Monthly Archives: June 2010

Life of a Conservative Christian in the Military Isn’t Always Easy

A newspaper highlights local Dewayne Wolf, who is going through the Chaplain school at Fort Jackson, SC, to become an Army Chaplain.  Already Wolf seems to recognize the challenge in integrating faith and profession, and also his purpose as a Chaplain:

The lifestyle is kind of rough, especially in the infantry. To break away from that lifestyle really makes a distinction…It’s not the easiest environment to stand for what you believe. Nowhere is it easy to be a conservative Christian. That’s why they need good chaplains in the military.

That said, it appears Wolf — who was formerly a Chaplain’s assistant — may yet have something to learn at the Chaplain school:

As a chaplain, your main focus is evangelism.  Continue reading

Gazette Chronicles Weinstein Method

The Colorado Springs Gazette, which is local to the US Air Force Academy, had a short article on Michael Weinstein that seems to show Weinstein warming to the USAF Academy view on religion.  What was interesting was the Gazette‘s summation of Weinstein’s method:

The broad outlines of Weinstein’s approach: Condemn in the strongest language possible. Publicly embarrass. Sue if necessary. Each new step raises the pressure on his publicity-averse targets.

Criticize.  Humiliate.  Intimidate and threaten.  This has long been Weinstein’s approach; it enables him to circumvent the policy-making processes, as well as the policies themselves, by coercing a public official to accept his demands.  His intimidation and threats Continue reading

Putin Says New Russian Jet Bests F-22

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has reportedly said the Russian T-50, sometimes dubbed the “F-22ski”

will be superior to our main competitor, the F-22, in terms of maneuverability, weaponry and range.

One would certainly hope an aircraft first flown in 2010 — with a planned employment date of 2015 — would at least claim to be superior to one developed more than 20 years ago; the YF-22 first flew in 1990.  Also, the news report, seeking to highlight something significant, quoted this from the Russian releases:  Continue reading

Summer Choices: Band Camp or War Zone

While many upcoming college seniors are spending their summer at the beach, at work, or doing whatever else they might want, the US Air Force Academy continued its tradition of sending senior cadets to the combat AOR.

Air Force Academy seniors, Cadet 1st Class Eric Varner…and Cadet 1st Class Alan Foote…visit the 380th Air Expeditionary Wing at an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia as part of their summer deployed operatons program.

Urban legend has it that USAFA Cadets deployed to Vietnam Continue reading

Review: Fighter Pilot, Memoirs of Legendary Ace Robin Olds

Robin Olds
St Martin’s Press, 2010

Robin Olds is a legend in the fighter pilot community, though he may not be recognized outside of it.  Many people may remember, for example, the famous Operation BOLO during Vietnam, which used F-4s to impersonate F-105s and succeeded in destroying a third of the North Vietnamese MiG-21s in a single mission – but few know then-Col Robin Olds was responsible for it.  Fighter Pilot is his story, and it is explicitly delivered as a memoir, rather than an autobiography.  Thus, it is not a detailed birth-to-death retelling of his life, but a first-hand recounting of the things he wishes to convey.  (The book was completed after his 2007 death by his daughter, Christina Olds, and Ed Rasimus, himself a retired fighter pilot.)

The book starts off somewhat slowly, almost as if (despite its status as a “memoir”), Olds (or his co-authors) felt obligated to include some stories from the early parts of his life.  He mentions his early pilot training days and a few significant events briefly, but provides little detail or introspective.  For example, he casually mentions, without further insight, that he attended the Air Corps Tactical School, which would ultimately form the basis for all air doctrine in the Army Air Forces and eventually the independent Air Force.  He also covers his entire training, from his early wartime graduation from West Point through becoming a pilot, in a scant 20 pages.  Some of the lack of detail may be for a very understandable cause: he simply didn’t remember much from those early days.  Another may be more pragmatic: Olds is known for his time in Vietnam, not pilot training.

Unlike some other fighter pilot books, Continue reading

Priests Get Air Force Tours, Incentive Flight

Timothy Broglio, Archbishop of the Archdiocese for the Military Services, recently joined a group of Catholic priests for a recruiting visit at Peterson AFB, CO.  Broglio was most recently in the news for his statement against the repeal of “Don’t ask, don’t tell.”

During the visit, the 8 Roman Catholic priests observed military members in action and got a C-21 ride to view Pike’s Peak from the air.

The military objective of the visit was to recruit more Catholic priests to the military Chaplaincy.  While the Air Force is cutting Chaplains this year, Catholic Chaplains are the one group who are not being reduced.

Michael Weinstein’s MRFF is “at war”…with Quakers.

Last week saw the government of Afghanistan restrict the conduct of two Christian aid groups accused of attempting to convert locals.  A protest ensued.

