Rescue worker  

I’ve pulled a few more pictures from video of my time in the Air Force.  This one is of an AF pararescueman.  His mission that day was to watch over the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Namibia… looking for any signs of life after an Air Force cargo plane collided with a German Air Force plane over the Atlantic.  No luck that day, and I don’t think they ever found any of the people aboard either plane… although I think some wreckage did wash ashore at some point.  This was one of those stories I heard about on my way to work, immediately turned around, and picked up my “AWOL” bag already packed with changes of uniforms and clothes and toiletries.  When I got to the office, I started working logistics on how to get to Windhoek, Namibia with all my camera equipment and luggage.  That afternoon, I was aboard a Lufthansa flight to South Africa and then Windhoek by the next morning.  It was a helluva trip… but nothing near the sacrifice my fellow Airmen (and U.S. Navy and German Air Force) made to find those lost.

Dogtag found

This one was from more of a recovery story.  This was closer to home (maybe 40 miles from the office), and I had some time to plan the shoot.  Some German, American, and Canadian volunteers dug up an old B-17 crash site from World War II.  The plane went down in 1944, and one elderly lady, who was just 17 at the time, witnessed the crash.  All but one American made it out of the aircraft.  She saw the guy struggle to get out of the wreckage, but the plane exploded… and he never made it out.  She told us she remembered looking eye-to-eye with the airman, but there was nothing she could do to save him.  What happened to the rest of the crew was a little more hazy.  Apparently, the SS arrived on the scene shortly after the crash, rounded up the remaining Amercians, marched them into the town, and shot them all.  Anyway, on this dig, the volunteers were looking for any artifacts from the crash.  They found lots of bits of metal, some old ammunition, and stuff like that.  After a little while they found what looked like a piece of a human thigh bone… maybe a piece of the missing aviator.  Just when that looked to be exciting enough, they found the dog tag (ID tag) of the missing American.  Pretty cool.  I just happened to be there when it all happened… the guys digging in the dirt were the real story.

Berlin worker This was another cool story I covered during the 50th anniversary of the Berlin Airlift.  In 1948, the Soviets tried to cut off a sore spot for them in the heart of the old East Germany… the British, French, and American occupied West Berlin.  The Soviets figured they could shut off all the land routes for supplies for the city and force the western nations out.  Instead, West Berliners were bailed out by a massive airlift of supplies… from food to fuel.. to keep the city alive.  The guy in this story, Robert Blank, wasn’t even born back then.  But since the Brits, French, and Americans put up such a herculean effort, his parents survived in a free West Berlin.  The West would outlast the Soviet Union, and in 1989, the Berlin Wall finally fell, and Germany was soon reunited as one country.  Fast forward 50 years from the 1948 airlift, and Blank is working on construction for a new building for the unified German government… back in Berlin.  I really liked this story because it was a different way to look at how events from long ago affect modern time.  Plus, the nat sound from him pounding in the paving stones was priceless.

AF Sergeant in Israel

This last picture is from another favorite story of mine.  This is a picture of Master Sergeant Chris Lawson (in the uniform, on the left).  He served at the Defense Attache Office at the U.S. Emabssy in Tel Aviv.  On this day, he was in Jerusalem (on Mount Zion, I believe) attending a memorial ceremony for German soldiers killed in the area during World War One.  Kind of ironic to have a memorial for German soldiers in Israel, but that was a different war and a different time.  Honoring those who served seems to be universal.  Anyway, this guy was really cool, and he took time to show us how he and his family lived, and what made Israel such a special place.  Another great chance to get some really cool nat sound… from German taps played at the cemetery to a band playing in the marketplace.  I promise I’ll soon post some of the video from these stories.  In the meantime, I hope you enjoy the pictures.

“I’m just saying…”

As you might have seen on my bio page, I’m a big football fan, especially my Glidden-Ralston Wildcatswildcats.png The defending Iowa state champions in Eight-Man football are in the playoffs again!  Congratulations to my old teammate, Kreg Lensch, who has led the team from winless seasons to just one loss in the last two years and now into the playoffs for the third year in a row.  He was a junior starting at quarterback when I was a senior.  We lost only one game that year, but at the time, you couldn’t lose any games and still make the playoffs.  In fact, my sophmore year, we were undeafeted, but still didn’t make the playoffs.  Anyway, Glidden is in this year.  They’ll host Aurelia, another one-loss team, in the first round.  Good luck, Wildcats!

