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June 04, 2005

Welcome back, Chief!

*This is a Castle Party Thread®. All are invited, but it *is* rated PG-17. If a buncha goofs being naughty (not nasty, naughty) offends you, just skip this post... normal stuff is all around and will continue on the morrow! But today we Par-tay!*

[N.B. This pic was 'posed to go up when Bill showed up in the comments... but since the weather kicked our ISP off-line, that didn't happen. Shame to waste the pic, though. The Denizenne's will like the loooong zipper.]


[Ssssh! Everybody - quiet! You too, Neffi, jeez. AFSis has done a great job!]

[But I want *this* to be the first thing Bill sees... his Welcoming Committee! Hee!]

I don't know about you guys, but I've noticed a BillT sized hole in The Castle over the past couple weeks.

But never fear- he's almost here! Bill's coming back from France tonight, so let's throw him a huge welcome back party!

Let's see... we need some party music, like THIS song. And if you like that, you'll love the VIDEO. Of course, with Bill being a rotorhead, perhaps you'd rather watch his helo's in action.

Aight.... the mood is almost set. We need some decorations! Some traditional balloons and streamers...and some not-so traditional funky stuff (because it thought it would be fun to put on a grass skirt and dance around).

Now- the scene is set. We have kickin' music, decorations, and cute little grass skirts to wear (yes- I ordered the guy version of the skirts too). The rest is up to you crazies!

Woot! Woot! Woot! PARTY TIME!

[Heh - here's an *alternative* helo video...]

[We *did* order in Bill's favorite beer coasters...] [N.B. - if this is Monday or beyond (or Sunday, and you surf from Church) this pic is *not* worksafe!]


by on Jun 04, 2005

June 03, 2005

Interesting news.

We've discussed this here before. Remember the Reservists courts-martialed for cannibalizing vehicles in Iraq?

Odd way for this to end, not that I have any particular heartburn about what LTG Metz chose to do. However, the author of the piece has it wrong - the verdict of the court was *not* overturned. The convening authority (LTG Metz) reduced the punishment, as is his perogative.

Dayton Daily News June 2, 2005

Officer Can Stay In Military

Court-martial overturned, punishment reduced for Kaus

By Cathy Mong, Dayton Daily News

Maj. Catherine Kaus, the former Ohio Army Reserve commander who served a six-month confinement after members of her unit salvaged parts of abandoned Army vehicles in Kuwait to help carry out its mission in Iraq, said "it was a great relief" to learn Wednesday she would not be dismissed from the military.

Kaus, assigned to an auditing job at Fort Sill, Okla., said her attorney, Phil Cave, informed her that the partial clemency limits her punishment to a reprimand, time served in jail and a $5,000 fine.

Cave learned Wednesday from a military criminal attorney that Lt. Gen. Thomas Metz, the theater commander when Kaus was in Iraq, overruled the court-martial in her case and disapproved the 28-year veteran's dismissal from the Army. He also disapproved "contingent confinement," which could have landed Kaus in jail again if she failed to pay the fine on time. The six-month confinement, already served, was approved.

Read the rest, here. (registration required, sorry)

In *other* news from Dayton - an example of concealed carry working...

by John on Jun 03, 2005 | Observations on things Military
» Mudville Gazette links with: Dawn Patrol

Dusty Lives!

While my troll didn't get him to post, he sent along some illumination regarding the Kosovo Video.

Dusty lives - he's just working hard and getting ready for some hefty life changes.

Instapilot Sends:

I guess not everyone appreciated this little video by the Norwegian soldiers.

I found this after a google search on the movie name.

Statement by the Ambassador of Norway, Hans Ola Urstad

"The Norwegian Ministry of Defence has stated that the matter is being urgently looked into to verify that the soldiers in the video-clip really are Norwegian, and if so to establish their identities. Disciplinary measures will then have to be considered.

As Ambassador to Serbia and Montenegro, I should like to state the following,

If Norwegian KFOR-soldiers, who were in Kosovo on a peace mission to i.a. protect all minorities really have done this, I apologise deeply to all offended by it.

I see this most unfortunate episode as highly regrettable, and sincerely hope that such a lamentable incident may not do serious harm to the long standing and deep friendship between Serbia and Montenegro and Norway."

My reaction? "To His Excellency Mr. Urstad: BWAAAAAAAHAHAHAHAHA!"

Cheers,
Dusty

by John on Jun 03, 2005 | I think it's funny!
» The Glittering Eye links with: Day Book, June 6, 2005

Ahem.

Denizennes, Report!

by John on Jun 03, 2005 | I think it's funny!
» The Gun Line links with: Denizens, REPORT!

