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The FReeper Foxhole Remembers The Four Horsemen (1957-1960) - Jan. 31st, 2005
Aviation History Magazine | Sam McGowan

Posted on 01/30/2005 11:14:57 PM PST by SAMWolf


Keep our Troops forever in Your care

Give them victory over the enemy...

Grant them a safe and swift return...

Bless those who mourn the lost.

FReepers from the Foxhole join in prayer
for all those serving their country at this time.

.................................................................. .................... ...........................................

U.S. Military History, Current Events and Veterans Issues

Where Duty, Honor and Country
are acknowledged, affirmed and commemorated.

Our Mission:

The FReeper Foxhole is dedicated to Veterans of our Nation's military forces and to others who are affected in their relationships with Veterans.

In the FReeper Foxhole, Veterans or their family members should feel free to address their specific circumstances or whatever issues concern them in an atmosphere of peace, understanding, brotherhood and support.

The FReeper Foxhole hopes to share with it's readers an open forum where we can learn about and discuss military history, military news and other topics of concern or interest to our readers be they Veteran's, Current Duty or anyone interested in what we have to offer.

If the Foxhole makes someone appreciate, even a little, what others have sacrificed for us, then it has accomplished one of it's missions.

We hope the Foxhole in some small way helps us to remember and honor those who came before us.

To read previous Foxhole threads or
to add the Foxhole to your sidebar,
click on the books below.

The Four Horsemen

Soon after the introduction of the Lockheed C-130, four U.S. Air Force pilots came up with a great way to demonstrate just how maneuverable and powerful the new transport was.

In the spring of 1964, as a newly arrived aircraft maintenance technician at Pope Air Force Base, North Carolina, I was shown the film The Four Horsemen Story while attending a Lockheed C-130E familiarization course. Essentially a Lockheed sales tool designed to demonstrate to prospective customers just how maneuverable the Hercules really was, the film made a lasting impression on me--mostly because it focused on a group of real C-130 pilots who had organized what was perhaps the most unusual aerial demonstration team in the history of the U.S. Air Force.

The C-130A Hercules entered service with the Air Force's 463rd Troop Carrier Wing, a Tactical Air Command (TAC) unit, in December 1956. Within a few months the former Fairchild C-119 pilots of the wing's 774th Troop Carrier Squadron, the first such unit to be equipped with the Hercules, had become quite proficient with their new aircraft. Most of the aircraft commanders were veteran pilots, many with careers that dated back to the Korean War, when they had flown Douglas C-47s and Curtiss C-46s and C-119s in combat. All were impressed with the tremendous maneuverability of the new plane, the result of hydraulically boosted flight controls that gave the 125,200-pound transport the handling characteristics of a fighter. Powered by four Allison T-56 turboprop engines, the C-130A was also blessed with tremendous performance. It was only natural that many of its pilots would experiment to see just how good the plane really was--and how good they were at flying it.

In early 1957 four aircrews from the 774th Troop Carrier Squadron, the "Green Weasels," were at Fort Campbell, Ky., for a week of dropping troops of the 101st Airborne Division. One day high winds led to a cancellation of the day's drops and a mission stand-down for the crews. With time to kill and their aircraft ready to go, the four pilots--Captains Gene Chaney, Jim Aiken, David Moore and Bill Hatfield--decided to practice some formation flying. They took off and headed out over the fields of Kentucky and Tennessee, where they started moving closer and closer together in their formation. Next they returned to the airfield at Campbell and made several low-altitude passes down the runway, still in tight formation. Suddenly, an idea was born: Why not practice until they got really adept with the planes, and then go around to military bases and put on performances for the troops?

At the end of the week the foursome went back to their home base at Ardmore, Okla., and began working on a routine. Some 500 miles to the east, the men of the 314th Troop Carrier Wing at Sewart Air Force Base in Tennessee were anxiously awaiting the arrival of their own brand-new C-130s, all set to become the second Air Force unit to equip with the new transport. The four 774th pilots proposed a plan to the TAC brass: Let the four pilots and crews who had been practicing formation flying take four C-130s and fly to Sewart, to show the men of the 314th just what kind of airplane they were getting. TAC Headquarters approved the plan, and the new aerial demonstration team was off and running. At first they referred to themselves as the "Thunder Weasels," a combination of the animal on the 774th's squadron patch and the famous Thunderbirds aerial demonstration team, but they eventually settled on the "Four Horsemen" after Coach Knute Rockne's legendary backfield on Notre Dame's 1924 football team. They put on a show for the Sewart people, who were suitably impressed.

