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March 19, 2005


TSA stops troops from invading SFO Airport KCBS News Radio Website ^ | 3/17/2005 | KCBS

TSA Does Not Allow Military Personnel to Get Off the Plane at SFO Source: kcbs Publication date: 2005-03-17

(KCBS) - Military personnel returning from Afghanistan did not get a warm welcome when they touched down in San Francisco. KCBS reporter Margie Shafer learned that soldiers fighting the war on terror were not allowed to disembark this week, because of security concerns.

The soldiers landed on a chartered ATA aircraft, but were forced to remain on the plane for three hours, while it refueled.

"There are some security issues involved here. They have weapons," said Ed Gomez with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). "They have weapons, and we have to secure the weapons. We have to secure the airplane. We have to communicate properly."

Generally, unloaded weapons are guarded as military personnel go into the terminal to get drinks, call home or stretch.

But a KCBS source at the airport said a TSA official told the airline that if the soldiers got off the plane, the terminal would be evacuated.

I remember when traveling in uniform got you waved through customs. Happy Saint Patricks Day, fellas.

by John on Mar 19, 2005 | Pugnacious Stupidity
» Conservative Friends links with: TSA shows no respect for soldiers

Terry Schiavo

As Terry enters the first full day of her judicially-directed, medically-monitored death-by-dehydration... some observations.

Under Florida law, you do this to a dog, you go to jail and get fined.

Under Florida law, you can't do this to a condemned inmate. It would be considered cruel and unusual punishment.

But you can do it to Terry.

I know it's not *quite* that simple. But when you reduce it to that level... what else is it but a judicial murder-by-neglect?

Oh, I forgot. It's not murder. The Judge said it was okay.


Sometimes I really really really dislike being a grown-up. The whole rule-of-law thing.

I spent a good chunk of my adult life in a business where you can find yourself making hard choices, and life or death decisions. But, generally, you were also taking the risks.

Right now, I'm glad I'm not a church-going, confirmed, openly-religious person with s specified doctrine I should be showing some adherence to.

Because in my heart of hearts I know what I want to see happen.

If Terry dies this way - I hope the Michael Schiavo dies this way too. Trapped in his head, unable to communicate, and fully aware of what is happening.

I want him to know despair.

Your mileage may vary. S'okay.

I only hope that this is true... and that the people who are describing it truly understand what's going on.

But I remember the pictures and video of starving children in Africa - just because you have given up to despair, and don't seem to care any more... well, that doesn't mean you don't really care.

Fr. Rob isn't too keen on Terri's "Exit Protocol" and the double-speak contained therein.

This whole thing really revolves around what's going on inside Terri's head.

SWWBO has some thoughts on this, as well.

Barb is keeping running tabs.

All these bloggers are blogging to help save Terri's life:

by John on Mar 19, 2005 | Something for the Soul
» Righty in a Lefty State links with: Terri - Time has run out

March 18, 2005

Friday afternoon fare.

1. Tryouts are now open for the Castle Argghhh!!! soccer team.

We're the skins in this game film. (right-click, save as)

Pencil-necked sunken-chested geeks need not apply. Bill the Rotorhead already has filled the position of water boy.

2. Castle Services (Investigative) - (CS(I) for short) have just secured this tape of Bad Cat Robot and Barb escaping from Shaitan-in-Redmond on a recent Friday. Expectations are that this scene will play itself out today, too.

Right click here, and save as... (actually it looks like The Armorer at the airport waiting on SWWBO, too!)

Lastly, a caption contest.

Oooo. Brass. SWWBO likes brass...

Roving Castle Picture Provider Randy K. went to the UK - and sent us pictures of pretties!

Like this very early version of the M79 Grenade Launcher.

The data plate sez: Combined wheellock and matchlock hand-mortar. The stock inlaid with engraved stag-horn Nueremberg Mark and maker's mark G.H. over a pierced heart on lock plate, about 1590. One of the few surviving grenade launchers of the late 16th Century.

The curators are obviously of the opinion the engraved stag-horn is what's important here. The Armorer would rather take a look at the mechanism.

SWWBO would allow one of these in the living room, you betcha!

Hi-res pic available, click here.

Teach... your children well...

UPDATE: MSG Keith adds:

Thanks for the comments. I'm very proud of both my daughters. My other daughter just finished her enlistment as an AF AWACS crewman. I have just one request. Please, please, PLEASE, don't send me any books. When the books from Aimee's book drive, my sister-in-law's book drive and one other in Virginia get here, I'll have about 1000 books on hand! At 30 books a week, it's going to take a long time to get rid of them. I need blank ideotapes (although I wouldn't mind if the castle kittens send videotapes that weren't blank.....) and bubble mailers. Thanks!

If you want to know MSG Keith's mailing address - drop me a line.

The acorn didn't fall too far from the tree... article is from the Crimson White, U of A, Tuscaloosa.


Program lets troops overseas "read" to their kids.

by Lori Creel
Staff Reporter

While stationed in Bosnia, Master Sgt. D. Keith Johnson of the Army Reserve decided he wanted to help kids of soldiers overseas after reading about a program that collected books for the children of naval officers.

Two years later and now stationed in Afghanistan, Johnson has brought his plan to life in the form of the "Read to Your Kids" program, an effort that collects books for soldiers to read while being videotaped. The video is then sent home along with books to the soldiers' children.

Johnson's daughter, UA Residential Communities coordinator Aimee Hourigan, has helped bring the program to the University. She held a book drive that ended last month with more than 300 books raised for children of American troops stationed in Kabul, Afghanistan.

As of March 4, the program had produced 186 videotapes overall for children of service members overseas, she said.

Hourigan said she first brought up the idea for the book drive with the resident assistants in Burke Hall and then with the Residence Hall Association because she thought it would be a good service project.

RHA members liked the idea and made it their community service project for the month in mid-January. Burke RAs managed to raise about $40 in donations from students to help send the books overseas, Hourigan said.

She said other students and staff on campus have also contributed to the program by donating books, as well as money, to ship the books to Afghanistan.

Several members of the softball team who live in Parham Hall bought books for the team to sign before they were donated. The Tutwiler Hall Council collected books by organizing a competition at First Wesleyan Academy, sponsoring a pizza party for the preschool class that brought in the most books.

The THC also worked with Tuscaloosa County High School's Key Club to collect books for the drive.

As a result, the council was recently awarded the South Atlantic Affiliate of College and University Residence Halls' "Best of the Month Award" for its community service in the book drive.

Hourigan said the program has received a number of testimonials from family members of soldiers in Afghanistan who say their children get up in the morning and ask them to "play mommy" or "play daddy" on TV.

"It's helping soldiers from several different areas," Hourigan said. "There are different branches of the military working together at the base."

Hourigan said most of the soldiers at the base in Kabul are reservists whose families are used to having them at home, since the Army Reserve requires only one weekend of service per month and two weeks of service during the summer.

"The kids are used to having their parents around all the time," she said.

