Unapologetic insolence from an aging subversive

Unapologetic insolence from an aging subversive

Thursday, 26 September 2019

Eulogy for a Mate

Poor quality pic of Keith returning from Operation Finschhafen - April 1970

Keith was born on March 13th, 1945 and died on August 13th, 2019.

I was privileged to know him for only a small part of his life, initially when we were marched into B Company 7 RAR in July 1969, and from that time until he left B company in June 1970, halfway through our tour of duty. Keith had thick glasses, and after another soldier who also wore glasses was killed in a mine incident, Keith, amongst others was consequently removed from our rifle section.
I was privileged to experience that period of operational service with Keith, After that, like most Nashos, we went our separate ways.

Later, we would encounter each other at battalion reunions, notably in Melbourne and Adelaide, and recently, when Keith was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, more frequently. This last association was perhaps the most significant for me, when all the qualities that I had observed in Keith from earlier times, came to the fore.

These qualities of generosity, quiet courage, and complete integrity shone brightly as he struggled with his illness. Keith is probably the most selfless person I have ever known.
Along with the rest of us in his National Service intake, Keith adjusted to army life quickly. He did so with the minimum of fuss and maintained his core values more strongly than many of us.
Keith had a strong Catholic faith, and never once did I ever see him do or say anything that compromised that faith. That was a tall order, given what he dealt with on operational service.

Two things stand out when I remember him.

One is that he never swore. He didn’t need to. Keith was never out to impress anyone.
He also, as far as I remember, never had a nickname. Again, he didn’t need one. He was simply Keith.

Towards the end of his life, a group of us from 5 Platoon would, from time to time, converge in Newcastle to spend some time with him. On one of these occasions, Keith invited me to stay at his place, to save the expense of motel accommodation. I never did that again, because he spent the whole time I was in his home, looking after my every need. This was a man who was very ill and in pain much of the time, but Keith put that aside, and became the perfect host for the duration of my stay.

I reflected that perhaps because he had cared so well for his aging mother for so long in that home, he simply reverted to that same generous habit.

Another habit of Keith’s was letter-writing. He was probably the only person I knew who would write to me regularly. I still have a letter he wrote to me in 1991, telling me of a fellow member of 5 Platoon who was killed in a police siege. I remember him writing that we should look after each other so that kind of incident would never be repeated.

Again, his first thought on that occasion was about caring for others.

In summary, I shared only a small part of Keith’s life, but am forever grateful for that association and insight into his character and quiet strength.

May he rest in peace.

Monday, 19 August 2019

Leyburn 2019

Mustang - all sound and fury - not much motion
I headed to Leyburn again this year, gentle reader, with the intention of participating in the annual Show and Shine.
1963 Hillman Imp

It wasn't on - wrong day. I was there on the Saturday, and apparently, the Show and Shine is a Sunday only affair.
Something a little more contemporary 2019 MX5 RF

1925 Austin 7 Sports Special

That's not how I remember it from previous years.
1931 Ford Special

It's unbelievably dry in that neck of the woods (as it s just about everywhere else, so we wandered around the dusty township, watched the racing for a while, and inspected a wide variety of cars.
1933 Aston Martin Long Series Le Mans

This post is a little photographic essay (all with iPhone - my trusty Canon has the collywobbles).
1933 MG K3

One very yellow 1951 Moggy with a V8
Not a paint job - a work of art (1978 Mitsubishi Lancer)
2002 Radical Prosport

Bad shot of an MG Special (1939 TB)

Leyburn is unique in that spectators can mix with cars and crews.
It has an atmosphere all of its own.

Sunday, 11 August 2019

Danger Close - A Review

Pic courtesy Sydney Morning Herald

This is my attempt, gentle reader, at a movie review.
Back in the day, we called them “pictures”, but that was a long time ago.

The movie is Danger Close, the recently released account of the Battle of Long Tan on 18th August 1966.

The story resonates with me for a number of reasons.

I went to school at Downlands with Frank Topp, who was killed in the opening few minutes of the battle. He is represented by a few seconds of footage when he is marched into D Company as a reinforcement on the morning of the 18th August. In the movie, he's one of the two diggers given a briefing about the reputation of Harry Smith's crew as he arrives.

