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July 22, 2006

H&I* Fires 22 July 2006

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...

Ah, Brit Obits (and classic Brit warriors):

Brigadier David Nicholls, who has died aged 57, combined a 30-year career in the Royal Marines with being the leading military mountaineer of his generation.

In 1972 Nicholls was in Oman with the lead platoon of A Company, Northern Frontier Regiment, when it was caught in open ground by insurgents fighting the Sultan's Armed Forces. Corporal Mahmood, next to Nicholls, was cut down by a burst of machine-gun fire as the rest of the platoon threw themselves down on the floor of the wadi, which "was as hard as a billiard table".

Realising that the rim of the wadi would be essential to winning the fight, he zigzagged across the 300 yards to its edge, shouting in Arabic for his men to follow. But on gaining the ridge he looked back to see that his troops were far too concerned with recovering Mahmood's body.

Armed with a Kalashnikov rifle and hand grenades, he fought a one-man battle among the rocks, distracting about 20 guerrillas from attacking his exposed company, and denying the enemy use of the ridge for some two hours while the company commander called down artillery and mortar fire. Under this cover the company slowly advanced to join him.

A subsequent search of caves in the wadi led to the recovery of large quantities of ammunition which were being smuggled to the insurgents. Helicopters flew out six wounded government troops, and Nicholls descended from the mountains on foot with the remainder then had a swim off the coast before returning to headquarters.

Read the rest here at the Telegraph.

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

CAPT H sends us this from Treppenwitz: Sometimes, a bully just *has* to be beaten into submission. And submission is the key word. This underscores a key problem I have with Secretary Rumsfeld's theories about warfare. -the Armorer

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Nasrallah runs Lebanon? - FbL

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Oh goody - SF Alpha Geek is back online ... and scraping icky things off his boots. Welcome back, now get crackin' on that war porn, dude! - Barb

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I saw it observed somewhere else... if "cease fires in the interests of peace" really produced peace - the Middle East should be the most peaceful place on earth.

Hmmmmm

What brings that up? This, by Soldier's Mom over at Milblogs. (note the new words of wisdom in the upper left under Wahabism Delenda Est.) -the Armorer

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As a fair and objective journalist, don't you just hate it when the "war criminal" is exonerated? [notice this isn't being widely reported] - FbL

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8 grocery employees stabbed in Tennessee

The rest of the story?

Ingram, chasing one victim into the store's parking lot, was subdued by Chris Cope, manager of a financial services office in the same small shopping center, Memphis Police Sgt. Vince Higgins said.

Cope said he grabbed a 9mm semiautomatic pistol from his pickup truck when he saw the attacker chasing the victim "like something in a serial killer movie."

"When he turned around and saw my pistol, he threw the knife away, put his hands up and got on the ground," Cope told The Associated Press. "He saw my gun and that was pretty much it."

Police arrived within minutes and took the Ingram into custody.

Read about it here. -the Armorer

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Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

by Denizens on Jul 22, 2006 | General Commentary

Kewl Beans!

I'm taking next week off for travel to an exotic locale.

This photograph is relevant.

AA Action view from Hornet 14 May 1945 of kamikaze exploding over John Rodgers and is about to splash. NARA 80G331623.


AA Action view from Hornet 14 May 1945 of kamikaze exploding over John Rodgers and is about to splash. NARA 80G331623.

More to follow.

The Gizmo.

Okay - here it is in it's entirety.

Field Artillery Trainer Mk3

It's a Trainer, Field Artillery, Mk3.

A pneumatic job, used during WWII.

On top - a "pantel" or panoramic telescope, which is used by the gunner to orient the tube for direction. Various adjustments to level the device, train it left or right, and to set elevation.

And the compressed air system used for launching the projectiles (though I *really* prefer Jim B's take on it). Used on a 1000 inch range, they had special maps and firing tables, and this allowed for training most crew operations except loading, or shifting trails - the big muscle movement bits. You laid the trainer just like a real gun, computed data just like a real gun, adjusted just as a Forward Observer would, etc. But it cost a lot less.

Back when I was a Lieutenant, we used the 14.5mm trainers - small cannons firing custom ammunition, They were way cool and I want one. There are some available, but they're in Israel, dangit. I can't afford the shipping, not to mention the import license.

Note to Em Hunter.

Ms. Hunter.

You searched in vain for evidence of your father's impact on the world?

"There was no evidence of his life work."

Heh. In most respects that is true for all of us. Very few, comparatively, are going to have a highly visible legacy. Which is okay - all that ego-driven striving gets tedious after a while. Take a look around West Virginia... can you drive for 20 minutes there and not know who the senior Senator is?

But let's get serious here.

You can't find evidence of your father's "Life work?"

What? Are there no mirrors in your home?


There are three things I try to be (though rarely achieve).

1. Be the person our dogs think I am.
2. Be a person my parents aren't ashamed of.
3. Be the husband and father SWWBO and Prodigal Son deserve (which is really simply a summation of 1&2).

Everything else is gravy.

July 21, 2006

H&I* Fires 21 July 2006

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...

Here ya go! -the Armorer

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From an email: Bill, this one's for you.

I realize you Air Force types have performed many of these maneuvers before, yet some of them can be performed only with an aircraft the uses thrust-vectoring like the Raptor. What you can't say, is that when you had logged enough time, and you were thirsty, you parked your aircraft in the grass next to the O'club.
Click here. I'll let Bill explain why this is so kewl. -the Armorer

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Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

by Denizens on Jul 21, 2006 | General Commentary
» Blue Star Chronicles links with: America's Face to the World
» Don Surber links with: Now we know the situation is serious

Some people are just obtuse b@st@rds.

Heh. I hate piously sanctimonious field grade officers. Yeah, I know, that means I'm punching myself a lot.

Imagine this.

You are a holder of the Medal of Honor. On the advice of your superiors, you donate your Medal to a Divisional Museum, for safekeeping and preservation.

Over the years, you go visit the museum and you get the Medal and wear it for ceremonial occasions.

Then your age and infirmities put you in a position where you can no longer do that.

You're dying, and you'd like to wear your Medal again before you die.

And some piously sanctimonious field grade a$$hat says:

‘Tulbahadur Pun’s medal has been donated to the museum by his regimental association. We have a duty of care to ensure this medal is available to the public to see and it is secure.’

As if, in the cosmic scheme of things, the "Public" truly gives a flying flip in this regard. My guess is, Major Davies, if you were to poll the public as they filter through the doors, they'd be aghast at your attitude.

I am.

I'm sure there are rules and regulations to be followed. I have no doubt of that. I used to be a US Army paid military historian with staff responsibility for what amounts to a regimental museum here in the US.

And I would have found a way to get that Medal back to the guy whose name is on the back of it. I might have had to do a little fundraising to go to the extreme of actually sending someone with it, to bring it back, but I would have moved heaven and earth to get that Medal (in this case, a Victoria Cross awarded to a Gurkha soldier) back to its named recipient.

In this case, Honorary Lieutenant Tulbahadur Pun, VC, of the 6th Gurkha Rifles.

© Crown Copyright Imperial War Museum (Ref MH2606)<br />

As the author of this post notes:

It’s a shoddy way for an old, dying man to be treated, after the part he played in our eventual victory. This man is one of only 12 VC winners still alive, so you’d think he’d be granted a little more respect and honour. I have e-mailed the Major at the museum with a link to this article and I will let you all know what his response, if any, is. Whilst I appreciate heritage being preserved, this all smacks of red tape, callous neglect and short memories. I simply can not accept that the logistics of reuniting Mister Pun with his medal one last time are unachievable.

