Remember the revolutionary “Rotary Engine” with which MAZDA Automotive toyed so unsuccessfully? They launched their first rotary-powered autos back in 1967 using the revolutionary new non-reciprocating (non-conventional) power plant invented in the early 1950s by German engineer Felix Wankel.
The engine was truly unique: It had very few moving parts when compared to the conventional piston-engined autos of the day: It was not just simpler in design, but much smaller, lighter per horsepower output, and smoother in operation, BUT more costly and inefficient in respect to fuel economy than the conventional engines with which it competed. There were so many issues with the Rotary Engine over its years of production, that Mazda, in 2012, dropped its use altogether in its production lineup.
But, today, the entire future of the basic rotary engine appears to be showing amazing new possibilities altogether, the direct result of a relatively new R & D firm located in Bloomfield, Connecticut called LIQUIDPISTON. Its new Rotary hybrid cycle engine is called the “X-Mini.” Its new rotary X-Mini engine employs a patented Thermodynamic Cycle. Instead of the hundreds of parts involved in producing power in a conventional piston engine, the X-Mini has only two (2) principal moving parts. LiquidPiston boasts 10 times more power-to-weight ratio with a 30% greater overall efficiencywhen compared to conventional piston engines.
A Honda single-cylinder 49cc piston engine alongside a 70cc X-mini Rotary Engine
A standard 35 HP diesel engine (left) next to LiquidPiston’s 40HP diesel engine (right)
The engine is capable of using a variety of different fuels, including modern Jet A (aviation) or JB-8 fuel, ordinary diesel, as well as other grades of popular gasoline. In short, this reinvented Wankel rotary has apparently overcome the many problems of its predecessors. It employs what LIQUIDPISTON calls “compression ignition,” which is how standard diesel engines obtain their power . . . without the need for spark plugs. The company has moved through three (3) prototypes of its unique engine, all proof-of-principle motors, models 1X, 2X, and 4X. These models have been made in two horse-power rated configurations: 40 and 70 HP.
Here are two versions of the Mini-X engine: The one on the left is air-cooled and at right is a liquid-cooled version.
The firm is proud of its ability to obtain a 1.5 HP per Pound ratio, which is remarkable by any measure. since typical general aviation aircraft powerplants are only seen as obtaining 0.68 HP per Pound ratios. – – – or, in another way of perceiving the difference: LIquidPiston’s X-Minis are more than twice as powerfulper pound of engine weight than are their conventionally powered piston competitors. The U. S. Army has already awarded a contract to the young company for power supply units for some of the artillery weapons (see the below photo).
The Compact Artillery Power System (CAPS) generator unit powers the digital fire control system on an M777 Howitzer artillery piece.
Clearly, the below video shows how the Army and Marine Corps might also see fit to use the LiquidPiston-powered new hybrid (Rotary AND Electric powered) drones.
The below short video (4:04 minutes) shows LIQUIDPISTON’s new Rotary powered Drone in Flight. Remember to open the video to full or hi-resolution size by clicking the small Full Size icon in the lower right of the image.
The Columbus Historical Society (CHS) just kicked off the new year with a detailed presentation by Professor Andy Hernandez of Western New Mexico University (WNMU). This event was the first held under the newly elected officers and drew an audience from not just Columbus, but also from Deming, NM. The event’s presenter was arranged by Dr. Kathleen Martin, the Society’s Historian.
The entire: 35-minute PowerPoint presentation by Dr. Hernandez is included below, as are some photos taken at the event. The lecture focused on some aspects of what took place during the raid on Columbus, which entailed the First Aero Squadron’s engagement in the Punitive Expedition, but focused primarily on the overall dynamics of the then-ongoing Mexican Revolution, particularly as to its impact on South Texas, but of course included the Mexican rebel leaders, one of which was Pancho Villa, whose raid on Columbus caused the deployment of the First Aero Squadron in what became known as the Punitive Expedition. That expedition was instigated as the direct result of President Woodrow Wilson’s orders to bring Pancho Villaback – – – either dead or alive.