From her personal experience, Hourigan said she understood how helpful a program like this could be for children, since her father was in the National Guard when she was younger and couldn't always be home for holidays and birthdays.

"[A videotape of my dad reading a story] would have been a really cool thing to have as a kid," she said.

Though the book drive ended Feb. 14, students who still want to help can donate blank VHS videotapes or bubble packing envelopes to the "Read to Your Kids" program.

Donations can be given to Aimee Hourigan in Burke Hall.

For new visitors to the Castle - MSG Keith has assumed the duties of the Castle's roving war correspondent in Afghanistan.

Update: Fuzzybear Lioness' comment should be drug up into the light of day for the Googlebot.

MSG Johnson got this program off the ground through You can read about it on the the site. Click on "Where to Send." Then select "View Contacts by Last Name" in the pulldown menu on the left and look for MSG Johnson.

Also, look for 1LT Randy Curry's name to see a child's reaction to a video of her father reading a book. Very sweet picture.

by John on Mar 18, 2005 | Observations on things Military
» BLACKFIVE links with: They Hate America
» Blog o'RAM links with: Real Support for Troops

March 17, 2005


I think I'll go home and bury myself in a bottle of tequila... I will *be* the worm...

Dusty links to Lowry today in The Corner - where Lowry is posting the stuff I posted yesterday... but Dusty's post gets linked and mine goes unmentioned (note to self, *quality* apparently *does* matter)...

Bill thought I was mad at him this morning. Not enough emoticons, apparently...

Cassie is snarking me and I don't have time to properly enjoy it. And that's *really* aggravating... Lioness is making kissy-face with Cassie (well, I *do* like to watch) in the comments.

Sgt B is snarking me about my non-functional collection pieces... Dude - IT'S THE LAW "ROUND HERE! (snarl, spit, growl)

And SWWBO *still* ain't home and leaves again on Sunday...

*looks aroundly darkly with slitted eyes...*

Man! I'm gonna set the scruples loose on all y'all!

Huh? Oh, it's St Pat's day...?

So, we're excused from anything serious, though Dusty and Keith tried... roving correspondent and photographer Randy provides this:

St. Patrick's Day: the one day of the year when the 2% of the world's population that's Irish gets the other 98% completely shit faced.

Leg 1: 7 a.m. to 11 a.m.

Rise and shine early. Take a long, hot shower, and liberally use aftershave, perfume, cologne, deodorant and powders afterwards, because by 3p.m., you will be excreting raw alcohol and other poisons. The bars open at 9, so use this time to prepare. Collect the following supplies and put them in a place where you will easily be able to find it in an impaired condition. We recommend the bathroom floor, between the toilet and the baseboard heater, since that's where you'll probably end up: 1 litre spring water, 1 bottle aspirin, 5 pairs incontinence pants, 1 bottle Pepto Bismil, 1 gram morphine sulphate, 1 oz. human adrenaline extract, 1 pre-charged electric defibrillator, 4 Cardiac needles, 1 trauma surgeon. Brew a strong pot of coffee and add 9 oz. Jameson Irish whiskey, drink. Note that coffee should be drunk liberally throughout the day. There is a reason that the Irish invented Irish Coffee; unless you ingest a large volume of artificial stimulants throughout the course of St. Patrick's Day, you are going to die. Arrange to be picked up to be taken to the bar by 8:45 a.m. We cannot stress enough that you should not drink and drive. There is no reason to chance losing your license or killing someone in a drunken state when you have plenty of idiot friends willing to take that risk on your behalf.

The remainder is in the Flash Traffic/Extended Entry

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

by John on Mar 17, 2005 | I think it's funny!
» The Bow Ramp links with: Liveblogging from AJ"s

Another sitrep from the 'Stan.

This time from DoD"


Afghanistan is making good political progress:

- The country has a president, a constitution, and parliamentary elections are scheduled for the summer.
- Women are playing a greater role in the country's political and economic life.
- The Afghan government has established good working relationships with its neighbors, especially Pakistan.

The Afghan army is a unifying force for the country:

- Units are composed of all ethnic groups from around the country.
- Twenty-two thousand soldiers in the Afghan National Army have been trained and deployed.
- Increased economic activity in Afghanistan is a sign of the country's growing security and stability.

NATO is playing an important and growing part in stability operations in Afghanistan:

- NATO commands the International Security Assistance Force in and around Kabul. That force is expanding to the western portion of the country.
- NATO will establish four additional provincial reconstruction teams in western Afghanistan.

Opium cultivation remains a huge problem:
- Leaders are pleased with the level of cooperation they have received to confront the drug problem.
- Recently, Afghan forces seized more than 2,000 pounds of heroin in an operation near Jalalabad.

The search for Osama bin Laden continues. Operations in Iraq have not detracted from this priority.

The number of violent contacts between Coalition forces and enemy fighters in Afghanistan is declining:

- Insurgent activity has decreased, and the number of former Taliban fighters willing to be part of the solution instead of the problem has increased.
- Afghan security forces are operating much more freely in areas that used to be very violent.
- Nongovernmental and international aid organizations are much more willing to go into many areas in Afghanistan.

Source: DOD

Da*n the Chimpster! How dare he!

"NCOs were running the war and it was a sight to behold..."

Go here, read that Corner entry by Rich Lowery, and come back.

Done? OK...let's review the most salient point in the article...

"12. Said one of the biggest problems was money and regs. There was a $77 million gap between the supplemental budget and what he needed in cash on the ground to get projects started. Said he spent most of his time trying to get money. Said he didn't do much as a "combat commander" because the war he was fighting was a war at the squad and platoon level. Said that his NCOs were winning the war and it was a sight to behold."

Bet you thought the Instapilot would bite on the paragraph about air, eh?


NCOs running wars at the squad and platoon level ain't exactly a novel concept, but neither is humanity rediscovering martial lessons learned from the time your average Roman soldier was running his gladius hispanicus through Carthaginian throats.

Anyway...reading these kinds of things reminds me of my NCOs. Granted, in the Air Force, the sergeants and Chiefs have talked the officers into doing the vast majority of the actual fighting, but you can't help but be impressed by both the NCOs themselves, and the society that produced them. Coupled with the unique American military culture that, well, unleashes them, and the Iraq war should hold few surprises (albeit always in retrospect, unless you're VDH).

Two of my most successful leadership phrases were: "Knock yourself out." and "Call me when you're done." The message was a combination of, "Do this; impress me." and "I trust you to do this." Powerful stuff with 21-year-olds.

The guy/gal that launched and recovered me rarely had more than three stripes on his/her sleeve. The average Russian Air Force crew chief rank during the cold war was a Captain...Major was not unusual...but enlisted crew chiefs, plane Captains, whatever you wanted to call them, simply didn't exist.

But Americans barely on the cusp of beginning their adult lives could make sure a 7+-million dollar airplane--that had enough firepower hanging on it to lay waste to a city block in a matter of seconds--was ready to go at 0300, 2200, 1200, whenever. They'd rather have meanest E-9 ("the Chiefs" I often refer to)chew their a$$es until they had to a$$ left than have "their" jet...*shudder*...ground/air abort.

