MCOA Officer of the Year

During the auction: Jambe Longue (L), Sgt Pete Malette (Ret), Trooper Cheryl Malette (Ret). And some old fart.
CO Rebecca Hopkins of Iosco County receives MCOA CO of the Year award from past president Sgt. Jeff Rabbers, and current president CO Jeremy Payne. Yep, CO Hopkins is blushing.

We went to Auburn, Mi, last weekend for the Michigan Conservation Officers Association annual banquet and were pleased to see CO Rebecca “Sunshine” Hopkins be honored with the MCOA CO of the Year Award. Outstanding and well done, Officer Hopkins. Over.

Sign over dinosaur exhibit at Alden Dow Museum in Midland. No way it's my lab.
Some old grayhair got to the rostrum and started mumbling while CO Payne washed down the baloney with beer. The stuff COs have to put up with...

Big Old Bear!!!

CO Jason “Sensei” Niemi of Menominee County forwarded the attached photos of 660-pound black bear killed by a farmer harvesting corn Sept. 10, 2010. Talk about a monster. I worked with Jason during deer season and heard about this and he dug through his photo files and forwarded. The farmer got to keep it for a mount, though his wife had doubts about it….Funny. You see some wonderful, weird, and sometimes sad things when you’re a CO. I just learned a year or so ago that bears love corn and often destroy huge portions of fields. And some even den in such fields. Who knew?  This is second bear I know of to be killed by a harvester. Enjoy, Over.

Datsa big, eh

What a beautiful creature it was.

A Sea Story

My old aircrafraft commander, Boss Tom “Zorro” Davey sent me the attached story from a flight engineer he knows. Boss’s comment: “Reads like he’d fit right in with us!”

 

I’ve got to tell you a story, about a guy who was in the reserves with me. Jack Hartman and I were A4 pilots in the Naval Air Reserve in the early 70s, and we both lived in the Kalamazoo area. One day while we were sharing a ride to our drill weekend at NAF Detroit, he told me this one:

On Yankee Station in the Tonkin Gulf, in 1969, he was in his A4 on the starboard bow cat for a night launch. He was loaded with 250 lb iron bombs and two external wing fuel tanks. Like the F4, the A4 needed a bridle to hook it to the catapult shuttle. The bridle had a permanent eye at each end, and the eyes slipped onto hooks on the belly of the airplane, and the body of the bridle was hooked over the shuttle. He went to full power. The shuttle fired and at about

70 knots or so the belly hook on the left side of the A4, or maybe it was the eye of the bridle, broke. As the bridle whipped across the shuttle it took off his left main and nose landing gear struts and the airplane went down on its nose and left wing, shedding fuel tanks. There was an explosion, which killed one of the kids in the starboard catwalk, and Jack ejected out of the fireball as the bird went over the bow. His lower legs were singed by the flames.

