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October 22, 2005

Militarizing Space? Interplanetary War? The European Union?

What do all these things have in common?

From an email:


I was reading an article today about the European Union's newest spaced venture and the picture of the vehicle struck me as somewhat familiar. Then it hit me, the war to liberate Afghanistan; that's where I had seen that profile before. The 15,000 lb Daisy Cutter painted in white camouflage to disguise its real identity. Obviously, the EU has declared war on Venus, without UN sanctions and is planning a surprise attack on Wednesday. I just thought I should alert you and your readers about this terrifying event!

A faithful reader

The EU would have us believe that this is an innocent space exploration vehicle.

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Yeah, right. We've drunk the Kool-Aid, we listen to Art Bell - WE KNOW BETTER!

This is what they're building - and white paint ain't gonna hide it!

How'd you like to fly this?

Given Sanger and Dusty's recent conversation concerning the flight characteristics of the V-22 Osprey, how'd you like to be the guy that had to transition this thing from vertical to horizontal flight and back? (Mind you, the linked thread is a textbook example of 'thread drift'...)

I like this "judicious" use of understatement:

LANDING: Judicious use of the throttle controlled the rate of descent, though it also took considerable pilot skill.

Especially since it was designed for use in convoys of ships with no flight decks. Hard enough to land a helo on the helideck of a moving ship in rough seas. I can imagine essentially "backing in" to that parking space...


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Oh, sure - it's looks easy in *this* pic...

But these stills from a movie tell a slightly different story!

You can read more about the Pogo here.

by John on Oct 22, 2005 | Aircraft
» Stop The ACLU links with: Sunday Funnies

October 21, 2005

The Answer to the Question

In 1967, the Army decided to field a dedicated attack helicopter to replace the venerable Cobra (geez, the AH-1G was almost a full year old by then!) and instituted the Advanced Aerial Fire Support System program.

Think of attack helicopters as agile, highly mobile, speedy (but noisy) artillery with really good-looking crews...

Lockheed, Bell and Sikorsky all entered the competition.

The winner was the Lockheed entry, a rigid-rotor, compound aircraft with a pusher-prop in addition to the tail rotor, armed with enough weaponry to blow up the world and having a turn of speed faster than that of the “pursuit” craft zipping around the sky during the ‘thirties: the Cheyenne.

In 1972, Congress decided that a million bucks was too much to spend on a helicopter and told the Army to shelve it.

The Bell entry was a twin-engined, upgunned version of the existing AH-1G that the design team called the King Cobra. Except for a photo-op mockup, it never got off the drawing board.

However, with some additional upgrades to the armament suite, power train, avionics, fuselage—ummmm, make that a “complete” redesign—the King Cobra was sold to the Marines under the designation AH-1T.

Sikorsky also submitted a rigid-rotor, compound aircraft, a tank-destroyer with sixteen TOW missiles and a neat cannon and the tail rotor swiveled in flight to become a pusher-prop; it set a world speed record during the competition. The Army decided that the swiveling tail rotor was too complicated for field maintenance and dumped the Sikorsky entry faster than you can say “Argghhh!”

Sikorsky called it the Blackhawk.

Soooo, the answer to the question is, Sikorsky designated the UH-60 the Black Hawk because it had already manufactured an “Army” helicopter called the Blackhawk and didn’t want the UH-60 Black Hawk confused with the S-67 Blackhawk.

Heh—like anybody remembered in the first place…

...except John from VA (brag rights assigned).

And, naturally, John from Argghhh (via e-mail), but he's already got more brag rights than a normal human being should be allowed...

by CW4BillT on Oct 21, 2005 | Aircraft
» Garfield Ridge links with: Do You Like Attack Helicopters?

Begging for captions.

Go for it. You know you want to.

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I've also heard from Dusty - he's alive, and well, and very busy, and has probably flown over most of your homes at some point in the last two weeks, if his fliight log is any indicator.

by John on Oct 21, 2005 | I think it's funny!
» Stop The ACLU links with: Sunday Funnies
» Isaac Schrödinger links with: Beg and Ye Shall Receive

Answering questions.

In a comment to the post below this one, Alan asked:

I really enjoy your site. Wonder why you have not addressed the disgraceful treatment of Lt.Colonel Anthony Schaffer? ... Thralan

Alan - mainly because other people with more time and better sources are doing it already, and precisely because of their sources, are doing it better than we could here. If I *had* good sources, that would certainly be different.

I made a decision two months ago to quit being an 'echo chamber' on what the big blogs were covering, and spend more time having fun and filling in the corners on what other people aren't covering. Hence the appeal to me of Blake's "Getting to the Fight" stuff, or the Hurricane Katrina Defense Coordinating Element stuff that Sarenyon was providing while he was deployed. That's good Castle-Fodder, providing a glimpse into things the MSM isn't going to cover (and that most people don't care about) but now it's there, good stories, and people get a little slice of life they've never seen before.