I copped a bit of bullying at Downlands in 1961 when I started as a skinny fourteen year-old. I was a schoolies son from North Queensland, not the offspring of a wealthy land holder from the Western Downs, as a fair proportion of my school mates were at the time. Frank, for reasons I’ve never really understood, acted frequently as my protector.

He was well built and burly, so they left me alone. Perhaps the fact that his old man was a small crop farmer from Helidon, rather than a cow cockie from a big holding helped. We were both on the outer.

Frank left Downlands (as I did) at the end of 1962, and joined the army as an apprentice in RAEME. He became fascinated by the warries he began to hear about Vietnam, and transferred to Infantry. He arrived in Vietnam on the 16th July 1966, and was marched into D Coy 6 RAR on the morning of the battle. He didn’t have time to get to know the diggers he died with.

I was first in Long Tan in April 1970, when as a member of B Coy 7 RAR and a Nasho on his second operation in country, we were trucked there and harboured up near that famous rubber plantation until dark. Then we moved on foot through the night into our AO along a dry creek bed called the Suoi Lo O Nho. It was a bugger of a trip.

I also visited the site as a tourist in 2007 with my two sons. That was a much more rewarding experience, But it’s a sombre place.

The movie was well worth watching, irrespective of my experience of the history. It's production is slick, and the cinematography is first class.

The narrative is obviously based on the record, but there were a few incidents written in that, as far as I know, never occurred. There is a short cameo about a VC sniper in a woodcutters hut, as well as another involving two Vietnamese women which I doubt ever happened. It doesn't matter. They don’t detract.

The performances were generally pretty good, especially that of Travis Fimmel who played Harry Smith (OC D Coy) and Daniel Webber who played private Paul Large. There is a back story involving their relationship which may, or may not be accurate. Again, it doesn't matter and provides some diversion from the heavy themes of endurance, courage and loyalty in the face of impossible odds embedded in the narrative. 

The sound and fury of the artillery which was the conclusive element in the outcome is well conveyed, as is the on-the-ground minute by minute ordeal of the diggers.

The production team did a good job of reproducing a rubber plantation (a paulownia plantation at Wooroolin near Kingaroy) and the background landscape captured the Long Tan area pretty well, although I reckon the soil wasn’t quite red enough. Maybe they should have done some shooting on the Atherton Tablelands, where the contrasting red soil and green vegetation mimic Phouc Tuy.

It's very much a Queensland product. Apart from the rubber plantation scenes at Kingaroy, filming was also done in the Gold Coast hinterland near Nerang and at the Village Roadshow studios at Oxenford.

I could carry on about the authenticity and accuracy of representations of kit such as weapons, webbing, packs, but I won't. The weapons were spot on, as far as I could tell, but we never carried F1s. This was set four years before my time, and perhaps they were phased out by then.

The choppers confused me a little. They looked like the UH-1B, shorter than the UH-1H that I was familiar with. Perhaps the B series were replaced by the H series between 1966 and 1970. I'd welcome any guidance from chopper nerds on that. 

Again, it matters not. They made all the right noises. 

Apparently getting the movie going financially was a close-run thing.  It has that in common with the battle, which could have ended in complete disaster.

I'm glad it was made. Kriv Stenders (director) deserves kudos for actually getting it to screen.

It's a story that had to be told.

And that is was made in Australia, by Australians, is gratifying.

Friday, 12 July 2019

Another Anniversary

July 20th (next Saturday) marks the 50th anniversary of the first Apollo moon landing.

By July 1969, I had been serving in 7th Battalion RAR for about a month, having completed Infantry Corps training at Singleton before being marched into the battalion. I was “called up” as a teacher working at Goondiwindi State School.

7 RAR had been "warned" for operational service in Vietnam, and the pace of our training activity was frenetic. Initially, when first marched into the battalion after corps training, I was posted to D Company, but after a week or two was transferred to B Company. I have no idea why the transfer occurred. There is nothing on my retrieved service record to provide a reason, so it was probably down to manpower considerations.

These same manpower considerations were probably also responsible for my posting to Infantry. As a teacher, I had requested Education Corps. I was not happy.

The B Coy posting was the beginning of an association with the men I served with in Vietnam, a unique association which lasts to this day. By the anniversary of the moon landing I will have known these men for 50 years, longer than I've known my wife and kids.

