2nd Amendment to the Constitution of The United States of America

A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

"I ask sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people except for a few politicians."
- George Mason (father of the Bill of Rights and The Virginia Declaration of Rights)

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Flag Day memory

Here's a pic from the early 90's of myself and the (then) Mayor of Napoleon, Ohio, Bob Heft.

Bob Heft (left) and me, circa 1991.  Yes, I rocked the BGC look before hipsters embraced it...

Like many other public officials, Mayor Heft took advantage of public affair programs designed to show government officials that their local national guard troops were indeed worth their confidence (in service and in appropriations) by providing visits to "the field" at Annual Training (AT) periods.  This picture was taken on one such even at Camp Grayling, Michigan when I was assigned to Co B 1-148th Infantry (Mech) which was at the time located in Napoleon.

Bob's claim to fame (other than being mayor of Napoleon where almost every can of Campbell's soup you've ever eaten was made) was that he is given primary credit for designing the 50 star flag which was adopted by presidential proclamation in 1959.  He designed it as part of a project for school in Lancaster, Ohio in 1958.  He originally got a B- on it, but I believe he got it changed to an A+ when it was adopted.  Yeah, adding a couple more stars to the field of 48 was not a major engineering feet...but glad some kid from Ohio did it instead of some unknown bureaucratic in D.C.

President Ike took a look at Bob's design and said "cool"...or that's
how I think it went down.
I didn't meet Bob more than a handful of times while I was the full time administrative NCO for Company B up in Napoleon (about 30 miles Southwest of Toledo).  The times I did meet him he did come across as a slightly larger-than-life character.  He certainly did not shy away from his accomplishment and indeed relished it and the limited fame it provided him as well as opportunities to do public speaking.  Even his business cards as mayor said "designer of the 50 star flag" or something to that affect if I remember right.

Bob was not a single trick pony though, in addition to being Mayor of Napoleon and a public speaker, Bob also taught at both the high school and college level for many years.

Bob passed away in 2009 due to complications from diabetes and heart disease.  He still has patents on flags with 51 through 60 stars, so maybe if Peurto Rico ever decides to finally get on board with the program and become a state...or maybe Canada perhaps Bob will still be remembered years from now as the designer for the 51 or even 52 star flag.

Now for some related hardware info...

As for that vehicle, thats a M901 Improved Tow Vehicle (ITV).  It provides infantry units with a potent anti-tank capability without having to inflate their heads and give them funny cowboy hats and call themselves cavalry.  TOW itself is an acronym for Tube Lauched, Optically Guided, Wire command data link.  Basically, the missile is fired from a tube by a small charge after which the main engine kicks in, the gunner guides the missile by tracking the target using an advanced optical sight and transmits flight corrections to the missile via a thin wire that trails out behind the missile while it heads downrange.   The TOW has been in used since the Vietnam War and has undergone various upgrades.  Despite the fact that its an older weapons system its still in wide use and can be carried (ugh) or mounted on various platforms to include helicoptoer, armored vehicles (like the M901 or the M2 Bradley) or light wheeled vehicles. Last time I was "in the know" we were using the TOW II missile which has a few different variations, one that is designed to defeat frontal and side armor and may or may not have a tandem warhead to defeat reactive armor; or its available with a tandem "top down" warhead designed to fire downward as the weapon passes over its target and strike the normally thinner top armor of a tank.

My main exposure to the system was in the National Guard as we had 11 Hotels (11H series personnel, aka "anti-armor infantryman") assigned to our units TO&E.  The M901 was eventual successor to the HMMWV vehicles they were originally one.  The M901 is a variant of the M113 APC and being such is a design older than myself.  Our crews constantly fought with the vehicles that we were given to work properly and hydraulic and other issues were common.  Still, in its intended role and under the right circumstances a 50 year old vehicle design with a 40 year old missile design is not to be laughed at....

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