[mccookgazette.com] Overcast ~ 37°F  
High: 54°F ~ Low: 35°F
Sunday, May 1, 2016

The stench of politics

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Disappointed? Sure in my opinion the wrong guy won the election. Now we will have four more years of Barack Hussein Obama. So be it. When Bill Clinton was reelected President I felt the same. Then President Bill got himself caught, finally, diddling with the intern. He earned impeachment and was largely ineffective the rest of his second term.

President Obama may have also committed a faux pas that will render his grand plans for his second term ineffective and that is even before he is reinaugurated back into office come January.

Last week John Casteel, my former aircraft commander, and I were honored in California (Our wives too) for a mission we flew back in the Vietnam War. Somehow we have become a bit of the heritage honored by present day air refueling tanker crews. Therefore I can speak from a bit of experience.

In 1967 my flight crew spent all of April and May flying KC-135 airborne tanker sorties from such garden spots as UTapao and Takhli, Thailand, CCK in Taiwan and Kadena AFB, Okinawa. The Vietnam War had heated up big time and in just those two months our U.S. Navy and Air Force lost 55 aircraft from enemy action. The Air Force was pretty much tasked with attacking North Vietnam overland from the west and the Navy from their Carriers flying over water from the Gulf of Tonkin.

Our crew's perception was that every time one of our fighter bombers was hit and the crew had to eject it seemed like the entire war stopped. Instantly every resource became devoted to search and rescue of the crew if possible. Whoever was close took charge and evaluated the possibility for rescue of the downed crew. The Air Force rescue helicopters would launch in pairs and were accompanied to the scene by a flight of propeller driven single engine fighters. Those wonderful aircraft were leftovers from before the jet age. The Air Force called them A-1s, the Navy ADs and affectionately known as "Spads." We tanker guys orbited as close as we could -- we weren't supposed to fly over North Vietnam territory, ahum, so we could refuel the fighters flying cover over the rescue scene. In each case it was the on-scene commander who made the determination to continue or abandon the guy on the ground as unrecoverable.

Evidently on the other side from the Gulf the Navy did things a little differently. There it was an admiral on a ship, safely displaced from the scene, who determined whether their helicopters could go overland to attempt a rescue. The Navy also never seemed to dedicate flights of Spads to protect their helicopters. They did great work rescuing crews that ejected over water but seldom ventured over enemy territory.

Enter the operation on May 31st where my crew just happened to be flying over the Gulf of Tonkin refueling Air Force fighters. That day they were F-104s that were flying top cover to keep enemy MiGs from attacking our forces in the Gulf.

A Navy pilot flying an A-4 fighter was shot down and his buddies were flying cover and talking to him by radio on the ground awaiting rescue by carrier launched Navy helicopters. The protecting fighters stated that they would stay over the downed pilot until they ran out of gas if necessary. Didn't happen as the admiral in charge would not allow the helo's to go "feet dry" meaning fly over North Vietnam. No rescue became possible and Lt Cdr. Arvin Chauncey was doomed to spend the next five years as a prisoner of war in the Hanoi Hilton.

The Navy fighters flying cover did indeed stay too long, and along with their Navy tankers did not have enough fuel left to make it back to their carriers. As we had done on previous Air Force rescues we brought our Air Force tanker as far north as we dared and refueled their two A3D tankers who simultaneously were refueling two F-8 fighters. Then we off-loaded fuel to two Navy F-4s all of which would have had dry tanks before reaching their carrier.

That day we were credited with "saving" six aircraft and crews. Now that "save" and fifty cents will get you a cup of coffee, but it had ramifications that bounced clear up to the Pentagon before settling back down. It was another 10 years or more before the Air Force and the Navy began regular airborne refueling operations as is now the normal practice.

Over the years, communications between flight crews and their command authority on the ground have improved immensely. In my era, flight crews were pretty much on their own once launched. Now they are in constant communication with the decision makers at ever higher levels.

With communication there is also a record of the event. That is the problem with the recent dustup in Libya that resulted in the death of our Ambassador and three other Americans. I'm convinced that our American military recourses were available and in position to intervene and possibly rescue the Ambassador and his CIA helpers but permission had to come from the President. As we know now that permission never came as the President had the pressing matter of sleep in preparation for a political fund raiser in Las Vegas next morning. He was the only one who could make the decision to commit rescue forces and he therefore through inaction fostered death sentences on four American. With authority comes responsibility. Then, as did Bill Clinton, he and his administration lied to Congress and the American people to mask the smell of a bad decision.

