The Final Smut, Vol. 2

NOTE: As a PA troop, we often made up mock front pages of the base newspaper as a departure gift upon a PCS move. This article appeared in the Grissom Air Force Base newspaper, The Pacesetter, Dec. 8th 1989. It was presented to me prior to my departure to Osan Air Base, Korea, with follow-on assignment to RAF Alconbury in the UK. As always, there is much sarcasm and a few inside jokes contained here-in, but, yes – I was leaving SAC forever!

 

Lordy, lordy – look who’s leaving

By 2nd Lt. Bill Harrison

Former Airman, USAF

 

“Hoosier” – Webster’s defines it as “Anything large of its kind…a native or resident of Indiana.”

But it’s more than a definition to one temporary Indiana resident. To Raymond East, it’s a way of life – a dream come true.

A native of Michigan, East remembers being fascinated with Indiana at a very early age. “When I was 2, I’d throw toy chairs out of my playpen, and when I was 3, I cried for two weeks straight until my mom bought me a miniature pig farmer set,” recalled East.

As the years passed, the fascination turned into obsession. “He’d beg me to check out library books about Indiana – he hungered for every bit of Hoosier trivia he could sink his teeth into,” said his mother. “He memorized the words to every Cole Porter song, and could spout the history of Stellate and the pneumatic tire – at the age of 5,” she said.

As a teenager, East was different than other kids in his Detroit neighborhood. “He’d wear a ball cap and drive a big ol’ rusty pick-up truck for hours on end. He’d rev the engine up real loud whenever he passed a girl – guess that’s what they do in Indiana,” said one of Raymond’s Detroit neighbors.

Soon it was time to plan for college, but for East there wasn’t any question. “I’m fixin’ to go to IVY Tech-Kokomo campus,” he announced to his guidance counselor. But his dream of being a welding major was shattered when the school turned him down….his grades were too high for an Indiana school.

Discouraged and disappointed, he settled for a Michigan college. But his love of Hoosiers kept growing. One day while walking past an Air Force recruiting office, a poster in the window caught his eye. It read, “Best kept secret in the Air Force: Grissom AFB, Indiana.” ‘That was it,’ he thought. ‘My ticket out of this backwards Wolverine state!’

“The recruiter told him not only could he guarantee him Grissom, but he’d send him to tech school in Indianapolis—the capital city.

Numb with Joy, East hurried home, packed his bags, and hit the road – ready for an adventure only kings could dream of.

Unfortunately, it turned out to be a whirlwind affair. Hardly a year had passed before the dreaded overseas orders appeared in East’s in-basket. “It just ain’t right,” he muttered. “I’ll miss huntin’ season, the third Glossy Eagle win, and the final four.”

He tried everything to cancel the orders….even using influential friends in the Civil Air Patrol to contact Congressman Jontz, but, nuthin’ worked.

East hasn’t given up hope. “So I’ll spend a couple of borin’ years in the Orient and Europe, but after I make Staff, I’m puttin’ in for a BOP back to the ‘Can-Do Wing.’ See you in three years, Raymond!

 

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The Final Smut, Vol. I

The Final Smut, Vol. I

 

One of the tasks of a PA troop is to ensure the weekly base newspaper/magazine hit the streets every Friday morning. While some assignments allowed us to really get out there and write stories that folks were actually interested in reading, others reduced us to, frankly, kissing the wing king’s ass and presenting page, after page, of content focused around change-of-command ceremonies, “grip-and-grin” photos, and Yard-of-the-Month winners in base housing.

Regardless, most PA staffs would present a fake front page of a base newspaper with gag articles about the departing PA troop. The name of this fake publication was called “The Final Smut.” I was assigned to three bases during my time in the Air Force, and also spent a little time at a few Army posts. I ended up with two Final Smut front pages which, basically, amount to the recipient getting roasted by fellow staff members. I thought it would be fun to put these articles out there. People who served in the military will get more of the jokes/references than non-military….while those who knew me, or were stationed with me, should be able to pick up on just about everything. There are definitely some inside jokes….a few of which even I may have forgotten.  

This appeared Friday, December 8, 1989:

 

Base Loses Ass-et (Don Juan departs next week)
By SrA Sombat DeB (as in boy) oer
305th Public Affairs
Grissom Air Force Base 

Grissom’s premier Don Juan-rebel rouser departs here Dec. 10, on his way to greater Air Force fame and glory at Osan Air Base, Korea. He will be sadly missed (not really).

