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October 08, 2005

More intramural snarking...

As promised below - one of the things Randy K sent along... apropos for the season and subject!

New Pentagon Football Rules


New SecDef Directive: Joint Rules for the Army-Navy-Air Force-Marine Corps Game.

The Pentagon announced new rules for the fall 2005 Army-Navy-Air Force-Marine Corps football tournament:

1. Only flag football will be played. The Joint Chiefs deemed tackle and touch football too dangerous. First, because of the CNN factor, the fact that the MSM will no longer tolerate even one field casualty. Second, touching another player today, even the congratulatory pat on the behind, is court-martial bait.

2. The phrase "making a pass" will be changed to the less ambiguous " throwing the ball." And the Army, Navy and Marines will be blocked from throws beyond 5 yards because of Air Force protests that it alone owns the long-range air attack mission.

3. The Marine Corps may run with the ball, but no more than 25 yards per quarter, the Pentagon ruled. It was prompted by Army objections to long-range naval ground operations.

4. The Navy may not use tailbacks. The term is too sensitive and should be avoided.

5. To promote inter-service cooperation, all teams will be ordered to use the same game plan, after receiving suggestions from all four services.

a. The Army's plan, called "The Game After Next," is calling for handoffs of a digitized football to the fullback, up the middle, on every play. The Army plan's last chapter, titled "Exit Strategy," was oddly blank, which would leave players with no choice but to set up bunkers and temporary housing on the 50-yard line.

b. The Navy's "Forward... From the Bench" plan will call for players, each called a ball "carrier," to be surrounded by other Navy football players in a pack called "carrier groups." These units would establish a roaming " presence" all over the playing field. Less important than crossing the goal line is the Navy strategy of being able to protect the carrier group wherever it patrols the gridiron. So threatening are these carriers, the Navy strategy goes, that no one would be foolish enough to even mount a defense.

c. The Marine's "Three-Yard War" plan will be predictable: Seize ground, every down, no matter how, regardless of the price, preferably while on the playing field. The linchpin of the Marine game plan called for packing the audience with members of Congress to ensure that the Marines' performance did not go unrecognized.

d. The Air Force's "Fieldwide Engagement" plan keeps calling for very long, accurate throws on every down, during huddles, timeouts, half-time, between games, in the parking lot and even in the showers. So fast and accurate would these throws be, went the Air Force strategy, no other team should even bother to take the field.

6. After examining each team's playbook the Secretary of Defense ruled that none could be used, and that each service was left to its own devices. The Navy will probably decide victory could be had by not taking the field. Instead, its players will patrol up and down the sidelines in breathtaking formation, hoping that would sufficiently deter the other teams from leaving their benches.

7. Likewise, the Army will probably decide against taking the field, at least until several conditions are met: one, that vital U.S. national interests were at stake; two, the conditions for victory were concrete and easily defined; and, three, the President would activate 550,000 reserve and National Guard Army football players if the game actually were to be played.

8. The Air Force feels victory could be achieved also by not showing up. Secret plans were just leaked to the press that the Air Force had spent $38.7 bazillion on a system able to fire the football into the end zone from space.

9. Bolstered by congressional resolution to be the "most ready football team when others are the least," the Marines stormed the playing field and declared themselves the winners in the fourth quarter, after finally getting the ball across the correct goal line.

10. And there was joy in Mudville.

by John on Oct 08, 2005 | I think it's funny! | Observations on things Military
» Stop The ACLU links with: Sunday Funnies
» Alphecca links with: Tis The Season
» BLACKFIVE links with: Military Football Humor

Scooooooooooooooore!

Hee. Reader Randy K sent along a little gem, which I'll put out in a later post.

It's in regard to this thread at Fark (which is hilarious).

As one might guess, there is some, well, rivalry between the inmates of the various service academies. And this week, the Squids spanked the Zoomies. They painted an F4 Phantom on display at the Air Force Academy to look like a Blue Angels (the Navy aerial demonstration team if you don't know) aircraft.

