Friday, February 8, 2008

The United States Air Force

So, for anyone who hasn't yet heard, I have officially joined the United States Air Force. I am truly excited about going in, I can't wait.

I'm not sure exactly when I'm leaving yet; I'm expecting to know by the end of the month.

My first look into the Air Force was back about mid terms, when my life was pretty much falling apart. Those of you know know me, know what I'm talking about. I needed to figure out what the hell I was going to do. As it turns out, I didn't decide to join right then and there. I did my best to finish the semester at New Paltz, and decided that I would concentrate on figuring out my future after I got through finals.

Well, finals came and went. At that point, I had figured out that what I really wanted to do in life was become a New York State Trooper. I did a lot of research on the job and spoke to many people who are Troopers, and police officers at various departments. As I've blogged about, I took the test and am very confident about what score I'll receive. However, I won't even find out about my score until 9-10 weeks after the last test date, which is sometime in the first half of February; in fact, it may have already come to pass. Even if I did scored #1 on the test, I wouldn't be going into the Trooper's Academy until September: I needed a plan for the interim.

I starting looking all over the place for jobs, and it seems as though the one I wanted is coming through. I will soon hopefully be working for the Troopers as a "Communications Specialist" (dispatcher). I'm really looking forward to this job, as short lived as it may prove to be for me.

Anyway, it didn't look like the dispatching job was going to work for me, so I kept on searching for work. Eventually, I saw an ad for a police officer placed by the Army National Guard. I looked into it, but that only sparked my interest in full time, Active Duty with the military. I poked around and spoke with many people, and after only a day or two of getting more and more excited about it, I called back the Air Force recruiter that I had spoken to 3 or 4 months earlier.

About a week went by and I was underway. Maybe two weeks after I first called him, I made my way up to Albany for the ASVAB and the physical exam. I scored a 95 out of a possible 99 on the ASVAB, which seemed to really impress everyone I spoke to about it. The most common scores were in the 50-60's, with only two people having scored 85 which turned out to be the closest anyone came to me. The Air Force guys told me that I could have any job I wanted.

That was until I couldn't make my ears pop. That has to do with being able to equalize the pressure in your ears and sinuses for missions in the air. That cut out a few jobs for me, but I scored abnormally high on the tests for depth perception and vision (20/20 in my left, 20/17 in my right). Everything else was fine too...I was pretty nervous about the hearing, but I passed.

Anyway, I was told to pick five jobs that I would want to do, and the Air Force would pick one of those jobs that they need me for the most. Because of my ASVAB score, the career counselor told me about jobs that were intelligence related. The one that I ultimately want to do would have me looking at maps, pictures, and intel from various sorces and interpret it, then advise my superiors. The counselor told me that this job would open up doors to many jobs in the civilian world, or with other parts of the government, such as the FBI.

Other jobs I listed include working on the avionics for the Raptors and other planes, being a computer geek, and a handful of others that I only half way remember. The truth is, I want the intel job, and if I don't get it, I have a back up plan.

The Tactical Air Control Party Members are the elite of the Air Force. They are the special forces for this branch of our military. They have the ability to deliver far more damage to the enemy than any other special forces units in the military. Basically, I'd be acompanying special forces from other branches of the military, such as the Army Rangers and Navy Seals, and I'd be the one that calls in any necessary air power. Yup, I'm the one with the radio who gets to make the phone call when he needs something destroyed. You may have heard mobsters in movies brag about how they can have someone dead with a phonecall? Well, I'll be making the call on a $10,000,000 phone, and it won't be a hitman coming after you.

The TACP's job is a very physically and mentally demanding job, and my score on the ASVAB qualifies me for it. Now all I have to do is pass the physical exam, and the job is mine, aparently reguardless of what job the Air Force would have previously chosen me for. That being said, my plan is to wait and see if they've picked the intel job for me. If that's not the one they pick, I'm going to take the physical exam for the TACP, and that'll be what I do. Like I said, I want the intel job, but I'm not going to be too upset if it turns out that I have to go the TACP route.

So, that's what I've been up to for the last few weeks. Be sure to check back here, I'll be giving updates on everything that's going on with this, and everything else in my life. Be safe out there...

Berkeley Backs Off On Banning Marines

Sanity exists:

Find the original article here.

BERKELEY, Calif. -- As six Republican senators devised a plan to yank $2.3 million in federal funding for Berkeley programs, the mayor of the famously liberal city apologized Wednesday for his hard stance against a Marine recruiting center.

Two City Council members vowed to soften their stance as well.

At their Tuesday council meeting, leaders will discuss scrapping a letter that might be perceived as targeting the center or the Marines.

The letter said that the recruiting center was not welcome on Shattuck Avenue and that the Marines were uninvited and unwelcome intruders.

"That letter will probably be pulled back and maybe more moderate language will be put in place which is appropriate I think," said Berkeley mayor Tom Bates.

"Subtly stated in the resolution is perhaps an impugning of the soldiers fighting for us in Iraq and other places," Berkeley City Councilman Laurie Capitelli. "And that was never the intention but that really needs to be cleared up. As I walked to my car that night I realized I regretted it and I had made a mistake."

Bates said the city didn't mean to offend anyone in the armed forces and the focus should have been on the war not the troops.

The letter was originally approved in January and has not been sent.

