27 July 2010

Angel Flight

Watch through the backstory, get to the song and listen to the lyrics. With the drive to get the Runyon Creek Bridge named after Patrick, this seemed apropos.

18 July 2010

Captain Patrick Brian Olson

Patrick was my friend Kristin's older brother. As a fairly shy transplant to North Carolina, I did not know Patrick well. But through Kristin I knew he was a great big brother. Through the friends I made that had grown up with Patrick I knew he was a generous and loving friend.
 Kristin and Patrick with their grandparents
(photo courtesy of Kristin Olson)

Patrick played football all three years of high school; a member of our celebrated "Chain Gang" who won the conference championship in 1982. (And peeps, you don't know football until you know SOUTHERN football.) He also wrestled all three years. We were a 3A school and most everybody was a multi-sport athlete. During this time, Patrick spent three years on the Student Council and in the Interact Club, as well as an officer in the National Honor Society.

(photo courtesy of Washington High School Packromak 1983
Washington, NC)
He attended the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, CO.  (Quite a climate change for a North Carolina boy!) and married the love of his life, Robin.

 Patrick and Robin, senior year
(photo courtesy of Washington High School Packromak 1983
Washington, NC)

(photo courtesy of Air Force Academy Heritage War Memorial site)

Patrick was a 25 year old 1st Lieutenant when he flew an A-10 in Desert Storm.  From the Air Force Academy's Heritage War Memorial site:

"Captain Patrick B. Olson died on 27 February 1991 while on a combat mission in Saudi Arabia supporting Operation Desert Storm.  Olsen was piloting an OA-10 aircraft and was directing other warplanes toward Iraqi tanks.  He had a call from Army troopers who believed Iraqi tanks were about to pull an end run on their position.  Olson threw his Warthog's 57-foot-6-inch wing almost vertical to the ground as he banked sharply to aim at the Iraqi armor.  Gunfire erupted around him and hit his aircraft.  The damage was serious and Olson tried to land the aircraft.  He was inches from putting down on a sand airfield when his OA-10 flipped over.  He did not have time to eject."  
Patrick in Saudi with what his sister called "that goofy mustache."
(photo courtesy of  Kristin Olson)

What this does not say is that Patrick flew his Warthog on one engine and no hydraulics to a friendly base and that his landing gear collapsed and the A-10 cartwheeled.

The point of this post is not only to highlight a home town hero, but also bring  a petition to your attention.  This petition was started to encourage the City Council members in Washington, North Carolina to name a new bridge on River Road after Patrick.    In the last few days, due mainly to Facebook, the number of signatures on this petition has grown from 30 to 158.   Please consider visiting the petition and adding your name.  It doesn't matter if you have no ties to Patrick, Washington, North Carolina, the Air Force, the NCDOT, or really, even me.  (I know it's hard to believe I said that, since I espouse that it is really all about me!)   Please add your signature to honor a fallen hero and to help us all remember Patrick.

I'd just like to add a commentary by one of Patrick's former squadron members from the Air Force Print News Today:

Selfless Service

Commentary by Lt. Col. Dean Lee
87th Flying Training Squadron commander

2/10/2009 - LAUGHLIN AFB, Texas -- Have you ever sat down and really thought about why you joined the military? Perhaps it was to get education benefits or to see the world. Or maybe it was to please a family member or to get away from a situation. Many join the military to gain a skill or just obtain a steady job.

Whenever I contemplate why I joined the Air Force, I think about a friend I made during my first assignment. His name was Lt. Patrick Olson, but we all called him "Oly". We both were new A-10 Pilots at Davis Monthan AFB and deployed to fight in OPERATION DESERT STORM. On one particular mission during the second day of the ground war Oly, a forward air controller, was calling in fighters to attack the hasty Iraqi evacuation out of Kuwait. I still remember that day.

The weather was cold and there was an overcast deck about 3000 feet above the ground. Oly had to fly in and out of the clouds to spot the enemy movement then pass the information to the fighters. One of the times when Oly dove below the clouds, enemy artillery lit him up and shredded his A-10. Oly was able to maneuver the jet back into the clouds and egress towards friendly lines. He had so much battle damage to his jet that he had to fly on one engine and the third backup flight control system.

He successfully maneuvered the crippled jet back to a friendly base, but he was unable to adequately control the jet during the landing and was killed in the crash. "Oly" will always be remembered for giving his life preventing hundreds of Iraqis from escaping Kuwait.

But the thing I will always remember about Oly was how much he loved serving his country. When they recovered his personal effects, they found an American flag in his G-suit pocket. He flew every single mission with that flag in his pocket to remind himself of who he was serving. To say the least, Oly personified our slogan of "Service before Self".

Ever since Oly's crash, I have always carried a flag in my G-suit pocket when I fly partly in respect for my long lost friend, but also to remind me of why I continue to serve in the military. Some days I forget and view my service as work, or just a job.

But I try to remember that we are "serving" in the military, not just "working" in the military. Oly served his country, and I want to be like him. Though you and I might not be flying combat missions everyday or heralded as heroes, I do think we can re-orient our perspective to remember why we are serving our country.

