Tuesday, December 14, 2010

El Salvador

One last look in the Morning at Honduras

There is no safe place in San Salvador
Welcome To El Salvador

Sean, Carol and Jonsey

All aboard the P-3
Surveillance.. Land Sea and Air
As soon as we landed in San Salvador we got picked up by an Amazing security team. Chris Jones and Sean Thornton. We took a bullit proof bus to the base and got a briefing.

El Salvador achieved independence from Spain in 1821 like all the countries in the region and else where, and from the Central American Federation in 1839. A 12-year civil war, which cost about 75,000 lives, was brought to a close in 1992. 

This small and volcano covered country is one of the most violent countries in the world. It is the home of the 18th street gang and MS-13, two of the most violent gangs in the world. 

There are 5.8 million citizens in the country, 25,000 of them are gang members. In a country a little bigger than Massachusetts there are 12 homicides a day. Currently El Salvador has a murder rate of approximately 54 per every 100,000 people, while the United States murder rate is approximately 6 per every 100,000.

Don't ever let Carol fly- she starts talking and always misses final approach.
With El Salvador’s high murder rate brings the speculation that most of their murders currently go unsolved and with little investigation. Coupled with the idea of death squads killing gang members would leave the assumption that El Salvadorian law enforcement officers would focus their resources towards the most serious of crimes—the killing of innocent persons, rather than the murders of gang members. With this in mind, it would be common knowledge that individuals or groups could murder gang members or criminals with little chance of being identified by law enforcement. The gang is growing every day and all over the world. We sat in on a briefing and the most prevalent thing repeated though out is There is no safe place in San Salvador (El Salvador capitol)

In the cockpit with the gals

Me doing my best impression of my dads angry Mustache

Private eyes.. Clap* their watching you.. They see your every move.

In El Salvador with the water there you never want to see this sign.
We got a tour of a P-3 air craft Originally designed as a land-based, long-range, anti-submarine warfare patrol aircraft and its mission has evolved in the late 1990s (started building them in the 60's) as a surveillance at sea or over land.
The P-3 has advanced submarine detection. that helped us during the cold war with the ruskies!

 We got a tour of the base as well. The guys where so much fun when we got to the hotel we checked in and hung out with Sean and Chris. We had a couple drinks and ate dinner while they set the outside up for us.
Feliz Navidad Merry Christmas Noel and Bah Humbug!

I am the Grinch!

No Place is safe in San Salvador
I love hanging with the Navy guys. I heard this a few times, Navy guys love tattoos and drinking, I am to hairy for tattoos but love drinking. I had a feeling the show that night was going to be great and it was.

These tours are very special to me and every one of them I meet guys I know I will stay in touch with and make lifelong friends. This trip is no exception. during the show a bat swooped in and I said it was a gang spying on our comedy show.

Navy loves Tattoos and Drinking

Its Showtime, Poolside in December

The Drunk Table!
Our greenroom poolside.

Next morning we head home, Shawn drives us to the airport.

This is not how you want to leave Central America powder on mustache and shirt
On the to Central America and back home every single security guard who checked my passport noticed it is MARK ANTHONY Riccadonna and all wanted to know if I know who he is, if I'm related or like his music just because we have the same first and middle name. Now I know how Kevin Downey Jr feels.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Honduras Camp Soto aka SCAB

Welcome to Honduras in Beautiful Central America

The driving there was lawless people drove wherever they wanted with no regard even when an ambulance tried to pass.

The country side is amazingly beautiful in Honduras
The night before I left, Dj came over and stayed with Angie and I. I was so excited I didn't sleep a wink. Angie on one shoulder Gizmo on the other. I laid there staring at the ceiling until 5:20.. alarm went of at 5:30, time to go to the airport. We flew out of LaGuardia so it was a quick drive.

Little shanty homes cover the mountain side.
The flights where Brutal, I could not sleep and i was exhausted. In Miami there was a baby who went running with no supervision and a flight attendant chased him down by the tar mac walked with him in his arm like a suitcase and he actually had to yell out, "who's baby is this?" and a heavy set Latino women came over and grabbed the baby. The rest of the flight, Miami to Honduras the baby screamed and the lady didn't even try to hush him so no sleep for me that flight. I was kind of confused where I was going this trip but its Central America, bordering the Caribbean Sea, between Guatemala and Nicaragua and bordering the Gulf of Fonseca (North Pacific Ocean), between El Salvador and Nicaragua, a perfect place for a wonderful 3 and 1/3 country ( a little better than a third world country). Its about the size of Tennessee.    