That's why, as a squadron commander, I was very, very, very careful about giving the Airman First...The Look...if/when my jet died before taxi/arming/takeoff/over target, ESPECIALLY if we were loaded for bear and going out to do something important. It would have been redundant--he/she was silently sh***ing on him/herself and giving the airplane a baleful stare that assured me it wasn't going to happen again...not for a while, anyway. They knew as well as I did how importnat the mission was. I didn't have to tell them.

God forbid a Chief get involved.

Anyway, I have two points:
#1) That Corner post was not about things (cosmic F/A-22s; M1/A2s; stealth destroyers, whatever) but about people...and not the known ones, rather the unknown ones who really take the fight--or help take the fight--to the enemy in ways no other nation can match. Most of the regular readers of this blog know that already, which brings me to point...
#2) Every war is discovery learning for the vast majority of Americans, particularly about their fellow Americans.

It's fun to watch our supporting commentators marvel at the "average" NCO in the Corner and it's sad to listen to the opposite side of the spectrum say, in unison, "Screw Them" or "Steal the yellow ribbons off their cars." me America, the NCOs doing what they do--and their breathtaking ability to do it better with every passing day--should make you sleep well at night. I always did.

by Dusty on Mar 17, 2005 | Observations on things Military
» The View From The Nest links with: If Iraq Is Smart

Where'd I put my metal detector?

Former frequent commenter now blogger Gunner (we lose more commenters that way...) still looks out for the Armorer.

My advice is for you to start digging in your garden ------------------------- Man finds tank in garden

A metal object struck by a Waikato couple digging out their back garden recently later turned out to be a four-tonne army tank.

Jane and Emanuel Hurley discovered the World War 2 bren-gun carrier on their Ohaupo property, 17km south of Hamilton.

A few weeks ago, Mr Hurley was rotary hoeing the garden when he struck metal.

"He started uncovering it, thinking he could pull whatever it was out, but he had no luck," said Mrs Hurley.

A neighbour who owned contracting machinery also had no joy so they all took a break for a day or so.

"Then a friend made it his mission to uncover whatever it was," said Mrs Hurley.

"He had a go at it every day or so and slowly exposed it."

When they realised the enormity of what they had found, they called in a scrap dealer who had to use two trucks for two hours to haul out the mystery object.

Mrs Hurley said they realised it was some kind of military vehicle.

She took photographs and was editing them on the computer in their antique shop Collectamania when a customer identified it as a bren-gun carrier. More checking confirmed its identity.

Mr Hurley said the carrier was beyond repair.

Mrs Hurley had heard some former military vehicles were used on farms after the war.

"The things you find in your garden," she said.

Not only that, but they now have a huge hole to fill.

"Who knows, we might even put a swimming pool in.".

Who knows what you could find


Hey, this one may be in New Zealand... but who knows?

Looking around for a link to the actual story I see I've been neglecting Blogs of War or I'd have seen this myself!

by John on Mar 17, 2005 | I think it's funny!
» Overtaken by Events links with: Assisted Content

News From Afghanistan

Army Public Affairs guy and Castle War Correspondent MSG Keith sends:

14 Mar 2005 Panjshir Province in the Panjshir Valley Our new general is back to doing the Grand Openings of the National Army Volunteer Centers around Afghanistan. There are 10 or so left to open so I'll get to do some more traveling every week or so. Yesterday I went with the advance team to the Panjshir Valley to do final checks on one we will open on Wednesday. It was a four hour drive each way on roads that were some of the most kidney jarring roads I've ever been on. They could have done Jeep wrangler commercials on these roads.

We passed through several small villages on the way. The kids were always waving at us and giving us a thumbs up. Before the Americans arrived in Afghanistan, a thumbs up was a derogatory gesture. Dumb Americans that we are, that was what we use everywhere we go. After a while, the Afghans started using the gesture as we use it, as a good thing. Although some times, I'm not really sure...
After finally getting to the village where the NAVC was we checked out everything to make sure it good to go. Not a lot of kids around today to get photos of, but maybe tomorrow there will be. We ate lunch with the NAVC commander. It was the typical chicken with rice, Pepsi, and tangerines for desert. Not as good as most, but not bad.

After lunch, we visited the tomb of Mossoud. It was very cool. Mossoud was an Afghan who fought against the Russians, then against the Taliban. He was killed by some suicide bombers on Sep 9, 2001. His history is pretty cool. Do a Google search and read about him.
One of the things that struck me, and something one of the general's security detail talked about on the trip, was how many great armies have had their butt's kicked in Afghanistan. Genghis Khan, Alexander the Great, the Persians, the British, the Russians, the Taliban, although it took our help for that one. The Panjshir Valley is called 'ambush alley' and for a reason. If you look at the photos, you'll see that in parts, the walls go straight up. There are dead Russian tanks and armored vehicles all the way up and down the Panjshir.

Some upside down in the river where Russians were ambushed, a vehicle disabled, and the only way around it was to push it out of the way. That usually meant into the river.

Anyway, enjoy the photos. I'm going to the grand opening tomorrow, but obviously won't take as many scenery shots.

You can reach the album by clicking here.

by John on Mar 17, 2005 | Global War on Terror (GWOT) | Observations on things Military
» Mudville Gazette links with:
» Mudville Gazette links with:
» Mudville Gazette links with:
» Mudville Gazette links with:

That Latin Thang

Those of you who have not had the benefit of a classical education, thereby enabling you to snark in five languages--four of them defunct and one of those without an alphabet--are probably feeling somewhat frustrated by the increasing popularity of Latin in the Castle denizens' one-upmanship snarks.

Our newly-instituted Continuing Adult (heh) Education Program is designed remedy this unfortunate situation.

The first lesson: Contemporary Latin Throwaway Phrases. Now you, too, can drape yourself in a toga (also suitable for weekend party-wear), recline [*thud*] ow-- keep your seats--and mingle with the literati without fear of embarrassment.

Domino vobiscum.
(The pizza guy is here.)

Scribet similarum ad amphibious gaius.
(They all post like Sarge B.)

Sharpei diem.
(Seize the wrinkled dog.)

Nucleo predicus dispella conducticus.
(Remove foil before microwaving.)

Bodicus mutilatimus, unemploimi ad infinitum.
(Better take the nose ring out before the job interview.)

Habet XXIII skiduu.
(Great caboose, cutie.)

Minutus cantorum, minutus balorum,
minutus scrupulus descendum pantalorum
(A little song, a little dance, a little scruple down your pants.)

And no, I won't do Irish jokes. I'm already in enough trouble, since I am, in the words of my buddy Norm, a
[*snarl*] "Bluidy, lang-leggit Sassenach!"
[*sneer*] "Dress-wearing, haggis-munching Pict!"
[*clink of Guinness containers*]

Happy Saint Patrick's Day!

by CW4BillT on Mar 17, 2005 | General Commentary
» Villainous Company links with: Gloria Threw Up on the Bus on Monday?**

March 16, 2005

What's *really kewl* about this picture?

