Saturday, January 06, 2007

Personal Loser of the Week

In my teens and tweens I was a mad naval aviation nut. I had all sorts of ridiculous statistics and information memorised and I was a regular attendee down at the Freo wharf whenever a US carrier battle group came in for R&R. Unlike the crowds of hookers I was there to see the hardware and not the software (crew). As a result I had pilots and RIO's (Radar Intercept Officers) as my personal heroes. One in particular, Randy 'Duke' Cunningham stood out.

Duke was the first US naval pilot during the Vietnam war to become an ace (one of only two during the entire conflict). He is alleged to have shot down the mysterious (and perhaps mythical) Colonel Toon, a hotshot North Vietnamese pilot. He was one of the early TOPGUN grads and also served as a TOPGUN instructor. This guy was good. A distinguished military career with loads of awards to prove it.

That's where I kinda lost track of him. I grew up, got over my obsession with shiny things that kill people (well, almost) and moved on. So did Duke. He went into politics. That's where he seems to have become a loser.

Item 1: In the mid-nineties he bitched about Clinton appointing 'soft on crime' judges and about getting tough on drug dealers and peddlers of destruction upon children. Four months later his son was arrested for transporting 180kg of MJ. Of course at his son's hearing Duke begged the judge for leniency.

Item 2: In late 2005 Duke stepped down from his position in Congress after pleading guilty to tax evasion, conspiracy to commit bribery, mail fraud, and wire fraud to the tune of a couple of million.

As a result, Randall Harold "Duke" Cunningham is my personal loser of the week. Not because he's currently serving an eight year sentence but because he forgot what it means to be the best of the best.

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