pawatercooler.com

The Political Correctness Of “Merry Christmas” Has Dangerous Consequences

“This is the way the world ends …Not with a bang but a whimper.”

Does that famous quote aptly describe America’s future? Time will tell, but indications are that this nation, the most powerful, benevolent and fair in the world, is crumbling before our very eyes. Like Rome, it isn’t falling from outside invasion, but within. 

 And one of the biggest culprits is political correctness.

It’s all around us, but especially this time of year, as the assault on “Merry Christmas” accelerates.

It used to be a standard greeting, and people would reciprocate with a smile. Your religious denomination didn’t matter, or whether you even had one.  It was simply a friendly expression in a nation where the vast majority celebrated Christmas. And for those who didn’t, most returned the sentiment anyway because it was just a nice thing to do during the jovial season.

But all that changed as Americans’ sense of entitlement exploded. And yes, that included being entitled not to feel “offended” because something may not be to your exact liking.

“Merry Christmas? Well, I celebrate Hannukah or Kwanza or am an atheist, so how dare you presume to wish me your holiday? How offensive and rude!”

But it doesn’t stop there.  Hypocritical retail stores woo Christmas shoppers — you know, the 95 percent who do celebrate Christmas and spend a half-trillion dollars doing so  — but won’t put the word “Christmas” in their ads or on their displays.

It’s the Nativity scenes that are increasingly barred from public places. It’s residents who call the ACLU because a development hangs simple white lights on its trees. It’s office Christmas parties becoming a relic, replaced by generic “holiday” events. And yes, it’s Mayors like Michael Nutter who last year deliberately removed the word “Christmas” from the holiday retail complex near City Hall (but subsequently was forced to replace it).

All of it a brazen attempt to make America a more secular society through political correctness, and those who dare question it are labeled “bigots.” 

Several important points need to be addressed:

1) The push to make all things politically correct has been successful, as it is now entrenched in all aspects of society. Everyone gets a trophy in most youth sports leagues, we don’t keep accurate score when one team is winning over another, and all things must be racially, culturally and ethnically homogenous.

The problem is that’s not how the real world works. And it’s the basic principle that the Occupy movement doesn’t understand. You have to work hard and fight for things you want, but when they are bestowed upon us — without merit — from those who worship at the altar of political correctness, things go downhill fast.  Need proof? Just look at those who engage in PC the most —Europe and the United States. Enough said.

2) This is a not call for “Thought Police” to mandate that everyone say “Merry Christmas.”  Quite the opposite. It’s a call for the silent majority to wake up and shove it right back at the small but extremely loud minority who shout “I’m offended” at every single thing. Saying Merry Christmas behind closed doors doesn’t take guts.  Saying it because you truly believe it and not worrying that such an innocuous greeting will offend does — insane as that is.

3) Most important, Americans need to remember that actions have consequences. And until we connect the dots and see the error of being so PC, those consequences can, and will, have devastating results.

When good folks start looking over their shoulders before saying Merry Christmas for fear of “offending,” it all begins to unravel. 
 
Think the PC stops at that?  Well, think about the fact that the next time you step foot on an airplane, it may be your last day on Earth because your government — we the people — absolutely refuse to non-invasively profile the very folks who openly state their intentions to blow up said aircraft.  And it gets better, as the Transportation Security Administration just announced that children under 12 don’t have to take off their shoes for screening, and will not be subject to routine pat-downs like everyone else

Here’s the $64,000 question. What do we think al-Qaeda will do now? Here’s a wild guess. Start flying a lot more with children? What’s next? Not screening foreign children at all?
  
So when your wife gets incinerated two minutes after takeoff, and the wreckage of a jumbo jet falls on your child’s school because a terrorist put the bomb in his 11 year old’s shoe, courtesy of the red carpet we provided, perhaps we shouldn’t wonder why it happened. 

Or when your son gets his skull sliced in half by a bullet that emanates from a Mosque in Afghanistan which is “off limits” for retaliation for fear of offending the very people who don’t like us anyway, maybe we should think about where it all started coming apart.
Did it start from the reluctance to say Merry Christmas or the refusal to put a Christmas tree on a courthouse plaza? Did it originate from the refusal to acknowledge Christmas on a public school calendar while other religions’ holidays are clearly labeled as such?  It’s impossible to pinpoint, but it really doesn’t matter.  That mentality is here, and has in large part led to the Great Decline.
 
