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August 14, 2004

Charley, Phelps, and Gratuitous Gun Pic

Today was get the college students restocked for a new year day.

Tammi of Road Warrior Survival and Jeff Quinton of Backcountry Conservative are blogging Hurricane Charley. (Bet the 'bigs' are annoyed by the immediacy of the bloggers, eh?)

I'm glad that thus far, no one I know was hurt.

Since others, closer to the action are taking care of the news today (well, I'll give Phelps a mention for his Gold and World Record in Swimming), I'll leave you with a gratuitous gun pic for your perusal. The Organ of Muskets (savor that, go ahead) at the Springfield Armory Museum. The Arsenal at Castle Argghhh! only dreams...

Click the pic for hi-res. I'll be back tomorrow to clean up some copyright issues and just maybe... something to do with mortars. If not that, well, I got something else up my sleeve.

by John on Aug 14, 2004 | Rifles

August 13, 2004

Julia Child, Cook, Spook, RIP.

Julia Child, Chef and TV Personality, died today.

She was also OSS.

Greatest Generation, indeed.

Now is the time at Castle Argghhh! when we dance. In memoriam.

by John on Aug 13, 2004 | Observations on things Military
» Sworn Enemy links with: What a Trip
» Ghost of a flea links with: Winston Review, No. 6
» The Laughing Wolf links with: Julia Child

August 12, 2004

Just how desperate is DoD?

I have a patch collection. It's full of, among other things, shoulder patches from WWII from the "Ghost" and "Phantom" divisions. The Ghost divsions were those of Patton's "Ghost Army," part of the pre-invasion deception plan. The Phantom units were those scheduled to be activated that never were. Why patches? Someone reasoned that the Germans knew that all of our divisions had shoulder patches. If they determined new divisions in the order of battle, but did'nt find any patches... they might catch on. So, on the off chance that the Germans were watching for things like that, the US Army Institute of Heraldry developed designs, orders were placed, patches produced. That's a subject for a different post. This long intro is to show just how desperate DoD is for bodies to meet the OPTEMPO. There's a new shoulder patch in the works. For units comprised of recalled retirees.

A Castle Argghhh! Exclusive! - (Actually, it appears to be these guy's work.)


*This came in email today - anybody knows the source, let me know so I can acknowledge their efforts!

UPDATE: Marine Master Sergeant (R) Townsley leaves this in the comments:

Sir, The Old Farts patch was the creation of Bob Morris and Wayne Sorios Sirois...Both served with USMC 1st Recon Bn...If you compair the two patches (Recon & Old Farts) you will see that are the same... It was a patch for all us old farts who served with 1st Recon...somehow it was picked up that the net...and the rest is history... Jon R Townsley MSgt USMC Ret. 1st Recon Bn 1966-67

I knew the patch had a Marine origin, now perhaps we have, "The Rest of the Story..."

Update II: The 1st Recon origins of the patch are generating interest... seeing as how I'm getting trackbacks from discussion groups that are Recon- and Corps-based.

And then there is the occasional email like this, from Air Force Lieutenant N. A.:

I'm not retired, but being prior enlisted, I'm still one of the oldest 1st Lts in the Air Force, so I'm STILL going to adopt that patch as my own.

Update III.

Wahabism Delenda Est.

Wahabism must be destroyed.

And Muslims *should* be the ones doing it.

So says this muslim.

Word.

Need gun-fix!

To tide you over while I work on the next magnum opii...

The Arsenal's Romanian AK broken down for cleaning after last Saturday's trip to the range.

If you are a download junky, click the pic for the hi-res.

by John on Aug 12, 2004 | Rifles

August 11, 2004

Y'know I like 'history', right?

And that I was an official "military historian" for the Army? I've got an OER to prove it too.

Why do I like that stuff so much? I dunno. I just do. And so, I collect stuff.

Stuff with a history.

Like this letter. Written on YMCA stationary - by a soldier serving with the British Expeditionary Forces in August, 1917. What's really appealing about this letter? Well, the guy is possibly Canadian - but he might be American, one of those who joined before the US got into the war. Writing to his niece - in the US, I think. He's originally from Ireland.

