I’m a patriotic girl. “The Star Spangled Banner” makes me tear up and “God Bless America” makes me blubber like a toddler whose ice cream fell off the cone.
I’m not saying I like to ride a lawnmower while shooting my rifle in the air or anything, I’m just saying I love America and I love the men and women who fight for America.
After my recent post showing the patch of the 171st ARW Steel City Airmen for the 2011 Wings Over Pittsburgh show, I received an email from reader Amy who wrote:
My dad is retired from the 171st Air Refueling Wing, you’ve probably driven past it a million times on the way to the airport. They’re an in air refueling wing, which if you think about it is pretty amazing – they’re flying in the air, and still manage to lower the fuel boom to connect with a second plane, mid-air, to refuel mid flight. I’m lucky if I don’t spill the gas on my car when I’m at Get Go. (Here are some photos of that happening in flight).
Anyhow, everyone out at the 171st are proud Pittsburgers. I’ve had the luxury to spend a lot of time with those folks, and they’re all awesome. You might like to see how their pride in Pittsburgh is shown through their patches and the nose art on the planes.
She shared these photos with me and you just have to see them, you guys.
First, the refueling taking place in air.
I’m always astounded that anyone ever even thought to attempt such a thing. Way back when, had I been in a room when a military planner said, “How’s about we just find a way to fill ’em up while they’re flying 500 miles an hour?” I’d have stood up and slammed my hands on the table and shouted, “WITCHCRAFT!”
That’s just my standard answer to things I don’t understand.
In the cockpit. You can see their badass patches here:
Even their headphones sport their Pittsburgh pride:
On the nose art on the plane on the left, it looks like it’s got the Steelers and the Penguins on there, so I assume the lower one is the Buccos of Suckitude:
Other Pittsburgh-flavored nose art as found on the 171st ARW website:
Okay. I lied. I want to ride my dad’s lawnmower and shoot his BB gun into the air while waving a Terrible Towel and screaming, “USA! USA! USA!”
And my parents’ elderly neighbors will look out their windows and be all, “Crap. I think Sarah Palin moved in next door.”