Wednesday, January 31, 2018

The Bug is Back!

Celebrating the Blue Angels first demonstration with the new Boeing F/A-18C Hornet, developed for them by Shana Carpool Aircraft, and as a bonus on the occasion of the 2018 Homecoming Air Show at NAS Miramar where the Bug will be officially launched, we will be having a raffle of a stock version F/A-18C similar to the ones soon available to the general public.

They will come in two variants of US Navy VFA-25 "Fist of the Fleet" squadron: a CAG aircraft (AA/400) and a low visibility version (AA/402). Colors are made by the United States Navy Third Fleet in Second Life official supplier Eight Shades of Blue and the raffle winner will have personalized liveries with his or her name on both versions.

We would like to thank Ms. Shana Carpool for her gracious gesture, giving away a F/A-18C for the Homecoming Air Show raffle, and hope to see you at Miramar on the weekend of February 10 and 11, for two days of excitement and fun with the Navy Flight Demonstration Team Blue Angels!

The Raffle tickets may be purchased on site at various locations during the Blue Angels Homecoming Air Show at NAS Miramar, February 10 and 11.*

* It was decided that the raffle tickets are free - which means only one ticket per person.

UPDATE! 2018/02/17
We will be having a do over raffle of a stock version F/A-18C similar to the ones soon available to the general public. The winner of the raffle held during Homecoming weekend graciously returned the voucher allowing for another person to have the chance to win the new Bug!
The raffle station will be placed at NAS Miramar, by the main gate, from February 18 to February 25, at which time the winner will be determined. So head on to Miramar and enter your name!

CAPT. Asra "Cougar" Kron

Sunday, January 28, 2018

It's not easy being Blue...

Speed, Mistell, Hawk and Cougar, Angels 1 to 4. The diamond in practice over the Aldabra Sea. 2018/01/28.
As real life difficulties put our resolve to the test and we deal with them, moving Homecoming yet again to the weekend of February 10 and 11, the ordeals we go through as Blues made me think about what a privilege it is to fly these colors and how hard it is to keep them. So as a tribute to those who made it so far, those who served honorably and moved on, and also as a cautionary tale to those of you who dream about becoming a Blue Angel, here is how we see it and do it.

The six Blues brief before take off. A ritual performed flawlessly every practice.

To become a Blue Angels pilot you need to be a Naval Aviator, having gone through OCS, flight school, active duty in a front line squadron, all of the above matter. It shows you understand who and what you are representing: a United States Navy officer, a Naval Aviator and as a Blue Angels pilot the Navy you represent as her ambassador. Our mission in second life is exactly the same as the NFDS in real life. The Blue Angels Mission: The mission of the United States Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron is to showcase the pride and professionalism of the United States Navy and Marine Corps by inspiring a culture of excellence and service to country through flight demonstrations and community outreach. Let this be clear from the start.

QB and BamBam, Angels 5 and 6 hot and static at Miramar. Solos good to go.

Then comes the internship. Spending a few months with the squadron, in practice and out, attending briefings, flying shotgun on #7 or #8, training as one of the team, getting to know each member and allowing each member to know you. Lots of theory, lots of waiting around, watching the squadron fly, learning the routines, and when you are lucky you get to fly along and get a feeling for it. When the internship is done, all the squadron members have a vote. You need every vote to get in. One no and you are out. This because we are more than a navy squadron, we are THE navy squadron. We bleed blue and we bleed together. So you need all of us to accept you as you accept all of us.

The diamond hot and static at Miramar. Another day in the life of the Blues.

After you are accepted as one of the team you become a Newbie for a whole season. You will spend a year doing exactly what you need to do as a Blue Angels pilot: studying maps, learning protocols and technology, practicing alone, in duos, with the team, at Miramar or in the Ring at Eagles Nest, 3 or 4 hours a time, 2 or 3 times a week, more when close to an air show, repeating ground routines, taxi and brakes, take off and landing, memorizing patterns and maneuvers, timings, sync methods, recovery methods, flight preps, pre-flights, attending briefings and debriefings, doing your safeties, attending Navy events, flying over graduations, performing the team's air shows, engaging with other aerobatic squadrons, talking to the general public, acting as what you are at all times: a Second Life United States Navy ambassador, a Blue Angel. You will spend a year doing all this, and in the end, you will have the opportunity to reapply and be reassigned. And do it all over again PLUS all the work involved in bringing interns in and newbies up to speed.... In your second season with the squadron and the first as a true full fledged Blue.

