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July 2014

Photo - Chinook Climb

Hires_140715-F-XY077-006An airman climbs a rope ladder into an MH-47 Chinook helicopter during insertion and extraction training on Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., July 14, 2014. Airmen assigned to the 22nd Special Tactics Squadron’s Red Team partnered with soldiers from the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment for the training. 
U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt.Russ Jackson 

Photo - Falcon Fuel

Hires_140722-F-IO684-631cAn F-16C Fighting Falcon receives fuel from a KC-135 Stratotanker during a mission over Afghanistan, July 22, 2014. The F-16 Fighting Falcon is a highly maneuverable aircraft that has proven itself in air-to-air combat and air-to-surface attack. 
U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Vernon Young Jr. 

Photo - Aussies Get (Thier First) Two F-35s

Hires_FP141426-0020aFrank Kendall, undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics, speaks at a roll-out ceremony for the first two F-35 Lightning II joint strike fighter aircraft for the Royal Australian Air Force at Lockheed Martin in Fort Worth, Texas, July 24, 2014. Kendall said the aircraft represents an exponential leap in capability on the cutting edge of technology, and is an integral component of the ongoing U.S. and Australian commitment to stability in the Asia-Pacific region.Courtesy photo

Book Review - "The Magical Stranger: A Son's Journey into His Father's Life" by Stephen Rodrick

The following book review is a special for BlackFive readers provided by Elise Cooper.  You can read all of our book reviews by clicking on the Books category link in the right side bar.

9780062004772_p0_v2_s260x420The Magical Stranger: a Son’s Journey into His Father’s Life by reporter Stephen Rodrick explores many issues military families must go through. It is a story about love and sacrifice and what a family must endure after the death of a loved one. This book takes the reader on the same journey as Stephen, struggling to fully grasp the reality of his father’s life and death.

There are four distinct parts to this book: His father’s story, the story of how Stephen grew up, a comparison of the author’s life with Commander James Hunter “Tupper” Ware III, and what it was like to be a part of a military family.  The book begins with a description of the commander of the Black Ravens, Peter Rodrick, who died in a Navy plane crash on November 28th, 1979.  While on the homestretch of a mission that had been extended because of the Iran hostage situation, Rodrick Sr. crashed his Prowler into the Indian Ocean, taking three younger crewmembers with him. The author's mother, newly widowed, packed up the family and moved from Whidbey Island to Detroit, where the author bumbled through junior high and high school as a bit of a sports-nerd misfit, quoting baseball statistics but working far below his potential. After escaping to Chicago for college, the author's real talent as a writer began to surface. The book follows Rodrick’s search for a father he barely knew, to figure out just who was his father.

A powerful part of the book is when Rodrick met with members of his father’s former squadron, the "World-Famous Black Ravens." As he learns about his father, he uncovers the layers of these sailors’ lives: their loves, friendships, dreams, disappointments, and the consequences of their choices. It is here that the reader is introduced to Commander Ware who is struggling to balance his military career with his family obligations.  Getting to know the Black Ravens’ newly commissioned commander, James Hunter Ware III, would help Stephen better understand his own father. The author noted to blackfive.net that his father was a ghost, a parent in absentia that sometimes he saw his father as a stranger in his home.  “I was really sad and lonely while my dad was gone.  I think the resentment and anger came later, after he died.  What I would like any reader to do is sit down with their dad to discuss life, something I did not have an opportunity to do with my dad.”

This leads into a discussion about the other casualties of war, not just the victim, but also the family members, the sacrifices the Navy wife and children made in service to our country. It is a stark reminder that in addition to praising those who serve there are tremendous contributions of the families that must be acknowledged. Rodrick stated to blackfive.net, “As a little boy I was euphoric that my dad flew jets off carriers.  But then after he crashed I always wondered if one or two things had gone another way he might still be with us. One of the great advantages of being a part of a military family is you have such a large extended family.  One of the great memories of my childhood is that we were all tight knit. What was really magical was that my own son was born on November 28th, 2013, thirty-four years almost to the hour of my dad’s accident.  It is nice to have something to celebrate on that day and not associate it with a day of sorrow.”

The Magical Stranger: a Son’s Journey into His Father’s Life mixes the past with the present.  Regarding military families it shows that not much has changed over the decades.  This book is a thoughtful reflection on the meaning of service and the realistic legacy of his father. Readers will understand that the author wrote the book to obtain closure as Stephen struggled to fully grasp the reality of his father’s death and the effect it had on everyone in his family.

Photo - Pole Top Rescue Training

Hires_140717-F-DL404-001cNavy Petty Officer 2nd Class Joshua Guerreiro performs pole top rescue procedures for the Navy Seabee Construction Electrician "A" school on Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas, July 15, 2014. The pole top rescue qualification simulates a climber who has been injured and students who provide assistance. Guerreiro is a Navy Unique Block 7 instructor assigned to the 366th Training Squadron. 
U.S. Air Force photo by Danny Webb 

Plagiarizing Senator claims PTSD made him do it

Sen. John Walsh of Montana is in trouble, he plagiarized a lot of his Master's thesis.

HELENA, Mont. — Montana Sen. John Walsh's thesis written to earn a master's degree from the U.S. Army War College contains unattributed passages taken word-for-word from previously published papers.

That is bad Senator and you should own up to it and apologize.

The Democrat said Wednesday he was on medication and being treated for post-traumatic stress disorder from his service in Iraq when he wrote the paper. He said he was als dealing with the stress of a fellow veteran's recent suicide.

Walsh said he made an unintentional mistake and did not intend to plagiarize.

"I don't want to blame my mistake on PTSD, but I do want to say it may have been a factor," 

If you don't want to blame PTSD, then you shouldn't have. And you shouldn't have. Not only is it a factually inaccurate statement since PTSD does not cause lying or cheating, but now you have smeared all the people fighting their PTSD who do not use it as an excuse to cover up some sad character flaws.

If you were an honest person before you went to war then coming back with PTSD wouldn't turn you into a cheat. 


Dear State Department

Following today's events in Egypt, where your Secretary of State and his people were put through a metal detector before being allowed to visit the Egyptian President, you should issue uniform swords to all ranking diplomatic personnel.  You have diplomatic immunity, after all; and the sword remains a powerful symbol where you are going.

Not ceremonial swords, either.  Real swords.  Albion makes some good ones.  Make it clear that you are carrying a weapon, and defy them to stop you.  

If you need any assistance in effecting this policy, don't hesistate to write.  Actually, you probably should anyway.  

Photo - RIMPAC Formation


The USS Anchorage, the USS Coronado, the USNS Millinocket and USNS Montford Point transit in formation off the coast of Southern California as part of Rim of the Pacific Exercise 2014, July 11, 2014. Twenty-two nations, more than 40 ships and submarines, about 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel are participating in RIMPAC, the world’s largest international maritime exercise, in and around the Hawaiian islands and southern California. U.S. Navy photo by Chief Petty Officer Mark C. Schultz