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November 25, 2008
Not just the "Air Farce" (Continued)By Mrs Greyhawk
Our Air Force has now been heavily engaged in combat in Afghanistan and Iraq since Day One in both areas of operations. As I mentioned here, while we don’t see or hear much about our Air Force activity, there's a lot going on behind the scenes.
In my previous post I highlighted the Pararescuemen (the Air Force's Special-Ops team), and Combat Weathermen and the dangers they face. Now let's talk about the Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Teams:
Airmen from all walks of life in the Explosive Ordnance Disposal community answered the call when the Army asked for help in the joint effort against IEDs, thus again ensuring Air Force boots were on the ground and in the fight.AF Team Member Laurie has a great post highlighting Staff Sgt. Matt Slaydon, an EOD technician, and his recovery from injuries suffered during his 3rd deployment. The improvised explosive device that blew up just a couple of feet from his face unmercifully claimed his left arm and left eye. It cost him his eyesight in his right eye as well, rendering him completely and permanently blind.
And of course we can't forget about the TAC-P guys (Tactical Air Control Party).
USAF Valour-IT team member Buck from Exile in Portales profiles the TAC-Ps here. TAC-P's are Air Force specialists that are assigned to Army combat maneuver units around the world. Tactical Air Control Parties provide numerous critical functions on the modern battlefield; from advising ground forces on aircraft employment and capabilities and coordinating and controlling aerospace operations, to participating in battle planning.
TACPs live, train, and deploy with the US Army units. When deployed, the TACPs live under austere field conditions, and are responsible for the coordination, de-confliction, and execution of all USAF attack aircraft. Qualified individuals, serving as Terminal Attack Controllers (ETACs), provide final attack control to the pilots while the fighters are inbound to the target. The ETAC is responsible for ensuring that the pilot identifies and attacks the correct target while minimizing the risk to friendly ground forces. During peacetime, training is the major focus. This training can take the form of common skills testing (mission readiness), various weapons qualifications, chemical warfare and combat first aid training.Need some inspiration? Meet TSgt Israel Del Toro (Video at link). Staff Sgt. Israel Del Toro, who I mentioned in this post is a TAC-P.
Honor these men who deserve to be recognized as the heroes they are.
GO AIR FORCE!!!
Along with other team members mentioned, I also want to thank team member One Happy Dog Speaks for keeping up the fight. If any other team members have posted on Valour-it send me the link.
My adaptive version of the Soldiers Angel Motto:
Posted by Mrs Greyhawk / November 25, 2008 11:11 PM | Permalink
November 26, 2010
I think anyone who's ever pondered the "comment" option - once only available on blogs and bulletin boards, now ubiquitous on almost any web site - will appreciate this:
The so-called faculty of writing is not so much a faculty of writing as it is a faculty of thinking. When a man says, "I have an idea but I can't express it"; that man hasn't an idea but merely a vague feeling. If a man has a feeling of that kind, and will sit down for a half an hour and persistently try to put into writing what he feels, the probabilities are at least 90 percent that he will either be able to record it, or else realize that he has no idea at all. In either case, he will do himself a benefit.
That's wisdom from the past, captured for posterity at the US Naval Institute, shared via the web on the institute's 137th anniversary.
From their about page:
"The Naval Institute has three core activities," among them, History and Preservation:
The Naval Institute also has recently introduced Americans at War, a living history of Americans at war in their own words and from their own experiences. These 90-second vignettes convey powerful stories of inspiration, pride, and patriotism.
Take a look at the collection, and you'll see it's not limited to accounts from those who served on ships at sea, members of the other branches are well-represented.
I'm fortunate to have met USNI's Mary Ripley, she's responsible for the institute's oral history program (and she's the daughter of the late John Ripley, whose story is told here). She also deserves much credit for their blog. ("We're not the Navy nor any government agency. Blog and comment freely.") We met at a milblog conference - Mary knew (and I would come to realize) that milbloggers are the 21st-century version of exactly what the US Naval Institute is all about. Once that light bulb came on in my head, I mentioned a vague idea for a project to her - milblogs as the 21st century oral history that they are.
"Put that in writing," she said (of course - see first paragraph above!) - and here's part of the result.
Shortly after the first tent was pitched by the American military in Iraq a wire was connected to a computer therein, and the internet was available to a generation of Americans at war - many of whom had grown up online. From that point on, at any given moment, somewhere in Iraq a Soldier, Sailor, Airman or Marine was at a keyboard sharing the events of his or her day with the folks back home. While most would simply fire off an email, others took advantage of the (then) relatively new online blogging platforms to post their thoughts and experiences for the entire world to see. The milblog was born - and from that moment to this stories detailing everything from the most mundane aspects of camp life to intense combat action (often described within hours of the event) have been available on the web...
And et cetera - but since you're reading this on a milblog, you probably knew that. And you know that milblogs aren't just blogs written by troops at war, that many friends, family members, and supporters likewise documented their story of America at war online in near-real time, as those stories developed.
The diversity in membership of that group is broad, the one thing we all have in common is the impulse to make sense of the seemingly senseless, and communicate the tale - for each of us that impulse was strong enough to overcome whatever barriers prevent the vast majority of people from doing the same. Everyone at some point has some vague idea they believe should be shared - we were the people who, from some combination of internal and external urging, found and spent those many half hours persistently trying to write it down.
But where will all that be in another 137 years? Or five or ten, for that matter. That's something I've asked myself since at least 2004 - when I wrote this:
Membership in the ghost battalion has grown in the years since, and an ever growing majority of those abandoned-but-still-standing sites are vanishing. Have you checked out Lt Smash's site lately? How about Sgt Hook's? If you're a long-time milblog reader you know the first widely-read milblog from Operation Iraq Freedom and the first widely-read milblog from Afghanistan are both gone from the web. If you're a relative newcomer to this world you may never even have heard of them - or the dozens upon dozens of others who carried forth the standard they set down.
If you have a vague notion that something should be done about that, (a notion I've heard expressed more than once...) then you and I and the good folks at the US Naval Institute are in agreement. Preserving the history documented by the milbloggers is just one of the goals of the milblog project, the once-vague idea that we're now making real.
And it's a big idea, if I say so myself - too big to explain in one simple blog post, so stand by for more. Likewise, it's too big a task to be accomplished by just one person. So if you're a milblogger (and exactly what is a milblogger? is a topic for much further discussion on its own) I'm asking for your help. All I'll really need is just a little bit (maybe just one or two of those half hours...) of your time, and your willingness to tell the tale.
We've already made history, it's time to save it.
(More to follow...)
The Mudville Gazette is the on-line voice of an American warrior and his wife who stands by him. They prefer to see peaceful change render force of arms unnecessary. Until that day they stand fast with those who struggle for freedom, strike for reason, and pray for a better tomorrow.
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