|Brigadier Mark Holmes, Australian Army|
If anyone cared to ask me about my maiden research voyage on behalf the West Point Network Science Center, I think my response would primarily revolve around the words “flight” and “interview,” as that’s about all I remember from the two weeks!
Flight-wise, the numbers are astounding, even to me: I crossed 18 time zones as well as the international date line twice which equates to 23,018 miles (as the title states equals 92.4% of the Earth’s circumference). This feat (if you can call it that) required 48 hours and 45 minutes in-flight. When I passed on that information to a friend, he promptly asked, “why did you stop a little over 7% short?” and then mumbled under his breath “quitter.”
Interview-wise, we find a more positive story (for me, at least). I interviewed 27 total individuals, of which 6 were academics and 21 were general and flag officers (14 Australian, 13 New Zealander). Of the 21 senior military officers, 9 were retired, 12 were active. And, further, of those 21, 9 were Brigadier Generals, 11 were Major Generals, and one was a Lieutenant General (Note: the Australians and New Zealanders prefer to title their military officers a little differently than in this U.S. – I have listed the U.S. equivalent rank).
By now you’re certainly wondering what I was doing research on so far from the Death Star (a.k.a. Castle Greyskull, a.k.a. West Point). In order to get in to see so many senior military figures, I had to submit formal requests via the Defense Attaches in each respective U.S. Embassy. Below one can read a short selection from those documents:
Oh, and, no, I did not see any cool, exotic animals which start with the letter “K” (i.e. kangaroo or kiwi). Sorry to disappoint.
But it wasn’t all bad. See pictures below.
|Black Swans on Lake Burley Griffin (named after the American architect that designed Canberra) – in the background is the Australian National Carillon|
|Wellington International Airport: 0430 day of departure – the start of a 41 hour day – at least Gollum is behind me!|
|In New Zealand, power companies aren’t monopolies – this is a great ad for “PowerShop”|