Air Force Pulls Out All the Stops for Haiti Relief Effort

100113-F-7885H-001The United States Air Force has pulled out all the stops in an effort to support the ongoing relief efforts in Haiti.  Among some of the things they are doing and arguably one of the most critical efforts of the relief in general, is controlling the airspace in and around Haiti and, most importantly, the Port Au Prince Airport.  Currently Air Force combat controllers are providing the air traffic control for all traffic in and out of Haiti.

Another critical part of the overall relief effort is the transportation of all of the items necessary to support the ongoing relief operations.  Air Force Air Mobility Command is currently providing several of its C-17 and C-130 aircraft along with a number of its personnel to support this mission.  You can read all about the full effort of AMC and the 618th Tanker Airlift Control Center here. (more…)


Write me a letter for a chance to win a Netbook

2972528931_c40e44161e_oI know you’re all going to be surprised, but I’m having a Twitter contest.

Now that you’ve picked yourself up off the floor, it’s not what you would think of as a traditional Twitter contest.  I don’t care if you follow me, you don’t have to re-tweet something (although I’d appreciate it if you would, I’d love a lot of entries), all I want you to do is write me a letter and send it to me in the mail.

Here’s the contest:

  1. Write me a letter explaining why you should win the prize (listed below)
  2. The letter has to be hand written or typed on a typewriter
  3. You have to include a return address (this is where I will ship the prize)
  4. You also have to include your Twitter ID so I can congratulate you on Twitter for being the winner
  5. The contest will begin today and all letters must be postmarked no later than February 4th



Facebook for Brands

33806215_5be99d32bb_oFacebook has become a primary means of communicating with customers.  Everything from deals and discounts to “crisis communications” like store closings and apologies.  Brands big and small have a presence on Facebook and they all use that presence in a variety of ways.  Lately I’ve been hearing all kinds of tips for brands on Facebook, I’m going to give you my suggestions based on my experiences.  As with everything on this blog, these are simply my opinions, they aren’t going to work for everyone, but they are what are working for me. (more…)


130th Rescue Squadron – Elite pilots on a serious mission.

IMG_4474My trip to the 129th Rescue Wing was filled with a lot of exciting and awe inspiring moments.  Not the least of which was my flight with the 130th Rescue Squadron.  The purpose of the flight was general training and to practice infil./exfil. of a Pararescue Jumper on a 4-wheeler.  I was pretty excited that I was going to be able to witness all of this first hand.  This was going to be a night flight with night vision goggles.  It included a number of low level (500ft AGL), lights out 10 mile approaches and I can say with complete certainty, that without the NVG, you would not have been able to make the field, let alone land on it. (more…)


129th Rescue Wing – Saving lives at home and abroad.

IMG_4355Back in November, I had the opportunity to visit the great people of the 129th Rescue Wing at Moffett Field in California.  The wing includes a number of units, the ones I’m going to tell you about are the 129th Rescue Squadron, the 130th Rescue Squadron and the 131st Rescue Squadron.  The intention of my visit was to showcase the great work that some of Air Force‘s elite units are doing, both at home and abroad.  While I was on the trip, I met members of each of these units and had a chance to take a flight on an MC-130P Combat Shadow, where we practiced some exciting night flying maneuvers including (a first for me) 500ft AGL night approaches from 10 miles.

Because I learned so much about each of these units, I’m going to break each one into a separate post, beginning with the 130th Rescue Squadron and my flight on the MC-130P.  I’ll be adding a new post each week beginning today.

Have you had an experience with any of these units?  Have you had a chance to fly in a C-130 of any kind?  Leave your story in the comments.

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Now I’ve gone and done it…

4011430276_251bcd9759_oAgainst all of the advice I give my colleagues and friends and all of the advice I’ve ever been given – I’m changing the topic of my blog, slightly.  Okay, a lot.

