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January 10, 2004

Meanwhile, up north...

Canada, apparently giving up on manning an army, is instead considering building one.


It's a little unfair to poke 'em like this, considering we're trying to develop robot ground machines, too. But what's interesting in the article is the premise from which it would appear the decision preceded from.

Hat tip to CAPT H.

January 09, 2004

Thoughts by an Army Chaplain on his service in Iraq

I'll let Chaplain Huerta speak for himself.

Commentary by Maj. Carlos C. Huerta Jewish Chaplain in Mosul, Iraq Dec 12 2003

I am about to get on what soldiers call the "freedom bird,"
the aircraft that brings us back to the world.

You would think I would be ecstatic, since I will once again see my
wife, children, mother and friends. But, strangely, I am not.
I am caught in a twilight zone of anxiety and loneliness, mixed with
some measure of happiness. I leave Iraq with tears in my eyes, joy in
my heart, happiness in my soul and deep sadness in my being. I am so
glad to be seeing my family, but so sad to leave my other family.

I have to say good-bye to men and women who are willing to put
themselves in harm's way for me, ready to run towards bullets to save
me, ready to die for me. How does one say good-bye to that kind of
relationship and not feel pain, sadness and loneliness. How can I not
feel pain in my heart knowing the ones I'm leaving behind are still
in harm's way? I worry about their safety, I worry that they may not
see the day when they ride the freedom bird back to their loved ones.

The soldier in me wants to stay until the last bullet is fired in the
last battle in the last war for freedom. However, when I take a
minute to think about it, I realize it's impossible. Our role of
defending freedom for us -- and for others -- began when we were just
a colony. There can never be a last war, a last battle, because -- in
every generation -- there are those who wish to take freedom away.

As a Jew, I know Chanukah was a war for freedom -- religious freedom.
It was more than two thousand years ago that a tyrant forbid the Jews
to practice or teach religion. He decided the way we worshipped our
Creator had to be wiped off the face of the earth. We found that
unacceptable and, under the Maccabbees, went to war. We were
defending our right to worship our God; to teach our faith to our
children and to live as free men and women. Since then, little has
changed but the location.

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

Another nice gun collection on-line!

Go vist Larry!

by John on Jan 09, 2004 | Gun Rights

Some interesting tidbits in history today...


1861 1st Shot of the Civil War: Star of the West fired on outside
Charleston when she attempted to take supplies to the garrison of Ft. Sumter.

1861 Mississippi becomes 2nd state to secede


1936 M-1 Garand semi-automatic rifle adopted by the US Army - Patton described it thusly "The M1 was the finest battle implement ever devised." That rifle made our infantry the envy of everybody else.


Hat tip to Strategy Page!

Here's an interesting little tidbit.

From an email I got today. Can't verify it yet. I don't have anything useful to add, really. I also don't know if this is from a published source. If you've seen it elsewhere, let me know so I can handle it appropriately regarding copyright.

The Defense Department floated an interesting idea Jan. 6. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld said that the Pentagon was considering putting a four-star general in charge of Iraq to facilitate the transition to Iraqi rule and to remain in command of U.S. forces in Iraq after the transition.
Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

SSG Alford Update.

Jen Martinez has an update on SSG Alford. While you can't say he's doing well - he is doing what he did well before his illness: fight!

Some thoughts regarding US troops abusing Iraqis (and getting away with it)

CPT Patti's husband (recent retiree whose wife is a company commander in Iraq has this to say in a recent email:

I want to congratulate you guys on being very, very diplomatic. I don't have to be. This is bullshit.

We've just nearly courtmartialed a fast rising Battalion Commander (LTC West) for merely discharging his weapon in the vicinity of an EPW. Instead we throttled his career, charged him a months pay and made him retire.

We've courtmartialed and stripped of their rank soldiers - including a couple of WOMEN - for mistreating Iraqi EPWs.

We might be courtmartialling two Florida Guardsmen for taking a moment out from patrols to get married for crying out loud.

And now these folks want us to believe a story involving deliberate, premeditated murder on the part of our soldiers...

Sorry - I did 21 years in uniform...and haven't been out 3. My wife is commanding a company in Baghdad right now...she was home for one week over Christmas. I consider myself in touch.