Jack’s a character, and since he lived through it, it’s a hoot to hear him tell it. He went off in his RAPEC seat into the night as the bird went over the bow, and he thought he was dead. The A4 was in a pronounced left wing down attitude as he ejected, so his trajectory went out forward and to the left of the ship. The seat worked perfectly. He made one swing in the chute and hit the warm water of the Gulf. He shucked his chute, and counted his blessings. But the OOD’s SOP for a bird in the water off the starboard bow cat was to make a hard port turn. Jack looked up, his MK3C flotation having inflated, his mask and helmet still being on, oxygen coming from his seat pan, and here came the pointy end of the boat. It hit him, doing maybe 30 knots, and he ricocheted down the side of the hull, through the barnacles, missing the main engine intakes, was knocked unconscious, and the stern watch saw him come up in the wake having somehow gone through the four propellers. The ship was in the middle of launch and recovery so it resumed course, and the plane guard destroyer astern never saw Jack, who was unconscious and only half afloat. One chamber of his MK3C had been punctured during his slide along the side of the hull. He drifted off into the night. At some point soon thereafter, while he still had seat pan air, he regained consciousness and got into his raft. He had no radio. Over the course of the next day and a half, he drifted with wind and tide to within about four miles of the shore of Hainan Island. There was a low overcast that afternoon, but a random A3 at about 500 feet flew right over him and reported the position to the boat, which dispatched a destroyer to pick him up. But by the time the can arrived from Yankee station 50 miles away Jack had drifted inside the three-mile limit of Hainan. Since the can presented a big radar return, its CO stayed outside territorial waters and called for a helo, which arrived when Jack was only about a mile offshore. The helo driver was gutsy and he dropped down on the water and ran in and picked Jack up. But by then the helo was low fuel, so it landed on the can, and they put Jack in one of those chicken wire stretchers for the long ride back to Yankee. When they got to Yankee, the can came alongside for unrep and they high lined Jack across to the carrier in his wire stretcher. He had several fractured ribs and a fractured right arm. When he got to the carrier, the medics prepared to carry him down the long external escalator to sick bay, which was one deck below the hanger bay. But on the way down the escalator, they dropped him, and as he bounced down the escalator in his stretcher he broke his other arm. As the flight surgeon examined him, he asked Jack, “Did you even TRY to put on your brakes?” They sent Jack to Cubi Point on the COD and put him in the hospital at Clark AFB. But wait, there’s more. A few weeks later he was on the mend and was hanging around the OPS office at Cubi, wearing bermuda shorts and a tee shirt. The ops duty yeoman asked him if he was Lt(jg) Hartman and Jack said he was. They handed him a message from the ship which directed him to fly an A4 back to his squadron. It was an A4 that had been reworked at the repair facility at Nippi in Japan. Jack said, “Well, OK.” He borrowed some flight gear and manned up (his quote: I was just a dumb (jg)). As I imperfectly recall, it’s about 600 miles from Cubi to Yankee, all over water, of course, and single engine birds weren’t supposed to do that solo. But there was an A6 going to the ship that day, so Jack arranged to fly wing on him and off they went. Enroute, the A6 lost its radar. His inertial nav also went inop, and his avionics suite quit, except for having UHF COM. As they approached Viet Nam, the ship was IFR, so the A6 said he was going into Da Nang. Jack said, well, OK, but I’ve got TACAN lock on the ship, so I’m heading there. He got a Charlie time and landed aboard. Jack said he hadn’t thought about it ahead of time, but with one forearm in a soft cast and his ribs taped up, it really hurt when he arrested. He parked his airplane and when he walked into the ready room the brothers were aghast. “Hartman, what the hell are you doing here?”

It turned out that he didn’t have an up chit from the hospital at Clark and was not authorized to fly. His squadron OPS officer lost his job for originating the message to Jack at Cubi. </> So they put Jack back on the COD and flew him to Cubi again, where he stayed at Clark for a couple more weeks until the ship came in.

Here endeth the text.

 

Mistitled

Bullshido Bro Reg Bernard sent photo from camp, Robochef Peterson and me sitting at a poker table. The photo was labeled Two Sharks, but the truth is there is only one shark playing and the other individual is merely bait. Note the deer-in-headlights look across the table.

Birth of a Painting

Pencil stage. I had forgotten how a lot of straight lines can be a real pain to get right!

This shows the sequence of steps in building a new painting to be called Azteka Morning. The first shows the outside of the bakery, then the steps from there in painting it. I think painting helps my writing by making me more observant, and more familiar with shapes and colors, all essential skills in the woods. The drawing step took a day. And now I’m on Day 14 of painting. I’ll post the final  picture when it’s done, probably later this week.

This is the bakery front in morning. The straight lines and simplicity of the scene caught my eye as we were leaving after Saturday morning coffee.
Blocking in shapes and applying early color.
The next step in color. Shot taken at night in the studio.

Good News

 
 

Determination

In late January I reported that Jambe Longue had a small tumor removed from her breast. Since then it’s been determined that she will have radiation therapy, but no need for chemo, so it will be twenty days instead of something strung over months. The tumor was small, unaggressive and no evidence of problems anywhere else. She immediately began packing for the Yoop.

 

Berry n'ice
after the ice stops
March 4, some open water and still at it. Can you say Die Hard?
Some days just feel like this. Sayin?
Thousand word department, as in some pictures are worth. Broken hubcap on top wine bottle cork. Need we say more? Not staged. Found on Portage Road yesterday.

Out There

Photos from the albums of CO BJ Goulette. You think game wardens don’t see some peculiar stuff?

Rifle, silencer, night scope, taken from baited tower blind. Hey at leaast the guy had an orange hat, though what good is would do at night escapes me.
This boa constrictor shot by MSP in Grand Haven. Don't know the story but it is NOT a baby.
Turkey vulture rescued from tower by Goulette and CO Ivan Perez
Squirrel eating on a dead swan. Hunger will force behavioral changes.