THE PLAN DE SAN DIEGO: Insurgency and Violence in South Texas During the Mexican Revolution. * See the end of the post for a PDF copy of Dr. Hernandez’s paper on this topic.
Dr. Hernandez explained at the outset that the title had nothing to do with San Diego, CA, but rather a small Texas town of the same name. Many Mexican revolutionaries, including some Tejanos, were in hopes of regaining – or returning – depending upon which side of the Tex-Mex border they lived, much of the then-current U.S. Southwestern territories that were previously part of their homeland.
The Plan de San Diego was actually a bold manifesto that called for an uprising against the United States government on the 20th of February, 1915. The document was, in essence, a call for racial strife and chaos in order to help facilitate the return of the Southwestern U. S. to Mexico.
Some of the most violent characteristics of the plot were the intended killing of North Americans over the age of sixteen to free the Black and Hispanic population from “Yankee tyranny.” Needless to say, as Dr. Hernandezillustrated, while he turned the pages of the era’s history for his audience, this HIstpanic-American call for wanton violence and mayhem created massive distrust among many neighbors in Texas itself – – – and threw the state into all sorts of internal political turmoil.
Fortunately for Texas, a copy of the plot’s plan was uncovered before it could take effect, enabling the Governor of Texas, then Oscar Colquitt to take remedial action to thwart the planned insurrection. His successor in office, Governor James Ferguson, was left to deal with the continued political duress and strife that the Plan de San Diego triggered.
Even the Texas Rangers entered the dynamic, and demonstrated their own brand of corruption and racist behavior, seriously tarnishing their reputation. Some of these Rangers wantonly murdered hundreds of often innocent Mexican-Americans solely based upon their ethnicity.
Another key figure in the tensions and actual violence in the pre-WWI period in the border region was Army General,Frederick Funston, who in 1914 took over the Army occupation forces in Vera Cruz, Mexico, and soon began the serious job of administering the city. This was no small chore because that Mexican port city was known for being an unsanitary and disease-ridden metropolis. As soon as the U. S. withdrew from Vera Cruz,General Funston repositioned his troops on the Texas, New Mexican, and Arizona borders to protect the states from any spillover from the ongoing turmoil of the by-then full-blown Mexican Revolution.
In time, so much Texas economic and social turmoil had resulted from the exposure of the violent Plan de San Diego, and its plot’s instigators and followers, that the Federal government took remedial action to quell the chaos by the assignment of the U.S. Army and some of its National Guard troops to the area to help restore law and order: ie General Funston’smajor role. When General “Black Jack” Pershing was later given command of the Punitive Expedition, his direct commander was Gen. Funston.
Although the Plan de San Diego plot did not fulfill its intended purposes, it did leave the area with significant scars in regard to much worsened interracial and Anglo-American vs Tejano relations for many years to come. There was still active segregation in Texas well into the mid-1960s. Your webmaster lived there for several years and remembers this blight all too well.
To see any of the below photos in high resolution or full size, just click on them.
Dr. Kathleen Martin introduces Professor Andy Hernandez to the audience. Watching at right are, Steven Zobeck,seated, and Shirley Garber, the CHS’s new President.
Seated above asDr. Hernandezreadied to give his presentation are, L to R:Jim Tyo, Steven Zobeck, Ron Wize,Gordon Taylor, Librarian Maria Constantine, Retired Luna County Chamber of Commerce Director, Mary Galbraith, Columbus Vice MayorBill Johnson, Carol Crumb, Shirley Garber, andDaniella Sandoval.
Dr. Andy Hernandez describes some further reading for those interested in following up on his lecture’s topic.
Professor Hernandezanswers some questions about his citation of recommended additional reading sources.
Center in the cap,Steven Zobeck asks Dr. Hernandez some questions . . . Marilyn Steffen at left in a gray jacket, and Shirley Garber, at far right, listens intently to Steven’squery about the German role in the Revolution.
Dr. Hernandez experienced an especially attentive audience of history enthusiasts, without one person not paying full attention to his flow of often newly encountered historical facts about the Mexican Revolution – – – and its effect on the U.S.