Because in reality, America is relying on us. We are public servants and have the privilege to serve. The next time we contemplate why we joined the military; let's remember heroes like Oly who gave their all so we could have so much. Whatever your reason for joining the military, Let us all unite as we provide "Service before Self".

(Patrick was posthumously promoted to the rank of Captain.)   

13 July 2010

What's this?  Oh, this is where the microwave used to be.  Yeah, don't worry about that.

What?  Oh, this is just the scorched and blackened interior of the microwave.  No need to worry.

Yeah, this is just a continuation of the previous photo.  Heed it no mind.

That?  That's just the round plastic thingy (it's an industry term) that the glass plate for the microwave is seated on.  Why does it look like a charred marshmallow?  Well, it's a funny story.

I came home from work yesterday and, as I hit the door, I thought, "Something smells like it burnt." I came in the house and my dear babysitter greeted me with what has become her standard mantra: "The only thing that happened today was....(insert minor catastrophe here)."
Apparently, contrary to my strict orders and house rules, SoS decided to make popcorn by himself. Unfortunately, because he is not allowed to do this, he is unaware of the existence of the handy-dandy "popcorn" button, that enables you to push/cook/done. He put it in for, what he assured me, was "74." Seconds, minutes, hours, months, who knows, but 74 was the magic number. The babysitter told me she cleaned it out as best she could, and despite the molten mess in the bottom, "I put the plate back in and turned it on and it still works." I could win an Olympic medal in keeping my countenence as my brain screeched, "You turned ON the fire damaged microwave???" Teenagers. What are ya gonna do? As soon as she left, I broke out the screwdriver, removed the microwave and escorted into the garage. While my house no longer has "eau de Yellowstone wildfire" wafting through it, the garage is heady with the scent. I left this morning with instruction that the boys were not to touch the microwave. Nor were they to hammer, dissasemble, drop, kick, smash, crash, mutilate, or staple it.

So this afternoon I was greeted with, "the only thing that happened was FB put the wrong soap in the dishwasher and there were bubbles everywhere. No water, just bubbles. But I cleaned it up." It's going to be a long summer.

10 July 2010

This is the sweet art project my son did.  He's a lover.  He's also the one who, yesterday, did this:

SoS: "Grandma!  Smell my hand!" (holds closed hand up to her face)
My Unwitting Mother: "What did you get into?"  (as she smells his hand)
SoS: "I FARTED!"  (laughs maniacally)
MUM:  "Why would he do that to his Grandma?"
Me:  "Because he knew his momma wouldn't fall for that."

He is also getting even more obsessed with boobs, if that is humanly possible.  We were snuggling on the couch, one of his favorite activities, when he looked at me and said, "Mom, I love you."  Having said that, he then put a hand on each side and squished my boobs together.  "What are you doing?"
"I like the way that looks."   Yeah, well, you need to keep your paws off my person.  Conversations about appropriateness ensued.

07 July 2010

Yesterday, I came to  understand how some parents cross the line.  That line that separates discipline from abuse.  It's because SoS has developed this habit of, how should I put it to not offend any one's sensibilities and to portray the true nature of his crime... he's been, well, FUCKING PISSING ON MY CARPET!  Now, I have no idea if this is defiance, laziness, or a feeling of Lebowski simpatico with El Duderinio in our house, but it's ridiculous and needs to stop.  He's done it several times and each time, it ends with tears and promises of not doing it again and GROUNDING, SEVERE, SEVERE, GROUNDING!!!!  Last night I went in to check on him, as I knew he was probably reading instead of sleeping and, just as I opened the door, I heard the ending stream of pee hitting his carpet.  FLAMES!  SHOUTING!  FEELINGS OF INSANITY!  Seriously, I wanted to play handball with his head and then throw him through a wall.  As it was, I jerked everything out of his room, off his bed and made him clean his carpet while I stood over him like a Centurion overseeing a slave on a Roman ship. All I would have needed was a cat o' nine tails.  What could possess someone to start something like this at 7 1/2 years of age??  Except being possessed, of course.  I went in to his room  after he cried himself to sleep (while I'm in my room thinking, "Good! You should cry yourself to sleep!"  Not my finest moment.), and I marveled at how I could love someone so much and want to beat them all week long at the same time.  He will be the death of me, I'm almost sure of it.

Ever have a friend of your kid's that you just can't take?  When my brother was in middle school my dad hated  two of his friends; he thought they were little junior criminals.  As it turns out, my dad is a psychic genius, because those two yahoos are in prison right now.  FB has this friend that just seems to rub me the wrong way.  He's a sweet kid, really, and polite..almost too polite.  Almost, but not quite broaching that Eddie Haskell level of obsequiousness that turns adults stomachs as he tries to weasel his way into their good graces.  Of course, the kid is only 11; give him time, he may reach the zenith of Haskell-ness.  He's very imaginative and loves to relay his stories in great detail.  Like, constantly.  At some point, this kid needs to take a breath.  And he really needs to stop showing up at my door at 8 in the morning. 

Apparently, In My House Swimming Is A Blood Sport As Well