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May 13, 2006

H&I Fires* 13 May

Open post for those with something to share, updated through the day. New, complete posts come in below this one. Note: If trackbacking, please acknowledge this post in your post. That's only polite. You're advertising here, we should get an ad at your place...

Well, that didn't take very long. As expected, the press turns on one of its own: transcript and the media's spin on it (complete with unflattering photos).

In a similar vein, the NY Times continues to amaze with its level of unprofessionalism. I can understand civilian problems with military rank (though one would expect fact-checking from a major newspaper), but this is ridiculous! - FbL

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Toluca Nole sends: Not everyone takes the Mother Sheehan path. Meet John Prazynski, father of Marine Lance Cpl. Taylor Prazynski, 20, who died May 9, 2005, of shrapnel wounds from a mortar shell that exploded near him during combat in Anbar Province. In his last phone calls, the fun-loving, popular man who had spent much of his senior year of high school helping special-needs students told his father he wanted to become a special education teacher. -The Armorer

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Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

by Denizens on May 13, 2006 | General Commentary
» Blue Star Chronicles links with: Carnival of Blue Stars #12

Poking around the service pic files today.

Some pics that caught my eye this week. Some excited my "chickenshite ossifer" instincts, too.

First up:

by Spc. Teddy Wade May 5, 2006</p>

<p>Staff Sgt. Brad Smith, from 3rd Battalion, 320th Field Artillery Regiment, 101st Airborne Division, shoots at a suspicious object during a patrol along a main supply road near Tikrit, Iraq.  Photo courtesy US Army.

by Spc. Teddy Wade May 5, 2006

Staff Sgt. Brad Smith, from 3rd Battalion, 320th Field Artillery Regiment, 101st Airborne Division, shoots at a suspicious object during a patrol along a main supply road near Tikrit, Iraq. Photo courtesy US Army.

In my day, we called this plinkin'...

Norfolk, Va. (May 10, 2006)Master-at-Arms 3rd Class Matthew Kaczynski, assigned to Inshore Boat Unit Four Two (IBU-42), mans his .50-caliber machine gun during a Naval Coastal Warfare Squadron Four (NCWS-4) demonstration at Naval Amphibious Base Little Creek. The squadron's primary mission is conducting anti-terrorism and force protection in harbors and coastal waterways overseas. U.S. Navy photo by Journalist 3rd Class Matthew D. Leistikow

Norfolk, Va. (May 10, 2006)Master-at-Arms 3rd Class Matthew Kaczynski, assigned to Inshore Boat Unit Four Two (IBU-42), mans his .50-caliber machine gun during a Naval Coastal Warfare Squadron Four (NCWS-4) demonstration at Naval Amphibious Base Little Creek. The squadron's primary mission is conducting anti-terrorism and force protection in harbors and coastal waterways overseas. U.S. Navy photo by Journalist 3rd Class Matthew D. Leistikow

Now, izzit is just me, or izzat a brand-spanking-shiny-new M60 on that there pintle? Dang, those Navy guys sure do have purty, and *clean* weapons...

by Master Sgt. Johancharles Van Boers May 11, 2006</p>

<p>A Soldier from the 25th Infantry Division takes aim at an “insurgent” during the battle for Gahr Albai and Millawa Valley, a war game scenario at the National Training Center, Fort Irwin, Calif. The Soldiers are honing their combat skills in preparation for a deployment to Iraq. Photo courtesy US Army.<br />
CSA-2006-05-11-085023


by Master Sgt. Johancharles Van Boers May 11, 2006

A Soldier from the 25th Infantry Division takes aim at an “insurgent” during the battle for Gahr Albai and Millawa Valley, a war game scenario at the National Training Center, Fort Irwin, Calif. The Soldiers are honing their combat skills in preparation for a deployment to Iraq. Photo courtesy US Army.
CSA-2006-05-11-085023

Any of you small unit leaders out there think this guy is hitting anything farther than maybe 50 meters away with the boresight that MILES laser unit *appears* to have?

Now, this last one really started all my sensors. That said, I don't know what the Force Protection Level is at FOB Remagen, either. Info I would have were I deployed there, so I may be a little picky here.. Of course, first off, that's a vehicle that's aged a *lot* better than I have, of course, I'm a bit tougher to do a depot rebuild on, too. My father fielded M577 CP Carriers in his day. And here they're serving 6 years beyond my retirement, no real end in sight. Of course, that's nothing compared to B52s, or the M2HB... At least they've got new generators. He's got an oil basin under the final drive housing there, that's a plus. He's got fluids handy (I assume those are for him...). But, combat zone, no helmet, no flak vest, and while I understand no LBE at the moment, his weapon is *muzzle down* in the rocks, no plastic muzzle guard on it, even. He's got no magazine (again, might be their rules for on the FOB) but it also means, sans LBE, his ammo isn't handy, either, should he need it. Troops will often opt for comfort over safety, especially when the weather goes to extremes, and, in fact, leaders have to balance all of that against the need and the perceived threat, before you just go be a hardass about everything. All I know is - because I don't really know anything about the situation other than it's in Iraq, if I were a brand newby over there, I'd at least make the guy get his LBE (helmet, ammo and first aid pack because mortar/rocket frags *have* been known to cause severe bleeding, doncha know) so they were a lot more handy, and then trundled off to find out what the policy was, and the reality.

Hosting provided by FotoTime

Whattaya you Fobbits and killers got to say, who've been there, or have good enough access to wait for the pics?

May 12, 2006

H&I Fires* 12 May

Open post for those with something to share, updated through the day. New, complete posts come in below this one. Note: If trackbacking, please acknowledge this post in your post. That's only polite. You're advertising here, we should get an ad at your place...

When you get H&I Fires up, would you please throw in the following code?:

Fran O'Brien's Round-up: Beautiful story on Fran's was broadcast on CNN last night (click for video). An editorial cartoon is also making the rounds. Finally, stay tuned to Andi's World for the report on her attendance at the dinner for the wounded last night (temporarily hosted at a different DC-area hotel).

Why yes, yes I can. - The Armorer

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Part II of Zarqawi's Battle of Baghdad. -Kat

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Oooooo! Ooooo! Looky what JMH sent me! A nicely tart hoser-spanking from John Robson:

Plenty of mercy, but no muscle for Darfur After the Holocaust, enlightened people around the world said “Never again.” They lied. I think they’re lying again on Darfur. And hallucinating.

