Tag Archives: Military

Now there’s a find: F/A-22 Raptor

img_20190409_175405~28686008890467810414..jpg

Finishing up an auction of the contents of grandma’s trailer, the neighbors to the hermitage proudly showed me something they found in the process, a 15 year old, April 2004, hard copy issue of Flight Journal featuring the F/A-22 Raptor. That’s “The Plane” which their son called “his” since that’s the beast he worked on in the Air Force.

That sets me to wondering if they’ve ever done an ancient history issue, say, on the Vought F4U Corsair.

george-byers-jr-usmc-corsair

Leave a comment

Filed under Military

Tết Offensive and… being overweight? Thanks for correcting my world-view.

tetoffensiveinhuevietnam

It’s now been more than a half century since the Viet Cong set about killing everyone they could, men, women, children and babies during the Tết Offensive of 1968.

While studying in Rome half that time ago, I lived at the same residence for priests as a Vietnamese fellow, a devout Catholic who understood and lived the faith and who today is a priest.

It was then that I had already for some years been taking a certain medicine to keep myself alive, a medicine I take to this day for that reason, a medicine which also guarantees weight gain. I had always been thin as a rail, but now I had been putting on the kilos. Because of that, I had given up on jogging around Rome.

Meanwhile, this Vietnamese fellow, named after the great Saint Ambrose, had seen many of his fellow countrymen hunted down and tortured and killed. He knew how to run, not jogging, mind you, but running in the sense of escape. Around trees. Over and up cliffs. Though destruction.

While walking around or sitting at table his fists would be un-clenched, and then ever so slowly, over minutes, crushingly clenched. It was quite notable, but I’m sure it was just second nature to him. It was fearful to watch, as it seemed his tendons would rip away from his bones, or the bones would break under the strain.

I asked him about it. Not quite isometrics, he explained. These exercises had brought him into perfect physical condition through the years. He insisted that I start doing the same, reprimanding me for starting to become overweight. But just as running for him was not about jogging, losing weight had nothing to do with any sense of good health. It was about an immediate ability to get away from fiendish violence. He asked me:

“If you are heavy, how are you going to escape when they come?

He inscaped into his words all the horror of what happened during his own escapes when they would come to kill. He had stories to tell backed up with horrific scars. Underlining this, he then asked:

“If you are heavy, how are you going to help others escape?”

He asked that with the urgency and anguish of one is actively watching people die because of my not being able to help them. This isn’t one of those “eat your vegetables before dessert because don’t you know there are people starving on the other side of the world” platitudinous reprimands. No. Let me repeat that he asked with the urgency and anguish of one who is actively watching people get apprehended and tortured and killed because of my not being able to help them.

“If you are heavy, how are you going to help others escape?”

This was one of those moments when my entire world view was readjusted, when I knew I had been so utterly out of touch with reality.

Thanks, Father Ambrose, for opening my eyes a little bit more.

tetoffensiveinhuevietnamruins

I’ll spare you the pictures of the mass graves…

This doubles for natural disasters, tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, terrorism near you, by the way…

By the way, thanks to our Vietnam Veterans for winning that weeks long battle.

P.S. For those who say: “Yes, and transform dieting into fasting as a spiritual thing because the body is to be the temple of the Holy Spirit like the saints say!” Fine. All that. Yes. And I confess I am miserable at all that. Can I just blame my medicine? I mean, at least I’m not gaining even if not losing weight. I could do better. To such enthusiasts with spiritual things I say this: Father Ambrose is helping us to escape our half-measures. The Body of Christ is not just the Head of the Body, Jesus, but the rest of us as the members. Being in good shape is not just about respecting God’s creation and God’s redemption of us in Christ Jesus, merely putting the body into submission because that’s a nice thing to do for God, but it is also about the charity we have for one another in Christ Jesus (see 1 Corinthians 9:22-27).

His urgency and anguish was of one who was actively watching people die because of my not being able to help them:

“If you are heavy, how are you going to help others escape?”

Indeed. And so…

1 Comment

Filed under Diet, Military, Spiritual life

Patriotism: I’m overwhelmed

img_20190109_123221420~26518103112687123567..jpg

The great Beverly Elliott at Congressman Mark Meadows field office in Murphy NC was able to nudge the Navy guys in Millington TN sufficiently that dad’s list of medals and then the medals themselves were provided. I had been unsuccessful for decades, but she was able to do this straightaway. Ms Elliott didn’t like just giving them to me, so she offered to get hold of a guy in Waynesville NC who makes shadow boxes for medals of decorated veterans pro-bono, and then said that she’ll try to get Mark over so that these could be presented a bit more officially. I love that. Dad, post-mortem, will be able to encourage a bit of patriotism in these USA. We need that always and especially today.

george-byers-jr-usmc-corsair

I tried to place the medals in order of precedence. Note the double issuance of the first two medals as signified by the stars on the ribbons, and the triple issuance of the last medal as signified by the two stars on the ribbon of that medal. I’ve written of the first three medals in generalities:

Ms Elliott said that she’s going to try to get the stories of the particular circumstances for the issuance of the first number of medals as recommended by the POTUS of the day.

The above medals are issued by these USA. There are three other medals issued by the Philippines, Korea and even the United Nations – Hey! – the back-in-the-day-U.N.!

 

Patriotism is a virtue of the natural law and is blessed by God. Speaking of God, my best memory of dad is when I was only a few years old and was able to walk up the aisle of the Cathedral church to kneel at the linen-covered altar rail with him at Communion time. I’ve written of this before:

My favorite memory of him was back in the Autumn of 1962, when I was just 2 1/2 years old. I’d walk up in the Communion line next to him with the rest of the family behind us. This was at the Cathedral with its gorgeous altar rail with the linens flipped over the top. I was always impressed by the linens getting flipped over the top, just as I was with kneeling there beside my dad, reaching up as high as I could to put my hands under the linens like he was doing. I was pretty small. I was filled with such wonder and awe and reverence as the priest and altar boy with paten would make it over to us. They would start on the Epistle side. We were always on the Gospel side. Everything worked together to instill reverence.

