Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Col. John Loisel, RIP

Colonel John Loisel, USAF Ret., passed away last Wednesday at the age of 89. He will be laid to rest this coming Friday at the DFW National Cemetary.

Col. Loisel joined the Army Air Corps prior to the beginning of WWII, and was onboard a ship bound for the Phillipines when Pearl Harbor was attacked. He was stationed in New Guinea, flying P-39s with the 36th Fighter Squadron, completing 83 missions. He then transferred into the first P-38 unit in the Pacific theatre, the 432nd fighter Squadron, which was working up in Australia. Going back to New Guinea, he eventually commanded the 432nd, and racked up 11 kills.

Col. Loisel flew F-84s with the 47th Fighter Bomber Group in the Korean War. He eventually retired from the USAF in 1970, and started a second career as a Physics teacher in the Plano, TX ISD.

During his career, he was awarded the Sliver Star, Legion of Merit, 3 Distinguished Flying Crosses, and 9 Air Medals.

Rest In Peace, Colonel.
Photo courtesy Col. Loisel's family

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

High Roller Phantoms

This video surfaced on another website, and I thought I'd share it here. Some outstanding coverage of Nevada ANG, 192RS 152RW, RF-4C Phantoms. Definitely not USAF approved maneuvers!

This video was shot in 1995 shortly before the unit retired these aircraft and converted to the C-130. The 'High Rollers' set several time to climb and speed records with the jets before they were retired, records which, I believe, still stand.

I visited the unit around that time. The folks there were great, and pretty much turned me and Bill loose on the ramp to photograph whatever we wished. Some good memories - I sure miss the old Phantom!

Pictures by yours truly, at Reno on July12, 1995.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

F-35 Production Cuts ... Already????

The Pentagon has announced that cost overruns and delays in testing and production run-up are forcing it to cut the number of F-35 Lightning II aircraft procured for the money that has been allotted for the program.

10 aircraft will be cut from 2011 procurement. 122 aircraft will be cut from the production run by 2015. That's equivalent to cutting 10 Navy or Marine squadron's worth of aircraft.

This is due completely to cost overruns. $2,800,000,000 from production funding is being redirected to helping complete the flight testing process, because it has taken so long and has found so many problems that need to be addressed.

This is another example of the lunacy of Pentagon procurement contracts, that place the monetary responsibility of cost overruns, for any reason, back on the government (taxpayer). No matter the cause, even if it is negligence on the contractor's part, the taxpayer foots the bill. In the case of the F-35, it will result in a significant reduction in the number of aircraft built for our services - aircraft desperately needed to overcome the shortfall of combat aircraft we are in the middle of (a shortfall that will get increasingly worse as this new decade moves forward). The F-35 was supposed to fill this 'fighter gap' and bring our military back up to strength - instead, the number is being cut before full scale production even begins.

Contractors generally have little or no reason to avoid cost overruns, since they are passed on. Until the Pentagon starts signing contracts that hold contractors to a fixed cost, this is going to repeat itself. I know of no military procurement contract that has been delivered on time, on cost in modern history - surely there are some, but they are so small as to be unnoticed. Contractors have every incentive to undercut their competition cost wise during the bidding process, knowing that they will be able to make it up later on - and that they will face no punishment.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

A Hero Passes ....

Joseph B. Duncan passed away on December 20 at his Texas home, at the age of 63.

As a Captain in the US Army, he flew OH-6 Loach scout and AH-1 Cobra gunship helicopters with the 9th Infantry Division in Vietnam in the 1969 time frame.

Capt. Duncan was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Bronze Star with Oak Leaf Cluster, the Army Commendation Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, and 37 Air Medals in recognition of his efforts in Vietnam.

Capt. Duncan will be buried at the DFW National Cemetary on Jan. 22.

Godspeed Captain Duncan ... thank you for your service to our country.