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May 20, 2006

H & I Fires * May 20th

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...

hehehe....lookie what I found under the potted plant. Its the Castle Key!!!
Wait...whats H&I fires?? He Left the key on purpose?

Ok fine.
Here's all the news thats fit to print!

Commissar of Politburo Diktat will be living blogging the Conneticut State Democratic Convention That should sure to bring your camera.

Doc Russia's D-6 a Russian Immigrant who lives in America now, sounds off on building a fence at the border and using the National Guard. A Mild excerpt!

"In Russia, we had a much, much larger border, and it was patrolled by the military. As you know, there were not a lot of people who got across it. The military can and should be used for that purpose. If you are not going to use the military to defend the country, what the Hell are you going to use it for?"

Also Congrats to Doc Russia, as in about 9 days, he will officially be a Medical Doctor. Who knew Marines were so smart? :)

Bubblehead and the boys at Ultraquiet No More talk about beaching Dolphins and the media's reaction...Blame the Navy!

And for those who are bored you can see how I spent my day, yesterday

Balding Eagle of GreyEagle aka A Female Soldier points out how easy it is to become a casualty spouse by misunderstanding anoter demonstration thats its not only the soldiers who have to be strong, but their loved ones too.

And in Iran, It's looking like 1944 all over again. H/t Froggy and Blackfive



Sheesh, *someone* couldn't follow the blueprints and left out the up-front pre-fab verbiage. No, he hadda go build it all custom and stuff. Ah, well. Half my family is from Arkansas. What'd I expect? -The Armorer


The blogs of Canadians Militant - the Red Ensign Standard #42 Flies at Rootleweb! -The Armorer


Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

by Denizens on May 20, 2006 | General Commentary
» Political News and Blog Aggregator links with: Rumsfeld says border duty won’t detract from military

So, what was it?

I guess I've tortured High Desert Wanderer long enough...

And, my goad worked. Someone *did* get it. Not exactly in how it worked, but good enough for government work.

Pogue - I name you a Brainiac of Argghhh!

I would guess that it's an inertia safety for one of the rifle grenades on display in the castle.

Gezackly. More specifically, this one: The Serbian one that resides on the Yugo SKS in the Castle Collection. It is included in the picture of the "selection of rifle grenades" in this post. I can't believe *no one* commented on that, either. I guess I've got you all *really* desensitized, so that if we ever get the Castle to sufficiently to spec for SWWBO to think about letting you in the physical, vice digital demesne, you'll take it in stride all the ordnance laying about.

The bottom of the fuze element (the bit on the left) is the gain, the charge that (empty in the Castle example, of course) that initiates the bursting charge in the grenade body on the right (also empty, natch).

fuze and body of Serbian rifle grenade

Click here for the last picture, which will open in a new window.

On the left is the firing pin. When you remove the cap (the very top of the grenade in the first picture and the safety pin (the ring) the firing pin is free to move against the spring which holds it off the primer. When the grenade lands, point first, you've got enough oomph for the pin to overcome the spring and strike the primer.

On the right is our inertia safety. In the picture, the primer is aligned over the flash hole. The primer is the silver-looking part. When safe, that whole assembly is on the *other* side of the body, held in place by the spring-loaded peg in the upper left of the assembly. When the grenade is fired that peg, being held in place by a very weak spring, overcomes the spring's resistance and drops, allowing the spring in the primer assembly to move the assembly and get aligned over the hole - this takes enough time that if the firing pin *also* moves during the shock of launch it would actually drop into the hole on the left side of the assembly, and delay the movement of the primer assembly until the firing pin spring overcame the inertia and retracted the firing pin, thus allowing the primer assembly to move into place.

The whole point is to make sure the bang happens upon arrival, not departure...

That's all, folks.

That was nicer than Bill's farkin' gear!

Pogue, gimme a snail mail address and I'll get you a Brainiac of Argghhh! mug. I gotta scoot - I've got Charitable Things to do this morning. Someone else can get the H&I set up!

by John on May 20, 2006 | Grenades


In which I continue my Zen of Immigration, despite the fact the historical subject sticks in a certain Southron's throat...

Sweet Mary, me darling, the war clouds are looming,
And traitors are plotting to fetter the land!
I go on the morrow, when cannon are booming,
To join in the battle with liberty's band.

Chorus: Fare thee well sweet Mary Mavourneen,
It grieves me to leave thee dear bride of my soul,
Fare thee well sweet Mary Mavourneen,
It grieves me to leave thee dear bride of my soul.

The land that has blessed us, with love and protection,
Is smitten with peril, beleaguered with foes;
The brave and true hearted, with loyal affection,
Must march where the banner of liberty's goes.


With tear moistened eye-lids, I look through the gloaming,
And think of the pleasures that blessed us of old!
It's breaking my heart is, Sweet Mary Maloning,
With sorrow to leave ye, dear bride of my soul.
The Emerald Island away in the ocean,
With white breakers kissing its murmuring shore,
America's armor will one day be needing,
That British oppression may curse her no more.


I go, but remember, Sweet Mary, me darling,
In camp or a marching, to you I am true!
And if you should listen in vain my returning,
I fall 'neath our banner--the Stars and the Blue.


These lyrics, some history to go with them, mp3 samples, and the ability to buy the CD - all available here. I'm not making a dime or trade off of this, btw.

by John on May 20, 2006 | Politics

May 19, 2006

H&I Fires* 19 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...

James Taranto has an interesting take on Rep. Murtha's latest comments.

Spot-on last paragraph from an Aussie writer reporting on the meeting between Howard and Bush.

Cdr. Salamander has today's must-read. - Fuzzybear Lioness


A Moment of Warrior Zen I like the music - the pictures are just value-added...

Update: Link removed. Sigh. Even when people admit to having a bandwidth issues, not attributing to them is inexcusable. And you should ask for permission.

Sigh. Thanks for pointing it out, Mike. I'll admit I don't remember everything I've ever seen everywhere. Still, if I take something and host it from someone who has low-bandwidth, I get permission and attribute it. Fooey. Go here - click "Until Then".

This presentation was originally created for and dedicated to a wonderful young lady who lost her husband in Afghanistan who we got to know over the internet. I posted this one for her but also as a reminder to those who live near families whose husbands have given their lives for their country and those who are currently serving. We must not forget the families of those who serve and sacrifice for the rest of us. Shortly I will be posting approved charities you can donate to if you would like to help these families in need.

Music - "Homeward Bound" from The Road Home by The Choirs of Brigham Young University - © 2003 Tantara Records
The Road Home CD is available for purchase at

Speaking of Zen - Jay Leno last night:

Here’s a question I have: if you have blonde hair and are a marine, does that make you an empty jarhead?

A Marine responds:

No, all heads are empty regardless of haircolor!

Actually I used to be quite a smart guy, but after 5 years of working for and with the US Army, my intelligence quotient has really plummeted! But I feel right at home now....

-The Armorer


Blackfive declares the start of "Operation Perish Hilton." He's in it for the long haul. Are you? -The Armorer


The old 162d's patch incorporated the letters STS, which (we told field-grades, anyway) stood for "Superior Tactical Support" -- but the grunts knew it stood for "Slicker Than Sh*t"...

Now it looks like there's a new definition: "Stealth Technology System."

Electro-optical camouflage may finally be off the drawing board, as soon as they work out one little glitch -- if they get within 20 feet of you, you become "visible" again. Of course, if they get within 20 feet of you and you're inside an M1A2, the consequences won't be quite as dire -- for *you*, anyway... - cw4(ret)billt


Note: Just because this is an open trackback post *doesn't* mean advertise yer cheap commercial carp here. I'll delete that shite ruthlessly - and bill you per the dislcaimer, lamer. -the Armorer


Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

by Denizens on May 19, 2006 | General Commentary
» ROFASix links with: Guard Border Mission Concept Explained
» Soldiers' Angel - Holly Aho links with: Painting Auctions and Store

A voice from the Front.

The Castle has several readers who are deployed, been deployed, are deploying. All have been offered this space to tell their stories - starting with Master Sergeant (now 1st Sergeant) Keith, who regaled us (and teased me with guns) with Tales From The Pjanshir Valley.

Comes now Flip, from Iraq.

The other day I received an offer to post my inside view on the state of the Iraq war on this site. Considering that the political minefields are far worse than the IEDs I initially declined. However, checking the news after my mission today I decided some things needed to be said.

The first article to grab my attention was the UNHRC report. In which such stalwarts of human compassion and due process such as Azerbaijan, China, Cuba, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, and Zimbabwe are kind enough to give us lessons on the humane treatment of prisoners. Amongst the UNHRC’s demands were the closing of camp Gitmo and that we “broaden the definition of acts of psychological torture.”