So when the inevitable tragedy happens again — one that could have been prevented — and dumbfounded Americans stand around asking “How and why did this happen?”, well, you’ll know why.  The 40’s and 50’s were certainly not perfect, but people spoke their minds, were respectful, and America was a powerhouse. That attitude put a man on the moon a mere 60 years after the Wright brothers took flight but is now a fleeting memory.  Which is what happens when you bow to the wrong principles.
 
When Rome was at its zenith, it adhered to the simple principle that the well-being of its citizens was paramount. All of them.  In fact, so fervent was that belief that the Romans would literally go to the ends of the Earth to hunt down any thug that violated the rights of just a single Roman. They didn’t let political correctness rule the day, and the Republic thrived.  But when it abandoned that principle, it all came crashing down.
 
They said Rome would never fall, but it did.  Many say the same about America.   Yet the whimper is at our door.

So if we are to ever return to our former glory, perhaps that path could begin by good folks jettisoning political correctness and saying two small but incredibly joyous words without reservation:

Merry Christmas!
 

Chris Freind is an independent columnist, television/radio commentator, and investigative reporter who operates his own news bureau, www.FreindlyFireZone.com  His self-syndicated model has earned him the largest cumulative media voice in Pennsylvania. He can be reached at CF@FreindlyFireZone.com

 

, , , , , , , , ,
December 23, 2011 at 11:29 am Comments (2)

Bin Laden’s Death And Waterboarding: Hand In Hand

 To say the killing of Osama bin Laden created a patriotic euphoria in the United States  would be a gross understatement, as the sense that justice had been served was downright palpable.  Spontaneous celebrations broke out across the nation, and the image of thousands chanting “U-S-A” from Ground Zero was simply awe-inspiring.  It was a great day for America.

Having said that, it is clear that U.S. still is not wholly committed to winning the War on Terror. The very fact that we are still debating whether waterboarding and other “enhanced interrogation techniques” should be used on terrorists hell-bent on destroying us projects weakness.

There are now conflicting reports as to whether the waterboarding of 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed provided information about an al-Queda courier, who ultimately led the U.S. to bin Laden’s Pakistani hideout.

One question: who cares?  Common sense tells us that waterboarding works, and has no doubt saved lives by obtaining intelligence that would have otherwise not been uncovered.  Whether that method was responsible for extracting the courier information will probably never be known, but debating that point misses the big picture entirely.

We are at war.  And when at war, you pull out all stops until victory is achieved — Vietnam was supposed to teach us that. When you fight not to lose, the enemy becomes emboldened. 

Where we are right now is a perfect example of the adage “we have met the enemy, and it is us.” We have allowed our security to be unnecessarily compromised, and, despite bin Laden’s death, the threat against the Western world remains high.

And it’s all done in the name of political correctness.

The blame cannot be directed just at President Obama, who officially discontinued waterboarding in 2009.  Under the Bush Administration, both the CIA and the military had effectively ended the practice years earlier.  And it was Republican John McCain who offered an Amendment prohibiting the U.S. from engaging in humiliating or degrading treatment of captured terrorists.

By way of explanation, waterboarding is when water is poured over the face of an enemy combatant, simulating the feeling of drowning.  If you’re waiting for the rest of the description, you’ll be sorely disappointed, because that’s it.  Don’t misunderstand—it’s very effective, but derives its success due to psychological stress rather than physical harm.  No one gets hurt, and no one dies. 

But somehow that’s degrading, so much of a no-no that we stopped it outright. So maybe if we just politely ask our detainees for sensitive information, like their financial network, comrades’ whereabouts, and the battle-plans to kill Americans, they will just tell us.

If the goal is to ensure that terrorists feel comfortable, then we were right to ban waterboarding.  However, if we want to be seriously engaged in a global war against those who aggressively advocate our destruction, maybe we should reconsider how we handle detainees, since Al-Queda prisoners are also afforded fantastic medical care, food reflective of their ethnicity, and prayer time.

