The Navy’s Heavies on Display

Ok, I admit it. I’m a huge fan of the navy. It started when I was a wee lad and my father joined the navy during WW-II. I still recall being thrilled when he came home on leave and I saw him for the first time in his uniform. I was intrigued by the distinctive “Dixie Cup” sailor hat, the jumper with the flap in the back, the scarf which had to be rolled in a special way, and especially the bellbottom trousers.  After that I alway harbored a desire to be a sailor.  I got my chance when I was accepted for a navy scholarship and became a midshipman and then was commissioned as an Ensign.  My summertime midshipman cruises were aboard the USS The Sullivans, DD 537, a destroyer out of Newport, RI and the Saratoga, CVA 60 in the Mediterranean.  My first tour as an officer was aboard the USS Lexington, CVS 16 (later CVT 16) a aircraft carrier out of Pensacola, FL.  That was followed by a tour aboard the USS Richard B Anderson DD 786, a destroyer out of San Diego.  But, back to the USS Lexington and the reason for this post.  The Lexington is one of the ships featured in an excellent little article by Lyn Mettler describing historic retired battleships and aircraft carriers which are on display at various US ports and can be visited by the public.  The article appeared at as: Best of America’s battleships and aircraft carriers on display.  Lyn Mettler is an Indianapolis, Ind.-based travel writer. You can find her at or on Twitter at @GotoTravelGal.  RMF

Best of America’s battleships and aircraft carriers on display

Lyn Mettler

Lyn Mettler

 By Lyn Mettler

Want to see America’s military might up close? From New York to Hawaii, retired battleships and aircraft carriers give the public a peek into the lives of the men and women who lived, fought and died aboard them.

Check out some of the biggest battleships and aircraft carriers open to the public around the U.S.:



1. USS Hornet, San Francisco Bay area

USS Hornet

USS Hornet

A registered state and national historic landmark, the USS Hornet opened as a museum in 1998. The aircraft carrier was under heavy attack 59 times during World War II, but it was never hit by a single bomb, torpedo or kamikaze. The Hornet is famous for recovering Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins after their mission to the moon, and it contains the largest collection of Apollo space mission artifacts along the West Coast. It also houses a Flight Simulator movie theater to give visitors the sensation of flight.

2. USS Midway, San Diego

USS Midway

USS Midway

America’s longest-serving aircraft carrier in the 20th century, the USS Midway shot down MiGs in North Vietnam in 1965 and played a key role in the Cold War and Operation Desert Storm. Visitors will find 29 restored aircraft on the ship, as well as a chance to see its sleeping quarters, the jail, the post office and more. You also can ride in one of two flight simulators that let you roll, spin and loop through the skies in the seat of a fighter pilot. Operators recommend setting aside three to four hours to see the whole ship. Continue reading

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Don’t be a Social Media Jerk


Here is some really great advice on social media/networking by Christian authorMark Sayers. Though the article is directed mostly at Christian leaders it is certainly applicable to others as well. I confess to having violated most of these “tips” and will sincerely try and do better. I hope that if you have any tendency toward self-promotion this list will be useful to you too.  Incidentally, in his book Facing Leviathan: Leadership, Influence, and Creating in a Cultural Storm, Sayers wrote: “When leaders die to pushing their own agendas and realize that leadership is the act of dying to self, those around them are profoundly transformed. Selfless leadership opens a space for God to flow into.” This “pushing our own agenda,” is precisely where we can go astray in our use of social media and Sayer’s “tips” can help us make room in the lives of others for God’s holy presence.   RMF

Mark Sayers

Mark Sayers

Originally posted on MARK SAYERS:

Social Networking can be a fabulous tool for leaders to advance the kingdom. However like so many other things it can also lead us into dangerous territory if unexamined.

Below are some tips on how to use social networking well in our celebrity obsessed, image based culture without falling into the sin of pride. I have probably broken several at times, but hopefully they will be of help to you.

1) Avoid being a fame-vampire. Just because you had coffee with someone well known doesn’t mean that you have to tweet about it. We tend to do this because sub-consciously believe that if we broadcast the fact that we are associating with someone well known, that their fame/influence will rub off on us.

Would you be willing to tweet that you just met with a person who had no influence or social capital?

