19 November 2010

Most Awesome Week Ever


Ladies and Gentlemen, my goal in life is to beat Spencer Ackerman and Adam Weinstein to the weekly roundup punch. Modest goals, but goals nonetheless.

In this week's realm of awesomeness, I passed my check ride for the LUH-72A Lakota, thanks to the excellent instruction from the gang at American Eurocopter in Grand Prairie, Texas. Great pilots, and great instructors all.

However, Aitor from Ireland did raise an eyebrow at the US Army's habit of naming helicopters after Native American tribes. It's a curious tradition, dating back to the Korean War-era H-13 Sioux, featured in the television show M*A*S*H. The inspiration stems from Army Aviation's previous home in Fort Sill, Oklahoma, where many Native American tribes eventually settled. The Army's custom became formalized in Army Regulation 70-28, published in 1969.

Though, it should be said, the Lakota are, quite possibly, one of the most notorious Native American tribes, infamous for defeating George Armstrong Custer at the Battle of Little Bighorn. Even more surprising is that the Lakota helicopter, now manufactured by Eurocopter, previously known as the BK-117C2, was originally manufactured by Messerschmitt, which created some of the Luftwaffe's most fearsome fighter planes.

As Aitor astutely notes, not only will America defeat you in battle, but we will also market your name. Yay capitalism!

The biggest news this week was the awarding of the Medal of Honor to Staff Sergeant Salvatore Giunta, who is the first living person to receive the medal since the Vietnam War. President Obama presented the medal to Staff Sgt. Giunta in a ceremony at the White house this week, calling Giunta "as humble as he is heroic". Yet, that didn't stop some from offering ill-conceived critiques; fortunately, Adam Weinstein, the Ink Spots crew and the Panda Hat Twins promptly shot such criticism down.

In other news, the US is deploying M-1 Abrams tanks to Afghanistan for the first time. (Just don't tell anyone we stole this idea from the Canadians and the Danes) Col. Gian Gentile and Mark Twain weighed in on counterinsurgency, Ackerman explored a super-secret insurgent hunting jet (with a built-in bar), and Caped Crusader Doctrine Man made the New York Times.

Yet, all was not entirely awesome. An F-22 Raptor, the most advanced fighter in the world, recently crashed in Alaska, with the pilot, Captain Jeffrey Haney, still reported missing. Ian Elliot also reports on one solider's sacrifice which has helped save dozens of lives. Plus, if this story doesn't make you tear up, you're simply not human.

And if this week in awesomeness seems somewhat sparse, consider I'm typing this up on an iPad. Yes, the iPad does have some limitations, especially if you're the sort of blogger that posts dozens of links within one blog post. Anyone know a good blogging app?

2 comments:

Paul said...

Beats typing it on a BlackBerry.

Rex Brynen said...

Yes, but did you catch this quote at the end of the NYT piece on the deployment of M1s and the use of greater force in Afghanistan?

"Although military officials are apologetic [about the increased destruction to fields, farms and homes] in public, they maintain privately that the tactic has a benefit beyond the elimination of insurgent bombs. By making people travel to the district governor's office to submit a claim for damaged property, "in effect, you're connecting the government to the people," the senior officer said."

Yeah, right--I'm sure that's how they feel.