It’s apparently been agreed that we’re going to blast our way into Sudan and slap the natives silly until they adopt peace, order and good government plus, I suppose, gay marriage. After all, Hollywood stars including George Clooney are demanding action. Maybe they should make a movie about a brave president who doesn’t mind invading Muslim countries that oppress their own people and foment terror. Oops. Wrong George.

Then it gets... wait for it... better!

The Globe and Mail editorialized that “The international community now faces a question. Is it going to back down and let the suffering in Darfur continue because a terrorist villain and the leader of a rogue regime tell it to, or is it going to do the right thing and act? The question answers itself …” Yeah. But not the way you think.

The “international community” has ignored, or actively abetted, a number of genocides since 1945. Remember Cambodia? And Democratic Senator George McGovern, a key player in forcing the U.S. to abandon Indochina in 1975, reacting to the Khmer Rouge slaughter three years later with: “Why don’t we send the Marines to do something about it?” This combination of fatuous arrogance and tragic incompetence would have humbled a lesser man. Stop the Vietnam war because Communists aren’t tyrants. Start it again because they are. Or not. All in an afternoon’s work for a liberal idealist. Or a narcissist.

Sorry - you have to go here to read it all....

Thanks, John! -The Armorer

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Porter Goss. The Other Shoe Drops?

WASHINGTON (AP) — Law enforcement officials executed search warrants Friday on the house and office of the CIA's outgoing executive director, an FBI spokeswoman in San Diego said. (Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

More here. Aside from throw any guilty bassids in jail, term limits are starting to look good again. Reduces some of the incentive.

Changing subjects...

Oops. Of course, they wouldn't lie about anything, would they? (I can't wait for some people's heads to explode over that sentence...)

-The Armorer
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Heh. Who's next? Bruce Willis? A touch over the top, Mel. -The Armorer

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Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

by John on May 12, 2006 | General Commentary
» Blue Star Chronicles links with: Virginia Memorial for Victims of 9-11 Attack
» Blue Star Chronicles links with: US Troops Rescue Sunni Hostages

In the midst of too much to do...

...while suffering the dammed curse 'o the Sassenach, I find this gem in my email box.

A terrible death in the family

Dateline 1979, Germany. A Troop, 3/7 Cavalry is on maneuvers at the military training site at Hohenfels... a handsome and studly young tank commander removes the shoulder holster containing his Army .45 and hangs it from the turret roof near the loader's station. It'll be safe there whilst negotiating the cross-country target acquisition course!

Now imagine if you will, gentle reader, the pendulum effect of a heavy pistol suspended by a leather strap from the turret of a 52 ton M60A1 tank- when in the course of the aforementioned exercise the tank is traversing rough terrain and our hero is desperately manipulating the commander's override turret control to engage close range targets... all in a days work for the Cav! But somewhere along the line physics and gravity overcome the precarious hold of the leather holster strap on it's mounting and the pistol falls!... and becomes intimately engaged with the gear mechanism which rotates the turret... the 16 ton turret... which requires a powerful motor to drive said gear... which consumes and ejects a .45 pistol with all the disdain of yer cousin Bubba spitting a sunflower seed.

Sheesh... this cost me $54, the Gummint cost for the WWII Remington Rand-made .45. A chunk of money for me at the time; I was an E-5 and making 450 monthly- and then the bastids wouldn't let me keep it! I wanted it for a conversation piece, ya know- like, "Hey looky what some dumbshirt did to this here gun thingy!!!" but the bean-counting sumbirtches insisted it was still US Property even after they stripped the dinero from my miserable stipend.

The M16 I crushed two months later cost me $174 and they wouldn't let me keep that, either. Bastids.

Heh. Just in case you're interested in what they retail for now... admittedly in somewhat better condition.

You may amuse yourselves determining *who* might have provided this tale of woe...

The metal of the troops.

I got an email today, from a friend who's friend's son recently served in Iraq, and was involved in an IED incident some time ago.

I wish I could bust OPSEC and show you the names in the email list this young troop sent this note to. You aspiring novel writers would like to know them for your OIF/OEF/GWOT novel.

But ths is typical (for me at least) soldier email (with some edits for OPSEC and Netnannys):

I aint much for words but God Da*n someday my lucks gonna run out, here's the truck, [deleted]'s in one of the pics hes a good dude, but damn the luck those IEDS are tricky little f*ckers. Yall take care

[deleted]

-"You guys don't get PTSD, you GIVE it.. You're carriers. Some jihadist is going to be waking up with a cold sweat 30 years from now having nightmares about YOU."- [deleted]

Troop morale

Photo edited by me to meet Army OPSEC guidelines of name, rank, unit, face, and revealing damage to HMMWV to deny useful BDA by the jihadis. The fact that someone in a HMMWV somewhere survived an attack isn't news.

What the jihadis should take away from this post: They're still coming. And they, and the Sunnis who hate you even more than they may hate the Americans, are your worst nightmare. Sleep well, fellas. Oh, what was that noise?

May 11, 2006

H&I Fires* 11 May

Open post for those with something to share, updated through the day. New, complete posts come in below this one. Note: If trackbacking, please acknowledge this post in your post. That's only polite. You're advertising here, we should get an ad at your place...

Eeek! The Armorer is happy to be of service, but hopes he never does so in such a manner. Requiescat In Pace, John. -The Armorer

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Battle For Baghdad II: Zarqawi's Alamo including maps and commentary. - Kat (ps...many graphics; dial up may be a problem)

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Seeing Holly Aho's trackback to this post reminds me of the downside to having gout. (Yeah, right, *reminds*) Your world constricts to a little knot of misery wrapped tightly around the kernel of excruciating pain that is the affected joint of your suffering extremity. It's hard to concentrate, and you tend to rush through emails, skim comments, make sloppy posts. And fail to note, or forget to do stuff.

Like this, helping out a Soldier's Angel. A fair number of bloggers find themselves with needs unmet, and swallow their pride and put out the tip jar, hoping for charity from passers-by, as a token of esteem for that which brings people to the blog.

Others, with the skillz, offer something tangible, personal, unique. Like Holly.

She's offering up a painting of hers at auction. And before you scoff and scoot, some of her stuff has sold for $2k before - which means someone thinks her efforts are worthy of the investment.

Go take a look and see what you think. If you like what you see, and have got some scratch, help out a Soldiers Angel. -The Armorer.

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Heh. For thee, not me. Our motives are pure, of course. Trust us. -The Armorer.

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Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

The Fran O'Brien's Issue on CNN

[Posting this as a separate entry because it's time-sensitive]

Update II: The video that introduced the interview with Jim Mayer is up on the CNN website. It's well worth seeing--it's got a lot of quotes from wounded soldiers about what Fran's has meant to them.

