Blue Angels obey orders, even from Trump.
Blue Angels obey orders.
It’s really a simple concept. The National Command Authority says do it, you salute and do it. Members of our Forces do this daily. The Blue Angels flight demonstration squadron of the US Navy/USMC, along with the USAF Thunderbirds, get it. My son gets it, which is why the USS Topeka is out somewhere in the Pacific Ocean rather than docked next to a pier on Guam.
courtesy Blue Angels/US Navy
Flyovers are fun. The B-52s and F-16s that gave us a local treat last week. They offer a chance to step out the front door and look up. That’s advice I regularly suggest to what I call the “Blue Twitterati,” the folks on Da Twittah who rarely look up from their phones for anything.
Are the flyovers appropriate? At a time when these morons at the White House demonstrate absolute incompetence in the face of a pandemic, it’s not hard to figure out Donnie’s motives. Ascribing those motives to aviators, pilots, and their support teams is unfair.
Misuse of the military
Is Donnie Smallhands misusing the military? I look at the flyover of the Blue Angels tomorrow differently than the Angry Liberals Who Are Angry. People need more and deserve more than Pence and Kushner provide from government. Donnie’s people block experts from briefing Congress. They know their response to the pandemic is crap.
So, let’s have some military excitement!
Thing is, we’d have military excitement anyway. Air shows and public appearances are part of the mission of the demonstration teams. They can’t perform those parts of their mission during the pandemic. While air shows are outside, they’re not good social-distancing environments. Large gatherings and all that. Public appearances? Blue Angels follow orders – they can perhaps join school classes and other groups on Zoom. But their main mission, demonstrate the aviation capabilities of their respective service branches, well, that’s not happening on a Zoom session.
Let the aviators fly. Let the USAF pilots do what they do so well. Demonstrate those capabilities.
Lack of Liberal understanding
Do we need masks? PPE for healthcare professionals and first responders? Absolutely. Is a demonstration team flyover going to stop those things? Not in the least. What’s hindering our battle against COVID-19 is not Naval Aviation. It’s idiot Republicans who don’t mind watching people get sick and die. Hanging that on men and women obeying orders is wrong-headed. It indicates how badly liberals understand the military. That’s ironic, because so many Democrats actually serve their nation.
Disclaimer: My son is a Naval Officer (submarines), and I got to ride “Fat Albert” in 2012. I’m biased here.
Military Parade in DC?
US Army Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps (courtesy Spc. Van Der Weide/U.S. Army)
Military Parade in DC?
Yeah, I wasn’t impressed when Donnie declared he wants a Red Square-style parade. We’re not a culture of tanks and missiles. I want a military parade, though.
Sentinel, Tomb of the Unknowns, Arlington National Cemetery (courtesy Wikimedia Commons user Eric Chan)
We fetishize military deaths in the United States. I attribute this to two main factors. First, the Puritan roots of the United States. We demand focus on the afterlife. We honor the dead more than the living. Are Forces are not better fighters for that. Let’s cheer them while they’re still with us!
Factor number two focuses around Arlington National Cemetery. The center of military ceremony in many Western countries is the royal palace. There’s Buckingham Palace in London, palaces in Oslo, and Stockholm, and the Vatican, to name a few. We don’t have a royal family in the United States. Our focus is on the dead. Turning the Custis-Lee Plantation into hallowed ground made for an interesting compromise. It gave the Union a way to ceremonially seal the victory over the Southern rebellion. It also raised the leader of the rebels up to a lofty position in our country’s military tradition and heritage. It’s an honorable and distinguished thing to do. Still, it focuses on death and the dead more than we should. ‘
Honoring the living
The United States Navy Ceremonial Guard and the United States Air Force Honor Guard are reviewed by Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping, during a Joint Services arrival ceremony at the Pentagon, 14 Feb. 2012. (Courtesy U.S. Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Chad J. McNeeley)
To facilitate the honoring of military dead, each branch of the service maintains an honor guard in the DC area. The US Army has the Third Regiment, The Old Guard. The Old Guard includes the Caisson Platoon and Escort Platoons, that bear the bodies of our deceased military men and women to their resting places at Arlington. The regiment also includes other units that honor the living, such as the Commander In Chief’s Guard, and the Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps.
US 1st Cavalry Horse Detachment (courtesy Pfc. Rebekah Lampman, U.S. Army)
And that’s not all! There’s the 1st Cavalry Division Horse Cavalry Detachment, part of the 1st Cavalry Division, posted at Fort Hood, in Texas. The Navy has the Naval Ceremonial Guard, Marines are first to fight, but they also have the United States Marine Corps Battle Color Detachment, which includes the USMC Silent Drill Team. There’s the USAF and the US Coast Guard Honor Guards as well. Therefore, we have the personnel for a grand parade!
Don’t forget the USS Constitution, up in Charles Town, Boston! Bring the crew, dressed in their War of 1812-era uniforms down for a parade!
Here’s a list of military ceremonial units.
US Navy Ceremonial Band (courtesy Chief Musician Stephen W. Hassay)
So, there are the bands! In addition to the Old Guard Fife and Drums, each service has a band in the DC area. Many bases and posts also have excellent bands. Put the DC bands on the street! Bring the service academy bands to DC. Have a contest among the other bands. Let them audition for spots in a grand parade.
USAF Thunderbirds (courtesy Airman 1st Class Tammie Ramsouer)
Fly the planes! Bring on the US Navy Blue Angels and the USAF Thunderbirds! While the jets fly, don’t forget the Army’s Golden Knights!
Focus on our Forces
Let helicopter pilots CAPT Daniel Hall and CAPT Vincent Franchino march proud!
So, celebrate the men and women of our Forces, before we put them in the ground! Honor their families! Maybe let some of the spouses and children march/ride in a parade!
Display diversity! Parade people of color, parade gay couples and our TG military personnel! They deserve it more than missiles.
Marine firing his rifle in training.
On The Gist podcast yesterday, Pesca remarked on changes the United States Marine Corps is making to 19 Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) designations, to make them gender neutral. They’re replacing “man” in those designations with other descriptors:
- Basic infantry Marine.
- Riverine assault craft Marine.
- Light-armor vehicle Marine.
- Reconnaissance Marine (to include three other recon-related jobs that include the word “man”).
- Infantry assault Marine.
- Basic field artillery Marine.
- Field artillery fire control Marine.
- Field artillery sensor support Marine.
- Fire support Marine.
- Basic engineer, construction and equipment Marine.
- Basic tank and assault amphibious vehicle Marine.
- Armor Marine.
- Amphibious assault vehicle Marine.
- Amphibious combat vehicle Marine.
Pesca’s take was two-pronged: he naturally had some snarky comments about the awkwardness of some of these titles, as well as a few comments about reactions folks had to the changes in comments to posts on Facebook. As Pesca noted, it appears that Marines object to being called “Marine”.
Not being in the military, I can’t say I have an opinion on these designations, but they did bring me back to how Star Trek: The Next Generation handled gender-specific pronouns in Star Fleet. The writers basically punted, having subordinates call all superior officers, “sir”, regardless of gender. At the time, I thought it was an interesting concept. Now, given that more and more women serve in our Forces, and the ban on transgendered folks openly serving has been lifted, this is a good thing.
Still, I keep thinking about LT Firstborn and his use of a very specific spoken-word convention on the submarines. Like ST:TNG, I could see the language of war remaining as simple as possible, monosyllabic where possible. Maybe “man” and “sir” are still the right way to keep it short and simple?