PASSENGER LOG Star-Date 25 April 2021
I recently read all about FARP. It is, for those with inquiring minds, the kind of a title for an article you just have to read! It turns out, FARP is a logistical plan implemented by the military within CONUS and all areas of the world served by the U.S. Air Force and other military’s aeronautical missions. The concept – keep strategic fighter and logistical aircraft airborne or with the ability to return to airborne status as rapidly as possible when operating within an anti-access environment. The acronym stands for: Forward Armament and Refueling Point.
An anti-access environment is a great term that can say a great deal without saying much of anything unless the reader is truly reading between the lines and grasping the underlying questions. It is just what it says, an area where it is impossible or highly dangerous for soldiers and weapons systems to be at any given moment but, in this case, an environment in which the airmen and weapons systems must be and must remain.. A great plan but what about the what if’s?
So, how does one refuel a Next Generation Air Dominance (NGAD) stealth fighter aircraft, faster, more lethal, and more complex than the F-22 Raptor? Remember the Raptor can fly at 1,500 miles per hour, or at Mach 2 with afterburners. A fighter capable of flying 10% faster than the Concorde and twice the speed of sound with the capability of delivering its firepower and munitions load at roll rates of 100 degrees per second. And the NGAD fighter that is about to roll off the assembly lines of Lockheed Martin… even greater.
The personnel assigned to the rearming and refueling of these aircraft within hot zones, or hostile airspace, have a task that is unimaginable. A big, lumbering KC135 Stratotanker, a flying gas station comes lumbering in at 130 ft. 10 in. wide, 136 feet long, weighing 297,000 pounds with a top speed of 600 miles per hour. In a hot ‘anti-access’ environment, the fighter aircraft can get out of harm’s way in a half-a-heartbeat. The Stratotanker is a flying fuel depot that may as well have a target painted on its side. Armament – rearming a fighter aircraft by the skilled munitions personnel is like in the ‘old days’ watching Mario Andretti’s tires get changed under a yellow flag and Andretti never had to worry about what would happen if one of the guys dropped a tire. With the NGAD there probably isn’t time to do the windows or check the oil.
That brings us to the United States Space Force. Can one even begin to imagine at this early stage of the new military branch’s life how this will all play out? Certainly, now it is satellite control and little if any manned ships in space, but you can bet those days are changing. Baron Von Richthofen never dreamed of dropping a potato masher out the cockpit at 248 miles above the earth, such as the Space Station’s orbit or perhaps from a satellite orbit at 22,370 miles high.
What has all of this to do with The Passenger? Great question. The Passenger has been thinking about some different kinds of things as I continue on my voyage. To answer the first question everyone asks, there is no new news, even though I’m posting a ‘Voyage.’ This is more a prayer request update and a thank you note.
The steroids have been on board now for a few weeks. My back pain is less, my energy is elevated but only for short periods of time and when the time runs out, every drop of energy seems to go with it. One increase has certainly been in my irritability and I ask for prayer there. I’m more sensitive to noise and it has made ol’ Papaw a bit short a couple of times. Thankfully only two or three times that I’ve noticed. The first time that Papaw kind of ‘bit.’ the looks of shock on some small faces was enough to make me want to go hide. There was no call for my shortness and I immediately asked forgiveness though I doubt they understood what was going on. I’m praying about this and if there is no apparent good thing coming from the steroids, for no other reason than those bursts of crankiness, I’m ready to ask the doc to stop them.
Back, however, to our FARP and what that has to do with living with a mysterious illness attacking your ability to breath. A Marine friend of mine called me the other day and offered some wonderful encouragement. He said something to the effect of, “Your airframe may be in for maintenance but while that’s going on the ground crew is rearming your craft so you can go back out there and fight the battle that is ahead.”
I may be The Passenger aboard the Starship Genesis two-seven but right now, the airframe is in for some maintenance. It isn’t hitting the end of the runway at the top speeds it used to and over the desert it certainly wasn’t hitting Mach 2, so it needs some work.
Thankfully, the Starship has found a Forward Armament and Refueling Point. Life travels faster than the NGAD or the Raptor and when the battle needs to be fought and time is not on your side, there cannot be a return to base for needed maintenance and rearming. The environment is anti-access because there are those, here, doing battle against me (The Passenger), my First Mate, the crew, and those of you who have signed on as shipmates; all of us in the Starship. The war is being waged by vicious cells attacking me internally but also, Satan inspired actors and emotions that would seek to defeat me and bring the Voyage to an end without purpose in the journey. We have to be able to get the repairs for the airframe while we continue to sit in unfriendly territory.
Thank God for a munitions crew that is working right alongside shipmates because I have felt the ability to fight back the negative, the depressing and emotional attacks. How? Because people like my Marine friend are helping re-stock my munitions bays, my bomb racks and my belt-fed, gas-operated medium and heavy weapons on-board. They do it through prayers. They do it through phone calls and notes. The Holy Spirit is actively at work not just putting scripture and devotions in front of me that are exactly what I need for a day, or a radio station (The Message) playing exactly what I need to hear at the right time, but support from my First Mate, from my home-based crew and all those who have dropped me a note after reading one of these posts, each are helping to rearm the ship for the attacks that are yet to come. The Captain of this ship knows exactly what needs done when and where and He can keep the airframe in maintenance as long as necessary. All the while, there’s an angelic or divine FARP crew that is lined up and working alongside my shipmates and crew every single day. I truly thank God for each and every one of you.