It was good be on my knees with dad before the Lord Jesus. Very good.

Why mention that in this post on the medals of a highly decorated war hero? Because here we have a warrior on his knees, in reverence, before The Warrior, Jesus, in the epic battle of good over evil, God over Satan. And dad is with Jesus. I love that.

5 Comments

Filed under Military, Patriotism

C-17A Globemaster III over rectory

Just out of the picture is a small ridge to the South side of Andrews upon which Holy Redeemer church is situated. Seems to me that had he turned his wing down anymore he would have mowed the trees down at the top of that ridge. Here’s a stock photo:

boeing_globemaster_iii6121311620937868881.jpg

As it is said, the Globemaster III “incorporates advanced-technology features such as winglets, a supercritical wing section and high-performance turbofans with thrust reversers [which are super quiet if you ask me]. [It] can routinely operate from airfields previously denied to jet-powered transports.” [Andrews airport is ultra-tiny, but is where the September 11 2001 terrorist pilots got their training hours in.] […] [It’s] a workhorse of the USAF, flying regular strategic supply missions around the world. […] It replaced the Lockheed C-141 StarLifter. […] It can carry M1A2 Abrams tank, or three Stryker 8×8 armored vehicles, or three AH-64 Apache helicopters, or air-droppable platforms up to a weight of 49.8 t. It can also carry a mix of palletized cargo and vehicles. […] If required, it can operate from unpaved, unimproved runways.”

Just a thought: It’s true, is it not, that the military crowd were special favorites of both John the Baptist and Jesus (even the occupying forces)? Yep.

1 Comment

Filed under Military

Dad’s medals to be presented in person. A note on those who gave all. An invite to the haters.

Dad may have passed away 25 years ago, but honor is forever. I got a call just before Mass today. Congressman Mark Meadows office will present dad’s medals to me in person next week next to the Police HQ down in Murphy. Ms Beverly is going to try to get the citations at least for the medals which had been recommended for award by the POTUS of the day, which could have been Franklin D Roosevelt, Harry S Truman and Dwight D Eisenhower. There’ve been billions of soldiers and trillions of awards. I know. But we can always give honor to those to whom honor is due, right? Patriotism is about honor. That’s what our lives are to be made of.

I mentioned this all to a parishioner today and it about brought her to tears, as she was remembering notifications for a relative, a youngster of course, who went MIA in Vietnam not so long ago. All gave some. That would be my dad. Some gave all. That would be that youngster of her family. As Ronald Reagan said at Arlington National Cemetery back in the day: We think that those in this cemetery grisly old soldiers, but, no. It is not that way. Those laid to rest in this cemetery are 16 and 18 years old who had all of their lives before them. It is those youngsters who are our heroes.

To those who think they gave nothing but are patriotic and striving to be law abiding citizens and are being helpful to others in the best way they can, they should know that they are giving exactly what these others fought and died for, so that these might be able to live freely in this way.

To those who hate those who have laid down their lives for them… you know… take a breath… count your blessings… be thankful to those who made those blessings possible for you. If you think things are bad, count up all the people who are not thankful and do nothing but hate and then ask who’s responsible for the bad stuff. And then, becoming thankful… Hey! Let’s help one another.

4 Comments

Filed under Military

Dad’s medals Distinguished Flying Cross Fascinating title for the propeller

George Byers Jr Distinguished Flying Cross 1

And then the Gold Star, that is, for the USMC, a device indicating the second reception of the DFC:

George Byers Jr Distinguished Flying Cross 2

That’s all I have for this one, with the Navy Personnel Command in Millington TN only sending a box checked next to the title and noting the Gold Star. I wish I knew more about the particularities. As both notifications say at the Hall of Valor Project, “Citation Needed”. I’m thinking that the citations are classified, the reason for extra-effort to write a “synopsis.”

I remember that as a little boy, dad explained that this was the Distinguished Flying Cross, a propeller over a cross. To me, this was stunning, an intersection of society and religion, of military service and religion, the highest form of honor that could be given to a war-award, thought I, that which recalled the the epic battle of heaven over against hell, of Jesus over against the forces of evil, recalling that this battle was that of the greatest love, laying down one’s life for one’s friends, the greatest form of patriotism. “What’s the Gold Star?” I asked. “For receiving it twice,” he said. “Twice” thought I, in awe.

I would then grab a plastic model of the Corsair dad flew, and run about inside the house and out, pretending to be the pilot in battle, and inspired.

corsair checkerboard squadron wr 5

Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 312, the Checkerboarders, callsign “Check!” Note that the model above depicts the final, most powerful version of the plane that could out-fly all the early jets to follow.

Note the three holes on the front edge of both wings, making for fully six 50 cals that could run at the same time, a kind of precursor to the A-10 “Warthog” that, to date, still surpasses the rate of fire of the Warthog.

  • Today’s A-10 “Warthog” can belt out seventy rounds a second from its single 50 cal gatling gun.
  • The later, Korean war version of the Corsair, fitted with fully six AN/M2 Browning 50 cals could, in theory, put out a maximum of eighty five rounds a second.

Actually, anything faster than this simply is no longer useful and such a waste of ammo, which already weighs way too much.

The missiles, dad explained, were used for the usual sorties of taking out munitions trains and bridges.