This particular controversy was also highlighted by Michael Weinstein’s “religious freedom” organization.  The response of his organization was typical, as communicated by board member Leah Burton:  Continue reading

Senior Enlisted Chiefs Forced Out Over Cheating

Not long after talking about the discharge of the cheating Marines, Stars and Stripes noted that two Navy Chiefs are being “forced to retire” after helping a Sailor cheat on a military advancement exam.

During a rare court-martial at sea, chief petty officers Reynaldo M. Bernardo and Ferdinand P. Quinto were found guilty May 24 of failing to obey a lawful order, said the aircraft carrier’s spokesman, LtCmdr Bill Urban…

It appears the cheating, which occurred on the USS George Washington, was fairly obvious: 

During the exam, Bernardo and Quinto moved a sailor to a different table and then instructed the sailor to cheat off another sailor’s test, Continue reading

General Amos Chosen for Views on DADT?

As more organizations and commenters discuss the supposed recommendation by Secretary of Defense Robert Gates to nominate General James Amos as the next Commandant of the Marine Corps, there is speculation that his views on “Don’t ask, don’t tell” played a role.  The current Commandant, General James Conway, was the most forcefully outspoken against the repeal of DADT among the Service Chiefs.

The speculation appears to attempt to explain why Amos, an aviator who would head the Marines during what is largely a ground war, was chosen over the “leading contender,” Continue reading

MAAF Supports Religious Restrictions for DADT Repeal

Many voices supporting the “repeal” of the policy and laws collectively referred to as “don’t ask, don’t tell” have dismissed claims from religious groups and military Chaplains about impingement on religious liberty.  The Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers, which supports the repeal, disagrees.  They not only believe the repeal will result in the restriction of religious freedom, they welcome it:  Continue reading

Weinstein Threatens Another Suit Over Military Symbols

Previous articles have noted Michael Weinstein’s biased complaint about a red cross on the emblem of a military hospital in Fort Carson.

As reported by the Colorado Springs Gazette, Weinstein apparently had a personal audience with Fort Carson post commander MajGen David Perkins recently.  Weinstein indicated the General basically told him to pound sand, though the military only confirmed Continue reading

Christian Fighter Pilot to Lead US Marine Corps

A variety of news sources are reporting that Secretary of Defense Robert Gates will submit the name of current Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps General James Amos as the next Commandant of the Marine Corps.  Interestingly, Amos’ appointment would break Marine Corps tradition because he is a fighter pilot (much like the appointment of General Norton Schwartz — a cargo pilot — broke the Air Force tradition of fighter and bomber pilots).

General James Amos is also a Christian.

In 2009, Gen Amos was one of several speakers at the Capitol Hill celebration of the National Day of Prayer.  In his remarks he was unequivocal about his faith and the power of prayer in his military life:  Continue reading

STOVL F-35B Goes Supersonic, but Not First

The Military Times recently pronounced that the F-35 became “first US STOVL aircraft” to go supersonic.

They were, of course, wrong.

In 2001, Lockheed Martin’s ineptly designated X-35B — the prototype of the STOVL F-35 — not only achieved supersonic flight, but it did so on the same sortie that it achieved a short field take off and vertical landing.  This was a first not only for a US aircraft, but a first in history.

An article by Marine Major Arthur Tomassetti, the test pilot on one of the sorties, describes the event.  (Interestingly, he notes that the sortie had to work around a memorial service at Edwards Air Force Base.  Test pilot Major Aaron ”C-Dot” George and civilian flight photographer Judson Brohmer were killed just 3 days prior during a test sortie.)

Gorgon Set to Fly Over Afghanistan

The Gorgon Stare is a 1,000 pound sensor that will enable a wide area to be monitored across a variety of spectrums, day or night, likely including both visual and infrared.  It is currently set to be deployed to Afghanistan on the MQ-9 Reaper.  Rather than having a single operator operate a single camera pointed at an area just a few miles (or feet) across (as, say, the Predator), the idea is that this sensor will capture a huge area, and users can simply choose that which they want to see.  Think of it as “Google Earth” — only live.

The ARGUS may eventually supersede Gorgon Stare with, as its namesake implies, far more — and more detailed — “eyes.”

Think “religious freedom” advocate Michael Weinstein will consider this an endorsement of Greek mythology by the US military, and a “propaganda tool” for American adversaries?  Given Weinstein’s selective outrage to date, it’s probably unlikely, though the fact it fits so well into his dogmatic rants demonstrates how ludicrous his claims actually are.

Book Review: Refiner’s Fire, A Fighter Pilot’s Journey

CreateSpace Online Publishers, 2009.
Douglas Haig Jenkins, Jr.

The title of Refiner’s Fire makes it sound as if it is the perfect book for examining the integration of faith and the fighter pilot profession.  While it has potential, it regrettably falls short.

Refiner’s Fire is Jenkins’ autobiography.  It is literally written chronologically, with the first chapter talking about childhood dreams of flying and Continue reading