Readership is down as a result of that change, because Argghhh! doesn't show up in the meme-driven aggregators as much now, but I've always been more interested in the "average visit length" and "average page view per visit" metric than raw numbers (though ego does like the raw numbers, I admit). It also shows in our drop in the Ecosystem, as the politics of the SCOTUS nominations is driving the train these days, not the war. But in that respect, if it's the war that was keeping us up, well, sinking into obscurity because the war wanes (if it's *truly* waning) would be a Good Thing.

When we were much higher traffic than we are now, visit length was down to 1:15 (as low as 45 seconds at one point) and page views were down to 1.2 per visit. That generally means people were visiting from an external link, like NRO or Hugh Hewitt, reading the bit, and splitting.

Now we're at 2:40 and 1.9 pages. Which means that while fewer people (still 1500 plus) visit, they read more than one post. And that only counts the unique visits - so if you come in several times during the day (the run-on comment threads) that isn't affecting those numbers. It also means more Google visits to older posts, as people look for arcane stuff (like my grenade post this week) that aren't so tied to current events.

Since I'm not trying to sell advertising (and ain't sold much merchandise, either!) I've decided having people hang out and read everything is more satisfying than having a boatload of drive-throughs...

But certainly, if you *want* us to look at something, I encourage people to do what you did - ask!

As for LTC Shaffer, he's discovered the ugly truth of working for government. When whatever you are doing passes into the realm of politics, vice just getting the job done, life gets very ugly very quickly. Right or wrong. And it sucks to get caught up in that, because you generally don't know the rules and get handled roughly by all the pros.

Beyond that, I'm not competent to comment - yet.

October 20, 2005


I kinda like this...

Hat tip, Ry!

Some other choices in the Flash Traffic...

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

by John on Oct 20, 2005 | I think it's funny!
» My Side of the Puddle links with: Kewl! I found my Halloween costume!
» Blog o'RAM links with: Beware the Jabberwock and Shun the
» pamibe links with: Monster Mash
» NIF links with: Charlie Foxtrot

Burying The Lede On Iraqi Constitution

The peace-at-any-price crowd must be at their wits' end these days. Those damnable Iraqis keep popping up like whack-a-moles, cheerfully waving those annoying purple fingers about as though they had something to celebrate.

Meanwhile, the much-feared Arab Street has proved more unreliable than a deadbeat dad with two months back child support, a bottle of MadDog 20/20 and no forwarding address. What's the world coming to anyway?

Day after day the press dutifully focused on the voluntary disenfranchisement of the Sunnis: an ethnic minority who (the media conveniently forgot to mention) for 30 years violently oppressed the majority of law-abiding Iraqis. And how were the press repaid for their devotion? The shifty blighters can't even be relied upon to erupt in an orgy of violence! Now they decide to participate in the democratic process. How dare they legitimize the Shrub's illegal and immoral war of aggression by showing up at the polls! For God's sake - don't these people read the NY Times?

But never fear, as Kedwards once hastened to assure a foundering America, hope is on the way. The Strong Strength of Strongness will soon be restored to a nation faltering in its resolve:

Here are the headlines you may have missed: "Iraqi democracy takes bow to standing ovation, global applause" Or "Iraqi voter turnout another blow to al-Qaida." Or perhaps: "Joyful Americans dance in streets as Iraqi voters approve new constitution."

The tone of a majority of newspapers I viewed both Sunday and Monday was restrained to tepid. With some exceptions, headlines conveyed that familiar "yes, but" qualification. As in, "Yeah, sure, Iraq got a new constitution and took a giant stride toward independent self-rule, but life is still hell and, by the way, six American soldiers died."

Admittedly, my cursory review hardly qualifies as scientific, but a quick survey suggests that the public's perception that the media take a glass-half-empty approach to news coverage, especially the war in Iraq, is justified. Here, for instance, is The Baltimore Sun's Monday headline: "Arguments begin over count of Iraq vote."

The Augusta Chronicle and The Orlando Sentinel chimed in with: "Disputes surround early tally" and "Disputes erupt on Iraq vote results," respectively. The Louisville Courier-Journal took the fire-'n'-brimstone path: "Passing constitution won't end Iraq's woes."

With the looming threat of nascent Democracy hanging over their heads like bloody Armageddon, the loyal opposition have called in the cavalry:

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

A Contest! Sorta...

In John's gleanings below, the captioneer calls the UH-60 a Blackhawk. In my comment, I refer to the critter as a Black Hawk.

*snicker* Who's correct and--specifically--why? Brag rights to the first one of you to get it right without just making a SWAG.

Okay, Barb, the meaning of the acronym is in Flash Traffic. You didn't think I'd just leave it lying around out here, did you?

*Update* The Scruples sent along a pic of Bill's Den.

**Update to the Update** Why John doesn't worry about his Jerry Pournelle collection disappearing from the Library...

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

by CW4BillT on Oct 20, 2005 | Militaria

American Myrmidons in Action.

For our veterans of the 7th Cavalry...

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A young girl gets her feet measured for a new pair of shoes. Soldiers of B Company 448th Civil Affairs Battalion CATA 5 attached to 3-7 Cavalry give away shoes in Al Nafees primary school in Al Kafajyeh, Baghdad, 08 October, 2005.