2) Don’t add to the Hubbub. We…

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God is Listening

This article by my good friend Mark Boughner is a super reminder of the value and power of prayer. What a wonderful gift from God that He makes Himself ever available to us. As a member of New Life’s Prayer Team I am continually impressed with the way that our intercessory prayers are consistently answered. What a loving Heavenly Father we have.  This blog post from Mark appeared at: as: Can You Hear Me Now.  RMF

Screen Shot 2015-05-20 at 9.24.17 AM

Can You Hear Me Now?

By Mark Boughner

Mark Boughner

Mark Boughner

The changing times and advancement of technology have created opportunities for me to accomplish my job from anywhere I have an Internet connection. Available connectivity has become such the norm these days via Wi-Fi, home Internet, cell data service, that working remotely or on the road has become very convenient. For the most part…

Recently, I found myself attempting to work from a room without a direct wired data port or access to local Wi-Fi. As a backup, I could use my smart phone as an active hotspot provided there was stable data service. Unfortunately, obtaining that stability proved also challenging. After some trial and error, I found that if I opened the blinds on the closest window and positioned my phone on the edge of a table, I could establish 4G (for the non-techies, that is a high speed data connection for mobile communications.) The situation was at least stable until I could move to a better network connection.  Continue reading

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The Art (And Spirit) of Apology

The following is a brief but powerful little article on apology, restoration of trust, and forgiveness by Pastor Bob Russell. You can follow Bob at: where this article appeared. RMF

How To Know If An Apology Is Sincere

By Bob Russell

Bob Russell

Bob Russell

A  preacher friend apologized to me last week. I’ve known him since college and we’ve maintained a fairly close friendship for decades. But several years ago he abruptly left his wife of over forty years and moved in with a woman in another city. Several of us who were classmates wrote him and begged him to repent and return to his family. He didn’t. Communication ceased.

Now, years later, he requested I talk with him privately. “I need to ask for your forgiveness,” he pleaded. “I sinned against God and I know I hurt you by what I did. My new wife and I are now involved in a church and I want to make things right. I am really sorry for the way I disappointed you and others.”
What should my reaction be? While it was great to hear his confession and to renew our relationship, this was not his first offense. Many years before, there had been another extended affair followed by a return home. Should I forgive him…again?  Continue reading

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How to really lose it – NavAir Style

Below is an article written by Rick Reilly of Sports Illustrated. He details his experiences when given the opportunity to fly in a Navy F-14 Tomcat. I’ve had the privilege to flying in an Air Force fighter jet and a Navy jet bomber, the later including a catapult launch and a recovery aboard the USS Saratoga. These were not in the same league as what is described below — but they were both multi-G experiences with gut-wrenching maneuvers that gave me all the “thrill” that I felt capable of enduring. I, for one, can certainly identify with Mr. Reilly’s rather colorful description of his F-14 ride-a-long. I believe you’ll enjoy this. RMF

Bananas & Milk Duds

By Rick Reilly

Rick Reilly

Rick Reilly

Now this message is for America’s most famous athletes:

Someday you may be invited to fly in the back-seat of one of your country’s most powerful fighter jets. Many of you already have. John Elway, John Stockton, Tiger Woods to name a few. If you get this opportunity, let me urge you, with the greatest sincerity… Move to Guam.


Change your name.

Fake your own death!

Whatever you do.

Do Not Go!!!

I know.

The U.S. Navy invited me to try it. I was thrilled. I was pumped. I was toast! I should have known when they told me my pilot would be Chip (Biff) King of Fighter Squadron 213 at Naval Air Station Oceana in Virginia Beach.

Chip "Biff" King

Chip “Biff” King

Whatever you’re thinking a Top Gun named Chip (Biff) King looks like, triple it. He’s about six-foot, tan, ice-blue eyes, wavy surfer hair, finger-crippling handshake — the kind of man who wrestles dyspeptic alligators in his leisure time. If you see this man, run the other way, Fast.  Continue reading

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Grabbin’ Exponential Quotes


I’m so happy I attended the Exponential Conference. Wish I had done what this writer did. RMF

Originally posted on MATT HILL:

Last week I had the privilege of attending the Exponential East conference in Tampa. Exponential is a conference dedicated to church planting and multiplication. Rather than each local church focusing solely on getting larger, this conference desires that more churches are planted, campuses are launched, leaders are developed, etc., so more people can be reached for Christ. It’s about the capital “C” Church (the Kingdom) growing. Pretty sweet.

