Saturday, May 24, 2008

Memorial Day

Charles J. Cudlike

SYNOPSIS: On May 18, 1969, SP4 Charles J. Cudlike and his unit were engaged in battlein Thua Tien Province, South Vietnam. During the fighting, Cudlike was injured, and was being medically evacuated from the battle area by helicopter. The injured teammebers were boarding the helicopter when it had to leave quickly because of a heavy volume of enemy fire. At this time, Cudlike had been unable to completely board the aircraft, and was hanging on one of the skids of the helicopter and the door gunner aboard the helicopter was trying to pull him into the ship. Due to his own wounds, the gunner was unable to pull him in. When the pilot of the helicopter became aware of the situation he started looking for a place to land, but before he could do so, Cudlike fell from the aircraft at an altitude of 500 feet into the jungle. Comprehensive searches were conducted by air with no success. Cudlike was declared Killed in Action, and his body was never recovered. War is hell. Men are killed by other men whom they call their enemy. But men are also killed by "misadventure" - by senseless drowning, falls, and by being in the wrong place at the wrong time. At 21, Charles Cudlike had just begunto live. Because no trace of Cudlike's remains were found, his name is maintained among thosewho are missing and captured in Southeast Asia. Experts believe that hundreds of these Americansare still alive, captive, and want to come home. One can imagine that Cudlike would gladly serveon one more patrol to help bring them home.

If you value your freedom then give thanks and remember the Veterans who have given their lives in the line of duty for our country. It does not matter what political side of the line you are on, just remember our military is a volunteer military. Our troops work in conditions most of us would never even consider of visiting for a moment. They do it as Volunteers and they have ensured our freedoms as a free nation since 1776.

As a Veteran I go out of my way to thank other Vets that I see in parking lots with license plates, stickers, or wearing hats, etc. So the next time you see an old timer wearing a hat and it says CV-9 USS Essex, stop him and say thanks for it is the least you can do since he was willing to die to ensure you could be Free.

D Meinhard

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Rapid Intervention Team

Firefighter rescue is an important and over looked skill in firefighting, at least until the last 8 or so years. Ever since the Worcester, Mass. fire deaths more emphisis has been placed on firefighter safety and rescue or Rapid Intervention Team (RIT). Federal Law requires a minimum of two firefighters standing by ready for firefighter rescue anytime they go into an atmosphere or area that is Immeadiatly Dangerous to Life and Health (IDLH). That law was in place back in 1999 when that disaster happened, but having a skilled team trained specifically for this is something that is realitively new on the fire scene. We all know what happened on 9-11 and even as recent as the Charelston, SC last year where nine firefighters died in what some fire professionals said recklessly. Many point the finger at poor training, lack of safety offices, RITs, RIT training, and firefighter self rescue training.

Here are some photos I took during my RIT train the trainer course a few years back. So far I have aided in the training of around twelve firefighters on shift (out of 50). It has been difficult, in my opinion, to get time for more training like this. In part because we have so many restrictions on what we can do with buildings we have, in other ways because a lack of serious thought to "this can happen" to us and risk analysis to think it won't happen to us at all. Again, those are just my opinions.

The two in and two out rule is the minimum. Studies show you need more than just two firefighters to rescue one downed firefighter. You may go through six or more personnel just to extracate one trapped firefighter. Remember tools and equipment all need to be brought into a dangerous environment that has injured or trapped someone you work with.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

CSX at Marysville, Michigan

Gloomy skies and light drizzle don't make for color photos in the spring. This photo takes on an industrial look with the black and white edit and dark fade at the top.
The CSX coal train was heading for the DTE St. Clair Powerplant in St. Clair, MI. The rail is former Port Huron and Detroit RR. CSX has trackage rights from Flint to Port Huron from which they travel upon their own tracks. I am told that the powerplant in the background is no longer in service with DTE (Detroit Edison). This is the Marysville Edison Plant and was built in the late 1920s.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Park Play

I was trying out my new lens, a Tamron 17-50mm 1:2.8. So far I love it. It is great indoors too with flash and with out flash. I plan on using it for weddings, portraits and other candid shots. As you see it does a good job with a cloudy day, and the SB-800 flash.