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Flightline Friday Extra: More Than Everything You Could Possibly Want to Know about APR-25/6 September 25, 2017

Posted by Tantumblogo in Admin, awesomeness, Flightline Friday, foolishness, fun, history, non squitur, silliness, Society, technology.
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Early in the Vietnam War, partly due to amazingly poor planning, but even more due to unbelievably onerous targeting restrictions, US tactical aircraft started racking up heavy losses to North Vietnamese Surface to Air Missiles (SAMs).  The SAM in question was the SA-2, which had been known about half a decade at that point, the SA-2 having played a role in the shoot down of Francis Gary Powers’ U-2 in 1960.

Since the rules of engagement imposed by the Johnson-McNamara Administration forbade attacks on SAM sites under construction, or even possibly under construction, for fear of “accidentally” killing any Soviet “advisors” present and thus potentially escalating the war, US airmen had to wait until positive proof that a SAM site was operational before they could attack it.  The only positive proof accepted was their being attacked by that very SAM site.  Obviously this gave enormous initiative to the enemy, and made attacking SAM sites when they were most vulnerable impossible.

Defensive measures were needed, and needed quickly.  But how to defend against a radar guided flying robot whose only purpose in life was the kill you?  Fortunately, the problem was well understood. Indeed, specialist aircraft like intelligence gathering types had been equipped with limited numbers of what were then called radar homing and warning receivers (RHAW) for years.  SAC’s big bombers also carried radar warning and electronic countermeasures (ECM) gear of varying degrees of effectiveness, but much of this was far too large and heavy to fit into a tactical aircraft.

Fortunately, a small company in northern California, Applied Technologies, Inc, later part of Litton, now part of Northrop Grumman, came rushing to the rescue, in late 1965, with their “Vector IV” product.  Consisting of 4 roughly equally spaced radio frequency receivers and some very basic analog processing equipment, Vector IV entered service as the AN/APR-25/6.  This equipment was first fitted to specialist “Wild Weasel” SAM hunter aircraft, and later, to almost every tactical aircraft in theater – certainly, every one that went up North.  It was fairly effective, but became much more so when coupled with the North American “SEE SAMS” (clever) system, which added capability to discriminate targeting and launch radar signals from regular radar tracking signals.

The equipment worked pretty well, and losses were reduced.  The seesaw battle of the electronic wizards on both defense and offense continues to this day, but, generally speaking, since the APR-25/6, the US has held the upper hand (we think/hope – we haven’t been seriously tested in 25 years).

The video below is an actual training film for USAF aircrew in APR-25/6 operation and tactics.  It gets way down into the nitty gritty, discussing import of length and intensity of strobe, billboard notifications and their meaning, and the varying sounds the equipment picks up when illuminated by various kinds of search, tracking, and fire control radars (a radar is like any other radio frequency device, and thus its signals can be interpreted as a sound).  Techniques used to spoof APR-25/6 are also discussed.  Very interesting if you are a slavishly devoted geek like me, all others will probably find it mind-numbingly boring.

I post this mostly to keep a record of this highly esoteric material since this video was posted once before but pulled because someone asserted the data therein was still classified.  Of course, it is not.

A picture of what modern radar warning receiver (today’s term) displays looks like.  Gone is the analog signal intensity reading and guessing, replaced by digitally processed symbology indicating the type of threat, distance and bearing, with priority ranking, etc:

 

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Flightline Friday: Early Vietnam Helo Operations September 22, 2017

Posted by Tantumblogo in Flightline Friday, fun, history, non squitur, silliness, Society, technology.
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This is a really excellent video find from December 1963, featuring very tired old Piasecki H-21 “Shawnee” (aka the Flying Banana) and brand new (if more than a bit underpowered) Hueys of the UH-1A and UH-1B models.

There is some excellent footage of very rare early Huey attack model setups, including fixed forward firing M1919 .30 cal machine guns of WWII vintage mounted on the landing skids, and the first attempts at mounting rockets on the Huey design.  The UH-1B came from the factory with the XM-6 armament subsystem, which included dual M-60 machine guns on each side of the aircraft in trainable mounts.  This was a vast improvement over the fixed machine guns of the UH-1A.  Also discussed is the original US Army air assault unit in South Vietnam, the Utility Tactical Transport Company.  At this time, Hueys were used entirely as attack birds or for medevac.  The stretched UH-1D capable of carrying 9-11 troops would not enter service in Vietnam until the 1st Air Cav arrived in numbers in mid-1965.

