“Like most of us, we at the Black Heritage Trail of New Hampshire are outraged because of the murder of George Floyd. We are outraged because of his murder and because of other recent displays of the type of injustices African Americans bear daily. We are outraged and we are made weary. Part of our outrage is as you might expect: We are the Black Heritage Trail and Black Lives do Matter. But our outrage is not only because our focus is the history of Black Americans.
“What we learn from this history in our state helps me articulate another aspect of our outrage. In this state, before it was a state, before there was a country for any state to exist in, there was an African man, Prince Johonnett, who volunteered to fight with other future Americans in the Revolutionary War. He fought at the Battle of Bunker Hill. He is not the only African who fought for the idea and the ideals of our nation. For many Black Americans, the idea of America, all too often, is primarily aspirational. When we choose to be patriotic, an amazing choice, given most readings of history, we are making a conscious decision to believe in a hope, in a promise. It is to choose to walk forward in faith, oftentimes against common sense, propelled forward by the ideal of America, as yet unborn. Our outrage is a patriotic outrage. For us to sit back and accept this would be to betray the bravery and sacrifice of Mr. Johonnett and others.
“Whatever else we, as citizens, as supporters of the Trail, as human beings do, The Black Heritage Trail of New Hampshire will continue to do the work of telling the stories of Africans in our state. We will continue to encourage conversations about these critical issues; we will support each other as we continue to move forward in this work, and in all of our work, especially when that work aspires to strengthen community and provide support to the people who make community possible.
“Thank you for your support of the Trail. May you and your circle of intimates be blessed with health and peace.”
Sincerely, Reverend Robert H. Thompson, President of the Board, Black Heritage Trail of New Hampshire
Lynch Law Passage Blocked
Exactly six score years ago, journalist Ida B. Wells-Barnett, born into slavery, wrote of an “unwritten law” justifying what she called “our national crime:” lynching.
For forty years she worked to make that crime impossible to ignore. When she died in 1931, there was still no Federal law against it. Nor is there today.
Yesterday George Floyd was memorialized. Also yesterday, an anti-lynching bill was blocked in the U.S. Senate. Rand Paul [R-Ky.] insisted that his motives were pure and that he abhors racism. He objected, he said, because the bill defines lynching too broadly and thereby runs the risk of creating, not preventing, injustice.
Celebrate D-Day by Being a Jerk
According to the most fatuous news release we’ve seen in years, “ReopenNH is calling on all Granite Staters to Storm the Beaches this weekend to peacefully liberate New Hampshire from the arbitrary and unlawful edicts of Gov. Chris Sununu and his team of bureaucrats. ReopenNH’s peaceful rally will take place at [Never mind.] on Saturday, June 6, from noon to 4 p.m.”
From whence, one would hope, caring family members would lead participants away for a quiet talk.
“We’re asking Granite Staters to help us celebrate D-Day and the freedoms that our ancestors were willing to fight and die for, which many have taken for granted,” said Andrew J. Manuse, chairman of ReopenNH, displaying an awe-inspiring ability to interpret history in the dumbest way imaginable.
“Our forefathers were willing to storm the beaches of Normandy under enemy fire to liberate our mother countries overseas and prevent the spread of tyranny to our land. Let us not lose the spirit that made America the envy of the world.”
No, let us lose our damn minds, instead—Woops! Too late!
“We must have the same passion for protecting the rights of individuals, businesses, religious organizations, and nonprofit groups and not let government or unruly mobs trample our liberty,” Manuse added. “Remember, our Constitution was written to protect the rights of minorities, so even if it seems like Granite Staters are facing an insurmountable force, we should rest assured that the Rule of Law and God Almighty are on our side.”
We wish misfortune on no one, but if Zeus—were ever to make himself manifest, tomorrow…[bites tongue.]
It Was All Going to Be So Splendid…
EVERETT, Wash., Sept. 4, 2018—The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has granted Boeing’s [NYSE: BA] KC-46 tanker program a Supplemental Type Certificate (STC), verifying that its refueling and mission avionics systems meet FAA requirements. The milestone marks completion of KC-46 FAA certification.
