Thursday, May 26, 2016

Kenney's Kids

Let's play a word association game. Or name association if you prefer. I'll say a word/name, and you say the first thing that pops into your mind. Ready? Okay, here goes.


Hmmm, very interesting. Most of you who understood SAC to mean not a brown paper container for carrying six packs of beer but Strategic Air Command said "Curtis LeMay."

I'm not surprised. General Curtis E. LeMay, the cigar-chomping combat commander of Eighth Air Force fame who went on to be the architect of Japanese urban renewal as the leader and driving force at XXI Bomber Command, is often said to be the father of SAC. And there's no doubt whatsoever that he put his indelible stamp on the outfit as its commander from 1948-1957.

But he wasn't SAC's first commander, and if a squid may make so bold, he wasn't the father of the Strategic Air Command.

This guy was.
General George C. Kenney S

Recently there was some interesting discussion over at the Chant regarding flag ossifers in today's American unicorned services. The consensus (which I agree with) is that today's U.S. Military Services are awash in a sea of mass-suckage (love that phrase) and that our present military leaders are, in very many (nearly all) cases falling short. We're desperately in need of principled warrior leaders but we're saddled with perfumed political podiatric product pushers.

I don't want to turn this into a George Kenney hagiography. This was intended to be a short post to showcase my crappy photography. I'll see if I can do a proper post on Kenney in the near future. But ladies and gents, this guy was a warrior and a combat leader. And for those who argue that FOGO's can't help it, because after all, they have to be political, let me just offer this. Fifth Air Force under Douglas MacArthur. And he got sent home from France in 1940 for micturating in everyone's cornflakes!

Part of the citation for his first DSC:

For extraordinary heroism in action near Jametz, France, October 9, 1918. This officer gave proof of his bravery and devotion to duty when he was attacked by a superior number of aircraft. He accepted combat, destroyed one plane and drove the others off. Notwithstanding that the enemy returned and attacked again in strong numbers, he continued his mission and enabled his observer to secure information of great military value.

Okay. Enough, for the moment, about "Bust 'Em Up" Kenney. On to the Strategic Air Command Museum near Ashland, Nebraska, which I visited on Saturday with my Mom and brother Justin. I intended to take mucho photographos, but I ended up being a tour guide. Mom and brother were like little kids, amazed at how big and how shiny and how powerful and how cool. And neither know a thing about hairpanes in general, let alone military aviation, let alone SAC's mission and hardware. So I spent three hours 'splaining basic stuff as we walked through the displays. Which was very enjoyable but precluded most of the image making. So I'll have to return to the museum at some point and dedicate a good, solid day to making images. Which is a burden, but I'll find a way to bear up.

Before I roll out the few ratty pictures, here's a short video:

Yeah, baby, J-93!

And some images. Click for more bigger.

LGEN John Hesterman. Official USAF Foto.
SM-65 Atlas ICBM
The mighty Thor IRBM. SBAMA stands for San Bernardino Air Material Area. I rest my case.
The BONE. This one was an early A model. Here it's dressed up like a B.
CT-39 Sabreliner
Down the starboard maw of an FB-111. Those vanes were an attempt to tame the compressor stall of the TF-30. 
F-101B Voodoo
Grumman Iron! An HU-16 Albatross
Hustler. My favorite bomber.
Where the fire comes out of the J-79.
A little worn and weary but still pretty.
MK 36 10MT crowd pleaser.
Navy representation at SAC Museum.
Deuce. Pretty as pretty gets.
As we all know, President George W. Hitler was able to escape the horrors of Veet-Nam by running away to the Deuce.

And that's about it. I'll have more and better in the future, Good Lord willin' an' the creek don't rise.


  1. Wow! The SAC Museum is now indoors???

    When I was there all of the aircraft were outside. That SR-71? I watched her last flight. the crew brought her to Offutt and put on a mini-airshow before coming to earth one last time. Thrilling and sad all at the same time. Looking forward to more!

  2. Yes it is, they moved to Ashland in 1998. I kind of miss the old one at Bellevue but this is nicer. They really do a good job of restoration on a very, very small budget. Definitely worth visiting but not on a time budget!

    That must have been quite a moment to see the last flight of the SR-71. Mom didn't like it, thought it looked sinister.

    1. She never saw it in flight, and I'm not talking in the landing pattern either. It wasn't black where I come from. More of a whitish red glow.

    2. How many people have seen it in that configuration do you suppose? You're one of the fortunate few I imagine.