Lest We Forget

Forty five years ago today, on April 29, 1975, the U.S. military launched Operation Frequent Wind, where the last U.S. forces were airlifted out of Vietnam.


That look you get when you mention “Nancy Pelosi” or “Adam Schiff” to me.


The Age of Empire

Inside the The Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich, London

We don’t build grand monuments such as this anymore. And we don’t paint murals like this either. I’m sure that it’s too expensive, or possibly racist, sexist, xenophobic, or whatever. Does that mean that our culture is getting better or that it is in decline?


She was beautiful, but not like those girls in the magazines. She was beautiful, for the way she thought. She was beautiful, for the sparkle in her eyes when she talked about something she loved. She was beautiful, for her ability to make other people smile even if she was sad. No, she wasn’t beautiful for something as temporary as her looks. She was beautiful, deep down to her soul.

— F. Scott Fitzgerald


Identify the national/regional flag – still in use today

Hint: It has been flying since the 13th Century.


Aviation Factoid

The North American F-108 Rapier was envisioned as a fighter escort for the B-70 Valkyrie Bomber, but it morphed into the A-3J/A-5 Vigilante, an LL favorite among aircraft, that screamed when they added a third engine where the bomb bay/bomb ejection system had been.

“The Most Beautiful Stories always start with wreckage” – Jack London


You may be cool, but the heeland coo* doesn’t care.

*highland cow


  1. While I believe that’s the look you’d have, I also believe your revolver would be loaded. The flag? That would be the cross of St. George and therefore the flag of England.

    • Wrong on the flag. The faces on the flag are significant and are part of the national flag in question.

      And yeah, I’m not an actor.

  2. Loved the reminder of the abandonment of South Vietnam. Deployed to Guam as part of a medical clearing company that set up on Orote Point in a Sea Bee built hospital. Got to met the VP and a couple of senators. Still have a collection of South Vietnamese money. Saw the Mayaguez boys in the Air Force Field. Anderson I believe. God that was a long time ago.

    • You nailed it, Ed. I suspect that Jim did as well.

      My father and grandfather worked at North American Aviation in Downey. I remember going to see the XB-70 there as a boy and it was HUGE.

      • My pops and grampy both worked at Douglas in Santa Monica until closure.

        Rumor was one could hike the area where the Valkyrie crashed and still find bits of it (how you can tell with any certainty?)

        • It crashed in the desert north of Barstow. Elements of the debris field remain. If you find metal bits out there, that’s the B-70. I took my girls there once. Finding and walking desert crash sites was something I once did on Saturdays with my kids.

  3. Traitors Day, 1975. Democrats betrayed our solemn promise and obligation and left the ARVN unsupported in the face of a massive NVA invasion.

    • There were a lot of traitors, more than enough to go around. Then there were the criminally incompetent.

      • Our ambassador to RVN at the time was certainly criminally incompetent. He held up the evacuation until almost too late to even get all Americans out, let alone those South Vietnamese who were facing prison or execution. It was shameful.

  4. IIRC (and LL will know much better than I do) the XB-70 was intended to be our “fly very high and very fast” strategy. It scared the hell out of the Soviets. The result of that was the MiG-25 (Nato name– Foxbat) interceptor, designed using off the shelf engines originally intended for a cruise missile.

    • One of my best friends managed the defection of Victor Belenko, the MiG 25 pilot who landed in Japan with the MiG.

    • Hope I am replying at the right level. I remember well the B-70. As I understand, the B-70 program was shut down because high and fast was probably not going to work against the Soviets air defenses as well as they had thought when the program was started. The “Aha!” Moment as I recall was when Gary Powers’ U-2 got shot down. That is when they redid the B-52 to be a low level penetration bomber and developed the F-111.