In this country, when Sergeant Alvin York through poverty sold his Medal of Honor, a subscription drive was raised to re-purchase the Medal and restore it to him.

Surely something similar can be done (and I would argue Major Davies should be doing it) to grant Lieutenant Pun a chance to wear the Victoria Cross with his name on it.

Shame, Major Davies, shame for giving such a staff wallah bumf-driven reply.

Should you wish to share your thoughts with the museum on the subject: curator@thegurkhamuseum.co.uk

TWO IRAQI FORCE RAIDS IN BAGHDAD NET FOUR INSURGENTS

From CENTCOM PAO.

BALAD – Iraqi security forces conducted two separate operations in Baghdad on July 20, capturing four insurgents who may be involved in ‘extra judicial killing,’ or EJK cells.

The first operation by Iraqi security forces, a raid on back-to-back objectives in southwest Baghdad, netted three primary targets. The first individual was a key insurgent leader believed to plan and coordinate insurgent operations in Baghdad. The second is allegedly involved in financing operations and supplying weapons to insurgents. And the third is believed to be involved in kidnapping Iraqi citizens, Iraqi police and Iraqi soldiers for ransom to finance insurgent activities. He is also allegedly involved in murdering kidnapping victims and participating in attacks against coalition forces.

Iraqi forces also seized three AK-47 assault rifles and three nine millimeter pistols.

During a second raid in southern Baghdad, Iraqi Army forces captured an individual known to deal improvised explosive devices, or IEDs and small arms to insurgent groups.

Coalition force advisers were on hand during both operations, and both occurred without incident.

No Iraqi or coalition forces were injured during the operation.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT MULTINATIONAL CORPS PUBLIC AFFAIRS AT MNCI-PAO-VictoryMainJOC@iraq.centcom.mil.


Another trip to Fiddler's Green.

Today I will attend the funeral of a "Career Completed" fellow Rotarian.

He's already at Fiddler's Green talking shop, no doubt.

Kenny L. Sculley
Ken L Sculley, 57 of Leavenworth died Monday, July 17, 2006 at Providence Medical Center in Kansas City, Ks. He was born November 14, 1948 in Ransom, Ks., the son of Bernard and Lavila (Donovan) Sculley.

He married Mary Kearney on June 23, 1979 in Leavenworth, she survives of the home. He is also survived by a son Troy (Angela) Sculley and two grandsons Kenneth and Jonathon Sculley. Other survivors are three sisters: Patricia (Les) Minks of St John, Ks., Joyce (Charles) Stegman of Klamath Falls, Or., Rosalie ”Jean” Stewart of Hutchinson, Ks., and a sister in law Shirley (Jim) Doris of Sterling, Co. Additional survivors are many nieces and nephews.

Ken was preceded in death by his parents and two brothers.

He owned and operated Ken’s Garage for 25 years and was a hard working business owner. He was a member of the Leavenworth Rotary Club and a Board member of The Salvation Army. He was a proud veteran.

We'll miss ya, big guy. We already do.

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

Ooops.

I was busy yesterday. I forgot this. One of my favorite days *ever*

The Whatziss Gizmo, continued.

You guys really have pretty much gotten it. This pic will prolly cement it for you.

Hosting provided by FotoTime

Huh. Mebbe *this* will help.

Hosting provided by FotoTime

Israel vs Hezbollah.

Compare and contrast.

The Israelis are dropping leaflets encouraging residents of rocket storage areas (read: Legal Targets) to leave the area - a tactic that has been working. Yes, homes are being destroyed - homes in and about where Hezbollah has stored weapons in contravention of the rules everybody expects Israel to follow, but, well, it's okay for Hezbollah to store their stuff where ever they want.

Hezbollah's response is to attempt to force people to stay in the area. Hezbollah *loves* those collateral civilian deaths. *LOVES* them.

As a part of their military response, does Hezbollah launch rockets at Israeli troop and materiel targets that are concentrated in range?

No. They launch at cities.

But the MSM and the Usual Suspects in Euroland are focused on Israeli behavior (all in all, a behavior consistent with international convention) and seemingly dismiss Hezbollah's behavior.

One could almost stomach that if it was couched in terms of "You (the Israelis) are adults, Hezbollah are children, and we're going to have to deal with the adults..." Except they demand we treat Hezbollah as adults, but don't extend any accountability for adult behavior.

Here's a PowerPoint Show making the rounds of Hezbollah rocket attacks on Haifa. No, I'm not going to put up any balancing pics of damage in Lebanon. Go visit any MSM outlet and you can find all you need.

Right click here and "Save As" please, for the PPS from Lenny.

by John on Jul 21, 2006 | Global War on Terror (GWOT)
» Flopping Aces links with: The Latest From Israel

This is where...

...your Project Valour-IT money goes.

Wounded warriors like Corporal Jonathan Benson, detailed there by our own Fuzzybear Lioness.

Corporal Johnathan Benson's injuries are even more serious than those that Joey Bozik has miraculously overcome. Cpl. Benson was wounded by an IED just over one month ago and is coping with a stunning level of physical trauma. He has lost his right foot, his left arm and left leg up into and including the left side of his pelvis, his left kidney and part of his intestines. Complications include failure of his remaining kidney.

However, he is now awake and communicative. He's scheduled to receive a Valour-IT laptop and the Soldiers' Angels Wounded Team is making him a special project. But he is not "out of the woods" yet and will need a vast amount of support, appreciation and encouragement as he copes with his new physical reality and tackles the recovery process.

Hosting provided by FotoTime

Just sayin'. All y'all have given a lot to Project Valour-IT, I just wanted you to know that there actually is a result to that.

And that the need continues.

July 20, 2006

H&I* Fires 20 July 2006

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...

Political snarks aside - there are some truths in this analysis - especially since we never committed (nor do I think we would have, as a people) to this being a war as we used to understand war. We're in the midst of a new style of war - and it's a war of tribes. We've learned some valuable lessons about what works - what doesn't, and how what works in one sense doesn't work in others. But by acting, we *have* learned - the question is, how will we apply the lessons?

More brutal uncaring liberal-frightening American soldiers in action.

More on the Pat Tillman story.

Buck Sargent is coming home - and all the cool lizards are doing it! -the Armorer

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Major General (Ret) Patrick Brady. Someone you should know. Still serving until the day he shuffles off this mortal coil. H/t, Dave, the Heartless Libertarian. -the Armorer

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Boys will be boys... even when they're Marines [h/t Cassandra]. - FbL

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Very, very scary: U.S. State Department says Iranian representatives attended the N. Korean msisle tests. - FbL

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Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

Oops.

"Hey, Viper! Is the bomb release the *white* knob or the *red* knob?"

"Red, why?"

"Oh, nothing. Just curious."



B-52 mistakenly drops bombs on nearby lake

Associated Press
KANOPOLIS, Kan. - Corey Armstrong and his friends got some company while swimming at Kanopolis Lake on Wednesday - nine practice bombs dropped by accident from a passing B-52 bomber.

"I just saw them, when they hit, it was four splashes pretty much at the same time," said Armstrong, 16, of Salina. "The bomber started flying in circles after that."

Lt. Col. Jeff Jordan, commander of the nearby Smoky Hill National Guard Range, said the bomber dropped the bombs by mistake while on a training mission. He said the plane is based at Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana.

