The Amazing 25th Episode Podcast Spectacular! Of course, it’s really no different than our regular episodes…okay, so it’s a regular episode, but it’s special because it’s number 25–a podcast milestone! To celebrate #25, we talk about the origin of The Digression Podcast on the Mississippi Gulf Coast in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. And, as if that wasn’t enough, we share some stories about a favorite topic that has received several mentions throughout our podcasts: Star Trek, the sci-fi series that wouldn’t die! This time it’s more than a mention, as we explore how the series raised social awareness and literally saved lives during the Vietnam war.
Last seaman laid to rest in USS Arizona; Astronaut reenlists 800 soldiers; Air National Guard wants some Space Force action; Drone pilots get a medal; Good-bye South Korea curfew; Revealing DNA tests; Pentagon sets rules for Skynet; No. 1 coffee; Social justice finds the Air Force song; Tin Can at 20,000-feet.
Internet porn hits home; Basic training and intro to military discipline; M16 necklace; Marching and airplane-watching; Gun-wielding drunk-driver on base; The EEO freeze; Busted, promoted, then busted again; The man with $200 in his pocket; Honey? Did you do something wrong?; Pushup Ninja; The Black Flag; Follow the matrix; Clap for the Air Force Song, dammit!; Why Chief Hanks is right; and The Shirt said to sweep the parking lot.
In the business world, promotions and raises are important motivators, but in the military, rank and pay go hand-in-hand. Since military supervisors don’t have a direct influence on employee promotions or compensation, incentivizing these team members requires some out-of-the-box thinking. Our buddy, MSgt Kyle Green, is a subject matter expert on employee performance incentives and helps explore this topic, with a little digression, of course.
This is the story of Chris, who takes a job hauling a mobile long-range acoustic device from Florida to San Diego which results in a spiraling digression into the hilarious deficiencies of the giant voice system at Kunsan AB, Republic of Korea, with a few stops along the way prompted by a snake, a couple of blown tires, and the Radiator Springs-like hardtop of the southwest. This show is our tribute to USAF Command Post Communication.
Everyday folks probably aren’t too familiar with Bill “Pits” Pitsenbarger, but now, tens of listeners of this podcast will know him and the heroic act that earned him the Air Force Cross and eventually, after a push from some old Viet Nam vets, the Medal of Honor. And for those who don’t listen to our podcast, there’s a movie coming out on October 25 that will tell Pitts’ story, but we’re gonna tell it first!
So, who was Bill Pitsenbarger?
On February 20, 1947, the Kee Bird, a US Army Air Forces B-29 Superfortress, lifted off the runway and into the sky above Ladd Field near Fairbanks, Alaska. It’s Cold War mission was Top Secret, would take them to the North Pole and back, and involved photo-reconnaissance and mapping of the Arctic areas as part of a Strategic Air Command effort to monitor for Soviet activity and develop attack routes over the North Pole. This was the Kee Bird’s seventh mission and it was to be it’s last, as the pilot, Lt Vern Arnett, grew disoriented in a storm over the polar ice pack and turning to the south eventually made an emergency landing on a small frozen lake in northern Greenland. Although Lt Arnett put the B-29 down successfully and with no injuries to his 11-man crew, the plane was badly damaged and would not fly. So, they settled down for what would be a three-day wait for rescue.
Each year, the Darwin Awards pay tribute to those individuals who “improve our gene pool–by removing themselves from it in the most spectacular way possible.” Named after Charles Darwin, the English biologist and the father of evolution theory, these awards are a testament to the dumb shit people do to precipitate their premature demise (or that of an appendage…or two). The Darwin Awards are certainly not lost on the military. I mean, what do you expect? You have the inherent danger of live munitions and operational machinery combined with a “hurry-up-and-wait” mindset that results in a population of bored GIs on some God-forsaken piece of real estate who have nothing better to do than turn to their buddy and say, “hey, watch this shit.” And, KABOOM!
In anticipation of State Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz report on possible FISA abuse by the DOJ and FBI, we thought we’d share some of our experiences with the inspection side of the IG during our time in the US Air Force. Jody’s perspective comes from his experiences as an asshole IG inspector with the Air Force Inspection Agency (AFIA), while Chris shares his perspective from the point-of-view of a member of the poor bastard shop chief in the inspected unit. Although Jody’s work was focused in Air Force hospitals and Chris’ worked in operational units launching aircraft, the process of compliance inspections is essentially the same, as is the stupid shit we saw and laughed at…and now we’re sharing it with you!
A hundred years and a thousand storytellers have blurred the legend of the Maco Light and we’re not going to make it any clearer. Joe Baldwin was a brakeman and was traveling in the caboose of an Atlantic Coast Line train through the little town of Maco, North Carolina, when all of a sudden it became uncoupled from its train. Was there something nefarious about this?
We don’t know. But, Joe, who may or may not have been asleep and/or drinking, realized that another train following close behind was about to collide with his car that sat motionless on the track. He ran to the back of the caboose, wildly swinging his lantern to get the engineer’s attention, but the engineer who may or may not have been asleep and/or drinking, didn’t see Joe’s light in time. And the oncoming train crashed into Joe’s caboose taking Joe’s head in the process and flinging it into a nearby swamp.