Depending on your view, this is a "Aw, shucks" kind of picture. But a Brit soldier might well come away with a slighty different view. Not negative about what is being done - but about the armed and armored soldier. A Brit troop might or might not be wearing body armor in this situation, but would probably have a beret on vice a helmet. There is some truth to the observation, but there is also some truth to the fact that the Stars and Stripes draws more fire than the Union flag.

And in general (click the leading numbers in the captions)

051018-N-5526M-004 18, Oct 2005 A U.S. Army Blackhawk helicopter passes over a CH-47 Chinook on its way back from a mission providing food, water, and medicine to remote villages suffering from hurricane Stan in Guatemala. Personnel from U.S. Southern Command from Joint Task Force Bravo continues to provide assistance to the government and the people of Guatemala as part of an ongoing disaster relief effort. U.S. Navy Photo by Photographers Mate 1st class Robert McRill (RELEASED)

051016-N-5526M-048 16 Oct 2005 Specialist Ryan Becker from Easton, Pennsylvania unloads food, water, and medicine from a Army Blackhawk helicopter during relief efforts for victims of hurricane Stan. Personnel from U.S. Southern Command Joint Task Force Bravo continue to provide assistance to the government and the people of Guatemala as part of an ongoing disaster relief effort. U.S. Navy Photo by Photographers Mate 1st class Robert McRill (RELEASED)

Reference a point made my Dr. Funk in the comments - does anyone know if any European nations are directly helping with relief efforts? Vice I'm sure there is monetary/in-kind assistance coming out of the EU, I was wondering if there was any other kind - granting, this is somewhat in our backyard and therefore easier for us to get to - but I recall Dutch Navy vessels helping out in New Orleans.

October 19, 2005

The Whatzis? answer.

First some stuff just because I wanna.

Finally, Saddam goes on trial. Funny how some people are almost positing that "fair trial" means essentially, unless there is a real chance of a defense and acquittal, there can't be a trial, because that wouldn't be fair... so he (or anyone in that situation) should go free. Hey, no worries, it worked for OJ, right? You want to see that discussion, run through yesterday afternoon (18 October) at NRO.

Plamegate straggles on. Hey, Whitewater certainly dragged on, too.
I'll wait and see what happens and finally comes out. This pundit gig doesn't pay well enough to spend all that time digging.

Okay, let's clear up that little straggler from yesterday. Shock, surprise, not many of you made serious attempts to figure out what they were, except for those who have been deprived of intimacy of late... The rest of you, what, you got jobs or something?

Anyway - they're both grenades. Both Austrian. The stick grenade one is a Rohrhandgranate (Alt) or literally, Tube Hand Grenade (Old), as vice the "Neu" or New. No, Neffi - not missing the cap to the grenade handle. There wasn't one. The handle is a cardboard tube, taped over. In the case of mine, almost certainly a replacement - aside from it's condition for a 90-year old cardboard tube, it also doesn't project through the ball (as can be seen in the linked pictures).

The other is a Lakos. Mine is an early version, also larger than most later versions. Another give-away as to early... it has a fuze that must be lit, vice a percussion fuze as used on later grenades. This is just a tube with wooden plugs at each end, made of cast iron so that it would be more likely to break into pieces. One reason they are fairly common on Italian-front battlefields is the fuze often failed, or the explosive just blew out the wooden plugs.

WWI grenades are a fascinating study. You could find *both* of those grenades on the same battlefield, even though they represent very different levels of sophistication and technology.

Lest we think the Austrians were alone in relatively crude grenades... well, that's not true. Both an inadequate starting stockpile and an inability to produce "professionally engineered" grenades in quantity led to many battlefield innovations. Such as these Battye grenades from the Arsenal Collection. They were manufactured by French engineers in the town of Bethune, Northern France, for the British army in 1915. Named after the inventor, a Royal Engineer Major Battye. Segmented roughly cast iron cylinder originally containing Ammonal, sealed with a wooden plug, and having a lit or chemical fuze. Also prone to failure of the plug just blowing out, hence the wires.

Early in the war it was so bad both sides resorted to complete battlefield improvisation, producing a class of grenades sometimes referred to as "hairbrush grenades" for obvious reasons. The official french nomenclature was "Les Grenades Artisanales."

The French had an odd mix of grenades, too. I've covered the Vivien-Bessiere grenade launcher before. But they had grenades like the Citron Foug, which you slammed down on a hard surface to ignite the fuze. Many wartime helmets have dents in them - not from shrapnel, but from a desperate soldier in a muddy field who was trying to get his grenades to work...

Then there were gems like these French 'bracelet' grenades in the Arsenal. WWI vintage. The soldier wrapped a loop of twine or wire that has a hook on it around his wrist - hooks the loops on the grenades, throws. As it leaves his hand, it is supposed to pull out, igniting the friction primer. They were not popular.