Look closely.

There is something very funny here.

(if you are new to blogs, click on the sentence above)

The caption for the photo (which you see in the "Another View From Iraq" post below) is this:

March 3, 2005 - Sgt. 1st Class Patrick Sandel, from 3rd Battalion, 156th Infantry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division, patrols northern Iraq in his Bradley Fighting Vehicle. Sandel survived 19 roadside bomb and mortar attacks and one car bomb. By Command Sgt. Maj. Steven Stuckey

SFC Sandel is my kinda guy. Can you guess why? It's got nothing to do with being an IED/Mortar-magnet....

HQDA Talking Points Memo...

Coded instructions received. Must now disseminate...

If you love the Armorer, the Armorer would *really* like this for the celebration of his Natal Day. SWWBO has already responded in the negative... specifically:

"ha ha!



Sadly, the Armorer suspects no one of sufficient means has the necessary fondness for the Armorer... The Armorer is now slipping badly into Dole-like third person referents...

It's tough to be Irish. My name is Donovan. I know.

New Army Manual sets limits on interrogation methods. Just shows what being badly out of practice and out of favor does to you when you have to relearn old stuff.

PVT Graner, now a resident near me, is being stupid and stubborn. He probably thinks he's being loyal. But then he also thought what he did at Abu Ghraib was a good idea, so I don't think I'll adopt his standards.

Remember the drowning incident that involved some Iraqi bloggers? Someone is going to jail. Another new resident near me.

The Big Chief, General Myers, says things are looking up in Iraq. General Myer's full points are in the Flash Traffic/extended entry of this post.

Uh-oh. Kos, Eschaton, Marshall, call your office. Dang the Chimp, anyway!

CENTCOM's projected Way Ahead.

Prime Minister Berlusconi looks to the polls. The Brits will probably be asked to pick up the slack... I wonder how much slack they've got? How about now that things are looking up, some other players step up to the plate?

Looks like we've turned over some more rocks in our POW handling. Would that the UN would take the same kind of look at it's operations... We should continue to dig - just wish the people who prod us to would do so themselves.

To close out the upper part - via Cassandra, Major K.

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

Sigh, again.

Philadelphia. It's important to politicians to be *seen* as doing something, even if the gesture is, in the main, meaningless. Philadelphia is having a very bad spate of violence. 21 murders in 8 days is a Bad Thing.

Within the past eight days there have been 21 homicides in Philadelphia, including three in the late-night and early morning hours after the prosecutor made her appeal Monday.

The referenced appeal is to the witnesses, to come forward and help the police get the murderers, with a promise of protection. Well and good. Her job is exactly that, and she's in crisis mode.

Now the Mayor has to fly top-cover. And he's resorting to the usual stuff, most of which is pointless and doesn't address the issue.

Street has declared the violence throughout the city a crisis and as a result has ordered the full review of police department policies and has suggested a full moratorium on the issuing of gun permits.

In addition, Street has requested a meeting with Governor Ed Rendell to talk about possible new gun legislation.

So, we're going to prevent people who are willing to go through the legal hoops to procure a weapon from having that option... while the people who give a flying flip about legal hoops are *most likely* the ones doing the killing.

Yes, Mr. Mayor - let's make a symbolic yet pointless gesture that doesn't address the problem - but does give a nice soundbite impression of "doing something, anything" about the problem at hand.

It would appear from the article that most of the killings are drug-related. And the Philly PD is having real trouble getting cooperation from locals.

Law enforcement officials have been on a campaign to persuade city residents to cooperate more with police since last year’s killing of Faheem Thomas-Childs, a 10-year-old boy struck by a stray bullet outside at his North Philadelphia school. The shooting happened in front of dozens of people, but few witnesses have spoken up. “We know that people know who killed Faheem Thomas-Childs. We know that people know. We need them to come forward,” Abraham said. Nearly all progress made in that investigation has come from the work of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, not from the public, she said.

Just a thought, Mr. Mayor, Governor Rendell: Perhaps the issue isn't the guns, per se. Rather than further restrict the activities of lawful citizens, why don't we look at what motivates the murderers? Hint: The thought process *isn't* "Gee, I have this nice new Glock I bought from the guy behind that abandoned building - I think I will now go kill someone with it at random."...

Nor is it more like "Farking bassid is trying to muscle in on my turf, I"m gonna kill the bassid. I will now go to the police and get a permit, then go to a nice gun store and purchase a gun, and then go kill that farking bassid!"

Nope, it's more like, "Farking bassid is trying to muscle in on my turf, I"m gonna kill the bassid. I'll use a gun, but hell, a knife will do..."

Note - the primary motivation is not the weapon. Most spikes in gun violence in the last hundred years in this country are attributable to one thing. Prohibition of some sort - or renewed emphasis on enforcement of a prohibition - creating a vacuum of supply and demand that criminals fill. *That* is your issue, sir. Attack the drug war, you'll have some success. Attacking guns and lawful owners doesn't do a damn thing - but it looks good, doesn't it?

The whole story is here.

by John on Mar 16, 2005 | Gun Rights
» GOP and the City links with: Pull Out of Philly Now!
» links with: Domestic idiots

Another view of Iraq from inside the TC's hatch...

March 3, 2005 - Sgt. 1st Class Patrick Sandel, from 3rd Battalion, 156th Infantry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division, patrols northern Iraq in his Bradley Fighting Vehicle. Sandel survived 19 roadside bomb and mortar attacks and one car bomb. By Command Sgt. Maj. Steven Stuckey

This is probably all over by now - but it was new to me... Just received this from a friend; he didn't know the author, but thought that it was worth passing on.

Don't know the guy who wrote this piece; a friend at Ft Hood sent it to me. Will give you a different view of Iraq than you get from the MSM.
I went to an AUSA dinner last night at the Ft. Hood Officers' Club to hear a speech by MG Pete Chiarelli, Commanding General of the 1st Cavalry Division. He and most of the Div. have just returned from Iraq. Very informative and, surprise, the Mainstream Media (MSM) isn't telling the story. I was not there as a reporter, didn't take notes but I'll make some the points I remember that were interesting, surprising or generally stuff I had not heard before.

It was not a speech per se. He just walked and talked, showed some slides and answered questions. He is a very impressive guy.

1. While units of the Cav served all over Iraq, he spoke mostly of Baghdad and more specifically Sadr City, the big slum on the eastern side of the Tigris River. He pointed out that Baghdad is, in geography, is about the size of Austin. Austin has 600,000 to 700,000 people. Baghdad has 6 to7 million people.

2. The Cav lost 28 main battle tanks. He said one of the big lessons learned is that, contrary to doctrine going in, M1-A2s and Bradley's are needed, preferred and devastating in urban combat and he is going to make that point to the JCS next week while they are considering downsizing armor.

3. He showed a graph of attacks in Sadr City by month. Last Aug-Sep they were getting up to 160 attacks per week. During the last three months, the graph had flatlined at below 5 to zero per week.