Before and After

Before: This is what a german Flak 37 88mm anti-aircraft/anti-tank gun looks like when it's lovingly cared for, in this case by re-enactors in the United States. This gun was at a display at Fort Knox last year (and I deleted the email, so I can't properly credit whoever sent me the pic...)

Hi-res here.

After: This is what one looks like that was buried by the Germans at Grafenwoehr in 1945 to prevent its capture by US troops. Ha-ha! Got it anyway!

This was dug up recently from under the former Graf Golf Course during construction work on the expansion of Graf.

Footnotes to the day.

First and foremost... Carnival of the Recipes #42 is up at Conservative Friends. Enjoy!

Some historical notes I overlooked yesterday...

Born:

1740 Marquis de Sade, sometime soldier, full time wierdo. 'Nuff said!

Events:

1774 Parliament passes the Quartering Act, forcing billetting British
soldiers in homes, and one more straw goes on Colonial America's back.
1866 Repulsed from Canada, Irish Fenians surrender to US forces. One of our numerous failed attempts to conquer Canada.
1914 Glenn Curtiss flies the Langley Aerodrome. One ungainly bird!
1943 All-black 99th Pursuit Squadron flies 1st combat mission, over Italy.
1943 Pope Pius XII denounces air bombardment, is totally ignored. That whole Monastery at Monte Cassino thing must have really chapped him. But I wouldn't say he was ignored completely. The bombing weapons and tactics we have today are directly derived from the concern that large-scale area bombing (we were generally as accurate as we could be, at the time)was not a good thing...


Today, of course, is the anniversary of Tiananmen Square. Check out Bad Cat Robot's recollections.

Stand by for ram on Abu Ghraib again.

If the stuff missing from these sites was not taken by us... this does represent a significant failure in planning for OIF, whether we like the UN on this issue or not...

Not surprisingly, LT Pantano wants out. No arguments from me. If he stays, the controversy will always hang over him, rightly or wrongly, and he'll be a lightning rod.

I'll defer to Dusty - but this strikes me as penny-wise and pound foolish.

New handcannon. This won't be entering the Arsenal holdings any time soon, as we don't do babies, only providing homes to Old Soldiers.

200-grain bullet at a speed of 2,330fps. Reputedly this pistol now ranks as the highest velocity revolver *in production*. And velocity is only a component of the energy equation... but I'm sure I've got some readers who can, and will, elucidate... The Smith and Wesson 460XVR, only $1,253.00. There are several things I want for the arsenal before I shell that much out for some new-fangled thingy! But I know some of you have a regrettable yen for newness...

Mind you, I'm only talking the Arsenal at Argghhh! there... for the troops... mmmm, Ray Guns! And cool cameras. Of course, now the Armorer will be taking photos of the yard periodically and using software to point out anomalies... just in case.


by John on Jun 03, 2005 | General Commentary | Historical Stuff | Pistols
» Righty in a Lefty State links with: Friday Fun

June 02, 2005

A new "special friend" of the Castle.

Send the Armorer pics like this, as SezaGeoff does, and you too, can be a Friend of the Castle!

Regarding the discussions about tanks and who had what operable Tigers where, Geoff sent along this pic he thought (correctly) I might find interesting - from the French tank museum at Saumur. It is an early model Jagdpanzer IV(you can tell by the vertical armor plate vice later models, which were lower and sloped), a German tank-hunter used in the last year of the war.

This one having been hunted a bit itself... that is a solid shot with tracer armor piercing round stuck in the glacis. There's a gouge from another hit... and then there's all that cracked and broken armor. Any crewmen on that side of the vehicle had soiled trousers, if they survived. Of course, there was a tendency on the battlefield to put "insurance shots" into armored vehicles that weren't obviously dead, as in a catastrophic kill. It was not unusual (especially with Geman vehicles which didn't burn as readily as US vehicles, being fueled with diesel and not gasoline) to have many extra holes in them as tanks passing by on their way elsewhere made sure for themselves.

This grouping of shots however, strikes me as an indicator of a duel between this vehicle and one or two other Allied tanks or anti-tank guns. Perhaps a first hit (the large hole on the lower portion) on the transmission housing immobilizing the vehicle followed by subsequent shots until the crew bailed or the Allied crew/s were satisfied the vehicle was no longer a threat. Perhaps CAPT H has some thoughts on the possibilities?

Hi-res, click here.

He sent along this commentary:

I mentioned the Musee des Blindes at Saumur in France in the comments. One of the exhibits in the German Hall was a Jagdpanzer that had been taken out by multiple hits of AP. One was still stuck in the glacis! Apparently the US soldiers took it over afterwards and used it for a while, which explains the steel plate where the MG was. I thought you might like to look at the picture.