The UH-1A was always badly underpowered*, with an armament load of fixed gun and dual 8-shot rocket stacks, they could barely manage 80-85 mph, which allowed even the lumbering H-21s to “race” ahead of them.  This problem was solved by the UH-1B, which had a more powerful engine, allowing the Hueys much better speed to escort the Shawnees, but the problem repeated itself once the UH-1D and UH-1H entered service.  The slicks were again much faster than their escorts, weighted down with heavy loads of weapons and ammo in very draggy mounts.  This problem was initially solved by late B model and then Charlie model Hueys being equipped with still more powerful engines, but was ultimately dealt with by the introduction of the AH-1 Cobra in late 1967.

There is also demonstration of early tactics among both the troop carrying and the attack helos.  It is rather amusing to watch discussion of basic tactics which were described as being so effective the VC had no response to them – well, you could say, they figured out plenty of responses as the war went along.  The very simple tactics described in this video would be replaced by ever more sophisticated ones as the war went along, but the ever-resourceful Vietnamese were almost always a match for Yankee ingenuity, finding their own responses to evolving American methods.

There is a great deal of rare footage in this video, covering a critical phase of the War in Southeast Asia as combat became more and more Americanized – just as certain elements of the US military establishment desperately wanted:

 

*- UH-1A had a little more than half the horsepower of the later H, E, L, and M models.

Footage of AFRES PJs Rescuing Harvey Victims September 6, 2017

Posted by Tantumblogo in Admin, awesomeness, Flightline Friday, fun, non squitur, Society, Virtue.
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Yes this may be getting pretty dated, but the military moves slow.  Several Air Force Reserve Rescue Squadrons were deployed from around the country to help with rescues. Equipped with (now quite long in the tooth) HH-60G Pave Hawk helos and probably the most serious special operators USAF has to offer – Pararescue Jumpers (PJs) – there are many nice scenes of families being rescued.  In fact, I watched the first rescue on the video live streaming on the internet last week from the perspective of the ground.  Quite interesting to see it from the other end:

Were those New York guys from the 101st Rescue Squadron on Long Island being cheeky with their big NY letters on the side of the copter?

This unit has actually historically made some quite impressive at-sea rescues.  They conducted themselves with professional aplomb in everything I saw in the videos.

 

Start Novena to Our Lady of Dolours Today 09/06 September 6, 2017

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, Domestic Church, fun, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, Interior Life, Novenas, Our Lady, sanctity, Tradition, Virtue.
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The Solemnity of the Seven Sorrows of the Blessed Virgin Mary is on September 15.  Start Novena today or tomorrow.

Most holy and afflicted Virgin, Queen of Martyrs, you stood
beneath the cross, witnessing the agony of your dying Son.quito
Look with a mother’s tenderness and pity on me, who kneel
before you. I venerate your sorrows and I place my requests
with filial confidence in the sanctuary of your wounded heart
.

 

Present them, I beseech you, on my behalf to Jesus Christ,
through the merits of His own most sacred passion and death,
together with your sufferings at the foot of the cross. Through the united efficacy of both, obtain the granting of my petition.
To whom shall I have recourse in my wants and miseries if not
to you, Mother of Mercy? You have drunk so deeply of the
chalice of your Son, you can compassionate our sorrows.

 

Holy Mother, your soul was pierced by a sword of sorrow at
the sight of the passion of your divine Son. Intercede for me
and obtain for me from our Lord {mention your petition}, if
it be for His honor and glory, and for my good. Amen.