Like this:

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The poster is "Journée du Poilu. 25 et 26 décembre 1915" which reads as "Day of the Soldier, 25 and 26 December, 1915. It shows a poilu just about to loft a bracelet grenade. If you go back to the picture of my grenades - you can see an obvious problem with the go-to-war version, the Fusee Modele 1882 (which is just a new fuze stuck in the Modele 1847 grenade... yes, 1847). They took out the wick fuze and stuck in this. Problem is, it's a friction-fit wood plug. Often as not - the grenade went sailing away, leaving the fuze dangling. Hence the second grenade, the Modele 1914, with a brass base, threaded so that it screwed in securely. Which grumped the Generals, because that meant they were more expensive, and you had to thread the old grenade bodies too! Dammit! I *hate* it when that happens. The Ghost of Gorgas. Those who know, know.

I'll continue this subject sometime when the muse next seizes me. Mebbe rod grenades...

by John on Oct 19, 2005 | Grenades

Time's 100 Best Novels, 1923 to the Present

New list. The Time 100 Best Novels 1923 to the Present. Lev Grossman and Richard Lacayo.

Heh. Just goes to show I ain't cultured or very well read... as these guys see it.

Same same as the music list - italics, I read it. Bold, I liked it. And again, only if you really really really want to know. Hit the extended entry. I cogitate on what my faves are. Hint - there's more military, historical, and science fiction in my list...

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

An Englishman, a Scotsman and a Puffin...

Admit it: you get a kick out of ethnic jokes, but you're leery about laughing at them lest you be thought *insensitive,* right?

Well, now you can indulge in secret. Just don't let that PC twit from HRO hear you giggling at

The Canonical List of Norwegian Jokes.

Buried in Flash Traffic, obviously, so as not to offend the casual visitor. Or AFSis, who has delusions of being the Swedish Chef...

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

Wednesday Wandering

One of the more interesting aspects of being the Officer of the Guard is that you get to chat with the troops pulling duty in between their shifts. I operated on the assumption that everybody opens up, even to an officer, over a cup of coffee at o'geezitzdark in the morning--I was usually right. F'r instance, one Balkan February eve I was trading "What I do in Real Life" stories with a couple of fellow-sufferers after we'd gone into the Guard Shack to thaw out from the thirty-below-zero ambient atmosphere and got this gem....

"One of the jobs I interviewed for was a teaching position in the local grade school. The interview went well, but I had a few things I needed to get straight, so when the interviewer asked, 'Do you have any questions?' I answered, 'Let me see if I've got this right...

" 'You want me to go into a room full of kids and fill their every waking moment with a love of learning. I'm supposed to instill a sense of pride in their ethnicity, modify their disruptive behavior, observe them for signs of abuse and censor their T-shirt messages and dress habits.

" 'You want me to wage a war on drugs and sexually transmitted diseases, check their backpacks for weapons and raise their self esteem.

" 'You want me to teach them patriotism, good citizenship, sportsmanship, fair play, how to register to vote, how to balance a checkbook and how to apply for a job.

" 'You want me to check their heads for lice, maintain a safe environment, recognize signs of anti-social behavior, make sure all students pass the state exams, including those who don't even show up with any regularity or complete any of their assignments.

" 'You want me to make sure that all of the students with handicaps get an equal education regardless of the extent of their mental or physical handicap.

" 'You want me to communicate regularly with the parents by letter, telephone, newsletter and report card.

" 'You want me to do all of that with a piece of chalk, a couple of books, a bulletin board and a big smile and do it on a starting salary that qualifies my family for food stamps.

" 'You want me to do all that and you expect me not to pray?!?' "

Heh. H/t to "Shayla, the Double-Digit Midget."

by CW4BillT on Oct 19, 2005 | General Militaria

October 18, 2005

Fair winds and a following sea, Captain.

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051010-N-7559C-001 Monterey, Calif. (Oct. 10, 2005) – Enlisted members and support officers assigned to the U.S Navy flight demonstration team, the "Blue Angels," stand in ranks outside the Ford Old Main Chapel in Monterey, Calif., as the team’s F/A-18A Hornets perform a missing man formation following a memorial service that honors the life of retired Navy Capt. Roy M. “Butch” Voris. Voris, the original flight leader of the Blue Angels and Naval Aviation Hall of Fame member, passed away in his home in Monterey, Calif., on Aug. 10, 2005 at 86 years old. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer’s Mate 2nd Class Ryan Courtade (RELEASED)

More here, from Echo9er.

H/t Castle Adjutant Barb.

Now is the time at Castle Argghhh! when we dance: In Memoriam.

by John on Oct 18, 2005 | Something for the Soul
» Neptunus Lex links with: Ave atque vale, frater

Let's mix 'n match a bit.

Jay wonders, if we change Muslim to, say, Episcopal, is it now illegal?

Alan coins a tongue-twister... guesstificationing. I agree with him, too.

Kat meets Captain America, and discovers that warriors are not drones... and gives a remarkable history lesson in so doing. On of your better ones, Kat - and that's saying something!

Barb is still worthless and has 7 on the brain, likes critters, and wants you to read a letter.