Doing your safeties at every debriefing. What could you have done better?

As Angel 7, soon with Angel 8's help, I have the role of interviewing potential candidates for the squadron. Through the years I met pilots who just came to us out of nowhere and other naval aviators, men and women who love flying and wish to become a Blue Angels pilot because they have seen us at an air show, read about us or just because it's pretty darn cool. And it is! Very few made it past that interview and I am proud to say almost all of those decided it was not for them on their own, after a more detailed explanation of who we are and what we do. A common reaction is "Whoa! This is a big deal!" to which I smile and simply nod in full agreement. It is. It is damn hard and not for everyone. And it's not just handling the practices and the theory and the endless repeating that makes for a better performance. It's dealing with all that and the times when in spite of all your work things don't go as they should.

Blue Angels pilots are not super heroes, they are just pilots. Naval aviators, yes, but still just pilots. What sets them apart is the will to push the envelope harder than everyone else and know that at times the envelope pushes back twice as hard. You pick yourself up, dust yourself off and do it all over again. Just like the song says. And that is not easy to do. But it is what makes you a Blue.

I am very proud of this year's crew and I will do anything for them, as I am sure they will for me. This is what it is all about. This is what we do. Go Blues! Hooyah!

CAPT. Asra "Cougar" Kron
NFDTXO / Angel 7

Friday, January 26, 2018

Grumman F9F-8T Cougar Blue Angels

The NFDT Blue Angels flew the two seat Grumman F9F-8T Cougar during the 2016 Season as the evolution from the TF-9J that was originally used by the squadron in 2015, early 2016. In the absence of the single seat version used in real life by the demonstration team, the 8T remained in service pending development of the F9F-6 that would arrive in December that year and was officially introduced as the front line Blue Angels aircraft at the Homecoming Air Show, NAS Miramar, January 27, 28, 2017.

Despite its size and the extra seat, the 8T Cougar was a joy to fly in the demo role and all the pilots who were fortunate to serve with the squadron in 2016 miss her dearly. The 8T would remain in service throughout 2017 as Angel 7, used both as the VIP ride aircraft and in the training role, helping to get new Blue Angels pilots into shape. It was phased out and placed in reserve status with the arrival of the Boeing F/A-18D Hornet to the squadron in January, 2018.

Real life notes:

The F9F Cougar is the swept wing version of its forerunner, the F9F Panther - Grumman's first jet fighter plane. As MiG-15s tangled with the slower, less agile Panthers and McDonnell Banshees over Korea, the Navy requested a swept wing F9F design from Grumman. The first Cougars were delivered in November of 1951, a year after the debut of the MiG-15 and never saw combat in Korea. But the Cougar, built as a stop-gap, became a successful design with 1,988 built. The last Cougar, an advanced trainer version, was phased out in 1974.

For a brief period in late 1954, the Blues operated their first swept-wing aircraft, the F9F-6 Cougar, essentially a Panther with swept wings. Its cockpit was nearly identical to the Panther’s, making transition easy, and the “dash six” Cougar actually had better carrier handling characteristics than the Panther. But the F9F-6 had been rushed into service and early examples had a variety of minor technical issues, including poor latitudinal and longitudinal control. A modification to control surfaces solved the problem in the fleet, but the Blue Angels reverted to the F9F-5 Panther briefly and in December 1954, began flying the much-modified and more robust F9F-8 version of the swept-wing Cougar. In 1957, the team made the transition to the F11F-1 Tiger.

CAPT. Asra "Cougar" Kron

Friday, January 19, 2018

Third Fleet Launches NEPTUNE Magazine

The NEPTUNE magazine arrives close to the beginning of Third Fleet's third year of existence, the anniversary as an independent entity in the United States Naval Service in Second Life being June 23. But we could not wait. This monthly magazine will be available in world as a real scale magazine (with a new real cover/back each month), available at selected places in the Grid for free from its own dispensers. You can place the NEPTUNE magazine on your desk, coffee table, waiting room or wherever you wish and if you touch it you will get a link to the web version on this blog.