Update: Andi has seen it and says "YOU DON'T WANT TO MISS THIS. If you do not have tears in your eyes, and you are not committed to boycotting Hilton over this, nothing will move you." She reports that the segment airs about 40 minutes into the program (see below for times).

Jim Mayer, the wounded Vietnam veteran and friend of Fran O'Brien's co-owner Hal Koster who encouraged Hal to begin the free dinners for wounded troops will be on CNN tonight. Andi reports in an email:

I know it's late, but I just got the word that Jim Mayer is being driven to the CNN studio right now to do an interview with Glenn Beck that will run on CNN Headline News as follows:

TONIGHT on CNN Headline News with Glenn Beck at 7 p.m. [Eastern] and again at 9 p.m. and midnight. Jim Mayer is being taken to a studio right now to be interviewed remotely and will air later tonight.

I don't have Cable TV, so I won't be able to watch. If anybody who sees it can report, please let me know.Andi also adds that milbloggers are getting some significant appreciation for their work on publicizing the fight for Fran O'Brien's, and shares her thoughts about their impact:
While the email campaign didn't save the restaurant, it did let them know veterans and troops care a lot about this issue. The top three executives had to shut down their email addresses ... I'm sure costing their IT department some bucks and unnecessary headaches. Plus, a PR firm had to [be] involved. They don't seem too successful in squashing the negative press.

It's really nice when you can use your blog as a way to do something good and help those who deserve to be helped. I don't think milbloggers are finished with this story. We still need to help Hal and Marty get on their feet. I should learn more tomorrow night about how we can do that [after attending the Fran's Friday Dinner hosted in another DC hotel]. Thanks to everyone for all you've done already.


So, stand by. It looks like there are still ways we can help. - FbL

Mini-book reviews.

All on books I paid for myself, too! This free books in the mail gig is getting pretty nice, I admit.

The Romans paid homage to democracy, the rights of the common citizen and, for a time, republicanism. But they rarely lived up to many of these ideals. Roman history is the chronic struggle between the privileged patricians and the disenfranchised plebians. Plebians fought to have a voice, and patricians endeavored to keep them excluded. The Roman patrician often tried to keep his privileges by offering lesser rights to plebians. In this spirit, patricians insisted that every man had a right to salt. "Common salt," as it has come to be known, was a Roman concept.

That's the opening to Chapter Four, Salt's Salad Days, of Salt, A World History, by Mark Kurlanksy.

I couldn't help but be struck by how both the Right and the Left would point to the other and say - See! That's Just Like You! Whereas those of us in the muddle would just look at all the elites on both sides, and shake our heads resignedly. Dos Passos' Curse.

I love books like this, that take common things and make them, in a sense, uncommon, give them a sense of drama beyond what we'd imagine. If only textbook writers could master the telling of history like this. Books like The Map That Changed the World, by Simon Winchester, an immensely readable book on what amounts to the invention of geology, oddly enough via geography. Were I teaching those subjects in high school or college these days, my students would be reading that book. It wouldn't reach all of them, certainly, but the ripples of interest would spread wider.

The same is also true were I still teaching English, as I did for the Army, to college graduates no less. Yep, you paid a field grade officer to teach basic written communications skills to college graduates. Sigh. Anyway, upon those pedagogically ill-served and articulacy-benighted company grade officers, I would impose another fascinating Winchester tome, The Meaning of Everything : The Story of the Oxford English Dictionary. Winchester illustrates the drama of the soap opera that was the compilation and publishing of the Oxford English Dictionary. What a debt we owe the people, especially James Murray, that managed to "get 'r done!". It's also a very enlightening peek into how other languages and cultures view the issues of... language and culture. You might be surprised to find out who is *rather* xenophobic about such things. But more importantly, it illustrates the search for *clarity* in writing.

Anyway, enough. I recommend all three. Back on my head - you too.

by John on May 11, 2006 | Book Reviews

Stryker Mobile Gun System.

I admit I had (and still have) reservations about the Stryker being touted as the major armored punch of the Army. It has done very well in it's current service environment, and proven to be able to take an immense amount of damage with excellent crew survivability, while at the same time being economically repairable. And, as I assume they've gotten the lateral-shooting stability issues taken care of (i.e., being able to shoot to the side without flipping the vehicle if it's on any sort of slope) the MGS is a welcome addition to the fleet.

Now that we have some real operational experience with them, as well, we're getting in real improvements in a comparatively benign environment. Benign here meaning we aren't fighting a near-peer with our backs to the wall somewhere, a Bad Time to discover design flaws - nothing is benign when you're being shot at. Remember, to the individual soldier, *everything* is a frontal assault - only higher commanders and planning staff weenies like me talk of feints and envelopments.

But I still wouldn't want to find myself fighting a tank force in bad weather in cross-compartmented terrain - especially if I wasn't in a position to trade space for time. If I'm in that fight, vice a flat sandy pool table with good weather, I'd like some nice lumbering M1s.

But the truth is, the Stryker is a capability we need in this environment.

Stryker Mobile Gun System demonstrating max elevation.  Photo courtesy US Army

Pic of the Stryker Mobile Gun System demonstrating it's ability to engage targets well above itself. It's backed up on a ramp so that it can actually shoot level on a direct fire range. If it shot at max elevation, the round would travel many miles, and the probable error in range for high velocity guns fired indirect is really pretty massive. The PeR for the US 175mm gun was 1.5 to 2 km (call it a mile) at max range. This is lots safer, even if it looks silly.

For screensaver collectors - hi-res here.

Stryker ramps up to unveil Mobile Gun System By Annette Fournier May 9, 2006


FORT BENNING, Ga. (Army News Service, May 9, 2006) – The newest version of the Stryker vehicle, designed to provide fire power to Infantry units, will be unveiled May 15 at Fort Knox's Armor Warfighting Symposium.

The development of the Mobile Gun System is being managed by Fort Benning's Training and Doctrine Command System Manager-Stryker/Bradley.

The system was developed to meet the infantry’s need for a highly mobile support vehicle to supply rapid, direct fire, specifically during close assaults, said Dave Rogers, a TSM-Stryker senior analyst. The Mobile Gun System will eventually be integrated into Stryker Brigade Combat Teams.

"The Mobile Gun System brings a tremendous battlefield capability to the Stryker formation, providing direct fire support to infantrymen in close, complex terrain," said Col. Donald Sando, the director of the TSM Stryker/Bradley.

The Mobile Gun System's firepower includes a turret-mounted 105 mm cannon, a mounted M-240C machine gun and a pedestal-mounted M-2.50 caliber machine gun for the vehicle commander.