As the men grew more and more proficient with their maneuvers, they became enthusiastic about becoming an officially recognized aerial demonstration team. The four pilots began researching Air Force technical orders, safety standards and procedures to find out how to obtain official recognition. At length their efforts paid off, with TAC officially sanctioning their status as an aerial demonstration team.

While the C-130 might look ungainly to the uninitiated, it was really a highly maneuverable airplane, particularly for a transport. The C-130A, for example, was capable of using 2,700-foot landing strips--remarkably short for an airplane that size. When the Horsemen demonstrated the C-130's short-field takeoff performance, they did so in a close diamond formation. Led by Moore and sometimes by Chaney, who served as the team captain, the four planes would taxi onto the runway and form a diamond formation. The maneuver called for the four transports to begin rolling at two-second intervals, although Aviation Week magazine pilot-editor Robert Stanfield, who flew with them in 1959, said it seemed like they all started rolling at once. On that occasion the reporter was flying in the "slot" airplane, the best vantage point from which to observe the Horsemen in action. Thanks to the prop-wash from the three preceding airplanes, the slot airplane, usually flown by Bill Hatfield, would get off the ground first. Hatfield would hold his airspeed down to 100 knots until the other airplanes were airborne. The Horsemen would retract gear and flaps on a signal from the lead plane and begin a sharp climb at 120 knots, achieving better than a 4,000-foot-per-minute rate of climb that would put them over the end of a 10,000-foot runway at 1,500 feet. Normal troop carrier procedures called for 15-second takeoff intervals between airplanes.

Once in the air, the Four Horsemen would perform a series of intricate maneuvers at altitudes ranging from just above the runway to 3,000 feet. They flew their diamond really tight. According to Aviation Week's Stanfield, the slot plane's nose was held as close as seven feet from the leader's tail. Because of the downwash from the propellers, each of the following aircraft flew slightly higher than the one in front. Each pilot would try to fly right "on top of the bubble." The slot airplane would be the highest in the formation, its windshield level with the top one-third of the lead airplane's tail fin. The noses of the two wingmen were in line with a row of rivets that ran the length of the lead airplane's wings. Dropping down into the wash of the leading airplanes could be dangerous. In one instance slot pilot Hatfield was flying an airplane that had a "Bulldog" winch in the back, standard on all TAC C-130s at the time. The tie-downs that secured the winch were evidently loose, and when Hatfield accidentally dropped into the prop wash of the airplanes ahead of him, the resulting turbulence caused the winch to rise above the floor of the airplane. As the turbulence went from negative to positive G-forces, the winch came back down with such momentum that it knocked a hole in the cargo compartment floor.

The team alternated between different formations. The arrow was a line-astern formation in which each airplane was tucked in right behind and slightly above the one before it. From the arrow they would go to the arrowhead, as the two trailing airplanes moved to the side of the line and took formation in line with each other, tucked in on the number two airplane. They also flew echelon formations, and ended their show with a bomb burst: The lead and number three aircraft would break high and to the left while numbers two and four broke to the right. They then rejoined in the diamond and returned to the airfield for a formation landing, moving into an echelon over the runway, then doing a tactical pitch-out to come back around for landing. The first plane would still be on the runway when the slot man touched down. Their show was as impressive as any put on by fighter pilots, and perhaps even more so considering the size and weight of the planes.

The Horsemen brief before a flight. L-R Capt. Gene Chaney, Capt. Bill Hatfield, Capt. Jim Akin and Capt. David Moore

No particular aircraft were assigned to the Four Horsemen. Each crew drew whatever plane happened to be available on the flight line at Ardmore, or at Sewart after the 463rd moved there to join the 314th shortly after the latter wing converted to the Hercules. The two wings made up the muscle of TAC's 839th Air Division, which was also based at Sewart. The demonstration pilots flew the same training and operational missions as the other pilots in the two C-130 wings.