Dr. Hernandezproduced more references for his audience for those who would like to continue their research into this subject of the Mexican Revolution and its profound effect on our border states, in particular South Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona.
The New CHS Leadership officially thanks the season’s first speaker. L to R above: Leonard Steward, Treasurer; Jim Tyo, VP; Daniella Sandoval, Secretary; Dr. Andy Hernandez; Dr. Kathleen Martin, Historian; and new the CHS President, Shirley Garber.
Click on the lower right-hand corner ‘FullScreen’ icon to see the video in its full size
The following story is a courtesy tip from Mike Mangino (at left), an Architect from Phoenix, AZ, and an aviation news scout for the FASF.
Mikeserved in the USAF’s Arizona Air National Guard, so knows his way around the aviation world.
This post is what’s behind a great book for any aviation buff and enthusiast’s Christmas list, albeit a tad late for on-time delivery for your stocking-stuffing ceremony. Here’s the scoop: The book is written by a highly successful former US Marine Corps fighter pilot named Bob Moriarty, who later became an investment guru as well as an author.
Here’s a short introduction to Bob’sbackground:
Bob Moriartywas a Marine F-4B pilot at the age of only twenty and a veteran of over 820 missions in Viet Nam. Becoming a Captain in the Marines at just 22, he was one of the most highly decorated pilots in the war.
He went on to ferry General Aviation aircraft all over the world for 15 years with over 240 over-the-water deliveries. He holds 14 International Aviation records including Lindbergh’s record for time between New York to Paris in two different categories.
In 1996 he began an online computer business on the internet with his wife Barbara becoming one of the early adopters of the Internet. Convinced gold and silver were at a bottom in 2001,Boband Barbara started one of the first websites devoted to teaching readers what they need to know about investing in resource stocks. They now operate two resource sites, 321Gold.com and 321Energy.com where up to 100,000 people a day visit. Bob travels to dozens of mining projects a year and then writes about them.
Now, here’s more background from a post on his own investment site, “321gold” along with a photo and promo for his book:
REMEMBER TO CLICK ON ANY PHOTO TO SEE IT FULL-SIZE IN HI-RESOLUTION
No Guts No Glory Cover
I’ve done a lot of things in my life. My readers on 321Gold do not know all of them. From 1974 until 1986 I delivered new small planes to destinations all over the world. I mean little tiny, sometimes Cessna 172 size planes, to places from South Africa or Australia or Europe. We would pick them up from the factory, load them with internal fuel tanks, and off we went.
Delivering small planes over big oceans was easily the most dangerous job in the world. Every year about ten percent of ferry pilots were killed one way or another. When I was doing it, the aviation industry was booming with almost 20,000 aircraft manufactured a year. There were never more than fifty pilots in the world at one time who made a living delivering small general aviation aircraft.
Alas, a lawsuit after a preventable accident in 1979 literally killed the industry that used to provide ten percent of US exports by dollar value. I point out in the book that the dollar was dropping so fast for a decade that an owner could buy an aircraft, fly it for five years and sell it for more than he paid for it. For a short period in aviation history owning a small plane was an investment rather than an expense.
I got to fly with some of the best pilots in aviation history as well as a bunch of skirt-chasing quasi-drunks barely capable of taking off much less landing safely. I will say that without exception the 5-10% of ferry pilots who were women were across the board more professional and better pilots than the males.
I actually wrote this book about thirty-five years ago and frankly because I am lazy at heart, I never got around to proofreading and editing the book. But both Lulu and Amazon now have the ability to produce a professional-looking hardback book for anyone who can create a document file, I finally got off my ass and finished it.
I’ve done about ten books in the last decade ranging from short very funny fiction set in Cornwall for Barbara to serious tomes on combat and investing. This book, No Guts, No Glory,is one that most people interested in aviation and aviation history will find engaging. It’s a great gift for anyone interested in one of the most unusual areas of aviation history.