AFSis is keeping an eye on the counter-demonstrators at Walter Reed.

CAP H is outraged! So am I. There is far too little of this going on over there in Blighty! CAPT H also uses his keen eye to discover a bit more about that Brit officer who lost her pistol...

An interesting compare and contrast in the Washington Post today. How is what Bennet said in order to discredit a bad argument functionally different from what this family endures?

Okay - homework. A little googlecize for you.

Here are hand held devices. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to identify them (yes, it can be done via the search engines). What I'm interested in are some of the ties between them. Yes, I have a specific set of things in mind, and those who have *really* read my ouevre will prolly get pretty close - but that's playing stump the chump to ask you to read my mind. Hmmm, that didn't *quite* come out the way I meant.

Anyway - I'm interested in the connections, the odd juxtapositions, etc. Simpler than you think, but not necessarily up front. Have some fun.

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Here's another view.

Everything old is new again

Actually, everything old is still old, but it doesn't lessen the amusement value. Sooooo, in keeping with the theme that seems to have struck a chord (C#minor) with most of you, here's another trip down Memory Lane. It's been around as long as the 'net has...

"[Television] won't be able to hold on to any market it captures after the first six months. People will soon get tired of staring at a plywood box every night."
- Darryl F. Zanuck, head of 20th Century Fox, 1946

"Man will never reach the moon, regardless of all future scientific advances."
- Dr. Lee de Forest, inventor of the audion tube and father of radio, 1967

"Computers in the future may weigh no more than 15 tons."
--Popular Mechanics, forecasting the relentless march of Science, 1949

"I think there is a world market for maybe five computers."
--Thomas Watson, Chairman of IBM, 1943

"I have traveled the length and breadth of this country and talked with the best people, and I can assure you that data processing is a fad that won't last out the year."
--The Editor-in-Chief, business books, for Prentice Hall, 1957

"There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home."
--Ken Olson, President, Chairman and founder of Digital Equipment Corp., 1977

"This 'telephone' has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communication. The device is inherently of no value to us."
--Western Union internal memo, 1876.

"The wireless music box has no imaginable commercial value. Who would pay for a message sent to nobody in particular?"
--David Sarnoff's associates in response to his urgings for investment in the radio in the 1920s.

"The concept is interesting and well-formed, but in order to earn better than a 'C,' the idea must be feasible,"
--A Yale University management professor in response to Fred Smith's paper proposing reliable overnight delivery service.
(Smith went on to found Federal Express Corp.)

"I'm just glad it'll be Clark Gable who's falling on his face and not Gary Cooper,"
--Gary Cooper on his decision not to take the leading role in "Gone With The Wind."

"A cookie store is a bad idea. Besides, the market research reports say America likes crispy cookies, not soft and chewy cookies like you make."
--Response to Debbie Fields' idea of starting her company, Mrs. Fields' Cookies.

"We don't like their sound, and guitar music is on the way out."
--Decca Recording Co. rejecting the Beatles, 1962.

"Stocks have reached what looks like a permanently high plateau."
--Irving Fisher, Professor of Economics, Yale University, 1929.

"Airplanes are interesting toys but of no military value."
--Marechal Ferdinand Foch, Professor of Strategy, Ecole Superieure de Guerre.

"Louis Pasteur's theory of germs is ridiculous fiction".
--Pierre Pachet, Professor of Physiology at Toulouse, 1872

And my personal fave:

"Everything that can be invented has already been invented."
- Charles H. Duell, U.S. Commissioner of Patents, 1899

by CW4BillT on Oct 18, 2005 | Historical Stuff

They Also Serve...

...who only stand and say, "Next slide, please." Or so it seems.

Long-time (like, since before last Monday) readers will just might recall me snarking John about the difference between an RLO (Real, Live Ossifer) and a Warrant and the ensuing counterbattery fire I drew from all the current-and-former RLOs in the 'sphere.

A continuation on the theme...

One of the occasional chores common to both RLOs and Warrants is The Briefing. One of my 30-minute classes usually consisted of presenting five flip-charts, talking for 20 minutes, then stating something like, "If there are no questions on Why Retreating Blade Stall Is Not Your Friend, be back in your seats in 10 minutes."

Heh. The RLOs have it a tad rougher.

Two words: General. Officers.

For the purposes of the rest of the post, we'll consider John, CPT JMH, Lex and Midshipman Mudpuppy Commander Salamander as Honorary Warrants. Although I have no doubt that they can *relate* to the following...

News Update: Army Unveils New RLO Award

Subject: Combat Briefing Badge (CBB)

Recognizing the need for an award for troops assigned to headquarters units during combat operations, the Army today announced the approval of the Combat Briefing Badge, or CBB.

"People don't realize that being in a major headquarters can be just as stressful as going on patrols or convoys," said MAJ John Remf. "When you're briefing that
many General Officers, your career can end in a heartbeat. And it can happen to anyone at any time, not just combat arms soldiers."