And it talks about all those little things. Fruit. Ice Cream. Weather.

And it's full of really un-PC language.

Enough - read it here. I'll post a pic of the letter later, just to show that it really does exist.

Anybody can shed any light on it - lemme know! I just love this kinda stuff - I got it from eBay for $5. A very well-spent $5 to me!

by John on Aug 11, 2004 | Observations on things Military
» Raging Kraut links with: Red Ensign Standard

A Red Ensign Moment

As is my wont (especially when prompted from my handler in the Forces) I occasionally like to remind my readers there is still a war in Afghanistan. And the Canadians are there.

Two great stories from the Globe and Mail (my favorite Canadian paper thus far).

The first is about the Canadians long in-country conducting their last patrols:

For the past week, the 1,900 Canadian soldiers and officers who make up the largest contingent of the International Security Assistant Force have been conducting joint patrols with the Norwegian-led mission that is taking over their duties at Camp Julien, the Canadian military camp.

The year-long Canadian operation, which has provided stability to the war-torn capital, is being scaled down in size and scope. Starting next week, instead of patrolling the streets of Kabul, about 700 soldiers, including a squadron from the Lord Strathcona's Horse based in Edmonton, will become the eyes and ears for NATO-led peacekeepers. that is taking over their duties at Camp Julien, the Canadian military camp.

“Probably (Canadian forces are) going to stay for a couple of years over here and we have only three brigades in Canada,” he said. “In one year from now, probably people from Valcartier will come back.

“Afghanistan is progressing but it's going to take a while. There's still a job to do over here.”

Speaking of the Strathcona's - well, that's my handler's Regiment, so how can we ignore that?:

The year-long Canadian operation, which has provided stability to the war-torn capital, is being scaled down in size and scope. Starting next week, instead of patrolling the streets of Kabul, about 700 soldiers, including a squadron from the Lord Strathcona's Horse based in Edmonton, will become the eyes and ears for NATO-led peacekeepers.

"We are smaller. We don't have a Canadian infantry battalion here any more," said Colonel Jim Ellis, commander of the Canadian contingent who began his new job yesterday. "But the conditions are set for a successful mission."

The reconnaissance teams, or "reccys" as the soldiers call them, will be carried out in Kabul and around its outskirts with the aid of 16 Coyotes, armoured vehicles equipped with high-tech machinery to enable the soldiers to prevent possible terrorist threats.

The vehicles have radar and real-time photography that allows a soldier to see 40 kilometres ahead. "Generally they will do route protection, convoy escorts, and set up vehicle checkpoints. And because of that capability, they will be used for the elections, " said Col. Ellis, referring to the Oct. 9 presidential vote.

The Lord Strathconas arrive at a critical point in Afghanistan's post-Taliban history. The presidential election is the first ever to be held in the country and insurgent Taliban groups have vowed to disrupt the vote organized by the United Nations. Security is deteriorating and an increasing number of election and aid workers have been killed. Recently Médecins sans frontières (Doctors Without Borders), a charity that has operated in Afghanistan for 24 years, pulled out after five of its workers were shot dead in June.

Make no bones about it - Afghanistan is still a dangerous place, but since it's not as dangerous as Iraq, nor as damaging to Bush, you don't see it much in the news, eh? Of course, if you are a soldier killed in Afghanistan, you are still just as dead as a soldier killed in Iraq. Just not as likely to have your sacrifice slimed by some dirtball at the Democratic Underground.

The story of the departing group m (actually already back home - I'm slow) is here.

The newbies? They are here.

And if there's any doubt - Canada's soldiery is paying a price to be our Allies.

The Canadian battalion's final patrol was conducted by five paratroopers out of Valcartier, Que., led by veteran Sergeant Sylvain Leclerc, who is completing his fifth and, he says, last tour.

Under a blistering Afghan sun, Sgt. Leclerc took his section on a three-hour patrol that included an always-nerve-racking checkpoint, a brief foot patrol through war ruins, handouts to impatient children and cigars for Afghan militia troops with whom he had many long conversations.