Jordan said the bombs, all of which apparently hit the water, were filled with concrete, not explosives, and didn't pose a threat to the public.

He said the base in investigating why the bombs were released.

H/t, Larry K, who lives in the shadow of the Guns of Fort Riley.

Operation Gaugamela

From CENTCOM:

IRAQI ARMY, MND-N SOLDIER LAUNCH OPERATION GAUGAMELA

Release Date: 7/20/2006

Release Number: 06-07-02P

Description: KIRKUK, Iraq (July 20, 2006) – Thursday morning, Soldiers from the 2nd Brigade, 4th Iraqi Army Division and Bastogne Soldiers of the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division simultaneously surrounded and entered the cities of Hawija and Riyadh, just west of Kirkuk, searching for suspected al-Qaeda terrorists as combined Operation Gaugamela (gaw'guh-MEE-luh), gets underway.

The ongoing operation, requested by local Sunni Arab leaders, follows a series of terror attacks in the area, and comes as there are reports indicating the presence of al-Qaeda terror cells in the area. In the past five weeks, 31 Iraqi soldiers have been killed in terrorist attacks in the region and just three days ago six policemen were killed in Hawija.

In Hawija, Bastogne Soldiers and Iraqi Security Forces surrounded the city, blocking off escape routes, as another combined force air assaulted into the market in the heart of the city. The units are cordoning off the area and searching for terrorist forces. Meanwhile, Iraqi Security and Coalition Forces surrounded the village of Riyadh, approximately 10 miles away, and are also searching that city.

Operation Gaugamela is named for the battle in which Alexander drove the Persian army from the city of Gaugamela.


They understate it a tad.

Gaugamela:

Alexander:
7,000 cavalry
40,000 infantry

Darius III: Approx. Various estimates are given... The size of Darius's force is not accurately documented - estimates range from 45,000 cavalry and 200,000 infantry to 200,000 cavalry and 800,000 infantry with around 200 scythed chariots and 15 war elephants.

Outcome:

Alexander: Around 150 infantry and 1,000 cavalry killed and wounded.

Darius III: Depending on who you read - just about everybody. 300,000 is a figure tossed around a lot (which makes that low estimate of troops for Darius a bit troublesome unless there was some double-counting going on...).

If you want some more detail on the original Gaugamela, try Wikipedia. Be nice if we could split Iran.

A Test!

Three Italian nuns die and go to heaven. At the Pearly Gates, they are met by St. Peter. He says, "Sisters, you all led such exemplary lives that the Lord is granting you six months to go back to earth and be anyone you wish to be."

The first nun says, "I want to be Sophia Loren;" and *poof* she's gone.

The second says, "I want to be Madonna;" and *poof* she's gone.

The third says, "I want to be Sara Pipalini."

St. Peter looks perplexed. "Who?" he asks.

"Sara Pipalini;" replies the nun.

St. Peter shakes his head and says, "I'm sorry, but that name just doesn't ring a bell."

The nun then takes a newspaper out of her habit and hands it to St Peter.

He reads the paper and starts laughing. He hands it back to her and says......"No sister, the paper says it was the 'Sahara Pipeline' that was laid by 1,400 men in 6 months."

If you laughed, you are going straight to hell.

See you in hell!

Argghhh!!!

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Trias, in commenting on this post downstream, said:

The reporter won I think. Wanted to show the military as unfeeling and uncaring (a fear many liberals have) and succeeded.


Really. The reporter won. Gad, if the reporter won, now you know why most of us don't really want to talk to them.

As if it was a fair fight, but that's a different story.

So, Trias, what you would have then is us breaking in down in tears all the time, wracked with anguish? Rending our clothing, scratching our eyes out?

That would actually help? It would *improve* the net result of the interview?

Or, at least, we have to sit there and take this inane crap that we're just inhuman monsters, oblivious to all human feeling.

What could he possibly have done differently? Do please elaborate on how that should have gone to make you think I'm all warm and cuddly.

Because I am. Except when I need to be hard as nails. You don't want to see me with my game face on, Trias, trust me. But that's exactly me being what you pay me and any Digger to be, when we need to be that.

The big farking huge difference between you and I Trias, is that I bloody well know what it's like out there. My father even moreso. And I know that it is impossible to fight like this in cities, near cities, almost anywhere but the Western Desert Campaign in Cyrenaica in 1942 to fight, at all, without innocents getting caught in it.

And we (and the Israelis) have been spending billions and risking lives to minimize what can't be eliminated.

And yet - without intending it I'm sure - you blithely and rhetorically lump us in the same group as those who literally aim for cities. Not for point targets in cities where we believe there are military targets (which means, by the way, under the Conventions, that we can farking well shoot at them if the military value of the target justifies it) even if there are non-combatants present. Because guess what - it's the responsibility of the OTHER FARKING SIDE to not hide their stuff among the civilians - and under the Conventions, *they* are the violators.

The relative precision of single round/single bomb attacks is a world of difference from the barrage that opened the Battle of the Somme, than the bombing of Guernica, or Coventry or the firebombing of Dresden and Tokyo. If the Israelis were just systematically leveling Beirut, the "proportional response types would have an argument. As it is - despite their appalling lack of understanding of what the Conventiions actually say - they don't have an argument.

If Hezbollah was wearing a recognizable uniform (a simple armband would count) and were firing rockets in the general direction of Israeli troop concentrations, airbases, artillery, military installations, ammo depots, etc - they would be conducting themselves IAW the Conventions. But they aren't, are they? They are dressing like the locals, hiding among the locals, and launching rockets at civilian targets...

Because this, and this, and this, and this, and this, and this, and this, and this, and this, and this, and this, and this, and this, and this, and this, don't matter. Not just because one perceived "Aw Shit" wipes the "Attaboys" away, but because you never see those pictures. They aren't news. They aren't hard to find, really, if you know where to look - but you have to know. They aren't routinely shown you, are they? They aren't news.

And because an Israeli artilleryman chose to explain that he carefully selects his targets, ensures his lay is accurate, keeps his MET up to date, levels his bubbles and uses his gunner's quadrant, while shooting at legitimate military targets - and points out the other guy does none of these things, you rhetorically lump him in the same general category.

No, I didn't say explicitly - I just ran with the logical thrust of what you did choose to say.

In other words, I just did to you what you did to that Israeli.

How's it feel?

BTW - if you think, based on that little snippet I posted and your media-driven impression of soldiers as insensitive and uncaring, you don't *even* want to hang out with cops, firemen, paramedics and emergency room personnel.

We're all brutal, especially among ourselves. It's a coping mechanism.

Yet, in the main, we'll risk dying for you.

Reconcile that.

Yesterday's gizmo

Mebbe this will help.

Heh

Or not.

Looks like Sergeant B will have competition...

...once he gets those enlistment papers signed.

Spc. Kevin Williams of Company A, 5th Battalion, 101st Combat Aviation Brigade, 101st Airborne Division, takes his position as a door gunner on a UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter in Tikrit, Iraq. Photo by Staff Sgt. Russell Lee KlikaView 133rd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment.<br />


Spc. Kevin Williams of Company A, 5th Battalion, 101st Combat Aviation Brigade, 101st Airborne Division, takes his position as a door gunner on a UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter in Tikrit, Iraq. Photo by Staff Sgt. Russell Lee KlikaView 133rd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment.