Maybe we should ask the survivors and victims’ families of the 9/11 massacre, the Madrid train attacks, the London subway bombings, and a host of other atrocities if they care whether a prisoner, with possible knowledge of an impending attack (potentially nuclear, chemical or biological), has some water poured on his face, or feels humiliated.

Cutting through the PC, does the average American, or European for that matter, really believe such interrogation methods should be banned, putting the prisoner’s well-being ahead of their own?  Are they really willing to jeopardize their children’s future because a combatant’s “dignity” is affected?

When Americans are captured, the enemy doesn’t feel compelled to reciprocate that dignity. Need a quick refresher?  Just look at the videos of Americans — civilians and military — being decapitated, dragged through the streets, burned, dismembered and hung from bridges.

Because we coddle prisoners, refuse to profile, won’t construct a border wall and tie our troops’ hands behind their backs because of PC politics, we have become a paper tiger.  And the sigh of despair you hear?  That’s the silent majority of Europeans who live on the front lines, too scared to publicly support anti-PC measures because their cultures have become the embodiment of appeasement.  They used to nod in admiration that at least one country still had the guts to take it to the enemy. Sadly, that is no longer the case.

The President should use every means necessary to extract information that could save lives, and waterboarding is clearly one of them.  Just as Americans call for domestic drilling only after gas hits $4 per gallon, there will undoubtedly be loud calls to bring back enhanced interrogation techniques — after the next attack.

But by then, it will be too late.

 

Chris Freind is an independent columnist, television commentator, and investigative reporter who operates his own news bureau, www.FreindlyFireZone.com

Readers of his column, “Freindly Fire,” hail from six continents, thirty countries and all fifty states. His work has been referenced in numerous publications including The Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, foreign newspapers, and in Dick Morris’ recent bestseller “Catastrophe.”

Freind, whose column appears regularly in Philadelphia Magazine and nationally in Newsmax, also serves as a frequent guest commentator on talk radio and state/national television, most notably on FOX Philadelphia.  He can be reached at CF@FreindlyFireZone.com

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
May 3, 2011 at 5:50 pm Comment (1)

Killing Pirates On The Spot Is Long Overdue!

Water is wet.  The sky is blue.  Europe is cowardly.

While all three are indisputable, only the last can change.  But it will take sheer will and an enormous amount of courage to turn around a continent falling apart, not from outside invasion, but from within.  Their death spiral is a direct result of leaders who prostrate themselves before the altar of political correctness — and a people too reluctant or scared to challenge them.

A perfect example of is playing out right now.  Despite brutal acts of piracy occurring off Eastern Africa on a daily basis — affecting European ships, and by extension, Europeans themselves — political and media elites have been demonizing 79-year old Norwegian shipping magnate Jacob Stolt-Nielsen. Why?  Because in an op-ed, he had the guts to advocate the only realistic way to deal with these terrorists on the high seas: sink their ships with the pirates in them, or execute them on the spot.

So what’s the problem with that? 

                                                                                                                             *****

“You wanna know how to get Capone?”, Sean Connery’s character asks Elliot Ness in The Untouchables.  “They pull a knife, you pull a gun. He sends one of yours to the hospital, you send one of his to the morgue. That’s the Chicago way! And that’s how you get Capone.”

And you know what? They got Capone. 

It’s expected that Europe doesn’t have the courage to do things The Chicago Way.  That’s why they need America to bail them out time and again.

Unfortunately, that immutable lesson has now also been lost on America’s leaders, replaced by softness, complacency and the desire not to offend.

And our enemies have exploited that weakness, as al-Queda can proudly attest.

It’s also why we are routinely losing to pirates operating from the rogue nation of Somalia.  Not content with the hundreds of millions they’ve already extorted, they violently hijack about one ship per day, and are currently holding 700 hostages and 30 ships for ransom.

And we’re not talking about just pleasure craft or fishing vessels, but huge ships supplying the world with cargo, food, oil — and weapons.  Two years ago, a supertanker larger than an aircraft carrier was hijacked as it was transporting more than $100 million worth of crude oil.  When that happens, we all pay for it at the pump.

And given the pirates’ cozy relationship with Islamic fundamentalists, some of that ransom money is making its way right into the hands of terrorists hell bent on destroying the West.

