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December 02, 2006

H&I* Fires, 02 Dec 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...

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Well, for some today is a day of unbridled optimism. Me, I think it's a day of forlorn hope.

Hosting provided by FotoTime

I'm not a grad, but I suppose, in an unfortunate turn of phrase, I'm sorta obligated to go down with the ship...

Update. Sigh. I *hate* swimming.

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Heh. I post pictures of ships - CDR Salamander posts pictures of howitzers, pansterhouwitsers...

Congratulations Chuck! When's the promo party and are you paying airfare now that you're a stinking rich field grade? H/t, Fuzzybear!

On the "Mistreated Coffin" story (which I have evinced some scepticism about) Chuck Simmins has more. All of which reinforces my scepticism. Well, actually, confirms it. [/smug look]

Jules notes some, um, interesting rulez for the Taliban.

Otay - I gotta go mail some cluebats! -the Armorer

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In an effort to help the In-Laws once again I'm shamelessly advertising something that may and or may not appeal to your history loving hearts

North Collins, New York in the Civil War

My mother in law is the Town Historian and is hosting the event for the Town Museum. Featured will be many period items, letters, and local history as well as a visit from the Columbia Rifles...which was founded by my Brother in Law.

Detecting a theme here yet? :)

With the holidays upcoming they're giving away autographed copies of his published story Christmas in the Irish Regiments

So for you lower Canada, Northeast America and New York readers, or frequent Civil War buffs, there's plenty to see and do. Wish I could be there this year.
-BloodSpite

Trackbacks still aren't working, so I thought I'd put this here: it's a tough decision. - FbL

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! »

by Denizens on Dec 02, 2006 | TrackBack (0) | General Commentary

A reader-submitted Whatzis!

SezaGeoff, from Down Under, sends us this, and asks us, "Whatzis?"

So, whatzis?

It's out there. Geoff provided a URL, too.

Good luck!

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! »

by John on Dec 02, 2006 | TrackBack (0) | Gun Pr0n - A Naughty Expose' of the fiddly bits

Andi sends for Carrie: Operation Santa

Seriously wounded Soldiers arriving at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, are loaded aboard an ambulance bus and escorted to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center by members of LRMC’s Deployed Warrior Medical Management Center. Photo by Heike Hasenauer March 20, 2006

Seriously wounded Soldiers arriving at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, are loaded aboard an ambulance bus and escorted to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center by members of LRMC’s Deployed Warrior Medical Management Center. Photo by Heike Hasenauer March 20, 2006

First Andi:

Christmas For Our Wounded Heroes Last Christmas my husband was deployed, so I decided to spend Christmas Day at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. I left the hospital more blessed than when I had entered.

The father of one of our wounded troops told me that he saw exactly what he wanted to see on Christmas Day in Ward 57 -- the ward where many of our most critically wounded reside -- people arriving with their arms loaded with goodies for our troops. The wife of one of the soldiers told me that it didn't matter that they were spending their Christmas in a hospital, "our family is together".

Many milbloggers are familiar with Carrie Costantini, the wife of a Marine and a frequent commenter on milblog sites. I had the incredible pleasure of meeting Carrie over breakfast last week. Carrie and Deb worked on Operation Santa last year. This year, Carrie had the brilliant idea to expand the project out to include wounded troops at Walter Reed and Bethesda.

From Carrie:

Christmas.
Just typing the word brings back memories of happiness, of warm cookies, of trees decorated with colored lights and glass ornaments, of grandmom's Chanel No. 5 scented hugs, and of festively wrapped presents. My favorite part of Christmas was seeing what Santa had put in my stocking.

Hospital.
That word also brings memories. Memories of rubbing alcohol, bright lights, kind nurses and especially, of missing home. I was born without hip joints and spent quite a bit of my earliest years at Walter Reed. I can remember being in the cast room there alongside wounded soldiers from Vietnam. (Yes, I'm that old).

I'm sure you're all wondering why I am writing about two words that seem mutually exclusive. They're not, at least not to the wounded Marines, Sailors, Soldiers and Airmen who will be at Walter Reed and Bethesda this Christmas. There will be servicemembers in those hospitals on Dec. 25th. That is a sad truth.

