Status Update – Steve Blackman

From Astro "The chest tube they did last night was unsuccessful. They hit a wall and did not want to push through it and cause any damage to his lung. He is in surgery currently. The doctors are performing what is called a VATS...which they will insert two video cameras and a "scoop" to look around in the lung and literally scoop the infected goop out. If there is a large amount of infection or "rinds" hardening in the walls, they will have to make an incision from the front of his chest around to the back to be able to get in there and use larger scoops to get it all out. There is infection surrounding his lung so they will be removing the lining of his lung and part of his diaphragm since the infection from the lung rest on the diaphragm." Bottom line folks is that Steve Needs your prayers for a return to full health. For those non-religious, then send happy thoughts. Either way, send-em, he is a brother in need...

No Comment

Gentlemen, that should be your response to questions regarding Women and the possibility that they may be entering the TACP Community. The final decision will be performed through analysis and not made with a broad stroke of a pen. Simply state no comment and move on. There is little value in discussing as this decision will be made WAY above our paygrades and I sincerely doubt they will be polling the community about it.

Send your Prayers

Steve Blackman is at the ICU at Mary Immaculate. Critical Condition. He was in for Pneumonia and the started finding blood clots in his lungs. I will update you as I get further words...Send your prayers his way

FAC-TACP Memorial

As all of you should be aware, our mission was derived from the old ROMAD position. During that time only officers were actually performing a certified FAC role, with most of those guys being in slow moving aircraft. They have a memorial set up (several actually) but are currently reworking the one in Colorado Springs to include us, the "new" FACs. Here is an explanation letter from the group.

Jim Meade Passed away on 01-23-2013

Jim was born on January 17, 1943 in Tacoma, Washington. He was the third son of Frank and Edna Meade. Jim spent a happy childhood in Washington and Wyoming with his bothers Bill, Bob and Tom and his sister Patty. As a young man Jim was an avid reader with excellent recall of facts and information. He was a keen basketball player and played trombone in the school band. He was full of ideas and bravely started his own business de-scenting skunks and trying to train them to be house pets. After school Jim enlisted in the United States Air Force where he enjoyed a successful career of 20 years – retiring with the rank of Master Sergeant. His specialty was radio communications and he served with distinction in the Philippines, Japan, Taiwan, Wake Island, Guam, Australia, Thailand, Vietnam, Libya, West Germany and Panama. He volunteered for a tour of duty in Vietnam in 1965 and 1966 and was posted to a remote U.S. Army Special Forces camp. He worked as a Forward Air Controller coordinating air strikes and other aircraft missions in support of his team’s combat operations. Though it was not part of his official duties he joined many ground combat missions so the Special Forces soldiers could have an extra shooter with them. He was awarded the Airman’s Medal for Heroism for voluntarily risking his own life to save others. The most important thing Jim brought home from all of these foreign lands was a great and lasting love of the cultures he discovered in each country. His love of Australians led to him marrying Beverley Foley in West Germany. They brought up two sons, Craig born in 1968 and Todd born in 1970. While the boys were growing up Jim led the family on a life of adventure, with every weekend an opportunity for fishing, snorkeling, diving, boating, dune-buggying and hunting for lost treasures in the jungle. Through these adventures he prepared his boys for the world they were entering. After his retirement from the Air Force Jim and his family moved to Sydney. He tried many different jobs before he settled on running his own business as a telecommunications consultant and equipment distributor. The last five years of his life were spent fighting ill health and old age. But they were also good years because his grandsons Fox and Wyatt were born in 2008 and he took great pleasure in watching them grow and discover the world around them. Jim will be remembered as a gentle and thoughtful man. He will be missed by many, but never mourned for a wasted life.

Notes from Charlie Heidal: I met Jim while I was on a trip to Australia in 2006. He had more energy than people half his age. We became friends over the years and it was sad to hear he left us. At least it was in a painless sleep. God Speed my friend. Meet you at the next rally point...

IN MEMORIAM : In cannot be overstated what Jim did during his tour of duty in the United States Air Force (USAF). In particular, his tour of duty in Vietnam and his contribution to the beginnings of the ROMAD career field. Jim was one of the first to volunteer for project PackRat. A special program instituted by the USAF in 1964 to provide radio operators (the original ROMADS) and a Direct Air Support Operations (DASC) radio communications network infrastructure that would give army ground commanders direct access to tactical air assets necessary to conduct war. None, or an extremely limited network existed prior to 1964 manned by CCT and radio operator personnel. Jim volunteered for the PackRat program with little thought to his own well being but rather, what was in the best interest of his country first and foremost. He would have no knowledge of the danger, uncertainty and hardships that would face him nor would he have received any formal training to do it. During his tour of duty in Vietnam Jim did what was asked of him and much more that was not, in order to fulfill his mission requirements. He was not trained in combat arms nor did he envision a tour of duty as a combat soldier. He was a radio operator. His assignment in Vietnam was unknown to but a very few. It was to the Special Forces at Song Be, in the III Corps operational area. Having received minimal training at best, Jim was tasked to provide assistance to an Air Liaison Officer (ALO) by operating a multitude of radios and ground support equipment such as, gasoline powered electrical generators, small tactical vehicles (jeep w/trailer), setting up and maintaining a bivouac in the field under extremely hostile combat conditions. He would perform his mission in Close Air Support (CAS) operations. During Jim's tour of duty he would have had to subsist on his own because the USAF provided no such support to the PackRats. He was entirely on his own. With in-hours of his arrival to this Special Force unit it immediately became apparent that combat operations and his need to perform duties as a soldier, mission planner and assistant ALO were going to be a matter of normal routine. He would be called upon regularly to control Close Air Support missions. A function normally and only authorized to be performed by qualified USAF Forward Air Controllers at that time. He had very little time to learn these skills in this environment but, learned them he did and to the utmost satisfaction of his superiors. In order to better serve the needs of his field commanders Jim would, at great risk to his own survival, although not necessary, attach himself to all manner of patrols to be ready to provide CAS as the need would arise. This action alone would have saved many civilian and friendly lives. Jim would have been one of the first to establish procedures (establish the air request net) for the quick response of tactical aircraft to be on target when enemy troops were in direct contact with friendly forces. An extremely lacking element of close air support at that time. For his bravery in the Vietnam war Jim Meade would become an airman decorated with the Airman's Medal for heroism under fire. What he learned in Vietnam he carried with him through life. A true leader. His attributes could be emulated by all who read this. Jim's dedication to duty, devotion to his county and his assignment to Vietnam were among his greatest accomplishments. As a pioneer and one of the founding members of this great and distinguished career field it is fitting at this time to remember Jim Meade always in our hearts as a true brother and to never forget his contributions. Jim as a Vietnam Vet , would not have received a heroes welcome home when he came back to the world. He would have been degraded, jeered at and maybe even spat upon as some kind of baby killer or worse. He will not be remembered as such here. He shall forever be remembered as an honorable brother in the Brotherhood. In loving memory of our father and dearly departed husband. The sons and wife of Jim Meade and his family members.

School House Moving

The Air staff has finally decided on Lackland and the next location for the TACP School house. For those of you "older" folks, it was at Keesler, then moved out to Hurlburt and now its more than likely going to be at Lackland. see this Article for more details