And then, of course, are Ray’s co-workers. “Ray’s turned out to be everything I had heard and even less,” said MSgt. Daryl E. Green, who had the extreme good fortune of working with the Detroit Punkster for only three months. “They told me he was full of energy but I found him to be full of quite a few other things as well.”ImageLooking at this photo, it’s not hard to understand how A1C Raymond East easily manages to charm all whom he meets. (sorry — this is a framed document and I had to scan through glass)

Sergeant Green finds little credibility in the rampant rumors of Ray’s prowess on the hardwoods and girl chasing backwoods.

“I haven’t met a Sex Pistols fan yet who had any ball in him,” Sergeant Green said as he looked up from the sports pages.

Speaking of fans, one of Ray’s biggest fans had this to say. “Well Sid, it’s been OK,” said Hoosier Amn. Phil Ulmer, who claims he’s really not from Indiana. “Enjoy your Korean wench and the soju.”

“Ray is quite a guy,” said car mechanic Sgt. Steve Dunn, who can fix anything. “He gave me a real deal when it came to buying his bicycle-built-for-two for only $25 – and he threw in flat tire at no extra charge! I will truly miss Ray, just as much as I miss…er, uh…Garth, yeah, that’s the other guy.”

SSgt. Kenneth Mattingly, Ray’s immediate supervisor, said he will miss Ray also. “I hope you find someone as gullible as I was in basketball moves,” he said.

As sick as Ray is, we wish him the best of luck!

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A10 in the Park?

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A-10 pic

Every base to which I was assigned housed a squadron of A-10 Warthogs. I was just lucky that way, I suppose. I saw this combination park bench/”art,” out of the corner of my eye yesterday while running a few laps around the park. It reminded me of an A-10. Guess I spent too much time around them……

Alconbury and Desert Shield/Desert Storm

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I stumbled across the “Commemorative Issue” of the Spartan Spirit base magazine from July, 1991. I was the editor at this time, and compiled all of the text and photos to create this edition. For some reason, there is no credit given to anybody for photos, and such. I’m sure my man Demetrius Lester took many of these photos.

Of all the memories I have of this significant time in history, a few stand out:

1) I was home on leave when the actually fighting broke out. I had just tacked on my Sergeant’s Star and was in Detroit visiting family en route from Osan Air Base, Korea to RAF Alconbury in the UK. I was fully aware that the 10th Tactical Fighter Wing, of which I was now assigned, was a fully active participant in this war. Some of my most patriotic family members took me to dinner to the legendary Loui’s Pizza in Detroit. While we were eating, the music playing on the PA system was replaced with the sound of bombs exploding and a news caster reporting that war had begun. I remember, vividly, the emotions running through me at that time. We often talk about it to this day….almost 25 years later. I was all set to depart to my new base in just a few days, and remember telling everybody, “I’m really sorry, but can somebody please take me home?”

2) My mother taking me to the airport a few days later was tough….real tough. It’s times like these, I believe, that are more difficult for the family members than for the service members. All she knew is that I was headed to a duty assignment in which my unit was actively engaged in war.

3) The other thing I remember is showing up for duty to a base that seemed half empty. So many troops were deployed to the middle east. I never ended up going. Rather, I worked in an office, for the most part, by myself when there should have been three people. Because of my position in public affairs, we would often receive bulletins and updates from out deployed units. And, of course, I remember the day folks started coming home from war.

4) Our A-10’s tore some shit up over there!

Here you go. Thanks for reading/looking.

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People from the 94th TAW go through last-minute chemical warfare training. Gear of both visiting and home teams were inspected and chemical warfare classes were conducted at Alconbury to ensure everyone was prepared to survive the desert experience.

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Alconbury’s in processing line quickly sent members of the 94th Tactical Airlift Wing on their way.

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SSgt. Maurice Briggs was just one of many security policemen who spent long hours on the flight line guarding visiting aircraft. Security on base was heightened during the war, as was evident by long lines of people waiting at the gates to get their ID’s checked.

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Members of the 10th Services Squadron set up hundreds of cots for transient people to catch forty winks in the AYA gym. The base gym and transient dorms were also, at times, filled with visitors.

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Members of the 17th Reconnaissance Wing said tearful and somber good-byes to spouses, children and friends before heading to the Gulf Aug. 23.

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Crews palletized tons of equipment, including deploying individuals “A” and “C” bags (above and below).

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Loaded pallets are pulled on to C-5’s for deployment.

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Deploying personnel lined up through the initial out processing phase. Personnel were briefed at various stations along the line by finance, chaplains, medical, legal, CBPO and the post office. Between August and April, the legal office processed approximately 934 powers of attorney and 634 wills, and the clinic administered approximately 3,800 inoculations.