These barbarians turned it up a notch this week, killing four Americans after hijacking their private vessel. But here’s the most disturbing part: despite being closely monitored by four U.S. Navy warships, they executed the hostages anyway. That level of arrogance tells all we need to know: they don’t fear us.

And no wonder.  Our “tough” response will be to haul the captured pirates into U.S. courts on the other side of the world, where they will receive first-class taxpayer-funded defense lawyers and free health care.  How nice.

And that’s supposed to deter more attacks? 

Manhattan prosecutors don’t make Somali-based pirates tremble, a fact not lost on Stolt-Nielsen.   As one of the few who lives in the real world, he stated how to end the unchecked piracy:

“When (piracy) implies a great risk of being caught and hanged, and the cost of losing ships and weapons becomes too big, it will decrease and eventually disappear.”

To that point, he ridicules the American and European “solution” to dealing with problem.  (We should)  “…not arrest them and say, ‘naughty, naughty, shame on you,’ and release them again, but sink their boats with all hands…the pirates won’t be frightened by being placed before a civilian court.”

It is indisputable that the pirates aren’t frightened, evidenced by the fact that, despite one of their own being sentenced to 33 years in prison just last week, the pirates executed the Americans anyway.

Yet the response from those who bury their head in the sand?  Killing pirates would be “barbaric,” with opponents arguing that, despite documented torture, abuse and murder of their captives, these rogues must be treated with basic human rights.

Kind of like the human rights given to the murdered Americans and tortured sailors?  Of course not, since the real victims are always forsaken by bleeding hearts.

Pirates have those rights before they hijack ships.  Once they cross the line, however, all bets are off.  Ships should carry armed guards, who, upon attack, should exercise no restraint in vaporizing the marauders.  The goal should not be to deter, but to destroy, for three reasons.  First, it is now just as likely pirates will execute the crew once aboard; second, letting them go will only make another ship’s crew their victim; third, it will send a clear, unmistakable message that there is a new Law Of The Sea.  It’s called The Chicago Way.

Let’s be very clear about what will happen.  When 10 pirates go out, only to return as corpses floating up on the beach resorts of Somalia, there will be a paradigm shift in how the remaining pirates will conduct their business.  Translation: they’ll find a different profession.  Immediately.

Stolt-Nielsen said it best when he referenced why piracy declined over the last several hundred years. “Pirates captured in international waters have always been punished by death, often on the spot.”

There’s a direct correlation to the huge spike in piracy, now commonplace in vast swaths of the oceans, with the “basic human rights” that clueless leaders mandate must be afforded them.

Here’s standing with Stolt-Nielsen in dropping the empty threats, picking up the guns, sinking ships and killing the barbarians.  They can have their day in court — in Davy Jones’ locker.

It’s the only language these people understand, so let’s speak it loud and clear, and relegate pirates to those in the Jack Sparrow movies.

 

Chris Freind is an independent columnist, television commentator, and investigative
reporter who operates his own news bureau, www.FreindlyFireZone.com

Readers of his column, “Freindly Fire,” hail from six continents, thirty countries
and all fifty states. His work has been referenced in numerous publications including
The Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, foreign newspapers, and in Dick
Morris’ recent bestseller “Catastrophe.”

Freind, whose column appears regularly in Philadelphia Magazine and nationally in
Newsmax, also serves as a frequent guest commentator on talk radio and state/national
television, most notably on FOX Philadelphia.  He can be reached at CF@FreindlyFireZone.com

 

 

.

, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
February 24, 2011 at 1:53 pm Comments (0)

Jihad Jane Shows The Need For MORE Profiling!

Jihad Jane Shows The Need For MORE Profiling!

The arrest of “Jihad Jane,” a white American woman accused of plotting with known terrorists, is both good and bad.

Good, of course, because those associating with terrorists should be brought to justice. (Colleen LaRose, Jane’s real name, showed her genius by publicly posting her intention to kill Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks, who had drawn Mohammed in a way she found offensive).

So yes, she’s a freak, and was a threat. Enough said.

But bad, because of all the politically correct morons who have once again come out of the woodwork, ranting that “profiling” is racist and doesn’t work. After all, they tell us, LaRose was one of us, and didn’t fit a terrorist profile, so therefore all profiling should cease.