4. His big point was not that they were "winning battles" to do this but that cleaning the place up, electricity, sewage, water were the key factors. He said yes they fought but after they started delivering services that the Iraqis in Sadr City had never had, the terrorist recruiting of 15 and 16 year olds came up empty.

5. The electrical "grid" is a bad, deadly joke. He said that driving down the street in a HUMMV with an antenna would short out a whole block of apt. buildings. People do their own wiring and it was not uncommon for early morning patrols would find one or two people lying dead in the street, having been electrocuted trying to re-wire their own homes.

6. Said that not tending to a dead body in the Muslim culture never happens. On election day, after suicide bombers blew themselves up trying to take out polling places, voters would step up to the body lying there, spit on it, and move up in the line to vote.

7. Pointed out that we all heard from the media about the 100 Iraqis killed as they were lined up to enlist in the police and security service. What the media didn't point out was that the next day there were 300 lined up in the same place.

8. Said bin Laden and Zarqawi made a HUGE mistake when bin laden went public with naming Zarqawi the "prince" of al Qaeda in Iraq. Said that what the Iraqis saw and heard was a Saudi telling a Jordanian that his job was to kill Iraqis. HUGE mistake! It was one of the biggest factors in getting Iraqis who were on the "fence" to jump off on the side of the coalition and the new government.

9. Said the MSM was making a big, and wrong, deal out of the religious sects. Said Iraqis are incredibly nationalistic. They are Iraqis first and then say they are Muslim but the Shi'a - Sunni thing is just not that big a deal to them.

10. After the election the Mayor of Baghdad told him that the people of the region (Middle East) are joyous and the governments are nervous.

11. Said that he did not lose a single tanker truck carrying oil and gas over the roads of Iraq. Think about that. All the attacks we saw on TV with IEDs hitting trucks but he didn't lose one. Why? Army Aviation! Praised his air units and said they made the decision early on that every convoy would have helicopter air cover. Said aviators in that unit were hitting the 1,000 hour mark (sound familiar?). Said a convoy was supposed to head out but stopped at the gates of a compound on the command of an E6. He asked the SSG what the hold up was. E6 said, "Air, sir." He wondered what was wrong with the air, not realizing what the kid was talking about. Then the AH-64s showed up and the E6 said, "That's air sir." ... and then moved out.

12. Said one of the biggest problems was money and regulations. There was a $77 million gap between the supplemental budget and what he needed in cash on the ground to get projects started. Said he spent most of his time trying to get money. Said he didn't do much as a "combat commander" because the war he was fighting was a war at the squad and platoon level. Said that his NCOs were winning the war and it was a sight to behold.

13. Said that of all the money appropriated for Iraq, not a cent was earmarked for agriculture. Said that Iraq could feed itself completely and still have food for export but no one thought about it. Said the Cav started working with Texas A&M University on agriculture projects and had special hybrid seeds sent to them through Jordan. TAMU analyzed soil samples and worked out how and what to plant. Said he had an E7 from Belton, TX (just down the road from Ft. Hood) who was almost single-handedly rebuilding the agriculture industry in the Baghdad area.

14. Said he could hire hundreds of Iraqis daily for $7 to $10 a day to work on sewer, electric, water projects, etc. but that the contracting rules from CONUS applied so he had to have $500,000 insurance policies in place in case the workers got hurt. Not kidding. The CONUS peacetime regulations slowed everything down, even if they could eventually get waivers for the regulations.

There was more, lots more, but the idea is that you haven't heard any of this from anyone, at least I hadn't and I pay more attention than most.

Great stuff! We should be proud. Said the Cav troops said it was ALL worth it on Jan. 30 when they saw how the Iraqis handled Election Day. Made them very proud of their service and what they had accomplished.

In response to the question in the comments. Two more pics.

Hi-res of the above shot - those shadows are from the brackets (which certainly begs Bill's question!).

Hi-res image of a Bradley with the armor modules installed.

March 15, 2005

Near-real-time news...

...forwarded from the Castle's War Correspondent, MSG Keith in Afghanistan, actual military journalist unknown - you probably heard it here, first.

*Welcome readers from the Blogfather's home, National Review! More stories from Afghanistan to be found 'round here - like right below this one...* Feel free to poke about and hang around!

Subject: [alert-cfca] US army medics deliver baby aboard flying Black Hawk (03:07 Eastern Standard Time)

KABUL, March 15 (AFP) - An Afghan mother of 14 children added another to her large family, but this time in mid-air on a US military helicopter, the army said Tuesday, hailing the onflight birth as a first.

"Hey, we've got another passenger on board," the pilot radioed to escort aircraft Saturday after US medics delivered 40-year-old Melawa's baby girl, the first onflight birth over a combat zone according to the military.

Melawa, the wife of a local village elder, was evacuated from Shkin, in southeast Afghanistan close to the Pakistani border, as she was struggling to give birth after 18 hours of labour.

Her baby daughter, however, did not wait for the crew to land.

Specialist Kyle Storbakken, a medical technician, and Doctor David Barber, commander of the General Hospital's medical detachment at Salerno, in southeast Afghanistan, delivered her while in flight.

"It was pretty intense. It's hard to believe we helped a woman give birth to a baby up there," Storbakken said.

Storbakken helped the woman and her husband onto the helicopter. Shortly after it took off, the woman's situation appeared to worsen, Storbakken said. The helicopter's pilot powered the rotors at full speed toward the US camp near Khost. A few minutes later Storbakken came over the aircraft's intercom with good news.

"We've got a baby girl," Storbakken announced, after he cut the umbilical cord, the press release said.

They were later transported to US Bagram Airfield, where doctors reported both were doing well.

Kewl. Very kewl.

UPdate - dangit. Stars and Stripes has access to the same sources I do - and ran with it first... ah well, we were mebbe first on *this* continent... though I'm betting the Early Bird had it, too!

by John on Mar 15, 2005 | Global War on Terror (GWOT)
» BLACKFIVE links with: Blackhawk Adds Passenger While In Flight
» View From Tonka links with: Afghanistan - Passenger Added in Flight
» Speed of Thought... links with: "Hey, we've got another passenger on board"
» Testing Account links with: Linkagery 3-17-05

The "Other War"

Castle War Correspondent MSG Keith sends:


Helicopter rescue by ISAF

Release #2004 - 47 19 October, 2004

KABUL, Afghanistan: Four JEMB election workers and two Afghan Police officers who had been stranded in freezing conditions in remote mountains have been rescued by ISAF helicopters in a joint operation with Coalition forces. The Afghan workers had been on their way to collect four ballot boxes from villages in Badakshan Province when a Russian Mi-8 helicopter due to collect them was forced to make an emergency landing on October 12.

Walking in often blizzard-like conditions, the workers retrieved the ballot boxes, but it has been impossible to reach them until now from outside because of the weather. Although rescue equipment was dropped to them, they began to suffer from hypothermia and their satellite telephone battery ran out of power. Yesterday evening a five person specialist rescue team from the US-led Coalition was parachuted in, to arrange for today's recovery.

