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February 12, 2005

Entity State Beach-balls.

I've been wanting to write this post for a long time, inspired by this photo.

As I've mentioned now and again, I was a simulations geek for the Army, a skillset I have carried on in my second career. On a previous task I was working a huge distributed Live-Virtual-Constructive event, where we were linking in live sites, such as a Navy command ship, real soldiers on the ground, the Marines in simulation, air assets in constructive and virtual modes, linking sites from coast to coast, corner to corner, live in real-time.

One hell of an effort, from which we learned a lot, not the least of which was... exercises that big, given the current state of the technology, probably are not worth the overall effort that went into it - as a training exercise. As an experiment, which it was, it was very valuable as we learned a lot - both what works, and what NOT to do next time, as well as pushed the tech envelope well beyond what it started at.

One of the things you have to do in the testing and integration phase of an event like this is ensure that all the bits and pieces fit together and can communicate. The backbone of mixing live, virtual and constructive (constructive is 'classic' wargaming engines, vice virtual, which are simulators) is the Distributed Interactive Simulation (DIS) protocol data unit. This is the basic transactional unit between otherwise unrelated programs, interfaces, and people. Every entity that will be shared among the participants is uniquely identified by a DIS PDU which is a packet of data that defines the attributes of the item. What it is, where it's located, what direction it's heading, at what speed, etc. It carries just the basic information needed. The other gizmo's on the network can then filter out stuff they don't need/can't use, and only pull in those packets that are relevant.

Among the things that this is used for is for example a UAV simulator, which 'flies' over the battlefield and looks at stuff. This info is then fed to an image generator, which, using the data in the PDU, selects the appropriate image for display on the operators console. Therein lies the potential for trouble.

You have to make sure that terrain databases in the various sims match, or you get things like helicopters which are flying underground, with perhaps only the rotor showing. Or, even better - you are demo-ing for a visiting General and the helicopter pops up from behind the treeline and fires a Hellfire. In the viewer, you see the bird pop-up, get the firing signature - and the sim, due to a terrible miscalculation of scale, spawns an M1 Abrams graphic instead of a Hellfire, which then speeds off, smashing into the T-72 which obligingly blows up.

Much hilarity ensues. Well, after everyone starts breathing again because the General thinks it's funny...

In this exercise we were doing integration testing of ADA assets. Specifically we were checking whether or not SA-7s in the ground sim (JCATS for anyone who cares) could acquire, hit, and knock down UAVs being flown in MUSE. We were using the UAV viewer because you can do a lot of troubleshooting much faster when you can see things - especially things like terrain mismatch etc.

Anyway, we had a PDU mapping problem. The VR generator had no mapping for the SA-7 missile - so it went to it's default - what we call the Entity State Beachball. It just generates a globe for a visual, with whatever attached attributes it's supposed to have.

In this case, we had several problems. The visual map was missing, so we got beach-balls. The missile launcher parameters were incorrect, too. We got the right soldier image - a man holding a launcher - but pretty much everything else was wrong.

We were treated to the visual of a single-shot missile launcher firing off beach-ball after beach-ball, as if it was a belt-fed auto-launcher. And the balls would go sailing off, ballistic default, to arc out over the virtual battlespace and land - and bounce, and bounce, and bounce, losing a little bit of energy each time, coming to rest when it hit something or ran out of energy. Like a kid with a ping-pong ball bazooka.

Since we were testing, there were about a dozen of these guys. All lofting their beach-balls into the air, to come down, bouncy, bouncy, bouncy. And, since they never detonated, they never went away, so the beach-balls started piling up in the valley, too.

Yeah, we fixed it, and at least that one was not being demo'd for a General... but now you might understand why I can't help but chuckle whenever I see that picture!

February 11, 2005


Here at the Castle we tolerate polite dissent. We don't care for flame wars, other than ones that are tongue-in-cheek, and we are generally respectful of the dissenters who occasionally stroll by.

Then there are clueless moonbats. One visited today, leaving a comment on Dusty's "Who's this guy" post.

looks to me like he's an "infantryman" (glorified forward air controller) who wears kneepads so he doesn't hurt his knees when he's sucking his lieutenant's c**k to try to get a promotion... also helps when he's hiding at the bottom of a shell crater from a guy with a 30-year-old rifle, screaming for air support rather than actually fighting as infantry... most COWARDLY, PU$$IFIED military in the world. americans should be ashamed.

He did get the "Forward Air Controller" part correct, right out of the starting gate, if for all the wrong reasons.

It appears that Jeremiah is of the "Heroic Combat" school of warfare, where the performance of individual champions is the measure of success, and Armies and Soldiers who don't subscribe to that theory are inferior, less-than-manly. I'm sure Hercules and Achilles would agree - and that's about the last time that was a useful paradigm for a miltary serious about its job.

I recall the Germans and Japanese felt the same way. In fact, so does Osama.

Anyway, the doors to the Arsenal are open wide. Take your pick. Ready on the left? Ready on the right? Ready on the firing line!

At the Dancing Moonbat, you may commence. Full auto is authorized, magazine fillers are available. Please take a number for the belt-fed weapons, limit of three belts, per, please.

Due to fire danger today, only 60mm and smaller mortars may be used. Recoiless rifles and rockets may only be fired from the concrete pad firing points. There will be a noon Cease-Fire so that the Aviators can strafe and bomb, no cluster munitions are authorized. If Fire Fighting equipment is available, an exception will be granted for napalm.

Any sailors or non-aviation Zoomies wishing to try their hand, Army and Marine instructors are available to assist. Warning - the weapons in the Arsenal do recoil, unlike the .22s you are used to! Former Battleship sailors are invited to try their hands with the reckless rifles, submariners report to the mortars.

Persons wishing to enter the impact area to go hand-to-hand do so at their own risk. Body armor is recommended, but not required, but the mortars are area fire weapons, and Mk82s have a large bursting radius, so be careful.

Keep it polite now! Passion is fine, but let's not get all potty-mouth trash-talky. Y'know, like Jeremiah.