The irrelevance of the United Nations grows greater every day. Condemnations of US prisoner treatment from countries that routinely jail and torture dissidents and even host the occasional genocide are amazing. Of course what else would you expect from an organization that believes that welfare is a human right?

The general facts about what exactly happens to a prisoner in US custody are deemed irrelevant when the agenda is simply to backstab the United States. The first misconception is the status of these prisoners. They are not POWs (or in current military parlance, EPWs-Enemy Prisoners of War) they have no uniform no insignia, no clearly identifiable rank or chain of command. In plain black and white the Geneva Convention specifically denies them EPW status. With that said the US has in all documented cases not condoned torture. Abu Ghraib was a reprehensible event. However, it was the work of miscreants and not SOP. Additionally it seemed a lot milder than what I hear the squids have to go through the first time the cross the equator.

Examining the “tales of torture” one cannot find a shred of evidence amongst the claims. I especially like the allegation that we send victims of extraordinary rendition to countries such as Syria and Egypt, allow their security services to interrogate them by torture and then reap the rewards. Highly believable since the US and Syrian intelligence communities have such close ties.

The United States military has prosecuted 103 service members by courts martial with 89 convictions. I can tell you from experience that it does not take much of an allegation for CID or NCIS to come knocking on your door. Recently a soldier on my FOB was investigated and spared courts martial only through bad paperwork for detainee abuse. His crime? The horrific torture of writing the word “pussy” on a detainee’s forehead with permanent marker.

Every detainee is photographed and examined by the medics immediately upon intake, this documents the condition in which he arrived. The detainee then may be held for no more than 18 hours before he must either be released or transferred. As I have just returned from a detainee run, allow me to explain the process. From my FOB to the next higher detention facility is a 67 mile one way trip. The road is abundant with concrete patchwork to fill in the holes from the ubiquitous IEDs. The trip must be made with no less than four vehicles so that it may self extract and self medivac if it is ambushed en route. The round trip for four trucks burns at a minimum 100 gallons of JP8. The run must be made daily, even if there is only one prisoner in the holding cell.

Twelve men and four vehicles that could be better put to use patrolling our sector are squandered on these excessive detainee runs. We traverse a heavily mined road risking life, limb and equipment and needlessly waste resources in order to avoid even the possibility of suspicion.

War may be an extension of politics, but that gives politicians no right to dictate its execution.


5/18/2006 - -- Joseph Stutzman and Robert Attard, contractors from General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc., switch an AGM-114 Hellfire missile from one MQ-1 Predator to another on May 16, 2006, at Balad Air Base, Iraq. Mr. Stutzman and Mr. Attard are aircraft mechanics assigned to the 46th Expeditionary Aircraft Maintenance Unit. Contractors began replacing some military maintainers in February 2006, and recently took over as the primary mechanics for the Predator. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Brian Ferguson)

5/18/2006 - -- Joseph Stutzman and Robert Attard, contractors from General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc., switch an AGM-114 Hellfire missile from one MQ-1 Predator to another on May 16, 2006, at Balad Air Base, Iraq. Mr. Stutzman and Mr. Attard are aircraft mechanics assigned to the 46th Expeditionary Aircraft Maintenance Unit. Contractors began replacing some military maintainers in February 2006, and recently took over as the primary mechanics for the Predator. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Brian Ferguson)

Heh. At what point do we just let the troops go, and DoD becomes DoDCMA? Department of Defense Contract Management Agency?

Not an idle question, as this paper discusses.

Hey - *I'm* a contractor. I have a dog in this fight. But as I look around and see where contractors serve, and the rules under which they serve - I question both the aptness of using contractors for certain mission-critical functions - and the codicils in the contracts under which they function - to include ones where truly mission-critical infrastructure personnel are designated as NEO evacuees in the event of conflict, their jobs putatively taken over by their uniformed supervisors. Supervisors who, when I was watching them perform *their* duties, didn't seem to have much slack time to take on another, full-time, mission-critical task set.

Contractors aren't going away - and for many tasks they shouldn't - but where does the mission creep end? I see the appeal of contracting out a lot of essentially war-time only jobs to this Secretary of Defense - he doesn't want the increase in end-strength and force expansion/contraction issues (and long term expenses) that go with it - he can just hire what he wants off the market and run with it, and not take on the long term burden of permanent full-time (or even part-time) troops. He offloads the pension/medical/overhead issues to industry, only having to partially fund them while contracts are in force.

Whattaya think? This is a smart group.

Cross-posted at Milblogs.

May 18, 2006

H&I Fires* 18 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...

While you're all waiting breathlessly for The DaVinci Code to open... go amuse yourself with this. A reason *not* to hitch a ride with someone who flies like Lex. (registration required, but worth it)

What's even more interesting than the content of this post at T.F. Boggs - is that it was linked to by the Army in it's internal daily news summary, Stand-To!

SWWBO - Hey, we may be messy, but there *are* worse offenders out there!

Where's the most dangerous place to live? Iraq? Colombia? Pre-Katrina New Orleans? AFSis has the 411. -The Armorer


Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

by Denizens on May 18, 2006 | General Commentary


With the death in combat of Captain Goddard fresh in their minds and the news, the Canadian Parliament last night voted to extend the Canadian Forces commitment to the GWOT for two years, though not without some, er, rancor and the usual politics (just like we do).

Good on 'em.

A commenter on Damian's post of Captain Goddard had this to say:

Observor69 said... It behoves Mr.Harper to allow parliament an appropriate amount of time to discuss reasonable questions that arise in approving the deployment of our personal for another two years. No one that I am aware of lacks a desire to "support our troops" rather there is a desire to act in their best interests. As was stated this issue should stand above politics.

True enough - though I caveat that thusly:

Observor69: Canada's Parliament, on this issue, I would think should not "act in their best interests" if the interest in question is that of the soldiers.

They should act in Canada's best interest. The two are not automatically congruent.

The issue in question is far greater than that of the health and welfare of the soldiers.

Just ask the guys who waded ashore at Juno, or Omaha.

Emphasis added.

Girl On The Right nails it, I think.

The newspapers today have screaming headlines about how a woman was killed in combat. Where are the feminists, now? Just like there are no athiests in the foxhole, there are no women on the battlefield. She ceased being a woman on the day she first saw action. She became a soldier.

Someone lost their daughter, but Canada lost a soldier.

Regardless, a moment of Gunner Zen. In honor of "Captain Nic".

Hosting provided by FotoTime

Update: In re Ry's comment below - here is Alan's post on the subject.

by John on May 18, 2006 | Global War on Terror (GWOT)
» The Cool Blue Blog links with: Star Chores: Alien Abduction

Transformation, OIF style.

I wrote this post *before* I heard the news about the Canadian Gunner dying in an infantry firefight. It's been a while since an artilleryman has died at the hands of another artilleryman.

I have a buddy from the old days, recently selected for Brigadier General. Back in the day, while sitting in our Hummers, watching the Toad fumble his way down the Central Corridor to die on the obstacles of the OPFOR out by The Alligator at the NTC, we talked of the future.

Of course, He Who Just Got Selected For BG was sure he was going to get passed over for Major and ruminated on what he would do after he got off of active duty.

Obviously, that didn't happen. I retired first (does that mean I won? Hardly.) He got picked for the ultimate Redleg jobs, Direct Support Battalion Commander, Division Artillery Commander - and he got to take his DIVARTY to war.

Ooops. Did I say DIVARTY? Well, that would be wrong. He took his Brigade Combat Team to war. And fought as Infantillery. Good thing we paid attention to our maneuver brethren when we were OC's...

The artillery does a lot more of this now...

Spc. Milton Gonzales, B Btry., 1-9 FA, smashes a gate open during a raid in Baghdad that netted several wanted insurgents Oct. 8.

...and this...

...than they do of this...

After receiving the call for a counter fire mission, April 25, in Mahmahdiyah, Iraq, Sgt. Timothy Olsen lifts the rear of the Howitzer and moves it quickly to acquire the appropriate range of the fire. From the time counter fire is called over the radio, the Soldiers of 1st Platoon, 1st Battalion, 320th Field Artillery, have a maximum of three minutes to be ready to fire on the target, the quickest time the platoon has been laid and ready to fire was an astonishing one minute and 42 seconds. (Photo by Spc. Kelly K. McDowell, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division)

...or this...

...or this.

Just sayin'. Ubique. As Rudyard Kipling noted...

Royal Artillery

There is a word you often see, pronounce it as you may--
"You bike,""you bykwee," "ubbikwe"--alludin' to R.A.
It serves 'Orse, Field, an' Garrison as motto for a crest;
An' when you've found out all it means I'll tell you 'alf the rest.

