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April 16, 2005

For the Denizens...

Delivery today. The PG-17 managed to stumble over and dazedly sign for it. Right now it's wandering around humming some sea shanty...

Bad Cat Robotics Laboratory, Ltd.
Product Number: XP7002598
Production Type: Custom
Product Name: Custom Personal Chandelier
Customer: Were-Kitten

-Exterior: cut crystal drops, high-density laser-reflective
-Interior: top-grain Moroccan leather (customer color choice:____________)
-Propulsion/Steering: Experimental Anti-gravity Node #27, quick-response steering package, alternate/backup flight controls (tail, felinoid)

Additional Features:
-Cloaking Mode (NOTE: experimental! Will not work if doused in chocolate or other opaque material)
-2 mounted high-velocity water pistols with hot-switchable tanks (provided: distilled water, cheap cologne)
-Propulsion Automodes: Oscillation, Gentle Rocking, Random High-Speed (evasive), Target Tracking (requires GPS or transponder signal)
-Temperature-regulated chocolate storage locker.

In other news, Countertop Chronicles is hosting this week's Carnival of the Recipes! If you are wondering what this is - hit She Who Invented It and check out her sidebar!

April 15, 2005

Public Safety...

Say Uncle invites us to Head's Bunker - where we see an unfortunate cop caught on camera, and snarked at by us gun geeks.

Why? There he his, arms as big as a planet - guarding the NY Financial District - with the Aimpoint sight on his rifle... on backwards. Read the comments, as well.

Heck, since Say Uncle talks about it. Today is Tax Day Buy a Gun Day. The Castle's tithes have been e-filed to the Feds and state of residence, and the hard copy is on it's way to SWWBO's state of labor. Good thing most states don't really push hard on source taxing... or the Castle would be filing 16 or so state returns and be MUCH more activist about taxes! (Note to California Tax guys - SWWBO did *not* work in your state!)

The Armorer will not be buying a gun today, but a prompt repayment of the Castle's loan to the respective governments *might* finance a pick-up of a nice antique piece in N'awlins next week, as I will be winging down to join SWWBO for the weekend, to celebrate the end of this three months on the road. SWWBO *has* intimated that the Armorer has been a relatively good boy (low start point for the comparison, I assure you) and she is willing to consider a reward...

by John on Apr 15, 2005 | Gun Rights

Cannoneer Zen

Wow! A whole day with no pics! Can't have that! A little something for our Navalised readers... the guns of the USS Constellation - the last all-sail vessel built for the Navy, now docked as a museum in Baltimore Harbor.

The Gun Deck:

Hi-res click here.

Gunner's eye view:

Hi-res click here.

by John on Apr 15, 2005 | Artillery

Just Sayin'...

Update: Castle Philosopher Kat scores a radio plug!

We return you to your previously scheduled joke:

Heh. Dbie the AFSister's posted a cute joke.

Here's the prequel:

A mother is driving a little girl to her friend's house for a play date.

"Mommy," the little girl asks, "How old are you?"

"Honey, you are not supposed to ask a lady her age," the mother replied. "It's not polite."

"OK", the little girl says, "How much do you weigh?"

"Now really," the mother says, "those are personal questions and are really none of your business."

Undaunted, the little girl asks, "Why did you and Daddy get a divorce?"

"That is enough questions, young lady, honestly!"

The exasperated mother walks away as the two friends begin to play.

"My Mom won't tell me anything about her," the little girl says to her friend.

"Well," says the friend, "all you need to do is look at her drivers' license it is like a report card, it has everything on it."

Later that night the little girl says to her mother, "I know how old you are, you are 32."

The mother is surprised and asks, "How did you find that out?

"I also know that you weigh 140 pounds."

The mother is past surprised and shocked now. "How in heaven's name did you find that out?"

"And," the little girl says triumphantly, "I know why you and daddy got a divorce."

"Oh really?" the mother asks. "Why?"

"Because you got an F in sex."

Those Who Know, know...

[*PG-17 rating cowering in corner, glancing about fearfully*]

DelaWhale update

Turns out Helis the beluga is just another sightseeing tourist: he's a Canadian...


by CW4BillT on Apr 15, 2005 | General Commentary

Stupid Officer Tricks.