Oops. Jeremiah added more:

P.S.- anybody notice how the "big bad a$$" "world's only superpower" reacts when somebody stands up to it? Take yesterday (10 Feb.) for example. Notice how quick it was to resort to military "force" against little Iraq but where are the threats against Iran or North Korea?? Hmmmmm??? Where's the swaggering, lectern-pounding cowboy now???? He instead has Kindasleazy Rice say "Please, North Korea, please return to the 6-party talks". Then the bitch makes the hollow threat of sanctions against Iran which everyone knows would get vetoed in 2 seconds by Russia and China. So my question is, why the hair-trigger response against oil-rich little Iraq who they thought would be a walk-over, while going to any length to AVOID a REAL fight with a REAL threat like North Korea or Iran??? The whole world (outside of retarded chicken-sh*t america) knows why. It's because like every bully, america is, at heart, a PUSSY that can't take a punch!!! Stand up to it and it cowers, makes excuses, runs away. F*ck america. It is the WORLD'S BIGGEST SUPERPU$$Y!!!!!

Sigh. And Jeremiah, you're from where? You serve/d with what Army? In what war? Doing what? Just curious what informs your in-depth knowledge and deeply thought, if badly expressed, opinions?

Jeremiah responds to another post! And doesn't read his email! Nor has he read this post, obviously.


Thank you for demonstrating once again how limited and anemic is
america's concept of "freedom of expression". If I wrote some garbage about those pu$$yfags being "defenders of liberty" or some nonsense then my post certainly would have stayed up forever. But since it was a dissenting viewpoint that, by the way, you obviously could not even attempt to disprove, it got erased in 5 minutes, along with the whole thread (and picture of the kneepad-wearing douchebag)! Amazing! Looks like america's definition of "freedom" is "the freedom to express a cookie-cutter mainstream opinion that the rest of the sheep are expressing" but conspicuously does not include DISSENTING views! I can't think of a more COWARDLY, PUSSIFIED country than america!!! No wonder the world hates it!!! F*ck you and your pussy bully nation!!!

Jeremiah - your stuff is still there. In fact, I moved it up to where *everybody* could see it. In fact, while I don't expect it - I can only hope lots of people link to it - so we can share your wisdom 'round the globe. I'm sure it will go over well at DU.

As for moving off the front page - that has to do with how blogs work. I have a set number of posts that display on the front page. If you'd bother to go check, not only is everything you wrote still there... I've actually created a whole new post with it, and put it on top.

And, BTW - Freedom of expression? This is a private venue - I no more have to keep your views on my page than the New York Times has to print your letter to the editor. They've never printed one of mine, but I don't feel they have stifled my freedom of expression. Ya want to express yourself - go start a blog on Blogspot. It's free.

The First Amendment applies to the government, not me. I have no obligation to provide you a forum - though I am at the moment. I do reserve the right to edit for taste, though I've not touched your substance.

And since when does "Freedom of Expression" extend to your mindless cursing (which only serves to undermine your argument) in what amounts to my home?


Uh-oh. The quality of your discourse is slipping, child.

P.S.- do the doctors truly cut off americans' balls at birth of do they simply shrivel up and fall off as they are utterly useless to you bunch of cowards?

No, in my case it was the prepuce. The twins are still vigorously present, thank you. Ask SWWBO.

Update: Jeremiah's email address is legit, and I assume his. Perhaps he'll come by and see that he was not, in fact, censored. I'll give him upfront credit for using a real email address. Most people who comment in the vein he did do not.

by John on Feb 11, 2005 | Pugnacious Stupidity
» The Gantry Launchpad links with: Warriors and Soldiers
» Techography links with: To Arms!

If this isn't true... it should be.

Email from a friend. If this isn't true, well, it should be. Because it *is* true in a cosmic sense. It's all so neat and tidy, it probably more along the lines of Aesop's fables... but those were instructive, too, n'est ce pa?

Pearl Harbor, Hawaii (Jan. 22, 2005) - Sailors man the rails and render honors to the USS Arizona Memorial as the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) pulls into Naval Station Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Ronald Reagan's first port visit to Hawaii is in support of Operation Unified Assistance, the humanitarian operation effort in the wake of the Tsunami that struck South East Asia. U.S. Navy photo by PhotographerÕs Mate 1st Class James Thierry

And, as a Disaster Response planner for DoD in my last job on active duty - that's *exactly* how we looked at aircraft carriers. They can also (as can numerous Naval vessels) produce a LOT of electrical power - and are purpose- built to distribute it dockside, along with the water.

Subject: Today, I was "Unprofessional"... Varifrank, January 4, 2005

Today, during an afternoon conference that wrapped up my project of the last 18 months, one of my Euro colleagues tossed this little smart-comment out to no one in particular:

"See, this is why George Bush is so dumb, there's a disaster in the world and he sends an Aircraft Carrier...

After which he and many of my Euro colleagues laughed out loud, and then they looked at me. I wasn't laughing, and neither was my Hindi friend sitting next to me, who has lost family in the disaster.

I'm afraid I was "unprofessional", I let it loose -"Hmmm, let's see, what would be the ideal ship to send to a disaster? Now what kind of ship would we want? Something with its own inexhaustible power supply? Something that can produce 900,000 gallons of fresh water a day from sea water?"

"Something with its own airfield? So that after producing the fresh water, it could help distribute it? Something with 4 hospitals and lots of open space for emergency supplies? Something with a global communications facility to make the coordination of disaster relief in the region easier? Well 'Franz', we peasants in America call that kind of ship an 'Aircraft Carrier'."

"We have 12 of them. How many do you have? Oh that's right, NONE. Lucky for you and the rest of the world, we are the kind of people who share. Even with people we don't like."

In fact, if memory serves, once upon a time we peasants spent a ton of money and lives rescuing people who we had once tried to kill and who tried to kill us. Do you know who those people were? That's right Franz, Europeans."

There is a French Aircraft carrier? Where is it? Oh.. Right where it belongs! In France of course! Oh, why should the French Navy dirty their uniforms helping people on the other side of the globe. How Simplesse... The day an American has to move a European out of the way to help in some part of the world it will be a great day in the world, you sniggering little snob..."