It’s truly incredible how seemingly intelligent people can be so obtuse.

Take Richard Clarke, the former Counterterrorism Czar to two Presidents.

For our purposes, we’ll just call him “Dick.”

On a news program discussing the Jihad Jane case, Dick stated that, “profiling…has no value.”

Sure, Dick. You bet it doesn’t.

And along that line of thinking, I have only one more thing to add: your proctologist called, Dick.

He found your head.

Read the rest of Freindly Fire’s Jihad Jane column below and please post a comment!

http://www.freindlyfirezone.com/index.php/national-news/item/25-jihad-jane-shows-the-need-for-more-profiling

, , , , , , , , , ,
March 10, 2010 at 11:00 pm Comments (0)

OBAMAS NATIONAL SECURITY FOLLY

panam

U.S. INTELLIGENCE- CELEBRATING YET ANOTHER YEAR OF FAILING TO CONNECT THE DOTS.

(CNN) — Umar Farouk AbdulMutallab, the man charged with trying to blow up a Northwest Airlines plane on December 25, pleaded not guilty Friday to six federal charges.

AbdulMutallab was arraigned in a Michigan federal courtroom Friday afternoon.

The court hearing came a day after President Obama released a report on the incident that said officials had “sufficient information” to have foiled the failed attack that but a variety of errors kept investigators from uncovering the plot. LINK

OF COURSE HE PLEADED NOT GUILTY! OF COURSE HE DID! DOES ANYONE EXPECT ANYTHING DIFFERENT? REALLY? RAISE YOUR DAMNED HANDS IF YOU EXPECTED THIS PIECE OF HUMAN FILTH TO PLEAD GUILTY AND ACCEPT RESPONSIBILITY FOR HIS “BRAVE” ACT OF (EPIC FAIL) JIHAD. NO ONE PLEADS GUILTY TO ANYTHING, EVER IN THIS COUNTRY! HE’S LAWYERED UP AND IS OF NO FURTHER INTELLIGENCE VALUE UNLESS IT’S PART OF A PLEA DEAL.  A DEAL THAT WILL NO DOUBT ALLOW HIM TO SEE THE LIGHT OF DAY ONCE AGAIN.

(more…)

,
January 8, 2010 at 8:30 pm Comments (0)

New Jersey Devils: Knights of The Sky

New Jersey Devils: Knights of The Sky

A Media Ride With the NJ Air National Guard

BY CHRIS FREIND

“We live in a world that has walls and those walls need to be guarded… you want me on that wall, you need me on that wall. We use words like honor, code, loyalty. We use them as the backbone of a life trying to defend something.” — Jack Nicholson’s character in “A Few Good Men”

ABOARD NEW JERSEY AIR NATIONAL GUARD FLIGHT DEVIL 92- Two physicals, hours of life support training, and multiple waivers later, I am ready.

We are at the end of the Atlantic City Airport runway. Sitting in front of me, Lt. Col. Kevin Kelly, call sign “Grace”, is piloting our F-16D fighter, waiting for clearance from the tower. After the final check by the New Jersey Air National Guard (ANG) ground crew, he is given the green light to commence our flight.

As he pushes the throttle forward, the afterburner kicks in, initiating an acceleration which simply cannot be described, because, quite literally, there is nothing else on Earth with which to compare it. The takeoff speed would make a Porsche 911 Turbo look as if it was standing still. Once airborne, the plane flies relatively level for several seconds before Grace lights the pipe and pulls for the vertical.

For the layman, that is 90 degrees, straight up, with the Fighting Falcon accelerating the whole time. 7G’s later, we level off, upside down, above 13,000 feet. Time from the deck to two-and-a-half miles: about 12 seconds. Do the math.

Tom Cruise has nothing on Grace.

Truth is, the plane could have kept going vertical, but it was a hot, humid day, and the two-seater was hauling two 2,000 pound fuel tanks, substantially increasing drag. Can’t burn too much fuel early, since we have an hour of combat maneuvers ahead of us, some of which will make our bodies weigh nine times more than normal.