I'm generally a fan of Ralph Peters, and I still am. We have much in common except he's smarter, richer, and has a lot more access, readers and influence. Which is why it was sad to see him lose his temper two days ago, and sink to the level of the people he's peeved at. His vitriol, which undermines his point as his anger dominates, simply serves to further harden stereotypes - such as those held by the Army Colonel sent out the piece in an email he obviously thought his mailing list would be sympathetic to (by the way, Colonel - the proper word is "on a roll" not "on a role," but I digress). Such hyperbole *does* keep up the readership! In his op-ed in the NY Post on April 13, Ralph lays into the Air Force.

Here's a teaser:

Morally bankrupt, the Air Force is willing to turn a blind eye to the pressing needs of soldiers and Marines at war in order to get more of its $300-million-apiece junk fighters. With newer, far more costly aircraft than the Marines possess, the Air Force pleads that it just can't defend our country without devouring the nation's defense budget.

Meanwhile, Marine aviators fly combat missions in aging jets and ancient helicopters, doing their best for America — and refusing to beg, lie, cheat or blame their gear.

Okay. Strong words. Wanna read the rest? You know you do. You can do so by clicking here.

There is much to pick through here. The budget having a limit, there is *always* tension between the services. The very different nature of this war from the ones we've fought prior does have this dichotomy of the ground arms up to their waists in combat, while the other two legs of the military force triad, naval and air, find themselves somewhat at loose ends (though the elements of those guys in Transportation Command are probably giving me the hairy eyeball right now). Which means that they look to the future, as both are doing. The ground arms are also trying to keep an eye on that ball - I make good money doing just that for the Army - but they *are* understandably a bit distracted by the killing and dying in the present... as the near daily *ping* in my mailbox of a DoD casualty announcement attests.

But Ralph just loses it here. I confabulated with my friends in the Air Force and Army, honorable men all. What follows is a synthesis of their thoughts, set off in a blockquote to emphasize the fact that while I may have merged and edited, they are not my thoughts, nor are they a direct quote. All emphasis in the blockquote is mine and any comments are in brackets, not parentheses).

Since this is in the NY Post, it's already being worked by the Air Staff, I'm sure. I think this is a fairly typical attitude among most Army officers anyway, so the USAF may just ignore it. Then again, he might hear from a number of people who take umbrage. I'm sure some senior Army guys loved it, but I don't think they'll have the balls to cheerlead publicly for Peters' position [no, they'll just forward it through email]. Frankly, I think Ralph might end up regretting writing this. It sounds so loony. Interestingly enough, the second-highest casualty rate in the Second World War, after the US Marines, was the United States Army Air Corps. [A bit of a defensive non-sequitor, but a true fact, nontheless - the average infantryman in Europe had a better survival rate than bomber crewmen.]

The USAF took no losses in Iraq. I wonder what an acceptable number of Air Force deaths would have been? Is Mr. Peters willing to give us a number? As a retired Army officer, it's apparent he still has that old "need to bleed" attitude that I find just...weird. [There's some truth to this, we Army types can get sensitive on this issue, somewhat irrationally, right after some Air Force jock has just snarked us about something... much like that twit AF general in the article - our 'defensive non-sequitor' that is also true]

The Marines have old equipment. True statement. Should they not ask for new gear? Is asking for new gear somehow unprofessional? Unmanly? Today's A-10 fleet is 30 years old...older than the F/A-18 that most Marines fly. The F-15 is older than the F/A-18 (and maybe the Harrier, not sure). So is the F-16. And just because the Army lost some major programs to Transformation pressures, doesn't mean that *everybody* has too, from some bizarre idea of equity.

I think he's right about two very important things:

IF it in fact took place, the USAF GO who asked the heinous rhetorical question about "dominating battlespace" is a guttersnipe, pure and simple...and he's DEAD. F**KING. WRONG. The Army and Marines have no-shit DOMINATED every frickin' "battlespace" they've encountered in Iraq and Afghanistan. Fallujah looked bad, but the Marines kicked the living crap out of the enemy, not only unquestioningly but quickly, too. The paragraph just proves that generals can be breathtakingly, pugnaciously and blindingly stupid, too.

Point #2: Yes, the career fields he mentioned are second-class citizens...BUT...saying it today is really unfair to John Jumper. No one since...well...ever, in modern USAF history at least...has done more for the ETAC, Combat Controller or SOTAC. As far as his championing the F/A-22, that's sort of his job, I think--trying to get the best jet he can for his combat pilots. Both sides have good arguments over the way ahead vis-a-vis major weapon systems like that, but it was that attitude--try your damndest to get the best for your troops--that helped win both cold and hot wars.