The cannon can blast holes through reinforced concrete walls creating a breach point for infantry, and destroy bunkers and machine-gun nests that typically pin down infantry squads and platoons.

The 105 mm cannon can also take out snipers, Rogers said, because with one shot, it can destroy the entire area where a sniper is firing from. The cannon also fires canister rounds, which are used when confronting large groups of combatants. The canister round sends out a spray of titanium balls, similar to the pellets from a shotgun, which can impact several targets at once.

It's the heavy fire power and versatility that will make the Mobile Gun System an asset in combat, Rogers said.

"People will assume it's a tank when they see it because it has a big gun," Rogers said, "but it's much lighter than a 70 ton tank, making it more mobile. Its primary role is to support the infantry, not to go head to head with tanks."

The Mobile Gun System also features the Ammunition Handling System, an ammo loading device for the 105 mm cannon. With the ammo system, several types of rounds can be loaded in advance, then the ammunition types are displayed on the cannon operator's central control panel monitor. Depending on the mission, the operator can select which ammunition to use and the Ammunition Handling System automatically loads the cannon.

This capability gives the Mobile Gun System an advantage over other Army vehicles, which must be manually loaded with specific ammunition by a fourth crew member, Rogers said. The Ammunition Handling System makes loading and firing on targets faster and more efficient, he said.

"When planning for the 10 variants of Strykers, the Army took into account everything a Soldier could need on the battlefield," Rogers said. "From that, they developed the other Stryker variants, like the Medical Evacuation Vehicle, the Antitank Guided Missile Vehicle and the Engineer Squad vehicles, which are all uniquely designed for their mission. The Mobile Gun System fills a hole, and gives the infantry another capability."

The Mobile Gun System will be the last Stryker variant to be fielded. The Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Reconnaissance Vehicle, the other new Stryker vehicle, was fielded to the 2nd Cavalry Regiment at Fort Lewis, Wash., in February. Soldiers with the 2nd Cav. Regt. will also be the first to receive the Mobile Gun System. They will receive 27 vehicles from July to August, which will be tested in an operational unit environment.

The Army designated 14 Mobile Gun System vehicles for extensive testing at Aberdeen Proving Grounds, Md., Yuma Proving Grounds, Ariz., and White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico.

Testing the vehicle in extreme climates and terrain helps the Mobile Gun System's designers look for potential problems that may appear in a combat environment.

"People go to great pains to almost abuse the vehicle," Rogers said. "It's tested realistically in harsh settings so we can identify any shortcomings during the testing stage. We don't want to find out about a problem after it’s in combat, so we're not cutting corners. During the tests, these vehicles aren't treated with kid gloves. We want to make sure we don't equip our Soldiers with a weak vehicle."

It will still be a while before the Mobile Gun System will get to the battlefield. The Defense Acquisition Executive will decide if the vehicle should go into full rate production in July 2007.

(Editor's note: Annette Fournier writes for the Bayonet.)


Whatziss? Is Ziss...

...and resist the temptation to spend all the time googling Bill's thrice-dam*ed "Whazziss?".

I hate it when John whines. He never serves the proper cheese...

*segue*

...cheese, you guys were woefully shortchanged during your survival training (you prolly drew the SEAL for an instructor--they have a tough time with the concept of "fire" as something you make, as opposed to something you call for).

"simple, it's a butain lighter from a survival kit"--Mudpuppy1975 got it!

One of these days, I gotta practice my closeups...

Lighter, butane, refillable--the firestarter kit from the SRU-21/P Aviator's Survival Vest. Bigger pic (easier to see the details, not necessarily higher resolution. John doesn't call me Twitchy Bill for zero reason...) here.

If they'd just made 'em "Lighter, butane," they probably wouldn't have had the reliability problem--the critters osmoted butane past the O-ring gaskets. I wasn't there, but I can just about guarantee the following conversation took place between the R&D geeks: "...and if we make them refillable, all the pilot has to do when he runs out is go to the nearest convenience store and buy a can of butane in the tobacco section."

You *can* refill them, btw. On both the MkI and the MkII, the spark wheel and flint module pop out and expose the refill valve--a quarter of an inch deeper than any commercial refill head will reach, so you have to combine two of the adapter nozzles (and different ones for each--gotta love standardization like that ) to do the trick. Which is a pain, but worth it when you pull it out in some dive uhhhhh gin mill intimate little club to light a lady's cig and she says, "Oooooooh--interesting lighter. Where'd you get it?"

The other problem (operator-induced) the MkI has is that, if you twist the control head much past a quarter-turn and flick the spark wheel, you get a six-foot-long flame, albeit for about three seconds. It could attract undesired attention in an evasion situation. However, since you probably wouldn't even *think* of starting a campfire in the midst of the baddie battalion beating the bushes for you, it's a moot point.

I was only semi-surprised that V29 didn't pick up on it, since we were only issued a vest (one per aircraft, *not* one per crewman--that's still another shortage we had) on rare occasions.

I actually got to wear one twice.

*shrug*

Actually, that's kinda moot, too. Down where we were, a survival kit was two personal weapons and 50 rounds for each of them--because if you went down and didn't hookup with friendlies within ten minutes, you became an Alamo re-enactor while the other side came at you with the Degüello playing in the background...

May 10, 2006

H&I Fires* 10 May

Open post for those with something to share, updated through the day. New, complete posts come in below this one. Note: If trackbacking, please acknowledge this post in your post. That's only polite. You're advertising here, we should get an ad at your place...

Sorry for the paucity, folks. Gout + cellulitis in the same foot puts a real crimp on the bloggin' jones, though SWWBO's doin' fine in that regard. That, and trying to work from home and resist the temptation to spend all the time googling Bill's thrice-dam*ed "Whazziss?".

Oh, and anyone wondering what to get the Armorer for his birthday couldn't go wrong with this...

I'd settle for this, however. It would look good on the rear parapet. -The Armorer.

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An extremely disturbing story. I truly wonder who has been "parenting" those children (H/T Bloodspite)

There's an interesting, civilized and (I believe) very worthwhile debate in the comments of this post at Neptunus Lex, particularly towards the end (be sure to also follow the links commenters supply).

Mr. Kelleher of Hilton keeps hitting new lows. Now he's ignoring the American Legion. - FbL
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Inspired by a post yesterday at Blackfive, I decided to follow up with Women at War. Then there is Grey Eagle's story told by her husband. She is the epitome of the words: honor, duty, country. She gave up a lot to go to Iraq. Her husband is a "military spouse" and very proud of her. Grey Eagle tells her side. Read both. It's an inspiration to women who want to join.