In mid-July 1969, we were flown into the Colo-Putty training area for an exercise in small unit tactics in preparation for tropical warfare in the Vietnamese jungle and paddy. The fact that is was mid-Winter in Australia, and that the country around the training area was scrub rather than jungle seemed lost on the army.

Just as we arrived, a Sou'wester ramped up, and began blowing sleet and drizzle directly (it seemed) from somewhere in the Antarctic. Anticipating the conditions, one resourceful digger had brought a balaclava with him, and when we were encamped in the bush on the first night of the exercise, produced it from his backpack and put it on.

Next morning, when he woke up, the balaclava had somehow turned when he was asleep and covered his eyes. In his groggy state, he assumed he had been struck blind during the night, and noisy panic ensued. The commotion attracted the platoon sergeant who was upset at the noise (we were supposed to be observing tactical silence) and balaclavas were immediately confiscated, and wearing one became a chargeable offence.

We barged around the scrub in the sleet and mud for a day or two, amid much cursing and swearing about the army in general, and national service in particular, and finally, on the last night, were allowed to go "non-tac".

This meant we could light fires and try to get warm. Being warm was a state which had eluded us for the last two days. A couple of soldiers had been flown out to be treated for exposure.

Once we had lit a couple of fires, we began to put out boots as close to these fires as we could in an attempt to get warm feet again. This was not a good idea. The GP boots had a metal plate installed under the sole, which rapidly heated up, and a mad boot removing scramble ensued.

We had been allowed to put hootchies up on the last (non-tac) night of the exercise. A hootchie is a sheet of waterproof plastic, two of which could be clipped together to make a rudimentary shelter. which at least provided respite from the sleet and drizzle but did little to stop the horizontal howling wind which always seem to be blowing through the hootchie. I had a bright idea and put one green army blanket across the end of the shelter as a wind break, tying it in place with coms cord.

Next morning, when we let the tent down prior to packing up for the flight out, the blanket stayed in place. During the night, it had become sodden, and eventually froze in place.

The news of the moon landing came through whilst we were waiting to be flown out of the training area. We were in no position to watch it live. Nor was I at all excited. After all, if the Yanks were so bloody clever, why hadn't they sorted Vietnam years ago?

The wind had not abated, and when we were set to emplane aboard a Caribou transport for the flight back to Sydney, the conditions became a major problem. Once we had boarded from where we were sitting in the fuselage of the Caribou, we could see the flight crew. What we saw was not confidence inspiring. Both pilot and co-pilot seemed to be struggling to keep the ship on track.

Apparently, the Caribou's large tail was a problem in the cross wind. Eventually, amidst a great deal of noise from the big Pratt and Whitneys, we unstuck and commenced a bumpy flight towards Sydney.

As it turned out, the conditions had deteriorated further and were now too dangerous, and we were the last flight out that day. This was a bonus, as the platoon HQ group was scheduled on the next flight, and we arrived back in base without them. The only NCO with us let it be known that if we kept out of sight, we had the best part of 24 hours to our own devices, which meant lots of napping, and a beer or two at the boozer.

That's how I remember the anniversary.
Caribou (not in Oz).

Thursday, 4 July 2019

Travelling North

An early start was the go.

I've been a bit slack with postings of late, gentle reader.

the major distraction has been enrolling at Uni after a gap of 39 years.

The tertiary institutions that I earned RPL* from have had problems with their archives, caused, I understand by the most recent Brisbane floods.

Anyway, they have resurrected sufficient of my academic record to mollify the campus I'm dealing with, so it's all good.
Roadworks were a pain.

To fill in the time whilst waiting to get started at the beginning of semester 2, I took a long road trip north - to Mackay, to be exact, where my 90-year-old aunt was celebrating her birthday.

There were many cousins, most whom I haven't seen for 30+ years, so it was interesting (and revelatory). I seem to have worn better than most of them.

It's all that clean living.

Travel stained at Bororen.

Anyway, I pointed the nose of the MX5 north, and set out early.

An MX5 SE is not designed for long distance cruising, but this little machine acquitted itself well.

It has an excellent driving position, and cruises at about 3000rpm. An overdrive would be nice, but it doesn’t feel (or sound) stressed at this rev range.
Safely in Mackay.