Ubique means the long-range Krupp be'ind the low-range 'ill--
Ubique means you'll pick it up an', while you do, stand still.
Ubique means you've caught the flash an' timed it by the sound.
Ubique means five gunners' 'ash before you've loosed a round.
Ubique means Blue Fuse, an' make the 'ole to sink the trail.
Ubique means stand up an' take the Mauser's 'alf-mile 'ail.
Ubique means the crazy team not God nor man can 'old.
Ubique means that 'orse's scream which turns your innards cold!
Ubique means "Bank, 'Olborn, Bank - a penny all the way" -
The soothin', jingle-bump-an'-clank from day to peaceful day.
Ubique means "They've caught De Wet, an' now we shan't be long."
Ubique means "I much regret, the beggar's goin' strong!"
Ubique means the tearin' drift where, breech-blocks jammed with mud,
The khaki muzzles duck an' lift across the khaki flood.
Ubique means the dancing plain that changes rocks to Boers.
Ubique means mirage again an' shellin' all outdoors. drift -- ford
Ubique means "Entrain at once for Grootdefeatfontein."
Ubique means "Off-load your guns" - at midnight in the rain!
Ubique means "More mounted men. Return all guns to store."
Ubique means the R.A.M.R. Infantillery Corps.
Ubique means that warnin' grunt the perished linesman knows,
When o'er 'is strung an' sufferin' front the shrapnel sprays 'is foes;
An' as their firin' dies away the 'usky whisper runs
From lips that 'aven't drunk all day: "The Guns! Thank Gawd, the Guns!"
Extreme, depressed, point-blank or short, end-first or any'ow,
From Colesberg Kop to Quagga's Poort - from Ninety-Nine till now -
By what I've 'eard the others tell an' I in spots 'ave seen,
There's nothin' this side 'Eaven or 'Ell Ubique doesn't mean!

Or, as CAPT H notes: "Ubique= All over the place!"


The Zen Continues. Because of the already long posts up today, I've stuck most of this below the fold.

Just laying out my thoughts on the subject... via old songs.

I'm Paddy Magee, sir, from Ballinahee, sir,
In an illigant ship I come over the say;
Father Donahoe sent me, my passage he lent me--
Sure, only for that, I'd a walked all the way!
He talked of America's freedom and glory;
"Begorra," says I, "that's the counthry for me!"
So, to ind a long story, I've now come before ye,
To give the opinions of Paddy Magee.

The rest is below the fold, in the Flash Traffic/Extended Entry.

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

by John on May 18, 2006 | Politics

The Dangers of Thinking

This one's for Dusty and Frank.

It started out innocently enough. I began to think at parties now and then -- just to loosen up.

Inevitably though, one thought led to another, and soon I was more than just a social thinker.

I began to think alone -- "to relax," I told myself -- but I knew it wasn't true. Thinking became more and more important to me, and finally I was thinking all the time.

That was when things began to sour at home. One evening I had turned off the TV and asked my wife about the meaning of life. She spent that night at her mother's.

I began to think on the job. I knew that thinking and employment don't mix, but I couldn't stop myself.

I began to avoid friends at lunchtime so I could read Thoreau and Kafka. I would return to the office dizzied and confused, asking, "What is it exactly we are doing here ?"

One day the boss called me in. He said, "Listen, I like you, and it hurts me to say this, but your thinking has become a real problem. If you don't stop thinking on the job, you'll have to find another job."

This gave me a lot to think about. I came home early after my conversation with the boss. "Honey," I confess, "I've been thinking..."

"I know you've been thinking," she said, "and I want a divorce!"

"But, Honey, surely it's not that serious."

"It is serious," she said, lower lip aquiver. "You think as much as college professors, and college professors don't make any money, so if you keep on thinking, we won't have any money!"

"That's a faulty syllogism," I said impatiently. She exploded in tears of rage and frustration, but I was in no mood to deal with the emotional drama. "I'm going to the library," I snarled as I stomped out the door.

I headed for the library, in the mood for some Nietzsche. I roared into the parking lot with NPR on the radio and ran up to the big glass doors. They didn't open. The library was closed.

To this day, I believe that a Higher Power was looking out for me that night. Leaning on the unfeeling glass, whimpering for Zarathustra, a poster caught my eye, "Friend, is heavy thinking ruining your life?" it asked.

You probably recognize that line. It comes from the standard Thinkers Anonymous poster. Which is why I am what I am today: a recovering thinker.

I never miss a TA meeting. At each meeting we watch a non-educational video; last week it was "Porky's."

Then we share experiences about how we avoided thinking since the last meeting. I still have my job, and things are a lot better at home. Life just seemed...easier, somehow, as soon as I stopped thinking.

I think the road to recovery is nearly complete for me.

Today I made the final step. I registered to vote as a Democrat.

Oh, why not? It's how the Dems think of us, anyway...

by John on May 18, 2006 | Politics

It's "Whatziss," *not* "Whazzis," John. Geez...

Okay, I guess the suspense kept everybody awake all night, so I won’t torture you anymore (oh, won’t that sentence draw some trenchcoated traffic from google--can’t wait).

The Whatziss is the Shaft Pinion and Reduction (SPR--pronounced “spur” and so I shall refer to it as such in the narrative) gear from an OH-6A.


Now, because the Loach was intended for scouting in Vietnam and aeroscouts in Vietnam got shot down a lot, the aircraft was designed to be as light, as maneuverable and as inexpensive as possible. Basic flyaway cost of the ’65 model was about $12,000, which was cheap enough to put it into the “disposable” category in the Army’s mind.

Heh—the Air Force dropped *bombs* that cost more than that.

However, in addition to being light, maneuverable and inexpensive, the OH-6 was also overpowered, overbuilt and rugged as all get-out. Repairing them wasn’t always cost-effective, though, since the Hughes Tool and Die Company (don'tcha just *love* that name!) never did ramp up to producing a lot of spare parts, so, with limited production runs coupled with the usual boondoggles, it was sometimes cheaper to buy a new helicopter than repair the old one. So the Army bought a * lot * of them--over 1,400.

In 1968, the Army decided that Howard Hughes had gotten rich enough off the gummint, ceased purchases of the OH-6 and fielded Bell’s OH-58. Or, as we called it, the OH-Five-point-Eight--because it wasn’t quite as good as a Six.

Then, in 1975, the Army decided to dump allocate anything even remotely reminding it of Vietnam the remaining OH-6s to the National Guard—and for the first time ever, the Guard had a better piece of equipment than the Active Army. So, for twenty-plus more years, the little disposable helicopter soldiered on. Found a niche in the civilian world as the Hughes 500, too. But helicopters don’t age gracefully--vibration, tension, torsion and corrosion take their toll and metal fatigue inevitably sets in and weakens critical components.

The Problem

Since the shaft pinion and reduction gear was part of the mechanism that reduced 6,000 engine rpm to 497 main rotor rpm, it was a critical component. And one that the book said didn’t have to be inspected more often than every 500 flight hours. The Loach’s engine was mounted diagonally and the spur gear connected directly from the accessory gearbox to the transmission driveshaft--so in addition to vibration, tension, torsion and corrosion, the gear was also subjected to temperature extremes. But it was tough--remember what I said about the Loach being overbuilt? Unfortunately, it was only overbuilt for a “disposable” helicopter.

Enter metal fatigue. The steel crystallizes at stress points, the crystals shatter and hairline cracks develop in the shaft walls. The hairline cracks become * big * cracks and, if not discovered, become mini San Andreas faults. Here’s where the problems were developing:

No, guys--look *inside* the oval...

Then, one day, the San Andreas goes *ka-rack!*, and you get the following:

The engine, suddenly unloaded from the task of turning the massive gears in the transmission, overspeeds and overheats, in excess of, respectively, 30,000 rpm and 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit. The pieces of spur gear start rattling around internally and the accessory gearbox eats itself alive. Soon thereafter, the fuel and oil lines surrounding and feeding the engine warp and crack due to the excessive heat and spray aromatic hydrocarbons all over. If you’re lucky, it doesn’t explode immediately, it just sort of catches fire. And, since the Falklands War pretty much established the fact that aluminum *will* burn, your fuselage joins the action, too.

Meanwhile, the transmission, since it’s not being powered anymore, decides to take a rest, and the main rotor rpm decays--rapidly. Which means, if you’re caught by surprise by the noise in back and the realization that you can now see the individual blades, you’ve got about a second to enter autorotation, retard the throttle to the idle detent, honk the nose back into a hairy assed pronounced flare to attempt to regain rotor rpm, and pray you’re directly above an open field that won’t mind hosting the burning, disabled helicopter that just dropped in unannounced.

I just hate it when that happens.