Very early on, the C-130 demonstrated its ability to fly on three and even two engines without a significant loss of performance. In fact, a Lockheed test crew took off from Florida, shut down the aircraft's outboard engines and flew all the way to California at low level on two engines. The airplane was so overpowered that crews routinely shut down the outboard engines on some flights to conserve fuel.

KEYWORDS: c130; fourhorsemen; freeperfoxhole; troopcarrierwing; usaf; veterans
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To: Jet Jaguar

You're welcome, Jet Jaguar

21 posted on 01/31/2005 4:45:38 AM PST by SAMWolf (WOW! Narrow runway! But look at how wide it is.)
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To: snippy_about_it; bentfeather; Samwise; msdrby
Good morning ladies. Flag-o-Gram.

22 posted on 01/31/2005 5:25:15 AM PST by Professional Engineer (Caution this poster contains 39 Transistors, 78 diodes, and 1776 blown capacitors.)
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To: Professional Engineer


23 posted on 01/31/2005 5:26:39 AM PST by Samwise (Congratulations Iraq!)
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To: SAMWolf

Odd that I am vertical and mobile at this point in time.
Usually I'm in a semi-concious torpor.

24 posted on 01/31/2005 5:27:10 AM PST by Darksheare (Trolls beware, the icy hands of the forum wraith are behind you!)
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To: SAMWolf

I thought the same thing while reading that.

25 posted on 01/31/2005 5:28:57 AM PST by The Mayor (Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.)
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To: Professional Engineer; SAMWolf; snippy_about_it; Samwise; alfa6; The Mayor; Valin; radu; ...

Good morning, everyone in the FOXHOLE!

26 posted on 01/31/2005 5:31:24 AM PST by Soaring Feather
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To: E.G.C.

Good morning EGC!!

How's it going??

27 posted on 01/31/2005 5:33:55 AM PST by Soaring Feather
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To: bentfeather; beachn4fun
((HUGS))Good morning, Bentfeather. How's it going?,p>Well, OSU beat Colorado 103-85 yesterday. The weather's been kind of miserable the last few days. Had a little bit of sleet and snow. It's cloudy this morning.

BTW, for those who use "My Yahoo" for their information. Did you know that you can update to a newer version of it. I did this morning. It's really cool.

28 posted on 01/31/2005 5:54:48 AM PST by E.G.C.
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To: SAMWolf

On this Day In History

Birthdates which occurred on January 31:
1601 Pieter de Bloot Dutch landscape painter
1623 François-Xavier de Laval Montmorency, consecrated the first bishop of Québec Canada in 1674
1734 Robert Morris merchant (signed Declaration of Independence)
1797 Franz Peter Schubert Lichtenthal Austria, composer (Unfinished Symphony)
1810 Daniel Ruggles Brigadier General (Confederate Army), died in 1897
1812 John Randolph Tucker Capt (Confederate Navy), died in 1883
1817 Antony Winkler Prins Dutch writer (Groiler Encyclopaedia)
1818 William Raine Peck Brigadier General (Confederate Army), died in 1871
1868 Theodore William Richards chemist (atomic weights, Nobel-1914)
1872 Zane Grey American West novelist (Riders of the Purple Sage, Spirit of the Border)
1881 Irving Langmuir physical chemist/colloid researcher/inventor (tungsten filament lamp/Nobel 1932)
1886 Alfonso Lopez Colombia, statesman (President UN security council-1948)
1892 Eddie Cantor New York City NY, comedian (Eddie Cantor Comedy Theater)
1903 Gardner Cowles Iowa, publisher/founder (Look Magazine)
1903 Tallulah Bankhead Huntsville AL, actress (Lifeboat, Die Die Darling)
1905 John Henry O'Hara Pottsville PA, novelist (Butterfield 8, Pal Joey, Appointment at Samarra)
1914 "Jersey" Joe Walcott heavyweight boxing champ (1951-52)
1915 Thomas Merton France, Trappist monk/poet/essayist (7 Storey Mt)
1915 Garry Moore [Thomas Garrison Morfit], Baltimore MD, TV host (Garry Moore Show, I've Got a Secret)
1919 Jackie Robinson Georgia, 1st black major league baseball player (Dodgers)
1920 Stewart L Udall St Johns AZ, US Secretary of Interior (1961-69)
1921 Carol Channing Seattle WA, actress (Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Hello Dolly)
1921 John Agar Chicago IL, actor (Fort Apache, Sands of Iwo Jima)
1921 Mario Lanza Philadelphia PA, actor/singer (Great Caruso, Toast of New Orleans)
1923 Norman Mailer New Jersey, New York City NY mayoral candidate/novelist (Naked & the Dead)
1925 Benjamin Hooks civil rights leader
1931 Ernie "Mr Cubs" Banks Chicago Cubs, Hall-of-Famer (1st baseman)
1937 Philip Glass Baltimore MD, composer (Einstein on the Beach)
1937 Steve Karmen Bronx NY, jingle writer (I Love NY, This Bud's for You)
1937 Suzanne Pleshette New York City NY, actress (The Birds, Emily-Bob Newhart Show)
1938 Beatrix Wilhelmina Armgard queen of Netherlands (1980- )
1938 James G Watt Colorado, US Secretary of Interior (1981-83)
1940 Stuart Margolin Davenport IA, actor (Pockford Files, Love American Style)
1941 Richard A Gephardt (Representative-D-MO, 1977- )
1944 Charley Musselwhite blues musician (Stand Back, Louisiana Fog)
1947 Nolan Ryan pitcher (Mets, Angels, Astros) (7 no-hitters, 5,714 Ks)
1951 Phil Manzanera rock guitarist (The Doors)
1956 Johnny Rotten [John Lydon], rocker (Sex Pistols-God Save the Queen)
1971 Brandi Sherwood Miss Idaho-USA (1997, 2nd, succeeded Brook Lee)