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And they did it smart. 1. They didn't get caught. 2. They used water soluble paint, so clean up is easy - in other words, all the goodness of the score without really damaging anything or causing a hugely expensive clean up. Hey, cleaning things like that up are what Doolies are for, right?

Hee! I remember a certain anchor, in front of the University of Missouri ROTC building, Crowder Hall, which was discovered on Homecoming Morning to have been painted a Bright Pink.

I remember the next year, the Midshipmen guarded their anchor the night before Homecoming. Too bad someone was *inside* Crowder Hall, where the Navy has this *really nice* shipbuilder's model of the USS Missouri in a glass case in the central foyer. Only for this homecoming, *somehow* the case was full of water and goldfish, with the Mighty Mo'... sunk 'neath the waves.

Then, heh, who'd a thunk it, but one fine Homecoming Morning, the anchor was all green and fuzzy, having been coated with grease and grass clippings...

But I wouldn't know anything about that. Nope.

Methinks Lex, a certain Bubblehead, CDR Salamander and Unconsidered Trifles should come by and crow over current victories trumping old losses... Especially since Dusty, USAFA Grad, is still AWOL...

by John on Oct 08, 2005 | I think it's funny!
» Neptunus Lex links with: Sign 167 of the Impending Apocalypse
» CDR Salamander links with: Tommorow’s SEALS today
» Stop The ACLU links with: Sunday Funnies

Back when (again)

Remember when I told you about my bartending gig the first time I got out of the Army? The pay wasn't so hot, but it was a pretty good job in other ways--lots of interesting interaction between the customers. F'r instance...

One night, a guy was sitting quietly, nursing a Rob Roy, and sitting on the opposite side of the horseshoe from him was a gorgeous redhead. I'd been quietly watching him watching her (he'd been checking her out since he sat down, but evidently couldn't work the courage up to talk to her).

Suddenly she sneezed and doggoned if a glass eye didn't come flying out of its socket directly at him.

He reflexively reached and snatched it out of the air, opened his hand and looked at the eye with a kind of bemused expression on his face, then walked around the horseshoe to hand it back to her.

"Oh, I'm sooo sorry," she said as she took the eye, then bent down to put it back in its socket. "Please--let me buy you dinner to make it up to you."

They moved to one of the booths and I motioned the waitress to bring a couple of menus.

Paul the Chef always out did himself on Surf 'n' Turf Night--they looked like they really enjoyed their meal, and the conversation was pretty animated, with a lot of smiles and laughter from both of them.

Afterwards, they adjourned to the bar, sitting together this time, and it was a quiet night, so I couldn't help but overhear them share their thoughts and dreams.

Then came closing time, so I rang out their tab and bought each of them an Irish coffee nightcap for last call. He reached for his wallet, but she gently placed her hand on his and said, "My treat, remember?"

As I was counting out her change, I overheard her suggest that he accompany her home for a nightcap and an early breakfast.

"Geez," he said, "you are the perfect woman!" He blushed a bit, then asked, "Are you this nice to every guy you meet? "

"No," she replied with a grin, as they got up to leave...

Ummm--out of respect for the finer sensibilities some of you have exhibited in the past, I stuck the punchline in Extended Entry/Flash Traffic...

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

by CW4BillT on Oct 08, 2005 | I think it's funny!
» Stop The ACLU links with: Sunday Funnies

October 07, 2005

Reporting out on Katrina...

...still. I'm late with this - Sorry Spc. Van T!

Soldiers involved in the Katrina recovery effort - blog it at Camp Katrina!

Continuing the assault on...

...the Mother Church's hold on scripture started by Gutenberg (down Jim, down big fella!) we offer up these tidbits of new versions of the bible, making Scripture accessible for all! Plus, ain't it grand, that no one is going to send a hit squad with dull knives to saw off my head for publishing these...?)

Starting with:

It's the new txtament, mate By Nick Squires in Sydney (Filed: 07/10/2005)

Not content with a Strine version of the Bible, Australia has translated the Old and New Testaments into text message language.