At daylight two ISAF German CH-53 helicopters took off from Feyzabad, one
carrying specialist medical equipment. At the same time a ISAF German C-160
aircraft left Kunduz, to provide an aerial communications relay back to base. At 08.20 the helicopters had located the party and set off for the return journey with the JEMB officials, ANP officers, the US rescuers and the four ballot boxes on board.

On the return journey the six rescued received specialist medical attention on the medevac helicopter for a variety of symptoms including hypothermia,
dehydration and breathing difficulties. On their return to Kunduz at 11.40, the JEMB workers was transferred to the PRT hospital for a check-up, but have been released this afternoon. All six were said to be 'extremely tired'. The US rescue team has returned to the Bagram air base.

Exhausted crew-members of the German helicopters with the four ballot-boxes at Airport Kunduz

"I am very proud of everyone involved in this rescue, in remote and tough territory," says Lieutenant General Jean Louis Py, Commander of ISAF. "We worked closely with Coalition forces and the JEMB, and through good team work, and the excellent skills of those involved, I am very pleased this story has a happy ending. I am particularly struck by the dedication of the JEMB officials who stuck by their ballot boxes, even when things must have looked pretty desperate."

Chief of staff PRT Kunduz, LTC Matthias Reibold, welcomed and escorted the rescued to the PRT hospital.

"The rescue operation was conducted under borderline flying conditions on the edge of the oxygen poor sphere," adds Colonel Hans-Jürgen Ochs, Commander of this German Operational Wing. "It was high-level flying skills combined with efficient planning and favourable meteorological conditions which led to the desired success."

The ballot boxes have now been transferred to the Kunduz counting house where counting for the Province of Badakshan can now begin.

Note: The JEMB (Joint Election Management Board) is the Afghanistan Body responsible for managing the Presidential Election. It is being supported by ISAF.

While I don't doubt they exist, I wonder how many Americans these days would take such an interest in a chance at something approaching consensual government? Back in the days of the frontier, they did - but now? While I don't advocate making voting and counting votes *this* difficult... I find some of the whines of Americans as to why they *don't* vote to be embarrassing.

by John on Mar 15, 2005 | Global War on Terror (GWOT)
» The Jawa Report links with: Jawa Report Celebrates One Million Visitors
» Mudville Gazette links with: More Updates
» Blog o'RAM links with: To the Ends of the Earth

Good morning!

Last night's Irish Stew dinner my Rotary Club put on for a fund raiser went well. We probably raised close to $5K, which goes to our scholarship fund. Which is good, since we give away 5 $1K scholarships... this was the first year I could participate, as previous to this I was usually at Fort Irwin or JFCOM doing "stuff". Banking on long-ago job experience, I'm one of the cooks. Well see today if there were any spikes in food poisoning...

I had eight tickets to sell/giveaway (we pay for 'em - it's a *mostly* guaranteed fund-raiser... I gave mine to single soldiers at Fort Leavenworth, and to prosepective new Rotarian (suck 'em in!).

The 17th Red Ensign Standard is up. Read some militant Canadians - and honor their fallen Mounties.

In other news you might actually be interested in... The UAW relents under pressure from *everybody*.

Interesting, but inconclusive, news from the Pentagon.

The battle continues, regardless of what side you are on - with each side co-opting the other's language.

Some members of Congress don't manage their own finances any better than they manage the budget...

Out with those difficult words and concepts! I gotta admit - to me, God speaks in Elizabethan English... gimme the King James!

Red Simonsen died - those who know, know. If you don't know, you probably don't care, either, except in a general human kindness sense.

Up and coming sailors...

With apologies to the Fighting Peanut...

Not everything proposed, makes it:

ARMORED WARFARE: JCM Killed by Friendly Fire

March 15, 2005: The U.S. Army is canceling its JCM (Joint Common Missile) program, meant to develop a replacement for the Hellfire anti-tank missile. The 108 pound Hellfire , used by helicopters and UAVs, has been in service since 1985, and some 76,000 have been built. The JCM was becoming too expensive, and many officers believed that the existing Hellfire II and heavier (670 pound) Maverick and SDB (250 pound Small Diameter smart Bomb) cover all the missions the services need to handle. The demise of the JCM also spotlights the importance of the guidance systems for missiles, and the ease with which missiles can be upgraded with more effective electronics. The basic design of these older missiles is not likely to change any time soon, and any of the main components (structure, rocket motor, controls, warhead, guidance system) can be upgraded. While the idea of having a common air-to-surface anti-tank missile for all the services was attractive, it simply didn't add up in the end. The navy and air force fighters can use a larger missile, and the Hellfire has gotten a new lease on life via use on small UAVs. JCM, while nice in theory, didn't pan out in practice.

Afghanistan - the war the media doesn't care about - because it's going well... but still, you'd think they'd be all over it, since the Euros have a significant presence there - the subject of a later post today!

AFGHANISTAN: Coalition Casualties Way Down

March 1 5, 2005: Deaths from Taliban and al Qaeda violence are running at about ten a week. This is less than the deaths from warlord gunmen and common criminals. The Sunni Arab media, especially the satellite news networks, do what they can to stress real or imagined abuses against Taliban and al Qaeda captives. This is a classic tactic. When you are losing, try and turn your defeats into crimes being committed by your foe.

March 14, 2005: The Afghan army received the first 83 of 5,160 Ford Ranger 4x4 light trucks. Much cheaper than hummers, and popular in Afghanistan, the vehicles are made in Thailand and sold throughout Asia. The rest of the vehicles will be delivered over the next 18 months.

March 13, 2005: This Summer, the U.S. will pull its troops out of Western Afghanistan. These forces are being replaced by Afghan and NATO troops. The American forces will move to southern and eastern Afghanistan.

March 7, 2005: Over the last year, attacks on coalition forces in Afghanistan have been reduced by more than half. A year ago, there were about a dozen attacks a week, now it's about five. Combat deaths are down to about two a month. Most Taliban and al Qaeda activity now comes from press releases and their web sites, where they proclaim that they will be back.

Now, from the war they do like to cover...

IRAQ: Running Out of Blood Money

March 15, 2005: The Iraqi army and police have a casualty rate over four times that of coalition forces. Amazingly, this has not had any apparent effect on recruiting. While most recruits persist because they need a job, for an increasing number, it's all about revenge. Most soldiers are married men who live at home. When police and soldiers are killed, their neighbors in uniform feel an obligation to get revenge. In Sunni Arab areas, the police often know who is doing the killing. If not the individuals, than the family or clan. That's why the terrorists try to haul their dead away. But enough enemy dead and wounded are found, plus captives from raids, to know which families are hostile. The Iraqi police know how to play the family angle, which to Western eyes is bizarre. For example, if it is clear that the family is behind the attackers, then arresting the head of the family (usually an extended family, often with several dozen members) often gets the attention, and often the
surrender, of the terrorists.

