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Remember that Army commercial from the '80s?

No, not "Be All That You Can Be" -- we always figured that was aimed at the underachievers.

You know, the one with the smiling First Sergeant (he deserved an Oscar for that) and the cheerful teenage paratrooper, with the voiceover saying, "The Army. We do more before 9AM than most people do all day."

Well, when I retired, I planned to slow down a bit. And I *did*.

Now, I only do more before 10AM than most people do all day.

Without busting OPSEC, here's how one of my days usually goes...

Up before dawn to chow, followed by...

...a leisurely stroll to work with a mixed bag of contractors and uniformed types, mostly Air Force, some Marines, some Soldiers -- from the US, Canada, New Zealand, France, Croatia, Mongolia, Germany, Portugual, the UK, the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, Spain, Italy, Greece, Finland, Norway, and Turkey. The Ukrainians I walk with are fellow contractors.

By the time I get to the "office," most of the uniformed types have split off, and it's too early for the Afghan GIs to start work, so us contractors have the view to ourselves.

That mountain's only 11,000 feet high. You can't see the one behind it that's 15,500 feet high, cuz the baby is blocking it from our line-of-sight, and we're at 5,880 feet right here.

Eat your heart out, Denver.

Now, that's what we see on a clear day. But with winter's arrival, everyone is busily burning anything combustible, trying to stay warm.

So, sometimes the view is still spectacular--

--but it's pretty murky on most days.

Aha -- noticed the Mi-35, did ya? Here's a side view for ya.

And sometimes Mama Gaia lets the clouds conspire with the smoke/haze/murk to produce--

--which makes for really lousy weather to do this in.

Sort of makes you wish some Novelist-cum-Rocket-Scientist would come up with a signature means of controlling the weather -- or at least ameliorating it.

So, that's pretty much my day -- up 'til 7AM, anyway...


C'mon, Bill! Admit it! You love it, don't you?  You get to hang out with kindred souls, and y'all assure each other about what cool folks y'all are, and mention (in passing) how sorry you guys feel for us poor mundanes.

Geez, Jtg, project much?

Actually, the conversation either centers on the job or on what the brown gravy in the DFAC will taste like tonight -- mint jelly or week-old flounder... 

Put a wood boiler in for a nice couple last week, there son was leaving for the Stan to fly one of those two rotor thingies for the second time. Enjoyed the conversation about sling loads and mountains that were REAL close to the rotors! Be safe Jake!

But when are we gonna get SNOW, Bill? Actually that would probably make your job harder.

I just want to make snowmen and put them out on the road outside the camp for the MRAPs to run over. Simple mind, simple pleasures...

A new song, "Frosty, the Suicide Snowman!"

Geez, the *look* the gate guard gave me the other day -- you'd think he'd never seen anybody walk up to a clearing barrel and clear a banana before...
You told him it was a semi-automatic double-action revolver banana, didn't you?

 I thought that was a Mi-24 rather than a 35. I don't know the difference, other than 11. Probably not much better than a Hind.

Noticed what looked like a couple of L-39s. That a toy I'd like to have to park next to my Hughes 500.
Mi-35 is the export version of the Mi-24. There's some minor difference in the weapons systems, and the ASE isn't the latest and greatest, but I know guys who have flown both, and they like the beast.

Don't believe everything you read in a Clancy novel about aircraft and capabilities -- either ours or former Sov. I howled when I read some of the action scenes in The Bear and The Dragon.
You told him it was a semi-automatic double-action revolver banana, didn't you?

He'd never have believed me -- no lanyard.

In one of the Private Murphy strips the author has his character making fun of war movies and wishing he could get one of those "infinity clips."

I found "Bear And The Dragon" at a used bookstore on one of the super cheap racks they role out front to the sidewalk. It was OK as a novel, but some of the scenes are howlers.

I knew Ivan liked "monkey models" for export, but didn't know they gave the export model of the Hind a different designation.

My reference to "no better" was a reference back to a comment you made about the Mi-24 vs the Ka-50 in response to my comment. I'm guessing that as a fire support platform the Hind is a good machine. I get the impression that it's a fairly heavy machine and probably not as maneuverable as either the Cobra or Apache. Perhaps a bit harder to shoot down.
Russians built things designed to do specific jobs -- the Hind's job was to be a rotary-wing tank killer *and* an assault helicopter capable of suppressing an LZ on its way in to insert troops. The Apache was designed to destroy Soviet armor on the North German Plain and still be nimble enough to jump to multiple firing positions. The Cobra was designed simply to kick ass.

If aircraft were boxers, the Hind would be Jake LaMotta, the Apache would be Mohammed Ali, and the Cobra would be Joe Louis.