The room fell silent. My Hindi friend then said quietly to the Euros:

"Can you let your hatred of George Bush end for just one minute? There are people dying! And what are your countries doing? has helped more than France has. You all have a role to play in the world, why can't you see that? Thank God for the US Navy, they don't have to come and help, but they are. They helped you once and you should all thank God they did. They didn't have to, and no one but them would have done so. I'm ashamed of you all..."

He left the room, shaking and in tears. The frustration of being on the other side of the globe, unable to do anything to assist and faced with people who could not set aside their asininity long enough to reach out and help was too much for him to bear. I just shook my head and left. The Euros stood speechless. Later in the break room, one of the laughing Euros caught me and extended his hand in an apology. I asked him where he was from, he said "a town outside of Berlin". He is a young man, in his early 20's. I asked him if he knew of a man named Gail Halverson. He said no. I said "that's a shame" and walked away to find my Hindi friend.

For those of you who may not remember, Gail Halverson was the transport pilot responsible for the "candy drop" during the Berlin airlift. They called him the "Candy Bomber" as he dropped goodies for all the Berlin children.

Matt Archer
Flight Operations
Transport Test Pilot

Hat tip to Mr. Greenjeans! And there, Boudicca, I found a use for your pic!

Update: Murdoc has his own take on the sujbect.

And this apparently hit the internet first, here.

February 10, 2005

I've said it before.

I'll say it again.

The Old Breed, breeds true.

I've also said this before - because I, too, have waited out the time a family warrior was at war - They also serve, who stand and wait.

From my perspective, having done both - the waiting is harder than the serving in the fight. In the fight, you get to shoot back. In the watch and wait, you get to, watch. And, wait. And the Press is not your friend. Not because of malice, but because of the nature of the beast.

As Cassandra says - if your wallet is feeling a little heavy this pay period, you could do worse than send some funding Deb's way. And you can always afford to drop by and say, "Thank you!"

Then there's this - the Garret Troopers, with little better to do than f*ck with the Grunt. I feel for the Questing Cat. I was really (and I knew vainly) hoping we'd slain that beast in this war. But the longer we stay in Iraq in the way we are currently arrayed - the more of this petty careerist bullsh1t will happen. How long before "Lifer" comes fully back into the lexicon in all it's pejorative glory?

Get a life, a$$hats.


We interrupt your browsing for a test. The Castle has acquired the ability to host videos (be very afraid). All y'all need to start buying more crap from the Castle store to support this... but - since the Instapilot just sent this to me in email, this seems an appropriate place to test it out! Lemme know how well it works - 'specially those of you with dial-up! There are two versions - please try both and let me know what you think/problems you have.

From Dusty's email:

Why I don't ice fish... ...what happens when you piss off the Northern Alliance (especially the Power Line guys)...or...what happened to Norm Coleman and Bill Moyers after getting Hindrocket's attention...

Converted Video

Original Video.

It's also supposed to work showing a picture... but there seems a problem with that.

Update: Saving posting space... Cassie has her new caption contest up, and has *finally* judged her last two. As for the new one... eeeeewwwwwwww!

Nuts with Nukes

This is like holding your hand in front of your face and daring Arnold Schwarzeneggar to hit it.

Or volunteering for Olympic javelin goalie, shark repellant testing, whatever.

Haven't they been paying attention?

The US isn't Europe.

We're still smarting from 9/11.

Bush backs up words with deeds (now THERE'S a novel international relations concept).

Every nuclear power on the planet will slew their aiming reticles over Teheran 4.3 nanofarts after the first successful Iranian test.

There are nuclear nation states out there physically closer to Iran with less reluctance about rubble-izing rival states, particularly ones who are proven sources of problems and theocratic. Sure, they'd probably love to see New York City melt (literally) but can you imagine the phone call after one of these party favors from Hell is popped over, say, Tel Aviv? (And these things are as identifiable as fingerprints.) I can hear the Batphone call now--"We're erasing them...questions?"

The rhetoric from those morons challenges the very concept of deterrence ("We're not afraid to die! We're comin' after you 'cause our God says we can!")

You wanna see preemption suddenly become even more attractive than it was in 2003?

Sure, you have to bluster once in awhile for your base...BUT NOT ABOUT NUKES.

What's wrong with these guys? A little help here.

HT: Drudge

Food for thought, Part I.

CAPT H sends this bit along. True words.

Quotation of the week:

Many years ago, as a cadet hoping to someday to be an officer, I was poring over the "Principles of War", listed in the old Field Service Regulations, when the Sergeant-Major came up to me. He surveyed me with kindly amusement. 'Don't bother your head about all them things, me lad,' he said. 'There's only one principle of war and that's this. Hit the other fellow, as quick as you can, and as hard as you can, w'ere it hurts him most, when he ain't looking'!

Sir William Slim
From the RMC weekly newsletter

Goes along with Clausewitz's line from On War:

"In war, everything is simple, but. even the simplest thing is difficult."

The simple thing: "w'ere it hurts him most" is oft times a most diffcult thing to determine, at any level above immediate tactical. It is there, most often, that plans fail at a strategic or operational level - the inability to determine what is the true 'center of gravity' of the enemy - and where you most often then lose control of how you are going to achieve your ends. Unless, as in the Russians dealing with the Finns in the Winter War, or the North, in the Slaveholder's Rebellion Against Simple Decency (that'll generate some heat...) you just overpower them with mass. Another example is the Plains Indians. Until we figured out the Buffalo was the center of gravity, all we were doing was nibbling around the edges.

Of course sometimes, you know what you need to do - but then the enemy usually does, too. And then it's just hard. Like Germany and Japan. And while we seemed to have figured it out for Operation Enduring Freedom... I'm pretty sure we initially missed the boat on Iraqi Freedom.

The rest of this long, boring dissertation is in the Flash Traffic/extended post.

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

A visit to Iraq this morning.

First, for Cassandra:

'Nuff said.

Second - pictures like this always bring out the Tim "The Tool Man" Taylor in me:

by Sgt. Jeremiah Johnson February 2, 2005 Soldiers from 1st Battalion, 185th Armor Regiment, 81st Infantry Brigade, I Corps, in their M1A1 Abrams Main Battle Tank, lead Soldiers from the 25th Infantry Division in their Bradley Fighting Vehicles, in an effort to beef up security in Mosul, Iraq.