The only problem I had was in 110km/hr zones, because the turbo kicks in at about 105km/hr in top gear, and holding it below the limit required lots of concentration.

It used 7.5lit/100kms of 98 octane, which is pretty good. Prices were surprisingly consistent except for Mackay city.

Despite wet weather and loads of caravans, the trip north ws enjoyable, and the journey back, in fine weather, was great fun.
Town of 1770.
EV chargers at Marlborough.

Friday, 7 June 2019

Baby and Bathwater

Pic courtesy European Movement
There’s plenty in the media about the 75th anniversary of the D Day landings, and so there should be.

This event changed the course of history in Europe and formed the basis of the free and prosperous Europe we see today.

Not long after the end of the war in Europe, (24th October 1945) the United Nations officially came into existence.

Representatives of 50 countries met in San Francisco at the United Nations Conference on International Organization to draw up the United Nations Charter.

Those delegates deliberated based on proposals worked out by the representatives of China, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom and the United States at Dumbarton Oaks, United States in August-October 1944.

This was only 5 months after the fall of Berlin on 8th May 1945.

The delegates at that conference would have had the chaos and suffering of the Second World War uppermost in their minds.

It was after all, a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945 involving the vast majority of the world's countries including all the great powers. It resulted in the eventual formation of two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from over 30 countries. The major participants threw their entire economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources.

World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 50 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China. It included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, and the only use of nuclear weapons in war.

Looking back, the foundation of the UN represented an expression of hope, and a determination that global conflict would not happen again – surely a noble aspiration.

Not much later, in 1951, the Treaty of Paris, and in 1958 the Treaty of Rome (1958) established the European Economic Community (EEC). Winston Churchill had called in 1946 for a "United States of Europe", and the original development of the European Union was based on a supranational foundation that would "make war unthinkable and materially impossible.

Seventy-five years after D Day, and sixty years plus since the Rome and Paris treaties, with the exception of localized conflicts (1991–1993 Georgian Civil War, 1992–1995 Bosnian War, and Kosovo 1998 – 99), Europe has been generally peaceful.

This is in marked contrast to the preceding 50 years, marked as it was by “the war to end all wars” and World War two.

And yet, we see Brexit, rising nationalism in many European states, and condemnation of the UN from some.

History is either not read, or not understood.

Throwing the baby out with the bath water is always bad for the baby…

Monday, 20 May 2019

Queenslanders are Different

Tambo Dawn

Queensland has always been different and never properly understood by southerners.

We identify by our distance from the capital (Brisbane), more strongly than by any other factor. The further we live from Brisbane, the more militant and contrarian our opinions.

I learned this when working in regional administration in Mt Isa. We talked bitterly about BFBs (Bastards from Brisbane) and saw our main function as opposing every suggested initiative that came from Central Office.

This identity by region probably derived from the history. Unlike other mainland states, Queensland was settled district by district, from the productive inland to the coast, rather than from the capital outwards.

The east/west railway links were completed before the north/south Brisbane/Cairns link.

Soldiers embarking for Gallipoli (and the western front) in World War One, did so on steamers from ports like Rockhampton as well as from Brisbane.

Prior to the Second World War, many Queenslanders lived out their lives in their own regional areas without ever travelling to the capital. The distances and the state of the roads saw to that.

This geographical history underpins our political consciousness, and creates an electoral environment beyond the ken of journalists in NSW and Victoria.

Every now and again, this lack of comprehension is revealed by the commentary, as demonstrated by the collapse of Labor in 2012 - and again yesterday.

Having said that, Queensland can surprise from the other side of the political spectrum.

Remember Red Ted Theodore?

Remember the shearer’s strike?

Monday, 6 May 2019

Reviewing Dapin's "Australia's Vietnam - Myth vs History"

It’s time for another book review, gentle reader.

I’ve studiously avoided commentary on politics. It’s never a good time to do that during a campaign.

The book in question is Mark Dapin’s Australia’s Vietnam – Myth vs History.

Dapin posted me a copy on the strength of the fact that he used some material I sent him in reference to one of the myths he eviscerated.

