Well, fellas, one more day and week two of Basic Demo and Urban Ops will be done. My lower back hurts, my hands are pretty gnarly, and I'm hearing the shot clock buzzer in my sleep. I couldn't be having a better time. Hopefully some pics and maybe a video to follow this weekend.
EDIT: Due to a logistical error (me not charging my camera), no pics this week. My bad.
Last edited by trunk_munkey28; 04-09-2009 at 04:48 PM. Reason: text added
Wait till you start squaring off to the sh1tter.
Looking forward to the pics trunk monkey!
Washington, D.C., Oct. 28 – Over the vast rugged, isolated terrain of Edwards Air Force Base, a lone Canadian Forces pilot provides the critical link between the development and the use of untried and untested aerial operation systems. In a remote area of California, Major Desmond Brophy, a native of Regina, Saskatchewan, encounters punishing 100-degree heat in the summer, freezing temperatures in the winter, and winds of 40 miles-per-hour (60 kilometers-per-hour) on a daily basis. Despite the harsh environment he works in, it is clear that Major Brophy loves his job.
With a father who was a civil aviation flight inspector for Canada’s Ministry of Transport and a mother who was a passenger agent for Air Canada, flying is in Major Brophy’s blood.
“Flying has always been a part of my life and I love everything about airplanes, the challenge of it, the mystique of it, it’s always what I wanted to do,” says Major Brophy, a pilot with the Canadian Forces for 15 years, though he has been flying for 20.
After joining the Canadian Forces in 1992, Major Brophy completed primary flight training on the T-67C Firefly, earned a Master of Mechanical Engineering from the University of Calgary, and earned his pilot wings after completing basic and advanced training on the CT-114 Tutor jet. Upon graduation, he was selected as a jet instructor pilot on the CT-114 and became the Senior Academic Instructor at 2 Canadian Forces Flight Training School in Moosejaw, Saskatchewan.
He was selected for CF-18 Hornet fighter training in 2000 and was nearly done with this gruelling course on September 11, 2001. Major Brophy notes that the attacks of that day really changed what the Canadian Forces were doing on operational squadrons.
“The majority of our focus was for an external threat and deploying aircraft out of country as a rapid reaction force,” Major Brophy says. “After September 11, a significant amount of our attention was focused on the domestic threat and dealing with domestic threats against security.”
As Canada focused more on domestic threats, the Canadian Forces increased training and deploying within Canada, to the Arctic, over cities, and with NORAD partners. Six years later, Major Brophy recalls that though “[September 11] initially affected the kind of training we were doing, because we were focusing on the domestic threat, and it affected the kinds of missions we were flying,” an equilibrium now exists between concentrating on domestic security and fulfilling NATO obligations as an expeditionary rapid reaction force.
While he has never seen combat, Major Brophy remembers his time as a CF-18 combat-ready pilot fondly; “We were on guard, on alert over Canadian cities and Canadian airspace so the average Canadian could go about their daily life and not worry because we were on alert and we were watching. It was very, very satisfying.”
In 2005, Major Brophy was selected for training as an experimental test pilot and graduated from the prestigious United States Naval Test Pilot School in Patuxent, Maryland, in 2006, after test flying more than 20 aircraft types. When asked what his favourite plane was, Major Brophy answered the MiG-15 Soviet jetfighter, for it is “an exotic plane with some dangerous, tricky flying qualities.” He also mentioned that the Bellanca Citabria will always have a special place in his heart since it is the plane he learned to fly on and it reminds him of his Saskatchewan roots.
Since graduating from the USN Test Pilot School, Major Brophy has been stationed at Edwards Air Force Base on an exchange with the U.S. Air Force as an experimental test pilot on the F-16 Falcon. Though there are elevated risks associated with flying untested systems, Major Brophy enjoys his job claiming, “It is the perfect fusion of my two passions – flying and engineering / mathematics.”
As a pilot, Major Brophy knows how frustrating it can be when operating systems malfunction. He and the other test pilots at Edwards stress new motors and operating systems to make sure the kinks are out of the systems. If major changes are needed, the test pilots get involved with the development process by determining what those changes should be.
Besides being at the forefront of technology, Major Brophy loves being surrounded by the history of the base. Edwards AFB is where the X-15 first flew, the Bell X-1 broke the sound barrier, and the Space Shuttle Columbia landed after becoming the first shuttle launched into orbit.
Major Desmond Brophy is stationed at Edwards Air Force Base until July 2009. He and his wife are expecting their first child in December.
Written by Bailey Cahall, Military Public Affairs at the Canadian Embassy in Washington, D.C.
<H3><H3>So that others may live</H3></H3>
Canadian Forces pilot saving lives with United States Coast Guard
by Acting Sub-Lieutenant David Lavallee, Military Public Affairs at the Canadian Embassy in Washington, D.C.