This was written to make Army officers and Marines feel better. At least that's what my personal experience tells me on the inside. The Army I knew thought we were cowards and just didn't do enough dying. It's one of the reasons I'm gonna jettison this job as soon as I can--too close to a cloistered society that's really, really sick, doesn't know it, and never will. I'll bet COL Xxxxxxx [officer who started the email] loved it.

I should add that the officer who provided that last para has lived and worked among the deployed Army for years.

Aside from a little editing for language (a few asterisks), that looks like a pretty good reply to Peters. I agree with these guys, btw, as do all the artillerymen I hang around with. I snark the AF about beds and a/c, but never about the dying. I do the same to Army aviators (right Bill?) - pretty much anyone who sleeps in a hole in the ground has that attitude about everybody who is 6 feet or farther to the rear... an increasingly less-useful concept itself, given the casualty rate amongst the Combat Service Supporters in this war.

I *do* have a personal message for the "Guttersnipe"... quoting from Ralph:

I heard the con directly from one of the Air Force generals who tried to sell me on the worthless F/A-22. The poison goes like this: "The Air Force and Navy can dominate their battle space. Why can't the Army and Marines?"

General, it wasn't *that* long ago you were claiming the ground war *as* your battlespace, and inferring all the Army needed to be was an occupation force. Forgotten the squabbles of the 90's? That talk is all gone now... I wonder why? Perhaps because when you have the benefit of the largest economic engine in the history of the world, and the tech base to go with it - and in your battlespace you've not had to face a peer competitor in some time - and when you do get to perform that mission, it's generally in a civilian-free zone, so the rules of engagement are pretty easy - bad guy, shoot to kill, it's easy to dominate that space. I do believe if we ever do go up against a peer competitor, AF pilots will go in with skill, dash, and daring - and win. And fight hard, and die hard. But, as we all re-learned, taking and holding ground without killing everything on it requires an 18 year old with a bayonet - and you guys just don't wanna fight like that.

But it's a much easier tactical paradigm General, than what the average ground troop faces. When you go nose to nose with a fighter, it's a joust between professionals. The ground war is different - you can't just kill anything that fails an electronic IFF check. And, unlike your mid-twenties and older, college grad pilots, our decision makers on the ground are fresh out of high school in a target-rich enivronment in which the targets hide among the non-combatants... and if you don't think the March Upcountry and Battle of Fallujah don't represent a watershed of military history - you're as blind as you are bigoted - not too mention failing the "Jointness Test." *Nowhere,* *Nowhen* in history has a ground force fought it's way through an urban environment - a knife fight - with such targeted killing and destruction, with such a comparative minimum of damage and non-combatant deaths. If Fallujah had been covered by the great journalists of WWII who witnessed the fighting in Manila, Cologne, Berlin, Kiev, Kharkov, Stalingrad... they'd have written much differently about Fallujah than journalists with little sense of proportion.

To me, the most critical sentence of this whole post is this:

It's one of the reasons I'm gonna jettison this job as soon as I can--too close to a cloistered society that's really, really sick, doesn't know it, and never will.

Because in many respects, it's true. And it was written by an Air Force officer whose career was dedicated to supporting soldiers. Who lived among us, and hung his ass out for us. And *that* Ralph, is an *Army* problem. Which you, and the Senior Leaders who are spreading your calumny around - are *NOT* helping. There are good journalistic reasons for not revealing the name of that General, and GEN Jumper knows who it is anyway - mebbe if we get lucky, there will be a surprise retirement, I dunno. But how about offering a solution next time Ralph, rather than just bitching to world like a bunch of tired dirty officers clustered around a HMMWV hood drinking coffee thinking no one's listening?

What say you? I like CDR Salamander's comment!

April 14, 2005

NJ Flood update

AFSister's always bugging me about the wildlife (*not* the "wild life"...dangitt) around this place.

"An owl? Just where the helk *do* you live?"

Wonder what her reaction will be to this.

Heh. DelaWhale. Hat tip to my parka-wearing buddy AB, over at ALa's place.

by CW4BillT on Apr 14, 2005 | General Commentary

Vive la Difference!

People always ask me what the difference is between a Warrant Officer and an RLO (Real, Live Officer).