DoD statistics note that CSS personnel are more likely to suffer career-ending incidents in rear areas than Combat Arms Soldiers. "This award just reflects that reality," said Pentagon spokesman LTC Roger Pogue.

The award ranks in precedence below the CIB and CAB, but above the EIB and PowerPoint Ranger tab.

The criteria for the award is still under discussion, but preliminary guidance authorizes the award for 30 days of continuous briefings of officers at least two grades higher than the briefer without incident while serving in a theater of operations in which the awardee is eligible for hostile fire and hazardous duty pay.

H/t Vulture 29

October 17, 2005

Ummmm, guns!


Oh, wait - no, that's just prime time tv.

The reality is a little more prosaic.

And, I'm being a little disingenuous, given the ban expired in September 2004. The 2005 numbers will be more instructive. Still, Sarahillary BoxSchumerstein *can't* be happy with that news.

Something to keep in mind while reading that - you are getting raw numbers and percent changes. So, what's missing contextually to help you better evaluate the news?

Well, best would be an apples to apples comparison, such as those figures given as a function of murders per hundred thousand people. That would be a good number. But it's not as fun as raw numbers for shock value. Showing the percent increase is okay - but it would be nice to know what the percent increase in the population was over the same time period... just to keep comparing apples to apples... Gives one a sense of perspective. Like the fact that a gross drop in discrete events, combined with the population increase actually makes the drop comparatively larger... just a thought.

SNERK! "Could cause serious injury..." If to nothing else, a career! H/t, CAPT H. (yeah, this *was* in the post below... you're not seeing things I just decided to move it up here).

In other news... Press Outraged Over Staged Flag Raising.

Well Damn! Despite our best efforts, too! War is on the wane... geez, where's them eeeevil Neocons when you need them? Jobs are at stake here! I blame Bush.

by John on Oct 17, 2005 | Gun Rights

What catches the eye this morning...

Apropos of nothing else...

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BAGHDAD – An Iraqi couple proudly display their purple fingers in the Karradah district of southern Baghdad Oct. 15. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. David Kobi, 4th Brigade Combat Team PAO)

On to other things...

Jay, over at Stop the ACLU, hopes this is a hoax. Sorry, Jay - it isn't, and it's been done before. I don't care about a female CinC, I just want one that is closer to Thatcher than... well, the Beast From New York.

One of the things I do for a living is examine networks, to see how they can affect battle command, for good or ill. This is an interesting development and business model... though, truth be told, I really want to see one in a city, and one with power issues, at that. It'd be nice if it moved, too, and had variable weather. Oh, and it would be nice (for me, not the residents) it parts of the network would randomly fail, as well as having people deliberately target the physical *and* logical infrastructure for attack. Just sayin'.

Don't give your pets to PETA. Idjits. At least the money PETA is spending on defending these fellas is money not being spent on other silly stuff.

Pakistan Earthquake relief efforts... are Joint (meaning all services):

October 14, 2005 Release Number: 05-10-52



MANAMA, Bahrain – USS Pearl Harbor (LSD 52) made a brief port stop in Bahrain, Oct. 14 where Sailors loaded 13 pieces of heavy equipment bound for Pakistan. The machinery will be used to assist the victims of the worst earthquake in that country’s history.

Pearl Harbor, a dock landing ship, usually transports Marines and their combat equipment to areas worldwide. The crew of approximately 425 is on a regularly scheduled deployment to the North Arabian Gulf as part of maritime security operations, or MSO, and it received orders to change course in order to load dump trucks, front-end loaders, backhoes, cargo trucks, a road grader, a forklift and a generator.

“It was overnight,” said Cmdr. Jonathan Harnden, commanding officer of USS Pearl Harbor. “They made the decision that they wanted to send this equipment late yesterday afternoon, and we were here first thing this morning.”
A member of Expeditionary Strike Group 1, Pearl Harbor’s posture in the region allowed the ship to respond so quickly, Harnden says.

Pakistan was the epicenter of a devastating 7.6 magnitude earthquake Oct. 8 that left thousands dead and more than one million people homeless. For many residents of remote or mountainous regions in that country, food and medical attention has been limited or non-existent, and entire villages are in ruins.
The United States will support Pakistani relief efforts with specific capabilities. U.S. forces, like Pearl Harbor, and other members of ESG 1 will act in a supporting role for this effort. Specifically, Rear Adm. Michael Lefever, commander of ESG 1, leads the Disaster Assistance Center (DAC) in Islamabad where U.S. military relief efforts are coordinated.

“I think it’s important to help the people of Pakistan who we have a long, historic relationship with -- one that’s drawn even closer with the war on terrorism,” said Harnden, originally from Virginia Beach, Va. “We all witnessed the tragedy. We can see what’s happening on the news. Our hearts go out to the people who were affected by this.”

Sailors aboard Pearl Harbor said they felt honored to join the relief effort.

“I feel like we’re doing our part, helping them out,” said Second Class Damage Controlman Edward Rodriguez from Whittier, Calif.
Second Class Damage Controlman Matthew Sanchez from Fresno, Calif. said he would like to do more than just drop off the equipment.

