Inside “The Cold War”– Awesome reads!

A fiery Peace. Neil Sheehan

It seems so yesterday to reach back to “near-history”…the Cold War.  It’s over. Why read about it?  What could possibly matter?  We could easily slip into a Nuclear conflict on the Korean Peninsula?  Isn’t this a big waste of time?

A Fiery Peace in a Cold War: Bernard Schriever and the Ultimate Weapon

Reading  Neil Sheehan is never a waste of time. No matter the topic.  What I can say, is that I have never read a non-fiction author more powerful, more stimulating than Neil Sheehan.

His Vietnam Tome:bright Shining Lie

A Bright Shining Lie: John Paul Vann and America in Vietnam. by  Neil Sheehan

It is a mesmerizing read about the single most important conflict of our lives. That is the lives of “baby-boomers”.   Sheehan won a Pulitzer Prize for “A Bright and Shining Lie” And his reporting on the “Pentagon Papers” won the NY Times a “Pulitzer for public service”.

Relevant to Sheehan’s “Cold War” topic.  ”

LeMay

 “The Life and Wars of General Curtis LeMay”

 Both General LeMay and Thomas Reed played major roles the Cold War. These are thoughtful books. And a look inside the “Cold War” that most civilians never saw. Air Force Vets should read about LeMay. He may have killed more people than any single military officer in history. And as the first head of SAC, he continued to make history yet again.
Get off the radio for a while. Read and enjoy.

‘”What’s in your shack?”

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I am often amused at how many hams have no PC or Tablet or even a Smart Phone device at their operating position. It is as if they are stuck on an island. Cut off from the world. And even worse, they display little curiosity!  One of the great myth’s of Amateur radio is that it is a hobby full of technology enthusiasts. Nothing could be further from the “truth”.  Tune across the Ham bands, (any band!) You will not hear literate, well-informed discussions. Current technology? Seldom heard. The “singularity”  or the “internet of things”? Rare. Nor do you hear conversations about AI, machine learning or VR technologies.  The Pareto principle. Or the 80/20 rule. It is applicable here.  In my view: 80% of hams are anti-intellectual, indifferent to education and few are life-long learners. Empirical evidence abounds!  All that said, I remain optimistic in finding the 20%.
Part II  Communication Device Software Configurations figurations…..

A War story……..

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You are 20 years old, Infantry, 101st Airborne Division, seated in the open 101 Eagledoor of a Huey helicopter launched on a CA (Combat Assault by Air)— There are five other Soldiers seated on the floor of the ship with you. Helmeted/Sun Visored Door gunners man M-60 machine gun’s on the left and right rear of the cabin.  There are five other Huey’s to put your platoon into the bush. You are on the third aircraft as they fly in a line. Your Mission:  Go Kill the enemy in the Jungle of  Vietnam near the Ashau Valley. Flight time about 15 minutes.

The beauty of the Jungle stretches to the horizon. A hot wind blows in your face as the ship flies at 100 knots skimming the tree tops. Looking out forward you see F-4′ (Fighter IMG_0308Bombers) pounding the hill you are going to land on in about 2 minutes.  There may be Dinks( the term US GI’s used ) on that hill., There may not be.  That last 2 minutes in the air, is the definition of anxiety.  As the Helicopter approaches the hilltop to land  the pilot flares the ship ( to “flare” a Helicopter the pilot puts the nose of the chopper up and reduces speed quickly and gently brings the descending aircraft to a hover at anywhere from  2-8 feet above the ground in the ideal.)

I always preferred to be first off the ship from about 4-6 feet.  Remember the infantry soldiers are carrying rucksacks on their back weighing anywhere from 30-50 pounds. This does not include weapons and ammo.   And it is during that final approach, the flaring of the aircraft, that’s when you learn all pilots are not equal.  There may be smoke or even fire on the LZ ( the Landing Zone),  maybe a couple of  Cobras on station (Helicopter Gun Ships) —-The Door Gunners on your ship, swivel their weapons, watching the LZ closely as the descent begins.  If you have an experienced combat pilot he’s going to come in fast, flare and drop you from 4-6 feet off the ground.  He did his part (getting you in fast and close to the ground ) — Now you (Grunts) do your partGet the Fuck out of the ship! –  (Where is the rest of the unit? In the near tree line? In that clump of Elephant grass ? Were you paying attention to the ground as you came in? Did you see how the first 2 Choppers went in?).  Again I prefer to be in the open door if not on the skid as my launch point to disembark.  Get a Nod from the crew chief if you want to stand on the skid during approach.  In the open door, you will be able to gauge how the  Pilot brings the ship in and leap to the ground — (There is an art to this, too long to go into here– ) It is at this moment when you jump to the ground that is an inexplicable high!! …..Once hitting the ground, the roar of the ship is deafening as the rest of the team exits the Chopper.   There is now a  partial sense of relief...” Well, I’m on the ground and no one is shooting at me yet”. As you run to join the rest of the platoon, the tremendous aircraft engine noise fades away as the last ship in departs the LZ.  Suddenly it’s very quiet.  Listen! If there is No small arms fire that is a good sign!!…… the Pink Team or an O-2 may still be on station, but your immediate environment is now quieter and easier to interpret. One key to staying alive in the jungle is noise discipline. Don’t make unnecessary noise! Communicate by whisper or hand signal. Once the platoon Sergeant has the unit organized, we move out   Going who knows where….  In my experience, the majority of CA’s were not met with enemy resistance. Thankfully!  Yet that last 2 minutes on the ship and the first couple of minutes on the ground are the most fun, exciting, gut-wrenching and stimulating time of your short life.    Professionally I was a Network level TV  News cameraman for 18 years. —–  but nothing in my life experience, ever matched the RUSH of going in on a Helicopter CA in a Slick as a member of an Infantry unit.  Believe it or not…. it could be addictive.  I’ll never forget it,  

Air MedalMany in the infantry received the Blue and Orange ribbonAir” Medal awarded for meritorious achievement while participating in aerial flight.”.     I remember when my Platoon Sgt. handed me my orders as a recipient of the Air Medal. No Ceremony. No Handshake. Just “here you go.  When I look at my framed Air Medal hanging on a wall in my home, it is that last 2 minutes Inbound on the chopper that comes back to me.  The whap-whap-whap of the Huey, the hot air in my face, the sound of the fighter-bombers, the stomach in knots, and the leap to the ground….

I remember it all, even now as an old man…..

Mike Whatley / 101st Airborne Division / I Corps Vietnam. 70-71.

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Double Click to Zoom In.  Mike Whatley and Scout Dog( His head on my leg) taking off from Camp Eagle headed to the “Bush”. Spring 1971

 

                      WA4D Military Service Link

 

What I am Reading:

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Writing is Hard!   But I like it a lot.  It seldom  comes easy. On Writing became a classic  I’m revisiting the author 25 years after my first read.  And what a fresh and stimulating  book!  I’m a fan of “mind maps”   Zinsler uses a “mind map” to help us think abou the elements of the craft.  Zoom in to fully view.

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Education Matters in a Globalized knowledge-worker era but not in Ham Radio.

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                                       BS. University of Texas at Austin

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                                   MA.American  University. Washington DC

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First Class Radiotelephone License. (From The FCC of course!)

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Continuing Education: Post Graduate courses, seminars, ITIL Certification / Six Sigma Green Belt

And one of my favorite learning environments: LYNDA.COM

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