To receive its STC, Boeing’s team completed a series of lab, ground and flight tests, which commenced in 2015. As part of the required flight testing, the team validated the KC-46’s boom and drogue aerial refueling systems met FAA certification criteria. [Emphasis added.]
Our Boeing/Air Force test team did an outstanding job successfully leading us through all the requirements, and we appreciate the FAA’s collaboration as well,” said Mike Gibbons, Boeing KC-46A tanker vice president and program manager. “This milestone is important in that it is one of the last major hurdles in advance of first delivery to the U.S. Air Force. … [Emphasis added.]
Six aircraft have supported various segments of STC and MTC testing. Overall they have completed 3,500 flight hours and offloaded more than three million pounds of fuel during refueling flights with F-16, F/A-18, AV-8B, C-17, A-10, KC-10, KC-135 and KC-46 aircraft.
…Boeing is currently on contract for the first 34 of an expected 179 tankers for the U.S. Air Force.
– The Boeing Company
Now nothing stands in the way of the KC-46 entering service. This is a rather remarkable achievement for a program that only began in 2011 and which even late last year was struggling to resolve problems with parts of its refueling system. The Air Force is now scheduled to receive its first production tanker this month with the remaining 17 aircraft required under the original contract to be delivered no later than April 2019.
– Dan Gouré, Real Clear Defense, September 12, 2018;
“The KC-46 Is on the Cusp of Transforming U.S. Air Mobility”
The head of U.S. Transportation Command has warned that delays to the new KC-46 Pegasus tanker could require the military to rethink its plans for aerial refueling.
Gen. Stephen Lyons, speaking to the Atlantic Council last month, said issues with developing and fielding the KC-46 could further complicate refueling efforts if the Air Force sticks to its plan to retire legacy tankers, according to Defense News.
Officials had already planned on retiring some older KC-135 and KC-10 tankers as they field the new tanker. But leaders have also made it clear the KC-46 will not see action in combat until problems with the boom camera are resolved.
The boom issue is one of several that have plagued the new Boeing-built plane, which has been fielded to some active-component units and one Guard wing, the 157th Air Refueling Wing in New Hampshire. The 157th received its first two KC-46 tankers in August and is slated to receive additional planes this year.
– National Guard Association of the U.S., February 4, 2020
The U.S. military’s top transportation commander is urging the Air Force to keep more of its legacy air-refuelers in service until more of the Boeing-built KC-46 Pegasus aircraft are delivered and operational.
Speaking at a congressional hearing last week, Gen. Stephen Lyons, the head of U.S. Transportation Command, said the service should rethink its plan to retire 13 KC-135s and 10 KC-10s during fiscal 2021, warning that failure to do so would create ‘a capacity bathtub with significant impacts to Combatant Command daily competition and wartime missions.’
…The KC-46, the newest tanker in the fleet, has been plagued with issues since delivery began in 2018, including problems with the remote vision system for the refueling boom. Officials believe a fix for the remote vision system will be ready in the coming weeks. [Emphasis added.]
Air Force leaders proposed cuts to the legacy fleet in order to fund other projects. But Lyons argued that keeping the 23 tankers in service would only cost about $110 million, according to Breaking Defense.
The Air Guard has 17 air refueling wings, most of them fly the aging KC-135. One, New Hampshire’s 157th Air Refueling Wing, flies the new KC-46.
– National Guard Association of the U.S., March 3, 2020
Why The Air Force’s Latest Flight Plan For Its KC-46 Tankers Looks Likely To Finally Deliver Success
It is now nearly 20 years since the U.S. Air Force decided it needed to replace its aging fleet of aerial refueling tankers, and settled on a modified version of the Boeing 767 jetliner as the logical solution. At the time, most of the tankers in the fleet were already over 35 years old.