It’s only $19.99 and frankly in today’s world that is cheap for a good hardback. If you wouldn’t enjoy reading an aviation adventure story told by someone who lived it, you probably know someone who would appreciate it.
As a relatively new airplane at the time, it proved to be a comfortable and economical aircraft for our family. With a four-place cabin and a six-cylinder Continental O-300 engine, it easily cruised at steady speeds of over 125 MPH. We lived in Phoenix, Arizona, and often flew out to Los Angeles, CA for weekends or business.
The trip was usually about 3 easy flight hours from start to finish and the fuel costs were equivalent to those one had to pay to drive an ordinary four-door sedan on the identical trip. But it took a full day’s 8 or more hours to make the same journey by car.
Airline trips to Los Angeles took MORE time, because of the wait at the airports before departure, and the wait after arrival. Furthermore, in the Cessna 170B, we could fly directly to any town’s smaller airport near LA where we had our business or other activities. On the other hand, the airlines only flew into the larger commercial airports such as either LAX or the Burbank airport, and those airports were rarely close to where we needed to go.
In any event, this story and video surprised me insofar as they showed an entirely different sort of utility for which the same model aircraft might be used. And yet the airplane is now some 70 years old!
Here we go: Let’s watch “The Most Highly Modified Cessna in the World!” It’s just over 16 minutes long. I know this particular airplane from stem to stern, but had no idea, when modified this way, it was capable of almost flying at only 20 MPH airspeed – – – without stalling! Seeing is believing. Watch this remarkable 70-year-old Cessna 170B do the impossible.
If you would like to learn how to get this level of unusual performance out of your own Cessna 170, then you can take advanced BUSH training from the school: BUSH AIR is located at the Kidwell Airport (1L4) Cal Nev Ari, Nevada, USA. Their phone number is: (928) 460-3987. The video is thanks to the pilot, Larry, who posted it and who runs this interesting site: Back Country 182 in Washington state. Tel: 206-453-9116
On October 6, Colonel Mario Campos, (L) USAF Retired, past Flight Captain of the General Nichols Flight of the Daedalians in nearby El Paso, briefed his fellow aviators about the last 75-year history of small arms weapons and their legacy in the Air Force. After his PowerPoint-supported talk, his audience agreed they learned things they never knew, even when on active duty. Remember to simply click on any photo below to see it in full resolution and full size. 2 short videos (A brief 1:00 minute long highlight, and a 10-min. cut of his one-hour presentation, follow below the still photographs.
Col. Bob Pitt, right above, helps the Service Staff plan the upcoming luncheon. His wife, Julie is 2nd from Left.
L to R: Pete Brandon, Virg Hemphill, Jerry Dixon, and Roger Springstead, look over the Ft. Bliss Club’s menus.
L to R: Pete Brandonshows Virg Hemphill some photos on his phone.
Retired Naval Aviator, Roger Springstead, Flight 24’s Chaplain, intently listens to Virg Hemphill and Jerry Dixon.
L to R: Col. Melissa Fisherand her husband, Col. Alan Fisher, look over some photos of Col. Campos’.
Flight 24’s Captain, Col. Alan Fisher, opens the luncheon meeting.
L to R – foreground: Judy Campos chats with her husband, Col. Mario Campos. At the rear, in green and black, is Daedalian Army Aviator widow, Connie Sullivan.
The scheduled speaker for this Luncheon was canceled, so Colonel Mario Camposstepped in with his PowerPoint Presentation about the history of Air Force small arms, entitled, “75 years of USAF Small Arms.”
The following description of the presentation was written by Colonel Bob Pitt.
Mario began by pointing out that while the Air Force has a rich and well-documented history of its major weapon systems since its birth in 1947, little has been written on the small arms the Air Force has used during that period. He also pointed out that the Air Force has been instrumental in the acquisition of small arms that have had an impact on all the other services. He limited the discussion to personal arms and excluded crew-employed machine guns, light machine guns, mortars, handheld rockets, and so on.
