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April 27, 2005

The Army has the right idea...

John's post of the leg-challenged trooper reminded me of someone whose memory I respect perhaps more than anyone in combat aviation, then or now.

PLEASE read the whole thing...

Bader could never do that today...too many restrictions would never let him get anywhere near a jet...which, actually, doesn't make a lot of sense. If you don't have legs, you don't have to worry about blood pooling in the lower extremities during high-G maneuvering. The classic G-suit (Fast Pants, Speed Jeans, whatever you want to call 'em) wouldn't do you much good. However, comma, there is Combat Edge, so Bader could be fitted with equipment to keep the rest of his circulatory system ready for 9-G engagements.

I love the RAF. For one thing, they never, ever, ever lower their performance standards--not even for the Royals, I don't think--when it comes to training and qualifications. For another thing, at least up to now, they have broken the code on aviation regulations in their national airspace. We had a saying in USAFE, "Britain was invented by God for pilots." Even though I'm a UK immigrant's son, I'm not biased, either...heh.

Need something? Just ask. Just stay the hell away from the Purple Routes (Royal purple...get it?) and you could do damn near anything you wanted. Couple that with the fact that UK bombing range controllers were paid by the amount of munitions expended, and you've just entered Hog Heaven (pun intended). At a minimum, we'd leave 106 projectiles, per aircraft, on the range (6 BDUs and 100 rounds of 30mm TP) so if the Ranger heard a 4-ship of Hogs checking in on his freq (I'm not making this up) he'd kick other flights off the range (even fellow Brits) to make sure we got on.

I KNOW there are active duty amputees back out there in the "Rack"...the Army has the right idea: warriors are warriors are warriors. Like sled dogs, race horses and other hard chargers, if you don't want to let them do what they were born and want to do, you may as well shoot 'em. (OK, not really, but you get my point.) Why can't we do that in the fighter community? It's a dumb question, I know, but one can always hope.

By the way, what the Bader site fails to mention is that he--being Bader--talked his captors into allowing a one-time, low-level delivery of a new set of legs by air over the prison camp. "Yeah, OK." says the Kommandant. So far, so good...then he uses them to escape. I wonder what the German Stalagluft guard's equivalent of "Cheeky Bastard!" is...

So, the reason he never got away for good until liberation by First Army was his legs being confiscated every night to avoid an embarrassing repeat of the first attempt.

...and THAT, dear readers, is why we win wars...