So, for about a month, us Instructor Pilot types did nothing but teach the other guys the symptoms and the cure and practice, practice, practice the emergency procedure. Finally, some bright light said, “Hey—the civilian models don’t have this problem. I wonder why?” The answer was simple. Because the Hughes Aircraft and Missile Corporation anticipated that the Hughes 500 would last a good, long while and so made the upper portion of the spur gear wall one millimeter thicker. As in, 1mm.

Great, said the Guard Bureau’s Aviation Directorate. We’ll just install the Hughes 500 spur gear in the OH-6 and everything will be hunky-dory. So Guard Bureau shelled out seven grand apiece for about four hundred civilian spur gears.

Non-milspec spur gears.

The Dénouement

You can see this coming already, can’t you? Yup. Some Log Colonel who didn’t care *why* Aviation bought the civvie gears had a fit because they were “non-standard,” snagged the shipment before it could be distributed and had a machine shop mill one millimeter from the thickness of the wall. He thereby turned the new, non-milspec, *good* gears into new, milspec *bad* gears and released them for distribution.

Without telling the Aviation guru what he’d done.

Fortunately, the Quality Control guys in hangars around CONUS noticed the shiny, freshly-milled band (Hi-Rez!), broke out the micrometers and quarantined the lot of ‘em.

The word reached the top of the heap and, that afternoon, there was a fresh scalp dangling from a Two-Star’s lodge pole.

And, since an IP never passes up a chance to add a busted part to his collection of training aids, I snagged a couple for the IP office before they got sent to the recycle bin. Casual visitors used to spot the one on my desk and ask, “Whazzat?”

So, I labeled it for their benefit.

Hey, Boq! You oughta see it when its full of pencils...

I can get downright artistic with White-Out…

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


From HomefrontSix:

Mac sez: The cut into the valleys is too deep. This is evident by the machining grooves that can be seen in the buttress. ie the bevel at the bottom of the top gear. If the cut was made to the proper depth, machine marks would not be seen below the bottom of the top gear. The depth of this cut has negated any additional strength that the buttress might have provided.

Heh. MacGyver twigged that it was too thin and he spotted the extraneous milling--not *perfect*, but I'd say it's close enough for an FFE. I'm quietly proud that a fellow brooding, introverted, anticipator of trouble got it before one of the buoyantly extroverted stiff-wing polishers.

And, as usual, Boq cut right to the chase.

Discoloration on The Vanes??? Why, I think that those polychromatic shades of patina confers an august je-ne-sai-quois to that paper weight ;)

May 17, 2006



Close Station. March Order.

Canada loses her first female soldier since World War II.

A Gunner.

Captain Nichola Kathleen Sarah Goddard.  Photo courtesy Canadian Ministry of Defence

Canadian Soldier killed in Afghanistan CEFCOM NR–06.009 - May 17, 2006

OTTAWA – A Canadian soldier was killed during a firefight with insurgents that occurred approximately 24 kilometres west of Kandahar. The incident occurred at approximately 6:55 p.m. Kandahar time (10: 25 a.m. EDT) on 17 May.

Killed was Captain Nichola Kathleen Sarah Goddard who was serving with Task Force Afghanistan as part of the 1st Battalion Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry (1 PPCLI) Battle Group. Captain Goddard was stationed with the 1st Regiment Royal Canadian Horse Artillery in Shilo, Manitoba; her next-of-kin have been notified.

Canadian Gunners. Photo courtesy Canadian Ministry of Defence

H/t, Damian, of The Torch.

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

Smokey Smith probably already has a beer poured. And Jimmy Doohan is there to explain why there's not enough power, Captain!

Now - will Canada stand firm? Or, waver?

by John on May 17, 2006 | Global War on Terror (GWOT)
» MilBlogs links with: Canada@War.
» Girl on the Right links with: The Fallen

H&I Fires* 17 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...

Oh, now this is just the way I want to end my night.
NOT. Whose bright idea is it to give Iran a nuclear reactor with which they'll do the same thing that S. Africa and Israel did with theirs(build an A-bomb with them)? I really wonder sometimes.

So, you're at that blogmeet, you've just worshipped at the porcelain idol, you're staggering out, and you can't remember where you are! Well, if there's a nice selection of rifle grenades on the table outside the latrine, while the kitchen is under construction... you're at the Castle. We *don't* like door-to-door salesmen. The Watchtower is a magazine, btw.

Blackbeard's cannon. Kewl. H/t, Toluca Nole. -The Armorer


Phone Numbers? What Phone Numbers? And here's BellSouth's response, too. So...the media finally catches up with its own story. You mean, ask for comments from the companies cited in an anonymous leak before publishing the leak? How absurdly professional! - FbL


Is this GUY for real??? If so, we can tell them Arabs to stick it where it's warm and moist but the sun don't shine.

Oh and I do have an advise to them Iranians: If them Venezuelans offer them some slightly dented F-16's... RUN - RUN LIKE HELK!!!

For those of us familiar with the South American Bidnez Environment, there's a little story that goes like this:

- How can you tell a Venezuelan from a Colombian?
- Easy.
- If both a Venezuelan and a Colombian approach you, and offer to rent the ***how should I be polite*** "therapeutic" services of their little sisters, and upon paying them the going rate, The Colombian will be the only one to deliver on his contract. :@0 - BOQ


Not to be too academic, but Ed Driscoll points to a fascinating piece in Commentary that's had me slapping my forehead. Two thoughts come to mind: the irony of the switch in national party psychologies and the possible implications if the 21st Century's New McCarthyites** win the Congress or the White House. If you think Joe was bad...
Instapilot (H/T to Ed)

** The DNC, Pelosi and Reid plotting the impeachment hearings, and their Kossacks screaming for heads of all the "conspirators".

(warning. ry using hyperbole and strongish language(for a grad school zombie). Warning.)
This just typifies the whole immigration argument for me. Why the bloody F*&^ was this woman compelled to travel Bog knows how many miles thru Mexico to come here with her F'n three year old only to have him f'n DIE hours into the country?
Is the problem that WE have made it too hard for them to come? Is it that we fenced up all the really easy ways to come into the country illegaly? B!@#$%*&! Fix their countries. Fix the pschizophrenic, corrupt, child pimping, F'd up beyod belief BS that exists in S. and Central America and this won't ever happen F'n again! That should be order of business item number one, and remain there until it is done. It isn't just getting into the US that exposes these people to dangers they should never f'n bloody have to. Trekkin' up thru Mexico is such a problem that they've had to create a special police unit to protect the migrants.
It isn't us F'n Blancos that's the problem. Not by a f'n long shot.
All the immigrants rights people should just STFU. Take the ire and shove it in the faces of those who deserve it(and that ain't us jokers up here in the US).
We didn't kill this kid. We didn't create the conditions under which this woman felt compelled to put her son in extreme danger.
Stupid f'n bastards. Change is needed. Letting everyone and anyone who wants to come to the US in ISN'T going to fix the problem that several hundred million in S. and C. America live in conditions that make an arduous and danger frought trip to the US border. It's far more deep and convoluted than that. Letting them all come at will just allows the real criminals off the f'n hook.
Point the finger where it belongs, and it isn't in the direction of those of us who want immigration reform.
Jesus. A three year old who didn't have to die did because some wanker would rather screw over anyone trying to make businesses grow unless that entreprenuer is willing to make sure the screwer gets all the finest things in life. What a f'n joke. I look at this and shake my head at everyone who tries to lay the blame the US for this womans problems and grief. We don't control the world, you know, despite what Owen says(we saved you a seat at the Castle Bar anyways, Owen). Jesus Christ. If I could shoot all the bureacrats who created this situation in S. and C. America I would. F'n bastards.
(we now place ry back in restraints in his cage, and give him a nice sedative)

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

by Denizens on May 17, 2006 | General Commentary
» Blue Star Chronicles links with: Stop Murtha from Killing our Troops

Heh. I can play Bill's game.

Sure, I can take random or not-so-random gut parts from something and ask "Whazzis?" (see below)

Of course, what I can't do is the amusing copy...

So, in the manner of Bill: Whazzis?

Give ya a hint - it's outta the Balkans

Oh, yeah - it's about as big around as a nickel.

And it comes from something seen on these pages.

First person to get it, I'll give ya a Castle Mug.

Snerk. I shoulda just pulled a random gear outta an aiming circle...

I think my Mug Stock will remain untouched.


The Zen continues.

The Irish Volunteer. My name is Tim McDonald, I'm a native of the Isle, I was born among old Erin's bogs when I was but a child. My father fought in " 'Ninety-eight," for liberty so dear; And he fell upon old Vinegar Hill like an Irish volunteer. Chorus

Then raise the harp of Erin, boys,
the flag we all revere--
We'll fight and fall beneath its folds,
like Irish volunteers!