I know that they'd rather be back with their units in Iraq or Afghanistan AND at home with their loved ones but they can't be either place. They must be there to heal.

I am pleased to announce the newest Operation Santa venture: Operation Santa/Bethesda and Walter Reed. It will work mostly the same was as the other Operation Santas. We want to bring them a stuffed stocking and a little bit of home. Candy canes, cookies, crackers, ornaments, cards, books, dvds, cd's, batteries, new socks.

You can help us do this. You can send some Christmas cheer to a wounded servicemember at Bethesda or Walter Reed. You can donate money, you can donate gift cards from Sam's, Walmart, Target, etc. You can donate material goods. You can make a difference in a servicemember's holiday away from home.

The question is: Will you do it?

If you have any questions or comments, please email me or Andi.

We're looking to stuff and deliver hundreds of stockings to our wounded troops. Any donation, no matter how small, will help.

We have a modest goal of only $3,000. I think, with your help, we can raise that in no time at all

You can make a tax-deductible donation here (use the pink Operation Santa button). Please be sure to note that your donation is for Operation Santa/Bethesda and Walter Reed, otherwise your donation will go to the general fund for Operation Santa.

Donations by mail can be sent to:

Marine Corps Family Foundation
Operation Santa - Bethesda & Walter Reed
4000 Lancaster Drive- Suite 57 Salem, OR 97309

Thanks in advance for your help. It's hard to describe the joy these troops feel when strangers work to ensure that their Christmas is as good as it can possibly be.

Now me: If one tenth of our average visitor count donates $5, a pittance for most of us, that's $850, 1/4 of the goal, from this website alone. $5. Make me proud, eh?

To get you started:

Marine Corps Family Foundation Receipt -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Ship To: John Donovan XXXXXXXXXXXX Leavenworth, KS 66048 United States Seller Information: Marine Corps Family Foundation riecke-at-marinecorpsmoms.com

Transaction ID: 1SM555XXXXXXXXXXX Placed on Dec. 2, 2006
Payment For Quantity Price
Marine Corps Family Foundation 1 $25.00 USD
Subtotal: $25.00 USD
Shipping & Handling: $0.00 USD
Sales Tax: $0.00 USD

Total Amount: $25.00 USD

For a certain member of the readership whom I know is in a financial pinch at the moment - that last $5 is me covering your instincts, 'k?

A pittance, people.

That is all.

Maj. Gen. Patrick Brady, a Congressional Medal of Honor recipient, enjoys a visit with wounded warrior Staff Sgt. Nathan Reed July 13 shortly after having hip replacement surgery at Brooke Army Medical Center. Photo by Nelia Schrum July 20, 2006.


Maj. Gen. Patrick Brady, a Congressional Medal of Honor recipient, enjoys a visit with wounded warrior Staff Sgt. Nathan Reed July 13 shortly after having hip replacement surgery at Brooke Army Medical Center. Photo by Nelia Schrum July 20, 2006






Reporting As Ordered, Sir! »

by John on Dec 02, 2006 | TrackBack (0) | Something for the Soul

December 01, 2006

H&I* Fires, 01 Dec 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...

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Psiphon. A way for people who live in countries whose gov'ts censor the net to fight The Law and not have The Law win. Schweet. And it's from The Great White North to boot---take notes google. I knew there had to be a reason I like those Crazy People Up There.;)
(ht to the boys on the FYEO mailing list)

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The Wife is a fairly serious gamer, not otaku level, but serious enough to buy subscriptions to magazines and buy a title every month. So I was really surprised to see a pre-view of something. It being a game I'll take a pass on.

Rogue Warrior. I'm glad Dick Marcinko is making money and all (old Warriors still have ambitions and need to eat you know), but I wonder what those who went thru BUD/S think of this? Froggy? You got anything to say? Anyone else?

Game just is not for gollum (even if the game's tremendous fun.).
ry
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Jules - That's Ghillie Suit, not Girly Suit.

