How Duck Poop Changed the History of Modern Aviation Warfare

How Duck Poop Changed the History of Modern Aviation Warfare

I am not a military tech enthusiast, per se, nor am I much of an aviation fan beyond the occasional air show and a tendency to go, “Ohhh, that’s F-ing cool,” when I see a fighter or a stealth bomber flying by. However, I have to say that I have discovered a secret regarding the development of modern air combat techniques that I thought I would share with my regular readers, given my love of knowledge and how it makes me feel to share the wealth of my understanding about the world. So, that said, on to the tale.

So there I am, driving off to the very existence Emerson tried to warn me about, my sleepy eyes still sleepy and the morning sun just low enough to make my truck’s sun visor ineffective still, and the morning deejays spewing stupidity on the radio.

See what I mean?  This is pretty much what the first fifteen minutes of my drive looks like.
See what I mean? This is pretty much what the first fifteen minutes of my drive looks like.

I live in the country, so my drive takes me between yellowing fields, pasture land mainly, with lots of cattle, a few sheep, and more than the occasional vernal pool in which wade terns, great white egrets, and even a mallard duck or two, assuming the newly begun summer hasn’t shallowed the waters to the point their webbed feed drag the bottom when they swim.

Well, apparently that seems to have been the case for the ducks in question today, for, as I drove by one particular pool, I suddenly found myself face to face—face to posterior if truth be told—with a pair of mallards recently departed from an A.M. swim. So recently in fact that their takeoff had them ascending over the road and right in front of my 6,000 pound Chevy truck.

The sun was bright and low.

Ok, obviously I couldn't take THIS picture with my phone, so you are stuck with my artist's rendering of the event.
Ok, obviously I couldn't take THIS picture with my phone, so you are stuck with my artist's rendering of the event.

At first, I saw them appear out of the sun’s glare like a pair of Japanese zeros, silhouettes emerging from the light like shadows darting from blinding nothingness, but then, realizing the superiority of my modern machine, or perhaps not intending combat at all, they turned tail and attempted to escape.

Now, I am not one who finds amusement in the killing of my fellow creatures. I truly don’t. And while I used to hunt as a kid growing up on a ranch, now I no longer hunt at all. I’ve lost my taste for it completely. I haven’t lost my taste for the meat, mind you, only my taste for the killing—and this holds just as true whether I’m killing with a truck or killing with a gun. So, when said Mallards swooped into range of my windshield, I let off the gas, unwilling to lock up my brakes for safety reasons, but slowing down trying to give them space to accelerate and make good their ascent.

Unfortunately, my rate of speed was perhaps a few miles per hour faster than they expected, or maybe they were slowed by full bellies, a bit bloated from a fine breakfast of pond scum and water bugs (or whatever they eat), and so it was that, despite flapping for all they could, I was still gaining on them.

Yes, this is how it went down.
Yes, this is how it went down.

Of course all of this took place in the span of a second or two, but for me, and I’m certain for the pair of them, time seemed to slow down considerably, making all of us acutely aware of every micro-moment of this near debacle. And so it was that I watched them fly, one of them slightly behind the other in a little two-duck V, a one-legged formation I admit, flapping their little duck wings just as furiously as they could. Had I thought to, I’m sure I could have looked and seen their little duck sphincters working like fowl jet engines, puckering with fear and blowing for even a millimeter of additional altitude.

But, alas, air was the last thing they were blowing, and it was from the rear of those retreating ducks that I discovered the source of a mainstay in modern aerial combat techniques.

Countermeasures

Countermeasures are very cool when used by jets and helicopters.
Countermeasures are very cool when used by jets and helicopters.

Who is not familiar with the concept of “countermeasures” in aerial combat between modern jets or helicopters? I doubt there is anyone that has not heard of them. The release of flairs or other heat mechanisms meant to draw off enemy fire, to pull away a missile that is literally hot on the pilot’s tail, is common knowledge. But who amongst you knew from whence that tactic came? The origin of the idea?

Well, there was I in my arguably tidy truck, hot on these ducks’ tails, and so it was they released their counter measures on me, intent, I’m certain, on throwing me off the chase

Not as cool used by ducks.
Not as cool used by ducks.
(sigh)
(sigh)

No respect for the fact I was slowing down was shown, no gratitude for the fact I had let go the accelerator out of genuine concern for their continued health and welfare. No, none of that at all. Just a great spray of goopy white countermeasures all over my windshield and hood. A smattering of gooey poop as if a paint can had sneezed all over my poor truck. My wipers only smeared the windshield worse, and, driving nearly directly into the sun, I was briefly and completely blind.