Here's the traditional answer:

A man in a hot air balloon realized he was lost. He reduced altitude and spotted another man below. He descended a bit more and shouted, "Excuse me, can you help? I promised a friend I would meet him an hour ago but I don't know where I am."

The man below replied, "You are in a hot air balloon hovering approximately 30 feet above the ground. You are between 40 and 41 degrees north latitude and between 59 and 60 degrees west longitude."

"You must be a Warrant Officer," said the balloonist.

"I am," he replied. "How did you know?"

"Because," answered the balloonist, "everything you told me is technically correct, but I have no idea what to make of your information and the fact is I am still lost. Frankly, you haven't been much help so far."

The Warrant responded, "You must be an RLO."

"I am," he replied, "but how did you know?"

"Well," said the Warrant, "you don't know where you are or where you are going. You have risen to where you are due to a large quantity of hot air. You made a promise which you have no idea how to keep and you expect people beneath you to solve your problems. And you are in exactly the same position you were before we met, but now, somehow, it's all my fault."


April 13, 2005


Here is a young officer who is probably going places. Meet Capt. David M. Rozelle, commander, Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, Fort Carson, Colo, now in Iraq. Two commands. Both in combat zones. The second one - as a returning amputee. Worked for General Fred Franks.

I was involved in bringing computer simulation to the Field Artillery School, the first Army school to integrate combat sims into the curriculum (aside from Conduct of Fire Trainers and Aviation Cockpit trainers and First Battle-style board games). I was one of the first designated Functional Area 57 (Simulations Operations) officers. We made the snowball. The slow start has become an avalanche, and the sims are a part of just about everything anymore.

The tension between the legitimate needs of employers, vice the legitimate personal and governmental interest of Reserve Component soldiers is *always* going to be there. I work for a firm large enough that it can not only absorb the losses, but will kick in a pay differential if your military compensation would cause you to take a loss (fortunately, for those of us for whom the military pay would be an increase, we dont have to rebate it back to the firm! 8^) ). However, if I run a small garage, and the deploying soldier is one of my mechanics, I have a *real* problem. So it isn't easy. Which is why the government crafted the law, as a hammer. It's good to see they are finally using the government's assets to enforce it. Failure to agressively enforce a law is noted by those with an incentive to ignore it. That said - we also need to work to find solutions that don't always involve hammering small employers who truly are just trying to stay in business.

Local resident PVT (ex-Specialist) Graner of Abu-Ghraib fame (here on a 10 year assignment at Fort Leavenworth) has finally negotiated his immunity from further prosecution and is now starting to name names and provide other details. Perhaps now I will get my lust for more senior bodies dangling from metaphorical hooks satiated.

The military footprint in Europe is going to get smaller... portion excerpted from National Journal article by Amy Klemper. No link, sorry.

The Pentagon's plans for a major reduction and redeployment of U.S. Army forces in Europe are beginning to take shape, including an initiative to move the Army's European headquarters from Heidelberg to Wiesbaden and reduce troop levels from 62,000 to just 24,000 [emphasis mine - when I was stationed in Germany in the 80's - over 100,000 troops called it home] in the next five to 10 years. Gen. B.B. Bell, the Army's top commander in Europe, told his command last week that two of the Army's headquarters in Heidelberg -- U.S. Army Europe and Task Force 5 -- will be merged and moved to Wiesbaden under the plan.

In addition, Bell indicated that the Army's main operating areas will be reduced from 13 to four and that individual installations across Europe will decrease from 236 to 88. In the Grafenwohr area, the Expeditionary Training Command will be joined by a Stryker Brigade and additional commands, according to Bell's announcement. Kaiserslautern will become a major service and sustainment hub where theater logistics and medical support are to be concentrated.

Bell also said the command is working with Italy to procure space to station the expanded 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team, and that over time the Army's soldier population in the Vicenza area would increase by more than 1,000. In addition, the Army expects to begin moving the 1st Infantry Division from Germany to the United States as early as 2006, with the 1st Armored Division to follow two years later. Bell indicated in his announcement that these troop moves had not yet been approved and are dependent upon the availability of domestic force structure capacity to receive them.

Not mentioned were plans to rotate units through Eastern European training sites. For those of the era... Brigade 75 & 76, anyone? (page 14 of the linked document)

If you read between the lines here - your local Navy base may soon be sporting detachments of Army and Air Force personnel - and vice versa. More of that here. And here - though I think Mr. Wynne is a little optimistic about things.