When I was driven form my home
by an oppressor's hand,
I cut my sticks and greased my brogues,
and came o'erto this land.
I found a home and many friends,
and some that I love dear;
Be jabbers! I'll stick to them
like bricks and an Irish volunteer.


Then fill your glasses up, my boys,
and drink a heartycheer,
To the land of our adoption
and the Irish volunteer!

Now when the traitors in the south
commenced a warlike raid,
I quickly then laid down my hod,
to the devil went my spade!
To a recruiting-office then I went,
that happened to be near,
And joined the good old "Sixty-ninth,"
like an Irish volunteer.


Then fill the ranks and march away!--
no traitors do we fear;
We'll drive them all to blazes,
says the Irish volunteer.
When the Prince of Wales came over here,
and made a hubbaboo,
Oh, everybody turned out, you know,
in gold and tinsel too;
But then the good old Sixty-ninth
didn't like these lords or peers--
They wouldn't give a damn for kings,
the Irish volunteers!

We love the land of Liberty,
its laws we will revere,
"But the divil take nobility!"
says the Irish volunteer!

Now if the traitors in the South
should ever cross our roads,
We'll drive them to the divil,
as Saint Patrick did the toads;
We'll give them all short nooses
that come just below the ears,
Made strong and good of Irish hemp
by Irish volunteers.


Then here's to brave McClellan,
whom the army now reveres--
He'll lead us on to victory,
the Irish volunteers.

Now fill your glasses up, my boys,
a toast come drink with me,
May Erin's Harp and the Starry Flag
united ever be;
May traitors quake, and rebels shake,
and tremble in their fears,
When next they meet the Yankee boys
and Irish volunteers!


God bless the name of Washington!
that name this land reveres;
Success to Meagher and Nugent,
and their Irish volunteers

by John on May 17, 2006 | Citizenship
» Blue Star Chronicles links with: Mexico Threatens to Sue U.S.A.

Satori, My Way.

KtLW is a Doctor Phil phan.

And Doctor Phil recently proclaimed, "The way to achieve inner peace is to finish all the things you've started and never finished."

So, I looked around the house for all the things I had started and hadn't finished. Before leaving this morning, I finished off a bottle of Merlot, a bottle of Jim Beam, a bottle of Bailey's, a bottle of Kahlua, a bottle of Bombay Sapphire, a package of Oreos, the rest of the cheesecake, some Doritos and a box of jelly donuts.

You have *nooooo* idea how inner peaceful I feel…

* * * * * *

Heh. H/t to Doc E.

Whatziss (with a twist)

I’m sure you’ve all heard the military procurement horror stories -- the $500 hammer, the coffeemaker for the C-5 that was built to withstand G-forces that would turn the crew two-dimensional, the Air Defense system that showed a preference for engaging the broad side of a barn rather than an attacking aircraft, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. Some of the tales are the result of the “investigative reporter” jiggering the figures, some are the result of imperfectly-written specifications, some are genuine cases of Waste, Fraud ‘n’ Abuse and still others are the result of what Dusty so aptly described as Pugnacious Stupidity.

The ol’ “My mind is made up -- don’t confuse me with the facts” Syndrome.

“The reg sez thus-and-such, therefore thus-and-such it is and ever shall be” -- even though the (never identified) reg may refer to something else entirely. Or the reg might just be flat-out wrong -- it was written by a human being, after all (the classic appeared in a series of changes to the OH-6A Operator's Manual, defining FARs -- Federal Aviation Regulations -- as Flying Aircraft Regulations). Or, the reg might have been correct when written, but is now hopelessly outdated.

The most expensive item in my little museum came to me courtesy of outdated specs augmented by a slavish adherence to the regs. This little beauty (*not* the needle-nosers) cost the National Guard $7,000 in 1988 dollars, as did each of its four-hundred-odd brethren.

View from the Top. Or a reasonable facsimile

What was it worth upon delivery, after its rather tortuous journey through the procurement process?

Nothing. Zip. Zilch. Nada. Nema. Rien. Nulla. Không. Nichts. ничто. For its intended application, anyway.

The reason for its transition from a shot-peen-hardened, single-block-milled, fairly expensive aircraft part to a shot-peen-hardened, single-block-milled, fairly expensive hunk of junk is visible in the pic below:

Kinda gives a whole new meaning to the term, “Military Gear,” huh?

And, for the metallurgical detectives among you, here’s the Hi-Rez.

Geez, I even impress *me* with how good I’m getting at this close-up stuff.

“Well, first off -- what is it?” you inquire. Well, since it’s kind of an esoteric part, and since you’d have to be an especially groggish grognard to know for absolute certain-sure what it is, I think I’ll be lousy, mean, rotten and spiteful and let you guess. Even Jon the Knuckle-skinner is gonna find this one a toughie.

But I can use the chuckles.

Ummmm, sorry, Miz HomefrontSix, ma’am, it’s not the gear that stows the rotor blades in flight to allow you to activate an ejection seat.

*going totally queasy at that visual…*

May 16, 2006

H&I Fires* 16 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...

NZ Bear is tracking blogger reactions to the President's speech last night.

Bad Dog.  Literally.  What a great name for a soldier.

by Petty Officer 2nd Class Katrina Beeler May 16, 2006 Sgt. Daniel Cassiday and his sniffer dog Bad, from Company B, 2nd Battalion, 8th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, search for a weapons cache in Iskandariyah, Iraqi. Photo courtesy US Army

And, I wonder how long it will take to update the Conspiracy Theories?

Lookit how 74, over at Bowramp, spends his weekends. Still serving, indeed! -The Armorer


Heh. Ward Churchill might get suspended. Fired would be better... but I'm harsh and mean, I know.

And, Goodness, keep the sharp objects and hemlock away from Derbyshire!

Heartless Libertarian brings us a Great Moment in Baseball History.

If only Mexico had as much concern about making itself an attractive place to live as they do making sure the people fleeing the country can make it here to get benefits... they might not have to worry so much about their soak-off attrition rates - and threaten to sue us for securing our border. -The Armorer


Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

by Denizens on May 16, 2006 | General Commentary

Hugo Chavez... nimrod? Or Evil Genius?

Hey, I understand standing up to the Big Gringo, it keeps everybody happy. No worries.

But ya gotta wonder what the sub rosa goal is that prompts this lunacy...

The AP, via Breitbart, is offering up this lede: Venezuela Weighs Selling U.S. Jets to Iran...

So, Presidente Chavez, in response to the US ban on arms sales to his government (hey, gringo, we can bash you all we want, but you better still give us stuff at good prices!) is considering selling its fleet of F-16s to... perhaps Iran.


The AP reports that Gen. Alberto Muller, a senior adviser to Chavez, told the AP he had recommended to the defense minister that Venezuela consider selling the 21 jets to another country.

Okey-dokey. One *small teensy-weensy problem* with that. Under the rules that apply to Foreign Military Sales, you have to have *our* permission to sell them to someone else, or, give them back. And we get to approve who you sell them to.

General Muller thinks that Iran should be on the table as a buyer.

Presidente Chavez has already threatened to "share" the planes with Cuba if the USGOV doesn't fork over parts and upgrades, or at least allow the Israelis to provide 'em.


Okay, they won't be flying to Teheran, they'd have to be shipped. Guess what? That would make for interesting blockade possibilities, to keep the containers from leaving.

They could *fly* to Cuba. I wonder if Cubans would fly them or Venezuelans? I wonder who among them would like to participate in a live-fire exercise with a Carrier Air Group?

Yeah, I know - Cuba doesn't have F16s, and the CAG doesn't fly 'em either.  Welcome to Photoshop, where anything is possible.

by John on May 16, 2006 | Politics


I'm going to lay out my feelings on immigration in a very zen-like fashion.

Flag of the 69th New York at Bull Run

On the twenty-first of July, beneath the burning sun.
McDowell met the Southern troops in battle, at Bull Run;
Above the Union vanguard, was proudly dancing seen,
Beside the starry banner, old Erin's flag of green.

Colonel Corcoran led the Sixty-ninth on that eventful day,
I wish the Prince of Wales were there to see him in the fray;
His charge upon the batteries was war's most glorious scene,
With gallant New York firemen, and the boys that wore the green.

In the hottest of the fire there rode along the line
A captain of a Zouave band, crying, "Now, boys, is your time;"
Ah! who is he so proudly rides, with bold and dauntless mien?
'Tis Thomas Francis Meagher, of Erin's isle of green!

The colors of the Sixty-ninth, I say it without shame,
Were taken in the struggle to swell the victor's fame;
But Farnham's dashing Zouaves, that run with the machine,
Retook them in a moment, with the boys that wore the green!