What we are seeing now is part of the obvious cover-up. The resignation of Gen. Petraeus is in my opinion part of the whole sordid mess. Petraeus is evidently not an Obama team player as he won't lie under oath, so he is being thrown under the bus.

Hopefully, the truth will come out from the record left by modern communication. With authority comes responsibility. If the elected candidate is impeached can he still be sworn into the country's highest office? It will be interesting to watch.

That is how I saw it.

Dick Trail

Fact Check
See inaccurate information in this story?

Note: The nature of the Internet makes it impractical for our staff to review every comment. If you feel that a comment is offensive, please Login or Create an account first, and then you will be able to flag a comment as objectionable. Please also note that those who post comments on mccookgazette.com may do so using a screen name, which may or may not reflect a website user's actual name. Readers should be careful not to assign comments to real people who may have names similar to screen names. Refrain from obscenity in your comments, and to keep discussions civil, don't say anything in a way your grandmother would be ashamed to read.

Despite all odds, our President prevailed. He still has an uphill battle fighting a Red House which has blocked his every move in an attempt to squash his goals of bringing the Middle Class equal pay, women's rights, gay rights and affordable healthcare. The Bush Administration drove our economy into a swift nose dive and Obama is still the patsy. Watch conservative hands paint him in Blackface with a visual commentary of how Barack has been bamboozled at http://dregstudiosart.blogspot.com/2012/...

-- Posted by dregstudios on Tue, Nov 13, 2012, at 1:35 PM

Obama no doubt wants to keep all his domestic agendas, leave the middle and lower classes alone tax wise, raise taxes on corporations and wealthy indivduals and cut the defence budget. He will accomplish all that. It is always surprizing to me how conservatives underestimate Obama. He's a very popular president and a very smart guy. He is also no criminal.

-- Posted by bob s on Tue, Nov 13, 2012, at 3:33 PM

Now Obama is blameing his predessor, ha who is Obama

-- Posted by csfree on Tue, Nov 13, 2012, at 4:00 PM

Let's see if I got this story straight: President Clinton was caught dallying with an intern and was rightly shamed and punished; General Petraeus was caught dallying with his "biographer" and it is somehow all President Obama's fault.

It sorrows me that so many right-wing conservatives appear to hate President Obama more than they love their country.

-- Posted by Virginia B Trail on Tue, Nov 13, 2012, at 5:02 PM

Well Said, Dick.

Virginia, you don't have it right.

Interesting similitude we have here, it seems.

On the one hand we had Nero who fiddled while Rome burned.

On the other hand, we had Hitler sleeping, and only he could release the Panzer (sp?) Tanks, to stop the Allies from winning, at Normandy...he wasn't awakened, and ....history.

We have a President sleeping, not to be disturbed because of an early morning 'Fund Raising Trip' to Vegas, and in his not being awakened we end up with four 'Bumps in the Road,' so to speak (I believe I quoted BHO rightly. He has had plenty of time on his hands, however, to place another 5,000 (plus) directives, and Executive orders in place in the past 90 days. IMO Mitt Romney was not the only person completely surprised that he wasn't going to win the election ... perhaps, also the President??? But we don't know that for sure, do we?? We don't even know that had the Pres. been awakened, and ordered a rescue mission, the four would have been saved,... but then, the two Seals did last almost eight hours, before being eliminated.

Is there a pattern in these similitude's??

Considering the history of the hanky-panky Democrats are so famous for, Petraeus does seem to be used as Bus fodder (but that is a Conservative estimate (dual meaning)).

Glad to see that you received an award for what you did that day, Dick. It saddens me that the Trails tend to go to different horizons. But, then, not all Trails lead to Obama, or something like that.

-- Posted by Navyblue on Tue, Nov 13, 2012, at 7:17 PM


there is some republican hankey pankey for you.

it seems to me that you have all of the facts about what happened. I look forward to seeing you at the congressional hearing.

-- Posted by president obama on Tue, Nov 13, 2012, at 10:23 PM

It is now Nov 16th, after the hearings in the Senate. Petreaus was right, Thump went the bus wheels! Impeachment is none too good for the sleeper.

-- Posted by TravRN on Fri, Nov 16, 2012, at 10:53 PM

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration:

Dick Trail
The Way I Saw It