The GAO likes it, mostly:

The Government Accountability [sic] Office on Tuesday commended the architects of the National Security Personnel System for developing a "flexible and contemporary" system to manage the Defense Department's civilian human capital.

Oddly enough, the Unions disagree.

So, there was some fire in the smoke last summer in those terror alerts in NYC's financial district.

Well, at least Mr. Ullman concedes we're busy. News, sir - we're stripping the schools of instructors *and* students to feed the beast.

For all of the Bush administration's determined efforts to "transform" the American military for the new century, one crucial ingredient has so far been deferred. That is education. But without exploiting the extraordinary educational assets at the Pentagon's disposal, the process of transformation cannot be sustained or kept alive, well and vibrant. The Pentagon leadership has not yet recognized this necessity. In fairness, the Pentagon is busy. It is fighting three wars — Afghanistan, Iraq and against global terror. It is transforming itself. It is coping with the congressionally mandated Quadrennial Defense Review and the latest round of the politically radioactive base realignment and closure process. Understandably, with this huge educational system that does a pretty fair job as is, making change has been a lower priority. That is a waste of a colossal opportunity.

Not that there isn't merit in the idea... but with the average career running 22-3 years, there's *already* a lot of school - and a good chunk of what used to be taught in institutions is now being taught in a distributed fashion... on what was formerly the soldier's own time. But they're all lazy bassids, anyway, right?

Snark aside - Ullman has a point... but there *is* a saturation level.

Cannoneer Zen

Iron Sentinels of Gettysburg...

Hi-res, click here.

Hi-res, click here.

Hi-res, click here.

by John on Apr 13, 2005 | Artillery
» Villainous Company links with: Ancient Sentinels Of Gettysburg

April 12, 2005

And after the MRE?

Did things change? What lessons did the Staff learn? Well, about a week before we were to scheduled leave (but didn't--long story), the following e-mail appeared.

For Those Who Know, you're right. 'Way, 'way late...

> -----Original Message-----
> From: BRS Eagle ISSO SUPV
> Sent: Sunday, March 24, 2002 10:32 AM
> Subject: Bunker SOP
> Attached you will find a presentation detailing bunker procedures. Please
> ensure all personnel in your organization has this information. Remember
> that you are not assigned to a bunker, in the event of an attack you go to
> the nearest bunker. There are chem lights inside the bunkers near the
> entrances, if you are the first person to arrive at the bunker, break open
> the chem lights and read the instructions in the bunker.

> [E-Signature Deleted by BillT]
> [Name Deleted by BillT]
> Force Protection NCO
> <>

So, what did those souls curious enough to meander over to the bunkers and scope out the instructions find?

No chemlights, but the following instructions were posted:

"Ako ste upoznati ili imate bilo kakve informacije o mogucim prijetnjama SFOR osoblja ili objekata kontaktirajte SFOR predstavnika na broj 035-814-245. Predstavnik koji govori engleski jezik ce biti na raspolaganju 24 sata svaki dan. Predstavnik moze pozvati prevodioca ako je potreban, ali vi morate priloziti ime, broj telefona i vrijeme ponovnog kontakta. Hvala vam na vasoj saradnji."

English translation? Heh.

[click on Extended Entry]

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

by CW4BillT on Apr 12, 2005 | General Militaria

Around the web...

We're learning. Mind you, this is how the French were dealing with it in WWI, so we aren't *quick* on the uptake. But we're learning. Combat Stress.

Another horrible accident. This time in Canada. Hat tip to CAPT H. (Alan! This shoulda come from you!)

Army Transformation Efforts. The Asymmetric Warfare Group.

Preparing the RC for War - Lessons Learned in First Army Mobilization Training.

Turkey tries to kiss and make up.

The Chinese are paying attention - and *we're* the threat they talk about in their Threat Briefings...

The Base Realignment and Closure Commission should prove interesting this time 'round. Blue states are probably going to feel some pain. But so will some Red States, especially in the Interior.