I like it. It's better than this.

Simply amazing.

Simply.amazing.

Temper, the keeping of.

A comment by John the Baptist on this post:

I used to teach in a Jewish high school, and some of my former students are in the IDF or reserves. Please pray for the peace of Israel and His chosen people - all I keep picturing this week is the sight of those terribly young faces that used to grace my classroom now walking patrol.

On a related note, one of the MSM "news" shows tonight had an interview with an American from Detroit in the IDF (a redleg, John!), and the *&*%*^%^ reporter carefully guided the interview to a question about what he thought about his artillery rounds killing six-year old little girls. He stayed far calmer than I did (oops, down one more TV...), but did make a short speech about how careful they are with target selection and the general nature of war, and then noted, "Where do you think Hezbollah is aiming?"

July 19, 2006

H&I* Fires 19 July 2006

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...

I'm off to work - here ya go! Idiots in Action.

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Muuuuuuwaaaahahahahahahaaaaaa!-Instapilot


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Some of the best Marines out there have never set foot on a battlefield... - FbL

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Mimi Miyagi - a gubernatorial candidate I could get behind.

Sheesh, he's got time to post in the H&I, but can we get a good rant out of him? Nooooooooooooooo. -the Armorer

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Semper I, from Old War Dog Russ Vaughn - worth it for the accompanying graphic alone. -the Armorer

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High Five to the Perez family!

Family wallops would-be robber, wraps things up for police By Kevin Deutsch

Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

WEST PALM BEACH — While covering his head amid the barrage of flying fists and feet, his legs bound with a jump-rope by children half his size, a bruised and bloodied Craig Mack a$$hat had a sudden realization, police say: He'd picked the wrong family to mess with.

Mack arrived at the Perez family home at 611 28th St. Monday night just as an exhausted Mateo Perez was getting home from a 12-hour day of landscaping and cleaning buildings. Mack the a$$hat probably figured he could swipe Perez's wallet and get away without much of a fight, police said.

Wrong.

But he the a$$hat didn't count on having to brawl with the rest of the Perez clan: Candelaria, the 4-foot-9 housewife with a wicked right hook she honed as a girl on the streets of Guatemala; daughter Imelta, the mellow 13-year-old who never dreamed she would take a chair to a robber's head and tie him up; and son Juan, the 10-year-old Miami Heat fanatic who traded his basketball for a stick to whip an attacker.

It just gets better - read the rest here.

I'm sure the a$$hat will have a lot of fun with the taunts he's going to get from his jail buddies.

Which means, sadly, the Perez' better maintain good situational awareness, in case the a$$hat comes back looking to avenge his non-existent honor. -the Armorer

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With this kind of MOJO at hand, I pity our enemies. – BOQ

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Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

by Denizens on Jul 19, 2006 | General Commentary

Gun Pr0n.

Too much text. Need pics.

Hosting provided by FotoTime

Everybody should have one of these.

What? You don't?

by John on Jul 19, 2006 | Gun Pr0n - A Naughty Expose' of the fiddly bits
» The Politburo Diktat links with: Show Trial #38

Yo, Mr. President!

If you had the $160Mil for this:

The Bush administration has decided not to offer free credit monitoring to 26.5 million veterans and military personnel whose personal information was on computer equipment stolen from the home of a Department of Veterans Affairs analyst in May.

Rob Portman, the White House budget director, wrote House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) yesterday withdrawing the administration's request for $160.5 million to pay for a year of free credit monitoring and citing the June 28 recovery of the stolen laptop and external hard drive by police. The FBI said it had a "high degree of confidence" that thieves had not accessed the files containing the names, Social Security numbers and birth dates of millions of veterans and active-duty military personnel.

"On the basis of the FBI's analysis, the administration has concluded that credit monitoring services and the associated funding will no longer be necessary," Portman wrote.

Cool, I already had free credit monitoring because I reported I might be the victim of identity theft and the credit agencies automatically did it for... free. But that's a different gripe.

How about you give the VA the money anyway? For... oh, I dunno, Veterans Affairs stuff like... health care? Fund that PTSD treatment? Y'know, mission-type stuff. You had $160 million for a CYA clean-up...

Just sayin'.

I know, I know, I'm just a greedy vet.

Read the WashPost article here.

by John on Jul 19, 2006 | Politics

Troop Morale Survey

First off - all the usual caveats about self-selecting surveys (they tend to skew because people who feel strongly one way or the other tend to select, vice the ones who care a lot less).

No huge surprise - the officers and the enlisted have, um, *differing* perceptions of things. I think the most interesting data are those for the junior officers - they have officer attitudes, are closest to the action, and have not yet been fully acculturated to caution.

Seventy-four percent of Stripes military readers in Iraq who responded to a readership survey said fighting the war for America was “very” or “somewhat” worthwhile. About a quarter of the respondents said it was “not very worthwhile” or “not worthwhile at all.”

Here's a little bit about the disconnect:

While half of the respondents between the ranks of E-1 and E-6 said their unit’s morale was somewhat low or very low, 82 percent of the commissioned officers who responded said they believed their unit’s morale was high or very high. The percentage of these officers rating their unit's morale as somewhat low or very low was 15 percent. Seventy-four percent of readers with ranks from E-7 to E-9 plus warrant officers rated their unit’s morale as high or very high.

This is the bit that I think is perhaps most useful - the junior officers, who are closest to the action yet should be invested in victory, so to speak - are not as sanguine about things in Iraq as their bosses are.

At the same time, although they rated their morale high, the junior officers, O-1 through O-3, were less inclined than others to feel that conditions in Iraq had improved compared to when they first arrived. Forty-eight percent of these officers believed conditions in the country had improved; 44 percent felt the conditions were the same or worse. Sixty-seven percent of enlisted believed conditions had improved, while 69 percent of officers O-4, or major, and above believed conditions had improved.

As a pulse check, fodder for further data collection. What say you guys?

If you can get to it, you can read the whole thing here (oddly enough, from behind the firewall at Fort Leavenworth, you can't *get* to the Stars and Stripes website, while I can from home and the corporate office).

by John on Jul 19, 2006 | Observations on things Military
» Soldiers' Angels Germany links with: S&S Troop Morale Survey

"Broken Windows" Community policing... Iraq style.

If the "Broken Windows" referent was meaningless to you - click here. That advanced degree in CrimJust doncha know. Some things *did* stick.

MND-B, Iraqi government clean up Baghdad
By Spc. Rodney Foliente
4th Inf. Div. PAO

BAGHDAD — Multi-National Division – Baghdad Soldiers, in coordination with local Iraqi governments, continue their efforts in Operation Baghdad is Beautiful, which is a joint operation aimed at helping to restore and improve Baghdad through the removal of trash, debris and barrier materials. A recent milestone in the operation occurred Wednesday with the completion of a monthlong project to clean up the Karada Peninsula.

Cleanup.jpg



BAGHDAD – Baghdad Soldiers, in coordination with local Iraqi governments, continue their efforts in Operation Baghdad is Beautiful, which is aimed at helping to restore and improve Baghdad through the removal of trash, debris and barrier materials.

The Department of Cleaning for the municipality of Karada played a large role in the process and was primarily responsible for cleaning the main streets of the peninsula, said 1st Lt. Jared Miller, a resident of Asheville, N.C., and effects coordinator, 1st Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, who has been pivotal in efforts to beautify and revitalize the Karada Peninsula. The local government was impeded from performing routine cleaning on many secondary streets due to large non-negotiable barriers and masses of debris.