 

I had the chance today to digitize some of the video from my days as an Air Force broadcaster. It had been a while, so it was nice to see these stories again. I’m going to try to post one of these on my examples page later. This picture is of Tenen Yarae (spelling?), a woman from the West African nation of Mali. This mother of seven brought her young daughter, Binta, to the American military doctors who had set up Medical Civic Action Program site near her village. Binta had a large abcess behind her ear that the docs were afraid would drain into the fluid around her brain… potentially deadly. In a makeshift operating room, with no anesthesia, they drained the abcess.

 

tenen-concerned.jpgBinta was screaming her head off!  Wouldn’t you?  Bunch of strangers in masks around you with knives, a couple of them holding you down, and they’re trying to take a slice from behind your ear.  I have nightmares like that!  But, Mom was unconcerned.  Sat back and just kind of took it all in.  Besides, she knew these were the good guys in the mask.  It was funny, though, how Binta never let loose of the little piece of candy she was given while waiting for the procedure.  Sure, they might cut my ear off, but they ain’t gettin’ my CANDY!  This was a really cool shoot. Great opportunity to see the Air Force in action.  I’ll post some more pictures soon. 

“I’m just saying…”

   


The Front Door
Originally uploaded by Jenne1989.

Once again, a very cool, historic weekend. This time, we had a chance to visit the Missouri Governor’s mansion for the annual Halloween open house held there. Every other year, for the last six years, we’ve had something else going on the same day. But this year, we had the day free.

   


Storyteller “Frank James”
Originally uploaded by Jenne1989.

Once inside the historic mansion (built in 1871), you see the first floor restored to what it was 135 years ago. Beautiful hardwood floors, historic paintings on the wall, and a magnificent grand stairway. Makes you wonder how hard Reconstruction was on Missouri. It’s a pretty grand building for such a tough economic period for the South (although many make the correct argument that Missouri didn’t really join the Confederacy during the Civil War.. but I digress). At the base of the Grand Stairway, stood the storyteller, Terry Ehrsam. He portrayed Frank James, the legendary outlaw. I thought the way he made sure none of us were bankers, railroad owners, or Pinkerton men before he told us his “name” was a nice touch. Made the character really come to life. He had a not too spooky story (I’m sure toned down for the kids) about a girl who died in the mansion and how sometimes people see her ghost in a third floor bedroom window. I sure glanced up that way once we were outside.

   


Red-Tailed Hawk
Originally uploaded by Jenne1989.

Once outside the mansion, we met some raptors from The Raptor Rehabilitation Project at the University of Missouri. This one-year-old red-tailed hawk, Emma, cannot be returned to the wild because of her injuries. So, the good folks at the project take her, and on this day, an Eastern Screech Owl, out to educate people. Good educator. Really drew in the folks out on the mansion’s front lawn.

   


The Clydesdales
Originally uploaded by Jenne1989.

On the more domestic side, the magnificent Budweiser Clydesdales made an appearance on the street just in front of the mansion. They are really cool! The workers hauled one of the horses out of his trailer, pulled out all the harnesses and a quite impressive collar, and proceeded to hitch the horse up. You would think it would take forever to hitch up all this tack, but it seemed to go on quite quickly and easily for the people who probably do this hundreds of times each year. Plus, for being a REALLY big horse, this beast seemed to be quite gentle. A visit to Grant’s Farm, where the Clydesdales live, showed us earlier this year just how much the horses are worked to get to this point. What was really cool was the imprint their huge horseshoes made on the pavement where they walked. The distinctive clop of the metal shoes might make just a scratch on the surface of the road, but I’m sure it made a permanent mark on many of the minds of the people who turned out to take in their majesty. By the way, who is that group next to the driver?

   


Governor Blunt and Family
Originally uploaded by Jenne1989.