I'll recommend this site Women Veterans - yesterday, today and tomorrow. Stick it in your "favorites". She is a veteran that writes about the history of women in the armed services and is keeping track of the stories of our women veterans today. As of April 29, 52 women have died in Iraq. More than 80% were due to "hostile fire". 6 Women have died in Afghanistan or the theater. - Kat

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Heh. So THAT'S what SugarButtons has been up to! Dancing lessons! ~AFSis

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

by Denizens on May 10, 2006 | General Commentary

More news that isn't news because it's good news...

By Capt. Bob Everdeen
CJTF-HOA Public Affairs

DIKHIL, Djibouti – Cooperation between the government of Djibouti and the Combined Joint Task Force Horn of Africa has resulted in a refurbished facility here that will help improve healthcare opportunities for the local community.

During a dedication ceremony May 4 for the Mouloud Clinic, representatives from Djibouti and CJTF-HOA spoke about what the clinic represents.

“This clinic is more than mortar and paint; it represents the relationship between CJTF-HOA and Djibouti,” said Army Col. William Porter. “(We) are partners for peace, prosperity, security and a better way of life.”

Speaking to a crowd of families, community leaders and dignitaries, Porter relayed a vision for the future.

“Quality medical care equals longer life for you and your children,” he said. “Healthy children and citizens are vital to the future prosperity of your community.”

Working together, CJTF-HOA and local contractors and laborers constructed a maternity ward, waiting rooms and a storage facility at the Mouloud Clinic. They also renovated the existing clinic, repairing windows, doors, interior spaces and sidewalks. The project cost approximately $95,000, which included demolishing a wall and fence and building a new one that surrounds the clinic.

“Taking care of (this clinic) and preserving it is a big responsibility,” Porter said. “We honor the community, doctors, nurses and staff with this task.”

The reception provided to the men and women of CJTF-HOA by the community was first-class, Porter said. “Thank you for allowing us to help and work with you on this noble task.”

May 09, 2006

H&I Fires* 9 May

Open post for those with something to share, updated through the day. New, complete posts come in below this one. Note: If trackbacking, please acknowledge this post in your post. That's only polite. You're advertising here, we should get an ad at your place...

The NY Times reveals a startling scientific conclusion: guns and testosterone are linked! (/sarcasm) Some people are apparently already using that to call for increased ownership restrictions undermine the pro-gun "People [not guns] kill people" argument. H/T the Corner.

And speaking of those who enjoy owning dangerous pointy things... It has now been directly verified that Neffi is alive and well. [Blogspot has been spotty today, but keep trying]

And one personal indulgence on my part: Requesting advice on the intersections of blogging and employment... - FbL

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I always thought Neffi was prolly a little green. I've spend the morning at the clinic, running around geting x-rays, blood work, etc, as my gout is just getting worse. Stumping around on crutches was a lot easier 80 pounds ago.

Reference the Gun's n' Testosterone: This is the Arsenal of Argghhh!. 0 examples of rampaging testicular products and counting. In fact, puttering the Arsenal keeps me in the chill mode. Dealing wit' wimmin-logic makes my head explode. Yet, I've never felt the compulsion to grab a gun when angry. Oh well. Thanks for throwing up the H&I, Fuzzy. -The Armorer

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Two must-reads at Blackfive today: The Letter and We All Lost a Brother Today. - FbL

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

by Denizens on May 09, 2006 | General Commentary

Whatziss?

That whole incident with the water buffalo and the ninja spider was highly exaggerated. For one thing, I've never used a wrench on a spider in assault mode--a simple *flick* of the index finger and he becomes HALO qualified.

If you use a wrench, you can't see the look on his face when he hits the slipstream.

And if I'd inadvertently plunked down in the immediate proximity of a water buffalo, I'd at least have had the presence of mind to use today's "Okay--WTF is that?" on him.

One of these things is kinda like the other...heh!

The dummy 20mm round is just there to provide a sense of scale--these doohickies were hand-operated. When they worked at all, they worked well, but they *did* have a reliability problem, especially the MkI, pictured at center--you had to remove the protective knurled sleeve, then arm it with a counterclockwise quarter-turn; if you didn't turn it far enough, it wouldn't function at all, and if you turned it too far, it became just as hazardous to you as to the target. If your fingers were wet, you were up the creek.

They solved that problem in the MkII by adding a small function bar with a mechanical stop. It also ameliorated the reliability problem, somewhat, but it was just as dangerous if you panicked and pushed it past the stop.

And no, these aren't live. The initiating mechanisms are intact, but the *boom* stuff...ummmmmm--*went away*--a long time back.

ROFASix and Outlaw 13 probably know what they are (I know V29 does--heh!), and some of the older Special Ops guys might have had a chance to play with the MkII. It took me about three minutes to Google a pic of the MkI (and it was for sale, too. Some people have no sense of historical significance...)

I figure it should take all of fifteen minutes for *somebody* to hit it. I owed you guys an easy one after the water gauge...

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

It's been a loooooong fifteen minutes, guys, so here's a hint:

Check my comment to Bloodspite. The HEEDS is a cylinder containing a compressed gas (air)--that's the track that needs further exploration.

John: The link to the MkI is still there--the guy bills it as "Rare" and wants $39.95 for it. Only reason it's "rare" is because the WTFs that survived Vietnam got sent to the National Guard (part of the usual Army hand-me-downs played up in the Army Times as *modernizing* the Guard), from whence they were transferred to the nearest dumpster when the Life Support techs found out how unreliable they were--and the reason!

May 08, 2006

H&I Fires* 8 May

Open post for those with something to share, updated through the day. New, complete posts come in below this one. Note: If trackbacking, please acknowledge this post in your post. That's only polite. You're advertising here, we should get an ad at your place...

61 years ago today, one of the tougher campaigns of WWII came to a close. The Battle of the Atlantic.

Today is a get-SWWBO-to-the-airport-early day, along with an early morning Rotary prep-for-the-change-in-administration breakfast meeting. Hopefully the rest of you will have something to say to feed the multitudes... -The Armorer

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Last year, the Command and General Staff College graduated it's first Iraqi officer. Now we have our first Ranger School Grad.

Capt. Arkan -- for security reasons he gives only his first name -- is a member of the Iraqi army. And he is the first from that force to complete Ranger School.

Most likely, he's also the first one-time enemy soldier to finish the U.S. Army's most elite training program.

