Tonight I couldn't sleep so I went to the gym. The students are back in class, so the gym is open from 6 am to Midnight. On the 0.7-mile drive to the gym I tuned to the "Savage Nation." This talk show is at the extreme of bad taste in the world of talk radio. In that two-minute trip Michael Savage (born Michael Weiner) said, "Whoever put the Navy SEALs on a slow Chinook helicopter that can't turn should be tried for murder."
Pathetic Asshole that he is, Weiner is not restrained by facts. The Chinook is the fastest of the Army's four main helicopters: the Blackhawk, Apache Longbow and the Kiowa. As to its ability to turn, I have ridden in Chinooks both in the US and Iraq. They can land in tiny Forward Operating Bases and take off spinning around in barely more than their own length. Chinook pilots can fly their 60-foot aircraft (99 feet from blade tip to blade tip) 50 feet or less off the ground at 160 knots. The Chinook is a great aircraft, but it is not rocket proof. The loss of the SEALs, the air crew and other soldiers was a tragedy. But if a dozen SEALs and four crewmen had been shot down in a Blackhawk would our nation have mourned less?
Like any right-wing talk show host, the 69-year-old Weiner spent the Viet Nam War accumulating degrees and deferments. Had he paid attention to anything military when he was 19, he might have noticed the Army fielded a new helicopter in September of 1962--The CH-47 Chinook. That helicopter celebrates its 50th anniversary in service this year. Now in its sixth version, the F Model has been in service with the Army since 2007. In July Bravo Company of my unit became the first Army National Guard unit equipped with the new helicopter.
We live in a country that allows Westboro Baptist Church members and ignorant fools like Savage Weiner to address the public. Conventional wisdom says that is a good thing. I must be too old to remember why this is good.