"In da Bginnin God cre8d da heavens & da earth," the SMS (short message service) version begins. "Da earth waz barren, wit no 4m of life; it waz unda a roaring ocean cuvred wit dRkness."

The Bible Society in Australia, which has produced the translation, hopes that young people will send their family or friends verses which can be accessed free over the internet.

But older people may feel that the text version lacks the gravitas and elegance of the original.

"The old days when the Bible was available only in a sombre black cover with a cross on it are long gone," Michael Chant, of the Bible Society, said. "We want to open it up for people of all ages, backgrounds and interests and the SMS version is a logical extension of that."

The idea came from the son of a society employee in Sydney and it took one person a month to convert the entire New and Old Testaments into SMS text.

Mr Chant said that biblical words of wisdom could be sent to comfort a friend or relative.

"Other people might just want to send a daily Bible recording to themselves to meditate on while they are on the bus or having their lunch," he said.

But wait! There's more!

The Virgin Mary is a "pretty special sheila" who wraps her nipper in a bunny rug and tucks him up in a cattle feed trough, according to a new Australian version of the Bible. The Three Wise Men are "eggheads from out east" who follow a star to find the baby Jesus and announce their arrival with: "G'day, Your Majesty!" The Good Samaritan is a "grubby old street sweeper" who patches up the victim of a highway robbery with his first aid kit, then drops him off at the nearest pub.


And shoot, I missed this version on the big tables at Sam's Club:

'Erotic' pictures to bring Bible back into fashion By Jessica Berry (Filed: 27/05/2001)

A GLOSSY magazine-style version of the Old Testament, featuring leading models pictured by the world's leading fashion photographers, will be unveiled later this year.

Claudia Schiffer and Markus Schenkenberg are the models expected to portray Eve and Adam in a project designed to attract young people who rarely read the bible.

Gustaf-Wilhelm Hellstedt, one of four Swedish entrepreneurs behind the idea, said: "Forget those old sketches in the Bible. Instead of a boring drawing of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, we may well have a couple walking down a New York street, kissing."

And this one! I missed this one, too!

A BIBLE for bikers in which Christ's blood is compared to the oil in a motorbike will be released by the Bible Society later this month.

The idea is that of Alan Lowther, an atheist turned Christian minister, president of the Christian Motorcyclists' Association and the "driving force" behind the new Manual for Life.

The Bible Society, whose patrons include the Queen and Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, says the version of the New Testament will "make Scripture more real and appealing to this sub-culture".

It uses the controversial Contemporary English Version of the New Testament which critics last year denounced as the "soap opera" Bible for its simplified prose. On the cover is a colourful collage of motorcycles and the message: "Discover the freedom of the open road."


Caption contest...

Two pics today. Critter-based.

First up.

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Second up - what's the *horse* thinking?

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by John on Oct 07, 2005 | I think it's funny!
» She Who Will Be Obeyed! links with: playing catch up on the blogosphere
» Sortapundit links with: SortaCaption Contest

October 06, 2005

Militaria, kewl stuff, 1 ea.

I see that the SCOTUS kerfuffle and the right-wing's bizarre melt-down (does the Left *ever* get this hissy in it's intramurals?) has driven the war from the media. Add to that the OPSEC restrictions on the deployed milblogs making them less compelling, and I see the milbloggers are sinking slowly in the Ecosystem, as Miers, et.al, sucks up the linkage. Greyhawk bucks the trend.

I've not taken a stand on Miers. I'm slowly, painfully learning that my sense of politics, etc goes beyond 'tin ear'. Besides that, I can't compete with the stuff that Cassie puts out, so what-the-heck, at the moment, why bother? I'll watch and wait for the hearings.

Flip side, I don't feel near as compelled any more, either. Hence the return to more root-like stuff from the past, and even if the linkage is drying up, the visits aren't, so we're not driving everyone away, even if we can't get Dusty to stick his nose in anywhere, lately.