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Sgt, Darrin A. Rennie and his wife, Eileen, share a sad, quiet moment together before saying a final good-bye, Christmas Eve.

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The Vultures left Alconbury Dec. 27, and arrived in the desert Dec. 28, ready to go to work.

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Col. John L. Sander, 17th RW commander, gave his deploying troops a pep talk prior to their departure.

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Secretary of State James Baker and Prime Minister John Major met at Alconbury Jan 13 to discuss the crisis in the Middle East. PM Major live in Huntingdon, the village just outside of Alconbury’s gates, and was often shuttled in and out of Alconbury.

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Shortly after Iraq invaded Kuwait Aug. 2, Alconbury people gave all visiting KC-135 and C-130 aircraft the red carpet treatment as they came through the base on their way to the desert.

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The day after arriving at King Fahd International Airport, Saudi Arabia, Alconbury people filled sand bags to build bunkers with protected their tents.

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Sand bag party!

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A little desert R & R to kill time.

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Anywhere from 6-12 people shared tents, but deployed people found unique ways to create privacy for themselves. Door art, “gardens’ of Astroturf and silk flowers, picnic tables and sun decks appeared within the first couple of weeks to make “the City” livable.

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Spouses quickly formed support groups both for the moral support and information Assistance was offered by others in the group and guest speakers from various agencies. The main concerns were mail and communication.

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Family support center volunteers stuffed envelopes with fliers and other information for distribution to families of deployed personnel.

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Throughout the deployment and war, approximately 100 “Love Faxes” a week went to and from the Gulf, and approximately 5,500 morale calls were made.

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Many base and Anglo-American organizations packed and sent care packages mostly filled with candy, toiletries and books to the desert.

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Children made and sent Valentine’s Day cards to their deployed parents and single Alconbury airman.

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More love as expressed when spouses and children tied yellow ribbons on everything on base that didn’t move!

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A Vulture Warthog prepared to take off on a mission “somewhere in the desert” after the war began Jan. 17.

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Alconbury maintainers got plenty of practice with aircraft battle damage repair, but, fortunately, Alconbury’s aircraft received relatively minor damage. Of the 144 A-10’s in theater, only five were lost in combat.

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An A-10 received another load of .30 mm ammunition before quickly turning around and going out on another mission. More than 80,000 rounds of .30 mm bullets were expended during the war.

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Capt. Rod Glass holds up a bullet which missed him by inches.

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A destroyed Iraqi tank sits by the side of a road in the desert. A-10’s were credited with destroying 987 tanks, 926 artillery pieces, 501 armored personnel carriers, 1,106 trucks and 51 Scud missile launchers.

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This is a small portion of the extensive damage done to an air base in Kuwait.

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Several Alconbury troops recollect seeing hundreds of burning oil wells destroyed by Iraqi troops during trips to Kuwait City.

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While some Vulture planes left King Fahd May 12, the remaining 12 planes took off June 7 and arrived back at Alconbury for a very warm homecoming on the 8th.

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Loading “A” and “C” bags in the desert was a very welcome chore — it meant short time!

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Re-packing for deployment home.

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Col. Roger Radcliff welcomes home a Desert Storm Warrior.

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Capt. Greg August of the 17th Reconnaissance Wing gets hugs and kisses from wife, Robin, and two children, Jennifer and Jonathan, upon his return home from the Middle East.

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The first group of deployed personnel step off the “freedom bird” at RAF Alonbury May 15th following a long deployment in the desert.

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And the crowd cheered for its heroes as the last of Alcobury’s warriors returned home victorious.

 

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Pil Sung

I’ve seen many references to Pil Sung on different Korea-related pages/boards, so I thought I’d “re-print” this article which appeared, originally, in the Aug. 10, 1990 MiG Alley Flyer. Is Pil Sung still there, and is it still used by American forces? Did the technology ever receive an upgrade? How has the training changed?? As usual, I have a ton of questions after reading these old stories for the first time in almost 25 years. Article and photos by then Sgt. Jeff Mulcahy, aka “Father;” aka “Padre.” Enjoy.ImageWhile evading the electronic warfare threat, pilots are able to unload their weapons on many different targets such as this battered deuce and a half, with simulated tanks in the background.

Screeching through the valley at mach speed, dropping his arsenal on the target below and speeding away. Sounds like another day for a pilot.

Many times this is the case as they sharpen their deadly skills. But what happens when the hunters become the hunted?

The 40-or-so Mountain Men of the 6351st Tactical Electronic Warfare Training Squadron at Pil Sung Range are perfect examples of the “Pogo Syndrome,” in other words “we have met the enemy and he is us.”