The responsibility for facilitating the removal of unnecessary barriers on both secondary and main streets, as well as disposing of huge piles of accumulated rubbish and debris, fell to the MND-B Soldiers of the 4th BCT, said Miller.

In an effort to both clean up the area and help bolster the local economy, MND-B hired local contractors to conduct the work, he added. The brigade’s main task laid in assessing what needed to be done, providing security while the work was being carried out, and then verifying that the contractors performed their duties to standard, he said.

It was important to clean and clear up all of the roads to help facilitate the handing over of security responsibility for the Karada Peninsula to the Iraqi police, said Miller. The completion of the operation not only provides an improved platform from which to govern, but will also help the local government to police the area.

“Cleaning up (the streets) also opens up traffic flow and makes it easier for the (Iraqi Security Forces) to respond to any (situations) that arise,” said Miller. “(Operation) Baghdad is Beautiful helps the population by cleaning the neighborhoods to give them more pride in their community,” he said.

The municipality of the Karada Peninsula will take over the responsibility for keeping the streets of the area clean, said Miller.

Throughout Baghdad , the process of bringing back the beauty of the city continues, said Lt. Col. Tris Cooper, reconstruction officer, civil military operations, 16th Engineer Brigade, attached to MND-B.

There are approximately 50 such projects completed to date, with an approximate $6 million price tag paid from the MND-B Commander’s Emergency Response Fund. The CERP is an appropriation approved by the United States government that enables commanders to respond to urgent humanitarian relief and reconstruction requirements within their areas of operations by identifying needs, then originating and paying for programs designed to immediately assist the local populace, said Cooper.

“(Civil Affairs’) main focus is to work with the (Iraqi government) to help them coordinate their essential services with (Iraqi) contractors and personnel to rebuild their infrastructure and help their own people,” said Staff Sgt. Sean Dowdy, a resident of Deerlodge, Mont., who serves as a civil affairs noncommissioned officer, Company B, 414th Civil Affairs Battalion, attached to 1st Battalion, 22nd Infantry Regiment, 4th BCT.

“When other districts see what can be done, they will want to get more involved with similar projects,” continued Dowdy. “If you can demonstrate success in one area, it’s easier to convince other areas that the project can be done.
“Civil Affairs is a very important part of stability in the lives of the Iraqi citizens and they seem to appreciate the help. I am glad to be a part of it.”


Snerk! Given the meaning of the word "engagement" in a military sense...

...it was amusing to receive this email:

Hello from CentCom's Electronic-Media Engagement Team (E-MET)

Greetings,

As of this week, the U.S. Central Command Public Affairs E-MET has switched hands. The mission of the previous group has been handed to us, and we look forward to corresponding with you throughout the year, getting press releases and news items from CENTCOM’s Area of Responsibility straight to your inboxes.

If you should have any questions of us concerning CENTCOM or press releases, feel free to contact us. We are:

1LT Anthony D.
SPC Patrick Z.
SPC Chris E.

Thanks for your time,

Spc. Chris E.
Electronic Engagement Team
U.S. Central Command Public Affairs

I stripped out the last names and emails. Should you want to get on their list, drop me a note or sign-up on the CENTCOM website. No reason to make 'em spam-magnets! These guys are a little more active in the email news release than the last group was...

(That's a good thing, guys)

Now, if they'd like to engage the NYT, et.al., you may commence firing!

Israel and Hezbollah.

Remember, as the newsies keep reporting the civilian deaths in Lebanon that most of them are occurring in Hezbollah-controlled areas, where Hezbollah distributes and hides it's weapons, and, by some accounts, does not allow the residents of the area to leave.

Keep that in mind when (if) someone gets all Geneva in a conversation - the convention explicitly allows for a combatant to attack areas where another combatant is hiding forces and storing munitions - even if they are doing so among non-combatants.

Remember that as Hezbollah fires rockets in the general direction of cities and civilians, and not at concentrations of Israeli military personnel or equipment. Israel is not carpet bombing, not randomly firing rockets and artillery, and not using artillery in "zone and sweep" missions, but is firing at point targets.

And the Israelis are going to hurt innocent people. The difference is Hezbollah targets innocent people (yes, I know, if we aren't with them, then we're not innocent, and therefore targetable in their eyes, yadda yadda yadda). Keep that in mind as you ponder how do we deal with people who reject most of the rules we choose to abide by policy and custom?

That's not a call to abandon restraint - it's just an observation that I'm not interested in listening to Israeli-bashing moral equivalency arguments unless you've got something better to offer than that.

Just sayin'.

It would be nice if the Lebanese government could exercise control over it's territory, but Iran chose to finance and equip it's proxies, Syria and Hezbollah, not the Lebanese government and people.

Not that I expect much of that from regular visitors to this space. But I do get some irregulars...

July 18, 2006

H&I* Fires 18 July 2006

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...

July 18, 1863. The 54th Massachusetts Infantry assaults their way into legend via Fort Wagner.

Today is the anniversary of the first flight of the ME 262 jet fighter. Which, after a fashion, flies again.

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Project Valour-IT gets officially noticed by the Army.

Interesting development in the lawsuits over the anti-Kerry film "Stolen Honor: Wounds That Never Heal." covered over at Milblogs.

Gotta head off to finish up and turn in that proposal. Cya later! -the Armorer

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Speaking of Valour-IT, the need continues... [UPDATED] - FbL

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Anybody out there got any knowledge of customs and courtesies of the Mexican Navy? I have a need to know. -the Armorer

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Jordanian terrorist, Abu al-Afghani, WAS KILLED TODAY in a fight with Iraqi security forces, according to Iraqi National Security Advisor, Mouwafak al-Rubaie. And, although I'd love to see this animal treated to the same affections offered up to pedophiles in prison.... his death is a close second. In addition to al-Afghani's death, members of the Omar Brigade group, an al Qaeda death squad, were also "detained". Ahhhhhh..... life is good, eh? ~AFSister

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Know Your Enemy: Hezbollah. H/t, CAPT H. -the Armorer

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Oh.my.gawd. Oh, my sides hurt. A perfect example of why one should read the comments before commenting. Not only to make sure you aren't just adding a pointless, hand-waving, "me too!" but to make sure you aren't stomping on a big flaming bag of poo.

Snerk! Keep 'em coming, CAPT H! -the Armorer

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Kat put this in comments (and she does have posting privleges). However, I think it belongs up here:

I just wanted to report that, on Saturday, Kansas City Soldiers' Angels packed up over 50 boxes of clothing, toiletry items and non-perishable food. About ten boxes went to the wounded at Landstuhl and 40 were sent off to 10th mountain in Afghanistan currently patrolling in an extremely remote area without PX, chow hall or other amenities of Bagram Airfield.

We collected the items the weekend of the 8th. We are planning a meeting on Aug. 5 of the KC angels if anyone in the area wants to come or send folks our way. We will be planning an August or September drive for those who may want to participate or direct some associates our way.

Details to be provided.

For anybody who's unclear on the concept, that is what "Support the Troops" means--doing what you can (notice the lack of political statement). In this case, it's easing the burdens they're carrying and showing them they are loved and remembered. Way to go, Kat and KC Angels!! - FbL

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

by Denizens on Jul 18, 2006 | General Commentary
» Don Surber links with: Bolton rejects moral equivalency

A riddle.