Being overpowered by numbers, our troops were forced to flee,
The Southern black horse cavalry on them charged furiously;
But in that hour of peril, the flying mass to screen,
Stood the gallant New York firemen, with the boys that wore the green.

Oh, the boys of the Sixty-ninth, they are a gallant band,
Bolder never drew a sword for their adopted land;
Amongst the fallen heroes, a braver had not been,
Than you lamented Haggerty, of Erin's isle of green.

Farewell, my gallant countrymen, who fell that fatal day,
Farewell, ye noble firemen, now mouldering in the clay;
Whilst blooms the leafy shamrock, whilst runs the old machine,
Your deeds will live bold Red Shirts, and Boys that Wore the Green!

by John on May 16, 2006 | Citizenship

Another TSA story.

From a comment to the TSA post below. I just thought it should see the light of day.

The TSA really amazes me, they go out of their way to avoid charges of profiling and go overboard on other people. Travelling home on mid tour leave I had my body armor and helmet with me as carry on luggage. At that point I had been in combat for eight months, with all that implies. I had been in firefights, I had used C-4, hand grenades, AT4s, and since this was 2003 (before EOD was a handy phone call away) had had to dismantle the occasional IED. You could imagine my shock and surprise when my gear popped hot for a wide range of explosive chemicals when it was scanned. I can understand this causing questions, but the Uniform, ID card, leave form, fact that I am pretty sure most of the public was aware that a war was in progress and the obvious lack of any amount of actual explosives should have made it easy... But no, two hours of explaining myself and a missed flight later I was finally allowed through security...

Like I said - some judgement *is* required...

What planet does Arlen Specter come from? Will someone please tell me?

The ONLY military organization authorized to participate in law enforcement is the National Fargin' Guard.

This guy is on the Judiciary Committee and he hasn't heard of Posse Comitatus?

As you know, I'm a simple attack pilot but 2 years in mufti with the DEA did teach me a few things about what the military can, and cannot, do vis-a-vis law enforcement inside US territory.

The Guard is legally positioned very well to assist law enforcement organizations in a number of ways. Under Title 32, they belong to the Governor. Period. Dot. Granted, they live and die budget-wise based on their Federal active duty brethren's' largesse, but they rightfully and jealously guard their independence under that Title for just the reason Bush pointed out tonight. Been there. Watched 'em do that. Got the cap (they weren't selling t-shirts, just baseball caps).

Is this move an effective one? Who the hell knows? It certainly can't hurt and the Border Patrol types will get access to some pretty cosmic surveillance capabilities, tactical airlift, communications interoperability and the like.

What I find morbidly fascinating is the conservative movement (Republican or whatever) gnawing off its leg to teach itself a lesson. All the hand-wringing I've seen in posts all over the blogsphere lately just make me want to give everyone a swift kick. Where I won't say.

How is throwing up one's hands in disgust over what is very normal politics (compromise, giving a little to get a little, etc. etc.) good for the America we all love and want to protect?

Michelle Malkin banging her shoe on the table; WFB doing his best to convince us all is for naught in Iraq; John Derbyshire essentially saying "Bugger the silly wogs."

Feh. Pathetic.

Somebody had better listen to John "Consider the Alternatives, You Idiots" Podhoretz before you find out what defeat really, really means. We should all hitch up our britches and stay in the fray, send money selectively to conservative candidates (not the RNC) and vote. I put my big, fat pink body in harm's way for that privilege for 26 years and I'll be damned if I'm gonna sit on my a$$ and let Murtha, Conyers, Schumer, Leahy and Hillary march in and trash what too goddamn many of my friends died for.

Come November, people had better be making tracks to the voting booth.


by Dusty on May 16, 2006 | Politics

The Air Force is in a hurt.

Apparently waay too many officers. Too many airmen. Aging equipment. Money woes. And those damn'd dirty greedy grasping geezers (retirees) are killing TRICARE (a self-inflicted wound by the Services, two Administrations and five Congresses)

A comment I posted over at Milblogs:

Heh. They *all* look young now.

When you realize the Lieutenants weren't *born* when you were commissioned... sigh.

But since young Noonan is a Zoomie, putatively in an "armed service" one wonders how he'll defend this, from an internal AF document running around the .mil mail circuit:

--M-16 training weapon- a real weapon (but modified not to fire) [John of Argghhh notes: Interesting use of the words "real weapon" in conjunction with the phrase "but modified not to fire." A more accurate description would be "formerly a real weapon that has been modified not to fire," which begs the question, why not just buy Airsoft and be done with it?] --Due to safety—cannot have weapons around the recruits -[John of Argghhh! snarks: Really? And you wonder why you get the “Armed” service jokes?]

--No one is required to guard the weapons [John of Argghhh snarks: Can't have that - securing weapons would be... um, well, er, *military* and might hurt recruiting?]

--Weapons [sic] is a 100% replica of original M-16 & field stripes [sic] the same [John of Argghhh snarks: But wait! I thought it was a "a real weapon (but modified not to fire)" and not a replica? Snerk snerk snerk.]

In their defense, Chief Murray *did* observe...

--Training weapons are real but they do not fire ?

At least one guy gets it.

Yep, that's a real live excerpt from a real live document about a real live meeting of Senior Air Force Leaders. I sent it to Dusty. We've both hacked at it. A perfect example of why bloggers aren't all that popular - especially among weak leaders (a status I don't ascribe to the ones named in the document - I don't know them, though Dusty does) I'm referring to weak leaders whose impulse when things like this show up is to hunt for a scapegoat.

This is a memo from a meeting of senior AF leaders on the state of the Air Force. There are legitimate concerns in here.

There is also evidence of *why* there are concerns in here, as revealed by what the senior leaders think is important, and how they see it.

Mind you, all 5 of the Armed Services have equivalent documents, with their own unique organizational pathologies and blind-spots.

This one just got out into the wild. Any of us field grade-equivalent milbloggers (that would include Hook, 74, and the other senior enlisted guys) could savage any service’s equivalent document. Why? Because most of us moved to blog didn’t/don’t drink the Kool-Aid – which is why we blog and don’t have E-Ring offices at the Pentagon. The path to stars, outside of war, rarely includes being a smart-ass who points out the state of dishabille the Emperor is in. It’s cute in kids (you’re safe for a while, Noonan) but the big guys find it wearisome in putative adults.

And the ‘kids’ would savage them in entirely different ways - showing just how much Kool-Aid we more senior guys actually *have* drunk…

If you'd like to read the Doc with Comments (pdf reader req'd) -

Click here..

Not surprisingly, my source for this was an Army source. But before I edited it out of the doc properties - it came from AF sources. Probably guys who think like us, but are smart enough to not blog.

At least not until that first retiree paycheck hits.

by John on May 16, 2006 | Observations on things Military
» MilBlogs links with: The State of the Air Force.
» Non Partisan Pundit links with: New Air Force Uniforms

May 15, 2006

H&I Fires* 15 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 Snarkatron gives lessons in logic. In the comments, Bill explains how it really works.

News from the Right side of the Mushy Muddle: RINO Sightings.

Cassandra, once again on Honor.

Frank - you were wondering what laminate we were using for the new kitchen floor? You can find out at SWWBO's lesson's learned post. BTW - she's right. Wanna test your marriage? Remodel the kitchen. If you're still together after that, you're probably going to make it work.

Mebbe *this* should be the Popemobile...

Looking through the glass of the turret on the Humvee, Spc. Joshua Stern, native of San Diego, dismount squad automatic weapon gunner, 2nd Platoon, Company B, 1-8 Combined Arms Battalion, 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, Task Force Band of Brothers, prepares to move out on patrol from Forward Operating Base Paliwoda in Balad, Iraq. (U.S. Army photo by Pfc. Paul J. Harris, 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division Public Affairs Office)

Looking through the glass of the turret on the Humvee, Spc. Joshua Stern, native of San Diego, dismount squad automatic weapon gunner, 2nd Platoon, Company B, 1-8 Combined Arms Battalion, 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, Task Force Band of Brothers, prepares to move out on patrol from Forward Operating Base Paliwoda in Balad, Iraq. (U.S. Army photo by Pfc. Paul J. Harris, 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division Public Affairs Office)
-The Armorer


"This", I said, pointing to the stacks and stack of boxes, "is the difference between Iraq and Vietnam." (scroll down)

An excellent article profiling SEAL training.

Holly Aho nails it: it's not social activism, it's patriotism. And while you're visiting her, make your final bids on her beautilful painting.

And on a somewhat related note to Holly's essay, read Austin Bay's post on The Uppity Military. - FbL


Not again! It's another one of BloodSpite's silly Caption Contests. This time, it's a bit more military focused. Winner gets to post an article at Techo, and BS's undying gratitude. That and 2 quarters might get you a cup of vending machine coffee.
- BS


Gladiator, American Style (though that Brit tanker did sneak in there...)