Normally, I would say, pick a subject and stick to it so as not to alienate your audience.  In this case, it’s really more of an addition than a change – I want to write about the things I’m passionate about.  When I redesigned this blog, I decided those things were the Air Force, Technology and Volunteer Management.  At that time in my life, I was immersed in all of those things.  Now, I’ve started a new job and I’m spending less time thinking about Technology and way more time thinking about the much blogged about topic of Social Media.

That’s right, I’m going to start adding my ideas about SOCMED to the already mountainous pile of crap content that already exists on the subject.

To be clear:

I am not an expert – not even close.

I think I have some insights into the space purely from the perspective that I work for a company that has embraced this platform as a way to reconnect with it’s diverse and large customer base.  Are my ideas gospel?  Hell no.  They’re just that, my ideas.  Some of them are working for us, and some of them aren’t.  Sometimes I’m just full of shit.

So, here we go, take it for what it’s worth.


Air Force Pararescue Jumpers: All Killer No Filler

pjs-p1010033_cropped-1024x553Over at the WIRED blog Danger Room, Noah Shachtman had the opportunity to spend some time with the PJ’s of the 55th Expeditionary Rescue Squadron in Afghanistan.  His article gives you a small glimpse into the life of one of the Air Force‘s elite tactical ground units.

As a part of my effort to showcase the efforts of units like this one, I will be visiting the 129th Rescue Squadron this November.

Check out the article over at Danger Room.


2 Sukhoi SU-27UB Aircraft for sale on the open U.S. Market

IMG_3218So you want to go Mach 1.8 huh? (the 2 seat version maxes out at Mach 1.8)  Well now you can, for the low low asking price of $6,000,000 each.  For the first – and possibly the last – time ever you can become the proud owner of 2, Sukhoi SU-27UB 4th generation fighter aircraft.  Just before Oshkosh AirVenture 2009 I visited Pride Aircraft in Rockford Illinois who is offering for sale 2 Sukhoi SU-27UB fighters brought straight to you from a former Soviet Republic.  Number 31 (built in 1990) and number 32 (built in 1988) have been fully restored and both the engines and airframes were “zeroed out” at the factory.  At the moment, the engines have approximately 12 hours each – each aircraft has around 600 hours total time.  These airframes look brand new.  They also both include freshly overhauled Zvedzda K-36DM ejection seats.  Pride has been diligently working to convert all of the instruments, avionics and communications equipment over to standard American gear.  This includes all new commercial grade communication radios and state of the art Garmin 530 GPS units. (more…)


Major General Gregory Feest visits Chicago for the Air and Water Show

IMG_3782Major General Gregory Feest, the commander of the 19th Air Force, was in Chicago representing the Air Force and acting as the senior military officer in attendance at the event.  The 19th Air Force is tasked with providing flight and aircrew training to more than 25,000 US and Allied students annually and is comprised of more than 38,000 Total Force personnel across 17 wings and 3 training groups.  They operate 1,720 aircraft including the T-1 Jayhawk, T-6A Texan II, and T-38 Talon.

A little background on the General, he has over 5,400 total flight hours and more than 800 combat hours.  He’s flown a countless number of airframes including the F-111, the F-15C and E, and the F-117.  General Feest holds a number of claims to aviation fame, he is the first person to ever reach 1,000 hours in the F-117 and the first person to fly that aircraft into combat.  He is also purported to hold the most combat hours in the F-117 (more than 130 hours) having been the first person in Desert Storm to drop a bomb in Iraq from an F-117. (more…)


U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds come to Chicago

IMG_1170This year the Chicago Air and Water show will play host to the United States Air Force Demonstration Squadron known as the Thunderbirds. They arrived at Gary Airport this morning – Gary is where the Air show is staged every year. They’ll be taking some much needed time off while in Chicago, and will begin practicing again on Friday. The team has made some interesting changes this year – to bolster the Air Force’s “Total Force Initiative”, they have taken on a member of the Air National Guard, and the Reserves. (more…)

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