Evening Quickie #soldierporn: Rare bird sighting.

Russian Federation Air Force Su-27 Sukhois intercept a simulated hijacked aircraft entering Russian airspace at Exercise Vigilant Eagle (VE) 13. This exercise is the fifth in a series of cooperative exercises that provide an opportunity for Russia, Canada, and United States military personnel to enhance their international partnership and to cooperatively detect, track, identify, and follow a hijacked aircraft as it proceeds across international boundaries.

(Photos by USAF Tech. Sgt. Jason Robertson, 27 AUG 2013.)

-- Returning from another funeral.

Josh sighed, feeling another weight sinking into the pit of his stomach. He’d just returned from a weekend at home, attending yet another funeral for a past classmate of his. Gun violence at age sixteen was something he didn’t think many of his classmates could relate to, at least not at the intensity and caliber he’d become familiar with. 

It was the same neighborhood church the last few funerals had been at. With the front pew full of the mourning family, the back rows full of people that knew the kid just well enough to show up. There was a police officer by the entrance, just in case. And there was the unforgettable feeling of knowing that there would be another empty desk at Wilmington High. There’d be one less sophomore coming to school. One less person at a dinner table somewhere.

Josh shook his head, trying to clear his mind as he walked through the doors of the student center and made a beeline for the cafe. He needed a coffee and had headed over without changing out of his dress pants and button up. He couldn’t get the faces out of his head. Of the family when he expressed his condolences. Of his former classmates’ scowls and their obvious judgement of him transferring to St. Mary’s. He was glad he didn’t let his little sister come with him during the weekend, but the emotional toll was almost too much. He slouched in his chair, nursing his coffee, wondering what it’d be like to live a life where you never had to experience this sort of thing.