1982: Better Than a Badge, Better Than a Medal

Saturday Morning Re-run for this week. As I’ve gotten older and older I’m less likely to talk to young soldiers because I feel like one of Teddy Roosevelt’s Rough Riders conversing with a paratrooper from the 101st the night before the Normandy invasion. However I do think it’s interesting that our military still relies on the C-130 Hercules – the aircraft that figure so prominently in this post – 35+ years later…and it was considered “long in the tooth” even then in 1982.

David R. Deitrick, Designer


Service members who fail to complete flight training rarely go on to spectacular careers – at least that was the common wisdom I picked up prior to being assigned to Officer Rotary Wing Aviators Course 44-79 in August of 1979. That “common wisdom” came back to haunt me when I received a medical disqualification the following April. I was passing all the academic courses and could hold my own in the cockpit, but had developed a vision problem during training that could possibly mean trouble during flight during darkness or instrument conditions. I was left hanging for three months before getting a final notice and while I made all sorts of jokes about seeing-eye dogs in the cockpit there was nothing to laugh about when I got the official word that I was not going to be spending a career flying helicopters.

I was angry. I was sad. I was…

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The Analoggers Strike Again!


This week’s Saturday Morning Re-run: I found this post the other day while doing prep work for my “Cheap Tricks” book project and thought it was notable/repostable in that I made it exactly forty years ago during the Christmas break of my last year of undergraduate work. Staying immersed in work was a good way of dealing with the tension of the very imminent arrival of our first child Conrad – who started his run-in to the natal drop zone during the 31 December 1978 episode of Battlestar Galactica.

David R. Deitrick, Designer

The Analoggers Strike Again!

Well, not recently. This was done for my senior portfolio when I graduated from BYU in 1979.My three years there were not the happiest time in my academic career and it seemed like I was always “leading with my chin”. Since I was also enrolled in ROTC and due to go on active duty it shouldn’t have made that much of a difference…but it did.

During my last semester I really went all out to put together a great portfolio and this TV Guide mock-up was the centerpiece. I ended up redoing every illustration in my book that last semester. My only regret is this is the best copy I have, which is sad because this and “Solo Kill” won me awards in the student art show that year.

This was all done with cameras, copiers and hand-skills. For some reason I kept the clear acetate overlay and 13 years…

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Good Knight, Felix Knight

Re-run Saturday is rolling around twelve hours early this week. I’ve been comparatively healthy as of late but I’m starting to wheeze/sniffle and that has me a little worried. I battled bronchitis six times last year, with the last bout pegging the needle on the Scare-o-meter so I am going to take things easy for a bit. I will try to keep writing but just to be sure….

David R. Deitrick, Designer

This is a hard one to write. We all want to be the good guy and it is hard to admit to having been cruel. At least for me it is.

Felix Knight was an army buddy of mine back in the early 1980s. To be totally accurate he was more of a church/Scouting/army buddy of mine; we were both serving at the same base but saw each other more at church and Scout meetings that we ever did while in uniform. I don’t think that I ever saw him without a big smile on his face, but that big smile hid a lot of pain.

A decade earlier he had been an Army aviator serving in Viet-Nam, flying the OH-6 scout helicopter (a.k.a. “loach”). As was the case with most Hughes Aircraft products the OH-6 was extremely survivable; in the case of a crash the rotor blades would detach…

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1965: “….up in the air…”

This week’s Re-run Saturday selection. Our relatives down south were constantly amazed at how much time we spent in the air. Alaska leads the country in general aviation and small airlines provide transportation to small  communities in the same way that bus lines function in the Lower 48.

David R. Deitrick, Designer

Cordova DC3 art

Few things are as mysterious as kid-logic – the oft slightly warped reasoning children give for their opinions and explanations of events around them.  The intensity of our opinions as children was usually an inverse ratio to our actual knowledge. Debate between the merits of “Combat!” vs. “Gallant Men” had less to do with the fighting in France vs. fighting in Italy than it did with the fact that no one alive could walk or talk in a manner more totally cool than Vic Morrow, the actor portraying SGT Saunders  in “Combat!”

For example, the totality of our knowledge and experience with high school was limited to Archie Comics leavened with an episode of “Dobie Gillis” on TV. Nevertheless, attendance at East Anchorage High School would have been a fate worse than death for me, my buddies or any of the other students at Woodland Park Elementary School in…

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1968: Shear Pins and Pinky Rings

Rerun Saturday post for this week. I’ve been missing my Dad quite a bit lately and thinking of how at sixteen I grieved for him as the youngest case of senility ever, and then at twenty-one how surprised I was at how much he’d recovered in just five years.

