Marine Females and Their Tattoos

When I flew, I had a patch which read Infidel that I wore on my flight suit. I picked it up in Baghdad at the airport once known as Saddam Hussein International Airport, but now referred to as BIAP. Or Baghdad International Airport. The problem with the patch is that they spelled out infidel in Arabic along with the English translation. But they did not use the Arabic word, kaffar, rather they phonetically spelled it out in Arabic script. Still, I liked the patch, messed-up Arabic and all. Plus it kept me out of trouble with the Arabs I used to work with. They had no clue why this American had a patch on his shoulder with gibberish. So I could look tough without having to answer for my toughness. (In all fairness to me, I did not realize this for months.)

At my current job, I have some of my flight patches up in my cubicle. And one day, a woman who was a prior Marine officer came by to chat with me about something. She looks at the patch and says: that is not right. I am giddy, because no one at work has noticed the jacked-up writing.

You speak Arabic? I ask.

No, but I have the real word, kaffar, tattooed on my body. So I know what it looks like.

Ah, Marine females. They are irreplaceable.

Speaking of patches, check out this spec-ops “Harley-Davidson” patch:

Operations in Mangrah Troy

It is in Afghanistan, Mangrah. Extra points if you know what country the door-kicker is from. Do check out his cool Taliban patch too, Jolly Roger and all. (While we are playing  name-dat-soldier, take a peek at this WWII warrior feeding a kitty. My guess would be Australia, considering the camo.)

Russian Plane Crashes into Indonesian Volcano

Years back, when flying into Saddam International Airport, renamed Baghdad International Airport (BIAP), I was struck by the appearance of several, odd Russian planes.

The Ilyushin Il-76, or the IL-76, had a weird tail and a glass nose. I had seen pictures of them, and stared at them from a distance, but had never viewed them live and up-close. The few I saw made a racket when taking off, but this could be from lack of maintenance or spare parts.

When I read of the latest Russian plane disaster that flew into an Indonesian volcano, I reflexively thought of those ILs. And what a heap of junk they were:

The crash of a new, Russian-made jetliner into a jagged, Indonesian volcano during a flight to impress potential buyers threw doubt on dozens of plane sales just as Moscow seeks a comeback in foreign markets.

All 45 people aboard were feared dead.

Search and rescue teams climbed through the mist-shrouded, jungly terrain for nearly 20 hours to reach the site where the plane roared in at nearly 800kmh Wednesday, exploding and raining debris down a nearly vertical slope.

Sukhoi Superjet-100

When the weather clears, bodies will have to be hoisted by nets and ropes onto hovering choppers, said Gagah Prakoso, a spokesman for the national search and rescue agency.

“We’re still searching for survivors,” he said. “But it doesn’t look good.”

The Sukhoi Superjet-100 — Russia’s first new model of passenger jet since the fall of the Soviet Union two decades ago — was supposed to kick-start the nation’s efforts to modernise its fleet and resurrect its neglected aerospace industry.

I hate to see any tragedy like this, but I am reminded that the acquisition cycle does not favor time breaks or lulls. Like those caused by the dissolution of a country.