Memorial Day

It all started the year after I bought my house. My next door neighbor – a Vietnam-era veteran, Honor Flight Guardian, and the best neighbor ever – bought a bunch of American flags & poles, and asked if it would be OK to put them out along the sidewalk in front of our houses to observe the upcoming Independence Day holiday…he had enough to go all the way to the corner of our street. We all thought it was a fantastic idea. And it was just the start.

The following year, just before Memorial Day, as Monty raised the flags down our street, another row popped up around the corner. And, come Fourth of July, there were more. Now, every sidewalk in our neighborhood is decorated every Memorial Day and Independence Day, at 10- to 12-foot intervals (to be fair, nobody published a standard, so it is what it is) with the Stars and Stripes.

I DO love this neighborhood.
I DO love this neighborhood.

Memorial Day, is, of course, the day that we honor the sacrifice of those who gave their lives for the great country that my awesome little neighborhood is part & parcel of. And honor it we will. There will be parades with marching bands and floats. Veteran’s groups will perform ceremonies and vigils. Military aircraft will perform fly-overs at ballgames & special events. Monty will set the flags down our sidewalk. And most of us will enjoy a long weekend.

I’ve seen a lot of posts on social media, reminding us of the meaning of Memorial Day, “in case you thought it was national grill-out day, just another 3-day weekend, etc.” It’s a good reminder; that much is true. But we can honor their sacrifice in celebration too. This weekend, dear reader, I encourage you to light up the grill. Go see some fireworks. Bicycle around the neighborhood (or further) with your kids.  Go camping. Sleep in. Stay up late. Spend time with friends and family. These things are the way of life that our heroes fought and died for, right?

But in the midst of whatever you do, remember them: From the Minutemen who fell at Lexington & Concord, to those who didn’t make it home from the recent campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan.  May God bless them all, and those they left behind.

In closing, as a former submariner, I am also reminded of the ninety-nine members of the crew of USS Scorpion (SSN-589,) which was lost 47 years ago today (presumed, based on last communications.)

Sailors, rest your oars.
Sailors, rest your oars.

Please enjoy your Memorial Day weekend.  It’s been paid for dearly.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
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Memorial Day 2013 image courtesy of Tony AlterCreative Commons License

Optimizing Compressed Air with EXAIR Innovative Static Eliminators

A dear friend is turning 50 this month, and I have no intention of making a big deal of it, considering the spectacle that her husband (who is younger than both of us) is no doubt going to make of it. I was reminded of her impending birthday when I read that Alvin is also turning 50 this year.

Even at this depth, Alvin doesn't look a day over 49.
Even at this depth, Alvin doesn’t look a day over 49.

Alvin (DSV-2) is a deep-dive submersible, built in 1964. Built to dive to depths of over 8,000 feet, Alvin has had quite a storied career:

  • 1966 – Used to locate a hydrogen bomb that was lost off the coast of Spain when a US Air Force bomber “had an accident.” The bomb was retrieved a few weeks later, without incident.
  • 1967 – On dive #202, Alvin was attacked by a swordfish, at a depth of about 2,000 feet. The swordfish became entangled, forcing an emergency surface. Upon removal, the swordfish was cooked for dinner.
  • 1968 – Alvin’s tender ship accidentally dropped Alvin when some steel cables snapped, in the middle of the ocean. Three crew members onboard at the time were able to escape, but left their lunches behind. Severe weather and the development of the required technology put off Alvin’s recovery for almost a full year. A full rehab of the vessel was slated. The fruit and sandwiches left behind were found to be well preserved, and soggy but edible.
  • 1986 – Alvin was used to find the wreckage of the Titanic. While the mission was making headlines at the time, it was actually a cover story for the highly classified “real” operation: the search for USS Scorpion (SSN-589), lost under unknown circumstances in 1968. In a remarkable stroke of good fortune, both vessels were found.

That’s all neat stuff, but I’m sure there are a few spine tingling stories we’ll never hear about a deep submergence vessel, operated by the US Navy, during the height of the Cold War. Another bit of interesting trivia, though, is who built Alvin: General Mills. That’s right, the breakfast cereal folks. Turns out, they had an electromechanical division back then that pioneered advances in packaging technology, and had previously applied some of their mechanical arms to other submersibles, leading them to successfully bid the project that Alvin was born from.

This, of course, is what engineers do. EXAIR has been making Intelligent Compressed Air Products, aimed at optimizing compressed air use, increasing safety, and lowering noise levels for over 31 years now. Along the way, we’ve added products, and added TO our products to meet other frequent needs of our customers.

Consider the Air Knife: the Air Knife had been a product for years when EXAIR developed the Ionizing Bar  and added it to the Air Knife to turn it into an efficient, quiet, and safe Static Eliminator. The Air Knife then provided good information toward development of the super efficient Super Air Knife which has become the hallmark of efficiency and performance within industry.  After years of successfully solving thousands upon thousands of static dissipation applications with the Super Air Knife, we recently added one-piece designs from 60 – 108” long which used to be a two piece construction.

3to54 siak
EXAIR stock SIXTEEN different lengths, from 3″ to 108″. Custom lengths are available in as little as three days.

A quick look at our complete and comprehensive line of Static Eliminator products shows that, if you’ve got a static problem – big or small – we’ve likely got a solution for it.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
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expl1874 image courtesy of NOAA Photo Library.  Creative Commons License