“I feel great [about the delivery], but I would go to help out,” he said.
Currently, two Seabee battalions, Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 74 stationed in Gulfport, Miss. and NMCB-3 based in Port Hueneme, Calif., are in Bahrain on a regularly scheduled deployment. Sailors from these battalions helped move the 13 pieces of heavy machinery from Naval Support Activity (NSA) Bahrain and load it onto the ship. Because of the urgency of the mission, both battalions worked till the task was complete.

“This mission is unique in that two battalions are working together on the same project,” said Senior Chief Construction Electrician Tim Bray of NMCB-3. “That actually doesn’t happen very often.”

The Seabees also sent two of their own with the machinery to facilitate a smooth delivery.

“My role in this evolution is to be with the vehicles, making sure they’re maintained and pretty much securing the travel,” said Construction Mechanic Third Class Nathan Hansen, one of the Sailors accompanying the shipment. Hansen from Great Falls, Mo. said humanitarian missions are not unusual in his rating, “I’m excited that Seabees are known for doing humanitarian jobs. I’ve been part of it a few times, and every time it’s exciting to know that I’m doing something that really matters to somebody.”

For further questions, please contact Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command/Commander, U.S. 5th Fleet Public Affairs Office at 011-973-1785-4027 or

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CAMP DOHA, Kuwait (Oct. 10, 2005) - Coalition Forces Land Component Command Soldiers from Company C, 1st Battalion 12th Field Artillery and 1864th Medium Transportation Company strap down palettes full of U.S. military tents, cots and Halal meals at the Central Receiving Shipping Point. The cargo is being flown to Pakistan to aid earthquake victims.

It's *Battery* C, but, hey, we'll take what we can get. Give some, Raiders!

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A U.S. Air Force KC-10 Extender aircraft is loaded with relief supplies at Langley Air Force Base, Va., Oct. 11, 2005. The KC-10 is from McGuire Air Force Base, N.J. DoD photo by Tech. Sgt. Mike Buytas, U.S. Air Force.

Monday Musings

I wonder if the new Iraqi colors will include purple. Looks good on 'em...

One of my ol' RVN buds peruses the TINS collection from time to time and usually snarks me about being a bullet magnet--his latest e-m closed with this:

P.S. I watched We were Soldiers again last night. Damned if the tic, tic, tic, sound of rounds going through the thin skin of a Huey still doesn't make my skin crawl!

...which is probably the reason I don't watch too many movies anymore.

Anyhow--time to ruffle the under-forty set's feathers. Ummmm--all Castle Ladies are included in that grouping...

Black and White
(Under age 40? You won't understand.)

You could hardly see for all the snow, Spread the rabbit ears as far as they go. Pull a chair up to the TV set, "Good Night, David. Good Night, Chet.

Dependin'g on the channel you tuned,
You got Rob and Laura - or Ward and June.
It felt so good. It felt so right.
Life looked better in black and white.

I Love Lucy, The Real McCoys,
Dennis the Menace, the Cleaver boys,
Rawhide, Gunsmoke, Wagon Train,
Superman, Jimmy and Lois Lane.
Father Knows Best, Patty Duke,
Rin Tin and Lassie too,
Donna Reed on Thursday night! --
Life looked better in black and white.

I wanna go back to black and white.
Everything always turned out right.
Simple people, simple lives...
Good guys always won the fights.
Now nothing is the way it seems,
In living color on the TV screen.
Too many murders, too many fights,
I wanna go back to black and white.

In God they trusted, alone in bed, they slept,
A promise made was a promise kept.
They never cussed or broke their vows.
They'd never make the network now.
But if I could, I'd rather be
In a TV town in '53
It felt so good. It felt so right.
Life looked better in black and white.

I'd trade all the channels on the satellite,
If I could just turn back the clock tonight
To when everybody knew wrong from right.
Life was better in black and white!

H/t to Doc E

by CW4BillT on Oct 17, 2005 | General Commentary

October 16, 2005

Sunday Fare..

Even the Sunnis voted in large numbers yesterday... even if, as the AP observes, to vote *against* something. Novel idea, that, eh? Not only can you vote (that's happened before in Iraq) but you can vote *against* something. Wonder how many Sunni's, walking away from the polls, had that little epiphany...

Strategy Page covers it better than most, perhaps.

October 16, 2005

IRAQ: Another Election Carried Out Despite Terrorist Threats

October 16, 2005: The government is getting better at running national elections under the threat of terrorist attacks. The legislative elections last January had fewer than ten million people voting (69 percent of those registered), and over 40 people killed by terrorists opposed to the elections. This vote, on the new constitution, brought out over ten million, and left fewer than ten dead. There are several reasons for this progress. First, the government is getting better. There are more police, and more of them are trained and reliable. The government has used its experience well, and the country was basically shut down for yesterday's election, making it difficult for terrorists to move around. And apparently the terrorists did not move much, and attacked even less. But another reason for that was the effort by many Sunni Arab anti-government groups to get Sunni Arabs to vote against the new constitution. If the three mainly Sunni Arab provinces could get two thirds of the
voters to go against the new constitution, the constitution would have to go back for more revisions and a new vote. Many Sunni Arabs decided that they could live with the new constitution, and turned out to vote that way. As a result, it appears that the Sunni Arabs did not stop the constitution.