City officials said they got a flood of e-mails, many asking them to reconsider their position.
Councilmembers have said they would replace the "intruder item" with words expressing their support for the troops but not the war in Iraq.
The Republican plan would give the funds, intended for a school lunch program, UC Berkeley and ferry service, to the Marines instead.
"Patriotic American taxpayers won't sit quietly while Berkeley insults our brave Marines," said one of the senators.
The recruiting center opened about a year ago and quickly became a target of anti-war protesters including the group Code Pink.
Last week the council passed resolutions giving Code Pink a place to park out front. Some have said that meant the city giving was giving the group a place to continuously protest the Marines.
"What we're doing is we're announcing a bill that we intend to get on the floor to strip transportation from the city of Berkeley," said East Bay Republican Assemblyman Guy Houston. "What they have done in Berkeley is they have set aside a parking spot and in my opinion a public right of way, a public transportation corridor, specifically for a private organization -- in this case Code Pink -- to harass and annoy the United States Marine Corps and their recruiting efforts. We think that playing around and having an agenda with the public right of way is subject to ramifications. There is $2.3 million in proposition 1B transportation dollars. We think that should be in jeopardy."
Others on the Berkeley City Council seemed quite firm on their stance, NBC11's Christie Smith reported.
Sen. Barbara Boxer and Rep. Barbara Lee said they plan to fight the Republican bill.
Code Pink announced they would have what they called a "24-hour peace-in" leading up to Tuesday's city council meeting. They will be camping out but will have a lot of company. A group of pro-troop protesters will also be there.
"I was under the impression that we have the right of free speech," said Xanne Joi of Code Pink. "To me, I thought free speech meant you get to say what you want without recrimination."
Group members have made their organization infamous by intentionally getting arrested at protests and congressional hearings.
SLIDESHOW: Code Pink Images
An Olive Branch
Berkeley City Councilman Gordon Wozniak extended an olive branch to the Marines. He went to breakfast with a recruiter Thursday morning.
"Berkeley is supposed to celebrate diversity and free speech and we welcome homeless people here. We welcome illegal immigrants. We give them sanctuary. We should welcome the Marines. I mean they're basically dedicating their lives to protect their country."
Wozniak said he does not support the harsh language of the letter to the Marines originally authorized by the city.
Ann Cooper with the Berkeley Unified School District wants both sides to play nice.
"Senators sitting 3,000 miles away are trying to take food away from the children of Berkeley," said Cooper. "Why? Because the Marines and the city aren't playing nice -- and that's just not OK."

Friday, February 1, 2008

Support for the Marines of Berkeley

The story below is one of such disgrace that I had to show it here. I pity the people involved. They don't realize what sort of disgust they are bringing toward themselves because of this. What sort of horrid depravity do these people live in?

Find the original article here.

Berkeley council tells Marines to leave
By Doug Oakley
Article Launched: 01/30/2008 01:48:16 PM PST

Hey-hey, ho-ho, the Marines in Berkeley have got to go.
That's the message from the Berkeley City Council, which voted 6-3 Tuesday night to tell the U.S. Marines that its Shattuck Avenue recruiting station "is not welcome in the city, and if recruiters choose to stay, they do so as uninvited and unwelcome intruders."
In addition, the council voted to explore enforcing its law prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation against the Marines because of the military's don't ask, don't tell policy. And it officially encouraged the women's peace group Code Pink to impede the work of the Marines in the city by protesting in front of the station.
In a separate item, the council voted 8-1 to give Code Pink a designated parking space in front of the recruiting station once a week for six months and a free sound permit for protesting once a week from noon to 4 p.m.
Councilman Gordon Wozniak opposed both items.
The Marines have been in Berkeley for a little more than a year, having moved from Alameda in December of 2006. For about the past four months, Code Pink has been protesting in front of the station.
"I believe in the Code Pink cause. The Marines don't belong here, they shouldn't have come here, and they should leave," said Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates after votes were cast.
A Marines representative did not respond to requests for comment.
The resolution telling the Marines they are unwelcome and directing the city attorney to explore issues of sexual orientation discrimination was brought to the council by the city's Peace and Justice commission.
The recommendation to give Code Pink a parking space for protesting and a free sound permit was brought by council members Linda Maio and Max Anderson.
Code Pink on Wednesday started circulating petitions to put a measure on the November ballot in Berkeley that would make it more difficult to open military recruiting offices near homes, parks, schools, churches libraries or health clinics. The group needs 5,000 signatures to make the ballot.
Even though the council items passed, not everyone is happy with the work of Code Pink. Some employees and owners of businesses near the Marines office have had enough of the group and its protests.
"My husband's business is right upstairs, and this (protesting) is bordering on harassment," Dori Schmidt told the council. "I hope this stops."
An employee of a nearby business who asked not to be identified said Wednesday the elderly Code Pink protesters are aggressive, take up parking spaces, block the sidewalk with their yoga moves, smoke in the doorways, and are noisy.
"Most of the people around here think they're a joke," the woman said.
Wozniak said he was opposed to giving Code Pink a parking space because it favors free speech rights of one group over another.
"There's a line between protesting and harassing, and that concerns me," Wozniak said. "It looks like we are showing favoritism. We have to respect the other side, and not abuse their rights. This is not good policy."
Ninety-year-old Fran Rachel, a Code Pink protester who spoke at the council meeting, said the group's request for a parking space and noise permit was especially important because the Marines are recruiting soldiers who may die in an unjust war.
"This is very serious," Rachel said. "This isn't a game; it's mass murder. There's a sickness of silence of people not speaking out against the war. We have to do this."
Anderson, a former Marine who said he was "drummed out" of the corps when he took a stand against the Vietnam War, said he'd love to see the Marines high tale it out of town.
"We are confronted with an organization that can spend billions of dollars on propaganda," Anderson said. "This is not Okinawa here; we're involved in a naked act of aggression. If we can provide a space for ordinary people to express themselves against this kind of barbarity, then we should be doing it."
E-mail Doug Oakley at