****
The Jersey Devil Is No Myth

The Atlantic City Airshow was held this week, billed as the largest in the nation. While the 177th Fighter Wing aircraft are a major show attraction, the star performance is generally thought to be the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds aerobatic team, who perform high-speed in-flight maneuvers just feet from one another’s wingtips. Impressive as the Thunderbirds are, they, as a unit, don’t hold a candle to the 177th Fighter Wing of the New Jersey ANG, known as the Jersey Devils.

The 177th, based at the Atlantic City Airport, is home to 24 F-16’s, several of which are on full alert – armed and fully fueled – 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Its pilots arduously train for a variety of tactical and strategic missions, preparing them to accomplish a host of objectives. The Unit has seen action all across the globe, from war zones in Afghanistan and the Middle East, to operations in Europe and the Pacific. Mission roles include air sovereignty, combat air patrol, strategic air defense, defensive counter-air, close air support for ground troops, and air-to-ground attack.

The Jersey Devils were the first single squadron unit – including active duty, Guard, or Reserve – to fly 1,000 combat air patrol missions in support of Operation Noble Eagle, the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) initiative to defend America’s airspace in the wake of the September 11 attacks.

But it is the 177th’s strategic location along the northeast corridor that makes it so invaluable. The Jersey Devils are responsible for protecting the airspace around New York City, Philadelphia, and parts of Washington, D.C. Its planes can be over Manhattan or the nation’s capital in minutes, and its pilots are trained to protect America and its citizens at all costs, especially from another airborne terrorist attack. They are the ultimate first responders who carry on their shoulders an immense pressure – the responsibility to ensure that a 9/11-type tragedy never happens again.

******

Due to the high volume of local air traffic, our speed slows dramatically until space opens up further south. When the engine is throttled back after the rocket-like takeoff, there is a momentarily sensation that the fighter is just floating in mid-air, with life somehow coming to a peaceful standstill. That perception is fleeting, however, as Grace starts to run the venerable war bird through its paces, performing a few initial rolls and turns that immediately trigger our G-suits to activate.

Being the back-seater offers me incredible views out both sides of the canopy, which, I was told, would protect us if we struck a five-pound bird at 500 knots. Comforting as that was, it seemed only natural to ponder what would happen if a fat six pound seagull slammed us at 500, or a four pounder at 600. I quickly dismissed such thoughts after recalling that I was sitting over – make that strapped to – a rocket-powered ejection seat. I, along with the Colonel, have the power to pull the ejection handle and float to earth. Never mind a force 23 times that of gravity hitting you on ejection, nor the fact that you could break – or lose – a hand or arm on the way out. Or nearly 100 other factors that could make for a melancholy day. Unlike being in an airliner, the knowledge that we had a fighting chance was an empowering feeling, although not one I was eager to experience. Keeping my hands away from the handle seemed like a good gameplan.

And since Grace was in command, I had nothing to worry about. He is a 20 year military pilot who spent much of that time as a naval aviator, a veteran of over 400 aircraft carrier landings who saw action in several theaters of war. Today’s flight is just about flying, pure and simple. No tactical mission briefings, no bombing runs, no dogfighting, and no twitching of the advanced fire control radar. The objective of the media flight is to give a first-hand accounting of the aircraft’s capabilities and how a Jersey Devil aviator handles his, or her, various missions, as there are both men and women comprising the unit.

******

Reaching our destination over the Chesapeake Bay, Grace demonstrates a number of dogfighting maneuvers designed to gain the immediate upper hand on an adversary. American fighter planes are generally accepted to be the best in the world in terms of performance, technology and weaponry. But trite as it sounds, planes are only as good as the pilots who fly them. That is where the Americans’ advantage is greatest. Their intense, and never-ending, training is second to none.

We repeatedly go vertical and fly inverted as Grace performs scissor maneuvers, precision rolls, the split-s, and perhaps most unnerving, flying straight down. It will be forever etched in my mind how quickly the ground appears when your aircraft is hurtling towards it at 500 knots. Pulling out of the dive gives one a glimpse into how strong, yet relatively light, the plane’s airframe is. The tolerances engineered into such a machine make me marvel at just how smart our engineers are, since the only protection afforded us from unimaginable stresses are a thin piece of titanium and a plastic canopy.