You are on a horse, galloping at a constant speed. On your right side is a sharp drop off, and on your left side is an elephant traveling at the same speed as you. Directly in front of you is a galloping kangaroo and your horse is unable to overtake it. Behind you is a lion running at the same speed as you and the Kangaroo. What must you do to safely get out of this highly dangerous situation?

Stumped? The answer is in the Flash Traffic/Extended Entry

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

Israel and the Doctrine of Proportionality

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The blogfather has this discussion up on NRO this morning:

Israel's Fragile Existence [Jonah Goldberg]

I get this sort of thing a lot every time Israel comes into the news:

Jonah,
A common statement of the Israel Hawks is that Israel's existence is fragile, like you said earlier today. However, they have air superiority, the best weapons, the most disciplined troops and the bomb. Yet, you make it sound like they'll collapse the second they don't respond in an overheated way. They beat 3 bigger Arab countries once and they still have a significant military and economic advantage over everyone else. So why the lie about their fragile existence?

Me: First, I really can't stand the way people assume that if someone has a different perspective they must be lying. This is particularly common on the left these days. Why not just say I'm "wrong," or "misguided," etc?

Anyway, I can't speak for other people but here's how I've always thought about the question. Whenever it's necessary to use force to stay alive your position is precarious. And if you have to use it constantly just to live, that's a sign your "existence" is under serious threat (the humans in the "Living Dead" movies are always well-armed, none of them feel their existence isn't fragile).

In other words, the point is that Israel must maintain a very high level of military preparedness and vigilance merely in order to survive. If they didn't have that capability they'd be gone in a week. If they let down their guard for a moment, we've seen what happens. That's a pretty thin line if you ask me. Most countries don't have the ability to fight off all of their neighbors simultaneously but that's because they don't feel the need. According to the Israel-is-strong view, Belgium's existence is more fragile than Israel's because Israel is better armed. Who in the world thinks that's the case? I can assure you that most Israelis would rather have the "fragility" of Belgium's plight than the "stability" of theirs.

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The Council on Foreign Relations has a tidy little primer up on the subject of the Doctrine of Proportionality.

Introduction

Israel's offensive into Lebanon and the Gaza Strip, in response to the abductions of two of its soldiers by Hezbollah and one by Hamas militants, raises a number of difficult legal questions. Among them: Did the Israeli response violate the principle of proportionality? UN Secretary General Kofi Annan has accused Israel of "disproportionate use of force" in its air strikes aimed at infrastructure including bridges and power stations, attacks which cut off clean water and electricity to Palestinian civilians. Legal scholars say armed reprisals against civilians are against the 1949 Geneva Conventions and not permissible under international humanitarian law. But Israel says its countermeasures are within its right of self-preservation, given the nature of its national security threats, and claims it is morally and legally bound to protect its nationals abroad. Israel's prime minister called Hezbollah's latest attack and seizure of two of its soldiers "an act of war," which raises even further legal questions about the nature of the current conflict.

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What is the doctrine of proportionality?
The doctrine originated with the 1907 Hague Conventions, which govern the laws of war, and was later codified in Article 49 of the International Law Commission's 1980 Draft Articles on State Responsibility (PDF). The doctrine is also referred to indirectly in the 1977 Additional Protocols of the Geneva Conventions. Regardless of whether states are party to the treaties above, experts say the principle is part of what is known as customary international law. According to the doctrine, a state is legally allowed to unilaterally defend itself and right a wrong provided the response is proportional to the injury suffered. The response must also be immediate and necessary, refrain from targeting civilians, and require only enough force to reinstate the status quo ante. That said, experts say the proportionality principle is open to interpretation and depends on the context. "It's always a subjective test," says Michael Newton, associate clinical professor of law at Vanderbilt University Law School. "But if someone punches you in the nose, you don't burn their house down."

The whole thing can be read by clicking here.

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SSG Bellavia's Medal of Honor Nomination

NARRATIVE NOMINATING SSG DAVID BELLAVIA FOR THE MEDAL OF HONOR DURING OPERATION PHANTOM FURY FALLUJAH, IRAQ

On the night of 10 November 2004 Third Platoon, A Company, Task Force 2-2 IN near OBJ Wolf in Fallujah, Iraq, was ordered to attack to destroy six to eight Anti Iraqi Forces (AIF). 1LT Edward Iwan, the A Company Executive Officer, had identified six to eight AIF who had entered a block of twelve buildings. These AIF had engaged A55 and tanks from Team Tank with automatic weapons and rocket fire. Having a 25 mm cannon malfunction, 1LT Edward Iwan cordoned off the area and called Third Platoon to enter and clear all buildings until the AIF were killed or captured.

The first nine buildings yielded many AK47s, Rocket Propelled Grenade launchers, rockets, assorted ammunition, and flak vests. When they came to the tenth home, SSG Colin Fitts, 1st Squad Leader, led his squad of soldiers into the house, with four soldiers from SSG Bellavias 2nd Squad. SGT Hugh Hall, 1st Squad, B Team Leader and SGT Warren Misa 1st Squad, A Team Leader, established a quick foothold in the interior of the house. When SGT Misa attempted to clear the second room he encountered heavy enemy fire. Two AIF were under a stairwell, well covered behind a three-foot barrier, engaging SGT Misa and SPC Lance Ohle as they attempted to move into the room. At that point, multiple bursts of automatic and semi-automatic gunfire were exchanged from extremely close quarters. As rounds impacted near the entry point of the house, nine Third Platoon soldiers became fixed inside the house. At that moment, fire erupted from a kitchen ground floor window onto the inner cordon in th e carport of the house. At one point, gun fire was being exchanged inside and outside of the house, as a total of three dismounted squads from Third Platoon were in contact.

SSG Bellavia quickly requested a M240B machine gun and a M249 SAW to suppress the AIF under the stairs in an effort to break contact and consolidate the platoon. Rounds from the insurgent side of the wall began impacting through the poorly made plaster. Multiple soldiers were bleeding from the face from flying debris. Two soldiers had glass and metal shards in their face, one soldier had been grazed on the side of his stomach underneath his vest and at least six others were bleeding from some cut or scrape from the point blank fire they were receiving. As two soldiers answered the request for support, it became apparent that the entrance to the building was extremely dangerous from ricocheting rounds.

Rather than place his soldier at risk, SSG Bellavia moved quickly to come to the aid of the squad. He exchanged weapon systems with a M249 SAW gunner and entered the fatal funnel of the room. The enemy was crouched behind the barrier and continued to fire at the doorway of the house where SSG Bellavia was positioned. With enemy rounds impacting around him, he fired the SAW at a cyclic rate of fire, forcing the enemy to take cover and allowing the squad to break contact and move into the street to consolidate. SSG Bellavias actions undoubtedly saved the lives of that squad.

As the platoon gathered outside to get accountability of personnel, two or more AIF engaged Third Platoon from the roof. Rounds ricocheted off the ground and SSG Fitts moved his squad to an adjacent building to over watch the AIF on the roofs. SSG Bellavia grabbed an M16 rifle and headed back to the outside of the house. SSG Bellavia called for a Bradley Fighting Vehicle to come up and suppress the outside of the building. The high walls of the enemy strong point made it difficult at close proximity to get well-aimed 25mm cannon fire into the actual building. AIF again engaged Third Platoon from windows.