Yep, that’s our very own Governor Matt Blunt, First Lady Melanie, and their young son, Branch. It’s nice to know that despite being in charge of the entire state government, he can still dress up in a kind of goofy costume and join the folks who have come to his home to enjoy Halloween. All the governors we have known in this state have been very down-to-earth. Carnahan, Holden, Blunt… they’ve all opened up their home to the public. I think it’s part of what makes this town so darn unique. It’s not uncommon to see current and former governors out at the store, the attorney general at the gym, or lawmakers at the ball game. Makes you at least feel more like they are just common folk… just like you and me.

By the way, all the photos are courtesy of my lovely wife, Jennifer.

 

“I’m just saying…”

You know that commercial where the guy jumps off a bridge with the homemade wings, glides over the river for a little ways, and splashes in?  Well, my youngest son has been fascinated by that whole concept (although he vehemently denies it).  For the last couple of months, he’s been designing wings, and we’ve worked on a fully articulating frame based on bat wings.  Today, we finished the project… just in time for tonight’s scouts meeting.  He can’t fly in them, but it’s really been impressive the way he has engineered the whole project.  We used dowel rods for the “fingers” and an old sheet dyed black as the webbing between the fingers.  We stitched the sticks into the cloth, and now he can open the whole wing by grabbing the top “finger.”  I’ll try to post a picture later that will better explain it.  Anyway, it’s a really cool costume… my son, the bat.

 

“I’m just saying…”

Well, today was the luncheon I had talked about earlier.  I think it went really well.  I made some face-to-face contact with several people I knew from the phone.  They were all quite kind and supportive of my job search efforts.  In fact, a couple of them were from places where I had already applied for jobs.  There was one person, in particular, from a really good job place who I wanted to talk to, but he left early.   GRRRR!  Oh well, I’ll get my chance later, and the meeting will give me a nice opening for that first face-to-face conversation.

I’ve spent the last couple of weeks making contacts with some friends and acquaintances.  Some have led to job prospects… other have just been nice to touch base with.  You always wonder if you’re bothering people, so I try to keep the phone conversations short… just a few words and a quick query if they know of anything.  Actually, most of the time, they do seem to know of some opportunity… or at least someone else who might know of opportunities.  Tomorrow is a luncheon with job hunting tips and most likely contacts with many peers.  Keeping my fingers crossed.  Your suggestions/tips/stories of job hunting would be greatly appreciated.

My old friend Chuck Zimmerman just gave me a wonderful compliment on his two web sites.  Check them out at http://agwired.com/2006/10/15/resume-blogging/ and http://zimmcomm.biz/2006/10/15/a-blog-as-resume/ .  Chuck is a pro at blogging, and he has even been able to make a business out of it.  To get a link from a guy such as Chuck is a big boost.  He’s always been there to help.  True friend.

 

“I’m just saying…”

Went to Mizzou’s chestnut festival held at its horticulture and agroforestry school’s farm near New Franklin, Missouri today.  Nice event.  Very fall festival-like atmosphere with booths from different agricultural vendors.  Plus… HISTORY!!!  I’m a big history buff, and the farm is the site of a brick home built back in 1819.

1819 Thomas Hickman House

This place was amazing!  To think that some guy put together this brick house (one of the oldest intact brick homes in the state), and it’s still in good enough shape that visitors can walk through it with no worries blows me away!  Look at the oak wooden beams.  Those are ORIGINAL!

Original 1819 beams

You can also see the original logs used for floor joists.

img_5104.JPG

In the holes in the plaster on the wall, you can actually see individual horse hairs they used to make the plaster stronger.  It’s always cool when you can put your hands on something from so long ago.  I think it gives you a better connection with the time.

Once again, this house was amazing when you consider it was a two-story, 1800 square foot building built when there was no Lowe’s down on the corner to pick up a load of bricks and lumber.  The guide said the nails used to hold together the wooden beams in the rafters were actually wooden pegs.  That shows you how little they had on what was the western frontier at the time.  Must have been quite a sight to see in an area that had very few other buildings of its kind.  MU is looking to fully restore the place.

 

The chestnut festival was cool, too.  Tasty wine, beer, and chestnuts to sample.  Plus, the weather was perfect.  How can you beat that.

“I’m just saying…”

 

I’ve posted a few of the recent radio stories I did during my time at the Missourinet.  Check under “Examples” at the top of the page.  In the near future, I hope to add video and print versions of stories I have done.

“I’m just saying…”