... as one with the Gods.
Found this on Dr. Jerry Pournelle's website,
an email beginning "A friend posted this on her Facebook page:"
and including this link https://fbcdn-sphotos-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-ash4/406950_218671828223432_168372346586714_447701_403260359_n.jpg
This is the photo it links to ...
Ok, then. Just how real is that photo?
The plane's markings show that it belongs to the Iowa Air National Guard; probably the 132nd Fighter Wing (that is a quess on my part).
Does that unit have female F-16 pilots? Hell yes!
Has it ever operated in Afghanistan? Again, yes; out of Bagram Airfield.
Is the lady in the photo truly the pilot of that F-16 behind her? I do believe it.
Has she ever participated in the activity described in the caption? Haven't a clue.
While I enjoyed the humor of the caption, what really made me fall in love with this photo was what I perceived between that pilot and her plane.
That photo is not mine, and if the owner comes across this and wants it removed, I will do so. At the moment though, I feel that the biggest apology I would owe her would be for the fact that I am not Tom Wolfe.
He is the one who should be writing this. His prose in "The Right Stuff" didn't translate very well into the movie, sounding awkward when rendered into dialog; but was magnificent as words on a printed page.
I have often used the term "soul-killing" to describe the part-time job with which I supplement my income. Looking at her and what her job is, I doubt that phrase is even in her vocabulary.
I look at the expression on her face and I truly see someone who is "living the dream". FWIW, that's why I believe her to be the pilot of that plane.
Does that dream include being able to "blow up sh*t and get paid for it?" Maybe a little, don't really know.
Would that dream be mostly about being able to "just fly that damned thing and also get paid for it?"
It's no accident that the Gods we've managed to conjure up can usually fly in one way or another. To be at the controls of that F-16 is probably as close to being as one with them as we can ever hope to get.
To climb into that cockpit and fly that bird into its natural element, leaving the rest of us ants behind eating our hearts out, well, I can't help feeling a bit sorry for her husband/fiance/boyfriend/whatever; how on earth can he possibly compete with that?
I'd truly love it if a pilot would let me know if I've even come close to getting it right this time. :-)
Update - Sat, 28 Jan 2012 - Found the source of that poster.
Above the photo are the words "Mars Special Operations Group". I thought that the one who created that poster might have been a a fan of Cowboy Bebop: The Movie, but that would have been "Mars Special Forces" instead.
Mars Special Operations Group is a facebook group, devoted to things military ...
This page salutes the gallant efforts of soldiers, Marines, airmen, and sailors past, present, and future! If you’re not behind our troops, please feel free to stand in front of them. Mars is the God of War in Roman "mythology", and special operations groups normally are made up of numerous branches of the military (We'd tell you more but of course, then we'd have to kill you).
... and modestly declaring ...
We have the best collection of military photos on facebook!
They created that poster around an original photo, about which a commenter noted ...
That picture is taken from the (former) 185th fighter squadron out of the town I live in! They are now a refueling squadron using the new(ish) KC-135r all the f-16's and f-14 tomcats went to Sioux falls.
(Note: If you're not logged into facebook, those two links wont take you very far. :-)
So, the picture is pretty old (that change from Fighter Squadron to Refueling Squadron happened in 2003, I think), but the gist of what I said above, about the 132nd Fighter Wing remains true.
All the same, though, I'm glad I took a "The Truth Behind Truths" (Yes. That is a nod to Fullmetal Alchemist) approach to this story, focusing on the photo instead of the punchline. The "be as one with the Gods" attitude towards flying still stands and remains what this post is truly about.
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