"When faced with a problem you do not understand,
do any part of it you do understand; then look at it again."
~(Robert A. Heinlein - "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress")

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Friday, January 27, 2012

Living the dream ...

... as one with the Gods.

Found this on Dr. Jerry Pournelle's website,
at http://jerrypournelle.com/chaosmanor/?p=5099:
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.



Foxfier said...

Looks like her name

may be "Bobbi."

I'd say that she probably is a pilot, or at least entitled to wear that outfit-- been too long for me to remember what's what-- but that it's a very posed photo. Either that, or I hate her for her hair looking like that. *grin*

Paul Gordon said...

Kid: You are "snake-bit" hen it comes to links. :-)

A google search reveals the site as valid, but it appears to be down right now.

I will check it, from time to time, and if it doesn't get fixed, I will FIND what you tried to link to.

Yes, indeed! You've got me curious.

I DID wonder about her hair, but my time in the USAF was a half-century ago. And they DO have these things called hair-nets, so I don't really what's allowed and not.

(I recall the very first time I got disciplined by an officer was over a haircut).

Foxfier said...

Kid: You are "snake-bit" hen it comes to links. :-)

May all my bad luck be as good as it has so far.... (Things like the breaks going out on the van I was driving-- slowly, in city traffic, two blocks from Les Schwab's, or the water pump in my car dying when I was on a trip to my parents' through mostly uninhabited areas...in a blizzard. The wind and cold let me nurse it home.)

JetPix.com, if it doesn't op back up.

Regs are regs, but they aren't always regs, you know? One memorable uniform inspection I got to listen to a master chief yell at a junior pilot about his facial hair being an inch out of regs, while the MC had a freakin' goatee.

Paul Gordon said...


1) I guess that someone must be watching over you.

2) Jetpix.com (or www.jetpix.com) IS the site that appears to be down (at the moment; obviously it was there when you found the picture, and google discloses that it's been there for awhile, so I expect it will be back up eventually -- Murphy's Law guarantees that when it goes down would be while the owner was on vacation.)

3) "ALL rules have exceptions; including THIS one." ~found in a cave painting in France (Ok! Maybe waiting to be found. I'll bet it's out there somewhere. :-)

Paul Gordon said...

Just checked Foxfier's link. The site's back up so it works now.

It IS "bobbi", the picture is designated on the parent page as Not your "typical" fighter pilot.

As this is the site of a serious aviation photographer (Joe Oliva), I truly believe that she is a real pilot, probably of that plane behind her, and any "staging" to be that of Mr. Oliva.

FWIW - Nice site, BTW.


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