Deaths which occurred on January 31:
1606 Guy Fawkes convicted in the "Gunpowder Plot", executed at 35
1788 [Bonnie Prince] Charles E Stuart English pretender, dies at 67
1864 Hamilton Rowan Gamble US judge/Governor of Missouri (1861-64), dies
1891 Ernest Meissonier French painter/etcher/sculptor, dies at 75
1900 Sir John Sholto Douglas (56), 8th Marquis of Queensberry, died. He supervised the formulation by John Graham chambers of the rules of boxing, which became known as the Queensberry Rules
1945 Eddie Slovik 1st US soldier executed for desertion since Civil War at 25
1954 Edwin H Armstrong US radio inventor (FM), commits suicide at 63
1955 John R Mott US theologist/founder (YMCA, Nobel 1946), dies at 89
1967 Chief Thundercloud actor (Ambush, Colt 45, Typhoon), dies at 100
1972 Bir Bikram Shah Deva Mahendra king of Nepal (1955-72), dies at 51
1974 Samuel Goldwyn Polish/English/US film magnate (MGM), dies at 91
1989 Jack Douglas humorist (My Brother Was an Only Child), dies at 80
1995 George Abbott playwright/actor/producer (Damn Yankees), dies at 105



POW / MIA Data & Bios supplied by
the P.O.W. NETWORK. Skidmore, MO. USA.

On this day...
0314 St Silvester I begins his reign as Catholic Pope
1504 By treaty of Lyons, French cede Naples to Ferdinand of Aragon
1578 Battle of Gembloers
1620 Virginia colony leaders wrote to the Virginia Company in England, asking for more orphaned apprentices for employment
1627 Spanish government goes bankrupt
1675 Cornelia/Dina Olfaarts found not guilty of witchcraft
1696 Revolt of undertakers after funeral reforms (Amsterdam)
1779 Charles Messier adds M57 (Ring Nebula in Lyra) to his catalog
1842 John Tyler's daughter Elizabeth marries in the White House
1849 Corn Laws abolished in Britain
1851 San Francisco Orphan's Asylum, 1st in California founded
1851 Gail Borden announces invention of evaporated milk
1861 State of Louisiana takes over US Mint at New Orleans
1862 Telescope maker Alvin Clark discovers dwarf companion of Sirius
1863 1st black Civil War regiment, SC Volunteers, mustered into US army

1865 Congress passes 13th Amendment, abolishing slavery in America (121-24)

1871 Millions of birds fly over western San Francisco, darken the sky
1874 Jesse James gang robs train at Gads Hill MO
1895 José Martí & others leave New York City NY for invasion of Spanish Cuba
1901 Boer General John Smuts & De la Rey conqueror Mud river Transvaal