David R. Deitrick, Designer

For all his years as a sailor in the Orient my father picked up very little foreign language. He occasionally answered the phone with a “mushi-mushi” or tacked the Japanese “-san” honorific to the ends of our names, but the only Asian word he used much was “cumshaw”. It’s a Chinese word that originally meant “grateful thanks” but use by American sailors over the years gradually changed its meaning to “anything obtained by other than official channels”. Think of the character “Crapgame” from Kelly’s Heroes or Milo Minderbinder from Catch 22 – but with the criminal aspect dialed quite a bit and you’ve got a good idea of the meaning.  For example, a tool set issued to replace one lost during an air raid comes with an extra undocumented hammer which gets traded to the cook for a steak peeled off the allotment for from the officer’s mess…

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1969: The Order of The Purple Toe

This week’s Saturday Morning re-run – I still shudder a bit when I read this story. Normally both Donny and I were fairly responsible young men but when we got together most of our individual good judgement disappeared. I’d like to think that being the country mouse and used to hunting I’d have cleared the weapon first, but to be brutally honest Don was the triggerman only because he’d picked up the rifle first.

David R. Deitrick, Designer

The summer of 1969 was a scary time for me in many ways. I had some big decisions coming up; I was half-way through high school and supposedly preparing for adult life but I was in fact totally clueless. There were a number of careers that had minor appeal but nothing that jumped out to me. I thought about police work but military service was also a strong possibility; not only was the conflict in Viet-Nam running hot at the time, I was a “navy brat” and military service – especially career military service – tends to follow family lines. I was a little worried though – while there were aspects of military life had great appeal to me, the very real prospect of death or wounding had very little appeal. The Purple Heart was a medal I really didn’t want to win.

There was more than school and career…

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1966: Concerning Primate Posteriors

Re-run Saturday – we finally have cooler weather in Middle Tennessee and it’s brought back memories of winters past.

David R. Deitrick, Designer

My dad did not have it easy growing up. On top of the general Depression/World War 2 experience most men his age went through, his home life was pretty chaotic. He lived on a ranch in south-east Idaho with at least a dozen siblings and at least three step-fathers, not all of whom had his best interests in minds.

David Soren Deitrick wasn’t raised to adulthood; he was dragged up.

Unfortunately we ended up “cross-threaded” quite often. In addition to the effects of his childhood there were other factors involved, the kind of things pop psychologists make their living telling us all to obsess about. I’ve gone back and forth about it all and the bottom line is this: my dad was a good man, I wish I’d known him better and my life would have been richer had we spent more time together…

…but don’t doubt for a second…

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1966: Fighting Crime on Scout Lake Loop Road

I’ve been overcome by events this week so the re-run is a Sunday rather than Saturday event. It was fall break for my Beautiful Saxon Princess giving us the whole week together but she pulled a muscle in her lower back on Wednesday and helping her became my first priority. I didn’t get much else was accomplished…but I wouldn’t have had it any other way.

David R. Deitrick, Designer

I’m not sure what initially (please forgive the pun) drew me to comics and superheroes. The genre was not nearly as popular then as it is now so it wasn’t a social thing. I liked the art…but there was something about the idea of making people safe and avenging wrongs that really appealed to me. Having endured varying degrees of pain at the hands of others I liked the idea of someone preventing that sort of thing.

My cousin Gary introduced me to comics in the early sixties but the hook was set during the summer of 1964 not too long after the Good Friday earthquake. I can trace my interest to three specific issues:

  • Detective Comics # 327 “ The Mystery of The Menacing Mask”
  • World’s Finest #142 “The Composite Superman”
  • Justice League of America “29 “Crisis on Earth-Three.”

My buddies and I had a great time reading…

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1965: “Luuuuu-jon! Luuuuu-jon!”

I guess this would make it “Re-run Friday” instead of “Re-run Saturday”…

David R. Deitrick, Designer


During her life my Grandmother went from “if man were meant to fly God would have given him wings” to “that’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind”. There’s no denying that the world has changed radically in the last century but there was a time in my life when I thought all the really cool stuff had already happened before my time.  I was mistaken. (I promise to not queue up “We Didn’t Start the Fire” by Billy Joel at this point)

 There actually have been a lot of changes in my life but most of those changes have been subtle. For example, when we moved to Sterling, Alaska in the summer of 1964 most people – including many Alaskans – had no idea where Sterling was located but since that time the Kenai Peninsula has become a very popular vacation site. The spot at…

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