“We talked about religion, the family, the way life is in Afghanistan,” he said. “We didn't talk about war — anything but war.”

Sgt. Leclerc, a 39-year-old native of Ruisseau-à-Rebours, Que., led more than 100 patrols during his time in Kabul. His wife is in the army as well, and between them they have drawn more tours than he can count.

Yes, the Canadian government may have opted out of Iraq - but Canada's small Army is being taxed pretty hard to support US objectives - and while I will tolerate people slamming the Canadian gov't - I'm not willing to listen to abuse of the Canadian soldiery.

Any Aussies or Kiwis or Brits (or any other nation serving with US forces in the GWOT) wants some exposure... email. I'm happy to showcase any warrior who walks next to warriors wearing US flags on their shoulders. I'm all about Combined Ops!

*This post was extensively re-done this morning, having initially been composited under the influence of way too much tequila. For you purists out there who believe nothing should be edited after hitting the 'publish' button - tough noogies, go see if the Google-bot cached it.

by John on Aug 11, 2004 | Global War on Terror (GWOT)
» Raging Kraut links with: Red Ensign Standard

Bush. F102 Delta Dart. Air National Guard. Vietnam.

I've covered my opinion on Bush and his 'Guard time elsewhere. I've covered the fact that the F102 was not an easy, nor safe, aircraft to fly. I've explained that the F102 was tried, but found not too useful, in Vietnam. I've explained why the AF didn't choose to take F102 drivers, relatively late in the war, when the air war was already drawing down, and want to convert them to mud mover pilots.

I've done all that.

These guys, at Aerospace.org, do it better. Go spread the word, to every blogvillage, blog-middlesex, and blogfarm, to butcher the poem.

Hat tip to CAPT H, for a reverse-Red Ensign bit of info-sharing!

Update: As it appears Aerospaceweb has (at least for a time) taken down their write-up, if the link above doesn't work, the text is reproduced in the Flash Traffic. All that's missing is the photographs.

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

by John on Aug 11, 2004 | Observations on things Military
» Mudville Gazette links with: Zoomies
» Balloon Juice links with: Bush and The F102
» Mudville Gazette links with: MilBlogs:
» All AgitProp, all the Time... links with: Required Reading
» Sworn Enemy links with: Bush's Service
» Tim Worstall links with: Bush and the F-102
» Digitus, Finger & Co. links with: BLOGSTAMPS AND OTHER LINKS
» SlagleRock's Slaughterhouse links with: George Bush And The F-102
» Baseball Crank links with: POLITICS: The F-102
» Hud's Blog-O-Rama links with: Last Train to Nowheresville
» Hud's Blog-O-Rama links with: Last Train to Nowheresville
» Mudville Gazette links with: MilBlogs:
» Mudville Gazette links with: MilBlogs:
» Mudville Gazette links with: MilBlogs:
» Mudville Gazette links with: MilBlogs:
» Mudville Gazette links with: MilBlogs:
» Mudville Gazette links with: MilBlogs:
» Mudville Gazette links with: MilBlogs:
» Mudville Gazette links with: MilBlogs:
» Mudville Gazette links with: MilBlogs:

August 09, 2004

There really is some gun stuff here today.

If you want to skip the politics and get to the bullets: Go here.

by John on Aug 09, 2004 | Gun Rights

August 08, 2004

Today in history.

1945 Harry S Truman signs UN Charter - seemed like a good idea at the time.

1945 USSR declares war on Japan. A little late in the game, but they *were* busy trying to survive before. Of course it was less about helping take down Japan than it was about being in on the occupation and getting their tentacles into Asia.

1988 Russian troops begin pull out of Afghanistan after 9 year war. Cost us the '80 Olympics, but hey - it was worth it, right?

1990 Iraq annexes Kuwait. Oops. Betcha Saddam wishes he'd rethought that decision!


But my fave of the day is:

1918 Alvin York captures "the whole damned German Army" York's story is an encapsulation of early 1900s America.