Lastly - a little news with a spin you don't generally see... because it takes more analysis than the broadcast media has time for.

IRAQ: Too Much Prosperity February 10, 2005: Terrorists in Iraq have resumed their terrorist campaign of suicide bombings, murders and threats. But there's been a change since the January 30th elections. In many mixed neighborhoods (where Sunni Arabs live next to Shia Arabs and/or other minorities), the amount of tips to police regarding terrorist activity has increased. It's uncertain if this is because of the morale boost from the election turnout, the growing use of Iraqi commandos and SWAT teams for raids against terrorists, or the growing availability of cell phones. It's probably all three. As a result, American and Iraqi security officials are more confident that American troops will be able to start leaving this year. While details are not given, there is apparently better security on the Syrian and Iranian borders. There are dozens of new border guard bases (actually small forts) being built on those borders, and more aircraft and UAVs patrolling there as well.

The economy is booming. The terrorist attacks are too few to paralyze the entire country, and seem to stage their operations mainly for the foreign media friendly to their goals (the return of a Sunni Arab dictatorship). The number of cars on the roads has nearly tripled in two years and sales of consumer goods continues to grow as electricity is more widely available. Because it takes so long to build oil refineries, Iraq must import most of its vehicle fuel. That, with the growing number of personal and commercial vehicles, creates frequent fuel shortages.

All from the inestimable folks at Strategy Page.

February 09, 2005

Journalists targeting civilians?

Maybe Eason Jordan was projecting (scroll down to the Powerline part)...


Not having a resident sailor at the Castle yet. I'll just draft one. Bubblehead, over at The Stupid Will Be Punished, even though he is *both* a 'Husker and a Chickenhawk, is worthy of linking to for his Submariner Humor.

You don't have to be a submariner to appreciate most of it. To understand all of it, yeah, but not to appreciate it. Change 'em around a little bit, and all us warriors will recognize the situation.

On an unrelated note, Got Dish? Dish Network? If so, now you can have The Pentagon Channel. I hope it's better stuff than AFN produces for in-house consumption... But click the link and read the comments. They're pretty fun!

Update: The Surface Warriors speak out via their Lawyer....

by John on Feb 09, 2005 | Observations on things Military
» EagleSpeak links with: Navy Humor

Typical Helo FCF Profile...

"FCF" stands for Functional Check Flight...what you do after major maintenance has been done on an airplane--or "airplane," if you're talking about helos. I did it a lot in the Hog and enjoyed it thoroughly (most of the time...when an engine doesn't start up again after an in-flight shutdown, that's sort of irritating but otherwise the sortie is a hoot).

My guess this is a good to-scale representation of the typical UH-1 FCF (or whatever the rotor craniums call an FCF) profile...Saturday AM, after a late Friday PM stint in the, uh, Post WO lounge (read: "bar").

Or not...


Hat tip: Whizbang

Answer to the Trivia Quiz

Well, most of you got the unit right...the unit he SUPPORTS, not the unit he's assigned to. The latter would be: Det 1, 4th Air Support Operations Group, Camp Ederle, Italy.

Yup. He's an Enlisted Tactical Air Controller with the 173rd.

The big-@ss ruck is something we've been nugging away at reducing for a number of years. Needless to say, we've got a ways to go. Good news is, the 70+ pounds of different radios and batteries is being reduced to a more manageable size with the PRC-117F (mulit-band, programmable, lighter, etc.) Putting one on the Secretary of the Air Force (at that time...), just after we got back from Albania supporting TF HAWK, when he stopped by Mannheim (HQ for the 4th ASOS, the squadron that sets up and runs the ASOC at Corps) did a lot to get the point across...his official escort becoming the USAF Chief of Staff two years later didn't hurt either.)


Bad Money

Harvey is going to have to open up a whole new section in his quest for Bad Money. As SWWBO points out - what was once eccentric behavior may move into the mainstream.

By the way... Harvey's place is open and they've traquilized the dog...

Caption Contest.

Okay fans, here's the new one.

To get you started:

News item: Tired of operating from austere forward airbases or flying 24 hour long missions as the Missouri Air Force, the USAF jumps on board the Transformation Bandwagon with the launching of the USAFS Billy Mitchell, their new "Power Projection Platform." Critics observed that the Air Force seemed "Unclear on the concept."

There's still time to hit OTB's caption contest (though not much) as well as Conservative Life's (link below).

by John on Feb 09, 2005 | I think it's funny!
» Conservative Life - General Politics links with: Conservative Life Caption Contest #11
» Villainous Company links with: Caption Contest

An omnibus to get started today.

First off, Bill the Rotorhead spams me (a good thing when it's usable) with this:

A chicken and an egg are lying in bed.

The chicken is leaning against the headboard smoking a cigarette, with a satisfied smile on it's face. The egg, looking a bit pissed off, grabs the sheet, rolls over, and says,

"Well, I guess we finally answered THAT question!

A little historical trivia:

1799 West Indies: USS Constellation captures frigate L'Insurgente - We'll get our current L'Insurgente problem under control too, I'm sure.

1904 Japan declares war on Russia, one day after initiating hostilities - Hmmm, start of a trend there, eh?

1916 Britain institutes conscription - think about that - they managed to feed the beast that was the Trenches in Tregonsee's only accepted fashion for almost 2 years...

1942 War Time (Double Daylight Savings) goes into effect in US
1943 FDR orders minimal 48 hour work week in war industry - these two items combine to remind us of the last time we fought a war as a War, and not as an afterthought to day-to-day commerce.

1964 GI Joe "action figure" created - Happy Birthday, Joe! Sorry about that hostage thing. Just keep focused on the Code of Conduct.

2001 Sub USS Greeneville sinks Ehime Maru while surfacing. That was a black day both for the victims and the Submarine Force. I'll credit the Captain of the Greenville for accepting responsibility with no cavils.

Lastly - judging from some comments, there are readers who don't truly understand the Castle and the Arsenal at the Castle. This should help. A view of one of the rooms containing the Arsenal at Castle Argghhh! (fuller views available by clicking on the Castle or the machine gun on the left sidebar). This is actually a somewhat dated pic. The Vickers machine gun in the center now sports an ammo-box holder.

Hi-res version here.