"I was in Baghdad on an air defense battery when the invasion of our country began in March 2003," he said. Arkan has studied English since the fifth grade.

Arkan is from a military family -- his dad and six uncles were in the Iraqi Army of Saddam Hussein. He attended the equivalent of the U.S. Military Academy, completed his training in late 1999 and went on active duty that winter.

The rest is here, from the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer. H/t, Jim C. -The Armorer

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Just in case you need a "Us vs Them" reminder for the "reality-based" crowd. It's a graphic read, you were warned. H/t, Boston Maggie.

Update: Rusty over at My Pet Jawa provides evidence that indicates the video referred to in the this link is a fake. I've seen the video as Rusty describes it (of the murder of the Nepalese) I have not seen the video the Times article referenced. *Don't lose sight of the fact that Bahjat was *still* murdered*, and that the "Us vs Them" point is *still* valid. -The Armorer

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How about the Air Force's take on the retirement of the Hanoi Taxi? Very cool. Luckily, the Air Force wrote more articles about the plane than the Dayton Daily News did. Huh. Imagine that.... MSM glazing over such a historical event. The only article they ran on her last flight was a story about a father who took his son to see the final landing as a birthday present. No mention about the historical signifigance of the plane- just a kid's birthday. *sigh* Will they EVER learn? ~AFSis

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Murray of Silent Running (and Castle Metalwork Contractor) has reopened his business and lowered his prices! Help Prevent Gnomelessness! The Master and Mistress of Argghhh! have. We're also having some Custom Castle Signage done. -The Armorer

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I guess he didn't like his cell. Moussaoui asks for a new trial...

Moussaoui said in an affadavit "I now see that it is possible that I can receive a fair trial" in the United States.

-The Armorer

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Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

by Denizens on May 08, 2006 | General Commentary
» Political Satire Fake News - The Nose On Your Face links with: An Open Letter To Iran From Uday And Qusay Hussein
» Unpartisan.com Political News and Blog Aggregator links with: Sailors, airmen land new role
» Theodore's World links with: C-141 "Hanoi Taxi" Landed on Friday May 5th, 2006

Cassandra.

Go. Read. We'll be here when you get back. Don't you mosey on down the page without clicking the link. We'll know.

Update: Rusty over at My Pet Jawa provides evidence that indicates the video Cassandra refers to in her post is a fake. I've seen the video as Rusty describes it (of the murder of the Nepalese) I have not seen the video the Times article referenced. *Don't lose sight of the fact that Bahjat was *still* murdered*, and that Cassie's point is *still* valid. -The Armorer

by John on May 08, 2006 | Media Morons

CDR Salamander is pleased, no doubt.

This stuff is right up his alley. Especially since the Navy seems to have some time on it's hands...

Heh.  Sailors grubbing in the dirt. I love it.  Watch out for the sand fleas, guys!


060405-N-4097B-023 Fort Jackson, S.C. (April 5, 2006) - Sailors are in the dirt with their M-16A1 by their side during the Navy's Individual Augmentee Combat Training at Fort Jackson, S.C. The fast paced, two-week course is physically demanding, and taught by Army drill sergeants. The course is designed to provide Sailors basic combat skills training prior to being deployed as individual augmentees, mostly to the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility (AOR). U.S. Navy photo by Journalist 1st Class Jackey Bratt (RELEASED)

From USA Today - via the Army's Stand-To! morning news round-up.

Navy and Air Force personnel are replacing Army soldiers to carry out such duties as guarding convoys, patrolling bases and watching for homemade bombs, the top killer of U.S. troops in Iraq.

This is the official view:

Army spokesman Lt. Col. Carl Ey says the training gives commanders more flexibility and doesn't signal a shortage of soldiers.

There are, of course, confidently pronounced alternate views:

Andrew Krepinevich, a military analyst with the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, counters: "If the Army wasn't having recruiting challenges and exceeding rotation rates, we wouldn't be having this discussion." {snippage} Frederick Kagan, a military historian at the American Enterprise Institute, says training sailors and airmen to do the jobs of seasoned soldiers is "what you do only when you're desperate."

There is of course, a Third Way, that is a mixture of the two.

Making a more effective use of military manpower that currently sits idle, and makes them better able to defend themselves, freeing up Infantry for their primary role, and an adaptation to the Current Operating Environment. That it also eases deployment issues for the major ground component is also a nice benny.

Whole story here, at USA Today.

The fact that it might offer some relief to guys like these Guardsmen in Hawaii is not a bad thing. It's called sharing the burden.

As noted in this article by William Cole in the Honolulu Advertiser:

Isle Guard braces for exodus

By William Cole
Advertiser Military Writer

Following a difficult deployment to Iraq, the Hawai'i Army National Guard is working to overcome an expected 20 percent to 40 percent exodus from its ranks — a rate double its usual attrition.

Such a loss, if not stemmed by new recruits, could lead to units being stripped away, less federal money, fewer jobs and diminished capacity to respond to state disasters in future years.

You can read the whole story here.

We all take the same oath and work for the same employer. If spreading the burden shares out some of the downside, what's the problem? Like it or not, this is *different* and shouldn't be equated to what the Germans were doing by the end of WWII - but it is, arguably, close to what the US Army was doing towards the end of WWII, when it took aviation cadets, Air Defense Artillerymen, etc, and made them Infantry.

They were sitting idle, with little to do, and the prognosis looked pretty good for the outcome of the war.

The Air Corps and Navy were fully engaged, but the Air Corps had people in the training pipeline who it looked like they weren't going to need. So they became infantry.

So, there's more than one way to look at this situation. The truth is probably a meld.

Just sayin'.

By the way - those links come from the internal army daily newsbrief, called Stand To! (which you can subscribe to via AKO, btw). Internally we aren't afraid to spread among ourselves the bad news and the good. If you'd like to subscribe yourself - send a blank email from the email address you'd like to recieve it with "subscribe" in the subject line. Sure, there's internal-consumption propaganda in there, but you'd be surprised how we keep an eye on the bad or seemingly bad news.

Send it to: stand-toREMOVE@THIShqda.army.mil

Sailors choking on good Fort Jackson dust.  Whee!

060405-N-4097B-012 Fort Jackson, S.C. (April 6, 2006) - Sailors man their M-16A1s and sit a vigilant watch, as they conduct convoy exercises during the Navy's Individual Augmentee Combat Training course at Fort Jackson, S.C. The fast paced, two week course is instructed by Army drill sergeants and designed to provide Sailors with basic combat skills training prior to being deployed as individual augmentees mostly to the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility (AOR). U.S. Navy photo by Journalist 1st Class Jackey Bratt (RELEASED)

Raw Courage...

