Tuesdays Quick Hits

Coming to you, Coronavirus free, from deep inside an underground bunker in Montana that is also the worldwide headquarters of The Western Word.

Here are the topics for today:

  • Montana Air National Guard
  • Tenth Democratic Debate
  • One More Thing

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Caught My Eye…

Welcome to “Caught My Eye” where clowns are to the left of me and jokers are to the right! That means everyone and everything is fair game…

If you are a first-time visitor, “Caught My Eye” is posted here every Friday morning! This is when I take a look at some of the stories I did not have time to write about during the week. Sometimes I throw in a touch of sarcasm to make you smile, or to irritate you just a little. Maybe both!

Today I write about C-130s/RED HORSE and the Montana Congressional delegation, the new VA Montana Director, District Judge Kenneth Neill, Net Neutrality, Gov. Scott Walker, Bill O’Reilly, the dress, House of Cards, plus we have a winner who is Making Montana Proud!

Buckle up…

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Thursday Numbers

Welcome to “Thursday Numbers” – the spring break edition! Let’s be careful out there!

If you are a first-time visitor, “Thursday Numbers” is the column where I take a look at the numbers that are in the news (in descending order) and provide commentary (sometimes spiked with a little sarcasm).

This week I write about Michael Bloomberg, Matt Rosendale, Steve Daines, John Walsh, Ryan Zinke, federal employees, unemployment, Hustler magazine, Reince Priebus, al Qaeda, Glamour’s Sexiest Men, Ford Mustang, Tea Party rallies, NBA playoffs, C-130 cargo planes, Steve Bullock, and much more!

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Caught My Eye…

Welcome to “Caught My Eye!”

Here at The Western Word, we’re always looking out for you, so here’s a friendly reminder to set your clocks ahead this Sunday morning! I found out the other day that you don’t have to get up at 2:00 a.m. to do it either!

If you are a first-time visitor, “Caught My Eye” is posted right here every Friday morning! This is when I take a quick look at some of the stories I did not have time to write about during the week. I often throw in a touch of sarcasm just to make you smile – or to irritate you just a little.

Today I write about Ryan Zinke and the complaint, John Lewis, Mansfield-Metcalf dinner, the Daines family, the 564th Missile Squadron, C-130s, Pryor/Cotton senate race, the Book to Buy, Stillwater Mining Company, upskirting, plus we have a winner who is making Montana proud!

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Thursday Numbers

Welcome to the first “Thursday Numbers” of March!

If you are a first-time visitor, “Thursday Numbers” is the column where I take a look at the numbers that are in the news (in descending order) and provide commentary (sometimes spiked with a little sarcasm).

This week I write about Mega Millions, unemployment, asteroid, Cronkite, sexual and violent offender roundup, Michelle Obama, Walter Williams, western Montana priests, Air Force Academy, another vote to repeal Obamacare, obesity & skinny jeans, a joyride, C-130 cargo planes, the Debo Adegbile vote, John Walsh, John Lewis, and much more!

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Montana: The Sound of Silence

The last three F-15 jets left Great Falls on Thursday (October 24) around 10:30 a.m. It was a historical moment in the history of Montana Air National Guard as jets have been assigned there since 1947. I watched the F-15s give us one more show as they flew in formation over their former home. Then they accelerated and, as if to say goodbye, they rattled my windows and dishes in the cabinet one more time – which brought a smile to my face.

The jets then disappeared over the horizon heading for a very warm welcome in California.

Their departure was a decisive win for Fresno, California, (where they were headed) and a devastating loss for Great Falls and the state of Montana.

Looking down the yellow brick road of promises, Montana is promised a few C-130 cargo planes. Maybe in the spring of 2014. Maybe not. It does not matter; you can’t duplicate the sound of freedom with a cargo plane.

Montana did not need to lose its fighter mission.

The only thing that delayed their departure was the government shutdown, but I was hoping that an elected official or someone would step up and fight for them. It did not happen. Frankly, it was an embarrassing time for Montana’s elected officials. They should be ashamed they let the Department of Defense (DoD) get away with it. No matter how much they proclaim they fought to keep the jets, it was not enough. No matter how much they proclaim the cargo planes are great for Montana, they aren’t.