When an aircraft performs such maneuvers, the immense acceleration creates forces several times that of gravity. A top-of-the-line roller coaster may hit 3 g’s, and a dragster, 5. Grace repeatedly hit 7.5, and even exceeded 9, which would make a 170 person momentarily weigh 1,500 pounds.

The only way a human can withstand these forces without losing consciousness is by wearing a G-suit. The suit’s air bladders wrap around one’s legs, thighs and abdomen, and automatically inflate when pulling G’s, creating substantial pressure which forces blood back into the brain. Without a G-suit, blood would pool in the lower extremities, forcing a pilot to “black out.”

And blacking out at 15,000 feet can ruin a person’s day in a hurry.

*****

Master Sgt. Jason Gioconda had the task of training me on how to handle potential but rare situations that could be encountered during the flight, from engine fire to bird strike. After being fitted for the flight suit, helmet, mask, and harness, he trained me in the simulator on the basics of flight, extraction from the seat (there are five separate belts and wires to which one is connected), ejection, parachuting, and survival at sea.

MSgt. Gioconda explained that one of the most impressive items among the 38 pounds of equipment the pilot wears ( 44 pounds in the winter) is the harness for the parachute. Since being attached to a parachute in water can quickly lead to drowning, the harness buckles are fitted with tiny explosives which automatically activate upon contact with salt water, thereby freeing the pilot from his chute. Amazed, I naturally asked why the system didn’t work for fresh water, since we would undoubtedly be flying over fresh water lakes. With a sly smile, he responded with a question of his own: With a buckle system that would separate you from your parachute upon encountering fresh water, what would happen if you ejected in a rainstorm?

Point taken. Again, thank God for smart people.

********

As we prepare to leave the Chesapeake, Grace allows me to enter an elite club. Of all people who have lived, how many have traveled faster than the speed of sound? To have the opportunity to do what Chuck Yeager did so bravely in 1947 was, for me, the most remarkable part of the flight. While there is no distinct sensation except for the slight acceleration, it nonetheless is an inspiring feeling. Up here, in this marvelous airplane that just went supersonic, you can’t help but think that man’s potential for greatness in unlimited.

*********
Heading up the coast, we cross Delaware Bay, which despite its size, just doesn’t look that big from my vantage point. After passing the Cape May-Lewes Ferry and a fleet of tankers far below, we begin a rapid descent to 2,500 feet and slow our speed as we cruise just above the south Jersey beaches. We float by Wildwood, Avalon, Sea Isle — and Ocean City. Since we are well below the speed of sound, the F-16’s approach can be heard from quite a distance. Grace remembered that my three little children were on the Ocean City beach, and that I had told them to look up in the sky around 3:00. With a smile on his face that I just knew was there, he dipped his wings from side to side as we roared by, giving three little kids – and their dad – the thrill of a lifetime.

Coming in on final approach, with the beautiful south Jersey marshes below and the sun slowly beginning its descent, Grace made a picture perfect landing on what was a picture perfect, and unforgettable, day.

********

Upon exiting the base, I headed straight to the beach, as much to see my children and tell them about the flight as to look up and see exactly where I had just flown. Gazing skyward at what looked to be 2,500 feet, I felt privileged to have been a Jersey Devil, if for just an hour.

My son ran up to his new-found friends on the beach and told them that his Dad had been in the plane that had just streaked by. I found myself bombarded by questions by children and adults alike, as they looked at me in awe at what I had just done. Exhilarating as it was, and it was one of the most incredible experiences of a lifetime, I humbly replied that I had the easy job. Doing something once that is dangerous and demanding, such as flying in an F-16, is not hard. Doing it every day, in peace and war, despite all the inherent risks and potentially unthinkable decisions a pilot must make, is real valor.

America, rest easy. The 177th Fighter Wing – true Knights of the Air – is on duty. I salute them with my motto: Audaces fortuna iuvat – Fortune Favors The Brave.

Chris Freind, author of “Freindly Fire,” is an independent newspaper columnist whose readers hail from six continents, thirty countries, and all fifty states. He can be reached at CF@FreindlyFireZone.com

, , , , , ,
August 20, 2009 at 1:30 pm Comments (0)