It doesn't add up. We refused to engage the mortarmen who wounded 34 at Log Base Seitz because the shelling came from a built-up, populated area. We respect their bleedin' Mosques more than they do for crying out loud.

What such allegations do are two fold: First, they appeal to the seemingly endless capacity of the Arab mind to deceive itself when it is convenient. Secondly, it puts the US Army in the impossible position of disproving a negative (that is, proving it "didn't" happen.)

While that might not be sufficient to mollify Zeyad, or whatever his name is, the fact is he has certain responsibilities as well...among them is the responsibility to be able to exercise a modicum of judgment.

We've all grown up being advised that if it "sounds to good to be true" it probably is. Well, that advice works the same when trying to pin attrocities on your enemies.

I'll likely rant on this...sure.

But wanted you guys to know I, for one, don't suffer the lame accusations of fools likely. I won't say it absolutely couldn't happen...but I've lived long enough to know that the highly unlikely rarely is.

Tim (aka CPT Patti's Husband)

All I can add is - I agree. All my sources in the sandbox are just as annoyed as Tim.

What is he referring to? This. Read the comment streams as well - perhaps as importantly.

Greyhawk of Mudville Gazetter weighs in here.

Matt at Blackfive has his own opinion. While you are there, get a little lesson in leadership.

UPDATE: SGT Hook weighs in.

by John on Jan 09, 2004 | Global War on Terror (GWOT)
» Sgt Hook links with: What I DO Know
» Mudville Gazette links with: Season of Lies III
» Mudville Gazette links with: MilBlogs

January 08, 2004

Since we've been peering into the heads of senior US leaders...

Let us now take a look at what the Russians think of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

They aren't happy with what they see. On several levels. Political, military, ideological.

Remember - this is written from a military perspective. Military people analyze from a threat capability perspective, not a threat intent perspective.

Their view is valid from a military planning standpoint.

UPDATE: What is really interesting is how they overlay their value system and politico-social expectations from within their own society on their analysis. Exactly the same problem discussed by our senior military leaders below in that we have insufficient Foreign Area Officers who truly understand the areas we are dealing with from a deep cultural perspective - that whole HUMINT thing. Of course, being the guy whose 'gone native' makes your analysis easy to ignore by the bigwigs, as has happened time and again - because it doesn't fit their pre-conceived notions or short-term perceived needs.

You'll need Adobe Reader, sorry!

by John on Jan 08, 2004 | Global War on Terror (GWOT)
» The Unrepentant Curmudgeon links with: Required reading

Ever get grumpy about the fact that aviators get flight pay?

Y'know, guys like SGT Hook?

This is why. Sometimes the airplane breaks. And unlike a car, you can't just pull it over to the shoulder. You have that pesky gravity thing working against you.

And things like this happen.

This is where the crew normally ride, actually, it's the engine and rotor head - there is nothing else..

Everybody walked away unhurt. If you use these guys (yeah, I know, this is a Longbow, work with me people) as a taxi service, you *want* them to be able to do this.

From the email that came with the pics:

I just got these pictures of my son-in-law's helicopter a few days ago. Apparently he was escorting a convoy in northern Iraq on 10 Dec when his bird caught fire in-flight. He performed an emergency landing (note plowed field where he landed) and he and his CPG (Co CDR) walked away. He told my daughter that as he was going back to get his helmet rounds started cooking off and he changed his mind. A short while later, the fuel blew. Soldiers from the convoy formed a perimeter immediately after the landing and a Blackhawk crew extracted them to base. Obviously, we're extremely thankful for his and his CPG's safety.

Hat tip to Mike L.

Why do they hate us?

Because we live like this. And have the society that encourages that kind of spirit and forward looking.

They'd rather we lived like this.

Hat tip to Ghost of a Flea for this... and perhaps as importantly, for pointing out this potential addition to the Arsenal of the Blogosphere's VRWC, and this to Castle Argghhh! during it's on-going remodel.

Here is a peek inside the skulls of some more of the big guys.

This is the summary from a conference conducted last month. It's usefulness here is to give wider dissemination to what the big guys are looking at for the future of the armed forces.