In Canada, the military-known as the Canadian Forces (CF)-plays a major role in search and rescue (SAR) operations. The motto of Canada's military SAR personnel is "so that others may live," characterizing their devotion to helping those in distress.
As in Canada, pilots are critical to United States Coast Guard (USCG) SAR operations. As a group, they consist of extremely dedicated people, such as CF pilot Captain Byron Johnson.
Serving at USCG Air Station in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, the Peterborough, Ont. native has spent a year and a half flying SAR and law enforcement missions as part of an exchange program between the Canadian and U.S. militaries.
With nearly 17 years of CF service under his belt, Capt. Johnson has flown Cormorant, Labrador and Griffon helicopters. The USCG posting offered a chance to operate the HH-60 Jayhawk helicopter.
"It flies a lot like the Labrador, actually, in terms of how it feels, although it has got quite a bit more power," he says. "It's a cousin of the Blackhawk. It's built for war, it can take rounds, so it's very robust and heavy."
The pilots' work is also robust. Five times a month, they rotate being on duty for a fixed period to respond to SAR cases or any other similar situations that may arise on their watch. They also do training flights, patrols and other types of missions, as well as tertiary duties like scheduling and mission planning.
USCG SAR activities are similar to those of the CF in Canada, with the main differences being responsibilities. In Canada, the CF conducts SAR over both land and water, in partnership with other agencies. With the USCG, SAR focuses solely on maritime missions, with overland SAR being handled by the U.S. Air Force or Air National Guard.
In terms of actual missions, as is typical of SAR, the tempo varies. "I've never really been the type to keep count," he says, when asked how many missions he's flown with the USCG. "It's probably a couple per month, on average. Sometimes you do a couple in a weekend, then go a couple of months without doing any."
When he's not flying, Capt. Johnson spends his time with his wife and three daughters, who have joined him in Cape Cod.
"They adjusted really quickly and they've really enjoyed it," he says of their time in the U.S., which is due to end in just over a year. "I think it's going to be hard for them when it comes time to leave."
Until then, Capt. Johnson will continue flying alongside his American comrades, who have left their mark on him.
"The group I work with is probably a younger group compared to the group I worked with in Canada," he notes. "They're very motivated and professional, and I'm very impressed."
Capt. Johnson is one of nearly 700 CF members serving in the U.S. Their work exemplifies our partnership with our American allies in contributing to security in North America and throughout the world. To learn more, please visit www.CanadianAlly.com.
Brave soldier right thereOn a low undulating plateau in southern Afghanistan close to where the rivers Daryã-ye Helmand and Daryã-ye Arghandab branch, is the site of intense engagement between Canadian Forces troops and the Taliban. Since its founding in the 4th century by Alexander the Great, many military elements have fought for control of Kandahar and the immediate periphery due to its strategic importance in south-central Asia. Owing to the fact that it is their homeland and their original stronghold, the Taliban is no exception to this trend. Master Corporal Paul Franklin is one of 25,000 Canadian troops who have safe-guarded Afghanistan against threats to its stability from increased Taliban-led activity since October 2001.
Born in Halifax, Nova Scotia and raised in Calgary, Alberta, Franklin's recent experiences include operational tours, military instruction in medical and military courses, and outdoor leadership skills. He served several tours of duty, which saw him perform in an Arctic Sovereignty operation at Inuvik, Northwest Territories in 2003, and provide aid during the 2004 forest fires at Okanagan Falls, British Columbia.
Having enlisted in the Canadian Forces in 1998 at the ripe age of 29, Franklin says "it was a decision that was bred with patriotism but realism," adding that "Pension, education, travel...all seemed to be truth behind my oath to Canada." Franklin loved working with the elite. His first tour in 2005 brought him outside of Kabul, atop a mountain looking down at villages nestled in the valley. Those villages haven't changed much since Alexander III sauntered the nearby fields.
Not long after becoming a reservist, MCpl Franklin moved to Regular Force, completing two months of basic training in Wainwright and 14 months of medical training. He received his initial posting in Edmonton, Alberta with 1 Field Ambulance as a Medical Technician. After serving in Kabul for two and a half months with the 23 Kandak Heavy Weapons Company he was southbound for Kandahar. There he served as part of an infantry section for the Provisional Reconstruction Team for another six months.
In facilitating the restoration of the southern region of Afghanistan, a distance of 6,000 miles had been put between Franklin and home. "It always struck me when you phoned home and it was literally eleven and a half hours difference - literally the other side of the world."
"My job was to help the other medics implement the medical skills my fellow soldiers had taught them" says Franklin. "We were to help them protect the capital during the inauguration of Harmid Karzai. At night we would eat in the commander's tent, share food, share stories and through those cold evenings I would discover a love of what Afghanistan is."
As Canada assumed a major role in military operations in southern Afghanistan, commanding the Multi-National Brigade for Command South, the country continued to rebuild and recover. Re-defining Canada's role occurred amid a backdrop of concerted Afghani and Allied struggle against poverty, wholly inadequate infrastructure and a multiplicity of security threats, including large concentrations of landmines and a renewed influx of Taliban.
