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Profile Information

Name: chris chick
Gender: Male
Hometown: Ft. Steillacoom disc golf course, Lakewood Wa.
Home country: Gone, eaten by corporate deviltude!
Current location: on my waterbed, (location subject to change depending on the weather).
Member since: Thu May 19, 2005, 07:43 PM
Number of posts: 9,114

About Me

Disc golf is cheaper.

Journal Archives

Questions regarding military aircraft/aircraft manuevers

I live quite near Joint Base Lewis McChord and I am somewhat familiar with what they have flying around us typically. A couple of nights ago I watched something not so typical for over an hour that I am curious about. I looked a bit online and came up with no answers so maybe one of you may know what was going on.

I live in a very rural part of Pierce county Washington, mostly cattle pastures, forests and swamps. April 10th around 10pm I was on the back deck when I noticed four bright red flashing lights very low on my horizon moving from south to north. These red lights were most likely attached to 2 military aircraft. I am used to seeing military aircraft doing their thing all around my home at any given time but this was different.

The first big difference being that instead of the normal night time running lights I always see on all aircraft, (military and civilian) each of these aircraft had only the 2 and they were flashing bright red-no other color, just red. My guess is that the lights were arranged on the lower nose and upper tail areas of each aircraft, not on the wings which seemed pretty odd too.

The second difference was that these two aircraft remained extremely low. If I were to guess, these guys stayed well under 500 feet and more likely only a 100 foot in altitude throughout their maneuver which from my point of view looked to be barely above our treetops. They stayed that low throughout the hour or so that I observed them. I did break out the binoculars to see if I could tell what they were but I saw nothing to add to what I could see with just my eyes. The actual body or silhouette of these aircraft was indiscernible to me because it was a dark night with only the two flashing red 'running lights' being all that I could see.

They flew a somewhat oval course which I estimate to be 10-15 miles in length and 3-4 miles wide repeating that route about every 10 minutes. (No I could not see the entire course because of how low they were but I could see enough to get that estimate). Only when they were close, likely less than a half mile, could I hear them. They sounded sorta like our large cargo/transport jets that are based here but I should have been able to hear them approaching long before I did. I watched them do this for about an hour before going back inside to bed.

Today at a local restaurant I overheard and joined into a conversation with a couple who had also witnessed this. They claimed that the aircraft repeatedly flew low directly over their home. When we compared what we saw they pretty much agreed with everything I reported here but added that the aircraft was silent except when it was overhead, then they could hear and actually feel it rumble by. They are husband and wife, he said that the noise was unusual enough for him to get out of bed to go have a look, she said the rumble was louder than her TV. He claimed they looked like our Stealth Bombers, definitely a flying wing shape, and they flew far lower than anything normally flying over his home.

The Stealth Bomber does not have a rear stabilizer nor a tail section yet the rear red light I saw on both aircraft had to have been mounted atop something about that high. You can visualize the red lights placed about under the nose and atop the rear stabilizer of a C-17 Globemaster, (which ARE based here), to get an idea of how these lights were spaced. Furthermore the Stealth Bomber is not based here so we rarely see them at all.

If I had to hazard a guess I would discount what I heard at the restaurant and say that these were 2 C-17s doing some sort of maneuvers in my area. I can also rationalize that my eyes deceived me somewhat in that they must have been further away than what I estimated. This would explain why they appeared low and why I could not hear them until they drew closer and they DID sound like C-17s at a distance. (Truly my eyes tell me these 2 guys repeatedly came far closer than what my hazarded guess here is).

Soooo... why the 2 red lights per aircraft and why didn't they have any other lights turned on? Was this some kind of new military aircraft or were these two just the aircraft that are normally flying around here but doing some kind of maneuver that we don't regularly see. I guess my real question is: What was THAT all about?

Veterens Health Care ID Card Snafu? Anyone with any info?

(Important on edit update: fellow DUers A-Schwarzenegger and pinboy3niner have the whys and wherefores in their responses, please read their links. I will leave this OP up for our fellow Vets who may not already know about this material.)

Veterans participating in the VA Health Care system are issued ID Cards. I am now on my third card since first starting in the program a couple of decades ago. Last summer I applied for a new card, mine being old and in need of up-dating. Usually we waited only a week before the new cards would arrive by mail but this time there is some sort of snafu. When a month went by I went back to the VA Hospital desk where I applied for the card and was given a number to call and a STRONG suggestion to call it to voice a complaint. I was not told why this needed to be done just that it was what we should do if we had any complaints. When I asked if anyone else was having this problem I was told that ALL of the applicants for those cards were having that problem.

When I called the number given I got a recording instructing me to leave a name and number and that they would get back to me. They got back to me in a day informing me that the problem was a technical glitch that should be cleared up in a week or so. A month more went by and still no card in the mail so I asked at the VA Hospital application desk again. This time the person I spoke to informed me that all of my info was still stored in their data system but NOBODY had received a new card in months. Last week I tried there again and got the same story.

Those cards are highly useful to us vets. They work pretty good as a secondary form of picture ID, one I have put to good use at my bank. If it lists a disability the card is good for discounts at many places, I've used mine at Home Depot/Lowes for a 10% discount often. For those with 100% disabilities it gets the Vet into on-base Commissaries and Base Exchanges. Mostly though it is our primary ID at Veterans Hospitals handed over as ID at the pharmacy and at pretty much every single reception desk we go to.

It's getting on close to 6 months and still nothing. I have looked around online and I found nothing regarding any snafu surrounding the issuance of our VA Health Care ID Cards. So what is up? Does anyone here know what the snafu is?

Bestest song with goats.


Who will be in Super Bowl 49?

Who do you predict will be in the next Super Bowl? If this thread generates enough interest, it is my intention to repost it the week prior to Super Bowl 49.

My prediction: The second ever repeat: Seattle Seahawks vs Denver Broncos.

FWIW, at the end of Super Bowl 47 I predicted Seattle and Denver to be in Super Bowl 48 but that prediction was made only among friends. This time, I want to be scoffed at by more than just my friends.

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