After the BFV suppressed the house, SSG Bellavia decided to move back inside the house to determine the effects of the BFV fire and whether the AIF still occupied the bottom floor of the house. He placed two SAW gunners and SSG Scott Lawson into the courtyard as the inner cordon. Michael Ware, a TIME magazine journalist, entered the house with SSG Bellavia.

SSG Bellavia entered the house and told SSG Lawson to stay outside until he was needed in the second room. The only two people that went into the house at first were Michael Ware and SSG Bellavia. SSG Bellavia heard AIF whispering from the other side of the wall. Mr. Ware was told to run out if anything happened inside the second room. The journalist insisted on going into the second room. SSG Bellavia got in a low crouched fighting position and quickly pie wedged the first room and fired his M16A4. The enemy immediately fired back with a belt fed RPK machine gun. SSG Bellavia quickly turned away from the fire. The AIF had fire superiority and SSG Bellavia didnt have time to get off well-aimed shots.

As SSG Bellavia moved again to get eyes on the room and determine the enemy disposition, he identified one of the AIF loading an RPG launcher. Understanding how devastating this weapon could be to his platoon, he moved quickly to eliminate the threat. SSG Bellavia told Mr. Ware to remain in the first room. As debris and smoke filled the room the insurgent with the RPG was killed first near the stairwell. A second AIF with a PKC machine gun fired as he ran for the kitchen. SSG Bellavia shot and wounded him in the back of the shoulder. He was heard screaming from outside the building. At that point an AIF yelled from upstairs. SSG Bellavia quickly realized how many insurgents were in the house. Despite the odds he continued the assault.

SSG Lawson entered the room with SSG Bellavia. He was armed with only a 9mm pistol. SSG Lawson was across the room firing into the kitchen door, and SSG Bellavia was near the doorway of the master bedroom using the stairs as his cover. The wounded AIF was firing back, this time with an AK47. The insurgent was screaming loudly as he fired. SSG Lawson fired an entire magazine toward the kitchen, when a piece of debris lodged in his right shoulder. Thinking he was shot and with only one 9mm magazine remaining, SSG Bellavia told him to leave to get medical aid and to retrieve a shotgun with buckshot and other soldiers. SSG Lawson and Mr. Ware exited the house.

SSG Bellavia realized that his back was facing a room he had not cleared. In order to secure his position he entered the master bedroom of the house. SSG Bellavia heard movement in the room and fired into the dark corners to clear them by fire. There was a closet directly in front of him with six closed doors, and multiple areas of dead space. At that point an insurgent ran down the stairs and started firing into the room. SSG Bellavia moved behind a protruding corner of the wall to acquire cover. Over the loud noise of small arms fire from across the hall, he could hear screaming from upstairs and to his immediate left. Confused and trying to locate if another insurgent was in the corner of the room, SSG Bellavia began to scan the room with his PEQ-2A. Thinking the noise originated from the closet, SSG Bellavia took a few steps to his left and began to fire into each door from left to right. Before he could finish clearing the closet the wounded AIF from the kitchen ran t oward the bedroom door and began blindly shooting at him from outside. Finding his position of cover behind the elbow of the wall, SSG Bellavia fired back. As the enemy fire came closer, he moved his position into the far opposing corner of the room. The AIF exposed his shoulders as he fired into the bedroom and SSG Bellavia fired wounding and then killing him.

He then noticed a closet door was open and he witnessed tracer fire hit the side of the room. Unsure of where the fire originated, SSG Bellavia looked for a target. Suddenly the insurgent on the stairs began shooting at him again. As the wounded AIF turned and exposed his position in the doorway he was hit and fell near the stairs. He was moaning and slowly moved away from the door, mortally wounded. Simultaneously, a closet door opened and clothing flew everywhere, as an insurgent leapt out and fired wildly all over the room. In his rush out of the closet he tripped on something in the closet and the entire wardrobe fell down resting on the open doors. This actually was a benefit to SSG Bellavia as it provided more cover. When the AIF attempted to cross over the bed, he lost his balance on the mattress and was shot multiple times. The insurgent fell to the ground and with his back to the front door, fired an accurate burst directly into the closet and the wall near SSG Be llavia. SSG Bellavia crouched low to the ground, the insurgent was screaming loudly in broken English. Someone from upstairs was yelling back in Arabic. SSG Bellavia responded in Arabic in an attempt to intimidate the men into surrendering. The insurgent then picked himself up and ran out of the room and up the stairs. SSG Bellavia fired, missing the insurgent and then pursued him as he fled up the stairs. Blood was soaked all over the stairs causing SSG Bellavia to slip, nearly catching a burst of AK fire. The wounded AIF turned and shot an automatic burst from the first landing of the stairs but once again missed SSG Bellavia, who was now well behind cover.

Tracking the blood, SSG Bellavia followed the AIF into a room immediately to the left on the second story. He heard the AIF inside and tossed a fragmentary grenade into the room. The blast sent the screaming AIF onto the second story roof. The AIF began shooting his weapon in all directions, until it was empty of ammunition. Bellavia noticed the AIF was seriously wounded in the right side of his body from the blast of the grenade. The insurgent stumbled back into the room and began to dry fire his weapon. As SSG Bellavia scanned the inside of the room, it was quickly filling with thick smoke from burning foam mattresses ignited from the blast. Two AIF could be heard screaming at each other from a third story of the building. Not wanting the AIF to give away his position, SSG Bellavia quickly grabbed the wounded AIF in a choke hold to keep him quiet. SSG Bellavia met resistance as he attempted to quiet the screaming AIF. Bellavia was bit on the arm and struck in the face wi th the barrel of the wounded insurgents small AK47. A .45 caliber pistol shot off against the wall and SSG Bellavia, whose helmet was loosened when it was jarred by the barrel of the AK, began to thrash the AIF in attempts to pacify him. Exchanging blows in the struggle, SSG Bellavia fearing that the screaming insurgent was issuing instructions to his peers upstairs, opened his IBA vest and attempted to use his front sappy plate to forcibly subdue the insurgent into compliance. Hearing multiple foot steps over his position, Bellavia used his Gerber tactical blade and cut into the left side of the insurgent’s throat. Not wanting to discharge his weapon as to give away his position and in fear of the many propane tanks near the wall, SSG Bellavia bled the insurgent with applied pressure as he was spastically kicked and scratched in the melee. Two other insurgents, only feet away yelled to their comrade in Arabic, simultaneously firing their weapons. SSG Bellavia confirmed the insurgent was dead and exited the room as his eyes and the fresh scratches on his face were stinging from the smoke and heat of the growing fire.

SSG Bellavia moved to secure the two doors to his right. Suddenly an AIF dropped down from the third story roof, onto the second story roof. The AIF dropped his weapon as he fell to his knees. SSG Bellavia moved to the window and as the AIF went to grab his weapon SSG Bellavia shot in his direction multiple times, wounding him in the lower back. The AIF was prone and SSG Bellavia assumed he was dead. He moved to the door leading to the roof and found the insurgent straddling a large water tank at the edge of the roof. He shot the remainder of his ammunition into the insurgent’s legs and went back inside to grab a dead insurgent’s weapon. As he moved inside the house the insurgent fell off the roof and into the garden. Moments later, five members of Third Platoon entered and secured the downstairs of the house and yelled up to SSG Bellavia who was still on the second floor.

SSG Bellavia moved to link up with the rest of his platoon. However, before the search could begin for the fifth or sixth insurgent the platoon was ordered to move out of the area due to a close air support mission called in by an adjacent unit.