The events of 15 January 2006, a day that was chilly and brought drizzling rain, can be regarded as nothing less than pivotal in MCpl Franklin's life when at about 5:30pm a rocket-laden taxi smashed into his G-wagon. The impact of the blast threw MCpl Franklin against a wall and left him nearly in shock. A fellow soldier, whom he had just taught Tactical Combat Casualty Care to, applied a tourniquet to Franklin's left leg saving his life.
At Kandahar he lay on a stretcher, looking around as he sat next to his friend and fellow medic. "I give my friend my wedding ring and my dog tags and told her that she should give them to my wife. My friend followed me on my journey to Landstuhl, Germany and the ICU." In the aftermath of the attack, and after a great deal of deliberation, the decision was made to amputate Paul's right leg following 19 surgeries. The result of this made him a double amputee above both knees. With both legs gone a after a total of 26 surgeries, Franklin realized that it was time to move-on.
"I lost my legs for a cause - Canada."
"I love Afghanistan and her people. They have touched my heart and have changed me forever."
"Soldiers are asked to die for what they believe in, well really they are asked to make the enemy pay for what they believe in. My role now is to tell my story, maybe in some way help change the entrenched beliefs of a large organization, and help my fellow wounded soldiers and to prepare the way forward for those who follow."
"I am a soldier, a father and a husband."
"I never knew the journey was that long, that tough."
"I didn't know courage existed till I looked inside of me"
The following two months were about healing and working for Franklin, as he lay in Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital in Edmonton thinking of ways he could help the next batch of soldiers who were about to come home. "A soldier is never held back, we move on and we strive to return to who we were," says Franklin.
Having spent time in Glenrose Hospital, Franklin gained first-hand experience in staff-patient interaction and critical care for amputees. Noticing gaps that existing in getting to the next level of function, he decided he would begin a charity to fill those as best he could.
"I understand that even in a progressive organization that changes have to be made, rehabilitation and reintegration are tough topics that are difficult at times."
Extensive consultation with healthcare professionals resulted in Franklin's co-founding of the Franklin Foundation to ensure that all amputees, civilian and military, receive the best possible care. The Foundation helps organize advanced skills clinics for amputees for fitness training and other sporting activities like downhill skiing
When he was discharged from Glenrose, Franklin embarked upon a campaign across Canada so that he could share his story. While he set-out to educate others of his experience, Time Magazine named Master Corporal Paul Franklin one of "Canada's Heroes". His story has since been released as a book in August 2007, entitled The Long Walk Home. Subsequently, he has been named one of "The Top 10 Most Inspiring Canadians".
Franklin currently serves as a part-time Canadian Forces Casualty Support NCO at Land Force Western Area in Edmonton. He teaches tactical medicine to civilians and members of the military, and assists wounded soldiers through peer visitation.
"Every step is painful and the walk is slow, but then you look behind and realize how far you have come."
"I am a soldier and I fought. For myself and for the other 200 wounded soldiers: Dignity, Respect and Honour. These are values earned by soldiers wounded in war."
Written by Scott Romaniuk, Military Public Affairs at the Canadian Embassy in Washington, D.C.
February 27, 2009 - Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan
Cpl Christopher Hinds of The Queen's Own Rifles of Canada, an Army Reserve infantry unit in Toronto, is deployed with the Joint Task Force Afghanistan Air Wing as a door-gunner on the CH-146 Griffon tactical helicopters that escort Canadian road convoys and CH-147 Chinook transport helicopters. Cpl Hinds volunteered for service with the 3rd Battalion The Royal Canadian Regiment Battle Group, and was selected for this special assignment during pre-deployment training. All the door-gunners currently flying on Canadian helicopters in Afghanistan are combat arms soldiers. They are the first Canadian air-gunners to go in harm's way since 1945.
Photo : Sgt Scott Trudell, JTF-Afg Air Wing
March 30, 2009 - Indian Ocean
From article: Promoting security in troubled waters: HMCS Winnipeg starts work on new assignment
Aboard Palomino16, the CH-124 Sea King helicopter embarked in HMCS Winnipeg, airborne electronic sensor operator Sgt Andy Gervais takes the C6 machine-gun for target practice in preparation for counter-piracy operations off the coast of Somalia.
Photo : Image number IS2009-6528 by WO Carole Morissette
April 5, 2009 - Gulf of Aden
From article: Promoting security in troubled waters: HMCS Winnipeg starts work on new assignment
The MV Pacific Opal continues on her way after a bad pirate scare. Three motor skiffs launched from a dhow were shadowing the tanker when Palomino16, the CH-124 Sea King helicopter from HMCS Winnipeg (foreground), warned them off with a stop sign and a machine-gun.
Photo : Photo by the crew of Palomino16
That's a nice job, you fly everyday and you don't need to be a pilot.