During such excursions, he said that he would be flying in “North” Korea just above the ground, over rice paddies, and that the farmers would look up at him as he flew just overhead. He said he could see the faces of women and children, and that that’s what inspired him to serve and put himself at risk. It was all for them. They deserved better than horrific communism which was dragging them down and which threatened to drag us down. If you want to know what “down” is, try the hell-hole of Venezuela right now, or, still to this day, “North” Korea as opposed to “South” Korea.

Leave a comment

Filed under Military, Patriotism

Dad’s medals: honor of circumstances – U.S. Navy Distinguished Service Medal

US Navy Distinguished Service Medal“The Navy Distinguished Service Medal was originally senior to the Navy Cross [just below the Medal of Honor], until August 1942 when the precedence of the two decorations was reversed. Currently [dad’s time], it is worn after the Defense Distinguished Service Medal [after the Navy Cross] and before the Silver Star Medal.”

“The Navy Distinguished Service Medal is bestowed upon members of the Navy or Marine Corps who distinguish themselves by exceptionally meritorious service to the United States government in a duty of great responsibility. To justify this decoration, exceptional performance of duty must be clearly above that normally expected, and contributes to the success of a major command or project. Generally, the Distinguished Service Medal is awarded to officers in principal commands at sea, or in the field, whose service is of a manner to justify the award. However, this does not preclude the award of the Navy Distinguished Service Medal to any individual who meets the service requirements. The term “great responsibility” implies senior military responsibility, and the decoration is normally only bestowed to senior Navy flag officers and Marine Corps general officers, or extremely senior enlisted positions such as the Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy or the Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps. In rare instances, it has also been awarded to Navy captains and Marine Corps colonels, typically those in positions of significant responsibility in direct support of senior flag and general officers, and then only by exception.”

This is “and only then by exception” presentation, twice.

Dad was USMC, but that’s still part of the Department of the Navy, and at this level, the award is from the Navy. I don’t have the citation for the description of the “great responsibility” in its particularities of circumstance – just the fact of it from the archives in Millington, TN.

Here’s the deal: Even though there are particularities of circumstance that point to the actions of one particular individual, any medal, this one in particular, is dependent on the the brotherhood in which one finds oneself, that brotherhood setting up the structure, the circumstances in which any one guy might well shine, just doing what he had to do in all those unrepeatable particularities. Thus, even for the Medal of Honor, the guy receiving it unfailingly says that he’s receiving the medal for everyone who was there, as they were all depending on one another, and if they happened to be singled out in a particular nanosecond to do the necessary, that’s where the always repeated statement comes in: “I only did what any one of the guys would do.”

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not reducing all medals to “participation awards” that dumb down competition and a striving for excellence among our youngsters in our now ultra-liberal NEA public schools. Just the opposite. For guys in battle, a medal like this, whoever wears it later, speaks for all, inviting one to be put before that which is much bigger than any individual, a common love of God and Country, Pro Deo et Patria.

And yet, an account of what actually took place in all the unrepeatable historical circumstances is inspiring. We’re not just souls, but we also have bodies in particular places. To see what someone else has gone through when put before a decision of honor is surely inspiring. I wish I could get my hands on the accounts for the medals…

 

 

2 Comments

Filed under Military, Patriotism

Dad’s Combat Wounded Purple Heart: understanding honor and patriotism

purple heart

Little kid that I was, I didn’t understand when dad showed me his medals, the one and only time, and only very briefly, but very nostalgically. Not understanding what he was showing me, I forgot, idiot little kid that I was. But his demeanor went into my heart and soul deeper than I suspected. Only now, a half-century later, does the memory flood back, since Rep. Mark Meadows (R., NC) had the Navy Personnel Command in Millington, Tennessee send out the list of medals received. The Purple Heart was awarded in the newly restricted years for the combat wounded only. I dare say I have a bit more understanding now than when I was a little kid.

From what I can gather of all my memories of dad, his aspirations for service to God and country, thinking about becoming a priest in the early years, then a politician in later years (as back in the day as a combat fighter attack USMC Corsair pilot he saw how much politics affected geo-political everything), then settling on following up on his JAG training at Georgetown to be an attorney because, he said instantaneously when I asked, this was his way to be of service to help people who were in trouble… from what I can gather, the last thing a purple heart like this was about for him was self-aggrandizement. He knew too many of his buddies who had given all, laying down their lives for God and Country.

He spoke only extremely rarely about war stuff, as is the case with so many veterans. I am surely speaking out of turn, but I dare say that the reason for this is the immediacy of being in life and death situations in service of that which is much greater than one’s own life, namely, the individual and common good of peoples, the service of God, Author of life, and the service of country, the national family to which one belongs.

One is drawn by this love before the epic magnificence of it all, to be in reverence before God and country, and when one is in a state of reverence, it is not that one is reduced to silence but rather lifted up into an appreciation of that for which words fail to express anything comprehensible to anyone so naive as myself as a little kid. It’s this reverence before God and country with the immediacy of life and death that makes for a brotherhood, but not an inward looking, self-congratulatory, closed society of brothers, but rather a brotherhood which encourages all to know that honor and patriotism is not about heroes, but rather about all of us striving to have the same reverence before God and Country, the same immediacy of service in the midst of life and death for God and Country.

Thanks, dad, for understanding honor and patriotism from the inside out, so that I, so that we all could be encouraged to live the same service of God and Country whatever life and death brings to us.

2 Comments

Filed under Military, Patriotism

Dad the hero: I don’t know the half of it Thanks NC Rep Mark Meadows & Bev!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I’ve never met the Honorable Mark Meadows or Beverly, but they are now family as far as I’m concerned. I’ve been trying to get something about dad’s wartime years for decades, it all having disappeared in the vicissitudes of life. No one could get anything, not even friends of friends working the archives. But Rep. Meadows and Bev were successful. The first notification, the listing of medals, came in just now. I hope there is more available. Obviously, I don’t know the half of it. My patriotism is confirmed again.