Meeting: 34th Annual IFPA / Fletcher School Conference: Security Planning & Military Transformation After Iraqi Freedom, 2-3 DEC 03 at US Chamber of Commerce Building, Washington, DC

Objective: To discuss challenges and opportunities facing the United States and Coalition Partners as they develop and implement politico-military strategies for the 21st century

Co-Sponsors: Defense Threat Reduction Agency and Chief of Naval Operations

Attendees: CJCS, CNO, CMC, CSA, VC USCG, USAF & USN Ops Deps, COM SOUTHCOM, COM STRATCOM, DCOM NORTHCOM, DASD Strategy, Rep Curt Weldon (R-PA), Director OSD Force Transformation, USS Arms Control & International Security, DCOM JFCOM, various senior military, gov’t and academic SMEs, assorted Allied and Coalition Flag & General Officers.

For those of you reading this who aren’t acronym-savvy (don’t feel bad, I have trouble keeping up) CJCS – Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, CNO- Chief of Naval Operations, CMC – Commandant of the Marine Corps, CSA, - Chief of Staff, Army, VC USCG – Vice-Chief, US Coast Guard. Ops Deps (Operations Deputy), Commanders of Southern Command, Strategic Command. (SOUTHCOM, STRACOM), Deputy Commander Northern Command (NORTHCOM), DASD (Deputy Secretary of Defense), OSD – Office of the Secretary of Defense), JFCOM- Joint Forces Command, SME – Subject Matter Expert. In other words, at least 6 four-star generals, 4 of the five who make up the Joint Chiefs, and two of the combatant commanders, lots of three and two stars, and civilian luminaries. Large brain trust and concentration of experience and talent.

Executive Summary: This conference did not waste much time defining or debating the merits of Military Transformation. It focused instead on defining the various paths ahead for implementing US Military Transformation in light of Lessons Learned from Operations Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan), Iraqi Freedom (Iraq) and the Global War on Terrorism.

This is good – rather than blindly stumble forward under inertia – stop and assess for a minute. War has a way of focusing people.

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

January 07, 2004

Thoughts from the new Chief of Staff, Army...

From a friend. Note even the Chief of Staff has his pay dicked up by those twits at DFAS who can't get the pay of Guardsmen and Reservists called to active duty straight.

Sad the CSA can't get paid. Sadder that it may take that in order to get the command emphasis to get the problem fixed. Mebbe it's time to privatize...

Other good nuggets in here. I'll let you warriors, soon-to-be-warriors, and used-ta-be warriors make your own judgements.

Hey SGT Hook - wanna get stabilized in Hawaii?

Have just finished with about 5 hours with the CSA in this "strategic thinking" course I'm in and wanted to pass on some of his thoughts. Although this course is designed to train senior leaders to think strategically, his comments transition through a number of areas and levels of command. Would be willing to dialogue further in any of these areas, but my purpose in sharing is to provide some insights from our Chief's perspectives. Believe you'll find them insightful.

- One way you know if your organization is ready for war is how much ammunition you shoot and training with body armor. CSA specifically mentioned 3ID's [3rd Infantry Division] efforts to increase STRAC allocations. [ed. note - STRAC = Standards in Training Committee. In this case it refers to number of rounds allocated per year for training]

- America underfunds its military. Strategically, our country's industry base is not geared to support Army's requirements (only one 5.56 manufacturer and surging means to add another shift; we also can only produce 80 up-armor HMMWV's per month). Active engagement with Congress to resource - Congress is open and willing.

- PERSCOM. "May have to take it completely down in order to build it
back up". [ed. note: This is Personnel Command, the Army's HR people]

- DFAS. CSA has had a pay problem himself every months since his return to active duty. In addition, yesterday DFAS [Defense Finance and Accounting System - the paymasters] sent a letter to his wife that he had died. These bureaucracies need to get fixed.

- Global War on Terrorism. "Isn't just about a battle, it's about war. Strategically, military component is only one element of power. Must get all elements of power involved in the war".

- 150 Members of Congress already signed up for an increase in end strength. However cost to Army is $1.2B/yr for every 10K people. [Perspective - sounds like a huge number, but it's only 120K per body. That covers salary and taxes, clothing and equipment, weapons, training, housing, transporting, etc. It's not an outrageous number]

- We already have a 20K increase through stop loss/move. [Yes, and that's starting to cause some retention problems elsewhere, boss.]