He looks at (amongst other things) the following accepted narratives and debunks them -
  • Every National Serviceman who went to Vietnam was a volunteer.
  • Some National Servicemen (Normie Rowe and Doug Walters, for example) were enlisted without being balloted to show that no-one was exempt.
  • The powers that were played God with the ballot process.
  • There was a hidden Australian My Lai.
  • Returning diggers were spat upon at airports and when parading in the capital cities.
The work is interesting and engaging in three ways.

First, it’s written in an irreverent non-nonsense fashion, sprinkled with factual barbs directed generally at the establishment. For me, as an habitual contrarian, that’s always a plus. In this case, the “establishment” is a generation of the more respectable chroniclers including notables like Ham, Edwards and Horner. He takes them on, and in the judgement of this humble reader, makes many of their assumptions look silly.

His conclusions are backed by research that is almost forensic in its character.

The second factor is that he readily admits that much of what he has written on the subject in the past is at least misguided and at most simply wrong. His explanation of this sets a framework for his conclusions that the war has been misremembered and mischaracterised by many, including those who participated in it.

This contention struck a chord for me. I’ve attended my fair share of reunions, and have listened to plenty of stories, tall and not so true. We call them “warries”. The telling of these stories is harmless, and probably helps the narrators make sense of their experiences, but it does nothing for the accurate recording of history.

And thirdly, his work encourages me to dig deeper in reference to the reasons for the existence of the myths in the first place. 

It’s really a three-stage process; the recounting of the myths, their debunking, and the analysis of why these myths developed in the first place.

Dapin’s book comprehensively completes the second stage of the process. I’d like to have a go at the third.

Hence I'm enrolling at USQ to do just that.

Blogging may be light as a consequence.

Friday, 19 April 2019

A Very Ordinary car

Years ago, I published a piece about all the cars I’ve owned.

It’s enough to say that there have been plenty, and some more loved than others, but amongst the collection there are vehicles which simply felt “right”.

It probably had something to do with time and place, but amongst them I’d nominate my Peugeot 505 wagon, my second Renault 12, and my Commodore ute.

Note I haven’t included any of my three MX5s, or the various Falcons I owned over the years.

These were all great cars, but they didn’t instantly feel “right” from the moment I got behind the wheel.

The MX5s were essentially “special” cars for enjoying driving. There’s a difference between “special” and “right”, and it relates to function. Cars that feel “right” are universally useful all of the time.
Ever tried to move house with an MX5? 

The subject of this post, my son’s Mazda 323, does feel “right”.

I’m driving it because he has a job a short cycle ride from where he lives, and simply doesn’t need it, as he lives very close to a railway station for the occasions he needs to get somewhere other than work.

On the other hand, he doesn’t want to sell it in case he gets a transfer in his job to a location not so accessible, so I’m garaging it for the time being.

The 323 is indeed a very ordinary car, but it’s comfortable, reliable, and accessible. By “accessible” I mean easy to get in and out of, and easy to see out of. Modern small sedans are over-styled, and as a consequence neither accessible or with good visibility. This is probably one reason why SUVs have become popular.

The 323 has a six CD stacker and cruise control as aftermarket accessories, and these bits add to the appeal. My iPhone will mount to the dashboard, and with the correct adaptor becomes a basic version of Apple Car play.

This means the phone becomes a satnav.

I’ve found a Bluetooth accessory that allows me to play the tunes on my iPhone over the stereo. It works a treat.

So the 323 has all the mod cons available in our Kia Cerato, but is easier to drive, easier to get in and out of, and easier to reverse, even though it doesn’t have a camera. It’s all to do with the greenhouse, and the ease with which you can turn to see over your shoulder. 
I’m getting on a bit you know…..

Sunday, 31 March 2019


It's been over twelve months now since I retired.

My first attempt at retirement was an abject failure, as it lasted only six months.

This one is permanent. I'm deaf, which makes working in noisy environments impossible. Trying to plan with my co-workers on the way to jobs, and conversing with kids and teachers in noisy classrooms had become embarrassing.

I do miss the work. One of the experiences I miss is flying in and out of places like Quilpie, Cunnamulla and Charleville.

This video was taken as we were landing at Cunnamulla.

The aircraft was a chartered Beechcraft Super King Air.

Cunnamulla was an American bomber base in World War Two, and Lyndon Johnson spent time there. I guess the Yanks figured that the Japanese would get so bored flying over the country between the coast and the outback that they'd shelve any ideas of attacking it.

