April 21, 2017

Hurricane Hunters

Filed under: aircraft,military,storms,Weather — j0jgvm89bj @ 5:29 pm

Reading the new issue of CoastWatch, I noticed an announcement that the NOAA Hurricane Awareness Tour is stopping in Raleigh at the RDU airport on May 10th. Two Hurricane Hunter aircraft are open to the public from 2 to 5PM, along with technical specialists and air crews to explain their jobs. The planes for viewing will be a US Air Force Reserve WC-130J and a NOAA G-IV. Staff from the National Weather Service Office in Raleigh, emergency management personel, American Red Cross, and North Carolina Sea Grant will also be on hand.

In 2007, I went to the Coast Guard Air Station in Elizabeth City to check out a similar “open house”. A crew had just landed one of two existing Lockheed WP-3D Orion aircraft used in weather reconnaissance. It was fascinating to see everything up close, personal, and learn from the scientists, pilots and technicians that fly these machines into powerful storms. The experience must be exhilarating yet perilous, but I think I’d go up in a heartbeat.

The Orion is powered by four Allison T56-A-14 turboprop engines rated at 4,600 shp each. The striped pole on the nose is a sample collector. The nose is also equipped with radar.Doppler radar is built into the tail section.

Additional radar is located on the bottom of the aircraft. Radar scans the storm vertically and horizontally for real-time analysis.

Underneath are launching tubes that fire out buoys with transmitters to record ocean temperatures at different depths.

Missions are documented on the fuselage, and I noticed quite a few familiar names. Two in the top row were Australian cyclones Rosa and Kerry in 1979. Occurring in the southern hemisphere, they rotate the opposite way ours do.

Before I entered the aircraft, Cdr. Tom Strong explained the workings of a dropsonde.

The receiving end of the dropsonde tube extends well into the plane.

Inside is a flying science lab for gathering vital information.

Then there’s the cockpit!

These P-3 aircraft, first introduced in the 60’s, have been upgraded and highly modified.

The service they provide makes a difference in public preparedness, and it’s information I’ve used numerous times on Hatteras Island.

 

 

 

 

April 23, 2016

Greatest Generation

Filed under: black & white photography,military,People — j0jgvm89bj @ 4:29 pm

Coined by journalist Tom Brokaw, those that grew up through the depression and then experienced the Second World War are known as the Greatest Generation. They were also the parents of baby boomers like me.

1942

My mother and father married in Annapolis in 1942, after dad joined the Navy. Early on, he was gone a lot, and mom was on her own taking care of the babies. A few years after I was born, we moved from California to Japan. There were tours in the states, Newfoundland and Guam. We moved around as a military family, and it was an interesting life growing up. There were trials and tribulations, but it was the time of our lives.

Dad passed away in 2001, five months before 9-11. Mom died just recently on April 12th at the age of 92. She lives on in me and my siblings. With Mothers Day approaching, I recall a poem I read to her recently. It was written by a dear friend, Louis Richard Batzler.

TO MOTHER

In your womb you formed my body,

At birth in your pain you released me,

To begin my earthly journey,

To manifest my destiny,

Then in my helpless infancy,

You nursed, nurtured wonderfully,

My body, mind and spirit gently,

As years went by so swiftly,

Your presence ever lovingly,

Guided and guarded my ways,

Throughout my nights and days,

With countless unheralded displays,

Of kind care and encouraging praise,

How can I express my gratitude,

For the magnitude and multitude,

Of all the ways you blessed my being?

It’s beyond all speaking and all seeing,

Such thankfulness is ineffable,

I can only say my heart is full,

Of love for you and that you shall be,

Always present in my memory,

For such a love as yours for me,

Lives on throughout eternity.

 

October 23, 2014

Hallowed Ground

Filed under: military,People — j0jgvm89bj @ 2:29 pm

On the first of this month, Denise and I were in the DC area for the interment of her father at Arlington National Cemetery. He was a 30 year veteran of the US Army Reserve, active overseas during the Korean conflict, and was extremely proud to serve his country. He retired as Colonel.

It was an overcast day when we encountered a regiment awaiting our arrival at the top of a hill.

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10The emotion of this reception was indescribable. It evoked a mix of feelings as the caisson was drawn to the burial plot. This is a dignified resting place for over 400,000 service members, and the cemetery conducts up to 30 burials every weekday.

My sister-in-law made this powerful photograph of her father’s caisson beneath a beautiful canopy of green.

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18The riderless horse reminded me of “Black Jack” the caparisoned horse that I saw at President Kennedy’s funeral. By tradition in military funerals, this horse follows the casket of an officer who was a colonel or above. The empty boots facing backward in the stirrups represent that the individual will ride no more. They also suggest the deceased taking one last look back at his family and troops that he commanded.

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dadThis wasn’t my first experience at Arlington National Cemetery. It gave me, a brother, and two sisters a chance to visit the grave of our father, interred in 2001.

sand                                        His resting place is within a hundred yards of Dick Murray. As a tribute, Denise placed some beach sand at the base of the headstone.