“Jesus!” I cried as the ducks began to pull away. They flew off, up into the light and disappeared even before my washer spray finished a shoddy job. Perhaps they were laughing together about the mess as they rose into the sky. Or perhaps laughing in that nervous way one gets when venting the energy of a near miss or a narrow get away. But they were safe. And alive.

Leaving me with the remnant disaster of all this duck shit on my hood—not to mention the little seed-like deposits on the windshield that the wipers and washer fluid just couldn’t rinse away. What the hell is that anyway? Do I even want to know? So here I did those ducks a favor by slowing down, spared their lives and afforded them a chance for another pond scum and water bug meal. And for my efforts? A chore when I get home.

But at least now I know where the Air Force got that countermeasures idea.

And so do you.

I suppose it needed to be washed anyway.
I suppose it needed to be washed anyway.

More by this Author


Comments 45 comments

Rochelle Frank profile image

Rochelle Frank 6 years ago from California Gold Country

Very interesting and well-illustrated adventure. The tactic is obviously effective. I guess a heat seeking missle wouldn't have helped. One thing wrong, though.(You knew I'd find something, right?) While several species of ducks do eat minnows, froglets and etc. Mallards are vegetarians.


Shadesbreath profile image

Shadesbreath 6 years ago from California Author

You'll have to prove that vegetarian thing in a court of law. Until then, I stand by my hard empirical evidence!!!


Rochelle Frank profile image

Rochelle Frank 6 years ago from California Gold Country

They could have been Shovelers or Merganzers, which also have green heads, and are sometimes mistaken for Mallards. Both of those others do eat minnows.

Hope you got the stuff off your truck.


Shadesbreath profile image

Shadesbreath 6 years ago from California Author

Well, they might have been Shovelers or Merganzers, but for the sake of my flagrant disregard for historical, biological, martial or ornithological accuracy, I will continue to stand by my statement and just assume that the Mallards in question were practicing aberrant Mallard behaviors which included gluttonous minnow eating and unmitigated bug consumption.

I did get the stuff off my truck. In fact, I made my teenagers do it as payment for their total lack of productive usefulness during the summer months. It was actually quite fun to sit out there and drink a beer while they washed it off on the very same day I published this hub. :)


lorlie6 profile image

lorlie6 6 years ago from Bishop, Ca

Did you tell those teens of yours that they'll thank you when they're older? They LOVE that line. Anyway, Rochelle's right, you know, and you do seem a might defensive, dear.

PS: Not to give away your secret locale or anything, Shades, but do you live East of Sacramento? I dunno, that Emersonian photo just didn't give me a whole lot of clues...Ah, WAIT...maybe your words do. Sleepy eyes plus visors plus morning equals driving West. Ah, so you drove West on that morning. What a spell of inductive brilliance.

(Excuse Laurel, please, she hasn't had her coffee yet.)


Shadesbreath profile image

Shadesbreath 6 years ago from California Author

I tell my teens that pretty much all the time, Lorlie. lol. And I'm only defensive about the Mallards as a way to hide my being too lazy to change it. I guess I could change it. I might.

And you are quite right about the locality, fine work there, Watson.

[edit] I just looked up their diet and they do sometimes eat bugs. So I think I'll just dump the minnows so the accuracy of this piece will be 100% :D


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS

Shades - this is too funny! I was breaking up over it - in fact I began telling of one of my experiences here in the comments, but decided to save it for a hub, maybe - it was one of several episodes of my learning to drive @ the tender age of 40! ;->

You do paint vivid word pictures and the illustrations are, as always, fantastic -- you and your talented daughter are quite a team!! I just loved readiing this!


Christoph Reilly profile image

Christoph Reilly 6 years ago from St. Louis

Shades: Fascinating as usual. I love a connection between nature and the progress of man; especially how nature inspires us to create and invent things that make us more effective.


FCEtier profile image

FCEtier 6 years ago from Cold Mountain

Very interesting! Fits my def of "offbeat" to a T!


De Greek profile image

De Greek 6 years ago from UK

.

Since you have told us the road you take and ensured recognition by publishing photos of the route, would you now do the decent thing and tell us the specific times during which you pollute that particular public road, so that women and children may be protected by being kept home during those times?