He described the period of 1947-1956 which included the transition of the Army to Air Force small arms. He went over the history of the M1 Carbine and the Colt M1911A1 as the primary weapons adopted by the Army during this period. He also covered the M1 Garand, but primarily of its use as an Air Force competition and ceremonial weapon.
Mario then transitioned to the 1956-1990 period by highlighting some unique firearms like the .22 Hornet M4 and .22/.410 M6 Survival rifles. He then went on to give the history of the Air Force’s transition to the Smith and Wesson “Combat Masterpiece” .38 Special and the Snub-Nosed .38 Special as the Air Force’s primary handguns for Security Forces (Police) – and Aircrews.
Colonel Campos then described the Air Force’s role in acquiring one of the legendary battle rifles still in use today . . . the M16. He described how Gen Curtis LeMay was the first of the service chiefs to recognize the value of the weapon and, after being initially rebuffed, it was the Secretary of Defense, Robert McNamara, who ordered all services to use the M-16.
Mario also went through the different Air Force versions including the Colt Model 604 (M-16) and the XM177E GAU-5 (M-16 Carbine). He also went over the Air Force’s continuing use of the Remington 870 Shotgun.
Finally, Mario transitioned to 1990 and beyond when the Air Force adopted the M-16A2, Beretta M9 pistol, M4 Carbine, M24 Sniper System, M11 pistol, and now the Sig Sauer M18 pistol and the HK 417 Designated Marksman Rifle. He ended the presentation with a description of the new Aircrew Survival Weapon, a foldable M4 Carbine that fits in aircrew survival seat kits.
Here, below, are a short video (1 minute) highlight of Colonel Campos’ hour-long presentation, and a 10-minute version. Please excuse the problem with the variation in the lighting in some sections.
“Full-screen” mode won’t work on the first video clip, but it will on the YouTube version.
Considering the size of the USAF, as an amazing coincidence, almost simultaneously, just as we posted her story, the Air Force Academy‘s prestigious Quarterly Magazine for its Alumni Organization, CHECKPOINTS, also printed a parallel feature story about “First” Valentin.
Here, below, is the cover of that issue: (We found out about this coincidence from Col. Alan Fisher, an AF Academy graduate and regular reader of CHECKPOINTS, who excitedly informed your webmaster, that “FIRST” had also just been featured in a distinguished graduate story the same month she was awarded the top LEADER award in her graduating Fighter Class at Holloman. When the Academy CHECKPOINTS staff wrote the article, they didn’t know anything about Captain Valentin’sLeadership award ceremony – nor did we know about their story.
Cover of September 2022 CHECKPOINTS – photo of Cadet 3rd Class Lydia Cella in Combat Survival Training Program
Through the good efforts of two Air Force Academy fellow graduates and long-time FASF members, Alan Fisher and Wes Baker, we were led to the magazine’s Managing Editor, Jeff Holmquist, who gave us the OK to reprint their “First” story. Without further ado, here it is:
[TO VIEW THIS PDF COPY SIMPLY EITHER USE THE “+” SIGN IN THE TOOLBOX AT THE BOTTOM OF THE VIEW YOU SEE OR CLICK ON THE SMALL POPOUT ICON () YOU SEE IN THE UPPER RIGHT-HAND CORNER OF THE VIEWER, WHICH WILL PUT THE PDF INTO YOUR BROWSER FOR VIEWING. OF COURSE, THE THE SCROLLBARS ARE USED IN THE NORMAL WAY]
A little over a week ago the 314th Fighter Squadron (L) at Holloman Air Force Base (HAFB) near Alamogordo, NM, celebrated their latest class of graduates from the F-16 Viper Fighter Pilot program: Class 22-ABH.
As usual, the El Paso-based Flight 24 of the Daedalians was on hand to present their much-coveted Leadership Award to the graduate who demonstrated the finest qualities of leadership among the graduating class’ student pilots.
Luckily, your webmaster was the official presenter at the gala dinner event, and was again pleasantly surprised to discover that the winner in this latest class was – once again – – – a female fighter pilot: Captain Melaine “FIRST” Valentin. She clearly lived up to her official fighter pilot call sign (or “handle” as the pilots prefer), “First!”