February 08, 2005

Wrapping up the caption contests!

I hafta - some commenters are getting peevish (more on that later) and I wanna start a new one tomorrow!

New prize - well, same prize, different aspect. Now, the winner gets a mug with the picture - and their caption - on it. Howzzat?

To the polling. A most select committee (i.e., a snarker got drafted) sifted through all that chaff and came up with this wheat.

To refresh yourself on the first one - the bulldozer - go here.

Polling is closed - view results.

To refresh yourself on the second pic - the Chinook - go here.

Polling is closed - view results.

Voting is now open closed. And remember - snarkiness about my laziness just gets you drafted! (On the flip side (and thanks, Dbie!) you get to choose the contestants!)

by John on Feb 08, 2005 | I think it's funny!
» There's One, Only! links with: I made the finalist.... list.
» The Ebb & Flow Institute links with: Don't Allow Yourselves To Be Disenfranchised

Post about a submarine...

...get linked by submariners! And get some traffic, too, especially from The Stupid Shall Be Punished. Another linker however, Unconsidered Trifles, (yet another blogging submariner) pointed me to Michelle Malkin and her post on 'cuts' to VA benefits, a new talking point for Democrats.

You can read the links for the details, I'll just offer this.

I am a disabled veteran, in the Priority 1 group (which means the VA takes me space-required, no charge, for life (unless my rating should drop for some reason). I don't have to pay a dime for anything. That was true last year, and will be true next year. As a Regular Army retiree, I'm still funding 80% of my VA disability payment out of my retirement check (that will drop 10% a year per year until I am no longer funding it at all based on legislation passed two years ago). The group in question under consideration for having to start paying a bit more are the more affluent veterans who joined the system during the VA expansion of services some years ago - who have no significant service-related disability rating.

In other words, people who were'nt even eligible a couple of years ago, and who have no significant service-connected disability, are being asked to pony up some bucks.

A $15 drug co-pay, and a $250 enrollment fee.

Compare and contrast: As a Regular retiree I participate in TRICARE Prime, the Department of Defense health care system. I pay $460 a year for my family. I would be paying $230 a year as an individual. Since I live near a military treatment facility I have no per-visit copays, but if I am referred to an off-post specialist, I pay $12 a visit. If I am not able to use the local military pharmacy, I would pay between 3-22$ in co-pays.

I choose to participate in TRICARE because the VA doesn't cover my family, and frankly, because I can afford to. If I were to rely on the VA for care I can afford to get under TRICARE, I would be one more space-required appointment that the really needy, but lesser-rated vets who get their care space available would have to wait on. Because I can, I choose to give up my access so those other guys can maybe get in a teeny bit faster.

But the bottom line is - no one is having a benefit cut that didn't get that benefit as an unexpected windfall anyway. The core group of VA's responsibility - the Priority 1 and 2 vets, are getting the same entitlements they were getting before.

The group being asked to pay a bit? They are the lowest priority participants in the system - who weren't even covered originally. They are being asked to pay comparable prices to what they would be paying for generally the same benefit (albeit space available, not required) that retirees are entitled to. Guess what? My access to the military treatment facility is also space-available. Should the commander of the local MTF decide his Active Duty population completely saturates his capacity - I start paying co-pays and costs similar to what the VA is charging. If anything, this particular benficiary class has been skating (assuming they live where they can get reasonable access) with a better individual benefit than the career retiree has.

Now, we can talk quality of care here and there in the VA system all day - that's a different issue, though I personally have no complaints in that regard when I have received VA care (nice thing about P1 is that I can use any facility anywhere, anytime - so if I'm out-of-region for TRICARE, I can use the VA, which I have done now, twice).

Three guesses as to what this guy does for a living...


BTW, everybody.

Remember, we've still got troops in the Balkans. Like SGT E of Foxholes and Dogtags.

It seems that many people have forgotten that we are even here. Roughly 2500 US troops still in the Balkans, and it appears that we are going to be here for a little while longer.

Go give her a visit and let her know you appreciate her service over in Kosovo!

That's an order!

Update: Here's some interesting news. Hollywood is going warlike. Wonder how good they'll be? I like Bochco's style with cops - I wonder if I'll like his interpretation of soldiering.

Judge rules against soldier who sued over Stop-Loss. Good. Always read the contract people. All of it. There isn't any small print in the enlistment contracts. There's just a lot of it.

And sometimes, sometimes, you can take your love of sports too far.

Life as a blogger is sooo much simpler...

...when readers provide content! Gives us a chance to take a break (like, maybe get those two caption contests finished!).

Since we've been in a Gatling mood of late (this one being in the National Infantry Museum), we proffer up these two gems, thoughtfully provided by readers Boquisucio and LvnCenturion.

First up, these gems from Boquisucio. Warning - the high res takes forever to load - best to save it and do other things while it's downloading. Worth the effort though, if you have the time and connectivity!

Noticing that you have been on a GAU mood lately, I don't know whether you have come across this Movie Clip of the old GAU-2. There's a group of guys in the SouthWest who somehow got themselves an old GAU-2 to play with. They go by the name of Sub Gun Videos. If you haven't done so already, you can check this clip out at:

Low Definition

High Definition

Somehow, I don't think that Louie Armstrong had a GAU in mind when he composed "What a Wonderful World"; but in a sick, twisted way, it goes perfectly well with it.

Hope that you like it,


I like it - but it *does* take time to load - even on my cable connection!

I mean it - it *really* takes a long time.

Now, to finish off something from a previous thread - regarding the Phalanx gun system. One commenter somewhere in the thread talked about using Phalanx or Phalanx-like systems to do precision destruction of incoming artillery and mortar rounds. LvnCenturion, old Army buddy and fellow-contractor of mine is involved in the process the Army currently has in place to rapidly assess and procure "usable right now or very soon" tech and TTP's. And someone is already working on just that. Below is a picture of 155mm artillery rounds... shot by a Phalanx while inbound. That's pretty impressive. As the Centurion notes:

Your blog mentions the Phalanx and one of the comments refers to a little piece of work that we have been involved with – namely shooting rockets, mortars, and artillery rounds out of the sky.

The attached picture is from an unclassified source, you may do with it as you will. Shooter is the Phalanx system.