So - as I noted before, the List of Arms at Argghhh! has been essentially frozen due to budget considerations... but we can still squeeze out a shekel or two for the 'other stuff' I like.

Arriving yesterday - a French M15 Adrian helmet. The French were the first to put steel pots on their soldier's heads, and many US troops wore them (mostly the black troops we had serving with the French) instead of the Brody-style pie-plate helmet from WWI we're generally used to seeing. Both those photo links are from this excellent website of WWI photos. I've got several flavors of Adrian brain-buckets, but not an early version, with the riveted skirt and plaited leather chin strap. One of the interesting things the French did after the war was provide veterans with a brass plate that could be riveted to the helmet on the visor that said, in french, "Soldier of the Great War, 1914-1918." I finally got one, on eBay in an auction where the normal collectors were absent so it was affordable. This particular veteran was, I'd guess, Catholic. The Crucifix is not standard equipment. The flaming bomb is the symbol of the Infantry.

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Two other things are interesting about this helmet - the corrugated aluminum ring that is part of the sweat band, between the band the and helmet shell, and the fact that this is a tiny helmet. I have a huge melon, so all helmets, even the custom-made kevlar I was issued, look small on this head... but this one must be the absolute smallest sized one. I'd post a pic of it sitting on top of my head, but I'd get sued by someone who busted a gut laughing...

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October 05, 2005

Just cuz I knew you wanted to know...

What's on the reading list... spread between the nightstand and the office, and of course, both bathrooms. With one in the car, for lunch, or waiting for SWWBO at the airport.

Devil's Guard, Elford. (now available new from Hailer Publishing)
Ambush Alley, Pritchard
Learning to Eat Soup with a Knife, Nagl
The Last True Story I'll Ever Tell, Crawford
Judge Advocates in Vietnam, Army Lawyers in Southeast Asia 1959-1975, Borch
The Road to Abu Ghraib: US Army Detainee Doctrine and Experience, Gebhardt The link is to a Military Review article - I'm reading the book Jim wrote from which he wrote the article.
Arrogant Armies, Perry
Settling Accounts: Return Engagement, Turtledove
Imperial Grunts, Kaplan
The Dog From Hell, Bunch
Arguing About War, Walzer
Bombs and Hand Grenades, Smith
Nelson's Trafalgar, Adkins
1805: Austerlitz, Goetz
Photoshop CS2 for Dummies, Obermeier

I find it hard anymore to sit down and do concentrated reading. Probably too much coffee, and the bad influence of blogs and blogging. But I am plowing through all of these books. Two of 'em are references for ongoing projects, and are only consulted as needed, so that's not so bad.

She who stutteringly brings up...

...feminine "sekrit-purpose" devices...

Iiiii Donnnn'ttt knowwww anyyythingggg abouttttt thingsssss that viiiiiiibrate

...(admittedly following *her* lead) later in the same thread complains:

*sigh* The quality of gun pron on this site has dramatically dropped.

Heh. *Who* dragged pr0n into this anyway? A pox on all yer houses!

Fine. I'll pander. How about a Wall of Muskets?

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From the Tower Armories, a souvenir of SWWBO's trip last week. Compares favorably to the Arsenal at Argghhh!, I suppose.

Where they've got us beat, however, is out in the inner ward! With things like this 24 pounder gun on a fortress carriage.

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For his birthday, ...

...little Patrick asked for a bicycle .

His dad said, "Son, we'd be happy to buy you one, but the mortgage on this house is $80,000 and your mother just lost her job. There's no way we can afford it."

The next day, his dad saw little Patrick heading out the front door with a suitcase. He stopped him and asked, "Son, where are you going?"

Little Patrick replied, "I was walking past your room last night and heard you telling mom you were pulling out. Then I heard her tell you to wait because she was coming too. And I'll be damned if I'm staying here by myself with an $80,000 mortgage and no bike!"

H/t to Doc E.

by CW4BillT on Oct 05, 2005 | I think it's funny!
» Mudville Gazette links with: Dawn Patrol
» Speed of Thought links with: Round the Reader - As time permits Edition...