It was on the watch of Senators Baucus and Tester, Representative Daines, and Governor Bullock that Montana lost the jets – a mission that Montana had in one form or another for over 60 years.

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Fresno Won

While the Montana Air National Guard (MANG) held a briefing yesterday about the first F-15 leaving Montana and heading to Fresno, California, the folks in Fresno held a celebration when the first F-15 arrived from Montana.

When you’re winning you can have a celebration, so pop the cork on that bottle of bubbly, Fresno – your leaders beat Montana’s leaders in the fight for jets.

More F-15s are on the way to Fresno with the last planes leaving Montana by October. That means Montana will not be a “fighter unit” for the first time in about 66 years – 66 years.

The local newspaper and television station have stories about the briefing and the move. You can read the Great Falls Tribune story HERE. KRTV (CBS) has a nice package that you can read/watch HERE.

As a consolation, Montana is “scheduled” to have eight C-130 cargo planes by next spring. Montana is also scheduled to lose about 80 jobs according to the Great Falls Tribune, “but not as many as originally on the table, according to spokeswomen for Sens. Jon Tester and Max Baucus” which is a nice way to “spin” the loss of jobs that happened on their watch. Continue reading

Losing Jets and Jobs

A few days ago the Great Falls Tribune published a story titled, “Mission change progresses for Montana Air National Guard” (MANG) in which we learned that the F-15 Eagle jets at the Montana Air National Guard are on schedule to leave Montana this summer, and C-130 cargo planes are due to arrive later in the year, possibly in the October – December timeframe.

In other words, it looks like the MANG will be without any planes for at least a few months. Montana military supporters should be nervous as we play the bureaucratic waiting game, possibly waiting for the leftovers from the Department of Defense.

When this is all completed, apparently this will be the first time the MANG will be without some variation of a Fighter jet since 1947. 1947 was the first year of Meet the Press and Howdy Doody (which to some is probably the same thing).

So, Montana is losing their J-E-T-S. Jets, jets, JETS! They are supposedly being replaced with cargo planes. Some people I’ve visited with about the loss of jets and the gain of cargo planes look like they have that gagging feeling in their throats when they say, “C-130.”   Continue reading

MANG F-15s: One Last Shot

The Great Falls Tribune, citing a Pentagon spokesperson, is reporting that the Montana Air National Guard’s (MANG) F-15s will all be gone by early 2014. They are heading to California. The first F-15s will begin leaving in the next three months according to the Tribune report.

C-130 cargo planes will be replacing the F-15s. According to the Tribune they will start arriving in early 2014.

The move to C-130s is not sitting well with some in the state.

The Western Word was provided a copy of a letter sent to the three members of the Montana Congressional delegation and the Governor from three retired Brigadier Generals who served as commanders in the Montana Air National Guard.   Continue reading

MT Flying Missions: Three things…

Happy April Fools’ Day! Although I wish the following column was a joke, it’s not.

The Montana Congressional delegation (U.S. Senators Max Baucus, Jon Tester, and U.S. Representative Steve Daines) along with Governor Steve Bullock signed a letter that was sent last week to the Secretary of the Air Force Michael Donley regarding flying missions at the Montana Air National Guard (MANG).

The Western Word was provided a copy of the letter from a source who follows defense and military issues closely in Montana and across the country. I like to share, so you can read it by clicking on this link:  MT Delegation Letter.

In their letter, the Congressional delegation and the Governor mentioned three things that concern them:

First, they would like C-130J aircraft assigned to MANG before the F-15s are transferred. C-130s are transport or cargo planes and F-15s are fighter jets. They would also like the C-130Js assigned to MANG instead of C-130H1 aircraft because they are newer. Second, they are concerned about the projected loss of personnel (approximately 90 slots) with the C-130 mission replacing the F-15 mission. Third, they are concerned there will not be adequate storage “to house and properly maintain these aircraft” so they would like some funding reprogrammed to build storage facilities for the cargo planes.  Continue reading