If the deliverable I'm working on will allow it - I'll take some time today and sit in on this:

Mr. Josh Rushing will be speaking to Information Operations (IO) elective on 1 December. He will do an FDP4 that should be of great interest to the faculty because he is a former US Marine Captain and a PAO Spokesman for CENTCOM at CENTCOM FWD HQ in Doha, Qatar at the start of OIF. Now, he is a correspondent and military analyst for Al-Jazeera International. Info about Mr. Rushing is available at his website http://joshrushing.com/

I hope I can make it. If you're on Fort Leavenworth, and interested in the when and where, drop me a note via your .mil address and I'll forward the location data. -the Armorer

Update. I made it. Fascinating. I'll write it up over the weekend.

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Calling all warriors! The subject is: Silly String.

No, we're not talking about the last line of defense for Army against Navy tomorrow (methinks it's going to be a slaughter, ever-so-glad I went to a Land Grant college and beat up on Army in football once, myself).

Rather - Laurie of Soldier's Angels New York wants to know if she should be gathering up silly string to send to the sandboxes for booby-trap detection duty.

She's really concerned, as a victim of silly string herself - if the utility of it will outweigh the Hearts and Minds aspect. -the Armorer

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In Re: Senator-Elect Webb: Peggy Noonan's take. She agrees with me the President was artless in his response. She's gentler on Webb than I, however. Nice to see I'm firmly in the mushy muddle of this one... My lack of stridency may cost me visitors, but this is a calmer place as a result. -the Armorer

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If you were placing a wager on tomorrow's Army-Navy game....what would you consider a cool prize from someone from Boston? I have been challenged with a unique wager. However, being a woman of no talent I have nothing cool to put up in return......Maggie

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Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! »

by Denizens on Dec 01, 2006 | TrackBack (0) | General Commentary

The new exam for gaining citizenship.

Questions and Answers for New Pilot Naturalization Exam

On November 30, 2006, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Director Emilio Gonzalez announced the release of 144 questions and answers for the pilot test of a new naturalization exam. USCIS will administer the pilot exam to about 5,000 volunteer citizenship applicants in 10 cities beginning in early 2007.

USCIS included new questions that focus on the concepts of democracy and the rights and responsibilities of citizenship. In designing the new exam, USCIS received assistance and worked with test development contractors, U.S. history and government scholars, and English as a Second Language experts. USCIS also sought input from a variety of stakeholders, including immigrant advocacy groups, citizenship instructors and District Adjudications Officers.

The pilot will allow USCIS to work out any problems and refine the exam before it is fully implemented nationwide in the spring of 2008.

During the trial period, volunteer applicants who choose to take the pilot exam can immediately take the current exam if they incorrectly answer a pilot question. To pass, applicants will have to correctly answer six of 10 selected questions. The 10 pilot test sites are: Albany, NY; Boston, MA; Charleston, SC; Denver, CO; El Paso, TX; Kansas City, MO; Miami, FL; San Antonio, TX; Tucson, AZ; and Yakima, WA.

You can read the questions - and answers - here.

When I saw this yesterday, I wondered how long before someone griped that it's too hard.

Heh. Not long.

The WaPo:

The Bush administration yesterday unveiled dozens of new questions that may be added to the nation's naturalization test, and immigration advocates are concerned that the changes could make it more difficult for millions of legal immigrants to become U.S. citizens.

Fred Tsao, quoted in the article says:

Watchdog groups such as the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights say they are examining the process to make sure the immigration agency is not placing a heavier burden on people who use legal channels to enter the country.

"We ourselves are going to be trying this out in our citizenship classes," said Fred Tsao, policy director for the Illinois group. Teachers will be encouraged "to see which of these questions make sense, which are too hard and which of them are off the wall."

Note, prospective citizens will have to get 6 of 10 questions, selected from the 144, in order to pass. They have to get a "D".

Mind you, some of the questions do seem to be a little arbitrary in terms of their applicability to the process, such as "Which mountain is the highest mountain in the United States?" Interesting, but, important? I have to admit, depending on how the 10 questions are selected, you could find yourself foundering on geography, but it *is* a test you can study for.

I wonder, if we administered it to every graduating High School senior, how many would pass? Which begs the question about how people value their birthright, vice something they obtain through effort.

Regardless of what you think of the test - it's still an easier path to citizenship than this one... military service.

My score on the test? As a result of my socio-economic status, I scored 99.3%. I missed question 66. It's been a looooooooong time since I worried, in any personal sense, about the answer to that question. I'm betting my son will get that one right, as I would have at his age.