    • “… MiG-25 (Nato name– Foxbat) interceptor, designed using off the shelf engines originally intended for a cruise missile.”
      That doesn’t sound right. They put two of the most powerful engines they could design into that thing. Monsters. Unfortunately, they were Mach limited to 2.6? IIRC. They pulled a fast one on the West when they ran a MiG-25 over Israel at mach-3, from Syria to Egypt, I think. After landing, they removed the engines and threw them away. At M-2.7 they run away and quickly eat themselves, but that flight scared the West, until Belenko gave a MiG25 to the US/Japan.

      • One of the problems with those big Turmanski Turbojets was their reliance on grain alcohol as coolant and the ground crews drank it and sold it as contraband hooch, then replaced it with water and other chemicals and they often overheated well short of optimal flight performance. Belenko spoke about that.

  5. The Valkyrie was amazingly beautiful, technically and visually.

    I would like to wish that we’d built them anyway, and just kept them around for BUFF – type Orbital Death Hotel missions against benighted savages with AKs, but unfortunately I have no ability to believe that their cost / maintenance time per flight hour wouldn’t be orders of magnitude higher than the BUFF at this point. Then there were the issues with Zip fuel… although re-powering with more modern engines would have solved that.

    The flag of Sardinia is one of my favorite surviving pieces of non-PC in Europe.


    • I have no idea what the cost per flight hour of the B-70 would have been if it had been a production bomber. It would have been glorious, but time rendered it obsolete just about the time that it rolled out.

      • Must of scared the crap out of the Soviets. The super sonic pterodactyl from hell. Imagine the shoe on the other foot.
        Too complex fabrication, particularly the weldments. The method of fabrication required whole very large sub assemblies to be fusion welded in place on the airframe. Used Stainless and Nickle alloys because of friction heating. Lot of unique problems that had to be overcome. To radiographically inspect the welds they had to do that in place also using tracked exray guns with long strips of film. Too complex too much cost.
        Sometimes wonder if the whole object wasn’t to so much produce a fleet of B-70’s, but the ability to actually build and fly them, the objective being was to mind job the Russian nuclear strategic high command. Something right up ol’ LeMay’s style of strategic phycological warfare.
        Something about that aircraft. It’s a diff kind of beauty. I think it touches something primal in the brain.

        • I recall my father saying that the threat of the B-70, which never became fully operational, caused the Soviets to spend hue sums that they didn’t have to combat it. And then the US went with cruise missiles and a low level strategic bomber, the B-1B. There was a lot of brinksmanship and a lot of strategy involved and in a number of areas, we “played” the USSR.

  6. The real travesty is those two and their ilk have power that they do. The second is we all who are Men know what they are, yet those running the show not only do nothing, they enable whats going on by doing nothing, the little done is effeminate in character and deed. It’s no wonder they fear Mr. Trump. And we who are armed to the teeth.
    There’s a lot of fixing needing done. Which personally I believe won’t be long now, they have just about pussyfooted around every which way coming for our muskets shy of physically attempting disarmament. Most now who stick to their guns will never bend a knee nor give them up.
    We are in the early Mexican Standoff Stage. She who they thought could never lose looks like she is setting up to usurp stinky finger Joe’s placeholder position. But there for the Grace of God we go.
    It’s all about guns. It has always been about guns. Our guns are the center of our history. Everything comes down to guns, anything else with these clowns is a joke. They will have to get off the pot or shit not too far off. It’s a serious pickle for them. That they believe it’s possible speaks volumes. Give it a real good think, them going for it would be the best thing could happen. Crisis as a means is a two way street, like tracers, work both ways.
    Who was it said, a problem nothing 100 bullets in the back of one hundred select heads wouldn’t solve.
    I think hanging is a right proper comeuppance, make it a national holiday, have your kids attend by all means. There is nothing like a 13 knot neck tie to put things in proper perspective.
    Just saying.

    Those hippy cows are some fine tasty beef. Slow growers, they are browsers like deer. Low maintenance. Hardy cold weather critters.

    Just amazing, there where men who landed those Vigilantes on a carrier at night in a storm in 20 ft seas. True Shitlords.
    Did they have special jock strap G suits for the size balls those guys had?

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