SSG Bellavia single handedly saved three squads of his Third Platoon that night, risking his own life by allowing them to break contact and reorganize. He then entered and cleared an insurgent strong point, killing four insurgents and mortally wounding another.

Bellavia blogs (all the kewl kids do, y'know) here.

by John on Jul 18, 2006 | Observations on things Military
» The Thunder Run links with: Web Reconnaissance for 07/18/2006
» The Thunder Run links with: Web Reconnaissance for 07/18/2006

July 17, 2006

H&I* Fires 17 July 2006

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...

JERUSALEM - Israeli ground troops entered southern Lebanon to attack Hezbollah bases on the border, but they rapidly returned to Israel after conducting their military operations, officials said Monday.
British Prime Minister Tony Blair and U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan called for the deployment of international forces to stop the bombardment of Israel and to persuade the Jewish state to stop attacks on Hezbollah, while the European Union said it was considering the deployment of a peacekeeping force.

Depending on Israeli intentions, you guys better move sooner rather than later... though that's going to be tough, what with the airport in the condition it's in - and I'm betting no one's got troops and troop transports all lined up yet. Read the rest here. -the Armorer

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Don't miss this. A lefty calls Uncle Jimbo, a 20+-year SF veteran... wait for it... a chickenhawk! ROFLMAO! Don't miss the comments, either. - FbL

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RINO Sightings is up at Classical Values. All the opinion from the mushy middle majoritarians. -the Armorer

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Re: Uncle Jimbo. These guys are a hoot, aren't they? Retirement doesn't stop re-enlistment? Well, yeah, it does. You can't re-up unless you get out. Retired is "still in service, awaiting recall". I volunteered, my name's on the list, but they aren't needing any broken-down fat artillery guys for an infantry war. How odd. The dude's a buffoon. -the Armorer

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Great satire on illegal immigration - FbL

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In the "And now for something completely different..." category, here's a little antidote for all the groundpounder stuff on this blog. Sorry, couldn't resist. -Instapilot

[Heh, it's why the under-producing fixed winger was *hired* in the first place... amazing how long you can plead crew rest. -ed.]

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Not back home yet. The Older Brother of Gollum (by birth) allowed Gollum to use his ‘puter and house while he took The Sister in Law of Gollum and Gollum’s Nieces and Nephew to go look after Gollum’s Mom for an evening. Gives Gollum a chance to check in to find out what’s up with ‘Net World.

And what is up with California hating, hmmmmmm? You know that the most productive agricultural valley in the US is fed, which means you’re fed, by that aqueduct, don’t you? Frickin’ Flatter Than A Pancake Lander. ;)

I wish I’d snagged a pair of work gloves last time I played hockey over at the Chief's place. Blisters from sawing, hammering, and pruning most definitely suck.

Oh, and I wrote something for Kat's Place. Find your heart meds and destructible NFL referee stress relieving doll first though.

Now to sleep so I can bang nails while mending a fence in 90 degree heat tomorrow. Joy. -Ry

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This is like watching an auto accident in slow motion...or the lioness knocking the legs out from under the hapless gazelle. Morbidly fascinating. I feel sorry for the victims being disemboweled (not much, I grant you, but some).

Remind me to NEVER piss this guy off. -Instapilot

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Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

by Denizens on Jul 17, 2006 | General Commentary

Thought for the day.

"People can be divided into two classes: those who go ahead and do something, and those who sit still and inquire, 'Why wasn't it done the other way?"- Oliver Wendell Holmes

Why Mr. President, your language!

The President of the United States engages in some private (oops, no it wasnt') straight-talking.

ST PETERSBURG, Russia (Reuters) - A microphone picked up an unaware President Bush saying on Monday Syria should press Hezbollah to "stop doing this shit" and that his secretary of state may go to the Middle East soon.

Since the Prez said it, the PG17C will allow it.

Of course, the writer and editors had their own fun, intentional or not, didn't they?

That noted, the sheepdog in me says the wolf population in that particular neck of the woods could use some thinning. Not that this couldn't bubble over into something larger, but all those Sunni Arab nations aren't going to mind seeing some Shias working for non-Arab Iran get spanked - even by the Israelis. There's been no sleep at CENTCOM this week, and little prospect for any anytime soon, either. And, as CDR Salamander noted elsewhere - there's no sleep in EUCOM, in whose territory this falls. And I rather suspect a tug-of-war for resources, too, if this goes on too long. The whole NEO thing (go read the posts at Milblogs) is going to eat up what little slack there is.

You can read the rest here.

Update: This is, for Europe, an uncharacteristically blunt statement - and word order matters. German Chancellor Merkel:

"We demand first that the Israeli soldiers be returned to Israel healthy, that the attacks on Israel cease, and then naturally for Israel to halt military action," German Chancellor Angela Merkel told reporters.

Many times in the past, the order was "Israel cease, and then get (fill-in-the-blank). This is a significant change, I think. The Euros see the Iranian Lurker-in-Shadow.

More here, from ABC.

Reading the tea leaves...

SWWBO and I have been off vacationing, and that meant, vacationing...

We're back. I've been catching up on the news.

Israeli M109 155mm howitzer at work

It looks to me like the Israelis have been isolating the battlefield. Sealing off the sea approaches, cratering Beirut Int'l runways, destroying key bridges on the flanks.

Trying to minimize the ability of Hezbollah to get reinforced or resupplied.

Or to run.

It looks like the Israelis are going to send in the infantry and armor.

I would guess they intend to do some serious damage to Hezbollah, and capture some of those 10K (minus a couple hundred fired-so-far) rockets Hezbollah is reputed to have. And probably hope that the Syrians try to do something about it, though I doubt anyone on the Israeli General Staff would mind if the Syrians stayed out of it.

Tough patch of dirt to do that in - but the Israelis have *much* better intel in the region than we've ever had anywhere, which will help.

July 16, 2006

H&I* Fires 16 July 2006

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...

Grim has today's must-read.

Powerline points us to another story of reporters chummy with "insurgents" in Iraq. Except this time it's not an Iraqi stringer." Update: Lex is on this story, too.

And to lighten the darkness of the above, enjoy some Sunday Funnies [link fixed]. - FbL

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

There's another must-read today. This NY Times editorial is just begging for a fisking. Under the heading "The Real Agenda," the editorial board awakens us to the fascist government that has been stalking us since 9-11:

It is only now, nearly five years after Sept. 11, that the full picture of the Bush administration’s response to the terror attacks is becoming clear. Much of it, we can see now, had far less to do with fighting Osama bin Laden than with expanding presidential power. [snip]

The results have been devastating. Americans’ civil liberties have been trampled. The nation’s image as a champion of human rights has been gravely harmed. Prisoners have been abused, tortured and even killed at the prisons we know about, while other prisons operate in secret. American agents “disappear” people, some entirely innocent, and send them off to torture chambers in distant lands. Hundreds of innocent men have been jailed at Guantánamo Bay without charges or rudimentary rights. And Congress has shirked its duty to correct this out of fear of being painted as pro-terrorist at election time.

And to think, I was so busy following politics and current events that I didn't notice we've been living in a police state. Thank goodness the NYT is there to tell us what our country's really like.

Well, at least they're finally being honest about who they think the real enemy is... *sigh* - FbL

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

by Denizens on Jul 16, 2006 | General Commentary
» Blue Star Chronicles links with: Carnival of Blue Stars #15