Oh, yeah. If Bloodspite's caption contest seems familiar, and you're stumped for a clever line... try this. All together now, "Will the circle, be unbroken? By and by, Lord, by and by." What goes around, comes around. Snerk! -The Armorer


Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

by Denizens on May 15, 2006 | General Commentary

Announcing a new group blog...

Milblogs DB - conceived and hosted by Greyhawk. It's a whole H&I Fires milblog, vice a single post over here.

I am pleased to have been asked to join.

I have already raised the level of discourse by simply posting. The Navy doesn't have enough to do and were taking the place over.

Not that Greyhawk and Andi weren't trying to stem the tide.

The dirty little jobs of war...

Boquisucio - this one's for you, it's about your homies.

Spc. Vincent Rivera (left), Sgt. Derrick Johnson and Staff Sgt. Eric Patterson (right), all of the 597th Quartermaster Company prepare shipping containers to redeploy to Puerto Rico after nearly a year of constantly changing missions. Taken On: 03/31/2006  Photographer: Sgt. Jason Mikworth  Photo courtesy US Army.

Spc. Vincent Rivera (left), Sgt. Derrick Johnson and Staff Sgt. Eric Patterson (right), all of the 597th Quartermaster Company prepare shipping containers to redeploy to Puerto Rico after nearly a year of constantly changing missions. Taken On: 03/31/2006 Photographer: Sgt. Jason Mikworth Photo courtesy US Army.

Soldiers first, all other duties second:
Spc. Jose Perez, a laundry specialist with the 597th, said a group from the unit’s 2nd Platoon was re-tasked from normal SLCR team operations to operating gun truck security for the 57th Transportation Company before entering Iraq.

“We were at Camp Al Asad for about six months providing gun truck security,” Perez said. “Some of our runs were about 12 hours long.”

Perez said he still remembers the first time he encountered an improvised explosive device.

“The first scary moment was when we were driving under a bridge that was under construction,” said Perez. “An IED hit the last truck and wounded the gunner.”

Perez described another incident when the Marines encountered an IED and called for assistance.

Keep that in mind as you read the rest.

Shower, Laundry Unit Cleans Up Soldiers, Marines Written by Sgt. Jason Mikeworth, 207th MPAD

CAMP AL TAQQADUM, Iraq - The 597th Quartermaster Company contributes to the health, safety and morale of Soldiers and Marines with their services across western Iraq.

An Army Reserve unit from Puerto Rico, the 597th helps to provide showers and laundry services for servicemembers at Camps Fallujah, Habbinyah, Al Taqqadum and Corregidor. They also provide clothing repair services to Soldiers and Marines to keep uniforms in serviceable condition.

The accomplishment of the shower, laundry and clothing repair (SLCR) mission is only part of what the unit has been assigned.

Spc. Jose Perez, a laundry specialist with the 597th, said a group from the unit’s 2nd Platoon was re-tasked from normal SLCR team operations to operating gun truck security for the 57th Transportation Company before entering Iraq.

“We were at Camp Al Asad for about six months providing gun truck security,” Perez said. “Some of our runs were about 12 hours long.”

Perez said he still remembers the first time he encountered an improvised explosive device.

“The first scary moment was when we were driving under a bridge that was under construction,” said Perez. “An IED hit the last truck and wounded the gunner.”

Perez described another incident when the Marines encountered an IED and called for assistance.

“We were running to make a small quick reaction force,” Perez said. “The ambulance was driving faster than the other trucks when an IED went off. The driver was wounded, and Sergeant Jameson was killed.”

The Combat Medic Training Center at Logistical Support Area Anaconda is named in honor of Sgt. 1st Class Tricia L. Jameson.

“It was a horrible day,” Perez said.

After driving more than 30,000 miles in six months, the Soldiers of the 597th traded in their gun trucks and resumed their roles on SLCR teams.

“Fallujah is the bigger mission,” said Perez. “They get about 1,200 bundles of laundry a day, and they complete it in less than 24 hours. Sometimes the people there are working up to 14 or 16 hours a day.”

He said he has mixed emotions about his experiences in Iraq.

“Our experience over here has been good and bad,” said Perez. “It’s a good experience that you don’t want to live again.”

Sgt. Ramon Roldan, a team leader with 2nd Platoon, said the Soldiers adapted quickly to their new mission.

“We were at Al Asad doing convoy escort missions from there to the Jordanian border and back,” Roldan said. “That was our first mission. After a few months, we started doing cordon and search missions too.”

Although performing gun truck missions isn’t what he expected to do in Iraq, Roldan said the 597th didn’t shy away from the assignment.

“I just thought, ‘Ok, that’s going to be our mission, so let’s do what we have to do,’” said Roldan. “We’re Soldiers before anything else.”

Roldan said the hardest part of the mission was looking out for IEDs and keeping the traffic under control, but teamwork made the mission easier.

“My Soldiers did a very good job. The gunners were always alert and the drivers paid attention to detail, especially when we were running the ‘rat patrol’ position as the scout vehicle,” said Roldan.

Roldan said transitioning from laundry services to operating gun trucks wasn’t difficult. He noted the unit’s normal wartime mission would keep them close to the front.

“The purpose of laundry units is to go to the front lines and give direct support to the infantry coming in and out of their missions,” Roldan said. “We are one of the first ones called when any conflict starts.”

Master Sgt. Omar Rivera, the platoon sergeant for 2nd Platoon, said the mission change wasn’t shocking.

“We were getting ready to drive in from Kuwait, but once we heard we were going to do the gun truck mission we had to focus a little more,” Rivera said. “We had to adjust ourselves to be outside of the wire most of the time.”

Rivera admits he was concerned at first, but said his Soldiers performed well.

“I was a little worried at first, to tell you the truth, but once we started focusing on the mission things began to flow easier,” Rivera said. “The 57th commander loved our guys. They never missed a mission. It was a tough run, a tough mission. I truly believe that they did outstanding.”

After the gun truck mission was completed, Rivera’s Soldiers returned to Al Taqqadum and were reassigned to SLCR teams supporting 5 different camps.

“During that time, we had Habbinyah, Fallujah, Corregidor, Dogwood, and Iskandariyah,” said Rivera. “During that mission, they performed above standards. Our doctrine says we have to return clothes within 48 to 72 hours. We have been able to do that in 24.”

Rivera said he is proud of the SLCR mission.

“It’s providing morale for the Soldiers,” Rivera said. “You need to have clean clothes and showers to operate better.”

Roldan offered advice for any Soldiers preparing to deploy who think their mission is already set in place.

“They have to be here to understand the mission, and see for themselves that they won’t always do their MOS,” Roldan said.

“They need to be ready for anything, no matter what their MOS is.” [emphasis mine - the armorer.]


Burt Rutan...

...builds some odd airplanes, doesn't he? Genius stuff.

The Proteus takes off from Mojave Airfield near Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., on Thursday, April 27, 2006. It carries the pod that eventually will contain the radar to be used on the Global Hawk unmanned aerial vehicle. A year of testing will begin in September once the radar is installed on Proteus. (U.S. Air Force photo)

The Proteus takes off from Mojave Airfield near Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., on Thursday, April 27, 2006. It carries the pod that eventually will contain the radar to be used on the Global Hawk unmanned aerial vehicle. A year of testing will begin in September once the radar is installed on Proteus. (U.S. Air Force photo)
Next-generation radar to undergo testing aboard Proteus by 1st Lt. Stephen Fox Electronic Systems Center Public Affairs

5/10/2006 - HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. (AFPN) -- A smaller, next-generation radar that will improve the Global Hawk’s surveillance capacity will soon undergo testing aboard a Proteus aircraft here.

The 851st Electronic Systems Group is preparing for a year-long test of the smaller version of the Multi-Platform Radar Technology Insertion Program, or MP-RTIP, aboard the Proteus. The Proteus is a twin-turbofan, high-altitude, multi-mission aircraft similar in size to the Global Hawk.

The MP-RTIP will provide the high-flying Global Hawk advanced surveillance capabilities, including ground and air moving-target indication. The smaller Global Hawk Block 40 version of the radar is the one undergoing initial testing on Proteus. A larger variation, referred to as the E-10 Wide Area Surveillance Sensor, is also being developed for a wide-body manned aircraft.

The first step of the Proteus test process was completed last week at a civilian flight test center at Mojave Airfield near Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. Proteus flew with the pod that will house the radar once tests begin in September. To replicate the weight and characteristics of the radar, the pod contained mass simulators during the safety flight.

