Times Like These

Dave Grohl doing an acoustic version of the Foo Fighter’s Times Like These.


Happy Memorial Day Weekend y’all.

Denning Cicero Johnson:Not Just A Name On The Wall!

Another Memorial Day approaches, and I am again reminded of a man I once called friend, that left this mortal plane far too soon, but he did so in the name of honor, duty, and country.
His friends called him DJ, and he was one of the kindest men I have ever known. DJ had a permanent smile of self-satisfaction, seldom spoke, never cursed, and his behavior was always exemplary, as opposed to many of us that admired him. While he was a little older than most of us, he did enjoy an occasional beer with his friends, when he wasn’t working as a Med Tech on AeroMed flights, but his heart was always with his wife and daughters.
It has been thirty-three years now, and I can remember he had daughters, but not how many. In doing research, I have come across the names of two of his daughters, Denise and Yvonne, but as of yet, have been unable to contact them.
DJ was a gentle man, and his temperament was perfectly suited for his job as a Med Tech, flying the C-9 “Nightingales,” evacuating and caring for those who were ill or injured. It was his job, which he loved, where he gave his all, and left so many saddened, and in a less perfect world. DJ was assigned to a C-9 that was in Saigon at Tan Son Nhut AB, when the order was given by President Ford, to initiate Operation Babylift, and when volunteers were requested to leave the C-9, and join the fateful C-5 Galaxy that had just been requisitioned on the runway, to fly the orphans to Clark AB, DJ was one of those who volunteered. That was DJ, he just could not have responded any other way; it was who he was.
Here is a brief description of events, and I will include some other links at the bottom, for historical perspective.

A Note from The Virtual Wall
At 4:03 pm 03 Apr 1975 an Air Force C-5A Galaxy, serial number 68-218, of the 60th Military Airlift Wing lifted off the runway at Tan Son Nhut AB near Saigon, bound for Clark AB in the Philippines. As the initial mission in “Operation Babylift”, the C-5 carried Vietnamese orphans enroute to the United States. The aircraft commander was Captain Dennis Traynor, the copilot Captain Tilford Harp, and there was a crew of 15 others, including a 10-person medical team.

The C-5’s troop compartment contained 145 orphans and seven attendants, most of them civilian volunteers being evacuated from Vietnam. The cargo compartment held 102 orphans and 47 others.

Twelve minutes after takeoff, while the aircraft was passing though 23,000 feet, the rear loading ramp’s locks failed, leading to explosive decompression and massive structural damage to the aircraft as the pressure door, most of the rear loading ramp, and the center cargo door departed the airframe. Control cables to the rudder and elevators were severed, leaving only one aileron and wing spoilers operating, and two of the four hydraulic systems were out.

Using engine power changes, the functional aileron, and the wing spoilers, Traynor and Harp managed to regain marginal control of the aircraft and turned back toward Tan Son Nhut. The aircraft had to be maintained between 250 and 260 knots, with a considerable lag between power adjustments and aircraft response. Traynor anticipated that the minimum landing speed would be somewhere in the range of 250 knots.

As the C-5 passed through 4,000 feet while turning to the final approach heading it became apparent that they could not make the runway. Traynor applied full power to hold the nose up while Harp attempted to maintain a wings-level attitude. Just off the ground, Traynor reduced power to idle and the C-5 touched down in a rice paddy, skidded about 1,000 feet before becoming airborne again, hit a dike, and broke into four parts. The cargo compartment was completely destroyed, killing 141 of the 149 orphans and attendants. Only three of 152 in the troop compartment perished. Five of the flight crew, three of the medical team, and three other servicemen lost their lives, but 175 of the 328 aboard survived.

The eleven service personnel who died in or of injuries received in the crash were

* Lt Col William S Willis, Coats NC, Air Ops Officer
* Capt Mary T Klinker, Lafayette IN, Flight Nurse
* Capt Edgar R Melton, Dallas TX, Pilot
* MSgt Joe Castro, Fresno CA, Photographic Instrumentation Technician
* MSgt Denning C Johnson, Dunn NC, Medical Service Technician
* MSgt Wendle L Payne, Essex MO, Loadmaster
* TSgt Felizardo C Aguillon, San Francisco CA, Loadmaster
* TSgt William M Parker, Vacaville CA, Loadmaster
* SSgt Donald T Dionne, Sylmar CA, Flight Engineer
* SSgt Kenneth E Nance, Los Angeles CA, Photographer
* SSgt Michael G Paget, Woodland Hills CA, Medical Service Specialist

While I knew many on that fateful flight, including some who survived, the loss of DJ shook many of us in a way that we couldn’t understand. Such a kind and gentle man, who loved life, his family, his job, and his friends, suddenly snatched from us all, left many of us to stand around in stunned silence as we recalled his pleasant persona, his quiet demeanor, and how he elevated us all in a positive manner, by his mere presence.
I have never forgotten my old motorcycle buddy, DJ, as he was part of our group of friends that I have referenced before, in this story, and this one. The crash that took our friend, and loving husband and father away from us, hung over us for weeks, even as Operation Babylift took on a much larger and better planned role, we just couldn’t stop thinking of DJ, and his family.
I still do, to this day, and probably always will.
God Speed, DJ!
You were the best of us.

Operation New Life/Babylift.
USAF Heritage:Operation Babylift.
A Galaxy of Heroes.
Viet Nam Babylift Home Page.


57 year old Ed Smith loves cars. Literally.

In fact, he admits to having sex with over 1000.

from Telegraph UK

“I just loved cute cars right from the beginning, but over the years it got stronger once I got into my teenage years and was my first having sexual urges.

“When I turned 13 and the famous Corvette Stingray came about, that car was pure sex and just an incredible machine. I wanted it.

“I didn’t fully understand it myself except that I know I’m not hurting anyone and I do not intend to.”

He added: “There are moments way out in the middle of nowhere when I see a little car parked and I swear it needs loving.

“There have been certain cars that attracted me and I would wait until night time, creep up to them and just hug and kiss them.

“As far as women go, they never really interested me much. And I’m not gay.”

Mr Smith is now part of a global community of more than 500 “car lovers” brought together by internet forums.

This is the World Famous Friday Open Thread: A Free Speech Zone.

Comments, trackbacks, questions, linkage, and sexy car pictures, are welcome.

WFFOT: Bringing you the Math Question Of The Day…. “If it’s zero degrees outside today and it’s supposed to be twice as cold tomorrow, how cold is it going to be?”

More car stuff: Gary Numan, “Cars”


Trackposted to Outside the Beltway, The Virtuous Republic, Diary of the Mad Pigeon, Rosemary’s Thoughts, Woman Honor Thyself, Right Truth, The World According to Carl, Shadowscope, The Pink Flamingo, Cao’s Blog, Wolf Pangloss, , Dumb Ox Daily News, Conservative Cat, and The Yankee Sailor, thanks to Linkfest Haven Deluxe.Linkfest Haven, the Blogger's Oasis


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