- Will relook stabilization. Army has 56K [troops] in a PCS transition at any one time. Will reassess the TTHS [ed. note -Trainees, Transients, Holdees, and Students ]account. Does not make sense to him to move a Master Gunner to FT Bragg and teach him a whole new skill set, while he can be stabilized at great benefit to him, his family, the installation, and the Army.

- His biggest strategic issue: What kind of volunteer Army do we need to recruit for the future. He is concerned that we have 15% of the active force non-deployable at any one time.

- Has noted that since 9-11, the quality of the Army is better.
Currently up to 97% HS grads, CAT IV is .2% [CAT IV is the lowest acceptable level of mental capacity, as measured by the intake exams upon enlistment]

- Headgear. Beret will stay. But commanders should determine
appropriate headgear based on METT-T [Army shorthand for take circumstances into acount - term is miltary jargon for Mission, Enemy, Terrain, Troops & Time Available] i.e. soft caps for motor pools, etc.

- Is relooking purpose and value of Class A [Business casual Army? This is the 'coat and tie' uniform]. Will direct all BDU [Battle Dress Uniform - green camouflage] and DCU [Desert camouflage uniform] wear American flag on right shoulder to emphasize Expeditionary mindset.

- Must train and equip leaders, not only for the Army, but for America

- Asymmetrical warfare: Terrorists operate at strategic level and military tactical operations at tactical level. Needs to be fixed.

- Build trust and confidence in subordinates through...Allowing them to do their job, understand what your boss is doing and take something off his plate. The more in-box/email you do, the more you get back. Keep your priorities in order, and allow time to think and conceptualize.

- Strategic leaders visualize, and then communicate complexity in a concise, simple manner. "If you want to get into the weeds, you'll see more shit go by quickly"

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

Today in history...

1709 Russians in Veprik defeat Swedes by pouring boiling porridge on

Embarrassing way to get yer butt kicked, even if it didn't help in the end, and the town was forced to surrender. Here's a little blurb on the battle from a history of the Great Northern War. What I find interesting is the casualties among the senior leadership of the Swedes. Battle command was a different ball game back then.

Siege of Veprik

Charles at the beginning of January decided to drive the Russian army from the Vorskla and Psel Rivers in order to secure the future attack route in the direction of Akhtirka, Belgorod, and Moscow. The first step of this plan was the siege of Veprik, located on the left bank of the Psel. The garrison consisted of 1,500 Russian soldiers and some sotnitsa of cossacks. They had three cannon.

Gyllenkropk in his account wrote, "The cossack town, Veprik, was made in the form of a redoubt with four sides, We had trouble surrounding it. The wall had no bastions and did not have hard defenses. The moat was small.

The Swedes surrounded the town and then threw two infantry and three cavalry regiments with artillery against Veprik. The king tried to persuade the town commandant, Colonel Urlov, into capitulation, if he did not the king threatened to hand him on the gate. The brave commandant sent the following answer to the king: "By the command of my lord I must defend to the last possibility and , knowing that the king values bravery, I don't believe that his highness would take, in the event of victory, such cruelty." Irritated by such an answer, on 5 January the king himself, taking with him an incomplete artillery and dragoon regiment, went to Veprik to aid in the Swedish storm. Arriving there he again sent the offer to the defenders, but they answered this demand of the king with cannon fire. Then the Swedes opened fire on the town from four batteries. The brave defenders of Veprik stoically held fast. On the morning of 6 January the Swedes again opened artillery fire. Under cover of heavy fire three columns from different sides were thrown into the storm of the fortress. But one column moved late and a simultaneous storm was not achieved. Instead of one general attack there were two at separate times. Both attacks were thrown back by the garrison.

This unsuccessful storm of Veprik cost the Swedes over 1,200 men killed and wounded. The wounded included Prince Wirtenburg, General Shatakelberg, and Field Marshal Rensheld, who received a concussion. The Swedish historian Steel wrote: "Losses during the storm of Veprik can be compared to the losses of a large battle. Especially grievous for the Swedes was the fact that they lost in it the pick of their officers. Meanwhile after the devastation wrought on the army by the front, now still smaller than previously was it possible to lose people for nothing."