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! »

by John on Dec 01, 2006 | TrackBack (0) | Politics

Oops. A chicken comes home to roost for the Coast Guard.

From the NYT's Eric Lipton:


After spending $100 million to renovate eight of its workhorse cutters, the Coast Guard will announce Thursday that it is suspending the use of the Florida-based patrol boats because of chronic hull cracking and engine problems.

And here's the message traffic on a subject you *don't* want to have been the Program Manager on...

ALCOAST 567/06
COMDTNOTE 4400
SUBJ: 123 WPB SUSPENDED OPERATIONS
A. COMDT COGARD WASHINGTON DC 281630Z APR 06, NOTAL
1. CANCEL REF A.
2. DUE TO ONGOING ENGINEERING AND STRUCTURAL DAMAGE ON THE 123 FOOT
WPB FLEET, I AM SUSPENDING OPERATIONS OF THESE EIGHT CUTTERS.
3. DESPITE THE BEST EFFORTS OF THE CREWS AND THE SUPPORT COMMUNITY, THE CONTINUING DEFORMATION OF THE 123 HULLS WOULD REQUIRE EVEN MORE STRINGENT OPERATIONAL RESTRICTIONS TO SAFELY OPERATE THEM. THESE RESTRICTIONS ARE SUCH THAT 123 WPBS WOULD NOT BE ABLE TO PATROL IN SEAS ABOVE 5 FEET, MAKING THEM NO LONGER OPERATIONALLY EFFECTIVE.
4. I REALIZE THIS DECISION WILL POSE SIGNIFICANT OPERATIONAL CHALLENGES TO MAKE UP THESE LOST PATROL BOAT HOURS. WE ARE AGGRESSIVELY WORKING ON BOTH LONG AND SHORT TERM SOLUTIONS TO ENSURE THE COAST GUARD CAN MEET ITS MISSION REQUIREMENTS IN THE D7 AOR.
5. I WILL MEET WITH THE 123 WPB CREWS TODAY TO THANK THEM FOR THEIR VALIANT EFFORTS AND ASSURE THEM THAT THEIR SAFETY AND WELL-BEING ARE MY TOP PRIORITIES. ADMINISTRATIVE AND PERSONNEL PROCESSES WILL BE PUT IN PLACE TO ADDRESS THEIR UNIQUE SITUATIONS AND FACILITATE THEIR CONTINUED CAREER SUCCESS.
6. ACTION: EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY, SUSPEND ALL OPERATIONS OF THE 123 WPBS AND PLACE THEM IN CHARLIE STATUS. ATLANTIC AREA AND DISTRICT SEVEN PROCEED WITH PLANNING TO BEST UTILIZE THE 123 WPB CREWS IN SUPPORT OF CURRENT OPERATIONS. CG-3/4/8 AND G-D/A EXPLORE ALL AVAILABLE OPTIONS TO CLOSE THE WPB PERFORMANCE GAP.
7. POC: CAPTAIN J. X. MONAGHAN, COMDT (CG-37RCU), (202)372-2321.
8. INTERNET RELEASE AUTHORIZED.
9. ADM T. W. ALLEN, COMMANDANT, SENDS.
BT
NNNN

I can see the finger-pointing already between Northrop Grumman and Lockheed Martin, and their subcontractor, Bollinger Shipyards of Lockport, La, with everybody probably ending up pointing at the Coast Guard.

The problem? The cutters had extensive hull modifications and were equipped with upgraded electronics and a 13-foot extension to accomodate an automated rear-boat launching system. They have been a problem since they came out of the refit in 2004. The hulls developed cracks, especially when subjected to heavy seas. One can understand the concern about being in a ship whose job it is to rescue people in things like... heavy seas... being prone to developing leaks or potentially having the stern fall off (which might be overstatement on my part, admittedly). Efforts to strengthen and reinforce the hulls with steel strips and to limit their use in heavy seas did not prevent the cracks - not to mention kinda obviated their purpose.

More details from the Navy Times, if you've the interest!

H/t, Larry K, whose son is a Coastie.

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! »

by John on Dec 01, 2006 | TrackBack (0) | Defending the Homeland

A post for me.