 

LET US PRAY
Pour forth, we beseech Thee, O Lord, Thy grace into our
hearts; that, we to whom the Incarnation of Christ, Thy
Son, was made known by the message of an Angel, may by
His Passion and Cross, be brought to the glory of His
Resurrection. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.Virgin Showing the Man of Sorrows_MEMLING, Hans

 

Litany of Our Lady of Seven Sorrows

 

Lord, have mercy on us
Christ have mercy on us
Lord have mercy on us
Christ hear us
Christ graciously hear us

God, the Father of heaven
Have mercy on us
God the Son, Redeemer of the world
Have mercy on us
God the Holy Ghost
Have mercy on us

Holy Mary, Mother of God pray for us
Holy Virgin of virgins pray for us
Mother of the Crucified pray for us
Sorrowful Mother pray for us
Mournful Mother pray for us
Sighing Mother pray for us
Afflicted Mother pray for us
Forsaken Mother pray for us
Desolate Mother pray for us
Mother most sad pray for us
Mother set around with anguish pray for us
Mother overwhelmed by grief pray for us
Mother transfixed by a sword pray for us
Mother crucified in thy heart pray for us
Mother bereaved of thy Son pray for us
Sighing Dove pray for us
Mother of Dolors pray for us
Fount of tears pray for us
Sea of bitterness pray for us
Field of tribulation pray for us
Mass of suffering pray for us
Mirror of patience pray for us
Rock of constancy pray for us
Remedy in perplexity pray for us
Joy of the afflicted pray for us
Ark of the desolate pray for us
Refuge of the abandoned pray for us
Shield of the oppressed pray for us
Conqueror of the incredulous pray for us
Solace of the wretched pray for us
Medicine of the sick pray for us
Help of the faint pray for us
Strength of the weak pray for usour_lady_of_sorrows
Protectress of those who fight pray for us
Haven of the shipwrecked pray for us
Calmer of tempests pray for us
Companion of the sorrowful pray for us
Retreat of those who groan pray for us
Terror of the treacherous pray for us
Standard-bearer of the Martyrs pray for us
Treasure of the Faithful pray for us
Light of Confessors pray for us
Pearl of Virgins pray for us
Comfort of Widows pray for us
Joy of all Saints pray for us
Queen of thy Servants pray for us
Holy Mary, who alone art unexampled pray for us.

Pray for us, most Sorrowful Virgin That we may be made
worthy of the promises of Christ

O God, in whose Passion, according to the prophecy of
Simeon, a sword of grief pierced through the most sweet
soul of Thy glorious Blessed Virgin Mother Mary, grant
that we, who celebrate the memory of her Seven Sorrows,
may obtain the happy effect of Thy Passion, Who lives
and reigns world without end. Amen

Finally! August 30, 2017

Posted by Tantumblogo in Admin, firearms, fun, non squitur, silliness.
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New plates, baby:

Multi-shot Level IV steel body armor.  Two plates plus sides.  Yikes is it heavy.  My plate carrier now weighs 32 pounds loaded, and that’s without magazines (it’s more than a carrier, more like a tactical vest/carrier combo).

So now my kids like to put it on and engage in punching contests.

I don’t know if I ever mentioned this in a post, but when I went to Kansas this summer I took some soft body armor along to target shoot.  It was all Level IIIA stuff, soft kevlar.  Nonetheless, I was impressed with how well it faired.  I had several pieces stop anywhere from 5-10 9mm rounds from about 25 feet.  I had one stop seven 9 mm and about 15 .22LR rounds.  It puffed up like mad but it did very well against the kinds of rounds it was designed to stop – handgun caliber.  I was surprised that this soft-armor was capable of stopping multiple rounds so long as they didn’t hit too close together (within maybe 2″ of a previous hit).

I also took some video of bottle shooting and what not but the end result was not so great.  So much for relying on a giddy 13 year old cameragirl.

White Rose Fundraising Dinner Moved to November 17! August 29, 2017

Posted by Tantumblogo in Abortion, awesomeness, Basics, contraception, Dallas Diocese, fightback, fun, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, Restoration, sanctity, Virtue.
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A very important update to a previous post, the White Rose Women’s Center benefit dinner featuring Fr. Shannon Boquet of Human Life International has been moved from October 7 – where it was contemporaneous with the 100th Anniversary Fatima Conference in Irving – to November 17.

Location remains the same.  I am so glad to hear this and pray many souls will be able to attend the benefit for this most worthy organization, aiding women contemplating abortion.

Thank you to the kind soul who sent this update notice on to me.  I have idea who it was – I got it anonymously via mail – but thank you.

All other pertinent information about the benefit dinner is at my previous post.

