Influenced by the folklore and strong regional Native American culture of the Southwest, the United States Air Force Air Demonstration Squadron was named the Thunderbirds in 1953. Native Americans often depicted the thunderbird in burnt outlines and drawings on buckskin.
The emblem for the Air Demonstration Unit was created by its first solo pilot, Lt. Bob McCormick, based on the image of those early drawings by Native Americans. McCormick developed the patch with a white disc that includes a drawing of the ancient Native American god with a yellow beak and an eye above a “Thunderbirds” inscription. The thunderbird is surmounted by a red circle with a five-point white star in the center.
The author, Carl Buhler, has nearly 30 years of military experience, as an Air Force brigadier general. Early in his Air Force career, Carl Buhler served as a maintenance officer with the Thunderbirds.
Virginia may be best-known for the Appalachian Mountain trails in the western part of the state. These trails offer many scenic viewpoints for hikers of all abilities. About 20 percent of the Virginian Appalachians are in Shenandoah National Park, which offers accessible hiking trails from the spring to fall, plus cross-country skiing in the winter.
Experienced hikers can head to Sinking Creek Mountain in the south. After a challenging climb, adventurers can take in the scenery of Craig Creek Valley. Hikers can also explore the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests in central Virginia, which contain a diverse array of plants and animals, including 150 bird species. Another area with popular hikes, also along the Appalachian trail, is the Devil’s Marbleyard, where a hiker has two options. The first hike has massive boulders covering the side of a hill and the other hike has an incredible 360 degree view of the surrounding Virginia landscape. The boulder hike is generally considered a tougher hike. Also, remember to wear sunglasses if it is bright and sunny, as the reflection on the boulders can be blinding.
The author, Carl Buhler, is in the Air Force and has deployed in support of Operation Desert Storm, Operation Iraqi Freedom, and Operation Enduring Freedom. Outside of his professional life, Carl Buhler pursues his interest in nature-based activities such as hiking.
As we prepare for the Independence Day Holiday, many will be displaying the United States Flag at events, barbecues, and events. Fortunately, the official rules for the flag are available from the VFW. Please check out my article for more.
President Woodrow Wilson was a complex man. He is generally considered a president who made an impact, but is less known than many other presidents. Patricia O’Toole’s book brings enormous insight into the life of President Wilson. Read my article for more.
Many Redskins fans believe the Redskins did a great job during the off-season, to include the draft. But, the question remains…did the Redskins do enough? It’s generally known the Redskins had the worst run defense during the 2017 season…32nd out of 32 teams. With their trades, free agency pickups, and the draft, the 2018 season is shaping up to be a very bright season. Read more in my article.
The 119th VFW National Convention is being held from July 21 to 25 in Kansas City, and will feature a variety of committee meetings and information settings, as well as the Vander Clute Memorial Motorcycle Ride and a patriotic celebration.
The convention will also include a welcome concert that will surely brighten the day for attendees. The concert will be held at the Municipal Auditorium on July 22 and will be headlined by country music superstar Trace Adkins. A prominent supporter of American veterans and service members, the three-time Grammy Award nominee has performed as part of 12 USO tours throughout his career. In addition to his performance, he will be presented with the VFW Commander-in-Chief Gold Medal of Merit. The concert will begin at 7 p.m. with a performance from the Six-String Soldiers, an acoustic group comprised of five active-duty soldiers. Admission to the concert is free. VFW members can request as many as four general admission seats by calling 1-833-VFW-VETS.
The author, Carl Buhler, has a bachelor’s degree in applied mathematics from Valdosta State College. Carl Buhler subsequently earned master’s degrees in human relations, national security and strategic studies, and national resource strategy, while advancing his career in the United States Air Force. In addition to being a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, he serves as a brigadier general.
The Air Force Association (AFA), an independent nonprofit organization, supports professionals in the military and aerospace industries and provides the public with a variety of educational information through its outreach programs. Every year, the association hosts numerous professional development opportunities, including the Air, Space & Cyber Conference.
In 2018, the Air, Space & Cyber Conference will take place September 17-19 in National Harbor, Maryland. Focusing on the theme of Multi-Domain Operations: Leveraging the Full Spectrum, this event will feature expert speakers tackling topics ranging from defense strategies and the defense market to operational issues and legislative challenges. Leaders in the aerospace industry will come together to network and participate in these specific topics and other general areas of interest. Attendees can also view innovative technologies and services from exhibitors in the industry. More information is available at https://www.afa.org/airspacecyber/home.
The author, Carl Buhler, was deployed during the cease-fire phase of Operation Desert Storm and served as a maintenance officer for the Thunderbirds squadron.