Broadside Blog

“We’re the ones out here.”
Posted by Bacon on July 24th, 2014 filed in Hero of the week | Comment now »

There are roughly 30,000 American troops still in Afghanistan. This is real footage from 2012.

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Greenside of the Week – July 23, 2014
Posted by Bacon on July 23rd, 2014 filed in Greenside cartoons | Comment now »

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Chance
Posted by Bacon on July 22nd, 2014 filed in Broadside moments | Comment now »

Every once in a while, just when things are looking their bleakest, something good emerges. Not always, mind you, but sometimes. Usually, there is at least a chance that the tide can be turned.

For example, take a look at this cartoon.

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This is not a good situation, not for anyone on that bridge. But think how well it turned out for the diver. That guy was stoked. Good came out of bad.

The other day, I climbed into our canoe to retrieve a ball that had fallen in the water. It was going to be a short trip, in and out in five minutes.

At minute two the boat tipped and I fell overboard. So did the smart phone that was in my pocket, which is why I drew this cartoon last week.

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The phone was dead, of course, and suddenly I was out of the matrix. I did not know what was happening at the office, or at home. If someone had sent me an email, I would not have received it. If I had run out of gas I would have had to actually walk to a filling station, since I couldn’t call anyone. If zombies had invaded America, I would have been a goner.

But as I walked to a meeting, I began to observe things that had been missed before, due to my face being constantly buried in eight square inches of plastic electronics. The weather was nice. There was a gentle breeze blowing that felt good on my face. Old buildings that I had not noticed before revealed intricate designs and styling that someone had thoughtfully inserted many years ago.

That was good. So was the new and improved replacement phone I picked up. I could talk to it and it would give me directions, definitions, weather…you name it. It will recognize my thumbprint and tell me when I have a meeting. It is one smart phone, and it was definitely better than the old (wet) one.

Good from bad. It is nice when things work out that way. It is nice to know that even when things are not going well, there is a chance that conditions will change. That breeds character traits like courage, optimism and hope.

That chance is what keeps people moving forward when confronted with obstacles or challenges. One of the top civilian stunt pilots in the world is Sean Tucker, who flies for Team Oracle.

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He once said that if something catastrophic happens to your airplane and you can’t get out, “keep flying all the way to the ground.” In other words, don’t give up. Keep trying because there is a chance you can figure out how to get down safely. That philosophy works for those of us on the ground too.

On the other hand, things can go in the other direction too. Good ideas can turn out badly, even when they seemed pretty solid at the time.

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So I guess it is all a game of chance.

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Broadside of the Week – July 21, 2014
Posted by Bacon on July 21st, 2014 filed in Broadside cartoons | Comment now »

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Workfarce – the phone store – July 18, 2014
Posted by Bacon on July 18th, 2014 filed in Workfarce | 1 Comment »

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Ulithi
Posted by Bacon on July 17th, 2014 filed in Stories, Videos | Comment now »

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“The US naval base at Ulithi was for a time the world’s largest naval facility.” (George Spangler, Warbird Information Exchange)

Sixty years ago, in September of 1944, the U.S. landed at a remote volcanic atoll called Ulithi, part of the Caroline Islands archipelago in the western Pacific. Its mission: to “provide a fleet anchorage and an air base to support half of a night fighter squadron, a light inshore patrol squadron, a pool for a maximum of 150 carrier replacement aircraft, a utility squadron, and staging facilities for transport aircraft.” (ibiblio.org) Facilities to support the fleet were included in the overall plan.

As the buildup began for the invasion of Okinawa (April 1, 1945), the tiny atoll’s population swelled to include a massive fleet. The images on this page are but a small sample of several fascinating photos documenting the year-long occupation of Ulithi by George Spangler. (Click on the photo below to see all of the pictures with some brief narrative.)

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Here is a brief war report on Ulithi:

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Thanks to Marine Corps veteran David for the tip.

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Greenside of the Week – July 16, 2014
Posted by Bacon on July 16th, 2014 filed in Greenside cartoons | Comment now »

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The big picture
Posted by Bacon on July 15th, 2014 filed in Broadside moments | Comment now »

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In a chaotic world, it is easy to lose the big picture.

In the military, it is known as losing the bubble. If any of you (and there are several) who have ever sailed through the Strait of Malacca, Hormuz, or Gibraltar, you know what I mean. With hundreds of ships around you it is easy to get lost in the weeds. Officers of the Deck are often admonished to “keep their heads out of the scope”, so as not to miss the big picture.

Easier said than done. And I’m not just talking about driving ships.

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It happens to all of us. When everything is going on at once, we often focus on the trivial, allowing the minutiae to suck us in. It is human nature, and it can happen to the best of us.

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There are a couple of groups who seem immune, however. The Carrier Air Traffic Control Center (CATCC) officer on one of my ships was a buddy of mine, and was cool as a cucumber when things got crazy. Handlers (the people responsible for keeping track of all the aircraft on a carrier) are like that, too. Imagine how hectic life can be in Flight Deck Control when planes, jets and helos are being moved around during flight operations. Yet I have never seen a Handler lose the bubble.

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Alas, most of us will never control aircraft in CATCC or work in Flight Deck Control. But all is not lost. There is another group of people who get it too. In a chaotic world, they manage to keep the big picture – every day.

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I want to be one of them.

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Broadside of the Week – July 14, 2014
Posted by Bacon on July 14th, 2014 filed in Broadside cartoons | Comment now »

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Workfarce – Career Counselor – July 10, 2014
Posted by Bacon on July 11th, 2014 filed in Workfarce | Comment now »

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