10th Annual White Rose Women’s Center Fundraising Dinner Oct 7th August 22, 2017

Posted by Tantumblogo in Abortion, awesomeness, Basics, catachesis, contraception, Dallas Diocese, fightback, fun, General Catholic, Grace, priests, sanctity, Society, Spiritual Warfare, Virtue.
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I feel bad about the timing for St. Joseph’s Helpers, the fundraising arm of the White Rose Women’s Centers in the Dallas area.  Their 10th annual benefit dinner featuring Father Shenan Boquet of Human Life International is on the same date as the major Fatima conference featuring Cardinal Burke and a bevy of many other major draws.  White Rose does such wonderful work as a Catholic crisis pregnancy center, I pray this fundraiser is still well-attended in spite of the conflict.  One must imagine, however, that a pro-life fundraiser and the Fatima conference are going to compete in some respects for interest from the same group of faithful Catholics in the area.

Having said that, the Diocese of Dallas loves to boast of the fact that there are well over 1 million Catholics in the diocese, so surely there should be more than enough to make both events well attended. It’s just a shame two such desirable, high profile events such as this have to overlap to some extent (thinking, though, the Fatima conference will wrap up an hour or so before the White Rose dinner – that is, if you don’t go to the Cardinal Burke honorary dinner at the conclusion of the Fatima conference!).

At any rate, tix are $150 each or $1500 for a table for 10.  Most details below.  You can register here.

Kinda Neat, Kinda Flightline Friday July 26, 2017

Posted by Tantumblogo in catachesis, Flightline Friday, fun, history, huh?, Latin Mass, sanctity, Society.
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So I stumbled upon this the other day:

This is the patch of the 67th Cyberspace Wing, Lackland AFB, TX.  Formerly the 67th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing, which RF-4Cs used to wake me up Every. Saturday. Morning. at 7am when I lived in Austin. Flew right over my ghetto apartment.

At any rate, Lux Ex Tenebris is, of course, a phrase that emanates from the Catholic faith, most particularly, Tenebrae during Holy Week.  Lux Ex Tenebris means “Light out of Darkness,” which is the very essence of our Blessed Lord’s Passion, Death, and Resurrection.

So, on the one hand, I want to say, that’s neat.  Maybe some devout Catholic helped devise this motto?

Of course, this is not the old 67th TRW, unarmed and scared shitless unafraid, flying solo missions over hostile territory to gather photographic intelligence. No, this is the 67th Cyberspace Wing, whose mission is to “train and ready airmen to execute computer network exploitation and attack. It also executes full-spectrum Air Force network operations, training, tactics, and management.”

So maybe it does things like trying to hack into sensitive computer networks of potentially hostile great powers like Russia or China? Maybe they hack into North Korea’s missile program?

Or maybe does it ever work with the NSA in prying very deeply – to a degree that would be unbelievable to the Founders of this nation – into the personal affairs of private citizens?

Hard to tell in this day and age. And the wing is probably fortunate most people today are wholly ignorant of both Latin and the connection this phrase has to the Catholic Faith.  Otherwise, they would probably be forced to change it.

The motto dates back to the Korean War, and the unit’s activation at that time.  Maybe an early CO or DCO was a devout Catholic, and tried to sacralize the wing from its start.  Or perhaps they simply had some knowledge of Latin, though this phrase has, in the Western parlance, always had an overwhelmingly liturgical association.  Then again, the United States of 1951 was a much more Christian, much better educated nation.  If airmen from then could be magically transported to today, they would find the place unrecognizable, and be heartbroken to know that, whatever their efforts against external enemies, this nation has very nearly fallen to internal ones.

BDA from 67th TRW RF-4C, Operation Desert Storm

Catholic Homeschooling Conference in Arlington July 21-22 July 10, 2017

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, catachesis, Dallas Diocese, Domestic Church, family, fun, General Catholic, Latin Mass, priests, Restoration, Tradition, true leadership, Virtue.
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The annual Immaculate Heart of Mary Homeschool Conference will be held July 21-22 at the Arlington Convention Center, it’s usual location.  If you’ve been in the past you know there will be talks from reverent and orthodox (and usually traditional) priests, home education experts, and a large display of wares from homeschooling resource centers like Seton, Kolbe Academy, Our Lady of Victory, etc.