This lady is living proof that courage comes in many forms...hers is almost unbelievable. Oh, and check out comment #3...Instapilot

H/T to LGF

This would look nice...

...covering the non-existant seaborne approaches to Castle Argghhhh!!!

I'd have to find that missing breech mechanism and projectile winch, but no matter. I think I'd lose the pillbox caps for the crew, too. Hawaiian shirts and straw hats, I should think. Well, at least in the summer.

Rather than all the Brit wool stuff, save that for the winter.

Hosting provided by FotoTime

The gun is the main armament of Fort Rinella, Malta.

Malta, also on the Castle Argghhh!!! Castle Tour list.

by John on May 08, 2006 | Artillery
» Ghost of a flea links with: Titan 1 ICBM missile base
» Ghost of a flea links with: Titan 1 ICBM missile base
» Ghost of a flea links with: Titan 1 ICBM missile base

Stories that only make the local news, at best.

by Sgt. 1st Class David D. Isakson</p>

<p>May 3, 2006</p>

<p>Spc. Corrie Heffner, from the 101st Airborne Division, searches for enemy activity on a highway near Mahmudiyah, Iraq. This photo appeared on www.army.mil.

Pics aren't related to the story - I just liked 'em.


Navy doctor comes to Afghan boy’s rescue
By Army Sgt. Nina J. Ramon

345th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

FORWARD OPERATING BASE GHAZNI, Afghanistan — After treating hundreds of casualties during a tour with the Marines in Iraq , and then treating hundreds more during his nine months in Afghanistan, Navy Lt. Cmdr. William Dave Holder thought he had seen it all. An 8-year-old Afghan boy with a medical condition virtually unheard of in the States quickly changed his mind.

Holder, a physician assistant attached to the 3-141 Battalion Aid Station here, normally tends to U.S. service members, Afghan National Army soldiers, Afghan National Policemen and local civilians.

But, the physician assistant permanently assigned to the Naval Medical Center in San Diego, also participates in weekly civilian outreach missions with ANA medics. Holder and the medical team in Ghazni processed nearly 1,000 patients in a few months of work in Afghan clinics. Many of the patients sought medical attention for wounds untreated for extended periods of time because professional care was not available.

During a weekly mission with an ANA medical battalion, Holder was asked by an Afghan doctor to assist with an Afghan boy named Abdul.

“(Abdul) had what appeared to be a piece of wood sticking out of his leg,” said Holder. He soon realized it was Abdul’s shinbone.

Abdul’s story began four months earlier when he first injured his leg. Two months later, he re-injured the leg, causing the shin bone to protrude out of the skin.


“He had a series of injuries to his leg and was hobbling around trying to bear the weight,” said Holder. “It was grossly infected -- bone and skin. I decided I would get him taken care of,” he added.

Special cases such as Abdul’s are normally referred to the provincial reconstruction team medical clinic, according to Holder. In many circumstances, patients are then referred to the Egyptian Field Hospital at Bagram.

Holder felt compelled to personally look after Abdul. He made some phone calls and eventually talked with orthopedic surgeon and Bountiful , Utah , native Dr. Shawn Hermenau at the 14th Combat Support Hospital in Bagram. Hermenau agreed to see Abdul.

It took more than two weeks to get Abdul a flight to Bagram because of bad weather and mission-essential flight requirements. While waiting, Holder paid the cab fare so Abdul and his father could visit the clinic each day to have the wound cleaned and dressed.

When the weather cleared, Abdul and his father traveled to the U.S. hospital in Bagram where they met Hermenau and the rest of the team that would help save his leg.

“When you see a kid that breaks his leg, and you get the chance to help him be able to go out and do kid stuff again,” Holder said smiling, “it gives you a ray of hope.”

Holder believes helping Afghans such as Abdul reinforces the positive relationship between Coalition forces and the local population.

“Abdul is from a known trouble spot in the area of operation, so hopefully this will be a good-news story for them that the Americans treated him well,” said Holder.

Because of his belief in the Coalition mission in Afghanistan and the fulfillment he gets from helping others, Holder says he lives for the satisfaction he receives from each deployment.


“I came to Afghanistan to take care of Soldiers and the people here and I think I did that,” he said. “I’ll come back a third time.”

by Spc. Leslie Angulo</p>

<p>May 8, 2006</p>

<p>Capt. Oscar Corredor, an optometrist from Regional Command South, examines the eyes of an Afghan man in the village of Shari Safa in Qalat Province during a medical outreach mission. This photo appeared on www.army.mil.



May 07, 2006

H&I Fires* 7 May

Open post for those with something to share, updated through the day. New, complete posts come in below this one. Note: If trackbacking, please acknowledge this post in your post. That's only polite. You're advertising here, we should get an ad at your place...

The Right Place has their caption contest up and running.

1954 - "Hell in a very small place" - French garrison of Dien Bien Phu surrenders to the Viet Minh, after 57 days of resistance - which includes being shot at by 105mm cannon captured from the 1st Cavalry Division during the Korean War.

Moving along, Castle Adjutant Barb has a thought provoker for you on How We Treat Our Military.

Orson Scott Card writes some of the best science fiction to be found, but he is very in touch with the current events of the world as well, as he proves in his World Watch column of April 16. He gives his viewpoint on the retired generals v. Sec. Rumsfeld, on the view of the military in television, and how it all affects the perception of U.S. citizens and others around the world.

Go visit Barb and see the rest.

And, what the heck, caption this:

Mad Cat

No, that is not Gandalf of Argghhh!, btw.

Carnival of the Recipes is up at The Common Room. -The Armorer

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Yay for me (and the fame continues)! I'm mentioned in the latest caption contast at The Right Place. - FbL

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

by Denizens on May 07, 2006 | General Commentary

Ninja Spiders, Water Buffalo, Guardian Angels

That can only mean one thing. Bill and Beer.

This morning I found a packet nailed to the portcullis as I went to pick up local recycle fodder.

My first thought was I had an ecclesiastical crisis, which is strange since the Castle is not an ecclesiastical seat of anything. I did check the scanners for KWiPs (Kossacks With Pitchforks), but it was clear. I do that every morning before raising the 'cullis. Even the Moat Monsters and Drawbridge troll won't eat them. I turned my attention to the packet. It was wrapped in a hastily handwritten note. All it said was: "See what we have to put up with!?!"

When I unwrapped the note, out fell a ragged white feather of radiant purity.

And the attached Army Accident Report form. Badly tattered and stained. I swear some of those stains look pretty salty, too.