I am overwhelmed. This is all quite the revelation to me. I’d like to write some posts about those medals against the backdrop of the man I knew as dad. But below is just my first overall reaction to my dad, the hero. He didn’t get the Medal of Honor, but on multiple other occasions he almost did with another four medals just below the Medal of Honor a couple of which are exceedingly rare for field officers who are not Generals. He didn’t get a medal for a record number of planes shot down as a fighter-attack pilot, but some of the missions he was given were obviously freakishly important, with the success of some part of the war effort, in no small part, riding on whether he would be successful. He got a Battle-Wounded Purple Heart. And, I only find out now, he was also in the Europe-Africa-Middle East Campaign. I had thought he was all Pacific based. What special mission did they spirit him away to do way outside of his normal theater of operations, and then back again?

Part I: the spirituality of integrity, of being a hero

  • On the one hand, my dad wasn’t perfect. I know that. I’ve seen him at his worst. I’m his son. Have any of us seen ourselves at our own worst, admitting that, dealing with it, coming around, being the best because of depending on our Lord, because of knowing we can’t depend on ourselves?
  • So, on the other hand, I’ve also seen dad at his best, when he learned, successfully, to depend only on our Lord. He’s always been the hero in my eyes because of victory in his personal life. In that way, he’s my example of integrity. I still remember going to the 1962 Mass with him in the early 1960s: he would smack his heart with his fist at the Confiteor: mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.

Part II: The instruction about my dad, the hero

Top Brass and politicians were often over to my dad’s house, George Byers Jr. There I would be, the little boy naive to the warring ways of the world. More times than I can count, they would take me aside, have me sit down, and have “The Talk” with me. “The Talk” consisted of seriously looking me in the eye and then, when I was paying serious attention, they would instruct me about my dad being a great hero, that there were a lot of things which for a thousand reasons could not be told, but I had to know that my dad was a great, great hero, and that it was an honor for me to be his son.

This one or that would write a book. This one or that would recount war stories. But they would never ask my dad for the same. They already knew his story as these things get around by witnesses who survived to tell the tale. They knew he could never say a word with any non-combatant like me around, little boy that I was.

What I don’t have…

While the generic description of why any medal is what it is is widely available, there is also a story recounted for specific medals given to specific individuals for specific actions, especially ones which are recommended only by the President of these USA. I don’t have the stories. I wish I did…

2 Comments

Filed under Military, Patriotism

MI6, CIA, Fed-funded think-tank, me

img_20181211_100638872~2-11371932069841073612..jpg

Enter yet another self-proclaimed CIA guy in my life (it seems like a daily affair). He’s urging me to spill my guts on a certain national security issue to – of all people – a certain MI6 guy, whose name is […] [Ooops! That would be an unmasking.] I looked up the MI6 guy some weeks ago by way of his public cover. An unmistakable face you can’t ever forget. It instantly burns itself into one’s front-burner memory.

Just now, YouTube, of course, put in front of me a boring panel discussion of a top-rated Federally funded think-tank physically housed for decades next to the White House. What I found interesting was not the topic, but rather the face of one of the presenters.

For all intents, purposes and plastic surgery reconstructions, the MI6 guy is coincidentally just like the think-tank guy on all levels: same age, same ultra-weird interests, same political persuasion, same moral outlook, same geographic assignments in the world (in this case impossibly difficult), same hair problems, same hair reconstruction fixes, same exact facial features, same plastic surgery failed fixes right through the years and all at the same time [impossible to hide], same neck features[!], same ears, etc., etc., etc., even the same physical gesturing when speaking (just toned down slightly but really hard to hide the subtleties as this belongs to entrenched neuro-behaviors), same type of prolific publishing on the exact same topics, same ol’ same ol’ in the finest detail, with both of them publicly supporting each other’s works and interests (an interesting self-promotion). Goodness gracious! Such coincidences! Oh, there is one difference: one has a contrived accent, the other doesn’t. Regardless of the truth of any lifestyle, any lifestyle accents are really easy (as there is no standard outside of all of them being contrived), and are therefore excellent covers of one’s real accent since, in this politically correct society, no one would question why someone would sound like, you know, like that. Anyway, all “three” of these people would know each other and freely admit that they do.

When I objected to spying on the U.S. through a friendly nation, the original CIA guy didn’t know what to do except to say that he thought it was all legal since I’m just asking a certain question out of interest as a private citizen with answers for all I know based on, you know, kind-of-perhaps-maybe public knowledge. Sorry. You won’t see me going overseas or to D.C. to speak to any such person.

1 Comment

Filed under Intelligence Community, Military, Terrorism

My history of taking bribes from intel, or not…

The following is just a starter list that I throw out off the cuff. I’m sure I can add to the list, but this will give you an idea.

I was a bit of a dullard back in the day, the mid-1980s. I was a deacon on my way to Nicaragua to deliver medicines to the Catholic clinics and Mass stipends to be distributed to priests by a religious community of nuns. On the way I sat next to a CIA guy working a cover as a communications guy for State at the local embassy in Managua (he was delivering massive cargo bins acting as his “diplomatic pouch”). This arrangement of being companions on the flight took two days for him to arrange, which delayed the trip. C’est la vie. Anyway, after what seemed like ten million questions on the longest portion of the flight leaving from Miami, he gave me his card and said that if I had any problems I was to request to see only him at the embassy. Usually, CIA are to keep their identities quiet, but conditions in Nicaragua were such that they let that rule be loosened up really a lot, kind of unique in the whole world. At one of the stops on the way, I think San Salvador, he watched over his cargo bins outside the plane, but then quick ran into the “airport.” He came out with an expensive bottle of whiskey, which he gave to me, asking me to give that to Cardinal Obando y Bravo of Managua who he knew I already had an appointment to see. Since it wasn’t for me, I thought this was acceptable. Maybe I am mistaken. Anyway, I was then obliged by the CIA Whiskey guy to see number 2 at the Embassy instead of himself within a period of 72 hours from landing. Sometimes, when they work with the naive, like me, they get what they want anyway.