1902 Tax freedom day, the day by which citizens met their financial obligations to the government.

1905 1st auto to exceed 100 mph (161 kph), A G MacDonald, Daytona Beach
1906 Strongest instrumentally recorded earthquake, Colombia, 8.6 Richter
1915 1st (German) poison gas attack, against Russians
1917 Germany notifies US that U-boats will attack neutral merchant ship
1925 Premier Ahmed Zogu (Zogu I) becomes President of Albania
1927 International allies military command in Germany disbands
1927 National League President John Heydler rules Roger Hornsby can't hold stock in the Cardinals & play for the Giants
1928 Scotch tape 1st marketed by 3-M Company
1929 Leon Trotsky expelled from Russia to Turkey
1932 US railway unions accept 10% wage reduction
1933 French government of Daladier takes power
1933 Hitler promises parliamentary democracy
1934 FDR devalues the dollar in relation to gold at $35 per ounce
1936 "Green Hornet" radio show is 1st heard on WXYZ Radio in Detroit
1941 Anti-German demonstration in Haarlem Netherlands
1941 Joe Louis KOs Red Burman in 5 for heavyweight boxing title
1943 General Friedrich von Paul surrenders to Russian troops at Stalingrad
1944 Operation-Overlord (D-Day) postponed until June
1944 U-592 sunk off Ireland
1944 US forces invade Kwajalein Atoll
1945 Eddie Slovik, 1st American executed for desertion since Civil War
1946 Yugoslavia adopts new constitution, becomes a federal republic
1948 Magnetic tape recorder developed by Wireway
1949 1st daytime soap on TV "These Are My Children" (NBC in Chicago)
1950 President Truman reveals that he ordered the Atomic Energy Commission to develop the hydrogen bomb
1953 Hurricane-like winds flood Netherlands drowning nearly 2,000
1955 RCA demonstrates 1st music synthesizer
1957 Liz Taylor's 2nd divorce (Michael Wilding)
1957 Trans-Iranian oil pipe line finished
1958 "Jackpot Bowling" premieres on NBC with Leo Durocher as host
1958 James van Allen discovers radiation belt
1958 US launches their 1st artificial satellite, Explorer 1
1961 Ham is 1st primate in space (158 miles) aboard Mercury/Redstone 2
1961 USAF launches Samos spy satellite to replace U-2 flights
1961 David Ben-Gurion resigns as premier of Israel
1961 Houston voters approve bond to finance luxury domed stadium
1964 US report "Smoking & Health" connects smoking to lung cancer
1968 Record high barometric pressure (1083.8 mb, 32"), at Agata, USSR

1968 Jan 31, In Vietnam, the Tet Offensive began as Viet Cong and North Vietnamese soldiers attacked strategic and civilian locations throughout South Vietnam. The Viet Cong seized part of the US embassy in Saigon for 6 hours. During the Tet Offensive, the Communist troops who took control of the ancient capital of Hue killed an estimated 6,000 civilians before they again lost control of the city. It was completely overshadowed by a similar but much smaller atrocity committed by U.S. troops at My Lai. Today, the village of My Lai has a memorial to the victims and a museum. The victims of Hue are largely forgotten.

1970 Grateful Dead members busted on LSD charges(SHOCKING NEWS!)
1971 Apollo 14 launched, 1st landing in lunar highlands
1974 McDonald's founder Ray Kroc buys San Diego Padres
1975 Barry Manilow's "Mandy" goes gold
1978 Israel turns 3 military outposts in West Bank into civilian settlements
1981 38th Golden Globes Ordinary People, Coal Miner's Daughter
1982 10 Arabian oryx (extinct except in zoos) released in Oman
1985 South African President PW Botha offers to free Mandela if he denounces violence
1990 1st McDonald's in Russia opens in Moscow, world's biggest McDonald's
1992 Sportscaster Howard Cosell retires
1999 Kofi Annan called on large corporations to enact and uphold standards of conduct for themselves and sub-contractors for investments and operations in poor countries.
2002 Israeli PM Ariel Sharon said that he regrets that Israel failed to take the opportunity to kill Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat in Lebanon 20 years ago
2004 The Mars rover Opportunity rolled off its landing pad onto the surface of Mars

Note: Some Holidays are only applicable on a given "day of the week"