Long curvy streets. People pass on a hill during a turn with balled tires.

Once part of Spain's vast empire in the New World, Honduras became an independent nation in 1821. After two and a half decades of mostly military rule, a freely elected civilian government came to power in 1982 (led by Duran Duran.. lol). During the 1980s, Honduras proved a haven for anti-Sandinista contras fighting the Nicaraguan Government (and feathered mullets). The country was hit by Hurricane Mitch in 1998, which killed about 5,600 people and caused approximately $2 billion in damage. Since then, the economy has slowly rebounded.

Two hour drive and we got to the base. It was nice, ever building was a dark wood. It reminded me of summer camp for grown ups.
Before we even checked in and dropped out bags off we got to meet the Colonel. Col. Rielly, he was a very cool guy and assigned us Sargent Ant. He became our buddy over the next 2 days. Ant was just getting over what sounded like food poisoning and us being tired we all decided , eat, gym and bed. When I went to the gym it was dark and the giant mountains and the pitch black they light up and cover he mountain side. You can hear Canaries singing at all hours lightly in the back ground, it is so beautiful and peaceful. Our bunks are pitch black, I slept so great I woke up around 5 AM completely rested and ready to go, I hit the gym and waited to watch everyone come out and head to there posts. It was awesome to watch this military ant hill wake up.

Everywhere you look the background looks fake


Fire men put on an awesome demonstration
We went toward the airport after breakfast and our gang is in great spirits, everyone is rested and Ant is feeling better, he actually could hold breakfast down! We were there for a great fire dept tradition where the Airforce Fire department is training the Honduran fire men.
The PR director on base is from Newton Falls Ohio, right by where I grew up so we started talking and know quite a few of the same people. We were chatting it up and everything got delayed for the demonstration because they had a real call for a fire. We decided to go over to see the Air-force guys.
Chinook in action.

Flight line 612th and the 228th. Badasses

C-17 is about to give birth to BlackHawk

There is a law if an air-force transporter is flying to a country we support and take care of the extra space has to be filled with supplies for the natives.

Whale Tail

Its Crowning!!
These guys are here basically for humanitarian reasons, disaster relief and if the DEA needs them with help against cartels.

A C-17 showed up to deliver a Black Hawk, it was awesome to see. The black hawk with blades back looked like a women with her hair pulled back.

Its a boy!! pass the Cigars!

Chinook time named after "Canadian North wind"

In case of emergency fly out on broom

Cockpit of chinook- I cant believe they let Carol and I fly

We went back to the The fire dept. they were having a big meal with a celebration and award ceremony. We were getting a bit tired and ready for lunch. We ate Mexican  and ate like kings I felt energized and ready to go. to see the Military dog demonstration.

CPO Beeman brought us two dogs and their trainors. These dogs maybe the smartest animals i ever saw. Minx and UU.

They were so specific with commands and when its game time and play time. It made me think-"Gizmo, you don't do anything"

Minx in his DOGGLES
CPO Beeman mentioned what happens when the dogs "retire" and They are amazing dogs.

The Military Working Dog Foundation was established to provide a resource of information to law enforcement agencies who have a requirement to obtain working dogs, as well as for the public who wish to adopt dogs that become available from the military and need a home.The soldier that handle the dog almost ALWAYS adopts the dog
Military Working Dog Foundation photos
The most loyal dogs on the planet


Periodically, these military working dogs become available for distribution to law enforcement agencies and local police departments. Some working dogs are made available for adoption to the public because they are no longer capable of performing their military duties.

Bomb sniffing badass

ohh, right in the bean bag

Time for a little PR and AFN radio. I love doing radio, Carol and I always have fun making fun of each other. Sgt. Guthrie was fun, we did about 20 to 30 min and went to the sound check that turned into Drinking until show time. We hung out after the show until the bar was shut down. What a great night. We leave for El Salvador.
at The Oasis

Goodnight from the hooch