The GAO faults Pentagon logisitics preparations and execution. Great article, nothing new - but nicely wrapped up. I'm not so concerned about the early war problems... we're *never* going to be able to maintain a wartime level during sustained periods of low-level activity. And the War Reserve issue... well, the flip side to that is we've been selling off warehouses of surplus War Reserve stockages left over from WWII, Korea, Vietnam and Cold War - that's how Surplus dealers stay in business. I'm less concerned with the level of stockage as I am with the ability to surge production and movement - and the planning and management thereof. The ability to flex, surge, and adapt are the key enablers - and an continuing rolling analysis of requirements is what's needed. Take the body armor shortages - some of that was caused by long lead times because there were insufficient stocks of the right materials - so things like *that* are what should be in strategic stocks, as an example. Not necessarily tens of thousands of rounds of artillery ammunition. Or tents.

Oh, and I nominate Marvin for Denizen status. Anyone second the nomination?

Recipe for an MRE*

*as in “Military Readiness Exercise”—not as in “Mummified Ration Enclosed”

Before the troops go anywhere, the Army spares no expense in acclimatizing and familiarizing them to the weather and terrain in which they will be operating. The "final exam" for deployment, designed to test the mettle of the men and the skills of the staff is the Military Readiness Exercise. F'r example:

Troops assigned to the Middle East for scheduled summer deployment are trained at Fort Dix, NJ, in the dead of winter; troops going to spend the winter in the Bosnian central plateau went to Fort Polk, LA, in July.


1. Place eight 100’X40’ circus tents (festively striped in yellow/green or white/green) in the center of a 2,000-acre bowl named COMANCHE. Add three Task Forces totaling 1,300 people (1,275 male and 25 female), a Mobile Field Kitchen and stir. Marinate in a hurricane for five days and residual six-hour thunderstorms for an additional two weeks.

2. Sprinkle in hot-and-cold running flies, mosquitoes, chiggers, ticks, black widow and brown recluse spiders, scorpions, snakes and three-inch cockroaches that bite. Fold in rainbow-hued mold spores and a zillion frogs that will only eat butterflies. Shake constantly to insure that the spiders have unimpeded access to duffel bags and cots.

3. Remove flavor and caffeine from coffee concentrate and place them aside for later use. Maybe.

4. Add mud that sticks like Superglue and twenty Porta-Pots. Remove the toilet paper from half of the twelve Porta-Pots designated “Male” in order to encourage paper conservation. Place the now-excess toilet paper in the remaining eight designated “Female Only” in order to encourage basic personal hygiene. Instruct contractor to clean “Female Only” facilities twice daily and “Male” facilities only on odd-numbered days. Add eight field showers and designate half of them “Female Only.”

5. Separate Division Headquarters into two distinct halves and sever all direct links to any remaining chain of command. Remove all headquarters staff personnel to another location named EAGLE (a mile away if you take the shortcut through the swamp or five miles away if you follow the road) and house them in air-conditioned barracks with four contract mess halls, three launderettes, two PX MiniMarts, one Cajun snack bar and seventy assorted vending machines; remove all COMANCHE vehicles (with the exception of several M-1A1 tanks in desperate need of a lube-job) and send them to EAGLE. Padlock the steering wheels and bury the keys.

6. Insure all Headquarters staff personnel e-mail vague instructions “for immediate implementation” to COMANCHE counterparts and then depart for a two-hour lunch. Instruct commo personnel to disconnect TacLAN the instant any incoming COMANCHE e-mail is detected.

7. Sift a Recycle Nazi into COMANCHE who insists that all trash be separated into one of six different recycling categories; insure he studiously ignores the fact that all collected trash winds up in the same 65 cubic-yard open-top dumpster, where it is compacted by its own weight into a cohesive, albeit gooey, mass. Spray dumpster with Viagro for Houseflies™ and park it midway between the Porta-Pots and the Mobile Field Kitchen to provide the flies a rest area in their commute between the two. Leave the dumpster there for three weeks. Uncovered.

8. Advance all scheduled events by between 5 and 24 hours; tell no one until 5 minutes after the new event-time, then issue conflicting orders for immediate implementation to each separate Task Force and depart for a two-hour lunch. Chill the non-potable water in the field showers to 50°F and warm the potable water in the ‘buff to 115°F.

9. Grate everyone’s nerves.

10. Place 50% of all COMANCHE Task Force personnel on the Night Shift and remove mufflers from all generators within 100 meters of the tents; this will insure that, between the noise at night and the heat during the day, nobody will get any sleep worth mentioning.