With that said, Exponential invited over 175 speakers (not just the big name Christian leaders in America, but little known leaders from around the world who are making a significant impact) and offered 150+ workshops that complemented the conference objective. I attended workshops on discipleship, evangelism, leadership, creativity, vision, being missional, cultural engagement and much more. To say I was mentally drained after the week is an understatement. But it was sooo good! It was refreshing. And it stretched and challenged me in just about every way…

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What’s Going On Out There?

I’ve always been fascinated by astronomy.  As a kid in Hopkinsville, Kentucky I spent countless hours lying on my back and staring into the heavens fascinated by the stars and planets and the Milky Way.  My friend David Faulkner taught me to recognize Jupiter and Venus and to identify Orion’s belt and Betelgeuse. The kind of view I enjoyed 60+ years ago in Kentucky isn’t typically available today due to light pollution and there are many today who have never been able to see the night sky in all its glory.  Of course they do have the benefit of the beautiful Hubble Telescope photos.  They’re true works of art and I see them as a gift of our gracious Creator.

The view of the sky which was most spectacular for me when I was at sea in the navy:  off the coast of Rhode Island and Nova Scotia aboard the USS The Sullivans, aboard the USS Saratoga in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, in the Gulf of Mexico aboard the USS Lexington, and the USS Richard B Anderson in the Pacific back in the days of Vietnam.  It was thrilling to go up to the ship’s bow (think Titanic minus the beautiful girl and the iceberg) during moonless nights under darken-ship conditions and look out into the vastness of space.  The view was made even more spectacular as there was no obstruction all the way to the horizon — just the stars and planets — a panorama of twinkling brilliance.  Since that time the closest I have come to that view is late at night on the roof of our boathouse at Lake Gaston.  Simply gaaaaawjus as they say in Georgia.

I shouldn’t leave this intro to the following article without mentioning that performing celestial navigation at sea was never much of a joy for me.  My navy days were prior to all the modern electronic navigation tools available today.  We did have LORAN, short for Long Range Navigation, but its accuracy was in tens of miles, not the tens of feet typical for todays GPS and inertial navigation systems.  No, what we used was a sextant (it had nothing to do with sex), a chronometer, a compass and straightedge, a nautical chart and a nautical almanac.  Finding our position at sea consisted of using angular measurements (sights, taken with the sextant) between celestial bodies and the visible horizon.  At a given time, any celestial body is located directly over one point on the Earth’s surface. The latitude and longitude of that point is known as the celestial body’s geographic position (GP), the location of which were determined from tables in the current Nautical Almanac.  Taking the sightings wasn’t that difficult provided the sea was relatively calm and the sky was clear.  The difficulty for me came in the numerous computations needed to fix our position and plot it on the chart.  Trust me, it could make your head swim.  I never really felt confident in the process.

Ok, so I got carried away a bit.  So, where am I going with this?  Although I took astronomy at the University of Missouri I never really understood how stars and planets came into being.  To me it seemed that the matter expelled at creation, assuming a “Big Bang” sort of beginning, would simply fly apart and never get back together — much as the helium in a burst helium-filled balloon would disburse and never reassemble or a drop of dye dripped into a fishbowl full of water would disburse and never again be distinguishable as a drop of dye — no matter how long you waited.  Well, the following Joshua Carroll article which appeared at: as: Stars: A Day in the Life is the best, most readable, explanation of the basics of star and planet formation I’ve ever seen. Just the right amount of technical detail without becoming mired in overly complex physics and chemistry.  Joshua Carroll is a student and a three-tour combat vet. I hope you enjoy the article and are impressed as I am with the marvelous works of our Lord in creation and nature.  RMF

Stars: A Day in the Life
by Joshua Carroll

600px-Embryonic_Stars_Amongst_Gas_and_Dust          Region of active star formation – Embryonic Stars amid molecular clouds.  Credit:ESA/NASA/JPL-Caltech

Joshua Carroll

Joshua Carroll

There is something about them that intrigues us all. These massive spheres of gas burning intensely from the energy of fusion buried many thousands of kilometers deep within their cores. The stars have been the object of humanity’s wonderment for as far back as we have records. Many of humanity’s religions can be tied to worshiping these celestial candles. For the Egyptians, the sun was representative of the God Ra, who each day vanquished the night and brought light and warmth to the lands. For the Greeks, it was Apollo who drove his flaming chariot across the sky, illuminating the world. Even in Christianity, Jesus can be said to be representative of the sun given the striking characteristics his story holds with ancient astrological beliefs and figures. In fact, many of the ancient beliefs follow a similar path, all of which tie their origins to that of the worship of the sun and stars.  Continue reading

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