While many Iraqis know a lot of family details, U.S. forces have had to apply their computers and software (genealogy and police stuff, especially) to figure out who is who. This was how Saddam was captured over a year ago, and how an increasing number of terrorist leaders are being tracked down and captured. In the past week, former Saddam bodyguard Marwan Taher Abdul Rashid and his cousin, Abdullah Maher Abdul Rashid (also the brother-in-law of Saddam's son, Qusai), were captured because a family tree was illuminated and shaken. Many members of the extended Saddam clan have been found involved in funding and leading the attacks on the government and coalition troops. Money has been used as a weapon, and the Baath Party/pro-Saddam groups spend over $100,000 for each coalition soldier they kill. Thus the policy against paying ransoms. It's literally blood money. This is especially true because indications are that the terrorists are running into cash flow problems. As the tide turns, many of the terrorist paymasters are shifting their spending to themselves and their families. With war crimes trials now under way, and more Iraqi police out there knocking on doors, paying for dead cops and American soldiers is becoming a dangerous proposition. Too dangerous for a man of means.

While we certainly could have done some things better - all in all, given the circumstances, I think we're doing pretty well. But only time will tell.

Hat tip: Strategy Page.

CAPT H sends along this as suggested reading. A little confused? Read this. Registration required, but the Telegraph is not a spam-monster. Need more?

Cassandra at Villainous Company has all the econ stats you can use, served up hot and spicy by a sexy waitron! But ya really wanna hang around for the pics of the Villainous High School Chick!

Last, but not least - AFSis wants us to know how to shower in a war zone. Been there, done that, thanks! But you FNGs!

March 14, 2005

Terry Schiavo

From the Dallas Morning News today:

American society is about to enter dangerous territory, in which the slow-motion killing of a woman by her faithless husband will have been sanctioned by the court. After Terri's death, where will we draw the line between one's right to privacy and another's right to life? Are our legislatures to have no say in the matter?

It is inconvenient to Michael Schiavo and to the Florida courts that Terri Schiavo continues to live and that her parents won't relent and let her die of thirst and starvation. If Mr. Schiavo prevails, then every person whose life is considered of negligible quality by a court or a legal guardian could be condemned. There is more at stake here than the fate of one solitary woman. After this Friday, it becomes possible that, in this country, if the unwanted and the weak are simply too burdensome to us as individuals, that the right to rid ourselves of inconvenient lives will be our courts' guiding principle.

George P. Bush, lawyer, Governor Jeb Bush's son.

We've discussed this here before, and there is some diversity of opinion among us - just as there is among readers of National Review's The Corner blog.

I ran across this today - and it simply further cements my belief that Ms. Schiavo should not have her feeding tube pulled.

Kate Adamson is the mother of two who suffered a double brain stem stroke and was in a coma for 70 days. She was completely unresponsive to stimuli and was diagnosed as being in a persistent vegetative state. Doctors finally pulled her feeding tube and, for eight days, she lay dying. Instead of being unconscious as the doctors believed she was aware of everything.

During an interview on the O'Reilly Factor in 2003 she recounted the dehydration experience:

O'REILLY: When they took the feeding tube out, what went through your mind?

ADAMSON: When the feeding tube was turned off for eight days, I thought I was going insane. I was screaming out in my mind, "Don't you know I need to eat?" And even up until that point, I had been having a bagful of Ensure as my nourishment that was going through the feeding tube. At that point, it sounded pretty good. I just wanted something. The fact that I had nothing, the hunger pains overrode every thought I had.

Bob & Mary Schindler have invited Kate Adamson to address the Florida State House Committee on the Judiciary and share her remarkable story. Adamson, author of "Kate's Journey" and a renowned disability rights activist, hopes her story will change the way Terri is being perceived by those who hold her life in their hands.

Due to a catastrophic brain stem stroke, Kate was dependent on a feeding tube for all her nourishment and had the tube turned off for over a week. She, unlike most others, can understand what Terri is going through. Doctors had given up hope that Kate would ever recover, but she is now fully functional except for some paralysis on the left side of her body.

"I have a unique understanding of what Terri is feeling. I could feel everything that the doctors did to me, and I could do nothing. I was at the complete mercy of others, and they couldn't hear me. I have been given the opportunity to speak on behalf of one that has been robbed of her voice. We are praying that God will move on the hearts of Governor Bush and the Florida Legislature to stand up and protect the right of Terri not to be starved to death."

For those interested in taking action in support of Terri Schiavo here are a number of action items:

  • Pray for Terri Schiavo, her family and our government officials

  • Blog - make known Terri's plight and these action items. You can join the list of BlogsforTerri here.

  • Support Florida House Bill 701 and Senate Bill 2128 by calling your Flordia representatives.

  • Support the Federal Incapacitated Person's Protection Act (click here) by calling your Federal representatives

  • Ask Gov. Jeb Bush to intervene and put Terri in protective custody (click here)

  • Finally, BlogsforTerri is sponsoring an ongoing campaign to bypass the mainstream media by purchasing advertising (click here).

    Your mileage may vary.

    by John on Mar 14, 2005 | Something for the Soul
    » Righty in a Lefty State links with: Terry Schiavo countdown

    A slander, or not?

    I thought I'd already linked to/commented on this bit before -but perhaps I missed it - intended to, but never got it finished. Probably ought to go check my 'drafts'.

    Anyway - today at work an email went 'round that I had seen before. "They Are So Damn Young". Shortly thereafter, a good soldier, and buddy of mine, sent a response. As I read the response, I got the sense that perhaps a slander was being perpetrated. Obviously, my buddy thinks what he says is true - I think it's over-stated, perhaps by a lot. So, I open it up to the sailors I know swim by here - *especially* the enlisted types - to offer the Salty Sea Dog's perspective. I suspect that at a minimum, the submariners will disagree.

    First - the piece that started it all:

    ********************************** "They Are So Damn Young"

    "I was going to the gym tonight ( really just a huge tent with weights and treadmills), and we had heard that one of the MEUs (Marine Exp Units) that had come out of service in the "triangle" was redeploying (leaving country). We saw their convoy roll in to the Kuwait Naval Base as the desert sun was setting.

    I have never seen anything like this. Trucks and Humvees that looked like they had just come through a shredder. Their equipment was full of shrapnel blast holes, and missing entire major pieces that you could tell had been blasted by IEDs. These kids looked bad too! I mean, sunken eyes, thin as rails, and that 1000-yd. stare they talk about after direct combat.

    Made me pretty damn embarrassed to be a "rear area warrior".

    All people could do was stop in their tracks and stare... and feel like I wanted to bow my head in reverence. A Marine Captain stationed with me, was standing next to me, also headed to the gym. He said, "Part of 1st Brigade Combat Team, 8th Marines, sir. Took the heaviest losses of any single unit up north as part of Task Force Danger, sir."

    As the convoy rolled up, all of us watching just slowly crept toward these kids as they dismounted the Hummers and 5-tons. Of course, we were all shiny and clean compared to these warriors. This kids looked like they had just crawled from Iraq. I had my security badge and ID around my neck, and started to help them unload some of their duffle bags.