11. Hold 0900-1100 Task Force briefings and 1500-1700 Task Force AARs at Division Headquarters every day; complain loudly that half the occupants of EAGLE have the sniffles because the air-conditioners are permanently set at 65°F.

12. Insure no one in either section of the Division staff answers any COMANCHE-generated e-mail between 0700 to 0900, 1100 to 1300 and 1700 to 0700.

13. Bake at 98°F and baste at 97% humidity. Garnish with twelve genuine Bosnians, who walk around explaining to anyone still conscious, "Bosnia is *not* like this. This place makes Sniper Alley look like nude beach." Issue brand-new black berets to 70% of authorized personnel for mass "Happy Birthday Army" photo op. Insure that 60% of berets are PX Kiddie Korner rejects (too small), 39% are the size of DeLorenzo “Grandissimo” bar pies, and the remainder are issued to people who are unalterably convinced that the beret is supposed to be worn with the flash centered 6” above the highest point on the left ear. Have all personnel fall in on the runway just as the UAV begins its final approach.

14. Serve on soggy cardboard trays decorated with multicolored mold spores. Separate leftovers into six different recycling categories, place them in the open 65 cubic-yard dumpster and mix well. Add the caffeine removed from the coffee concentrate in para 3 in order to keep the flies completely wired.

by CW4BillT on Apr 12, 2005 | General Militaria

April 11, 2005

Today in History

Having had to come home to put the Exterior Guard out (they don't do Guard Mount in Thunderstorms) I find that SangerM is all excited about today in history, sending these three tidbits:

1951 McArthur was Relieved. The Executive asserts his primacy over the miltary.

1961 Adolf Eichmann On Trial Adolf would end up at the wrong end of a rope.

1990 SuperGun going to Iraq Siezed

To which I would add:

1814 Napoleon's first abdication; next stop, Elba. Sour looking little spud, ain't he?

1862 Rebels surrender Ft Pulaski, Georgia. Significant in that this massive masonry fort was reduced very quickly - by rifled artillery... sounding the death knell of the utility of this particular type of fortification.

1865 Lincoln urges a spirt of generous conciliation during reconstruction. Andrew Johnson's Presidency almost foundered trying to carry it out. Failure to take this approach in WWI gave us WWII...

1898 President McKinley asks for Declaration of War against Spain -the US tries a little Imperialism on for size. Likes the fit, at least short term:

1899 Treaty of Paris; Spain cedes Puerto Rico, Philippines, Guam to US. The war was fought according to JTG's principles, however. You have to be a *real* Denizen to get that one!

1900 USN accepts its first submarine, the USS Holland.

1933 Hermann Goering becomes Premier of Prussia.

1941 Germans "Coventryize" Conventry, England, a decision many german city-dwellers, especially in Hamburg, Berlin, and Dresden, were to come to bitterly regret.

Cleared in hot...

Jim Dunnigan has a piece in yesterday's FYEO "Dirty Little Secrets" column that John forwarded to me. I was *not* impressed with his reporting and analysis. Dunnigan's words in Italics, my response in Bold.

American infantry are beginning to fear that the U.S. Air Force will take away their UAVs. And therein lies a very curious situation .

What an odd thing to say…but it gets better…a lot better…

After half a century of losing out to the U.S. Air Force in the competition for budget dollars, the American Army is making a major comeback. Ironically, it’s all about technology. No, it’s about the changing nature of warfare—a greater emphasis on urban combat—where the land force has the greatest role and technological research focus is being turned to meet the unique challenges therein…for now. And I, as an Air Force officer, welcome that…heartily. The emphasis is on winning and if the ground game takes front seat to win, fine. That said, if you look at historic spending areas, Congress have pretty much made sure the three main services have ALWAYS split the pie evenly. The air force has always touted its mastery of high tech as a reason to get more money than the army. Utter crap…and if ANY USAF officer goes after money just to stick his thumb in the Army’s eye, he should be separated. The Air Force has always campaigned for better technology to better fight the air war. The sky is, by definition, a technology-centric medium in which we fight. But the cheap and abundant technology has created new devices, namely smart bombs, UAVs and “smart binoculars,” that are putting a lot of airmen out of business. A very short-sighted look at the history of war. You know what put the most airmen out of business in the last two decades? The same thing that put soldiers and sailors out of business—downsizing. We have, therefore, come to rely on technology more and more to do what used to be done by more platforms and having the men to fly them. Make no mistake, our rapidly evolving weapons capabilities are definitely good things, especially when their accuracy reduces the chances of our hitting friendlies…but it also reduces our need to reattack targets, making us more efficient and able to service more targets per platform than ever thought possible…the ratios have effectively been reversed: now the question is not, “How many planes per target?” but “How many targets per plane?” BUT…what this author fails to understand is that we have been quite lucky in the last several years. No peer competitors challenge us today. That will change. Soon. Then we’ll see how many airmen (or soldiers and sailors and Marines for that matter) remain “out of business.”