Here’s a NEWS UPDATE thanks to one of our old-time FASF members and fellow Daedalian – Col. Alan Fisher,an Air Force Academy Graduate (and Flight Captain of the El Paso Daedalian Flight), about this post’s principle subject: Capt. Melaine Valentin(The below photo is from Col. Fisher’sUSAFA quarterly Magazine “Checkpoints” in which a glowingly upbeat story was just published about Captain Valentin):
Here is “FIRST’s” photo, along with one of her many artistic USAF contributions, a special inspirational boost for her fellow female USAF aviators: Capt. Melaine “FIRST” Valentin, winner of the Daedalian Leadership Award in her 314th Class.
Let’s first start off with the official 22-ABH Class video, produced by class member, Lt. Frank “MinMin” Hippler: (suggest you use the lower right corner button to view the video full screen)
The following photos show the celebratory occasion along with the above class video, and a short clip (of fewer than two minutes in length), which shows the Class Leader, Captain Valentin, acting as the MC for the awarding of commendatory citations to the Squadron’s support staff. (To view any of the below photos in hi-res or HD quality, simply click on them.)
L to R: Mrs. Emily Sanford & Squadron CO, Lt. Col. Kirby Sanford, Daedalians Cols. Alan Fisher, and Mario Campos
L to R: Mrs. Sarah Rich& husband, Chaplain Nicholas Rich chatting with DaedalianColonel Mario Campos.
Another photo of the RicheswithColonel Campos
L to R: Daedalian Flight Captain, Colonel Alan Fisher talking to Major James Hill
L to R: Colonels Campos and Fisher share photos with Major Hill
L to R: Colonel Fisherand Daedalian-FASF Webmaster, Ric Lambart in front of the 314th Squadron Emblem
More Squadron members in discussions with Colonels Fisher and Campos
Time for dinner . . . Colonel Mario Campos at far right above.
Short (1:38) video clip (above) of the graduation event.
Ric Lambart congratulates Captain Melaine ‘First’ Valentin, Class recipient of the Daedalian Leadership Trophy
A pleased Daedalian presenter, Lambart, and newly graduated top class Leader, “First” Valentinpose for one more . . .
Squadron Commander, Col. Kirby Sanford poses with Captain Melaine Valentin, to show her Graduation Certificate
L to R: Maj. Bradford ‘Nightmare’ Waldieat the podium and new graduates: Lieutenants Jesse ‘Donde’ Maese, Chase ‘MinMin’ Hippler, Abby ‘CYA’ Maio, Cody “RNOT’ Donald, Caleb ‘Ocho’ Mathes, Vince ‘Squid’ Sabin, Gerrod ‘MosseJaw’ Smith, Trent ‘PIT’ Meisel,Capt. Melaine ‘FIRST’ Valentin,andLts. Ellis ‘Groot’ Alexander and Nathaniel ‘Peppy’ Welch.
Flight 24 Daedalians (L to R) Alan Fisher, Ric Lambart, andMario Campospose with Top Leadership winner, Melaine “FIRST” Valentin.
Top Class Leader: “FIRST” – From Class Video
Melaine ‘FIRST” atop an F-16 Viper (From “MinMin’s”class video).
Ric Lambart talks with Captain Melaine “FIRST” Valentin about her assignment in Korea.
All of the Class of 22-ABH – “FIRST”is in middle, on the Fuselage
Many thanks for helping with this post go to “MJ” Tucker,Unit Program Coordinator for the 314th FS, Cols. Alan Fisher and Mario Campos for taking some of the photos used, and to Lt. Chase “MinMin” Hippler for creating the exceptionally high-caliber 22-ABH class video, and for letting us use it here, Well done.
Last week’s news had ex-Marine Corps Pilot, FASF news scout, and long-time member, Jerry Dixon (L), on the prowl for some appropriate memories for our WWII Yanks and Queen Elizabeth II’s last flight into the sunset. The video itself was created by “HISTORIC WINGS.“
He found the following short (8 min) video commemorating the B-17, The Rose of York, christened with that name to honor the extremely gracious and hospitable young Princess Elizabeth of York, her very first Royal Title. Here, below, is that memory in video form. This first image of the video will play in a separate window, one hosted by YouTube, itself. The second image will show the video right here on the FASF site.