    A crusty Gunny came up to me and said "sir, you don't have to do that..." I said, "Gunny... yes I do..." They all looked like they were in high school, or younger!! All held themselves sharply and confident, despite the extreme fatigue you could tell they had endured. "You guys out of the triangle?" I asked. "Yes, sir." 14 months, and twice into the grinder, sir" (both fights for Fallujah).

    All I could do was throw my arm around their shoulders and say "thanks Marine, for taking the fight to the bad guys...we love you man."

    I looked at these young kids, not one of them complaining or showing signs of anything but focus, and good humor. 'Sir, they got ice cream at the DFAC, sir?" "I haven't had real ice cream since we got here..." They continued to unload...and after I had done my handshakes and shoulder hugs, the Captain and I looked at each other ...

    They want ice cream, we'll get them ice cream. You see, a squid O-5 and a focused Marine O-3 can get just about anything, even if the Mess is closed. Needless to say, we raided the closed DFAC (mess tent), much to the chagrin of one very pissed off Mess Sergeant and grabbed boxes of ice cream sandwiches (as many as we could carry), and hustled back to the convoy. I felt like Santa Claus. "Thank you, sir.." again and again from each trooper, as we tossed up the bars to the guys in the trucks. I'm thinkin', "Son, what the hell are you thanking me for? I can't thank you enough."

    And they are so damned young ... I will sleep well, knowing they are watching my back tonight."

    Here is the response that I'm not sure I agree with, completely. Yes, the Navy does, from my limited exposure, have a more rigid sense of caste than the ground arms do - but I don't think it's to this extent. Each service does have its unique culture, derived from (for most of us - there is one with only decades of it's *own* adaptations) centuries of experience and better or worse adaptation to changes in warfare and society.

    - I truly liked the sentiments written by this Navy O5, but I also found his perspective (view) of who does our fighting quite interesting.

    I truly find it interesting (even astonishing) that he was impressed by how “young” our “fighting” troops are…

    I have to remember the naval officer’s perspective of the world… I have to remember that our Navy lives on ships and they relate their way of doing business to the rest of the military… I have to remember that our naval officers have a long and very guarded tradition of being separated from their enlisted (in fact, it’s very much of a caste system on board a naval ship)… Naval officers rarely venture into the spaces where the younger enlisted work, live, or eat. Naval officer rarely see or even speak to the younger sailors. Typically, US naval officers only deal with other officers and only the more seasoned, higher ranking, highly technical enlisted personnel…

    Anyway, I’m damn glad that at least one Navy O5 sees who really does our close combat fighting and close combat leading…

    Sure those Marines look “so damn young”, because they are!!!

    It is a shock to this Navy O5 that a typical platoon is made up of 18-20 year old troops who are led by a 22 year old Platoon Leaders and 26 year old Company Commanders (although I commanded in the 82nd ABN at age 24 and 25)…

    So no shit Batman, these guys are in deed young… Hell, the truly “old men” in a company are the Platoon Sergeants and the Company 1SG (at ages 30 to 40 years old)…

    Consequently, the officers in the Marines and in the Army have a much different style of leadership than do our stuffy naval officers… in the Army and USMC, officers see our lower enlisted not just as subordinates, but as fellow soldiers/marines and as fellow comrades… We eat, sleep, live and work in the same environment… We share the same risks, and have each others backs…

    Anyway, it was heartening for me to see that a US Navy Commander felt some genuine admiration and appreciation for the young Marines returning fresh from the fight... On the other hand, I find it interesting (even disappointing) that the typical senior naval officer doesn’t know/realize just who is doing our fighting until a convoy of redeploying troops drives into his rear area.

    Best regards - Xxxx

    What say you, assembled hordes?

    *Snopes has no entries on this particular piece, in re Billl's observations in the comments.

    O Captain! My Captain!

    (with apologies to both Whitman and Lincoln).

    It's an old joke... but I like the new look to it!

    And while it may not be obvious all the time - an Artilleryman does live here!.


    I mean it. Let there be no doubt. Just sayin'. In case there was any confusion.

    A *REAL* artilleryman...

    Okay - back on my head and off to the office.

    March 13, 2005

    This Post Rated--Waitaminnit

    >>hzz. name muffy welcome hy-umuns and feline lady-typeses and hy-umun mans-what-be-gentle (heh) to morning edition castle msm. today visit mawk, were-kitty and afsister on prowling bout castle environs. not worry ladies--

    >>hzzz. only be one lady with multiple-personality disorder.

    --for castle msm purpose, is three. all part of subtleness of role-pleh by afsis.

    >>hzzzzzz. afsis subtle. hzzzzzz. funny.

    >>hzz. as name muffy say before such rudeness of interruption, ladies not worry. minicam over litterbox *not* work. hzzzzzzz.

    >>hzz. minicam work. name jake and name kc test live feed and digital camcorder both.

    >>hz. name dolt. is ruse de guerre. make holodeck wet ladies thinking okay. very subtle.

    >>hz. name jake not see subtlety.

    >>hzz. [for an audio transcript of the succeeding dialogue, click here]

    >>hzz. where name scout? need get rolling here or lose audience. market share go into garderobe.

    >>hzzzz. not see. not see bigfoot also. last time see by scrup’l crate with name scout. not see anybody cept name muffy and name kc since bad cat robot-lady doojigger get scrup'ls de-substantiated and reconstituted in last thread.

    >>hzzz. see nobody? can only mean one thing…

    >>hzzz. exactness. cookie jar unguarded.

    >>hzzzzzz. par-tay!



    Ow. Head feel like Meteor Crater pless five nanosecond after impact. Name Scout hurt in places hitherto undreamed of. Whooo—chilly also. Waitaminnit. Where fur? Whuh—thumbses?


    >>hzzz. ow. ooooh, pain-pain-pain. must’ve taken a header off the ladder again--lucky this fur wrap cushioned the--fur? i got fur? and--ooof--how come i can’t stand alla way up? And where’d that old geek over there come from?

    What name Scout be do over *there* when name Scout sit right over *here*? [*thought balloon: hmmmpf—not much padding, either.*]

    >>hzz—i mean, hey! what’s up with the claws? and this—oh, geez. a tail. scout’s tail. %#@$! i’m gonna disassemble a certain evil feline mechanoid in about zero seconds--

    Bigfoot? Talk like Bigfoot but name Scout only see name Scout.

    >>hzz—daggitt! that desubstantiation thingumabob musta re-assembled us in each other’s bods!

    Ooooh. Means only one thing. *Now tall enough reach cookie jar*!

    [*running footsteps fading toward kitchen*]

    >>hzz—i mean, gaaah! scout, get my butt back here right now! #@%&!--somebody tell me i didn’t just *say* that…

    [*scamper receding towards kitchen*]

    W-e-e-l-l-l-l, ladies an’ gents, ‘twould appear that the Simultaneous Holoscan Insertionfest at Sarge B.’s and Barb’s had wider ramifications than just blowing all their comments to smithereens! What will happen next? And when?

    Oooooh—the possibilities…