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Monthly Archives: September 2015

A Memorable Business Trip to Italy

This story is a change of pace that you may enjoy. I recently rediscovered some pictures that our engineering team took during a business trip to Italy, before I retired. The photos here more or less document our visit, both as engineers and tourists.

We were researching requirements for an Italian Army training range that was being upgraded. The range was on Sardinia (Sardegna in Italian), an island in the Mediterranean near Italy. We met with Army officials in Rome and traveled to Sardinia by plane to see the existing training facility. Our job was to check out the terrain and be briefed by Italian Army personnel about their training procedures and future needs. Our company, Cubic Defense, provided communication networks and tracking equipment, installed buildings, towers, computer equipment and specialized software to monitor activities of soldiers during training missions. We also supplied laser equipment to be installed on all manner of weapons and vehicles.

It was a fantastic trip, like most of my business travels. We got to see parts of Rome (wonderful), had some nice dinners and met incredibly dedicated, competent and knowledgeable Italian Army guys. Our marketing manager for the trip was Steve May, someone I mentioned in an earlier blog about uranium enrichment.

I just want to show you some of what we did and what we saw.

A wonderful place to visit

A wonderful place to visit

sorry, an unknown bridge in Rome

sorry, an unknown bridge in Rome

having wine in the squareMany of the great sights in Rome are quite close together, including the Coliseum and the Forum. Much of Rome will probably look the same in 100 years.

Trevi Fountain

hoofing it in Rome

what a great football stadium

what a great football stadium

not a good place to be: under the arena floor

not a good place to be: under the arena floor

the enormous coliseum, imagine the raucous crowd in here

the enormous coliseum, imagine the raucous crowd in here

Sardinia - where the Army training range was located

Sardinia – where the Army training range was located

A view of the Capo Teulada training area from Outpost 4 (OP4)

A view of the Capo Teulada training area from Outpost 4 (OP4)

listening to the Captain about what they do here

listening to the Captain about what they do here

watching the mortar barrage

watching the mortar barrage

actual mortars impacting on the range

actual mortars impacting on the range

We met the Italian Army at the Capo Teulada Training Range, at the nearly southern-most piece of Sardinia. The range overlooks the beautiful Mediterranean Sea and was a WWII firing range. Unfortunately, some of these beautiful beaches can never be used again. There are probably thousands of unexploded artillery shells and other ordnance buried in the sand and the shallow water around this Cape. It would be too dangerous and expensive to clear up this area. There are beaches to the east that are clear of explosives and are commonly used for beach landing exercises.

no one can ever visit this gorgeous beach - too much unexploded ordnance from WWII

no one can ever visit this gorgeous beach – too much unexploded ordnance from WWII

The Roman forum after a mortar barrage or an invasion by mongols

The Roman forum after a mortar barrage or an invasion by mongols

an Italian rifle to be equipped with laser transmitter

an Italian rifle to be equipped with laser transmitter

The Carabinieri (gendarmes) is the national Military Police of Italy, one of four branches of the Italian Armed Forces, along with the Army, Navy and Air Force. As part of instrumenting the Capo Teulada training range, all direct fire weapons are equipped with laser transmitters that, coupled with blank rounds, safely simulate the firing of these weapons, including accurate range and lethality. A soldier can’t damage a tank with a rifle, for example.

Even these sidearms can often be equipped with laser transmitters

Even these sidearms can often be equipped with laser transmitters

I hope this “show” is instructional.  I recommend going to Rome as part of your bucket list.  We should all make a list and include the places we’ve already seen and the things we’ve already done.  Most such lists are probably already impressive.

Thanks again,
The Drapers (Bob and Arlyne)

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Posted by on September 23, 2015 in Bird Lover

 

California Perspectives – What a Place!

Arlyne and I travel around the southwest, visiting family and friends and volunteering at National Wildlife Refuges. That’s what we love and what we do. Still, we lived in Southern California for nearly 30 years and even though it’s crowded and expensive, we love to come back for a visit. This piece shows one of the best parts of California…..the beach. We even went to the beach on Labor Day! We haven’t picked up a new bird here yet, but perhaps closer to winter, that will change. We’re probably staying here until sometime in November. Relax and enjoy California perspectives, literally.

The beach, the pier, sand castles, birds, nice weather……..

In my next blog, hopefully, I’ll discuss my views of politics and what I think of the 2016 campaign. If my last blog is any indication, I’ll probably create controversy again.

I love this shot - taken from the Carlsbad pier

I love this shot – taken from the Carlsbad pier

California perspective - Arlyne taking pictures

California perspective – Arlyne taking pictures

Nice day to be in San Diego

Nice day to be in San Diego

Red Sails in the Daylight - San Diego Harbor

Red Sails in the Daylight – San Diego Harbor

We stopped at Pier B in San Diego Harbor to see the San Diego sand sculpture competition.  There were local and international sand sculpture artists showing off their skills, which are considerable.  Amazing work.  We saw some of them putting final shaping on their creations.

Labor Day Weekend - incredible thing to see

Labor Day Weekend – incredible thing to see

An angel, obviously, but I don't know what they called this incredible piece

An angel, obviously, but I don’t know what they called this incredible piece

San Diego Harbor was packed with tourists, including us.  There were food courts, trinket and T-shirt stores, raffles, sailing boats “shooting” each other, Police boats patrolling, private yachts, sea gulls, music, tall ships, small ships, all ships.  Next to the action, the Midway aircraft carrier, twp cruise ships and airplanes flying overhead.

Heermann's gulls everywhere

Heermann’s gulls everywhere

tug of war - this guy even had bulging veins in his arms

tug of war – this guy even had bulging veins in his arms

two great jumpers I guess

two great jumpers I guess

beautiful angel closeup

beautiful angel closeup

bicycle row

bicycle row

California surfer dude - I can hear music from Jan and Dean and the Beach Boys

California surfer dude – I can hear music from Jan and Dean and the Beach Boys

Bob and Arlyne, enjoying San Diego and Carlsbad….in California

 
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Posted by on September 17, 2015 in Bird Lover