And he's correct! I think the plate over the MG he's referring to is actually just the normal construction for the early version of this vehicle (see the pics in the article linked to above), but who cares? Kewl pic of a vehicle that saw real action, unlike most of the vehicles and aircraft you'll find in US museums. Not a slam on US museums, but we didn't tend to bring our own shot-up stuff back. And precious little of the other guy's stuff. By contrast, the Europeans, pretty much always being the Home Team last century, had lots of stuff to pick and choose from, without the transport costs.

Thanks, Geoff! Oh, and Geoff, my email box has high capacity and I have broadband access... no worries!

June 01, 2005

Interesting Day in history, and other tidbits.

Strategy Page has some interesting background on the Norwegian Peacekeepers "Kosovo" music video - and why a ten year old song- or old news - becomes suddenly hot. No blinding flash of insight, so much as filling in the corners on the story.

For some reason, CAPT H thinks this is important... Canada beats us *again*... (more on that later)

He also thought this worthy of mention. I've got the "Yes, dear" part down. The rest is a little more troublesome.

I do, however, completely concur with CAPT H about this article. Meet Corporal Dunham. Semper Fidelis.

Okay... things that caught my eye today from a historical perspective...

Born

1637 Fr. Jacques Marquette, French explorer of North America;
1780 Karl von Clausewitz. My man!
1801 Brigham Young, Mormon leader
1814 Philip Kearney, "The bravest man in the Union Army," kia 1862;
1825 John Hunt Morgan, Brig Gen, C.S.A., noted irregular cavalryman
1831 John Bell Hood, Gen, C.S.A., d. 1879
1844 Galusha Pennypacker, a Brig Gen, U.S., before he was 21, d. 1916

Died

1668 Mary Dyer, hanged in Boston for Quakerism - a very stubborn woman.
1823 Louis Nicholas Davout, Marshal of France, at 53
1879 Prince Imperial Louis Napoleon Bonaparte, slain by the Zulu at 22


Event

1794 "Glorious First of June," Brit fleet under Lord Howe spanks the French
1813 Chesapeake-Shannon Fight: James Lawrencea> (*not* Commodore Perry) cries "Don't give up the ship!"
1866 Irish Fenians attack Ft Erie, Ontario, from the US.
And lose. The only time we've ever been successful whacking on people in Canada was under British leadership. The Canadians don't need a large Army to protect themselves from us - we've *never* displayed any competence at invading Canada!
1914 SecNav Josephus Daniels issues G.O. 99, barring alcohol in the fleet. Well, mostly, as Neptunus Lex relates.
1915 1st Zeppelin air raid over England
1916 German attack Fort Vaux, Verdun Go here, and take a look at what modern war day after day in the same place does to an area. Then imagine *being there*!
1947 OPA, WW II rationing agency, is dissolved. Imagine that, a redundant Federal agency that actually went away... heh.

Trolling for Dusty.

Dusty has been AWOL for a while... let's see if this will lure him out of lurking...

Aircraft Maintenance (Monkey)


The Chief Master Sergeant (CMSgt) from the local airbase walked in and said to the shopkeeper, "I'll take a maintenance monkey, please." The man nodded, went to a cage at the side of the store and took out a monkey. He put a collar and leash on the animal and handed it the CMSgt,saying, "That'll be $5,000." The CMSgt paid and left with the monkey.

Surprised, the man went to the shopkeeper and said, "That was a very expensive monkey. Most of them are only a few hundred dollars. Why did that one cost so much?"

The shopkeeper answered, "Ah, that's a maintenance monkey. He can rig aircraft flight controls, score 95 on the AF CDC test; perform the duties of any MX officer with no back talk or complaints. It's well worth the money.

The man spotted a monkey in another cage. "That one's even more expensive--$10,000! What does it do?" "Oh, that one is a "Maintenance Supervisor" monkey! It can instruct at all levels of maintenance, supervise maintenance at the unit, intermediate, and depot level, and even do most of the paperwork. A very useful monkey indeed," replied the shopkeeper.

The man looked around a little longer and found a third monkey in a cage. The price tag read, "$50,000." The shocked tourist exclaimed, "That one costs more than all the others put together! What in the world does it do?"


"Well, I've never actually seen him do anything but drink beer and play with his pecker, but his papers say he's a pilot... "

Mmmmm, AC130!

Hi-res, click here.

by John on Jun 01, 2005 | I think it's funny!
» Cowboy Blob's Saloon links with: In Jam Mode, No One Can Hear You Scream

May 31, 2005

Book review. The New American Militarism by Bacevich

The New American Militarism, How Americans Are Seduced By War.
by Andrew J. Bacevich, Oxford University Press, 2005 $28 ($21 if you get it via AAFES)

When I sat down to read this book, I deliberately did *not* read other people's reviews, I wanted to have as uninfluenced an opinion (other than by my own biases) as I could.