Video in memory of the long reigning Queen of England, The Rose of York.
To see this film embedded right here, just click the following image. We strongly recommend you open the screen view to full size in order to properly enjoy the experience:
Here below are some more photos of the Royal event with the 306th Bomb Group’s Rose of York saga: Photo of Book Cover “Rose of York” written by Clarence Simonsen
A grainy but nice close-up of the Rose of York nose art with the Princess and her father, the King. Two things are evident here – the nose art was very professionally done and the Princess was a very beautiful young lady at 18 years.
This photo was taken from the base tower of the entire ceremony as it took place in front of the hangar.
And, here’s another interesting twist in a 78-year-old WWII story: The return of the Rose of Yorkin modern times. Rose of York lives on again:
Boeing KC-135R aerial refueling tanker at Pease Air National Guard Base, New Hampshire, 9 September 2009.
The tanker recently was affixed with replica nose art to commemorate the 65th anniversary of the christening of the original Rose of York and the bravery and selfless service of all of her crew members, including her first Aircraft Commander and New Hampshire resident Joseph Couris.
In 1944 Joseph Couris was stationed at Thurleigh Royal Air Force Base near Bedford, England serving as a B-17 Aircraft Commander in the 306th Bombardment Group, 367th Bombardment Squadron of the U.S. Eighth Army Air Force. Tech. Sgt Stephens and Staff Sgt. Johnsonof the NHANG, designed the new decal and all three unit members installed the nose art on the tanker. Photo: 157th Air Refueling Wing NHANG.
Close-up of new Rose of York’s artwork . . . not as complete and polished as the original. Photo by Fergal Goodman
It was almost 40 years ago when the Williams AFB, Arizona Daedalian “Willie” Flight #82 began to give an award to each graduating class of new F-16 Fighter Pilots at Luke Air Force Base(LAFB) (near Phoenix) a highly and much cherished “Leadership” trophy.
NOTE: Click on any photographs to see them in full (high) resolution on a separate page.
Above: F-16 Viper takes off for a mission.
The Training staff would vote for the student who displayed the greatest leadership qualities. When that LAFB F-16 VIPER training program was transferred to Holloman AFB (HAFB) near Alamogordo, NM, the pleasant duty of presenting each class’s Daedalian Leadership Award fell upon the El Paso, Texas Daedalians’ Flight 24.
The below 3:12 minute long video gives a glimpse of the F-16 Viper training program, which began at Luke AFB, AZ, and is now carried on at Holloman.
All members of El Paso Flight 24 are long-time FASF members, which is why the FASF posts each of those HAFB Viper Graduation Ceremonies right here, whenever possible.
This post’s headline above refers to the two amazing coincidences that took place at each of the last two graduations at Holloman: The most recent one was on August 20th, and before that, on May 21st of this year.
A few weeks ago the honored awardee of the Leadership prize was a new female fighter pilot, Captain Nicole L. “Clump” Palyok (Below) – – – Go to the end of the post to read Captain Palyok’s short biography.*
Flight 24 had awarded that same achievement trophy to its very first female fighter pilot over five (5) years ago; Lt. Claire “Harry” Bieber. The now Captain Bieber is only the second part of the event’s coincidences. The most astounding component of the coincidences began with what actually took place last May when the top Leader graduate was Captain Mark “GEF3” Palyok. (Below)
Captain Mark Palyok’s8th Tactical Fighter Squadron Graduation Program Photo
Were they brother and sister? No, rather a husband and wife. And, after their graduation, both will be stationed in Japan – – – and at the same location: Misawa Air Base.
Of course, the odds of this happening are beyond minuscule, but it did take place. And your webmaster was privileged to witness this amazing coincidence unfold.