Continue reading! The rest is in the Flash Traffic/extended entry.

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

April 10, 2005

A Milbleg.

I'm not eligible, no longer being active duty military, but many of you are. Greyhawk forwards this (I *could* grumble about not being a 'big enough' Milblogger to catch Hewitt's/Santi's eye... but I won't. Oh wait. I just did.

Regardless, those who feel the touch of Calliope, Euterpe, Erato, or possibly Polyhymnia, regardless of the possible conjoint influence of Thalmia and Melpomene (huh, what the futz izzee talking about?) should consider this (if they haven't run screaming away from all that classics reference):

Milblogger poets - your chance for fame and fortune awaits. I've submitted an entry already. The remainder of this is a forward on behalf of a gentleman with the Hugh Hewitt program. Greyhawk _______________

The Hugh Hewitt Show is a syndicated center-right political talk show on AM radio in the US. Each month , we drop politics for a segment and do about fifteen minutes on a poet or poetry theme. On April 26 we are planning a segment on poetry written by active duty military. I am trying to contact as many milblogs as I can and get contributions and permission to read them on the air. If I get enough, I am even thinking of trying to get a publisher interested in doing a book. I am looking for everything from hip-hop to lyrics to straight poetry.

Send poem submissions with a short note giving permission to read on the air to

Also, please pass this e-mail around to as many milblogs and active military as you can. I'm a poet-pundit on a deadline.

Tarzana Joe
(Joe Santi)

Apparently Joe doesn't want any *gay* poetry...

Let's go visiting Denizens this morning!

Alan, of Gen-X at 40 ponders Canadian politics. Specifically, how what passes for an opposition in Canada is so weak, that even a *huge* financial scandal involving the current government essentially has no measureable effect on Canadian voters - who would prefer to keep the crooks they have, than the cranks they perceive as the alternative - if I were a Tory leader in Canada today, I would just quietly pack up and find different work. Pathetic. Not looking at it from *inside* Canada, it also seems a touch perilous for Canadian Democracy - either they just *don't* really care, which is bad enough, but recoverable, or the bemusingly sought-after homogeniety of political thought in Canada has been achieved... and the ruling power can do as it pleases.

Of course, I thought things like that at times during the Clinton administration, and have since discovered my political acumen is, well, lacking.


Cassandra wants to know why her tax dollars are being wasted. Specifically, the marksmanship training - after all, if we're targeting the journalists... WHY ARE ANY STILL ALIVE over there?

Punctilious has a certain verbal restraint which you will find a blessed palliative to the verbal "runs" we suffer here. There! I took twenty-four words to link to her 7. Her husband, Rammer, is a bit more loquacious, but still a paragon of brevity.

Barb wonders 'bout blogging.

The Snarkatron has some *more* thoughts on blogs. The Snarkster is a dry wit, best savored slowly. There is much packed 'twixt the lines.

*Someone* needs to pick up the pace a bit... (see Snarker's first paragraph...)

Jack, in his role as He Who Seeks The Perfect Equilibrium In All Things (yes, Jack, mild snark) is now taking to task the bloggers who ran with the "Schiavo Talking Points Memo" as a liberal conspiracy for not, essentially, printing retractions. And well he should. I don't think we here at Castle Argghhh! ever even mentioned it in passing - I didn't like the story that much. Might have linked to it somewhere, but certainly didn't join the frenzy like we *did* during Memogate. I'm pretty sure we don't have any retractions to print - but if we do, *someone* will point it out! That *is* one of the jobs of the Castle Contrarians!

Sergeant B, Chief of Castle Security has some advice on the subject of... Security.

To wrap this Denizen Fest up - the Castle Philosopher Kat points out something - the word "hero" doesn't belong to the person it's applied to - it belongs, in a sense, to the people who bestow it. MSG Keith - if you're reading this - *This* link's for you, fella.