Maj O - out and about - Printable Version

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Maj O - out and about - CaptO - 10-13-2012

Hey everyone. I currently find myself in the Philippines doing an exercise called PHIBLEX (Philippines Bilateral Exercise). we are one of the major units playing, but there is a higher headquarters that comes from Okinawa that is overall in command of the US forces. I myself am in the port of Subic Bay and have set up our comm center for the MEU CP. We have 3 satellite receivers and lots of single channel radio gear as well. Through the satellites we get web and email services as well as DSN (Defense Switch Network) phone lines. We will be wrapping up the exercise in the next few days. One of the nice things about being on shore is we have greater bandwidth and only about 20 users instead of over 2000 like on ship. The web is flying!! As such, I wanted to take the opportunity to upload some pictures I have taken. Normally I link my pictures through Picasa, but you can't use that on Govie computers.

Before that we had been operating in Guam and Tinian. I didn't get to go ashore on Tinian (which I regret) but some others did and I saw the pictures they took at the north airfield where they loaded up The Bombs. On Guam I went to the Asan invasion beach and saw some interesting things. There were still bunkers in evidence and I saved some sand from there as well.

Well, that's it from me. Perhaps if I had the time, ability, and something interesting to write about, I would do my Ernie Pyle literary impersonation, but alas, I lack it all!

Talk to you later,

Todd O.


The Philippines (Subic Bay Port)


The Comm setup


Me and the Phoenix


Two Cobras on the flight deck


The business end of a Cobra (AH-1Z)


Me in a Japanese Bunker with modern supports


Rough seas hitting a resupply ship during a RAS (replenishment at sea)


The mighty CIWS - pronounced sea-wiz - See the movie Battleship for a cool demonstration


Coming for a landing with the Philippines in the distance

Maj O - out and about - Walt's Daughter - 10-15-2012

It is great to hear from you Ernie, I mean Todd! :waving: :waving:


Ya, I know you had some internet problems while out and about floating through the seas on the other side of the world. Good to see you have some quality upload and download time. Makes you appreciate it even more, yes?


Holy cow, rough seas? Ewwwww, think I am getting sea-sick just looking at the picture.

Maj O - out and about - CaptO - 10-18-2012

Here is proof that God loves the USMC and Navy:



These were taken as the USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD-6) was pulling into port in Subic Bay at sundown. I was on the dock as we were just finishing up our exercise and was in the right place, right time.

Maj O - out and about - Walt's Daughter - 10-19-2012

Hey we hit another snag. I sent you an email the other day and later that evening got an automated message saying it's been delayed. Next day same thing, and it told me it would keep trying - you know, the typical automated letter.


Well yesterday I got yet another, but this time it said PERMANENT failure...


Delivery to the following recipient failed permanently:


"Email addy" (removed for privacy)


Technical details of permanent failure:

DNS Error: DNS server returned general failure

Maj O - out and about - CaptO - 10-24-2012

So now I'm in Malaysia. We are at the port of Sepanngar near the city of Kota Kinabalu. I went into town the other day and I was just not very enthused about it. Just not much there for me to get excited about. I am going on a boat tour tomorrow to see some proboscis monkeys. With any luck I can get some decent pictures. Aside from that, one of the other things this area is famous for are the Rafflesia plants - the big ones that smell like decaying meat.

Since I'm not that into this place, here are some other pictures I was taking as we left the Philippines:


Front end of the LCACs



The rear fans of the LCACs



The rear of the rear fans of the LCAC



The BHR's Island looking forward



A CH-46 being pushed into position






A CH-53 with its rotors back

Maj O - out and about - Walt's Daughter - 10-24-2012

I read with interest the PDF file you sent me from NCIS regarding behavior, customs and rules. Ya, don't know how enthused I would be either. Rather I think I'd be wary, as are you.


Thanks for the photos. Great shots from the big ocean on the other side of the world.

Maj O - out and about - CaptO - 10-26-2012

All, I went on the Proboscis monkey tour yesterday and it was pretty interesting. Proboscis monkeys are indigenous to only the island of Borneo (of which Malaysia is one of three constituent countries). It was pretty neat to see them in the wild. They are endangered, but it is surprising that they aren't extinct already, they have absolutely no fear of people. We pulled up in our two tour boats and were making plenty of noise but they didn't seem to mind it much. They just sat around in their treetop perch and continued to eat or (dare I say) monkeying around. [sorry for that.] No but seriously folks, here are some of the pictures. We farted around a little too much for my liking when we first got there - had some drinks (non-alcoholic) and munchies with our host - so we lost about 30 minutes of rapidly fading daylight. I only have an Olympus point and shoot, so I am limited to what even I, Mr. photography degree, can do.


What you can do with a point and shoot



This was one of the houses near where we had our snacks. The houses are on stilts due to the periodic flooding.




Maj O - out and about - Walt's Daughter - 10-26-2012

Ya, point and shoots usually leave something to be desired, although mine does one hell of a job for the most part. Lee and I are thinking of getting a REAL camera within the next few months. Possibly for Christmas.


Unfortunately we CANNOT use all our GREAT Canon lenses with a new digital body. Nikon has interchangeable lenses as do many others. For some utterly stupid reason, Canon doesn't offer that. Pisses us off immensely!


Well looks like we will have to place our old lenses up for sale and... Arrggh!!

Maj O - out and about - CaptO - 10-26-2012

Unfortunately we CANNOT use all our GREAT Canon lenses with a new digital body. Nikon has interchangeable lenses as do many others. For some utterly stupid reason, Canon doesn't offer that. Pisses us off immensely!

Fortunately, I'm here to tell you why! When I worked at the pro-photo supply store in Dallas, I was told the following. When Nikon decided to go with an autofocus line of cameras, they wanted to make their bodies backwards compatible with their older lenses. This meant that they were forced to make their new shiny round square so the cameras would be able to fit the old square lenses (so to speak). The result was that the motor to turn the auto focus parts was on the camera body and connected to the lens via a little screw head that turned. The result (in this guy's opinion of the high dollar Nikons I tried) was a louder, slower auto-focus then Canon. Canon, on the other hand, said "screw it" we are going to create a new line of autofocus cameras from the ground up (beginning with the EOS 650 in 1987). Their autofocus drive was on the lens body itself and the result (once again in my opinion) was a faster quiet autofocus. That was in 1998-99 when I was working there, so the newer Nikons (to my understanding) don't use that screw mechanism and are more quiet and faster than they were. They may even being as quiet and fast as Canon now, but I have thrown in my lot with Canon years ago. So that is why you have to leave your old lenses behind. It wasn't a digital-versus-analog thing; it was the advent of Canon autofocus. We had a Canon Rebel that shot film (still do) and at some point I think it was dropped because it doesn't "lock on" when auto focusing anymore unless it is pointed at an extremely bright light. Manual focus is fine, but it doesn’t have a split ring focusing apparatus in the middle making it difficult. We bought a Canon Rebel T3i a few years back and it even got thrown (long story) and it works like a champ.

Not so much a detractor still of Nikon, but I have a bunch of Canon gear and I like it. Were I to start from scratch today I would have to think about it and borrow other people cameras to make a sound decision.


And now you know. . .the rest of. . .the story!

Maj O - out and about - Walt's Daughter - 10-27-2012

Danka, Danka, Danka! Okay that does make sense. Just read your post out loud to Lee and we both thank you for your insight. We've always been Canon fans, so will probably stick with them, but we are doing some research both by reading and hands-on. In fact, just started a subscription to a digital camera mag. Used to get camera mags all the time when we had our darkroom, so now it's time to jump back on board.


Thanks, major!