October 04, 2005

Ponnuru for SCOTUS!

I've made a button - as K-Lo asked for.

If they give me permission (I have no idea - it *does* include their logo after all) I might even put 'em up for sale. Use the proceeds to buy a seat at the next NRO get-together...

button.jpg

Greetings visitors from NRO (again, this is a post from October!) The stuff below is a bit dated - if you want newer stuff, we have The Price of War here, the Brit Brigadier's comments on the US Army here, Alito here,, and obscure firearms lore here. Or just click here and start at the top and move down.

This is the old stuff:

Other things of interest, if you have the time - the OPSEC issues for milbloggers (down in the bottom of the post - and visit the Salamander's link, too), a series on the nuts and bolts of "getting to the fight" (good stuff, not boring old logistics - see links at bottom of the post), the FBI, a US Marshall, and a blogger have a Homeland Security Moment, next, - the Bar at Argghhh, and last, but not least - cool military stuff I collect. But if yer just here for the buttons - Jonah has forwarded my note to the suits about offering 'em up for sale.

Whatzis?

I don't have time this morning, I'm taking SWWBO to the airport (hey, just picked her up Sunday night so she could make her FBI meeting yesterday...)

So, whatzis?

If ya don't know - let yer imagination run wild...

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Betcha Lex knows...

by John on Oct 04, 2005 | I think it's funny!
» Neptunus Lex links with: The Guinness on My Desktop

October 03, 2005

The FBI, a US Marshal, and a blogger.

GO CHECK OUT SWWBO'S ADVENTURE!

Who'da thunk the first visit to Castle Argghhh! by the FBI would be for SWWBO?

Other Items of Note.

Updated through the day.

RINO Sightings, at The Strata-Sphere.

Carnival of the Liberties at Stop the ACLU.

Carnival of the Recipes, at Blog'O Ram.

Carnival of Cordite, at Resistance is Futile.

Center-right discussion of the Miers nomination - the Watering Hole over at Llamabutchers.

A$$holes. French or otherwise, and a pox of the people who make this profitable. May they rot in a special place in hell - because this isn't simple cruelty for cruelty's sake - this is economic activity. I guess I should warn you - if you are a critter lover, the picture will make you unhappy.

This just in in email:

Since you mentioned OPSEC and blogs, I thought you'd be interested to know that I just sat through the interweb/OPSEC brieifing a couple of days ago, and I noted that your blog header (yours, not the Dusty or Bill version) was present on a page about blogs, along with Mudville Gazette and another that I'd seen before but whose name escapes me.

Fame comes in odd forms

Dunno if we were mentioned in good ways or bad ways, or just held up as an example of a milblog - but, here's a note for you official 1st IO Command blog monitors... if there's something here you object to, all ya gotta do is email and we can discuss it. I got no problems with that whatsoever. And all in all, I'll probably take it down, if it isn't already like a rash on the 'net. Just like I *didn't* run with the pics of the M1 that got hit with the double-impulse RPG until that was all over the 'net - and I had gotten those from a clean source (i.e., not work-related or abuse-of-trust or something similar). Just sayin'. I'll protect my 1st Amendment rights, like I will the other 9 in the Bill - but make a case to me, and I'll also come down on the side of risk reduction to the soldier.

I went over to the 1st Information Operations Command OPSEC portal (accessible if you have an AKO account), and I suggest you visit if you blog and are on active duty, they've got a pretty good round-up of what concerns the higher-ups about blogs.

On their slide discussing blogs, Blackfive, Greyhawk, SGT Hook all made it - and so did Argghhh! Twice. My howitzer banner and the archive banner. Just shown as examples of blogs, and not held up in a good light or bad.

If you're a milblogger on active duty - the rules are different for you than they are me (though I've got other rules to be cognizant of) - if you haven't been subjected to this training (and, let's face it - most of it will be given by people who don't really understand blogs yet), I suggest you go ahead and get there ahead of the chain-teaching on the subject. The rules are getting clearer, and they're doing a better job of explaining the *why* of the rules, not just the "here they are" aspect of them.