With your peculiar penchant for looking at their “little duck sphincters” in combination with the sun glare and cannibalistic Mallards, life and limb do not appear to be safe within a radius to 50 miles from any moving vehicle unfortunate enough to be driven by you :-)))))

.

.

.

(…… mumble……. Mr. Bragg, indeed!.... insolent sot …… I wonder if there any Hamas sportsmen in that area ….. )

………. :-))))))))))))))))

.

.


Shadesbreath profile image

Shadesbreath 6 years ago from California Author

Hi Nellianna! I do that often too, get an idea from a comment I start. Sometimes people give me teh best ideas and I don't even realize it until I start a comment, then I'm like, "Oh, wait, I'm not giving this away!" Then I write it down in a notes folder and never get to it. LOL. Looking forward to your driving hub. (Oh, and these drawings are mine. I tried to hit her up but she had a party to go to and some other stuff, so, I must take the credit - or the blame - for the duck butt images. I suppose that doesn't say much for my maturity levels, but, I can live with that :)

Christoph, as a man learnéd of science yourself, I knew you could appreciate the fine, disciplined work I have done here in making that connection. I am gratified to see you approve.

FCEtier, thank you for saying so, good sir. "Offbeat" is my middle name. :)

LOL @ De Greek. First off, it's COMMANDER McBragg. One does not become commander without extreme competence, and secondly, is it his fault he had all those adventures (or not?) lol. And, seriously, it's a great angle to take character-wise. I'd seriously work that for the novelized version. At least some variant of it. Also, you'll note that I did NOT actually look at their sphincters, I was only musing about the possibilities.


chasingcars 6 years ago

Funny, but perhaps you misjudged the little buggers, and you just scared the s...t out of them.


Shadesbreath profile image

Shadesbreath 6 years ago from California Author

Hah, Chasingcars, you are in fact correct. I am certain that's what happened.


mysterylady 89 profile image

mysterylady 89 6 years ago from Florida

Kato, though very disabled because notes and library are located in Florida, has decided to take you on -- before reading this hub. It would be nice on your part, if we do not rely on the Internet but do it strictly from memory. But it is your choice.

ARISTOTLE: This is a mallard. It is of the species called duck. It has a bill. It has a tail. It has feathers. It quacks.

PLATO: This is an imperfect representation, a shadow, if you will, of a perfect image of the essence of a duck that lives in the world of ideas - or IDEALS.

To whom would youyr creator of this new aircraft go -- Aristotle (who screwed up science for thousands of years) or Plato?


Shadesbreath profile image

Shadesbreath 6 years ago from California Author

Well, if he were creating an aircraft based on a Platonic duck, he would be cobbling together the instantiation of properties, which as ideals, the ideal state of "possessing wings" and "having duck-rocket launchers" and various other properties not the least essential of which is "having existence" (although I believe this form is counted as a cheat, but, you did jump out of the wardrobe with a quarterstaff, and all things are fair as I recall those films :). Therefore, given how difficult it is to assembled properties and achieve a manifested abstract, my builder would go to Aristotle who believes in the practical and the real. While he might think through a list of ideal Forms that would best suited for a duck-fighter (lol), he would have to create it in a real world wherein compromise to the ideal has to be made. :P


mysterylady 89 profile image

mysterylady 89 6 years ago from Florida

Had I read your hub first and therefore known it was about poop, I would have chosen a different time for Kato to attack. Hmm, I wonder whether poop is in Plato's World of Ideas. What is ideal poop? What is the essence of poop? Do the people who are chained watch the shadows pooping? Does God poop? Are we the result? So many questions! Maybe you should write another hub on the top ten most frequently asked questions??

A great hub and not a bad defense of Aristotle!


Shadesbreath profile image

Shadesbreath 6 years ago from California Author

LOL, I was wondering about the timing on that. It was suitably random for a Kato attack. AS for the hub, well, I suspect I've named it horribly. I think people think the title is what it's actually about, which is not doing much for traffic. I really hate to say "THIS IS A DUCK POO JOKE" in my title, but may be forced to resort to that. lol


mysterylady 89 profile image

mysterylady 89 6 years ago from Florida

I don't think you should change the title, at least not yet. While it is true that i thought your hub would be a comparison between mallards and military aircraft and thus did my Kato attack, when I actually read the hub, I was delighted by the surprise that it actually was about duck poop and a dirty truck.