Each month a new NEPTUNE magazine will be published and distributed in World and in e-format via NAVSL group, the Naval Service in Second Life information hub. We hope this way to add some more visibility to our activities and open the door to other groups that wish to use this vehicle to link to their own stories in their own websites, blogs or social media pages. From the editor's desk, in the Black Sheep hangar at NAS Miramar, my sincere wishes of a great new year 2018. Go Navy!

from the Editorial by Asra Kron, NEPTUNE Magazine

NEPTUNE is a project that finally came to light as Third Fleet always aspired to have a link to not just her own stories but those of other naval service groups and naval aviation manufacturers, gathered in one place: the magazine. The convenience of the display version, that can be obtained by everyone via dispensers set in world at selected places in the grid and is distributed to your door each edition if you are a member of the Naval Service in Second Life info group (NAVSL), adds to your role play and links directly to the true magazine that lives online.

NEPTUNE Magazine dispenser.
The beauty of this format is that you can send us the link and first paragraph of a story you'd like published and via the NEPTUNE magazine the readers will land there. So no need for large redaction boards and "pre-press" staff. If you are part of a naval service group, or are a manufacturer of naval aviation products and wish to share a story, we will gladly publish it if it fits the context. It will also enhance Third Fleet's editorial capabilities, namely Miramar's, by adding a complete new set of photography special sections to our web based media.

If you did not get the first issue, just follow the link below. Contact Asra Kron (x4ten) for the in world edition/link. Blue skies and happy reading!

NEPTUNE Magazine - no.1 - January 2018 (follow the link).

CAPT. Asra Kron

New Hornets for the Fleet

CAPT. Asra Kron preparing to board Angel 4, F/A-18C BA v.1.0 BuNo 163435 at Miramar. 01/13/2018.

On January 30, 2017, Captains Vickster Kühn and Asra Kron met with Ms. Shana Carpool to inspect the first shell of the Hornet Project. A year after her first frame was built, the first batch of Shana demo ready Aircraft Boeing F/A-18C Hornets, version BA v1.0, was delivered to the Navy Flight Demonstration Team. Right on time for Homecoming (see here).

To fly the actual aircraft the real life Blue Angels fly today has been a long time aspiration of the Navy Flight Demonstration Team in Second Life. It has come true. After initial discussions with Ms. Shana Carpool, the Blue Angels engines and avionics supplier, the decision was made to create a brand new aircraft to match the one flown by the United States Navy Demonstration Squadron, and that is the reason why the models soon available to both the Fleet and the public at large are not the Super Hornets but the C and D models of the Boeing F/A-18 Hornet.

The United States Naval Test Pilot School (USNTPS) would provide the flight tests necessary for the R&D stages of the Blue Angels versions that are exclusive to them, as in real life, and the stock versions that will be operated by the United States Navy Third Fleet, in both cases impacting the versions later available in the market.

Development started as early as January of 2017, a few days after that year's Homecoming Air Show, in which the Blue Angels introduced the single seat Grumman F9F-6 Cougar that was to replace the dual seat F9F-8T, which in turn received an upgraded engine and avionics. Regardless of the first operational version being delivered to the squadron, as expected, there is still a lot to be done in both the development of the Blue Angels models and the USN Third Fleet and stock models, also known as default, as well as two F/A-18B earlier models for the USNTPS and the NFWS at Miramar.

Cougar in a brisk salute at Miramar with the C model BA v1.0. 11/01/2018.

The default models are expected to be sold separately or in a C+D fat pack, with liveries provided by Eight Shades of Blue, the official livery supplier for the USN Third Fleet, which will continue development of several livery options for the Hornets ranging from the USMC to the RCAF, the RAAF and the European operators Spain, Finland and Switzerland.

The USN Third Fleet in SL and the NFDT Blue Angels wish to thank Shana Carpool Aircraft for their support of the demo squadron through the years and in particular for the work, that is still ongoing, in this amazing project. Follow the link below to the dedicated NEPTUNE magazine page of photos covering the close to 365 days of R&D that culminated in the release of the F/A-18C Blue Angels version 1.0.