Enjoy the vid.

Thursday, 14 March 2019

My Flying List

No - I've never flown on a Concorde. This one is at the Intrepid museum NYC.

I don’t pretend to be an expert, gentle reader, but I reckon I’m as qualified as any lay person to comment on matters aviation.
I’ve done plenty of flying. Some I’ve forgotten. This I remember in chronological order –
1968 – Slingsby glider at Goondiwindi
1969 – TAA Vickers Viscount (Brisbane – Williamtown – Nasho intake)
TAA Viscount

1969 – RAAF UH1H and Navy UH1B, C-130A and C-130E, DHC Caribou, (Training in 7 RAR)
DHC Caribou

1970 – RAAF and US Army UH1H (Operational flying – More times than I can count – beat walking); DHC – American Airlines R & R charter – Saigon/Bangkok – Boeing 707; Caribou; C -123; Qantas Boeing 707 10/12/70 (RTA)
Qantas 707

1974 – Lake Buccaneer (GBR trip)
Lake Buccaneer

1977 – TAA Boeing 727
TAA 727

1978 – Air NZ DC-10 (The actual aircraft that crashed at Mt Erebus – ZK-NZP one year later. I always note the rego numbers)
Air New Zealand DC 10

1979 – Boeing 727
British Airways 747

1980 – Boeing 747 – (British Airways – UK & return).
Australian Airways 737

1983 – 1989 – Various Boeing 737s.

1986 – DC – 3 (“Champagne flight”). My bride got airsick.
C130 during pilot's strike

1989 – C-130 E Townsville/Brisbane during pilot’s dispute. Tail number indicated that it was an aircraft I had flown in during Nasho training in 1969.
Chartered Cessna 180

1993 – Cessna 180 on charter – Mt Isa, Dajarra, Boulia, Bedourie, Birdsville, Windorah (Researching indigenous communities)
QantasLink Super Kingair

1993/94 – Beechcraft Super King air – 4 Flights annually attending Townsville board meetings from Mt Isa.

1994 – 2000 – Various 737s and Airbus 320s – attending national conferences.
Virgin 737

2006 – Singapore Airlines 777 – Brisbane/Singapore. Airbus 320 Singapore/Saigon.
Singapore airlines 777

2007 – Brisbane/KL – Malaysia Airlines 777. KL/Saigon – Airbus 320,Air Vietnam 737 – 800 Da Nang/Hanoi.
Air Vietnam ATR – 72 Saigon/Da Nang.
Vietnam Airlines ATR 72

Malaysian Airlines 777

Malaysian Airlines 737

2008 – 2015 – Numerous flights to Adelaide on Virgin 737 – 800s. Flight to Perth to connect with Indian Pacific – Virgin 737 – 800.
2010 – Darwin/Brisbane Boeing 767.
Qantas 767

2007 – 2015 – Lear Jet; Piper PA-42 Cheyenne; Beechcraft Super King Air (All charters involving consultancy work at Charleville, Quilpie and Cunnamulla – one flight per school term). The Lear was amazing. We hit an emu on the Quilpie strip in the King Air.
Beechcraft Super King Air

2018 – Qantas 747 Brisbane/LA/New York. COPA 737 – Washington/Panama City/Havana.
Qantas 747 - 400

2019 – Various flights to Newcastle – Airbus 320s and 737s. I usually travel domestic every couple of months, and have discovered that whilst Toowoomba’s new airport is convenient, fares to Sydney, Townsville, Cairns and Melbourne are expensive.
Jetstar A320. If you travel with this mob, read the fine print before you book online.

Air north fly Embraer 170s and I have used these various times direct from Toowoomba to visit friends and rellies in Townsville and Cairns.

Airnorth E170

My favourite long haul aircraft is the Boeing 747 – 400 (especially if you book row 46 or 58 behind the exits).
My favourite short haul aircraft – Embraer 170 as configured by Air North.
My most memorable flight – It's a toss up between flying out of a dirt strip in the Colo training area in a Caribou in July 1969 in a massive cross wind. (We were last stick out and all flights were cancelled after ours), and Charleville/Roma on a stormy November afternoon in 2010 when we struck hail and wind shear. Pilot was a genius.

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