Tag Archives: USMC

AT: USMC and engineers are the worst


This view, which I’ve often put up on this blog, is directly on the path of the AT (Appalachian Trail). Jesus and I pass this way frequently on Communion Calls.

At one stop at the Hike Inn, having a chat with the owner, I was told that Marines and engineers are the absolute worst for hiking the AT.

  • Engineers are persnickety and think they can make just one more nook or cranny in their massively huge backpacks so that they can actually carry the kitchen sink with them. You could never fit their backpacks into a small SUV. What are they thinking? Too smart for their own good. They make a few miles and are worn out. They don’t calculate the human factor.
  • Marines are, of course, stuck on 80 pound packs. As long as it is 80 pounds they’ll be just fine. Going 25 miles in one day with 80 pounds is one thing, for one day. But when you’re facing 2,200 miles, that’s another thing altogether. Again, they don’t calculate the human factor. Anything is easier than war, right? Even civilians do this trail thing, right? But then…

In the picture above, I count about 25 ridges over the space of about as many miles. This is not easy. But am I recommending to count the cost before you start? No, not at all. If you knew what it might just cost you before you start you might not even begin. Rather, the old saying about preparing for the worst fits well, but kind of in reverse. Instead of packing more, you pack as little as possible.

The analogy to the spiritual life is easy. Purity of heart and agility of soul, having as little baggage as possible, having one’s eyes on goal, taking up the cross but following Jesus, keeping one’s eyes on Him, that’s what makes it all possible. But maybe we think we can get away with carrying extra rubbish, like the USMC or engineer guys that the nice lady at the Hike Inn meets all the time, you know, because we know how to congratulate ourselves, allowing ourselves to get away with this and that and the other thing. But then the fatigue of the first day on the trail hits us, and then we fall by the way side.


Filed under Spiritual life

Shaw Air Force Base Air Expo 2016: LOL – “Just eat bananas!”

O.K. Wow. That’s just crazy insane. I love it. Great editing. Family memories and all. My neighbor in Transylvania county went to the air show the other day and sent me this video. Note that some of the planes have a bit of checkerboard in the tail. My dad headed did the Major thing for the Checkerboard squadron of the USMC in Korea. Glad to see even the corsairs are in the air. Very cool. This video set me to laughing out load for quite a while. These guys are crazy sick out of their minds, some of the best pilots in the world. Love to see it. Less editing here. Here’s an F-4U  like my dad’s (who flew the Pacific from 1943-1953). It’s the gullwing, you know, leading from behind. The Corsairs were the fastest plane around, including the first jets:

Precisely, he flew the F4U-5N for the VMFA-312 [Vaught Marine Fighter Attack Squadron], called the Checkerboarders. I asked dad what the tail code was: “Willey Roger” he said.

corsair vmfa 312 USMC Korea

More crazy wild from the air show in the video below. A close friend has been doing the avionics on these birds, besides his love for pyrotechnics and EOD insanity. I don’t know why, but this stuff makes me laugh out loud, raucously. I suppose for nostalgia.

The advice is to just eat bananas when you go along for a ride, the reason being that bananas are the only thing tasting the same going down as when they come right back up.

Perhaps this all made me laugh so hard because I’m taking it as a sign that perhaps things will change for the better come next January 19, 2017. Perhaps, perhaps. We pray.

I’m getting too nostalgic. In the picture below, I’m guessing that’s my dad to the immediately left of the prop standing on deck with his back to you, with his double-cowlick halfway up his head. This is on the USS Bataan in the Spring of 1952.

corsair bataan

Just a thought: Beaufort, SC, at Marine Corps Air Station (Fightertown [East]) home of today’s Checkerboarders with their F-18s, are only 5 hours, 43 minutes away from my parish. I never ever got a chance to be in a fighter piloted by my dad. I wonder, I just wonder if it would be possible for a son of a one time war-time commander of the checkerboarders to get a ride… That’s a far cry from me being any kind of VIP, but, you know, hey! It’s worth a try, right? Any ideas? I promise not to eat anything beforehand, not even bananas. Trouble is, the USMC only have the F-18C, which, unlike the B and D, has no VIP seat. Also, they have only a few which are flight worthy, as they been cannibalizing even the new planes for parts. Too sad, that…


Filed under Military