New Hornets for the Fleet - One Year of R&D in Images. (follow the link)

CAPT. Asra "Cougar" Kron
Angel 7

Monday, January 15, 2018

The Second Gold & Blue Day

The West apron ready for another Gold & Blue Day at Miramar. The still veiled plaque is visible on the right.

January 13, 2018. Gold and Blue Day at Miramar. On this occasion we celebrate another year of operations in Tuarua Fiji, marking the date when N.A.S. Miramar was set where it stands today, Du Sud Isle, on the northernmost regions of Nautilus. To this day this fine naval air station remains the flagship of Third Fleet and one of the United States Navy finest references in Second Life.

On this date, the evocative anniversary plaque was unveiled and tradition was kept as the 2018 Season N.F.D.T. Blue Angels pilots were given their assignments, this year welcoming two "newbies" into the Blues fold. Orders for January 2018 included for the first time the awarding of Wings of Gold to United States Coast Guard naval aviators, along with the promotions and awards that were due this month.

After the national anthem was played, the ceremony began with a few words from Third Fleet Trident commander Captain Vickster Kühn and N.A.S. Miramar commander Captain Asra Kron. The event was attended by dignitaries from 7Th Fleet, the United States Coast Guard, the Armée de l'Air, SAREMSUK and officers and friends of Third Fleet. Captain Vickster Kühn, TFCOM, NAFENCO, NFDTCO, NFWSCO, honored us by unveiling the two years evocative plaque.

Here is a small record of the proceedings. As usual, click on the photos to enlarge.

Captains Kühn and Kron review the day's awards to be presented.
Ms. Shana Carpool drops by before the proceedings.
All stand for the national anthem.
CAPT. Kühn takes the podium as the proceedings start.

CAPT. Vickster Kühn's speech.

Good afternoon everyone. I'd like to welcome you all to Miramar and express my gratitude for your attendance and continued support. It's been quite a year here; it's overwhelming, really, to have such a fine station, Blue Angels home on the grid, the Topgun School, having graduated its first class. Looking forward is like looking back only more of it. This coming year will be our busiest ever, with new people coming to join our ranks in service of the Navy and our country, and also at the service of our fellow aviators everywhere.

It's hard to talk of the future without looking at the past.
The airshows, the training sessions, this place is my home as much as my own facility; it's been my proud privilege to serve with my fellow officers and sailors and I'm looking forward to having our best year ever right here at Fightertown.

On behalf of the 3rd Fleet Trident I want to thank especially Captain Kron for her steadfast resolve and long-suffering dedication to the Navy and all her hard work without which none of this would be possible. This is her day to celebrate, our day to celebrate, surviving another year, and launching into the new one with great relish. Our comrades in other commands who celebrate with us, we could not do without either.

I'd like to say in closing, it is an honor to serve with all of you, thank you for being a part of this, and Go Navy! Hooyah!

CAPT. Kühn addressing the audience on the momentous occasion.
CAPT. Kron initiating her speech before her fellow officers and guests.

CAPT. Asra Kron's speech.

I would like to recognize the distinguished Commanding Officers Admiral Lemon, USCG, Captain Sidney Pobieski, USS Kitty Hawk, USN 7th Fleet, Captain Vickster Kühn, NAFENCO, USN Third Fleet and my XO, LCDR. An Rainbow, USN Third Fleet. Fellow officers of the Fleet, the SL United States Navy, and dear fellows in arms and friends.

Today we celebrate the establishment of this Naval Air Station in Tuarua Fiji. Two years ago, it was brought here stone by stone, exactly as it was built on January 1, 2016, and exactly as it stands now. Let me start by thanking a few of the many who have supported and continue to support our home station:

Lieutenant Commander An Rainbow, my executive officer and good friend of many years, and Captain Vickster Kuhn, Miramar's Navy Fighter Weapons School commanding officer, Naval Air Facility Eagles Nest commanding officer, the Blue Angels' Boss and a great friend. Without you both I would not be standing here today.
Miramar's Command Master Chief Margot Fenring, who introduced me to Naval service in Second Life, friend of many years, and invaluable liaison to Tuarua Fiji management, helping us through thick and thin.
Captain Sidney Pobieski and Commander Helena Stenvaag, USS Kitty Hawk's skipper and executive officer, USN 7th Fleet SL, and Admiral Toxic Lemon and Vice Admiral Eliza Belis, Virtual United States Coast Guard's commanding officer and executive officer, who have showed continued support for Miramar throughout its existence.
Our excellent neighbors, Jamess Darwinn, who graciously took over our part of Deder Isle, a historical reference to Miramar, allowing us a foothold in the region; Mitt Zoobe, old friend and frequent flier, supporter and torch bearer; the little friends South of us, Tanja Byron and Newbienchen Zane, who are quickly becoming a part of Miramar. Gone but not forgotten and hopefully returning one day soon: LCDR. Skarah Zane, my XO on VF-84; LCDR. Braedyn McKenna, NFWS XO.
These to name but a few of the many friends who make this journey not only possible but rewarding.

Miramar is a tribute to the United States Navy, but also to all who share the passion for the Sea and Aviation, Naval Aviation in particular. And so it is that since it's foundation was laid on Du Sud Isle, Miramar has become a point of departure, arrival or scale for many, many aviators, pilots and even seafarers. We have on record nearly 20,000 flights originating or arriving at NAS Miramar, and close to 70,000 page views on Miramar's weblog. I think it is safe to say that after two years we have established a solid presence not only in Tuarua Fiji and the Naval Service community in Second life but across the board, as we touch many and many touch us on a regular basis.

The Navy is an exciting and stimulating environment with endless possibilities, and after all this time we have just tapped a few. It was never our goal to engage in all areas the Navy operates in. Far from it. From the very start our roles were set in stone and yes we defended them fiercely and always will. At the end of the day, we have our roles to play and all we aim for is to play them as best we can. The responsibility that is wearing this uniform demands it. Our crews are told this many times as it is our core principle: honor the uniform, act as a lady or gentleman and a naval officer.

I have been and still am privileged to serve alongside the best in this great Navy and been also given a taste of the worst. The company I keep pulled me through the rough waters and led me to safe port. And here I stand today because of you. Those who held me up and encouraged me and those who tried to push me down and crush me. Both made me stronger and a better officer. The past year was eventful and hard for the Fleet. Our then commanding officer chose to leave his post and start a new fleet, and the split was painful. Friends were not pitted against one another but were separated and choices were made. We are the result of those choices and stand tall and proud of them today. What you see around you and what is beyond Miramar is the Fleet's testimony of our resolve. We shall move forward.

As such it is with great pleasure that we welcome a SL United States Marine Corps unit in our ranks, creating new opportunities and enhancing the existing ones. We also welcome the USCG to the United States Naval Service community and this reality prompted us to create a news service related group that will hopefully grow to be the reference international naval service info HUB in Second Life. So the future is bright and challenging.
We welcome the third year of NAS Miramar and hope you will keep sharing this journey with us. We have exciting times ahead. Together we will successfully perform our duties and achieve our goals with a more holistic approach than ever before. So here is to Miramar and days to come.
Go Navy! Hooyah!

Remembering Miramar's history with the eyes on the future.
On stage: LCDR. A. Rainbow, CAPT. S. Pobieski, ADM. T. Lemon.
NASM's CO and XO escort CAPT. Kühn to the veiled plaque.
Another mark on the stone of history. Two years.
A salute after the unveiling and the third year of N.A.S. Miramar began.
2018 Season Blue Angels assignments. Tradition was kept.
Orders. And a new Commander as An Rainbow is awarded O5.
Among the guests that day: Admiral Toxic Lemon, (v)USCG, Captain Sidney Pobieski, USN 7th Fleet, Colonel Mara Klaber, Patrouille de France - Armée de l'Air, Commander Sophie Redwood, SAREMSUK, Commander Thomask Andel and Commander Shar Bleac, (v)USCG, Lieutenants Chipoune Leannan and Tidus, Patrouille de France - Armée de l'Air, Ms. Nanako Demonista, and our own Blues and Navy crews: LCDR. Jenny Kaz and Major Dominique van Dongen, Third Fleet, LCDR. Bambi Baxter and LTJG. Matter Blueskind, 7th Fleet. Hosting were CAPT. Asra Kron, CAPT. Vickster Kühn and now CDR. An Rainbow.

