IN THE NEWS: You’re fired!; Space Force deploys; Charlie Brown in TIME’s 100; Training for the new Cold War; What’s old is new again; Nellis leads the way; Army’s new A.I., sorta, not really; Three big Army deployments! What could it mean?; Beetle Bailey turns 70; The Navy has a real pirate ship; Big new mission for the Carl Vinson; Marines reshape from within; Diversity saves lives; Diversity quotas; Military couples still divorcing; SECDEF guts military healthcare; State Department restores auto-citizenship; Appeals Court says the male-only draft is Constitutional…for now.
Chief Master Sergeant Juan Lewis served 28-years in the U.S. Air Force before retiring from active service. During his career, the former Services troop held many key billets on Joint Task Forces, NATO, and as the Wing Command Chief on several bases. He was given the moniker, the “Fired-Up Chief,” by the Airmen he led due to his passion to serve and champion their interests. In retirement, the Fired-Up Chief continues to serve the Airmen he loves. To him, each one of them is HERO (Helping Everyone Realize Opportunity) and his job is to keep them fired-up with Pride, Enthusiasm, and Passion (PEP). And he does this through motivating PEP talks as he travels around the Air Force and as a consistent source of encouragement to his tens of thousands of followers on social media. But in April of this year, the Fired-Up Chief found he was the one in need of motivation and encouragement as he fought for his life after contracting the coronavirus. Lying in his hospital bed in the Dutch city of Sittard, which lies just across the border from Geilenkirchen NATO Air Base in Germany, the Fired-Up Chief thought that at any moment, he would breathe his last.
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!