Lerwick, Shetland Islands : Up-Helly-Aa/Norse fire festival
Nauru : Independence Day (1968)
Surrey England : Dicing for Maid's Money Day
US : Westerns Are Wonderful Day
USA] Meat Week Ends
Wheat Bread Month

Religious Observances
Roman Catholic:Feast of St Marcella
Roman Catholic:Commemoration of St Peter Nolasco, French founder
Roman Catholic:Commemoration of St Francis Xavier Bianchi, Apostle of Naples
Roman Catholic:Memorial of St John Bosco, confessor/priest

Religious History
1538 French reformer John Calvin wrote in a letter: 'I pray the Lord to keep you in His holy protection, and so to direct you that you may not go astray in that slippery path whereon you are, until He shall have manifested to you His complete deliverance.'
1752 The profession ceremony for Sister St. Martha Turpin was held at Ursuline Convent in New Orleans, LA. She was the first American-born woman to become a nun in the Catholic Church.
1839 Two months before his premature death at age 39, Church of Scotland clergyman Robert Murray McCheyne wrote in a letter: 'Is not a Christian's darkest hour calmer than the world's brightest?'
1911 In Falcon, NC, the Fire-Baptized Holiness Church (FBHC) and the Pentecostal Holiness Church (PHC) officially merged. In 1915, the Tabernacle Pentecostal Church (TPC) joined the merger. In 1975, the name of this body officially became the International Pentecostal Holiness Church (IPHC).
1949 American missionary and Auca Indian martyr Jim Elliot wrote in his journal: 'One does not surrender a life in an instant Ä that which is lifelong can only be surrendered in a lifetime.'

Source: William D. Blake. ALMANAC OF THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH. Minneapolis: Bethany House, 1987.

Thought for the day :
"A cynic is a person searching for an honest man, with a stolen lantern."

29 posted on 01/31/2005 6:15:48 AM PST by Valin (Sometimes you're the bug, and sometimes you're the windshield)
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To: E.G.C.

Thanks EG. I do use My Yahoo. I'm wondering why I didn't see an email from them. Hmmmmm. Let me go check it out.

30 posted on 01/31/2005 6:20:14 AM PST by beachn4fun (If you don't vote, you can't gloat!)
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To: bentfeather
good morning ms. feather

31 posted on 01/31/2005 6:20:59 AM PST by beachn4fun (If you don't vote, you can't gloat!)
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To: beachn4fun

Merning, beachy!

32 posted on 01/31/2005 6:27:01 AM PST by Soaring Feather
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To: snippy_about_it; SAMWolf; All

Good morning folks, I hope everyone had a great weekend.

The sun is finally shining for more than a day here in sunny So. Cal.


33 posted on 01/31/2005 6:35:49 AM PST by SZonian (44 years and counting.....can this finally be the year that a Championship finally comes home?)
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To: SAMWolf

shameless plug
/shameless plug

34 posted on 01/31/2005 7:56:26 AM PST by Valin (Sometimes you're the bug, and sometimes you're the windshield)
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To: Professional Engineer; Darksheare

Morning PE. LOL! I see Darksheare behind today's Flag-O-Gram.

35 posted on 01/31/2005 8:09:48 AM PST by SAMWolf (WOW! Narrow runway! But look at how wide it is.)
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To: Samwise

Morning Samwise.

36 posted on 01/31/2005 8:10:11 AM PST by SAMWolf (WOW! Narrow runway! But look at how wide it is.)
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To: Darksheare

That is odd for a Monday. ;-)

37 posted on 01/31/2005 8:10:48 AM PST by SAMWolf (WOW! Narrow runway! But look at how wide it is.)
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To: Darksheare

That is odd for a Monday. ;-)

38 posted on 01/31/2005 8:10:52 AM PST by SAMWolf (WOW! Narrow runway! But look at how wide it is.)
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To: bentfeather

HI Feather.

39 posted on 01/31/2005 8:11:08 AM PST by SAMWolf (WOW! Narrow runway! But look at how wide it is.)
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To: Valin
1902 Tax freedom day, the day by which citizens met their financial obligations to the government.

Add that's just the Federal Tax, throw in State, Local, City, tags, licenses, tolls, utility taxes and all the "fees" we pay and we might as well just hand over our checks.

40 posted on 01/31/2005 8:19:41 AM PST by SAMWolf (WOW! Narrow runway! But look at how wide it is.)
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