Years later, over in Italy, the top brass of the anti-mafiosi of the Guardia di Finanza, insisted, strongly, repeatedly, with follow-ups, that I allow myself to be shuttled by police round about Italy, wherever I needed to go. All I had to do was to call the local police station and they would come with a car. Quite the bribe as I was at the time about 100 kms from Rome and local transport was often cancelled, meaning I would have to walk miles up a mountain. However, to his consternation, frustration, anger, I never took advantage of this offer. He was wanting me to spy on the Cardinals up in the apartments on top of San Callisto, which I’ve often called the Vatican’s Pentegon. I was, in fact, up there quite a bit. But the spying? Nope. Ain’t gonna happen. The pressure was put on for quite a number of years, sometimes benevolent pressure, sometimes malicious. Anything malicious I would follow up on right away until the cowardly backed down. That’s always the case.

This was going on about the same time the Italian Ministry of Defense wanted me to spy on some Mafiosi for them in southern Italy. The bribe was their offering me an assignment in a nice parish to be arranged by the liaison between the Ministry of Defense and the Holy See. The bribe came with the price of betraying penitents who came to sacramental Confession. Nope. Ain’t gonna happen. Meanwhile, stories of what happened to priests who didn’t cooperate were coming my way. Interesting, but not having effect.

So many stories flood into memory as I write this, but in an effort not to make this too long, let me just add some mentions of things from right around the world. There are those, particularly in the CIA, who are convinced that I am some sort of agent of said agency. You would think they would have noticed that I’m a priest. Anyway, the items or most extraordinary assignments I’ve been offered from which I could provide, um, information, are myriad. Since it’s not thought that I’m actually a priest (that being some sort of tricky cover, I guess), the bribes have sometimes been more, let’s say, secular in nature. For instance, I recall being shown NON-pornographic pictures of women which pictures nevertheless certainly objectified women also as sex objects. That may entice some 007 guy to go along with whatever so as “get some”, but I’m married to the Church with the wedding vows at the consecrations at Holy Mass. And anyway, also someone who is not a priest should not be interested in objectifying women or in taking advantage of pre-objectified women.

I call to mind a certain bribe that was given by the chief priests and received by the Apostle Judas Iscariot, thirty pieces of silver, the price at which they valued the Son of the Living God.

Leave a comment

Filed under Intelligence Community, Military, Terrorism

President Trump to widow parishioner

img_20181118_091950421~28994307450407538552..jpg

President Trump to the widow of one of the Veterans of our parish.

This brought her to tears. She says that she’s lacking in Patriotism, not because she is lacking, but because she is so patriotic that she feels the magnificence of it dwarfs her. She’s the one who has all verses of Taps memorized.

I like this. I like this a lot.

Leave a comment

Filed under Military, Patriotism

November visit to the town cemetery

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

2 Comments

2018-11-15 · 10:53 am

Top Gun before Top Guns. Cemetery visit lest we forget. It’s November.

This is a terribly disjointed post. Lots of emotion for me.

The Top Gun flight instructor program started in 1969 (see above video). I don’t know what top flight instructors were called before 1969 (probably lots of four letter words by some sometimes disgruntled slow-learning students), but dad had that role first in the other Andrews in Maryland just to the Southeast of the U.S. Capital Building while also doing up JAG school at Georgetown, and then closer to home in Chicago. Dad died decades ago. And November 2nd has come and gone, again. And November 11 has come and gone, again. Do we remember when it’s not those days? Do we forget?

I also think of the 22 average each day who take their own lives because of the war they carry in themselves after their war experiences. A seminarian once told me with almost ballistic anger that in his opinion PTSD doesn’t exist, that that’s all for wusses and tender snowflakes. He said that without the experiences of those who take their lives. I’m guessing he had PTSD and couldn’t face the fact. Zero solidarity for others. He was really angry. White hot. How fragile we all are.

Anyway, my own dad had his faults – and I dare say some severe PTSD – but the reason why he’s always my hero is not because he did stuff in the military or was a “perfect human being,” but rather because he had the humility to face all of that and deal with it. Dad knew he needed Jesus and started a regime of spiritual direction, daily Mass, and good habits, shunning bad habits. I gotta lot of respect for that.

Anyway, it continues to be November, when we especially pray for the dead. It’s cold and rainy. Almost ready to snow and sleet. A slate gray day. I’m heading up to the local cemetery to say a pray or two for the souls of the faithful departed, for our vets who laid down their lives for us.

Don’t wait to visit a cemetery until you’re the one being buried. When’s the last time you’ve been? I’ll update this post with a picture or two after a bit.

4 Comments

Filed under Military, Purgatory

Armistice-Veterans Day: MIA-KIA?

arlington national cemetery

The surest sign that there is a lack of patriotism in a country is when people jump up to ensure that we make a distinction between Memorial Day and Veterans Day, the one being for the dead and the other for the living.

Here’s the deal: the living Vets thoughts and prayers on this Veterans Day go to their brothers who died in battle.

Lest we forget.

4 Comments

Filed under Military, Patriotism

Fr Byers, the FBI investigated you how many times? We want files! My real ID

cia memorial

High pressure repeated request from [ex-?]CIA guy who’s now […] as cover:

“Father Byers, the FBI investigated you how many times? We want files! Who are you, anyway?”