Ahhhhhh. [light goes on] Carborundum, Bill's Guardian Angel, was by last night. Probably drunk again. He can't ever remember his Portcullis PIN when he's drunk, and he's too conscientious to fly in that condition. Ahem.

Must be because of this. Bill still needs his GAs even now that he's retired, and especially moreso since one of his GA Remotes was recalled to Piddler's Green for debriefing and rest.

Though she did leave a sensor behind.



1. Summary: Helicopter impacted water buffalo during evening transit.
Helicopter trampled and gored.

2. [Oil stain]

3. Circumstances.
A. Origin. Some godforsaken hellhole with a quonset hut, I don’t remember, they all look alike to me.
B. Mission. Morale improvement [of pilot, buddies, and anybody else wanting a beer]
C. FLT purpose code. B33R.

4. [eaten by insects]

5. Damage and costs.
A. Helicopter.
1. Effectively destroyed, unless somebody comes up with an entire skid and most of the components usually found on the left side. Plus the rotor got gnawed on a bit. And a wrench-sized hole in front windshield.
B. Army property damage. 20 kegs beer, $119.60. [handwritten: Really?][handwritten in by different hand: Nobody said get *good* beer, did they?]
C. Non DoD property damage. Bruised and irritated water buffalo, property of some guy yelling at me and no, I didn’t get his name. I could identify the water buffalo in a lineup, as long as it was restrained. Those things hold a grudge.

6. Personnel information, injuries and costs.
A. Souls on board. two, including enemy stowaway.
B. Crew. Pilot at controls, callsign SugarButtons (SB), on duty, injury to “third point of contact”, claimed shot off, claim not supported by medical staff.
C. Total number of passengers. One stowaway, fatal injury during hand-to-hand combat.[handwritten:It was a goddam SPIDER, and I don’t care what Tuttle says it is NOT Viet Cong.]

7 [missing pages]

(8) Chronology
(A) (P) All times local. times from 2000 to 0438 are approximate.
07:00 - SB awakes.
11:45 - SB gets crappy lunch.
12:15 - SB given yet another do-the-impossible-immediately mission, making 6 total for the day. [handwritten: Don’t we have a code for those?].
13:05 - SB pulls off immediate and impossible. Chewed out for lateness.
14:00 - SB tightens Jesus Nut with wrench (Exhibit A).
14:34 - Helicopter develops mange in tail boom, requires maintenance.
14:57 (est) - Stowaway enters helicopter, takes concealed position above pilot’s seat.
15:32 - Helicopter declared mange-free, SB returns to duty as bullet magnet.
17:45 - SB gets crappy dinner.
18:00 - SB featured participant in self-criticism exercise.
19:30 - SB heard to say “Oh God, I need a drink”
19:31 - SB hears of source of large quantities of beer, takes off to locate same.
20:10 - SB obtains and stows 20 kegs beer, takes off to return to base.
20:27:10 - Stowaway deploys internal ninja rappel line, attacks SB.
20:27:12 - radio transmission “AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHH!”
20:27:13 - SB grabs wrench (Exhibit A), swings at stowaway. Stowaway performs evasive maneuvers.
20:27:16 - SB uses overhand swing to smash stowaway with wrench. Stowaway killed instantly, body not recovered. Wrench penetrates windshield. [handwritten: Did we get any injury claims due to falling wrench?]
20:27:18 - SB notices negative altitude progression, pauses victory celebration to level helicopter.
20:27:19 - Impact of helicopter left skid with startled water buffalo.
20:27:21 - Helicopter tilts and lands in non-regulation manner on side. Enraged water buffalo is entangled in skid. Beer kegs break loose from restraints.
20:27:22 - Rogue beer keg drops under water buffalo.
20:28 - Water buffalo steps on beer keg during attempted destruction of helicopter, keg is stuck on left hind hoof.
20:31 - SB exits helicopter, circles under cover of foliage, and attracts attention of water buffalo.
20:32 - Enraged water buffalo rights helicopter attempting to attack SB.
20:35 - SB leaves jacket on stick as decoy, saunters back to helicopter, restows beer, and takes off. Enraged water buffalo is still entangled in left skid.
20:51 - Water buffalo undocks from helicopter. Takes skid as war prize.
21:15 - SB arrives with beer, and there is much rejoicing.
04:20 - Maintenance chief notices helicopter missing skid and most of left side parked on pad.
04:20:03 - Heard throughout base: “TUTTLE!”
04:25:05 - SB heard to say “It wasn’t me!”
04:38 - SB states damage sustained by VC action and sabotage.

9,10. [more missing pages]

11. analysis.
a. Aircrew factor - SB failed to notice water buffalo. Rejected. Water buffalo had no night running lights or luminous markers.
b.Aircrew factor - SB had “anticipated” party and gotten hammered. Rejected. All available evidence including witness statements indicate SB could not have done any of the above actions impaired by alcohol, plus it would take more than the one missing keg to do it.
C. Enemy action - VC spider attacked SB to capture beer and/or helicopter. Rejected. There is absolutely no evidence enemy cadres have sunk to enlisting arachnids. Spider was most likely an independent actor.
D. Act of God - meteor strike. Rejected. All damage to helicopter was on lower surfaces. Meteors strike from above, and even Tuttle can’t fly a helicopter upside down. We think.
E. Bad Luck - These Things Just Happen, Especially to Tuttle (TTJHET). Accepted. Prior accident reports attached as reference.
Who: Aircrew, pilot at controls, TUTTLE!!!!
What: Bad Luck, TTJHET, ninja spiders
Why: malign fate, complacency, and problem not forseeable. I mean, who anticipates ninja spiders?

The Zarqawi Video... a slightly different look.

Lex has the link some good words, and great commentary.

Here's the note I sent Lex, because I think it cuts to the chase.

I didn't want to harsh the mellow, so I didn't leave a comment on your Billy Blooper post.

Heh. Wonder how the CNO would do with a SAW?

Un-coached, mind you. Which he wouldn't dare do on camera. Which *is* part of the difference.

Or me in an F/A-18? But I know *exactly* how to send you to where I need you to splash that bird or drop that ordnance. Just as you know exactly how to get me to take my brigade someplace and do rude things. Even if you couldn't do it yourself.

I got the point, and I love the vid. And with the face-loving society they live in, showing the vid was important.

As was our mocking it.

But the little bit of me that's been shot at is reminded that Zarqawi types don't usually do the shooting.

They give the orders.

The guy who burned his hand made me feel better.

He's *us*.

And *that* is a big part of the difference.