On 6 and 7 January the Swedes prepared to renew the attack, but before that the king again sent the commandant an offer to surrender. The besieged garrison already was in no condition to continue battle with the Swedes. All military supplies were expended. The commandant, after repelling three cruel storms, was required to agree to surrender. Having taken the town, the Swedes burned it and ruined the population. In connection with the Swedish efforts to widen their area of winter quarters over the Vorskla River the Russians brought their main strength from Sum in Akhtirka in order to block the path of the Swedes to Belgorod or Kharkov. Colonel Kellin was sent to strengthen the defense of Poltava. A special detachment under command of Sheremetev was sent to the west to cut the Swedish communications lines to Poland.

The Swedes were not able until the beginning of spring to move their army into the region between the Psel and Vorskla Rivers. All their efforts to advance in the direction of Belgorod ended in failure. The Russian army by the beginning of spring was divided in two parts; one part was located on the left bank of the Vorskla under command of Menshikov, and the second part under command of Sheremetev was concentrated in fortified Mirgorod, between the Sula and Psel Rivers.

Around the lunchroll...

The effervescent Susie has some suggestions on how the Axis of Weasel might be able to reintegrate themselves into a state of grace.

Kate at Electric Venom sinks her fangs into a Judge. Well, actually, two. And the letter of the day is Sssssssssss.

Momma Montezz exposes WMD use at the Dean Campaign. For shame. (Dean, not Momma!)

Better up the watch at Hastings...

The Royal Navy is about to get smaller than the French Navy - for the first time since the 17th Century.

Look for Chirac the Nose to try to change his name to "Jacques the Conqueror" to repay those cheeky Brits for daring to invade Iraq with his blessing.

Hat tip to the Flea.

January 06, 2004

A test.

SWWBO sends us this test.

I passed. Will you?*

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

by John on Jan 06, 2004 | Gun Rights
» Electric Venom links with: The Letter Of The Day Is T

Moonbats got you down? Need a Cluebat™?

But these are the smelly, nasty, stringy haired anti-globalization kinda vandal Moonbats? Ya just don't want to get close enough to whack 'em upside da haid to give 'em a Clue™?*

C'mon down to the Imperial Armory! We have a brand new Long-Range Cluebat™!

The LRC is designed to be launched from any 1.5 inch Cluebat™ Launcher! If you don't have your own riot grenade launcher, you can use any basic bullet launching device you have, just add our cup to it, insert the baton round (less casing, please, we have them available in bulk) and away you go! (The pistol is the Amorer's Walther PPK CO2 pistol he uses in the basement range to keep his aim true.)

For those of you who have arguments with multiple Moonbats and need to spray the room with Clues™, we have this option:

So, as you can see, the Armory is now equipped to add a whole new dimension to dealing with Moonbats!

*Irony, satire, humor. Don't go bashing Moonbats on your own unless you are being physically attacked. It pisses off the Police, cuz' the government has exclusive rights to violence initiation. Think about that for a minute.

by John on Jan 06, 2004 | Ammunition

January 05, 2004

For those of you who only come here for the guns 'n stuff...

I apologize for the paucity of posting. We're remodeling, and I just spent the last five days making these arthritic hands back and neck paint. Walls are easy - but the damn hallway has 10 trimmed openings and 9 doors. That's a lot of tedious detail work, lemme tell ya!

Anyway, if I get NOTHING ELSE done today, I will at least present the Loyal Citizens of the Empire with photos of the newest Cluebat™ to enter armory stocks and that will be available for issue to LC's who wish to give moonbats a clue, but don't wish to get too close to the dirtier, smellier variety (like a lot of those anti-globalization vandals).

I know you've all wanted to see what a:


Looks like.

If ya haven't figured it out yet - it's a rubber bullet. And ya don't want to get hit by one.

January 04, 2004

Here are people blinded by their rage...

and who trivialize history in amazing ways.

I bring you's latest masterpiece - dutifully saved here in case they pull it under pressure - so that you can see just what confused, and willfully ignorant people these are!


It's a big Quicktime Movie, so be patient. If you're hitting this dial-up... well, you know what your access costs, not me!

If wanna do our bandwidth a favor, download it and watch it rather than stream it. Thanks!