This has been going on for months. Lots of pressure. I really have to give an answer. I’m forced into it. Interesting question. Baiting. Just to see which investigations I know about, if I know what my ID really is. This is always fun, so let’s set out to have some fun! ;-)

Short answer: Who am I? I’m just a POS. But (now speaking to the [ex-?]CIA guy), you tell me. How many FBI investigations? Lol. A lot! I mean, I don’t know. I guess this FBI investigation thing is getting to be a fad with SCOTUS Justice Brett Kavanaugh having undergone fully seven investigations. Which makes me wonder what I myself wrote in year books when I was a kid… I think it was something like “Most likely to become POTUS” for a friend. Ooooo! A national security issue! For a girl I think I wrote: “Most likely to get accepted to Harvard.” She was a brainiac with math. Anyway, I’m guessing I’ve had more FBI investigations than Justice Kavanaugh. But exactly how many times? Great question. Maybe just one, as in lifelong and continuous. And if I could “view” those “files” that would be great! But whoever heard of the one investigated being in charge of the files about himself in FBI repositories or in those famous “ongoing cases”? I’ve been wanting to see all those all my life. Good luck with that. Share them with me when you have them. I myself want to know what agents knew and when, just how much they let the “small” things go, you know, so as to go after the “big fish”, so that then, when push came to shove, those “big fish” were never taken down, you know, for political reasons. If that’s the case.

Anyway…  It’s an incomplete and therefore inadequate question. Just the FBI? Go ahead and include the CIA (“Dedicatio par aevum” memorial pictured up top) and DEA and BATFE and DHS and ICE and TSA and, most importantly, the Department of State, that is, Main State, and a dozen plus other of our agencies and institutes and groups and such. In fact, include all those groups who were subpoenaed but who refused to answer the questions of Jason Chaffetz’s congressional investigation into Fast and Furious. Jason was ignored even though he was Congressional Chairman of Oversight. So, good luck with that, especially since I’ve been told by Main State that anything related to me has long been destroyed, the normal practice upon being placed into a perpetual interdepartmental program. Go ahead and ask for it? Just know you might be asked, with polygraph, why you’re asking. Could be a career ending move, or send you to prison.

My rap sheet: No felonies. No misdemeanors. Ever. Nothing pending. Nothing ever having been pending. No courts. No settlements. And nothing having been “wiped” from the record. Well… There are some things that may have disappeared from my rap sheet as one sheriff told me when I asked him about it – disappeared things such as being pulled over for not wearing a seat belt when I was constantly starting and stopping to deliver meals to the home-bound for the soup kitchen. The cop admitted later that he ticketed me for purely political reasons. Anyway, that citation was, like, seven years ago. I found out that no one knew enough to grant permission about the statute at the time that permitted no usage of a seat belt in such conditions of constant service deliveries with permission. I can recall other times getting pulled over, like when my sister was teaching me to drive when I was twelve years old and I ran a trick stop sign that was posted inches behind a light pole so that it couldn’t be seen. Other occasions do come to mind. For instance, I remember I was going a little fast – like 5 miles over – in making the 1000+ mile trip to my dying dad’s bedside some decades ago. You get the idea.

A longer than short answer:  I guess it would take an autobiography to even scratch the surface. I’ve had a pretty wild life. There was a time when I’m guessing that for a short while I was a most researched person in these USA. But, what do I know? That’s just a guess judging from the blog stats of hits from named and therefore not much secured servers of pretty much every intelligence HQ in these USA and around the world. You know the drill: USAIC, NNIC, DHS, DOD, DOJ, BATFE, IRS[!], SSA[!], FBI, CIA, Interpol, The Hague[!], etc., in so many centers for each all around, making the stats fly, scrolling quickly off screen, zip zip zip. I should see if I still have some screen shots from years gone by. Probably anomalous interest, right? If these were the named hits, I have to wonder what the blind hits were. It is what it is. At any rate, let me guess about a few incidents which may have instigated Federal research now and again.

  • It’s just now two years since I’ve received my concealed carry handgun permit here in NC, which has (in some cases by far) one of the more stringent series of local, state (SBI) and federal (FBI) background checks in these USA, a fact opening up NC to reciprocity in most states of these USA. North Carolina even adds what amounts to presently illegal (because of duration, many months) checks into mental health. At any rate, no records of that for me.
  • I got my Gold-Star driver licence / “Real ID” a few months ago and had to renew again just now in time for the election (good for another 8 years). This involves some pretty stringent background checks as well on Local, State and Federal levels.
  • I’ve been fingerprinted and checked all over the world, not for any particular reason, but just because I happen to be in terribly dangerous places really a lot with lots of terribly dangerous people, people who have killed really a lot of people, or who are in charge of the militaries of their countries, et al. So, it finally becomes the ol’ “Who are you anyway?” kind of thing. Sigh.