And I don't have any real problem with the rules as they are evolving. I'm sure the enforcement, decentralized as it is, will be, well, spotty - with weak leaders taking a heavy-handed approach. But, in terms of true OPSEC (vice not wanting to be embarassed because you're an idiot) erring on the side of caution is a good thing - lives *are* at stake.

If you can't find it and want the link to the portal - email me from a .mil address and I'll give it to you (you'll still have to log-in) - but you can get there from the AKO start page.

Update: As Cdr Salamander found out - you can only get to AKO if you have an Army-based account... just like I can't log in to the AF and Navy equivalents.

Subject change/

Heh. "Why don't you knock it off with them negative waves? Why don't you dig how beautiful it is out here? Why don't you say something righteous and hopeful for a change?" C'mon, Oddball - follow your own advice!

Neffi - how about the RSPCA?
Or these guys, with a follow-up here. Here.

Getting to the fight, part 5.

Blake, retired soldier turned civil-servant-in-the-assault, reports in from "Somewhere Not In The USA." I can attest to the fact that the Army is getting serious about the OPSEC aspects of things (especially blogging) and have some pretty interesting briefs up (all FOUO or better, so I can't share) on *why* they are doing that. And some very good milbloggers we all know and like sadly figure prominently in those briefs (no, I won't name names except to say Argghhh! has not attracted any officially-mentioned attention - it's all deployed guys describing ops). My visit logs do show visits from the people who now monitor things like that, however. Which is okay, I don't think I've given away anything that wasn't already out there in wide distribution. Which means I've been scooped on stuff, but, hey - I'm *not* a reporter, nor do I play one on TV. And I didn't spend the night last night in a Holiday Inn Express, either. I *will* admit to being a journalist. In the original use of the term, one who writes a journal...

Anyway - on to Blake and his latest.

CENTCOM is getting a seriously serious case of the collywobbles about the potential for the Bad Guys in Iraq to make use of open-source material about the war there (such as blog entries,) to improve the effectiveness of what they are doing. While a part of this is based on the calculus that if the Opposition might be able to do something, the prudent planner must assume that they can do it, and that they will do it, some of the briefs I’ve been given with respect to some of what I’ve been doing over here have given me pause, and I’ve become extremely reluctant to discuss certain specific activities in real time, or to provide photos that could be used to identify a specific operating location. I’ve concluded that I’d rather seem boring than do something that would put our side at any increased risk.

So, suffice it to say that I’ve spent a good chunk of the last ten days at a seaport somewhere around here, offloading a whole bunch of equipment, making sure those civilian mariners from MSC (pirates, the lot of them,) didn’t trade our HMMWV’s for beer in Gibraltar or something, and then arranging to move all this junk to our staging base, which as we’ve already noted, is right next door to the Ass End of Nowhere. (This also involved persuading one of our maintenance warrants that he couldn’t just accidentally load a couple of cute little Navy arc-welders that were sitting in the yard looking lonely aboard a couple of our trucks... ...but that’s a whole different story.) It involved a lot of long days, under unpleasant conditions (temps 120-130 degrees F, winds gusting to 30 knots, blowing sand, and so forth. But we did in fact get all our stuff accounted for and sent off to where it needs to be.

In lieu of interesting details, though, I offer the following:


True Tales of Horror from the Unit Movements Bidness, Part 1.

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John keeps encouraging me to tell stories, observing that logistics is an essential part of any major military operation that seldom gets a lot of press coverage. The only problem I have with that is that a lot of the better stories I have to tell don’t show the units I’ve worked with in a very good light. You see, if everybody does everything right, there isn’t much of an interesting story to tell. The equipment gets packed up; the rolling stock gets prepared; the necessary paperwork gets shuffled; everything gets put on the transportation, it all gets delivered, the unit unpacks its gear and loads up everything in a combat-ready configuration, and moves out smartly. Lots of work gets done, but
there's nothing all that interesting there...