Shadesbreath profile image

Shadesbreath 6 years ago from California Author

Maybe you're right. Maybe I'll lure some unsuspecting military types in with this title, and while nobody else will read it, I can reach out to a new audience and maybe find some people looking for some duck poop fun.


Zac828 profile image

Zac828 6 years ago from England

Oh yes, this is so good, and again so true. But we too have our own counter measures, especially when going to see the bank manager or attend an interview, just that it has the opposite effect.

Great hub, and thanks to you for looking at my work, good to hear from you.


Shadesbreath profile image

Shadesbreath 6 years ago from California Author

LOL yeah, the only thing those countermeasure repel is hot chicks and maybe our pants. LOL.

And it's my pleasure to read your stuff so far. I look forward to hitting some more of it. But, alas, I must get cracking on acts of responsibility now. (Sigh). I hate responsibility.


Jarrod1240 profile image

Jarrod1240 6 years ago

Shadesbreath I thoroughly enjoyed this hub! I am having a very rough day and life has been hard lately, so thank you for making me laugh, and lifting my spirits! You have an incredible talent for taking small moments of everyday life and extrapolating them into interesting hubs!


Shadesbreath profile image

Shadesbreath 6 years ago from California Author

That makes me happy too, Jarrod, so thank you. I wasn't having a bad day, but I'm having a better one now to know my run in with those ducks amused you and cheered you up a bit. That is the emotional cash that serves as a cover price for writing this sort of thing. Thank you for that comment.


mistyhorizon2003 profile image

mistyhorizon2003 6 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

Thumbs up to the "bomb squad", they sure showed you why braking is a good idea LOL. Seriously though Shades, you helped me on more than one hub tonight, and got me through a painful day emotionally. I so love your writing and always have done, I just feel thankful I looked you up tonight :)


Shadesbreath profile image

Shadesbreath 6 years ago from California Author

I'm thankful you did too. Hope things get better for you soon. And hey, just think, at least you didn't get crapped on by a pair of ducks.


iantoPF profile image

iantoPF 6 years ago from Sunny California

I enjoyed the Hub immensely. Brought back memories of my country roads. I've had fun with Ducks and been done by.....oh well.

Was a great Hub and I really like the retorts to the posters, now that is being a wordsmith. :)


Shadesbreath profile image

Shadesbreath 6 years ago from California Author

Hiya, iantoPF. I'm glad you liked this, and happy to have escorted you back to country roads gone by and ducks on the fly letting fly, etc. :D And thanks for the compliment, coming from you, that's high praise. I do love the comments people make, that's half the fun of hubbing is to interact with readers and the like.


jill of alltrades profile image

jill of alltrades 6 years ago from Philippines

I thoroughly enjoyed this. Thank you very much Shadesbreath. Now I learned something about countermeasures and other military maneuvers and through duck poop at that!


Wayne Brown profile image

Wayne Brown 6 years ago from Texas

Being an old Air Force guy I was singing "off we go into the wild blue yonder...". And don't forget their contributions to wind screen technology! Funny Hub! Thanks! WB


Shadesbreath profile image

Shadesbreath 6 years ago from California Author

Hi Jill. I am happy to have been a source of educational information for you with this duck poop hub. :)

And, Wayne, I'm glad you enjoyed this. Re-visiting this subject must have been like going back to ground school or basic back in the day, eh? A trip down memory lane. You can probably remember where you were when you first learned this in your A.F. text book, eh? :D


Eric Calderwood profile image

Eric Calderwood 6 years ago from USA

A very entertaining story! The country roads I've had encounters on had tall weeds too close to the roadway, so they usually ended in feathers flying rather than poop. It may be sad, but the feathers are easier to clean up. (They were also small birds rather than ducks.)


Shadesbreath profile image

Shadesbreath 6 years ago from California Author

Yeah, Eric, they have to give you enough room to do something for them, otherwise, well, ... Darwinian principles go to work.


DzyMsLizzy profile image

DzyMsLizzy 6 years ago from Oakley, CA

Oh, dear me! Very well-written bit of theater! Great mix of 'eeewww' and 'yikes' and 'ha ha ha!'

I'm sure you are quite correct about the origin of countermeasures, after reading this! ;-)


Shadesbreath profile image

Shadesbreath 6 years ago from California Author

Hi DzyMsLizzy. With as deep of research as I did to learn this, I'm sure it must be true about countermeasures. I just must be.