  • I’m just now gathering some dates and info and documentation so as to sign up in the near future for Global-Entry, a jacked up version of TSA pre-check which involves checks even more stringent than for the NC firearms checks. G-E involves checks against criminal and law enforcement indices (Federal, State, Local), customs, immigration, agriculture, and terrorist indices including biometric fingerprint checks and a personal interview (That‘s surely a well experienced interrogator). All the checks are not listed here. It’s a pretty long, exhaustive list. Fun!
  • Just because of past lives, as it were, I’ve recently called in some items related to financial groups and terrorism to, for instance – depending on the subject – Main State, Liberty Crossing Campus, the FBI. You can’t do such things without first being extremely thoroughly vetted by the FBI from multiple locations and on all sorts of levels. Fine. These series of checks pretty much add up to joining any of our institutes or agencies minus the polygraph. Thoroughness cannot be underestimated. Oddly, the guy taking the financial case wanted to know about terrorism. I mean, he asked about it like a half dozen times. Oh, I forgot, terrorism and financial malfeasance often go together. My bad.
  • Of course, Main State and the FBI do not put one on a perpetual interdepartmental program for no reason. Once you’re on, you’re on. That’s it, forever, as the FBI strongly insisted with me, drilling this into me. There’s no way off as there’s nothing remaining after destruction of files in order to base a new decision upon. It’s like the seal of confession. Even if the penitent gives you permission to break the seal you can’t break the seal. Someone could be putting him/her under some sort of coercion to request such a thing against his/her will (regardless of what he/she says). The information doesn’t belong to the priest. It belongs to Jesus. The same here: even if I request to get off the program I cannot do so. It’s beyond unmasking. It’s frustrating. Part of the program is to be “accompanied,” even in a terribly annoyingly obvious way, especially at airports and inside airplanes (as I was forewarned about). In analyzing this, the guy I call “The Guy,” told me that this is meant to send a message to the idiots: If you mess around with this guy you will be stopped. However annoying this can be, it’s also kinda nice. This started decades ago, perhaps when I was a teenager, in the mid-late 1970s. I need to write more about it.
  • More recently, seemingly in April of 2018, this was all jacked up a bit. I had gone to FBI ATLANTA to talk about options for that perpetual interdepartmental program mentioned above. I was delayed for some twenty minutes from approaching the security building, that is, until CTU Virginia showed up. We parked together. He accompanied me twice to the security building (as I forgot my passport and had returned to my car to get it). He delivered a printout and entered while I was told to just go to the window. That printout was given to the agent who looked at it, looked at me, looked at it, looked at me, looked at it, looked at me, set it down, shoved it toward me and said that he has no one presently there who can speak to this. I was able to read the author’s name and the provenance of the printout, DOD DARPA. Good old nerdy DARPA. They created some mathematical complexities using massive amounts of intel that they’ve categorized and turned into that which is actionable in the field for whatever “target” they have on “the list.” That, of course, makes me, again, one of the most highly researched people in the world. Huge amounts of resources are used for such targets. I regret that. I assume that this is, for me, to assist in my being “accompanied” (to use Pope Francis terminology). As I’ve written previously, I once told the guy who stole my identity that I regret the cost of such accompaniment, and he instantly cut me off to say that such costs are entirely negligible in view of the scope of the entire program.
  • I’ve been involved in one way or the other in numerous terrorist incidents, enough to be further investigated through the decades by a number of countries, including the Holy See, Italy, these USA, Australia and, with some intensity at the highest military, intelligence levels, Israel. It is what it is. Try asking for their files on me, you know, like in המוסד. Good luck with that one too. I mean, would they give you something that had nothing to do with the real file? ;-) Either way, when you get those files, share them with me! Baiting for leakers is fun! I might even find out what is held to be my real ID. This quickly disintegrates into rabbit holes of counterintel mind games until, gaslighted, one can’t remember who one is anymore:

Having been trained into counterintelligence as a teenager since the time my identity was stolen, I’ve never done the Jason Bourne thing. I never had to.

In all of this, I apologize to sincere and patriotic agents of all our military and intelligence and law enforcement agencies. I poke fun at myself. I don’t mean to poke fun at you.

Meanwhile, a personal theological note, I’m just a POS. Boring. A nothing. Nobody. In all of this poking fun (the whole “Who are you anyway?” thing) I want to make something perfectly clear: I don’t claim to be better than anyone. I’m no saint. I’m just a POS. Boring. A nothing. Nobody. Haven’t you already noticed? The original sin in which I’ve post-hoc participated, and all my own sin, is all written out in the wounds of the Divine Son of God, now risen from the dead. It’s in Him that we find our identity as redeemed and saved so as to walk in humble thanksgiving in His presence, in His friendship. That’s the ID I want to have. Jesus is the One. He’s the only One.

But you can’t get to know Jesus and know who you are, your “real ID” – Jesus’ love and truth and integrity – until you go to Confession. A lot. With sincerity. I do. That’s who I am: just another POS who goes to Confession. Why? Because I know the following and so should we all:

Psalm 139 For the leader. A psalm of David. Oh LORD, you have probed me, you know me: you know when I sit and stand; you understand my thoughts from afar. My travels and my rest you mark; with all my ways you are familiar. Even before a word is on my tongue, LORD, you know it all. Behind and before you encircle me and rest your hand upon me. Such knowledge is beyond me, far too lofty for me to reach. Where can I hide from your spirit? From your presence, where can I flee? If I ascend to the heavens, you are there; if I lie down in Sheol, you are there too. If I fly with the wings of dawn and alight beyond the sea, Even there your hand will guide me, your right hand hold me fast. If I say, “Surely darkness shall hide me, and night shall be my light” — Darkness is not dark for you, and night shines as the day. Darkness and light are but one. You formed my inmost being; you knit me in my mother’s womb. I praise you, so wonderfully you made me; wonderful are your works! My very self you knew; my bones were not hidden from you, When I was being made in secret, fashioned as in the depths of the earth. Your eyes foresaw my actions; in your book all are written down; my days were shaped, before one came to be. How precious to me are your designs, O God; how vast the sum of them! Were I to count, they would outnumber the sands; to finish, I would need eternity. If only you would destroy the wicked, O God, and the bloodthirsty would depart from me! Deceitfully they invoke your name; your foes swear faithless oaths. Do I not hate, LORD, those who hate you? Those who rise against you, do I not loathe? With fierce hatred I hate them, enemies I count as my own. Probe me, God, know my heart; try me, know my concerns. See if my way is crooked, then lead me in the ancient paths. (nab)

These days people are talking about the FBI going through the files of priests at chanceries. Great! Have at it! Get that trustworthy counterintel guy who did up personnel for the FBI before being the fall guy… what’s his face… oh yeah… Peter Strzok. So, not so great then. So…

These days people are talking about the laity going through the files. Great! Have at it! Hopefully some kind of competence is involved, like law enforcement. But people don’t like police these days. So…

These days people are talking about any and all parishioners going through the files of the priests of their parish. That would be a real hoot. I can hear it now: “Father George chose blue as his favorite color on his million question psych exam instead of yellow even though he’s got off the charts leadership skill sets (which would have to be yellow[!]). So, he’s got to be lying. But why? Meanwhile, I was thinking of Jesus’ good mom, who is depicted with blue because of the meaning of her Jewish name. That might be said to be ideological but it is sincere, and therefore not a lie. And blue is my favorite color anyway.

