes had elapsed since our last event. I was at a loss for words. Ray just shrugged his shoulders.

Then.....Line 1 rang. I picked up the phone, Chuck's voice, "I had to step out. That was one big healthy shit that I took. You two ready to get back at it?"

Note: This took place 26 years ago, Chuck if you're still alive and happen to come across this site, FUCK YOU!!

Monday, June 22, 2015

Triggering one's memory with music...

I always find that music will trigger a memory, a fixed point in time.  I have a tendency to associate a particular song to a particular person or event.  Case in point, I met my wife Jean during my senior year in college and associate her with The Cars "Just What I Needed."  BTW, I've never told her this, but when I hear this song on the radio or play it in my CD player, I drift back to 1979 and 1980.

During my first year on crew stationed at Malmstrom AFB, I was a single 2nd lieutenant as  Jean and I would not be married for well over another year as she was finishing her last year in college.  I remember one particular evening, a Friday, back in 1981 where I was packing my "alert" bag for a Saturday alert with my crew commander T.J. McLaughlin.  All of my friends were heading out to the local night spots. Yes Great Falls had a few back then, but there I was in my apartment packing my bag (cold weather gear and Tech Orders).  I probably was prepping to head out to November Flight as that was where we were assigned as crew R 136. 

About my T.O., I was probably making sure that I had the latest change orders posted as I recall that I had recently got nabbed by Stand Eval for not posting the latest changes. I believe that I received a "letter of counseling" from my squadron CO...par for the course for many of us pulling SAC alerts in those days.

While getting things in order and being miffed that I'd have to forgo the evening frolicking with friends, on the radio was Loverboy's "Working for the Weekend." There I was on a Friday night getting ready for work and here was Loverboy singing about the opposite...everybody was working for the weekend and I was working on the weekend.

Every time I hear "Working for the Weekend" I'm always reminded of that long ago Friday night.

Here is Loverboy's "Working for the Weekend"...


Oh, and here is The Cars "Just What I Needed" jogging those college memories of my wife, then girl friend...


Wednesday, June 17, 2015

A little something to help with the Roswell blues...for those that need it.

Here is a little something extra for all of us that have been banging our heads since the 5th of May.  We're getting into the summer months and the weather is nice for most of us and this time of year brings back memories.

War, the Latin/funk/soul band out of Long Beach, CA, produced a great little song back in 1971, "All Day Music."  The melody and lyrics are soothing to listen to.  Close your eyes and drift away with the music.



Tell me what you think...

Saturday, June 13, 2015

The final stake through the heart...Shepherd Johnson

This it for sure. In truth this has been a dead story since the night of May 5th, but we know how these things take on a life of it's own.   I'll guide everyone over to Curt Collins blog for the details.  Kevin Randle has provided a post as well.

Great job Shepherd Johnson!  And a pox on all of those that attempted to make up a bullshit story and profit from it.

Monday, June 8, 2015

The Roswell Slides: The seduction of the will to believe.

One would think that the mystery was solved concerning the Roswell Slides.  Definitive proof was offered that the slides depicted the mummified remains of a two year old child in the settings of a Colorado museum in Mesa Verde.  This coming about by deblurring the placard associated with the mummy.  But apparently this is not how professional UFO researchers go about their business.  There appears to be another aspect to their research...rebranding the product.

For the past few weeks, all of those responsible for this sordid affair have hitched their respective horses to a new hypothesis:  "The mummy is not that of a child, but that of a mummified ET and that it is possible that disinformation agents had intentionally produced the language on the placard as a means of misdirection."

This is a rather convoluted approach, but highlights the powerful aspects of the "will to believe."  The US government falsified the placard writings to hide the fact that the mummy was actually that of an alien, yet allowed this historical find to go on display for the general public to view.  I assume this could be construed as "hiding in plain sight."  

According to Jamie Maussan, et al, the bizarre appearance of the mummy continues to baffle his medical "experts."  The bizarre physical appearance apparently has led these so-called experts to conclude that the mummy can't possibly be human.  I might remind the reader that all of this "expert" analysis is coming from a mere photograph. There is no actual body to thoroughly assess and render a real expert opinion.  Most are left with speculation at best.

If one ventures over to Kevin Randle's blog, the seductive power of the "will to believe" is currently being displayed in full force.  The comments rendered on Randle's site display magnificently the art of the circular argument and/or the vain attempts just to argue a point to death regardless of the evidence that has been offered and accepted by most sensible individuals. It is as if Occam's Razor has been defecated on and tossed aside. Yes, I'm well aware that Occam has been discarded by Ufologist and ET believers, since it's basic and primordial premise is to separate the logical from the illogical.  I assume that such thoughts are not to be considered as sacrosanct. 

Some of Randle's blog commentators have resorted to the tactic of:  "The universe is so vast and complete with billions of galaxies that we surely can not be alone and it's not out of the question that we have been visited by ET civilizations."  Despite this being totally out of context to the Roswell slide issue, no one from the RSG has argued against this assertion. This tends to be a poor attempt to deflect from the issue that the slides depict a mummified human child, yet a prime example of ET proponents presenting illogical evidence combined with poor arguments defending the illogical.

In the end, believers get the brand of ufology that they deserve.  They must overcome the suductive powers of their own cognitive biases. We, the RSG, have attempted to help in this area despite the push back from others.  The RSG has offered up how we (collective we) deciphered/deblurred the placard. This process has been shown to be repeatable resulting in the same conclusions...scientific method prevails on this point so the issue has been resolved with the exception of a few delusional souls. BTW, this was offered free of charge and without dramatic fanfare.

The truth, as painful to some as it may be, is that the image is that of a mummy of human origin, bizarre as it's appearance may be to some. I'm still awaiting to see if David Rudiak has sent his request to have the images reviewed and assessed by a forensic anthropologist that he knows...no info back from David at this time. Nothing wrong with this approach as I feel confident that any half-assed anthropologist will come to the same conclusion...mummy of human origin. 

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

The Resurrection of National Geographic Channel? Let us hope so.

National Geographic Channel

Stumbled across National Geographic's "American Genius" last night.  It was by pure accident and all that I could do was stammer out a "hello?"

Last night's premier episode featured the rival of the Wright brothers and Glenn Curtiss.  It was informative and spot on.  We tend to forget that we went from crude power flight in 1903 to launching satellites in the late 1950s.  But what was interesting is the Wright brothers refusal to team with Curtiss early on.  Curtiss had proposed that he supply the Wright brothers with his engines.  Orville and Wilbur turned Curtiss down and had a patent approved for their design that stymied the competition and lead to a long protracted legal battle with Curtiss. Even Henry Ford attempted to come to Curtiss' rescue by supplying his legal staff to assist with the legal issues.

The irony was that long after the deaths of both Wrights and Curtiss, their respective companies would merge forming Curtiss-Wright.

This episode had value for the hour long program.  Well done with decent period props.  I personally enjoyed it as well did my wife.  Supposedly more episodes will be aired each week highlighting individual advancements in science and technology along with the rivalry from competitors. 

Could this finally be National Geographic coming to their senses and providing real informative and interesting programming?  Let's hope so.