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July 09, 2004

Lets look at a cartridge, in detail, eh?

Click the picture for a hi-res view.

In this case, a Canadian-produced .577 cartridge for the Snider rifle. The Snider rifle is a transition rifle, the cartridge is a transition cartridge. The Sniders were the equivalent to the US Springfield Trapdoor or Austrian Werndl rifles, being a conversion of the muzzle-loading Enfield 3 Band musket and it's kin to a breech loading capability. The Snider had a 'flip-open' breechblock that opened to the side, the Trapdoor had a 'flip-up' action that opened upwards, the Werndl rolled to the side.

The cartridge represents the second generation of cartridges, when manufacturers were getting away from pin-fire and rim-fire to center-fire. This cartridge represents the bridge from the early systems to what we have today.

The details are in the Flash Traffic. Click on the thumbnails to open the slides and links - and I recommend you right-click and open them in a new window, so you can go back and forth.

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

Hmmm. I see, Mr. Kerry.

Ya want the job so badly, that learning about some of the things you are going to have to deal with while on the job, well, "you just don't have the time."

You are trying to make this election about the conduct of the War on Terror, but you don't have time to keep up with it.

Gee, even Mr. Bush manages to work in a world leader and a briefing or two during his stays at the ranch in Crawford.

Okay. I'm supposed to take you seriously as a candidate on that subject now?

I'll give you this - it was refreshing honesty.

From Drudge today, channeling Larry King Live from last night:

KERRY PASSES UP TERROR BRIEFING: 'I JUST HAVEN'T HAD TIME' Fri Jul 09 2004 09:23:56 ET

Just hours before attending an all-star celebrity fundraising concert in New York, Dem presidential candidate John Kerry revealed how has been too busy for a real-time national security briefing.

"I just haven't had time," Kerry explained in an interview.

Kerry made the startling comments on CNN's LARRY KING LIVE Thursday night.

KING: News of the day, Tom Ridge warned today about al Qaeda plans of a large-scale attack on the United States. Didn't increase the -- you see any politics in this? What's your reaction?

KERRY: Well, I haven't been briefed yet, Larry. They have offered to brief me. I just haven't had time.

LIttle tidbits of history today...

In 1900, Australia became a Commonwealth (I know, First Fleet is your "birthday," but heck, this seemed like a significant date, too).

In 1945, TF 38, with 20 carriers and associated vessels, arrived off of Japan, and wouldn't leave until the war was over - in August. 20 carriers! Man, what a sight that must have been. Even if today three carrier battle groups have about the same combat power...

To get a better sense of the mass of that shot - click here.

Here's a shot of TF38 at anchor in Ulithi prior to sailing for Japan. I count at least 6 carriers in the shot.

July 08, 2004

The times, they are a'changin'!

Whether we want them to or not, righty or lefty.

As I've said before, I'm a Rotarian. Rotary is an international service club, and our work starts in our towns, states, and nation - and internationally. If you live in the Leavenworth area and are interested, drop me a line.

Rotary International started the "World Without Polio" campaign - the UN joined us in that campaign, not the other way around, and we do it with UN coordination, but Rotary Foundation money and volunteers.

My club for example, as a club project, sponsors schools in Mosul, Iraq. We gather donations, raise money (thank you Kansas City Chiefs and T-Bones!) and in-kind supplies, and ship 'em off in pallets to the US Army PAO guys near Mosul. The project originally started when one of our club member's son's was the PAO in question, though we have moved beyond that to a more permanent lash-up.

Anyway, locally, we also work as individuals and a club, with the international officers (IOs) attending the US Army Command and General Staff College. Today was IO registration day, and we man a booth at the registration center. (Many of them are quite impressed with The Arsenal, too.)

While I had the shift, I got to meet a piece of history. The first Iraqi officer to attend CGSC. He was appreciative of our club efforts, and of the efforts of the US overall. Sure, he had to feel some pressure to say nice things - but it was still nice to see a guy who was probably a LT in the Iraqi Army the last time I personally was in the area, here to attend school. I also met the 2 Germans, (one of the Germans was from the former East Germany), the three Italians, and one Japanese officer, as well as several East European officers. It's good to see former enemies going to the schools. Perhaps some progress is being made somewhere, eh?

If this story is true on it's face...

...and the 'back story' isn't fairly extraordinary, then something stinks at Fort Carson.

Anybody know why this Captain, Major, and Lieutenant Colonel get off with Article 15's for Obstruction and Conspiracy, while the junior troops are being charged for Courts Martial? I'd really like to know what the little details are that made Major General Odierno believe this was an appropriate response to the event and actions. I agree with the Courts, I have heartburn with the Art. 15's.

So, if ya know anything (don't break any laws, though) I'd love to hear. For publication or not, as you wish.

But right now, this stinks, and looks bad.

