His name was Mike and we spent a lot of time together learning to fly an old airplane. It was in the spring of 1972 and I was preparing to go on my 4th deployment to the war in Vietnam. The airplane was the thirty-plus year old C-47 "Gooney Bird" or DC-3 in civilian colors when used everywhere as an airliner.
I would have been flying over Laos doing electronic monitoring of the Ho Chi Minh Trail in an "Electric Goon." Fortunately the war ended and my assignment cancelled before I left the States.
Mike, or as his name tag read, Miguel, proudly hailed from Santo Domingo. He was quick to inform that his hometown was the first place Columbus set foot when he discovered America. Mike was a 2nd Lieutenant in the Dominican Republic Air Force.
Not long out of their pilot training program, he was having a bit of trouble learning to fly by instruments. Understandable if one looks at the weather for his end of that large island shared half and half with Haiti. All they get is summertime fair weather cumulus clouds year round.
One has to travel for miles just to find a puffy cloud to fly through to log any instrument time. Along about halfway through the program, Mike realized that he didn't like flying that twin engine "big" airplane and regretted not going to his other choice, the F-51 Mustang. Obviously their Air Force consisted of obsolete surplus aircraft donated by the U.S. He was nowhere near ready for a check ride when I finished and departed so I know not if he ever finished the program with its, unneeded for him, complication of flying instruments.
Actually Mike became a pretty good friend during the several months we spent together. At first sight, I found him unattractive with a swarthy pockmarked face covered by a three-day old beard that he seemed to prefer. Like anyone you try to get to know, once you get past the rough exterior, one can find a warm friend underneath. Mike was probably the first person from a completely foreign background to my own experiences that I came to know and accept for the good human being that he was. Interestingly, he introduced me to one of his heroes, a Panamanian named Col. Manual Noriega. "El Jefe," I think they respectfully called him but that is whole other story.
Mike's uniform was the khaki and green common to the military in those southern climes. He proudly wore it on and off duty and complained privately that he couldn't carry his pistol, "peestol" as he pronounced it.
Somehow he felt hampered in finding girls because he was deprived of his "peestol" in Florida. In my opinion, his unshaven, unkempt look and constant bad breath might have had more to do with his poor success in the world of love.
Mike hadn't been in the States long when he purchased a Fiat, the car of his dreams. It was what we'd call a compact car, a used green two-door sedan of recent vintage. Mike's first task was to get me to help him install an "alarm car." That turned out to be what we call an automobile alarm that sounded the horn if someone was trying to make illegal entry to steal the thing. Evidently back home in Santo Domingo car thievery was a problem even for elite members of their military forces.
I don't remember what Mike paid for his most treasured possession, but it was in the neighborhood of several thousand dollars. He then told me that when he imported it back home the duty to bring it in country would be equal to what he had paid to buy it in the first place. Obviously on his 2nd Lt. salary that would have presented difficulty.
"No problem" was Mike's response. "When I get back home I will just see 'El Dictator' and he will say you are in my Air Force and you don't have to pay!"
I've often wondered how it all worked out for Mike when he did go back home. It would be tough if one had do worry constantly about losing your prime possession to car thieves. Mike spoke often that he felt he would be a target for assassination back home and that is why he felt naked without his beloved "peestol." Then there is the concept that "El Dictator" can lead by whim. "You and you have to pay those taxes but you, my friend, don't have to." Evidently the rule of law is whatever "El Dictator" feels at the moment. Life would be tough!
Surely such could not happen in the USofA. But then, what about all the Obamacare waivers granted to big labor and other friends of Barack? Ordinary businesses have to do the health care for their employees but those that bundled to get Obama elected can easily get a waiver.
Congress just recently authorized the Defense bill for 2013 which must have been a continuing resolution as there has been no budget passed in years. One of the new amendments to the bill was the requirement for payment for abortions in the case of rape or incest for military members using Tricare or Military Health Services.
Prior it has been illegal to use federal money for such services but now that the camel's nose is under the tent it won't be long before any abortion will be available on our dime. Note both Senator Johannes and Representative Smith allowed that provision unchallenged.
Our president recently used "Executive Orders" to get around immigration law and authorize a huge group of illegal emigrants to work here and attain driver's licenses. Just one step along the way toward granting wholesale amnesty in exchange for future Democrat votes.
Vice President Biden will shortly make his recommendations for ever tighter gun control. Speculation is that his recommendations have no way of making it through Congress but have no fear; our President can exert an "executive order" in defiance of the Second Amendment. Can a President be impeached if he signs a law or an executive order in defiance of the Constitution?
No we do not have "El Dictator" governing by whim in our country, yet. I fear however that we have a President that is doing everything possible to gain for himself the ability to govern by whim not unlike Mike's "El Dictator." Our founding fathers knew better and they created three separate branches of government to prevent such abuse. Then they put their faith in an informed electorate to preserve that balance of power. It is time to become informed.
That is how I saw it.