Blogs by Rep Bob Lynn

Blog site of Representative Bob Lynn, Alaska House of Representatives,District 31 Anchorage, Alaska. Blogs consist of public comments during legislative sessions, speeches, political commentary, as well as personal observations, and some journal type entries. Comments are invited.

Location: Anchorage, Alaska, United States

Member of the Alaska State House of Represeentatives since 2003. US Air Force, Retired; military bandsman; F94C interceptor pilot; Vietnam service as radar controller (Monkey Mountain), radar site commander(Pleiku); Government Contract Management; Public school Teacher, Retired. Married 55 years to Marlene Wagner Lynn, 6 children, 20 grandchildren, 1 great-grandchild. Member St. Elizabeth Ann Seaton Church. Former Tucson Arizona policeman, Ambulance Driver and Mortician's Assistant, Realtor (currently on referral status).

Monday, October 11, 2010


I met Marlene Wagner, now my wife of 57 years, when I was flying the mighty T6 in Aviation Cadet pilot training at Malden Air Base, Missouri. She lived in Dexter, Missouri, some seventeen miles north of Malden. Marlene’s a graduate of Dexter High School and, after my fighter squadron reunion in Ohio, we attended Marlene’s 58th high school reunion in Missouri (smart politics begins at home).

Dexter today has a population over 7,000. When Marlene lived there, Dexter’s population was under 6,000. In a small town, everybody knew everybody. Many of her school friends are still there. More came to the reunion. Marlene won a prize for coming to Dexter from Alaska, the most distant place.

I’m envious. My school, Garfield High in East Los Angeles, was crowded, and school gang warfare was common. I don’t know one Garfield alumnus. In contrast, Dexter High School alumni abound, Marlene knows her classmates, and many of them were at the reunion. That’s the way it should be.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010


Falcon Lake straddles the border between the United States and Mexico, near McAllen, Texas and Nuevo Laredo, Mexico. The lake is sixty miles in length, and has been a fishing and boating mecca since it was created in 1953 by damming up a portion of the Rio Grande River.

American citizens David and Tiffany Hartley were on a ski boat vacation there. The couple crossed over the mid-lake border to see the half-submerged Old Guerrero Church on the Mexican side of the lake. They were sightseeing, but shouldn’t have done it. It was stupid. But who hasn’t done foolhardy things?

Mexican pirates – probably part of the vicious Los Zetas drug gang – raced up to their jet ski and shot American David Hartley in the head. They almost shot Tiffany, but she escaped, under a fusillade of gunfire.

Widow Tiffany Hartley wanted her husband’s body retrieved for a proper burial. A reasonable and proper request. But the Mexican government has refused to search for David Hartley’s body, and refused to allow authorities in Texas on the U.S. government to do so.

So what did we do? Nothing. Nada.

What would previous Americans – like Jackson, Teddy Roosevelt, Truman, or Reagan have done? Or Texas Governor Sam Houston? Don’t know. I can only guess.

But I can tell you this. If I were President of the United States of America, I would have sent the US Coast Guard - aided by the Texas Rangers - in force onto Falcon Lake and looked for American David Hartley’s body. And the Mexican government be damned (what would they have done about it, anyway?).

Monday, October 04, 2010


Attended my 48th Fighter Interceptor Squadron 2010 Reunion at Dayton, Ohio. We had a blast: 48th FIS fighter pilots of the geezer variety comporting in military comradeship with young bright eyed 48th Squadron pilot weenies of the today’s 48th Squadron (both gentlemen and good looking lady officers).

In 1953, our Air Force had three interceptors in its Air Defense Command: the F89J Scorpion, the F86D (called the F86Dog), and the F94C Starfire. In 1953 I flew the F94C Starfire jet (we called it the “Banana Boat) as a proud member of the 48th FIS. I was 20 years old, and only three years out of high school.

The 94C was the Air Force’s first operational supersonic airplane – but you had to go straight down to achieve that speed. Obviously, that angle of flight limited the amount time of we could maintain supersonic super sonic speed.

The F94C was a two-place aircraft: pilot in the front, radar observer (RO) in the rear (or the “GIB” - meaning the “guy in the back”). My usual radar observers and good friends were Jim Faries, Jean Adams, and Manford R. Groves (“Grover”). We spent a lot of time together fifty-three years ago training and scrambling on intercept missions out of Langley Air Force Base, Virginia. It was during the latter stages of the Korean conflict. We like to say we defended American from North Korea – from Virginia.

Great news! Grover, my RO friend and compatriot, was at the 48th FIS reunion. Hadn’t seen him in decades (he’s gotten older). When Grover’s and my turn came to share flying stories at the reunion, we told some good ones. And they were true. Like buzzing below the Wright Brothers Memorial at Kitty Hawk, flying just a few feet over the beach of the Carolina Outer banks and lighting the F94C afterburner just above surf fishermen, barrel rolls around Navy balloons near Norfolk, and more I shan’t share here. In other words, adolescent flying behavior I wouldn’t think of doing now!

It was fun at the reunion watching “oldster” pilots teaching “youngster” 48th pilots how to be “Tasmanian Devil Instructors,” by screaming and making faces inches from each other. The Tasmanian Devil is the 48th mascot (see cartoon).

Some Russian fighter pilots happened to be at the same hotel, near Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. I’m told (I’d already gone to my room. It's true. If you can't trust a politician, whom can you trust?)) some vodka was consumed while American pilots demonstrated Tasmanian Devil antics in the face of the Russians – and the Russian pilots returned the behavior in kind. Actual war was not declared.

There’s wonderful but indescribable comradeship among the military: active duty, retired, veteran. It’s kind of “been there, done that, and we understand.” There is a somewhat similar comradeship I felt when I was a cop in Tucson, Arizona. There’s collegiality among legislators, regardless of political party, and that’s good. But it’s not the same military and police comradeship.Our next 48th Squadron reunion is scheduled to be in Columbus, Mississippi. Hope I can make it.

Photos show my RO Manford R "Grover" Groves and I shaking hands, me as a youthful Air Force pilot, my standing by my F94C at the Alert Hanger, the 48th Fighter Squadron we placed at the Air Force Museum memorial park, our reunion group, and the Tasmanian Devil figure.

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