They Flew Into a Fire Storm

With the epoch documentary ” Vietnam” airing on PBS, I’m compelled to honor daring men I served with during that war. During a brief lull in bombing, I photographed these pilots on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier, USS Hancock.

They were men of squadron 215 and they flew the Douglas Skyraider, the last of the propeller-driven fighter bombers. So vulnerable were the ” Spads” to antiaircraft fire and surface to air missiles, they were retired from combat in 1967. However, these pilots could provide incredible low level support to Marines and soldiers who were in close contact with enemy troops.

I knew these men because they received their target information in my office, Air Intelligence, often aided by their squadron intelligence officers: ” Kaz” Kazvinski, Mel Peddy and Jack Hannon.  Lt. John Black, in the bottom photo, survived the war. I can’t speak for the other pilots. Some 50 years later, I can say I was honored to know those courageous men who flew ” low and slow” to save American troops on the ground.

 

Hay Mow Studio

Its been decades since baled hay filled the mow of an Excelsior barn, but its a really swell for portraiture. Rachel and I adjusted a tattered flag that leaned against a wall, then placed her in juxtaposition with it. A single window provided our morning light, reminding me of the barn where, as a youngster, my sister and I dug holes in hay and shared the ” cave” with our collie, Rover. We also shared marshmallows with him.

 

A Pensive Moment

For several moments this child seemed lost in his thoughts while conversations swirled around him. Minutes earlier, he had chatted with a teen on a laptop, but at the moment I framed him at the window, he was somewhere else in a place, perhaps, where children and only children can go.

 

 

ETA 11:04 AM

KARE-TV meteorologist Laura Betker and husband Bryan can look forward to more sleepless nights!  Bianca Joy greeted the world just days ago, weighing 7 lbs 10 oz. and just in time for lunch!    Her sister Gwenn was mesmerized with the new face with its newborn puffiness and wrinkles. And those hands, they’re so tiny! Im thinking she’s going to be a very attentive and loving sister.

Lure of the Lake

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In the land of 10,00 lakes, hardy Minnesotans are in the water and on it year round and none is more popular than Lake Minnetonka. Competitive sailing is a national draw, wakeboard surfing has opened up to athletes who’ve lost limbs and every New Years Day hundreds of ” you betchas” leap into an opening in the ice in Excelsior to raise money for various local causes. By the way, water temperature hovers just above 32 degrees during the Polar Plunge !