Saturday, March 8, 2014

Good Luck to the Tribe in the CAA Tournament!

First Baltimore and then ..... ???

Harbinger of Things to Come?

As most Tribe fans know, the CAA Tournament, which usually takes place in Richmond, has begun in earnest at the Baltimore Arena. (According to this story, the CAA has committed to holding the tournament in Baltimore, AKA "Charm City," for three years in a row.)   Let's hope the new and neutral venue is a good luck charm for the Tribe, which compiled an impressive 18-11 record this year (including a convincing win over JMU at Kaplan Arena), the fifth most season victories in team history. According to this story, the Tribe has appeared in two of the last five CAA championships, only to lose both times.  A victory in this year's championship game will earn the Tribe an automatic berth in the NCAA tournament, at a yet-undetermined location, the first such berth in school history.  Let's hope the Griffin gets a taste of "March Madness" after a successful trip to Charm City!

Update:  As many already know, the Tribe prevailed Saturday over the College of Charleston, 70-59, after trailing at half time.  (Go here for the box score.)  Today the Tribe takes on Towson State in the semi-finals.  Good luck to the Green and Gold! 

Friday, March 7, 2014

A Salute to the A-10


Last week the Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel announced a proposed budget that would leave America with the smallest Army since before WW II.  The budget will, among other things, retire the A-10 Thunderbolt attack jet from the Air Force after nearly four decades of service.  (For more details on the A-10, complete with additional photographs, go here.)

Also known as the "Warthog" or just "Hog," the subsonic and heavily armored A-10 provided close air support for U.S. troops during Operation Desert Storm (Iraq 1991), Operation Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan 2001-) and Operation Iraqi Freedom (2003).  Fortunately, the Hog never performed the mission for which it was originally designed, namely, attacking Warsaw Pact tanks spearheading an invasion of Western Europe.   Instead, the A-10 and other improvements to NATO defenses deterred any such invasion.  (For fictional accounts of the A-10's role in the Cold War, see Tom Clancy's Red Storm Rising (1986) and The Hunt for Red October (1984)).  Hopefully future defense budgets here and in allied nations will make the investments necessary to deter any future adversaries.
Of course, Secretary Hagel's proposal to retire the A-10 is just that, a proposal.  Congress, possesses the sole power to "raise and support armies" (see Article I, Section 8, cl. 12) and to spend "for the Common Defense" (see Article I, Section 8, cl. 1).  Thus, Congress can appropriate funds to extend the service of the A-10.  Even if Congress does not act, other nations could purchase the retired A-10s, and one Canadian commentator is suggesting that our ally to the north do exactly that.

In the meantime, this blogger salutes the A-10 and its pilots with some photos taken during a fly-by at the Richmond International Raceway on April 30, 2011.