June 12, 2010

our military might

click photo for full-size image
photo by Donald Kinney

Oh gosh, when I saw the little plastic nose of this Sidewinder missile I knew I was going to have to strongly resist telling you a long and complicated story about my experience of launching one of these bad-boys while I was going through Army training at Fort Bliss, Texas, in 1969.

click photo for full-size image
photo by Donald Kinney

To make a long story short, I was drafted in 1969 and instead of getting sent to Vietnam I somehow lucked out and was assigned to the Chaparral missile crew-member training program (Army AIT). The Chaparral is exactly the same as the Sidewinder (((shown in the top photo))) but it is designed to be fired from the ground on a fancy mobile platform with the operator sitting in a revolving plexiglas domed enclosure surrounded by a cluster of four missiles at the ready to lock on to their target and be rocketed off their rails. Woosh...

The Chaparral and Sidewinder are "heat seeking missiles", meaning that once locked on to the infared heat signal of the target (((the tailpipe of a jet))) the missile will independently fly itself right into the target. It almost never misses, although it does a good deal of "snaking-around" in the sky, hence the name Sidewinder.

click photo for full-size image
photo by Donald Kinney

The military understands bombs and missiles to a level never before achieved by man. It is very, very, very good at blowing-up and irradiating stuff.

click photo for full-size image
photo by Donald Kinney

And over the years the military has spent a bloody fortune on the latest and greatest designs. Boys need their toys...

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Brad said...

Hey Don... Were those taken on the deck of the Hornet in Alameda? Have a feeling more are coming up seeing the plates at the top. As always, your photos and stories are always a nice trip down memory lane for me.

I haven't been there in years. For me it was a great place to explore looking for spooky stuff and weird light...

AphotoAday said...

The first and fourth photos were taken on the Hornet, and the second and third photos were taken of that jet in the middle of the road at the entrance to the area.

Lots of photo ops onboard the USS Hornet -- and yep, I've got to get in and do some Photoshopping because that's where we're headed tomorrow.

Jane said...

Really nice interior shots. I work near there and have never been. Makes me want to go there now. I bet the "weird light" in your photos makes it look way better than in real-time.

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