It’s when things DON’T go right that the good stories emerge. Like the time I went to Honduras in 1985 as an acting platoon sergeant with D Co, 1-187 Inf. There we were, part of the world’s ONLY Air Assault division, engaged in a major multiservice, multinational exercise in northeast Honduras. And us with no helicopters... ...talk about embarrassing.

About two days before we left Fort Campbell, a UH-60 had come apart in mid-air over Fort Rucker, AL. (The UH-60 was still fairly new in 1985, and we hadn't gotten all of the bugs out of the system yet.) As a result, the entire UH-60 fleet, Army wide, was grounded until the safety gurus could determine what had happened and figure out how to prevent it from happening again. The day I landed at Golason AFB, (near La Cieba on the northern coast of Honduras,) an MH-47 of the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment literally chopped itself into flinders on a taxiway at the airport at San Pedro Sula, Honduras. The rear rotor tilted forward well past its normal limits and started chewing its way down through the fuselage. (Nobody got hurt in this one: the pilots went out the front and the crew-chief and gunners went out the back.) But the entire CH-47/MH-47 fleet was grounded until, once more, the safety gurus could determine what had happened and figure out how to prevent it from happening again.

Which left us with precisely no helicopters with which to air assault into the exercise area.

Offshore we had a US Navy amphibious group with an embarked USMC Battalion Landing Team that included a helicopter carrier with a bunch of CH-46’s and CH-53’s. Heck, we could SEE the durned ships from some of the guard towers, and could count the number of helos on the flight deck if we were using binoculars. So Col. Dave Bramlett, our brigade commander, asked the Marines politely if we could borrow their helos and pilots long enough to deliver our troops to the field. The response was a study in obfuscatory language that boiled down to the fact that the Marines were not going to sully their precious Marine helicopeters by using them to carry Army grunts. Which left us little or no way to get over the mountains to where we were supposed to engage in quaint forms of folk-dancing with the Honduran Army and the United States Marines. Fortunately, we had both a smart transportation officer and a competent contracting officer along on our little tropical excursion.

Now, it is a little-known fact that when a classic American yellow school bus becomes a little long in the tooth, it generally gets sold to a used-bus wholesaler. A lot of these buses wind up getting sold to buyers in Central and South America, where they form an important part of the rural transportation system. A local entrepreneur will buy one of these old buses, install a roof-rack for luggage and an access ladder for the roof-rack, weld an extension on the exhaust pipe to facilitate fording rivers, obtain a concession from the government, and set himself up as a transit operator. Typically, the bus will start out in the early morning from some tiny village in the hinterlands and thereafter travels toward the principal city or town in the region, stopping in every little village and hamlet along the way to pick up passengers. Arriving in town about mid-morning, the driver will discharge his passengers, refuel the bus, and then wait at some designated location for his returning passengers. About mid-afternoon, with everyone loaded up, goats, chickens, piglets, Uncle Tom Cobbley and all, the driver starts the bus back up, and wends his way back into the countryside, dropping off passengers and livestock as he goes, until he eventually reaches his place of origin, where his route ends. And, as it happens, we found out that on any given day a number of these buses are available for private hire...

Which is how we wound up making the infamous “140-km-nap-of-the-earth-Trans-Sula-bus-assault-mission.” 35-40 kph over gravel roads with the traditional “40 x 40” climate-control system. Yep. 40 open windows at 40 kph. And we weren’t the only traffic on the road, so dust was a constant companion. See the two accompanying photos taken during the bus assault

Even with all the dust it still beat walking…

I hadn’t really intended to tell that story here, but it does make the point that military transportation people don’t get paid to tell units that we can’t move something from where it is to where it’s needed. Which is how I wound up helping to airmail a water buffalo to Afghanistan… …about which more in a later installment.

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Oooo. I can't wait for *that* one!


Parts 1, 2, and 3, 4, can be reached by clicking the respective numbers.