The 6351st TEWTS is the enemy, to the pilots that is, who ply their skills on Mountain Man turf.

“Our mission is to give the best electronic warfare training to both US and Republic of Korea aircrews,” said Lt. Col. Larry D. Steichen, 6351st TEWTS commander. “Our guys do a great job of simulating anti-aircraft artillery and surface-to-air missiles, which provides our pilots the opportunity to evade the simulated ordinances.

“Another thing we like to do, just to add a bit of realism, is shoot “smokey SAMS” in the direction of the aircraft so that the pilots can see the fire and smoke coming at them,” the colonel said.

It’s a lot of fun to shoot the smokey SAMs at the aircraft and see their reaction, agreed SSgt. Larry McKee, 6351st TEWTS independent medical technician, and Sgt. Leonard Pugh, OL-B, 2146th Communications Group.

They said that most of the pilots eventually learn to “ignore” the “dummy” ordinance, “but you can always tell a pilot who’s coming in for the first time, because they always freak out a little bit when they see the smokey SAMs heading their way,” Sergeant McKee said.

Pil Sung Range, a US Air Force class “B” range (because it has no manned tower), is the 7th Air Force’s only electronic warfare gunnery range.” It is located near the base off Mt. Taebeak, about a five-hour drive east of Osan AB.

Each morning, tow-man teams of electronic warfare specialists take a long, rough ride to their sites – four in all.

Form these sites, they provide the simulation of SAMs and AAA which the pilots pick up on radar.

ImagePil Sung Range’s Site five, one of four mountain sites, provides simulated threats of anti-aircraft artillery and surface-to-air missiles to better U.S. and ROK aircrew’s skills at dealing with the electronic warfare threat.

The Mountain Men use the MPS-19 and the TRTG or Tactical Radiating Threat Generator, which simulates the anti-aircraft artillery. To simulate the surface-to-air missiles, they use the MPQT-3 and the AM/LQT-3.

Site four is the focal point for all missions. SSgt. Greg Payment is the spearhead at the site and is said to be able to pick-out any type of aircraft just by looking at the dot on his IFF or Identification Friend or Foe tracking system.

Sergeant Payment then relays the coordinates of aircraft he spots to the other sites, which in-turn, locate and simulate an attack. The actions provide important electronic warfare pertinent to a pilot’s survival, according to the range workers.

It’s a lesson with roots dating back to the war in Indochina. “Contrary to popular belief, most aircrews were lost in Vietnam because of a lack of experience with enemy radar air defense, and mostly to anti-aircraft artillery rather than the SAMs,” said TSgt. Dave Yingling, who provides quality control for the unit.ImageTargets at Pil Sung Range, like these simulated missiles on a truck, add to the realism of the electronic warfare battle that rages between the 6351st TEWTS Mountain Men and US and ROK aircrews each day.

“We feel that we provide a good threat,” said MSgt. Frederick Sommerfield, chief of radar maintenance branch. “We work hard and give 100 percent to our jobs. It shows, and we can say that we haven’t missed any missions because of equipment failure. We keep our equipment, as old as it is, well above the standards.”

According to Colonel Steichen, the Mountain Men may receive new, state-of-the-art equipment, perhaps as early as 1991, in the form of an unmanned threat emitter. The emitters will be placed in remote locations, centering on a control van from where they will be activated. This new operation will, however, require the same amount of manning as the old system, but will provide better training for the pilots.

With all the training Pil Sung provides for 7th Air Force fighter pilots, range officials would like to see it get better. “Our threats work, but we are unable to get up to the ‘90’s threat array,” said the colonel. “We are better than a World War II threat, and comparable to a Vietnam-era type of theat.”

Pil Sung’s range consists of a dirt landing strip with simulated aircraft taxing to take off; a SAM site; railroad yard; bridges; tunnels; simulated tanks; vehicle convoys; and, of course, an area for strafing runs. In addition, there is area for exploding live ordinance.

So while many pilots might think it fun to streak out of the clouds with tons of fire power, ready to deal a devastating load on the targets far below, they may want to think again. Down below, Pil Sung’s Mountain Men wait – ever ready to challenge the odds. In doing so, they provide increased combat capabilities for the combined US and ROK forces.

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Downed Pilots

From Osan Air Base, Nove. 1990. Photos by Sgt. Terry Blevins.Image 
A downed pilot, Capt. Brian Urbanesik, marks his position with a red smoke during a Search and Recovery Exercise south of Osan AB.ImageAn OA-10 Thunderbolt from Osan drops a flare, marking the position of downed pilots.

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