Bottom line? The book is not disrespectful of the soldier or the profession of arms. It is *not* a flattering portrait of the political and policy classes. And it’s all *your* fault, Jane and Joe Sixpack.

Short answer - I mostly agree with Bacevich on the evolution of the military as a tool over the last 30 years, though I think (as is often the case with people who are arguing to persuade) he overstates his case in several aspects, and ignores some contrary evidence. The work is at its strongest when it's heavily footnoted and historical, at it's weakest when Bacevich lets his old-style populist politics shine through to mask his message. Unless, of course, you come at this from a leftist perspective, in which case you'll be nodding your head, pumping your fist, and asking for an "Amen!" I was doing that through many of the footnoted parts... This doesn't mean I embrace his politics as they periodically surface, but his basic thrustline (regarding the development of the military and incoherent usage, not socialization issues) to me is sound. Of course, since he's saying some things about the use of military power that I've averred before and have been since the middle 90's may be skewing my objectivity somewhat. Jack of Random Fate and Alan of GenX@40 will be comfortable with this book, I’m thinking.

Greyhawk weighs in here.

The interview by Chester is here (and is also the broken link down below that none of you told me about... so, not really reading it *all*, eh?)

Politically, Bacevich characterizes himself as nothing more than a social conservative, but as you read, and the "huge disparities in income-distribution" and “excessive consumption” lines start falling off the page, you realize that Mr. Bacevich is more a New Deal Democrat with a whiff of populist. Which is fine, that doesn't damage his basic thesis, if it does make (to this reader) for some inapt passages in the book. But he's either clueless about his interest in Progressive politics, or, more likely, wants to mask that so that people like me will read the book. Heh. He'll get people like me with the title.

Most of the readers of this blog who comment or communicate via email will find the book a good read, regardless of whether or not you end up agreeing with Bacevich's thesis.

Update: Based on several good email conversations and comments... I'll further refine my review.

Professor Bacevich looked around and didn't see people like himself serving in the military, i.e., liberal/progressive diplomatic historians at large, Blue State Universities.... And, like many in the Blue State Elites, from that interpreted the situation as indicating that the Military had divorced itself from society. An angle he didn't consider is that perhaps Professor Bacevich and his fellow-travelers had divorced themselves from Society? Discuss.

That said - the book is still a good read for those of you with an interest in the subject, left, right, or, like most of us, in the great mushy middle.

If you are feeling masochistic and want to read my pompous bloviating further - hit the Flash Traffic/Extended Entry button.

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

by John on May 31, 2005 | Observations on things Military
» The Jump Blog links with: Soldierization And The Warrior Society
» The Jawa Report links with: Religion of Peace Update: Damn it Feels Good to be a Gangsta edition
» Docs.Rage.Net links with: Docs.Rage.NET: /faq/dogs-faq/activities/backpacking
» University Blog links with: Thank You!
» University Blog links with: Thank You!

Training Status Report

Phase II of the Armorer's retraining in the use of sharp pointy objects continues. (Phase I was the Chinese Commie period of self-criticism and the abuse from youse guys).

The Armorer handled a sharp blade with a pointy end today.

SWWBO was present.

No damage was inflicted anywhere it was not intended, nor was any blood shed.

The Armorer has received 1 'Go' at this station. I have not been made privy to how many 'goes' are required before I will be allowed to solo.

Confused? Click here. The post above it has a kewler pic.

May 30, 2005

Memorial Day 2005 notifications.

I got asked in an email why did I just repost last year's post? Wasn't that old news?

I did it to remind people of what each of those notifications results in, in one form or another. That news is, sadly, still fresh, and happens day after day. Yet it is only one strata of bedrock upon which the future is built. 'Tis up to us, the living, to decide whether it will be saprolite, *rotted rock,* or a limestone of sufficient hardness to use as a building material.

Notifications? Like this - these are the notifications that arrived today.

DoD Identifies Army Casualty The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.


Spc. Phillip N. Sayles, 26, of Jacksonville, Ark., died May 28 in Mosul, Iraq, when an improvised explosive device detonated near his security position. Sayles was assigned to the Army's 1st Battalion, 24th Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade, 25th Infantry Division, Fort Lewis, Wash.


For further information related to this release, contact Army Public Affairs at (703) 692-2000.

Not all deaths are the result of combat action. They hurt *just* as much.

DoD Identifies Army Casualty The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.


Lt. Col. Albert E. Smart, 41, of San Antonio, Texas, died May 28 in Doha, Qatar, of a non-combat related illness. Smart was assigned to the U.S. Army Reserve's 321st Civil Affairs Brigade, San Antonio, Texas.


For further information related to this release, contact Army Public Affairs at (703) 692-2000.

Each one started a chain of events similar in one way or another to what you read here. They vary in only details. This is where the rubber meets the road when you read Jefferson's observation about "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure."