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We've Got A White Christmas...

...for as long as the smoke/dust holds off, anyway. Traipsing thro' the wire and o'er hill and down dale in order to make a snowman -- *not* recommended.

However, we *do* have some seasonal decorations set up in a more "Force Protective" environment.

Disregard the loose 220/240 'lectrical conductors dangling from the ceiling -- that's why we have fire bottles.

Just in case the decos spontaneously combust, of course.

All those envelopes and cartons addressed "To Any Serviceman" actually *do* get to someone, yanno -- and all the ornamentation and cards and colored notes came from folks who remembered -- and who cared -- that their countrymen go walking (or driving, or flying) in harm's way so that Christmas and Hannukah and the Solstice and Bajram and whatever else you celebrate at this time of the year continues to be a cause for *your* celebration...

And here's a small present for you. It's not much to look at, on one level, but think about it for a bit.

A pair of Il-76TD-90s, an improved version of the (former) Sov "Candide" -- both brand new, and both *genuine* civil aircraft. Volga-Dniepr (Russian) has been flying for 29 years and Silk Way (Azerbaijani) for 10.

And they're both parked on the ramp at Kabul.

Now tread the path below the first level, then the one below that one...

Enough philosophy -- Merry Christmas, kids!


Same thoughts from a different time:!!

The young faces change somewhat. So do the names....somewhat.
We kept things sorta traditional back in th' day...


Jingle bells, mortar shells,
VC in the grass,
Take your Merry Christmas
And stick it up your -- chimney...
Merry Christmas, Bill, and everyone!
Wait...Bill...are you at North KAIA?  Those mountains look familiar...

If you are, tell LTG Scap to have a Merry Airborne Christmas (not that he'd remember me at all)
Wooops -- vids won't always embed properly in the comments, SKK. I'll poke around and see if the gnomes will let me fix it.

HL -- yup, KAIA North, right across the street from the Army and Marine NSEs. Where's LTC S. hang his hat (if he's still here)?
Nutz. Orcs have infiltrated the server gnomes -- but the vid SKK mentioned is viewable here or (with additional text and commentary) here.
Heh. HL, about fifteen minutes ago, guess who was making the rounds in the DFAC? Took me about two seconds to realize I'd read the "G" as a "C" in your comment, and wished him a Merry Airborne Christmas for ya -- he laughed, asked if the two of us were in contact, then told me to tell you the same.
 Merry Christmas, Bill. May your enemies be cross-eyed, and their mortar shells be duds!
Mortars, I can handle. But *somebody* left entirely too many rockets lying about.

Feel free to pass the message to the Veep that the Taliban disagree with his opinion of their nonbelligerent status...
What Bill said.

Should have known that the little crapweasels wouldn't let Christmas go by without shooting at us....

I bet he gets to dig a brand new pit.  With a spoon.

I hope all the denizens have a Merry Christmas and a safe and prosperous New Year wherever they happen to be.

May God bless each and every one, especially those who are away from family and friends. Thank you for your service.
 The internet hates me.  This is the first time I've managed to bully the satellite into actually letting me connect.  Feh.

Videos will not embed viewably in comments.  You can only link them.  Just like you can't post pictures in comments, only link them.

Merry Christmas, and you deployed types maintain your SA!
Death to Crapweasels everywhere ... to everyone else ... Merry Christmas!
We used to have similar amusements every training cycle. Somebody would either fumble-finger one into the pit, or -- after an appropriate wind-up -- plant one on top of the parapet. My favorite Stupid Trainee Trick was when one would leave the safeing clip halfway on, then pull the pin and toss Mr. Grenade into a hole full of water.

Then *I* got to go downrange and, after determining (by some *very gentle* feeling around) why Mr. Grenade failed to go boom, blow the sucker with a block of C-4...
 My fave was the trainee who probably only made the minimum height requirement by having her recruiter stretch her on the rack before showing up at MEPS, who cocked back her arm, threw that grenade as hard as she could, just missed clearing the wall, so the bleeping thing bounced back under the tower the senior drill and I were standing in.

Noisy.  Thankfully an offensive grenade, so it was all little tiny frags, none with enough inertia to go through the wood floor...  but the Drill and I crossed our legs, anyway.
Merry Christmas, and God Bless you and yours (4 legged, 2 legged, and winged included) :)
Never Forget, Always Faithful
As Jerry said, and while it's still The Day: Me, too.
The housemate did not do well in the grenade training (though he did manage to get it out there somewhat). He, like me, is not a very athletic person by nature and thinks he could have benefited from some more individualized intensive training.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but grenades don't seem to be used very much in the open, and grenade training seems intended to get people used to wielding dangerous kaboomish things, more than teaching effective use of the things. I always thought a grenade was something you dropped over the wall into that bunch of guys trying to erect the scaling ladders, or tossed into a room just before you busted in.
Grenades have numerous applications -- the worst ones are when *you* are on the receiving end.
Hey, Bill, at least the modern pre-fragmented grenades, with all of the fragments the same size, tend to leave a not-bad-looking corpse. 

Sigh! Engineers! Always rationalizing everything, even weapons, with their lethal radii and all!

IMHO, warfare ain't all that rational, in spite of the efforts of some of the sojers to make it so.
P.s.  I do believe that making war is more romantic than it is rational. I am partial toward people of the romantic temperament, like Our Bill . God help me.
Don't conflate "rational" with "rationale," Jtg. War is even more like chess than most people realize, because sometimes an intuitive move based on the knowledge of your opponent is more successful than a logical move based on the position of the pieces. Of course, if you go with the chess analogy, warfare is like playing chess when neither side can see his opponent's home row.

Now throw in the fact that both sides will sometimes make irrational moves.

Such as the Army's decision to fly helicopters over Iraq at 200 feet and below. The "Threat Managers" based that decision on the most-lethal (but least-likely) threat of being shot at by a MANPAD, rather than on the not-quite-as-lethal (but most-likely) threat of being engaged by small arms or DShKs mounted on technicals. Then, they set that rule in stone for a while, rather than giving the pilot the most current intel and letting him call the option -- the result was that we lost helicopters and crews needlessly.
Is that what they call Castling? 
No, they're just holding their ears...
Merry Day After Christmas, everyone!  I hope it was wonderufl.
I dunno Bill, I'd be leery of using Other People's Grenades, found lying around after they retreated. Some of them might be of the "April Fool!" variety, with the zero-length fuze.
I had a neighbor find a grenade in his closet, abandoned by a previous tenant. He prudently called the Bomb Squad.  It would be nice in some circumstances to have such a thing in reserve, but not if one didn't know where it came from.  Coincidentally, my paternal grandmother's job in WWII was assembling grenades. The part that annoyed her the most was having to wear pants, she being an old-fashioned 19th-Century gal.
Some of them might be of the "April Fool!" variety, with the zero-length fuze.

Which is probably why his two buddies are holding their ears.

Just. In. Case.

Merry Christmas to all at the Castle and all you hold dear, near and far. Bill, {{{Hugs}}} Stay safe  and have a Merry Christmas and no rockets, please....

Keep up the good work, Bill, and stay safe!

Merry Christmas and Best Wishes for the New Year to you, John, Dusty, and all the other Castle Denizens.

Hiya, FbL and OH -- and merriosity to you, too!
JTG, I'm pretty sure he wasn't serious about throwing those things, since they take two hands; one to hold the grenade, the other to pull the porcelain-ball-on-a-string fuze ignitor...
Oh, yeah, the little thingy at the end of the handle, under the weather cover. Over-analysing tends to ruin the fun, though, don't you think?  (Jtg prolly should keep his mouth shut on this subject.)