Gun dogs doing what gun dogs like doing best... shooting!

Marine crew during Desert Storm firing their M198 155mm howitzer.

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! »

by John on Dec 01, 2006 | TrackBack (0) | Artillery

A post for Bill.

March 31, 2005 A 1st Battalion (Attack), 25th Aviation Regiment, 25th Infantry Division Kiowa helicopter flies a mission in northern Iraq. The unit’s combat flight hours are among the highest totals for any battalion since the Vietnam War. This photo appeared on www.army.mil.

March 31, 2005 A 1st Battalion (Attack), 25th Aviation Regiment, 25th Infantry Division Kiowa helicopter flies a mission in northern Iraq. The unit’s combat flight hours are among the highest totals for any battalion since the Vietnam War. This photo appeared on www.army.mil.

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! »

by John on Dec 01, 2006 | TrackBack (0) | Aircraft

A post for Dusty.

The A-10C.

A newly modified A-10C Thunderbolt II taxis in during the roll-out ceremony Nov. 29 at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz. The A-10 has been modified with precision engagement technology to create the new and improved A-10C. The enhancements include full integration of sensors, multi-functional color displays and a new hands-on-throttle-and-stick interface. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Alesia Goosic)

A newly modified A-10C Thunderbolt II taxis in during the roll-out ceremony Nov. 29 at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz. The A-10 has been modified with precision engagement technology to create the new and improved A-10C. The enhancements include full integration of sensors, multi-functional color displays and a new hands-on-throttle-and-stick interface. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Alesia Goosic)

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! »

by John on Dec 01, 2006 | TrackBack (0) | Aircraft

November 30, 2006

H&I* Fires, 30 Nov 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...

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Air Force Pilot Identified; Three Servicemembers Killed in Iraq American Forces Press Service WASHINGTON, Nov. 29, 2006 – Defense officials have identified the pilot of an Air Force F-16C that crashed outside Baghdad Nov. 27 as Maj. Troy L. Gilbert. Gilbert is assigned to the 309th Fighter Squadron, Luke Air Force Base, Ariz., and deployed to the 332nd Expeditionary Wing, Balad Air Force Base, Iraq. He is officially listed as “duty status: whereabouts unknown.” An investigation is ongoing.

Moving on - it iced in Leavenworth last night, and we expect a few inches of snow today. And we're handling it just fine. My normal 7 minute commute last night took... 20. Bad Cat Robot lives in Seattle. Where they don't do ice and snow much. See here, and here (if you've time for only one, read the last one about avoiding the sand truck) for a taste of what it's like to be Naifs-in-Wonderland! -the Armorer

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Sergeant John G, Someone You Should Know - although he's really like just about everyone you know... Admittedly, since I don't watch CNN, I didn't. I get my news from... blogs. -the Armorer

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Snerk! An ACLU Nativity Scene... -the Armorer

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Two things that go together: Weddings and... Valour-IT?! - FbL

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I read about this in email this morning - I'm one of those who thinks there is something wrong with this story, though I'm not sure just what. Laurie of Soldier's Angel's New York has the story. (yeah, trackbacks still seem to be broken, sigh) -the Armorer

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In re the polite (well done, folks!) imbroglio in yesterday's H&I regarding President Bush and Senator-elect Webb's interaction - George Will weighs in.

...Jim Webb, Democratic senator-elect from Virginia, has become a pompous poseur and an abuser of the English language before actually becoming a senator.

Mr. Will has been harsh with President Bush of late - but in this bit, at least, he sides with me regarding Webb's behavior. And I'm just *positive* the column was written in response to our discussion in the comments... [sound of crickets chirruping] -the Armorer

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Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! »

by Denizens on Nov 30, 2006 | TrackBack (0) | General Commentary

Reilly's Battery... Battery F, 5th US Field Artillery

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...A final council of war assigned each national contingent a gate to attack along the city’s outer walls but agreed to postpone the assault when the Russian commander stated that his troops needed time to recuperate from the grueling march from Tientsin. The agreement was short lived, however, for on the evening of August 13 the Russians stole a march on the rest of the allies and attacked Peking on their own at the gate originally assigned to the Americans. News of the Russian action led first the Japanese and then the American and British contingents to make a mad dash for the city. There, on the morning of the fourteenth, they found the Russians pinned down at the Tung Pien gate unable to make further headway. Soldiers of the 14th Infantry scaled the city’s outer wall and cleared the gate, relieving the trapped Russians and opening the way for additional soldiers to pour into the city. Meanwhile, the British penetrated the outer wall at another point and relieved the legation quarter. The following day, Capt. Henry J. Reilly’s Light Battery F of the U.S. 5th Artillery shattered the gates of the city’s inner wall with several well-placed salvos, opening the way for the allied troops to occupy the central Imperial City.