All of this is another major defeat for the al Qaeda and anti-government forces. These two groups have not been able to stop any elections, and their efforts are weaker with each round of voting. Al Qaeda's efforts to goad the Shia Arabs into a civil war with Sunni Arabs has not worked either, although it has caused a lot of ill-will and violence in areas where Shia and Sunni live close together.

The anti-government forces have little to sustain them. The October 15 election was just another of many major defeats. And every day, there are numerous lesser defeats. But some of the Sunni Arab terrorists will keep at it, and it will be years before this threat is completely gone from Iraq. That's been the pattern in other Arab countries over the past few decades.

SGT Hook is back in the 'sphere. Welcome home, Sergeant Major!

Michael Barone has an interesting take on things political.

On this day a bunch of WWII German leaders reaped what they sowed, discovering that last step was a long one. On this day in 1946 the condemned Nazi war criminals were hanged. Except for Goering, who cheated Sergeant John Woods with a pill. Perhaps not unfittingly, it was the 6th anniversary of the founding of the Warsaw Ghetto. There are those on the web with a dissenting view of the event.

NOTE: The "dissenting view" link isn't an endorsement by anyone here. And unless you think the Nazis were a good idea, and that the Jews are the root of all evil - you aren't going to like the link, nor the ideas expressed therein. Something I should have noted before this. My apologies to anyone who felt ambushed by that link. The 'Net is neutral - the use we put it to, however, is not.

Actually, not a good day for European leaders... Marie Antoinette got to look through the little window on this day in 1793.

It really is a busy day in history. Some other tidbits...

1710 British troops capture Port Royal, Nova Scotia. The utter ingratitude of the locals to this involuntary change of administration will result in them being resettled in Louisiana... and the Acadians become Cajuns.
1775 Portland, Maine, burned by British - you b*st*rds! Mind you, it seems that Portland has been rather flammable over it's history...
1813 Battle at Leipzig: Napoleon loses to Prussia, Austria, and Russia in "The Battle of Nations." The start of a long, and still bloody denouement.
1859 John Brown captures the arsenal at Harper's Ferry, Va
1863 U.S. Grant is named commander of Union forces in the West. First Vicksburg, finally, Petersburg.
1885 Capt Alfred Thayer Mahan becomes Superintendent of the Naval War College
1925 Locarno Pact, European nations agree to accept boundaries as they are
1940 First black American promoted to general: Benjamin Oliver Davis, Sr.
1953 Batista regime sentences Fidel Castro sentenced to 15 years for
rebellion. Oops. Shoulda held on to him longer. eh Fulgencio? Not that you were any great winner yourself.
1962 Missile Crisis: JFK learns of Soviet missiles in Cuba. Even *I* remember this, and I was pretty young. But Dad left with a lot of other soldiers to head to Florida...
1964 China becomes world's fifth nuclear power. Dangit. That sure changed the calculus for Vietnam...
1978 Polish Resistance worker Karol Wojtyla elected pope as John Paul II.

Ry sends along this bit from Defense Tech about making the old new again.

I counter with this:

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Staff Sgt. Matthew Sheppard of A Co, 1st Battalion, 325th AIR, prepares to move out on an improvised donkey convoy near Lwar Kowndalan, Afghanistan, Oct. 3. Sheppard and other paratroopers used donkeys to transport air-dropped supplies off a mountain and back to their patrol base in town.

Love the reins. Pink is your color, Sergeant.

For our Georgia Denizens and visitors, Banter in Atlanter wants to push this: Heat for Heroes.

At Stop The ACLU, Sunday Funnies!

Gulf Coast resident, reader and blogger Seawitch asks that we go read this piece over at Miss M's place and offer what help we are motivated to provide.

More as the Muse seizes me.

I was seized.

SWWBO wants you to know she understands Kosher. And religious sensitivity. She asks that rather than shower her with religious tracts, (she'll return fire with Catholic stuff), why don't you understand free speech and politics. And that, as the Founder of Carnival of the Recipes, she can have "special themes" like Pork Only, or "No Companion Animal Recipes" as a rule. Trust me - if she ever has a "Piscine-Only Carnival," I won't be visiting. Some people's nerves are too close to the surface! Ya don't like this week's theme... ever, don't participate this week. See how easy that is? Amazing that people take a somewhat 'rights-based' view of a volunteer effort on the web...

So - don't gripe at ALa, who is hosting this week's Carnival of the Recipes, PorkOnlyEdition!!!

SWWBO also introduces you to The Empress of Dark, true ruler of Castle Argghhh!

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Heh: Hat tip to Eric, the Straight White Guy:

My blog is worth $549,861.96.
How much is your blog worth?

by John on Oct 16, 2005 | Historical Stuff | I think it's funny!
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