The other astounding small-world coincidence concerning these two female Fighter Pilots is that your Webmaster sat next to Lt. Colonel Jim Hayward and his wife during the 311th TFS graduation dinner just four weeks ago.
When I mentioned to Colonel Hayward that there was only one other female that had been selected as a graduating squadron’s top leader – – – and that that award had been presented by me five years ago. The Colonel inquired about that female awardee’s name.
He was quite surprised. Not only did he know her, but he said, “She was my ‘wingman’ in Afghanistan!“
The Colonel then went on to assert that she was the finest, a ‘wingman’ who was among the best pilots he’d experienced, one that he knew always “had his back” . . . in short, “She was great!”
So, without further ado, let’s see the characters involved in these two coincidences (follow the link above to see all about Capt. Bieber).
Last May 21st was when Captain Mark Palyok was awarded the Daedalian Leadership Trophy by long-time FASF member and current Daedalian Flight 24 Captain, Colonel Alan Fisher:
Col. Alan Fishercongratulates Capt. Mark Palyok on his achievements
L to R: Col. Bob Pitt, Col. Alan Fisher, Capt. Mark Palyok, Ric Lambart, and Col. Miles “Cowboy” Crowell
That evening, Col. Miles “Cowboy” Crowell,Daedalian, explained the Vietnam Era“River Rat” Award
Colonel Crowellcongratulates Lt. David “Souper” Cooper, recipient of the River Rat Award
And now, let’s pick up the next Palyok event, Here, below, are the photos from that Graduation:
Colonel Fisher presents the Leadership Trophy to Captain Nicole “Clump” Palyok.
Colonel Fisherexplains the significance of the award from the Daedalians to the audience as Capt. Palyok listens.
The evening’s graduates stand on stage at the end of the ceremonies. L to R above are Capt. Timothy Crain, Lt. William Tatum, Capt. Palyok, Capt. Phill Warden, Guest Speaker Major (Ret.) T. O. Hanford, Lt. Isaiah Butcher, Lt. Eliot Shapleigh, Capt. Nicholas Reisch, Lt. Austin Good, Lt. Connor Davis,and Lt. David Louthan.
The Graduates removed their Dress Uniform jackets to reveal their traditional “Party Shirts” in readiness for the celebratory session. L to R above are Lt. William Tatum, Lt. Isaiah Butcher, Capt. Nicholas Reisch, Capt Phill Warden, and our star for the evening, Capt. Nicole Palyok.
Ric Lambart, Col. Alan Fisher, Col. Mario Campos, Nicole Palyok,Colonels Bob Pitt, and “Cowboy”Crowell.
Chatting after the ceremonies are: L to R: Capt. Nicole Palyok, Colonels Bob Pitt and Mario Campos
During the award ceremonies, Col. “Cowboy” Crowellpresented the “River Rat” award to Captain Timothy Crain.
* Nicole grew up in an Air Force family moving around her entire life. Her grandpa flew cargo in Vietnam, her dad flew the F-15C fighter, and her brother is a B-1 pilot stationed at Ellsworth SD right now.
So Nicole has 3 generations of pilots in the family which is “pretty awesome.”
She went to college at the University of Virginia where she got a BS in Biology. Originally she was Pre-Med while doing AFROTC, but after giving flying a try for a few hours in a Cessna she decided to apply for a pilot slot.
Nicole was commissioned and moved to Laughlin AFB in Del Rio, TX for Undergraduate Pilot Training (UPT). She stayed there after UPT as a First Assignment Instructor Pilot (FAIP) and taught students how to fly the T-38 for 3 years in the 87th Flying Training Squadron.
That is where she met her husband, Mark Palyok, who was also a T-38 FAIP at the time. Her husband and Nicole moved to Holloman AFB last summer and both went through F-16 training at the same time, though he was two months ahead of his wife’s class.Mark is already out at Misawa AB, Japan, and she will be joining him there in October. They are “very excited to be flying the Viper and to have the opportunity to travel overseas too.”
Nicoleremarked that it was “funny that we both ended up being selected for the (Leadership) award, It was quite an honor.”