What followed was one of the most Byzantine, convoluted stories in the history of military acquisition. First the Air Force tried to lease 100 of the planes from Boeing. Then it was forced by Congress to conduct a competition which derailed and had to be rerun. Then it encountered major delays in fielding the plane it selected.
The good news is that in the end, it got what looks to be the most capable and efficient aerial refueler ever built. It began accepting that plane, the KC-46 Pegasus, at air bases in Kansas, Oklahoma and New Hampshire last year. As originally planned, Pegasus is based on the 767 airframe built by Boeing (a contributor to my think tank). [Emphasis added.]
– Loren Thompson,
Senior Contributor, Aerospace & Defense, Forbes.com, April 9, 2020
WASHINGTON – New Hampshire’s U.S. senators are among three calling for the Government Accountability Office to investigate ongoing delays keeping the new KC-46 refueling tankers from being used in operational missions. …
In the letter, the Senators wrote, ‘The KC-46 aerial refueling tanker modernization program, currently assessed at a cost of about $43 billion, is one of the Air Force’s highest acquisition priorities… The Air Force started accepting aircraft in January 2019 with these critical deficiencies. While the Air Force has already accepted over 30 aircraft, U.S. Transportation Command has decided not to use the aircraft in operations until the critical deficiencies are fixed, which is not expected to occur until 2023.’” [Emphasis added.]
– Portsmouth Herald,
Friday, May 22, 2020
RIP, Irene Triplett
Sadly, we report the death of Irene Tripplett, of Wilkesboro, N.C. Ninety years old, she was the last-known surviving child of a veteran of the Civil War.
In a war that famously saw brother fighting brother, Irene’s father took things a step farther. Moses Triplett fought on both sides. Originally a private in the Confederate Army, he deserted as his unit was on the march, about a week before the Battle of Gettysburg. It was the smart move: less than ten percent of his outfit survived. Swapping the gray for the blue, he spent the last year of the war with the 3rd North Carolina Mounted Infantry.
Moses married his second wife in 1924, when he was 78. His wife Elida Hall was just 27. Irene came along in 1930. Her life story could have been written by William Faulkner or Erskine Caldwell.
“I didn’t care for neither one [of my parents], to tell you the truth about it,” she said, in a Washington Post article published Thursday. “I wanted to get away from both of them. I wanted to get me a house and crawl in it all by myself.”
She dropped out of sixth grade; the other children called her father “the traitor.” Cognitively-impaired, according to the Post, Irene and her mother lived for many years in a rat-infested county poorhouse. At least her last years were spent in a private nursing home, which seems to have been an improvement; its director told the Post, “I never saw her angry. Everything was funny.”
There’s one other bright spot in this rather depressing story: with Irene’s demise, a burden has been lifted from the taxpayer; a line item removed from the budget of the Department of Veterans Affairs. As the helpless adult child of a veteran, she had been receiving a pension of $73.13 a month; 155 years after Appomattox, the Civil War is paid for.
Pining for the Newsprint
This makes our sixth consecutive issue published solely in this nebulous and intangible space since March 13th—the last time we sullied fresh newsprint. Like many others fortunate enough not to work in a meat-packing plant or, god help us, an infectious disease ward, we’ve been spending most of our time rattling around the office.
That’s quite a change from the old routine. Over the decades we’ve grown quite fond of frequent, brief, impromptu sidewalk conferences with readers, advertisers, and miscellaneous ne’er-do-wells. There’s no telling to what extent these random interactions have helped to shape the paper. The volunteer distribution system which has served us so well these many years evolved from one such meeting outside Portsmouth Health Food. Thanks, Deb—we have not forgotten. As for the urban grazing, well…. In this town? [Sighs.] C’est la vie…at least the pants fit better now.
Lord knows we can’t complain about any lack of stimulation. It’s always been a challenge trying to keep up with events, but these goings-on? This is…just literally insane.
On the upside, it gives us something to think about other than how many papers we haven’t been able to put on the street. [At this point, 30,000.]