The two priest speakers this year both have close familiarity with homeschooling and are general supporters of home education.  One is Mater Dei’s own pastor Fr. Thomas Longua, and the other is Father James Yamauchi, now parish administrator (but not pastor) of St. Martin of Tours in Forney.  I have known Fr. Yamauchi and his family for years.  Fr. Yamauchi was homeschooled for several  years.

Admission is free for this conference and they still have space available.  Donations are of course appreciated.  Parking is $5 per day.  There is no child care available and children are allowed but not recommended to attend, as the conference is focused on teachers.

It’s been a while but we’ve been before and it’s a good conference, especially for those just starting out in homeschooling or interested in learning about the many great resources available for Catholic families to use this method of teaching their children, which is so strongly recommended by so many good priests as the best method of educating children in this time of general societal and ecclesiastical chaos.  If you’re even considering trying homeschooling I’d strongly recommend attending.  You don’t have to follow any one particular curriculum.

We are truly blessed to live in a time where educating children at home is in some ways easier than ever before.  The pioneers of homeschooling back in the 70s and 80s did not have the resources so many of us take for granted.  The availability of all these resources, and the political movement that forced governments to de-criminalize homeschooling and remove onerous restrictions in most locales (Texas, for one, Deo Gratias), is something to be very much thankful for.  While corruption, error, and decadence have ruined many means of forming young people to be intelligent and godly, Our Blessed Lord has opened other means to carry out the duty He demands of all parents, to raise up souls capable of knowing, loving, and serving God throughout their life.  We bear many terrible burdens in this age, but also benefit from amazing benefits.

BTW, the picture they have on the conference website of Fr. Longua is pretty old, and some folks might not recognize him in person based on it. Here’s a much more recent one, taken at my favorite shopping destination in Irving, Porter’s Army Navy (and gun) Store:

Owner Steve Porter lives on my street and is a good Catholic.  His business is closed on Sundays, naturally, but you should check it out any other day of the week!  I’ve bought a couple of guns there.  Good people.

But what do you think of the hat?  It’s ostensibly for canoeing and fishing, but I think Father was trying to make a fashion statement.

Update Post July 10, 2017

Posted by Tantumblogo in Admin, awesomeness, Basics, Domestic Church, Father Rodriguez, fun, General Catholic, Grace, priests, Tradition, true leadership, Virtue.
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Lots of people have been asking me for an update offline and on regarding my family.  Things are OK, my son had a follow-up MRI over 2 weeks ago but we still haven’t gotten the results yet.  Partly because my wife took a much needed week off from house and (most) kids, and partly because of scheduling problems with the doctor.  But we have no reason to suspect any change in his tumor status.

It’s just continuing to be a very trying time.  If it’s not one kid it’s another of late.  But we’re hanging in there.

We did have a blessed event July 4, Father Michael Rodriguez came to our house and met my wife and kids for the first time.  He also blessed Benedict, which was very much appreciated.  It was wonderful to spend a couple of hours visiting with Father.  He has a special message he wants me to convey to whatever readers are left after so many long absences on my part of late (yes, both of you), and I pray I get to that tomorrow.  Much of that message will be familiar, but it does contain a proposal I think is as novel as it is important, and has great potential to strengthen the Faith during these times of unprecedented insanity among those charged with care of souls at all levels of the Church.


We are carrying on all right though very busy.  I made a trip to the farm over the past 2+ weeks since I posted, as I said my wife was out, there was a holiday weekend, we have another priest coming over tonight……there’s always something.  One more brief post today, God willing and hopefully I will have more time tomorrow, as well.  Also my work situation will, I pray, really start to calm down within the next month or so.  It’s been nuts all year since early February when I got handed a great stinking pile of manure and was told to turn it into a golden swan by year’s end.  Maybe it’s not quite golden yet but hopefully closer to an aluminum falcon than the dead duck I was given charge over.  At least it’s functional. Making the ill-conceived plans and poorly executed product I was handed into something decently functional is probably one of the biggest accomplishments of my career, and the whole thing was utterly alien from my past experience.  My performance review next year better read like a Roman triumph.

But enough of that. Pray for us, God willing I can post some more substantive things tomorrow.