SteveoMc profile image

SteveoMc 6 years ago from Pacific NorthWest

What a fun read!

I suspect the Russians are behind the whole thing. These no doubt are both Shovelers and Merganzers who have lived their whole lives as Mallards in wait of an opportunity to gain bits of information and conduct low level experimental attacks on unsuspecting pick up trucks.

The whole country is infested with them. Then every fall they just nonchalantly fly north over the border and report their findings with no one the wiser. Then in the spring, they come back with new orders to gain bits of information and to conduct various experiments. We have learned an important lesson here: if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it is probably a Russian.


Shadesbreath profile image

Shadesbreath 6 years ago from California Author

Hey SteveoMc, I think you are on to something. I thought they might have been quacking in Russian, but I couldn't be certain. I had the windows up and radio on, so I couldn't hear them, but I was trying to read their lips (because I was NOT looking at their butts) and I'm pretty sure they were Russian. Now, after reading your comment, I know for sure it was. There is such a big different between the way "Quack" looks and "Comrade" when reading duck lips. I can't believe I doubted myself. Thanks for this, Steveo. Really. Explains a lot.


Shinkicker profile image

Shinkicker 6 years ago from Scotland

Great Hub Shadesbreath

That'll teach you not to forget your duck-seeking missile launcher the next time :-)


Shadesbreath profile image

Shadesbreath 6 years ago from California Author

I know, right? It was horrible to be caught unprepared, and I got the fate my unpreparedness deserved.


maggs224 profile image

maggs224 6 years ago from Sunny Spain

I loved this hub, you captured these events perfectly and in the process you made me smile you have a real gift and your duck illustrations really were the icing on what was already a great hub. I have rated this hub up.


Shadesbreath profile image

Shadesbreath 6 years ago from California Author

Hoorah, Maggs! Thank you so much. This poor little hub has suffered horribly because I named it so bad nobody knew it was a joke. I tried to save it with this title, but, alas, the window of opportunity was gone. Thanks for the read, comment and thumbs. :)


ltfawkes profile image

ltfawkes 6 years ago from NE Ohio

Funny hub, shadey. If the meek (in this case the meek being the ducks) can't inherit the earth, they can at least have the last laugh.

L.T.


Shadesbreath profile image

Shadesbreath 6 years ago from California Author

Well, I think technically, I got the last laugh since I made my teenagers wash my truck. But I hear you. They were laughing pretty hard flying off I think.


saddlerider1 profile image

saddlerider1 6 years ago

OMG Shades this brings back to mind an event that happened to me while I was crossing the Cdn/American border. I had no sooner moved up the interstate I29 that takes me to Fargo ND when a goose landed on the shoulder a few hundred yards in front of me. I gingerly drove out into the fast lane not to excite this goose and have him fly up in front of my grill.

Well as I passed my feathered friend I had a peek in my west coast passenger side mirror and what did I see? I sawe this goose flying up into the windshield of another semi who was barreling up close to the tail end of my 53 ft trailer and "squash" it hits his window.

I kept going as I knew there was a truck stop a mile or two up the road. I pulls in there to grab my java and a pee and as I'm walking out to my truck I see this guy who was behind me. He is cursing and cussing at this goose he has upside down dangling in his hand.

I told him I had seen this goose smash up against his windshield. I had a look at his windshield and sure enough his window had a huge crack in his drivers side, making him illegal to drive.

But the ironic thing he said since he was going to have to pay for this new window, he therefore was going to eat this goose. He throws it in his cooler and jumps back in his rig. I leave there with a big smile on my face thinking, this goose is cooked:0)) and that he was. LOL.....I love your story but damm your right those feather friends of ours sure can be might pesky on the highways especially when they decide to crap on us. LOLLL


Shadesbreath profile image

Shadesbreath 6 years ago from California Author

Damn, it broke his window? That's brutal. At least ducks crapping on my window didn't cost me anything. I don't blame that guy for eating that sucker. (Never had goose before, wonder if it's any good.) It's cool that you tried not to stir it up though. I'm the same way, don't want to hurt anything if I can help it either.


Aviation Debt Collection 5 years ago

Awesome writing! That was an entertaining read...and nice comparison to aircraft countermeasures....funny stuff.

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article
    working