Another "Rest of the Story"

this time, from a crew member of the USS San Francisco, the sub that hit the seamount. With pics. Thoughtfully provided by Bill the Rotorhead.

[I'm pulling the pictures, as it's been pointed out to me that they reveal elements of the internal structure that should have been covered in the photos (or at least the pics shouldn't be 'in the wild' which they are). I'm an agreeable sort, so I'll just provide this link - which has *almost* as much detail, from the Navy's official photo website. It's the story that's important, anyway. .ed]

This was forwarded to us from a Submariner (not a RI Base member - yet!) from his buddy who was the Diving Officer when they hit the sea mount. Interesting reading!

Some of the abbreviations are:

DOOD - Diving Officer of the Deck
OOD - Officer of the Deck
SBO - Switch Board Operator - my job at sea
COB - Chief of the Boat
EOOW - Engineering Officer of the Watch

"To say that I've had a bad year so far would be a little short on the tooth I think. Last year was a good one for the boat. After spending 5 months away from home in drydock (Sandy Eggo) we got our second BA on ORSE (bad juju), received the highest score in PacFlt for a submarine TRE inspection, aced our mine readiness inspection with 4 out of 4 hits, completed 2 outstanding missions (will have to shoot you), and completed a early ORSE just before Christmas with an EXCELLENT. It was also the first year that Auxiliary Division had a Christmas stand-down since coming out of the yards in 2002. A-division also took the CSS-15 Red DC award for the second year in a row. My retention has been 100% since I checked onboard in Oct 2002 amongst 1st/2nd and turd termers.

We were going to our first true liberty port 2 weeks ago, heading for Brisbane and fun in the sun. As this WOG knows, we were getting ready for our crossing the line ceremony and the crew was really upbeat, and hard charging, we had just completed a great year for the San Fran. To say the world went to shyte in a hand basket would be an understatement. I would put it closer to a nightmare that becomes reality.

The seamount that is a large part of the discussion the last 2 weeks is un- named. The charts we carried onboard were up to date as far as we can tell. No modern geographic data for this area was available to us onboard as it is a remote area not often traveled by the Navy. We have one of the BEST ANav's in the fleet onboard, a true quartergasket that takes pride in his job. We have RLGN's onboard, when they are running, they are accurate as hell for our position, they also drive Tomahawks. We knew where we were. All of my depth gauges and digital read the same depths as we changed depth to our SOE depth for flank. I can't discuss alot, because I'm still a participant of at least 2 investigations....LOL.

I was the Diving Officer of the Watch when we grounded. If you read the emails from ComSubPac, you will get some of the details, from flank speed to less than 4 knots in less than 4 seconds. We have it recorded on the RLGN's-those cranky bastages actually stayed up and recorded everything. For you guys that don't understand that, take a Winnebego full of people milling around and eating, slam it into a concrete wall at about 40mph, and then try to drive the damn thing home and pick up the pieces of the passengers.

As for the actual grounding, I can tell you that it was fortunate that myself and the Chief of the Watch were blessed by somebody. I was standing up, changing the expected soundings for a new depth on the chart (yes, we had just moved into deeper water) leaning against the ship's control panel with a hand grip, and the COW was leaning down to call the COB on the MJ.

The next thing to cross my mind was why am I pushing myself off of the SCP and where the hell the air rupture in the control room come from? I didn't know it, but I did a greater than 3g spiderman against the panel, punched a palm through the only plexiglass gauge on the SCP and had my leg crushed by the DOOW chair that I had just unbuckled from. The DOOW chair was broken loose by the QMOW flying more than 15 feet into it and smashing my leg against a hydraulic valve and the SCP. I don't remember freeing myself from it. If I had been buckled in, I don't think I would be writing this. The COW was slammed against the base of the Ballast Control Panel, and only injured his right arm. He could of destroyed the BCP, he was a big boy. Everybody else in control, with the exception of the helm, was severely thrown to the deck or other items that were in their way, and at least partially dazed. Within about 5 seconds of the deceleration, we blew to the surface, it took that 5 seconds for the COW to climb up the BCP and actuate the EMBT blow. We prepared to surface right away and got the blower running asap, I didn't know how much damage we had forward but knew it was not good, I wanted that blower running.

I would say that about 80% of the crew was injured in some way, but do not know the number. We grounded in the middle of a meal hour, just after field day, so most of the crew was up. Once we got the boat on the surface and semi-stable with the blower running the rest of the ship conditions started sinking in to our minds. We were receiving 4MC's for injured men all over the boat. I was worried that those reports were over whelming any equipment/boat casualties that could make our life worse. I had teams form up of able bodied men to inspect all of the forward elliptical bulkhead, lower level, and tanks below those spaces. I couldn't believe that we did not have flooding, it just didn't fit in. At one point I looked around in the control room, and saw the disaster. The entire control room deck was covered in paper from destroyed binders, and blood. It looked like a slaughterhouse, we had to clean it up.

I knew that Ash was severely injured and brought to the messdecks, he was one of my best men, and one of our best sailors onboard, he was like a son to me. After surfacing I was the control room supervisor, I had a boat to keep on the surface and fight and knew that if I went below to see how he was doing, it would teeter me on the brink of something that the ship did not need, the ship needed somebody who knew her. I have to say that the design engineers at Electric Boat, NavSea and others have designed a submarine that can withstand incredible amounts of damage and survive. We lost no systems, equipment, or anything broke loose during the impact. The damage to our sailors was almost all from them impacting into the equipment.

The crew is a testament to training and watch team backup. When a casualty occurs, you fight like you train, and train like you fight. It kept us alive during that 2+day period. [emphasis mine - ed]

I've just returned from the honor of escorting my sailor home to his family. God bless them, they are truly good people and patriotic. The Navy is doing everything they can for them and they are learning how submariner's take care of each other. During the memorial and viewing on Saturday, CSS-15 provided a video from the coast guard of us on the surface and the SEAL/Dr. medical team being helo'd in, the family had this video played on 2 screens in the background. It was a sobering reminder of what a hard woman the ocean can be. We had to call off the helo because of the sea state, it was becoming too dangerous for the aircraft, we almost hit it with the sail a couple of times. The sea would not allow us to medivac in our condition and that sea state. I was one of the 23 sent to the hospital that Monday. I was fortunate, my leg was not broken, just trashed/bruised. I walked on that leg for almost 24 hours before it gave out on me and they had it splinted. The SEAL made me promise not to walk on it, how do you refuse a SEAL? LOL. So I hopped around on a single leg for awhile, the other chief's were calling me Tiny Tim, LOL. "God bless each and every one! Except you, and you, that guy behind you!". The COB threatened to beat my @ss if I walk onboard before my leg is otay, he's about the only man onboard that I'd take that from, hehe.