Excerpted from Chapter 15 of American Military History Vol 1, from the US Army Center For Military History.

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An interesting little tidbit I came across as I was doing a little research for these pics of Reilly's Battery - look at the number of Medals of Honor awarded to members of the China Relief Expedition. MG Adna Chaffee commanded 2500 Marines, Soldiers and Sailors in this campaign - that lasted all of two months in terms of fighting, with three major fights, Tientsin 13 July 1900, Yang-tsun 6 August 1900, Peking 14-15 August 1900.

Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom have generated... two (though there may be some more in the works.).

Food for thought there. Regarding standards, expectations, culture... and politics.


Reporting As Ordered, Sir! »

by John on Nov 30, 2006 | TrackBack (0) | Historical Stuff

Allies.

KEEPING WATCH — Polish army soldiers assigned to Multi-National Division Central - South, Camp Echo, Iraq, provide security for U.S. Navy Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit 3 personnel and 8th Iraqi Army Division soldiers as they search the home of a suspected insurgent, Nov. 20, 2006, in the village of Al Naimi, Iraq. U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Dawn M. Price


KEEPING WATCH — Polish army soldiers assigned to Multi-National Division Central - South, Camp Echo, Iraq, provide security for U.S. Navy Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit 3 personnel and 8th Iraqi Army Division soldiers as they search the home of a suspected insurgent, Nov. 20, 2006, in the village of Al Naimi, Iraq. U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Dawn M. Price


Other Allies: Canada in Kandahar, just can't get no respect from their press.

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! »

by John on Nov 30, 2006 | TrackBack (0) | Global War on Terror (GWOT)

Fallujah, revisited.

The MSM spins things their way - here's the official government view. The truth, as always, probably lives somewhere in between.

Commentary: Fallujah Revisited

29 November 2006

By Maj. Gen. William B. Caldwell IV
Multi-National Force-Iraq Spokesman

If you follow the news coming out of Iraq, you have seen too many headlines about the bloodshed in Baghdad in recent days. As American servicemen and women prepare to spend a fourth holiday season trying to help build a new Iraq, these headlines have led some people to conclude that our mission may be hopeless.

However, my recent visit to Fallujah has reaffirmed my strong conviction that as bad as the situation may sometimes appear, there is still reason to be optimistic for Iraq’s future.

Although it has been out of the headlines for some time, take a minute to recall why the name Fallujah resonates so strongly in our collective memory. Perhaps the most disturbing images of Operation Iraqi Freedom emanated from Fallujah on March 31, 2004, as the bodies of four murdered American contractors were desecrated and the charred corpses hung off the Euphrates River Bridge for the world to see. The “Fallujah Brigade,” a unit comprised of former Iraqi army officers, failed to prevent warlords allied with Al Qaeda in Iraq from effectively taking over the city. Foreign fighters and terrorist insurgents imposed a Taliban-like regime over the city, torturing and beheading innocent people who just wanted to enjoy the freedoms that resulted from the fall of Saddam Hussein. (One torture chamber later uncovered included cages in the basement and a wall covered with bloody handprints). With more than 100,000 explosive rounds stockpiled in weapons caches throughout the city, these invaders of Fallujah exported scores of suicide bombers bent on mass murder. The population of Fallujah fled in droves, reducing the number of residents to only 50-60,000. By October 2004, Fallujah was a city without security, without stability, and seemingly without hope.

In order to rescue the people of Fallujah and eliminate it as a base of operations for Al Qaida, Coalition forces launched Operation Al Fajr, or “The Dawn.” Led by American Marines, Coalition Forces battled 2-3,000 terrorists in fierce and sustained urban combat. Although Fallujah was liberated, half the city was decimated by the intense combat.

