Category Archives: Veterans Affairs

State #15, Delaware, Enormous Jets and Small Beaches

When you think of Washington crossing the Delaware, you are actually thinking of New Jersey.  The Delaware Water Gap is actually Pennsylvania and New York. The state of Ohio has a city named Delaware, as does Arkansas, and the Delaware people (actually Lenape) currently reside in Oklahoma and Kansas. But today I am going to discuss the state of Delaware, our second smallest state, the first to ratify the Constitution, and the only state to have a circular boundary, an arc 12 miles from the cupola of the courthouse in New Castle.

So what is Delaware? For me it is theater airlift and beaches with cool breezes.

AF photo showing coffins arriving in Dover, DE. via http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=101137468. Retrieved May 25, 2017.In 2006, I traveled from Iraq via Ramstein Air Force Base to Dover Air Force Base on a huge cargo plane that also carried two flag-draped coffins. I did not know the individuals, but it doesn’t matter. I do know them because they are all of us. I could have been underneath that flag instead of trying to sleep on the icy aluminum of a tin can howling through the air five miles above the Atlantic.

From 1991 until 2009, media were not allowed to photograph the coffins, a restriction with which I disagreed as that decision should be the family’s. Some want to grieve privately, some want the public to acknowledge their loved one’s sacrifice. So here is a picture, beautiful in color and composition, showing the draped coffins.

A C-5 Galaxy is about the size of its name: the largest cargo aircraft the US has ever built (can weigh 1,000,000 pounds when loaded) and the largest in the Air Force’s inventory. According to the Air Force, its tanks hold over 50,000 gallons of fuel, which you can visualize as filling six standard railway tank cars. One C-5 can fly 80 Soldiers and all their gear over 2,000 miles without refueling. The C-5 has 28 landing gear to hold all this weight during takeoff, taxi, and landing –and is an impressive sight to behold.

Liberian Support Operation
That is a big mama right there! 

My other visit to Delaware was earlier (2004) and happier, a summer day away from steaming DC concrete in Rehoboth Beach. Only (ideally…) three hours of driving from Arlington, VA, Rehoboth and its neighbor Dewey Beach offer white sand and cool sea air. If you get tired of chilling with your toes in the sand, you can do all the usual parasailing, bike riding, kayaking –or drive 90 minutes south to Crisfield, MD, where you can catch a ferry to Tangier Island: population 600, with its own distinct dialect. A hotel room will run you about $150-$200/night, AirBnB about the same, but for the budge conscious, Henlopen State Park offers camping.

Rehoboth’s Dogfish Head Brewery may have been the first location wherein I tasted an IPA. The original location is closing this summer but fear not: a larger venue will open next door. I do not see the Immort Ale with its stunning 11% ABV still featured, but it does offer a beer for breakfast, a concept of which I cannot say I disapprove.

Don’t miss in Delaware… The Air Mobility Command Museum on Dover AFB. Amateurs talk tactics; professionals discuss logistics, and Air Mobility Command has a big piece in logistics.

Next state … though I am writing this from Arkansas, I am going to keep with the Mid-Atlantic theme and move on to Maryland, where I once worked in the same hospital that autopsied JFK and let a Secretary of Defense fall to his death. Any guesses?

 

SelfieCorey is not quite an international woman of mystery, but is hard at work becoming a regional person of interest. Previously both a Classics Major and an Army Major, she is currently travelling where the road will take her and leaving digital footprints at http://www.greensunla.wordpress.com. Upcoming reports may include improving trails in Muir Woods, diving from a liveaboard in the Bahamas, flying military Space-A across the Pacific Ocean, and taking a month long cruise to Antarctica on a refitted Russian research ship. You may also check out some older writing at https://coreyschultz.contently.com/ or email at greensundiver@gmail.com.

State #3, Indiana, The Crossroads of America

stateflagEven though Indiana borders Michigan, where I grew up and was educated (such as they could make stick) –I haven’t actually visited for any length of time. So today I offer my distinguished readerships some facts and two personal anecdotes.

 

 

Indiana is known in movies for basketball and football triumphs, cue “Hoosiers” and “Rudy.” Though only one President (Benjamin Harrison) called Indiana home, the state has produced six Vice Presidents.  In Indiana, Lewis met Clark. Like Michigan, it has beautiful dunes. It also has a state poem, which I find to be a nice touch, especially as only four other states bothered to acquire one.

For military historians, Camp Atterbury housed 3,000 Italian POWs in WWII, who painted a beautiful chapel. Indiana limestone was used to construct the Pentagon. Twice in 60 years. Indianapolis is home to the headquarters of the American Legion. I joined the American Legion in 2013, across the nation at the Hollywood Post 43  –and had a small world moment. On the wall hung a picture of my Great-Grandfather Kelly from Michigan. He was a WWI and WWII vet and had been the national commander of the American Legion in 1939-40. His picture had hung there for seven decades, apparently just waiting for me to take a happy snap. (Of course I obliged.)

121001 AmLegion ggpa photo 2Back in Indiana, both great-grandpa and his son Grandpa Kelly were proud Notre Dame grads, so occasionally the family would drive to South Bend to watch football games. Touchdown Jesus gave the home team an advantage sometimes.  But what struck me about this beautiful campus was the Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes.

It was probably here where my fascination with sacred places began, places of peace and places of power. Grottoes are carved by water springing from limestone. Across cultures, water and the underground link us to other worlds; the Oracle at Delphi was connected to a spring, and the original grotto actually at Lourdes is believed to have healing powers.  (Grottoes are also difficult to research using Google, as apparently one figures highly in a video game called “The Elder Scrolls.” It is unclear if either Apollo, or Our Lady figure in, although according to the Wiki, both Spriggan Sprites and Falestini Peepers play crucial roles.)

Final note… Indianapolis Opera. And you thought this post was going to be about agriculture and rusting industrial cities … admit it …