The crew is doing better, we've lost a few due to the shock of the incident. We will make sure they are taken care of. The investigation goes on, and I have a new CO. I will only say that the San Fran was the best damn sub in the Navy under CDR Mooneys leadership. We proved that. God bless him and his family no matter what happens in the future, he is truly a good man.

I just need to get my leg healed and get back to fighting my favorite
steel bitch..."

[snipped pic links]

I have no idea what will happen to CDR Mooney - but it sounds like he was doing his job and doing it pretty well. If that's the case, hopefully after the Board of Inquiry, CDR Mooney will be allowed back in the saddle.

Note the part that I italicized - no better lesson for all of us warriors to learn, remember and practice. Just as Major Mucciarone said in an earlier post - Train as you Fight - Fight as you Train! Or as the Romans put it - More sweat in peace, less blood in war.

Update: Not being a sailor, I haven't been following a 'brewing controversy' in moonbat circles regarding the grounding of the USS San Francisco. I'm just impressed as hell with the designers, builders, and crew (thus far, including the Captain). The retired sailor at Eaglespeak (a fine blog in it's own right) has been following the story - over at The Stupid Shall Be Punished - where you should go do some more 'rest of the story' reading!

Update II: Rumblings among the submariners is that CDR Mooney's future may not be all that bright... and there is some discontent in the ranks over what is seen is a hazard of navigation being treated as a failure in command. I'm not fit to judge, so I won't, and we'll see what we see and hear what we hear. We certainly don't have the whole story yet.

Mardi Gras in Iraq.

Mardi Gras in Iraq. A Mardi Gras parade was staged on February 6th, The unit responsible was the 256th Infantry Brigade, which is a Louisiana National Guard outfit now serving in Iraq. Looks like the Cajuns needed Mardi Gras there as well as in Naw Leans.

The event took place in the 1st Cavalry Division’s area of operations. The reason Anheuser-Busch is mentioned in one of the “floats” is because they sent enough beer to Iraq for everyone to have two during the Superbowl. At first, the senior staff officers over there didn’t want to take it. But a senior general overruled them. Now that's leadership.

Photos by LTC Lenea Montgomery.

See Simon? *This* is a way the leadership can let the troops blow off steam without having to generally expose genitalia... just a thought, dude. And for those of you who've served or been serving since the early '80s... a General with cojones! Yes, Simon, I understand the dichotomy of what I just said...

Hat tip - Strategy Page, which has two more pictures from this event. Of course I chose the one with the Washington Artillery in it!

February 07, 2005

In re: CMS

This is a test.

This is only a test. (make sure sound is on!)

Go here. Heed.

This has been a test of the EPWS, Emergency PMS Warning System. This has only been a test. If you have subscribed to this service, in the event of a real emergency, glowing icons will appear in front of your face, clearly stating the level of alert and what precautions you should take.

We return you know to your regularly scheduled blogging.

by John on Feb 07, 2005 | I think it's funny!
» Villainous Company links with: CMS: America's Dirty Little Secret

And now for a little...

..."Rest of the Story" action, in regards to Rumsfeld and the Up-Armoring HMMWVs question and his now-infamous "You go to war with the Army you have." comment

Rumsfeld Blasts Russert for Edited Report

Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld blasted NBC's "Meet the Press" host Tim Russert on Sunday for selectively editing an exchange he had in December with a National Guardsman who complained that his unit's vehicles weren't armored.

"That was unfair and it was selectively taking out two sentences from a long exchange," the Pentagon chief complained. "And when you suggested that that's how I answered that question, that is factually wrong."

Russert had just aired a clip of the now infamous exchange between his guest and National Guardsman Specialist Thomas Wilson, where Wilson asked during a town hall meeting in Kuwait why "we soldiers have to dig through local landfills for pieces of scrap metal and compromised ballistic glass to up-armor our vehicles?"

In footage aired by Russert, Rumsfeld replied: "As you know, you go to war with the army you have, not the army you might want or wish to have at a later time.

"And if you think about it, you can have all the armor in the world on a tank and a tank can be blown up. And you can have an up-armored Humvee and it can be blown up."

After the clip had ended, the irked Defense Secretary said, "That is not how I answered that question.

"But, Mr. Secretary," replied Russert somewhat sheepishly. "It clearly represents the exchange and . . . "

"It does not," Rumsfeld shot back.

Prepared with a full transcript, the Defense chief overode the NBC host and proceeded to read his full answer:

"I talked to the general coming out here about the pace at which the vehicles are being armored," Rumsfeld began in response to Wilson.

"They have been brought from all over the world, wherever they're not needed, to places where they are needed. I'm told they are being--the Army is--I think it's something like 400 a month are being done now.

"And it's essentially a matter of physics. It's not a matter of money. It isn't a matter on the part of the Army's desire. It's a matter of production and capability of doing it. As you know, you go to the war with the Army you have. They're not the Army you might want or wish to have at a later time.

"Since the Iraq conflict began, the Army has been pressing ahead to produce armor necessary at a rate that they believe--it's a greatly expanded rate from what existed previously but a rate that they believe is the rate that can be accomplished.

"I can assure you that General Schumacher and the leadership of the Army and certainly General Whitcomb are sensitive to the fact that not every vehicle has the degree of armor that would be desirable to have, but that they're working at it at a good clip.

"It's interesting. I've talked a great deal about this with a team of people who've been working hard at the Pentagon. And if you think about it, you can have all the armor in the world on a tank and the tank could still be blown up. And you can have an up-armored Humvee and it can be blown up.