You can read this hoser while you are waiting for the download. It's a written eqivalent.

UPDATE: The Simon Wiesthenthal Center is not impressed, either - and agrees with my assessment that these people trivialize history...

“Politics and preparing for a presidential election is one thing, but comparing the Bush Administration’s fight against Al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein with the policies of Adolf Hitler is shameful and beyond the pale and has no place in the legitimate discourse of American politics,” said Rabbi Marvin Hier, the Center’s dean and founder.

“This ad is not about Democrats or Republicans - it is about lies and a distortion of history,” he added.

So they say, here. (No, they don't say they agree with me directly - this is just great minds reaching the same conclusion... get a grip!)

by John on Jan 04, 2004 | Global War on Terror (GWOT)
» Blackfive - The Paratrooper of Love links with: Monday Menagerie

From the Mind of Mog...

A slightly different take on the Global War on Terror, or, more accurately according to MOG, the Proxy War by the EU upon the US.

I don't know if I connect the dots in the same way Mog does, but it's useful to step outside your paradigm now and then and see how it's holding up.

Mog's view is here.

The article which drives it is here.

This lays out a tilt to things I've not been aware of. Anybody else got news or views or visibility on this? Instapundit blogged it, but I missed it because I don't read him since he doesn't 'roll me...! 8^)

Today in history...

In a move still lamented today by the Violence Policy Center - the US government saves Samuel Colt - beginning the end of the virtual monopoly on hand-guns by rich people and the government. Lefty-Lib-GFWs have been unhappy ever since. Some of you might find something to argue about in here in this interpretation of the history of the handgun that comes from the Ordnance Branch of the US Army....

1847 - Colt sells his first revolvers to the U.S. government: Samuel Colt rescues the future of his faltering gun company by winning a contract to provide the U.S. government with 1,000 of his .44 caliber revolvers. Before Colt began mass-producing his popular revolvers in 1847, handguns had not played a significant role in the history of either the American West or the nation as a whole. Expensive and inaccurate, short-barreled handguns were impractical for the majority of Americans, though a handful of elite still insisted on using dueling pistols to solve disputes in highly formalized combat. When choosing a practical weapon for self-defense and close-quarter fighting, most Americans preferred knives, and western pioneers especially favored the deadly and versatile Bowie knife. That began to change when Samuel Colt patented his percussion-repeating revolver in 1836. The heart of Colt's invention was a mechanism that combined a single rifled barrel with a revolving chamber that held five or six shots. When the weapon was cocked for firing, the chamber revolved automatically to bring the next shot into line with the barrel. Though still far less accurate than a well-made hunting rifle, the Colt revolver could be aimed with reasonable precision at a short distance (30 to 40 yards in the hands of an expert), because the interior bore was "rifled"--cut with a series of grooves spiraling down its length. The spiral grooves caused the slug to spin rapidly as it left the barrel, giving it gyroscopic stability. The five or six-shoot capacity also made accuracy less important, since a missed shot could quickly be followed with others. Yet most cowboys, gamblers, and gunslingers could never have afforded such a revolver if not for the de facto subsidy the federal government provided to Colt by purchasing his revolvers in such great quantities. After the first batch of revolvers proved popular with soldiers, the federal government became one of Colt's biggest customers, providing him with the much-needed capital to improve his production facilities. With the help of Eli Whitney and other inventors, Colt developed a system of mass production and interchangeable parts for his pistols that greatly lowered their cost. Though never cheap, by the early 1850s, Colt revolvers were inexpensive enough to be a favorite with Americans headed westward during the California Gold Rush. Between 1850 and 1860, Colt sold 170,000 of his "pocket" revolvers and 98,000 "belt" revolvers, mostly to civilians looking for a powerful and effective means of self-defense in the Wild West.

In 1863, Lincoln gets the military back in line. Grant still became President, something he could never do in this day and age - unless, perhaps, he ran as a Democrat, for whom, apparently, all sins are to be forgiven.

1863 - Union General Henry Halleck, by direction of President Abraham Lincoln, orders General Ulysses Grant to revoke his infamous General Order No. 11 that expelled Jews from his operational area.

And, in 1942, our first Big Win on the ground in the Pacific:

1942 - Japanese forces begin the evacuation of Guadalcanal.