"As the pod undergoes installation and safety of flight testing on Proteus, the Global Hawk MP-RTIP radar is in the Systems Integration Lab in El Segundo, Calif. (They are) undergoing final integration where both hardware and software are tested at the system level in preparation for the beginning of flight testing," said Lt. Col. Pete Krawczyk, 638th Electronic Systems Squadron commander.

Once the radar is complete -- about five months down the road -- it will be transported to the test site and installed on the Proteus.

The test radar is identical to the version the Global Hawk will use, but the pod flown on Proteus was much larger to provide space for test equipment. The added portion contains power and cooling units intended to simulate installation on the Global Hawk, according to Maj. Kenneth Butler, chief of the group's Global Hawk MP-RTIP program.

Adding an extra spiral of testing before the Global Hawk integration process is somewhat of a conservative approach designed to reduce risk though a step-by-step test process, the major said.

Proteus is less capable than the Global Hawk, in terms of altitude, airspeed and other performance parameters, but the key to the upcoming test period will be to evaluate the performance of the radar itself rather than the platform, said Col. Dwyer Dennis, 851st Electronic Systems Wing commander.

"MP-RTIP is a family of systems with common software and radar modes," Colonel Dennis said. "The testing that will be completed on Proteus is essentially a risk reduction spiral from which we can glean vital information applicable to every variation of the MP-RTIP radar, whether it is Global Hawk or the E-10."

In September, the radar will be incorporated onto Proteus and the contractor will begin flight testing the various radar modes. These include ground moving target indicator and air moving target indicator -- a capability that tracks moving targets in near real-time -- and synthetic aperture radar, which is a higher resolution still picture, Major Butler said.

The testing will culminate with an eight-week evaluation period during which the Air Force, led by the ESC team, will assess the performance of the radar and determine success or failure based on specific performance parameters.

After the Proteus test, the contractor-government team will evaluate the data and embark on further developmental test and evaluation, during which the MP-RTIP will be integrated onto the Global Hawk platform, the major said.

The MP-RTIP-equipped Global Hawk is scheduled to roll off the production line in about 2011.

by John on May 15, 2006 | Aircraft

May 14, 2006

H&I Fires* 14 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...

Sergeant B, the Castle Blogson, as decided to call it quits - with Blogger... Finally fed up with firing training sub-cals, he's drawn something a little bigger out of the blogshpere's armory... Please make all changes, and point your browser at his new "little corner of the internet"...

The Gun Line MkII


[The following links have been fixed. Sorry for the screw-up.]

Today's must-read: Back from Iraq. It inspired some thoughts from me, too. [h/t Greyhawk]

On the lighter side, check out these funnies: Top 7 Insurgent Lies and Top 7 Lies We've Told Insurgents. [h/t Holly Aho] - FbL


Not all rockers hate the USA. Check out SWWBO on Godsmack.

The Right Place has a caption contest up for Mother's Day. Though it just made me want me to say - you mother you! -The Armorer


John McCain takes a swipe at the blogosphere. I keep trying to respect the man as both intelligent and possessed of at least a few rock-hard positive principles, but he seems to make it harder and harder for me. - FbL


I was gonna do a Milblogger review, but frankly, I can't improve on Barb's, so go read that one! -The Armorer


Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

by Denizens on May 14, 2006 | General Commentary
» Blue Star Chronicles links with: I Love My Country

Mother's Day 2006

Mother's Day 2006

I wuv woo!

And for you cooks out there - Shawn ably hosts the Mother's Day edition of Carnival of the Recipes! Which SWWBO *invented* doncha know!

Jozsef Cardinal Mindszenty (1892—1975):

“The most important person on earth is a mother. She cannot claim the honor of having built Notre Dame Cathedral. She need not. She has built something more magnificent than any cathedral—a dwelling for an immortal soul….The angels have not been blessed with such a grace.”

Heh. The TSA strikes.

First thing up in the mailbox this morning. My first reaction? Exactly the one of my emailer: WTF?



REF/A/MCO 5740.2F//














C. XXX XX XXXX [SSN Deleted]

C. XXX XX XXXX [SSN Deleted]

C. XXX XX XXXX [SSN Deleted]






4. N/A


6. NO.



Now, bare of information, that just begs questions. So, what'd I do? First up, I called Pendleton PAO. That's dumb, it's Sunday, they're not open. I could call the duty spokesman, but, let's do some checking, first. So, now that the coffee is really down the hatch and processed, I check the dates. Okay - over a week old. I'm probably pretty late to this and others are *all* over it. So, while I'm in the cyber-area, I check the DTIC Press Release site and see if the casualty name is legit. It is. Off to Google. "TSA Mills Marine" that ought to do it. And what pops up on that? The middle of the Blogosphere. Not the big buys, but the middlin' to small ones - you know, guys like us.

Such as, Beth of MVRWC, Liberty Post, TSA-Screeners (bandwidth exceeded at the moment), Woman Honor Thyself, The Sierra Times, Lone Star Times, The Academic Submariner at Unconsidered Trifles...

The one "MSM-equivalent?" The Marine Corps Times, which has a pretty even write-up.

The trio had to go through the terminal’s security in order to reach their flight that would take them to Houston and make sure that Mills’ body was properly placed on the airplane. While their uniforms likely would trigger the metal detector, they had figured they would be able to zip through the screening process and get on with their business.

“Wearing the blues, the metal detector is going to go off,” said Sgt. John Stock, a mechanic, who was accompanied by Cpls. Aaron Bigalk and Jason Schadeburg.

But as the Marines went through the initial screener in their dress blues, they were stopped by several TSA agents. Each was told to remove their dress uniform blouse, belt and black dress shoes, which were scanned by the detector, as the agents scanned them with hand-held detecting wands.

“They had me take off my shoes and ran them through the screening,” Stock said, speaking by phone May 5 from Gulfport, where the men are helping with Mills’ family and funeral support. “We all got searched.”

Then they were taken to a nearby room, where TSA workers patted them down.

At one point, Stock’s shoes disappeared, leaving him to frantically search for them and retrieve them from a TSA agent. Separated from their belongings, which included the flag that they bore that would drape Mills’ casket for the rest of the journey home, they worried about getting to the gate in time to ensure his safe placement in the airplane.

Time, it seemed like a half-hour, clicked by. “I was like, hey, we need to be on the tarmac,” Stock recalled. “It just took longer than it should have had to take.”

The agents said nothing to explain why all three were singled out for additional search and the Marines didn’t protest. “We were just trying to get there as quick as we could,” he added.

In all, it was a humiliating experience that left them angry.

It looks like over-zealous following-of-rules, with a lack of judgement on the part of individuals. I've said this before to hoots of derision, and this case is similar to one we covered last month, Leave No Man Behind, Ever, but the fact is, TSA *shouldn't* have auto-exclude groups of passengers. Just as they *should* have auto-include groups of passengers, as they do - just perhaps not inclusive enough.

The TSA is obviously aware of the remains that are passing through the transportation system. There are in fact, procedures in place to facilitate the movement of remains and escort teams. I would bet, based on what I've dug up, the Marines (and hopefully, by extension, *all* the services) are now working on some form (if it doesn't exist already) of expediting credential that is hard to fake, because troops in Class A uniforms and low-quarter shoes aren't going to get through the metal detectors without setting them off.

Say what you like about the utility of searching little girls and grandmothers - but the fact is that the bad guys are watching. And they've shown themselves completely capable of using innocents as bombs-carriers. And well before the current unpleasantness. Remember this? The point being, the bad guys will flex and adapt. And if they thought they could use a casket... that would be a big bang. My point is not that TSA is doing a great job or not - evidence indicates plenty of problems, and they really shouldn't trumpet their successes - but that the processes need to be under constant modification and change - if they are to have any deterrent effect at all.

Nature of who I am and what I was, I watch the screening process at airports - for the precise mental exercise of "How would I test that, in order to try to defeat it." I am pleased that now and again, changes have been made that would have caught me, were I to try something like that. Guess what - that's what terrorists do, when intel gathering on a target. Which is why truly random and seemingly random changes, though they inconvenience the people who pass through, are good. Lemme tell ya, it's a real pain when they do a 100% ID vehicle check at the Fort, especially on the Monday after I went shooting Saturday and still have ammo, though no weapons, in the trunk. They note it, ask some questions, note that everything else is in order, and let me go. As it should be.

What's my point? The TSA should explain the reasons and make a public statement (if only on their website). They have, rather, chosen to ignore it and hope that it will go away.

No, they shouldn't tell us (nor should the Marines) what, if any, changes are being made. They should just make them. And slap that inspector in Philly on the back of the head.

Apparently there are some in the Midwest who could use a cluebat, too. Let Bloodspite draw his sounds on your screen.

by John on May 14, 2006 | Pugnacious Stupidity
» You Big Mouth, You! links with: TSA Fools