"And you can go down and the vehicle--the goal we have is to have many of those vehicles as is humanly possible with the appropriate level of armor available for the troops. And that's what the Army's been working on." [END OF RUMSFELD'S ANSWER TO WILSON].

After finishing the transcript, the defense chief told Russert:

"Now, that answer is totally different from picking out two lines. And I think it's an unfair representation and it's exactly what some of the newspapers around the country did."

Rumsfeld said that thanks to a program begun last year, ever vehicle in Iraq carry U.S. troops in combat zones would be fully armored by Feb. 15.

Like a litte more?

Human Events.

Here's Rumsfeld defending himself on Meet The Press - via their own transcript.

by John on Feb 07, 2005 | Global War on Terror (GWOT)
» 2Slick's Forum links with: Rumsfeld Speaks Out

We interrupt this militancy for some flippancy...

A man was being tailgated by a stressed out woman on a busy boulevard. Suddenly, the light turned yellow, just in front of him. He did the right thing, stopping at the crosswalk, even though he could have beaten the red light by accelerating through the intersection.

The tailgating woman hit the roof, and the horn, screaming in frustration as she missed her chance to get through the intersection with him. As she was still in mid-rant, she heard a tap on her window and looked up into the face of a very serious police officer. The officer ordered her to exit her car with her hands up. He took her to the police station where she was searched, fingerprinted, photographed, and placed in a cell.

After a couple of hours, a policeman approached the cell and opened the door. She was escorted back to the booking desk where the arresting officer was waiting with her personal effects.

He said, "I'm very sorry for this mistake. You see, I pulled up behind your car while you were blowing your horn, flipping the guy off in front of you, and cussing a blue streak at him. I noticed the 'Choose Life' license plate holder, the 'What Would Jesus Do" bumper sticker, the 'Follow Me to Sunday School' bumper sticker and the chrome-plated Christian fish emblem on the trunk. Naturally, I assumed you had stolen the car."

We've all seen these people before... they also have "Imagine World Peace," "Hug a child," and other feel good crap on their bumpers. It ain't just the Evangelicals!

Hat tip to Mr. Greenjeans!

Mud wrestling at Camp Bucca

By now you've probably heard about the mud wrestling incident, something a lot less worrisome than what normally happens during Spring Break around the country.

And, while it *was* a dumb idea, you can expect this kind of thing when you throw a whole bunch of very healthy, young men and women, facing danger, together. Heck, look what we get at South Padre, Daytona, and Mardi Gras from college kids!

Kind of a given.

If you haven't read about it you can do so here, here, and here.

If the troop described below is the one who got smacked, well, the CO didn't really have a whole lot of choice...

A young blond lifts her T-shirt to expose her breasts. A brunette turns her back to the camera and exposes her thong undies.

What I wanna really know is - where was the leadership? That wasn't an E4 and below only party. Which idiot non-commissioned or commissioned officer decided this was a good idea?

Like it or not, guys, this ain't your father's Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force. In the days of digits, stuff like this is going to get out. Yeah, it's dumb in many respects we have to worry about it. But we do. I've got a few junior enlisted contacts out there, one of whom is a female recently returned from Iraq. The environment bristles with sexual tension. That kind of environment always has. And having a female troop flash her boobs (or a male do the equivalent) does NOT help relieve that tension... nor make it easier to keep a safe environment for all concerned.

The issue of whether the women should be there is moot in this discussion - they are there, and the Commanders have to deal with it - and that means that they have to sit on it, even if it makes the troops pissy sometimes. Comes with the job.

What do you think?

The burden of duty.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I say to you, 1SGT Brad Kasal, United States Marine Corps.

Marine 1st Sergeant Brad Kasal (in the middle). This photo is from the most recent major offensive in Fallujah. 1stSgt Kasal sacrificed his own safety to save a room full of fellow Marines. He ended up taking several AK rounds in the leg. Most of his lower leg was blown away but you can't tell it from this pic. He took rounds in the back which his armor saved him from. He took one round through his butt which passed through both cheeks leaving 4 holes in him. And he also took the brunt of a grenade blast. He jumped on top of a younger Marine to cover him from the fire. He killed the enemy who did most of the damage to him and his men, and despite a massive loss of blood he never stopped fighting. Notice that he's still holding his pistol. He has been put in for the Medal of Honor for his actions on that day. He already has several Purple Hearts for previous battles throughout his career and he has turned some down so that he could stay with his unit.

Now that is taking care of your troops. Semper Fi, Top!

Hat tip: Boudicca! I'll resist the comparison that Boudicca made about Purple Hearts and Leaders.

And the story of this young Marine reminds me of my father, with his seven Purple Hearts.

ASKAN, Iraq (AP) -- The first time Lance Cpl. Tony Stevens was bombed in Iraq, a car packed with 155 mm shells exploded next to his Humvee just as a device containing five more shells detonated beneath it.

By bomb No. 9, the former baseball minor league shortstop had become a good luck-bad luck icon and the awe of his 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment patrolling the so-called "triangle of death" south of Baghdad.

The whole story is available here. Obviously, the Grandsons and Great-grandsons of the Old Breed still have the metal and the mettle.

Hat tip: Ghost of a Flea!


The Castle does not yet have the resources, in both time and funding, for a display of this sophistication.

WWI German equipment at the National Infantry Museum, Fort Benning, Georgia.

But it *is* nice to know that Great Minds think along similar lines.

The "Germanic Wall" in the Arsenal at Castle Argghhh!, which includes Austrian and Swiss long iron. (Like I said, space is at a premium, so disregard the Brit sniper rifle and the Bren gun on the AA tripod...)

Hi-res version is here.

February 06, 2005

Randomly arranged electrons

First off...

Here's a nice pic of SWWBO and Tammi!

Next - here's a pic of the Armorer, back in the day when he was a champion wrestler.

Third - here's a pic of Hal (in Hal's mind) when he's stalking the Deadly DustDragons that hide under the couch!

Lastly, the Armorer can find Armament Anywhere. Even in a Disney theme park.


And if you break the axle of the mangonel yer butt's are in a serious sling (i.e., the trebuchet's)!

(And the gorilla and tiger are actually "cast members" at Disney's Animal Kingdom, which, if you like critters, is a great way to spend a day!