Cougar's decked with navy whites on the aftermath of the ceremony.
From left: QB, Cougar and No Balls, the cat!
CDR. Rainbow trying to introduce her pet Aria to Cabernet Sauvignon.
ADM. Lemon negotiating with Mona for some Ice Tea.
At the end of a happy day: Speed and Cougar. Cheers!

So started another year at Miramar, as the 2018 Gold and Blue Day came to an end. To all those who honored us with their presence and to all who could not attend but were in our thoughts and hearts, thank you. This day was yours. And many to follow them. Go Miramar! Go Navy! HOOYAH!!

CAPT. Asra "Cougar" Kron

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Two Years Plaque Unveiling - Gold & Blue Day 2018

Gold over blue: Second Anniversary of N.A.S. Miramar in Tuarua Fiji.

Exactly two years ago this day, N.A.S. Miramar was transferred as is from the original location where it was built and inaugurated at Tuarua Fiji's Du Sud Isle. To commemorate the event, an evocative plaque will be unveiled and shall remain between hangars B and C at Miramar.

The ceremony will be presided by CAPT. Asra Kron and CAPT. Vickster Kühn, COMNAVAIRNAU Third Fleet Commanders, who in addition to unveiling the Two Years plaque will present the Fleet's Orders and Awards for the month of January. Also awarded during this ceremony will be the 2018 N.F.D.T. member certificates, as Third Fleet Command (TFCOM) assigns Blue Angels deployments with the squadron for this season.

Ceremony will take place today, Saturday, January 13 at 13:30 SLT.

All welcome.
Dress code: Naval Officers in Full Dress Whites; other guests full dress uniform or formal attire.

CDR. Asra Kron

Monday, January 8, 2018

Miramar Second Anniversary Ball

Opening dance on the eve of Miramar's second anniversary. 01/07/2018.

It was once more our pleasure to welcome fellow officers, family and friends to celebrate another year of Naval Air Station Miramar. Built January 1, 2016 on an isolated island as a showcase for approval by both the Navy and Tuarua Fiji, N.A.S.M. was inaugurated officially with the first orders on January 8 that year, two years ago today. It would be transferred to Du Sud Isle five days later, the date we officially celebrate the anniversary of operations in Tuarua Fiji.

Doing the honors for Miramar this year, CAPT. Asra Kron, CAPT. Vickster Kühn, LCDR. An Rainbow, LCDR. Jenny Kaz, escorted by Mr. Diamon Star, Major Dominique Van Dongen and LTJG. Sephiria McCloud.

Among the guests who attended the ball, this year held the eve of the anniversary for their convenience, CAPT. Sidney Pobieski, CDR. Helena Stenvaag, CDR. Thomask Andel, LCDR. Bambi Baxter, Colonel Mara Klaber, LTJG. Matter Blueskind, PO3 Drakon Ravenclaw, PO3 Janka Dinzel, Ms. Shana Carpool, Ms. Salina Warwick, escorting Ms. Valarie Warwick, Col. Hucker Zane (ret.), escorting Ms. Marzi Zane, Mr. Ubiyen and Newbienchen Zane, escorting Ms. Tanja Byron.

The guests started arriving well before 13:00 SLT at which time CAPT. Kron and her XO, LCDR. Rainbow, took to the floor for the opening dance, establishing the tradition initiated last year. The ball went on for a total of seven hours after which a new record was set by the last couple standing, LCDR. Jenny Kaz and Mr. Diamon Star.
The full photo coverage can be found following the link on the image below.

To all our fellow USN, USMC and USCG officers in SL, our friends from other branches and groups, their families and friends, we want to say thank you for your enduring support of one of the finest Naval Air Stations in Second Life: N.A.S. Miramar. Here's to our third year starting and more to come.

CAPT. Asra Kron
Third Fleet, Second Life's United States Navy

Miramar 2nd Anniversary Photo Coverage

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Third Fleet Medals and Awards

Third Fleet Medals and Awards

The United States Navy Third Fleet in Second Life complete guide to medals and awards (Navy) has been published and will be the reference for presenting these distinctions to our service members. Commanding officers need to request TFCOM the award on behalf of their deserving crew members.

This page will be in permanence on the starboard side column of this weblog. To go there from this point click on the image above or the link here.

CAPT. Asra Kron


Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Looking forward...