Colorado Springs Gazette July 7, 2004

By Tom Roeder, The Gazette

Soldiers could face prison in the drowning death of an Iraqi civilian and the alleged cover-up of the incident, but the Fort Carson commanders who helped keep it secret were punished privately, the Army said Tuesday.

In papers charging lowerranking soldiers in the death of Zaidoun Fadel Hassoun, the Army says three senior officers from the 3rd Brigade Combat Team conspired to impede its homicide investigation.

Capt. Matthew Cunningham, Maj. Robert Gwinner and Lt. Col. Nathan Sassaman got “nonjudicial punishment” under the military’s Article 15, which allows commanders to punish soldiers without a court proceeding or a public record of the wrongdoing.

The Army won’t disclose their punishments, citing privacy laws, but the action isn’t a criminal conviction and doesn’t bring prison time.

The Article 15s were issued this spring by Maj. Gen. Raymond Odierno, former 4th Infantry Division commander.

This story has been told in the blogosphere, by an Iraqi blogger who is a cousin of one of the victims, and the media. (ed. note: thanks to the Commissar for reminding me *which* blogger)

The different treatment for commanders drew congressional fire.

“I don’t see the justice in that,” said U.S. Rep. Joel Hefley, R-Colorado Springs, a member of the House Armed Services Committee.

“If the higher-ups were involved in a cover-up, they should face the same kind of jeopardy as their subordinates.”

Hefley said he’s going to ask Army brass why the commanders weren’t charged.

“That’s something everyone in Congress is concerned about,” he said.

Not just you guys in Congress, Mr. Hefley. Some of us soldiers and former soldiers are concerned, too.

The Army says 1st Lt. Jack M. Saville ordered Sgt. 1st Class Tracy E. Perkins and Sgt. Reggie Martinez to shove Zaidoun into the river. Saville, Perkins and Martinez are charged with manslaughter in Zaidoun’s death and could face more than a decade in prison on that charge.

Another soldier, Spc. Terry Bowman Jr., is charged with pushing another Iraqi off the bridge.

After the death, officials allege, Saville and Perkins conspired with Sassaman, Gwinner and Cunningham to mislead investigators by denying that the Iraqis were shoved into the river.

Saville and Perkins face charges of conspiracy, making a false statement and obstruction of justice for the cover-up.

And the others don't? As I said, absent better information, I'm confused here. I wish I'd been a fly on the wall of MG Odierno's decision-making process and JAG advice. I'm inclined to give the benefit of the doubt to senior leaders, who I assume have better information than I do. But this one is tough to swallow.

More in the Flash Traffic.

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

July 07, 2004

More stuff I didn't know...

...but wish I had.

Scotty of Star Trek was an artilleryman. Hoo-ah! I knew he was smarter than Kirk, too. How anybody could have so many ships shot out from under him (and stolen out from under him, too) could keep getting commands is explainable in only one way - the Federation Navy valued seniority over competence.

Doohan was born on March 3, 1920, in Vancouver, British Columbia, and spent his early years in there and in Sarnia, Ontario. Surviving the anguish of living with an alcoholic father, he left home at age 19 to join the Canadian Forces, fighting with the Allies in World War II. After outscoring his fellow soldiers on an officer's exam, he became Captain in the Royal Canadian Artillery. While leading his men into battle on D-Day, Doohan was wounded in the leg and hand, and eventually lost a finger. For the remainder of the war, he became a pilot observer, and received the dubious distinction of being called the "craziest pilot in the Canadian Air Forces."

From the bio at Star Trek.com

Once again, I might as well just make this page a reflector of the Ghost of A Flea.

I've been remiss. Really really remiss.

I've been to this website, once, very early on.

And obviously I wasn't paying attention.

The 3rd Herd of the Regular Establishment of Artillery is *my* regiment.

What was I thinking?

I'll be looking for this movie. With this and this as trailers, how can I not?

Hat tip to the Flea for the kick in the butt (via email, not the linked post) - not that JMH didn't point it out earlier.

St. Barbara forgive me. Peccavi.

Snicker.

Linked to without further comment.

*chortle*

July 06, 2004

Answer to the last challenge.

Well, hats off to Captain H of Her Majesty's Canadian Forces, who, using all the tools at his disposal, and while in the midst of a move, got the right answer, correct in all details.

Gunner, with a little coaching, got there too.

The fact that I set this up for a tanker, well, so some of ya don't need to feel bad ya didn't get it.

Guesses ranged from tripods to rifle bolts. Good guesses all.

Oh, yeah. The answer.

76mm TP-T HEAT round for the US M41 Walker Bulldog tank.

TP-T HEAT = Training Practice-Tracer High Explosive Anti-Tank. Guessing the weapon system (not a requirement, extra credit to CPT H) was made easy because the M41 tank was the only tank we had in service after Korea with a 76mm gun.

Here's a shot of the markings.