You want to know about my life? Have at it. But, I say, and so should we all: Jesus Christ, you are my life! Jesus is the One who is forgotten in all of this. Always forgotten. Jesus is not there in faithlessness. Jesus is not there in investigations. Jesus is not there in any solutions proposed at all. But I insist, and so should we all:

Jesus Christ: You are my life!

 

5 Comments

Filed under Intelligence Community, Law enforcement, Military, Terrorism, המוסד

Coincidences

statcounter stat florida

These visits to the blog (the top one being interesting) came in immediately after I sent an email to a particular person of a particular service of a particular country. Perhaps it comes from a person (same provenance) who has everything to do with that particular intelligence community person of that particular intelligence service of that particular country, that is, regarding a very particular aspect of the URL visited which I know he knows about (because I told him) though it is not directly spoken about at that particular URL. But, whatever, it’s all just a coincidence. It means nothing. In mentioning this to a priest friend, with me rejecting that it meant anything, he said that, no, he doesn’t believe in coincidences, that such a thing is purposed. Hmm…

2 Comments

Filed under Intelligence Community, Law enforcement, Military, Terrorism

Army: Land Navigation Pace Counter

3302~23023942369648627304..jpg

Once in a while a guy shows up in the parish wearing just such a rosary around his neck, skulls and all. He just said it was interesting to have skulls. Meanwhile, the priest friend sending in the picture of this rosary said that they are actually US Army Land Navigation Pace Counters:

“When you’re in the field, you count pace by your steps, and when you’ve traveled a certain distance you pull a bead back to show you’ve gone a mile or five miles or whatever. The beads grip the cord to you can keep track.”

  • Favoring the USMC, I’m going to poke fun at land lubbers using the word navigation for anything. ;-)
  • I need verification from any member of the U.S. Army as to the veracity of the assertion for the skulls. I’m thinking skulls are not used. He says he heard this said while he himself was a Boy Scout way back in the day.

Meanwhile, we wouldn’t want anyone to have the idea that one is pelagianistically pacing one’s journey to heaven because of saying prayers. We don’t acquire heaven. Salvation is a gift. We are drawn into true prayer by the grace of Jesus at Mary’s intercession.

Meanwhile, I have no problem with calling to mind our demise because of sin. It’s helpful to have a humble and contrite heart while thinking of the goodness and kindness of Jesus and Mary, neither of whom knew the corruption of the tomb though incomparably they knew the pain of death. We thank them.

Leave a comment

Filed under Military, Rosary

Day Off at the hermitage: the most protected air space in the world

img_20180918_123021052~26359378960078673094..jpg

I had just arrived at the hermitage on my day off this past week when a storm of Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawks came thundering over, seemingly causing earthquakes. This is the usual experience as this exact spot is where one might set up a chair and watch an airshow of all that which is old and new and experimental of anything directly or remotely related to the military or our intelligence services, well, if the thick forest canopy didn’t block one’s view.

AH 64

One might also see some version of Boeing’s Attack Helicopter 64 Apache:

AH 64-

Or a Bell Attack Helicopter 1W Super Cobra:

super cobra ah 1W attack-

Or, if you’re lucky, you might even see General Atomics’ Gray Eagle derivative of their MQ-1 Predator attack drone:

General Atomics Drone Gray Eagle

Sadly, a Boeing CH-47 Chinook crashed out some years ago near to the hermitage:

Boeing CH-47 Chinook

Outside of these guys, planes or all sorts also use this flight path, including Boeing’s FA 18 of whatever version:

Boeing FA 18

Just because the hermitage is on the most remote ridge of the Smoky Mountains doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have what is perhaps by far the most protected airspace in the world. As I understand it, there are, above, fully nine levels of military experimental airspace. Almost an Area 51.

But that’s NOT why it’s the most protected air space. Instead, the angels are there.

 

1 Comment

Filed under Day Off, Military

Tree felling: Blackest of Black Ops

tree felling

This tree, estimated to top out at a whopping 150 feet, as a double, was threatening both our social hall and classrooms-church buildings. I employed this most capable off-the-charts-skill-sets black ops guy while he was stateside for communications with the State Department for some days not only because he had all the equipment and know how and insurance, but because of who he employs and the conditions he sets for employment.

He gets young men coming from impossibly horrifically broken families and puts them to work to get them away from bad influences and requires that they are always enrolled in a class or classes to get their GEDs. As a result of his fatherly influence in their lives, they are awesome young men.

We spoke quite a bit about situational awareness, and, I must say, this bit about bettering those around him is the best way to go about situational awareness. It’s like a teacher engaging the most troublesome of troublemakers, making them leaders of their classes. Very cool, all of that, very cool indeed.

And then, off he goes in the blackest of black ops land, you know, the darkest of existential peripheries. I am honored to have met this guy. An inspiration. I think it’s good for priests to have lots of laity that they learn from in all sorts of ways.

Leave a comment

Filed under Intelligence Community, Mercy, Military, Patriotism, Situational awareness