“Almost all the people who’ve had the most effect on me I seem to have met by chance, yet looking back it seems as though I couldn’t but have met them.” 
Somerset Maugham, The Razor's Edge

Looking forward as we start Miramar's third year of operations, I find myself looking back and it seems to me as well I could not be here today but for those I met by chance and the effect they had on me. Some of them now live in memories I hold dear to my heart, never forgotten, always with the hope of a return, a wave of the hand and a smile that will make the long absence feel like just a few hours passed since we last bid each other farewell (1). They keep me moving forward too. But the ones that remain and share this dream with me are the true keepers of this flame that burns now for two years in Miramar, and the guardians of a new dawn yet still to come. This cause and effect seems to prove there is after all a thing called fate, as Larry Darrel reminisced in "The Razor's Edge", even if it needs us to make it happen after we find it. Chance is but a choice.

Another year has passed. Another plaque awaits unveiling next to the one that marks the first year of operations of Naval Air Station Miramar in Tuarua Fiji. And unveiled it shall be on the 13th of this month of January, the same day Miramar was set in the place where it stands now, two years ago (2). One has but to go through the pages of this weblog to see how full and rewarding they were, and why this place is magical to some of us. Hopefully it will remain so for years to come, but for me, as it was up to this day, it all comes down to tomorrow. So I look forward.

Third Fleet is now stable and well defined (3). The ones serving in it are like minded individuals pushing towards a common goal who find the time and effort spent on this journey to be rewarding. Inevitably others who have similar concepts are drawn near and some will consider joining. Little steps. Sure steps. There is no secret in keeping a group alive, all you need is to enjoy what you do and share that experience with others. And keep it simple. With this in mind our objectives as a fleet are defined by our locations' purposes. The roles complementing those missions are available all around us from many sources in the Naval Service world that spans throughout all of Second Life and counts hundreds, perhaps thousands of enthusiasts. Some we found keen to pursuit the same ideal we do: the honorable portrayal of real life Naval Service, reflecting our passion for aviation and the sea.

It was with great pleasure that we watched as a ten year old Coast Guard institution in Second Life decided to take the next step and become the mirror of the United States Coast Guard in Second Life. Under the command of Admiral Toxic Lemon, the Virtual Coast Guard is becoming (Virtual) United States Coast Guard (4), thus joining the United States naval service in SL. Just the same, former SL Marines determined to renew the flame of service are showing that ideals belong to no one and no one group. Such is valid for all - Navy, Marines and Coast Guard. It is not the name that defines us, but our actions. How we respect one another and those who serve with us, how we respect ourselves and the rank we have by being ourselves, and staying in character even when out of it by merely showing who we are at all times. Our character or lack there of is what defines our role, not the other way around (5). This to state a simple truth: no matter how good a role player you are, if you have no character you will never last "in character". So we move forward.

Real life plays a big part in all this and it is seldom easy. Were it not for the support of our crew and our friends, who help keep Miramar steady on its course, we would have had to make some hard choices to keep moving on, but make no mistake move on we shall. My deepest gratitude to all of you who have consistently made this day possible and try to make tomorrow possible as well. I would be at fault, however, not to single out CAPT. Vickster Kühn and LCDR. An Rainbow as the most generous donors of Miramar. In the end, this is how you know if what you do is worth while.

All I see around me reflects hard work, not just mine but that of others. It all comes down to how much you put into a project, and Third Fleet is lucky to have such a fine crew. This is often mistaken as a weakness, but it is our core strength, as the fruit of our effort is the best showcase for those who wish to follow in our footsteps and the best fail safe to keep those who want it easy at bay. We are now in the eve of great things, from the arrival of Shana Carpool's new F/A-18 Hornets to both the Blue Angels and VF-154 (at last!) (6) to the establishment of a USMC detachment in Third Fleet (7). Let us not go gentle into that good night and onward together then, against the dying of the light.

Have a wonderful 2018. Go Navy! Hooyah!

CAPT. Asra "Cougar" Kron

(1) VF-84's Last Patrol of 2016
(2) One Year Plaque Unveiling - Gold & Blue Day 2017
(3) Fight the Future
(4) Virtual USCG Facebook page
(5) Burning Bridges
(6) New Hornets close to Demo Ready Version
(7) The Proud and the Few...