What has happened to Fallujah since that ferocious battle?

Last week, I saw a city of 350,000 people who have made incredible progress over the past two years. In the aftermath of Operation Al Fajr, in March of 2005, there were 3,000 United States Marines and only 300 Iraqi Security Forces in Fallujah. Today, the people of the city are protected by 1,500 members of their own Iraqi Security Force and only 300 Marines. The police are comprised of native Fallujans, and enjoy strong support from the local population. They are able to patrol their own neighborhoods, enforce their own laws, and handle the transition to responsibility for their own security and growth. Despite the sectarian violence which plagues other parts of the country, I saw the commander of the local Iraqi Army unit, a Shi’a, sit and work productively with the local police chief, a Sunni – a relationship few would have believed possible in Fallujah just a year ago.

I attended a city council meeting, where a democratically elected mayor and city council led the deliberations about the peoples’ business. To be honest, the Council’s discussion of traffic control was not exciting. But the mundane business of a functioning democracy can be uneventful when its institutions are working properly. At the same time, it was exciting to witness democracy in action on soil that once seemed entirely inhospitable. Membership of the Fallujah Business Association has grown from only 20 members last February to over 350 today, demonstrating optimism for economic growth. I even saw a processing center where Fallujah welcomes persons displaced by instability elsewhere.

Fallujah’s transition has not been easy. Terrorists and insurgents are waging a brutal campaign of murder and intimidation against the city’s government and police force. Unemployment remains high, and there is still much rebuilding to be done. But Colonel Larry Nicholson and the young Marines of Regimental Combat Team-5 firmly believe they have turned Fallujah into a model of what Iraq can become. Iraqis themselves support this hope, as families have been arriving in Fallujah en masse to seek shelter from instability in other parts of Iraq.

In October 2004, the world saw the incredible courage of the Coalition Force, as Marines did their part to create hope for Iraqis. Today, visitors to Fallujah can see the courage of Iraqis for themselves.

Difficult times remain ahead for the U.S. and Coalition Forces in Iraq. Many sacrifices remain to be made by both U.S.servicemen and women and their Iraqi partners in Fallujah. But the city is an example of what can be achieved when courageous leaders, brave security forces, and hard-working citizens unite for a common goal – a secure and unified future. The progress in Fallujah demonstrates that with time and effort, recovery is possible in Iraq in the wake of brutal violence.

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! »

by John on Nov 30, 2006 | TrackBack (0) | Global War on Terror (GWOT)

November 29, 2006

H&I* Fires, 29 Nov 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...

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That'll show 'im, by Gosh!

U.S. bans sale of iPods to North Korea By TED BRIDIS, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON - The Bush administration wants North Korea's attention, so like a scolding parent it's trying to make it tougher for that country's eccentric leader to buy iPods, plasma televisions and Segway electric scooters.

The U.S. government's first-ever effort to use trade sanctions to personally aggravate a foreign president expressly targets items believed to be favored by Kim Jong Il or presented by him as gifts to the roughly 600 loyalist families who run the communist government.

Heh. Can't hurt. It's not like they're a huge trading partner... Read the rest here.

Moving over to Britain...

Some lawyers welcomed the advance of what has become known as "legal pluralism".

Dr Prakash Shah, a senior lecturer in law at Queen Mary University of London, said such tribunals "could be more effective than the formal legal system".

In his book Islam in Britain, Patrick Sookhdeo, director of the Institute for the Study of Islam and Christianity, says there is an "alternative parallel unofficial legal system" that operates in the Muslim community on a voluntary basis.

"Sharia courts now operate in most larger cities, with different sectarian and ethnic groups operating their own courts that cater to their specific needs according to their traditions," he says. These are based on sharia councils, set up in Britain to help Muslims solve family and personal problems.

Sharia councils may grant divorces under religious law to a woman whose husband refuses to complete a civil divorce by declaring his marriage over. There is evidence that these councils are evolving into courts of arbitration.

Faizul Aqtab Siddiqi, a barrister and principal of Hijaz College Islamic University, near Nuneaton, Warwicks, said this type of court had advantages for Muslims. "It operates on a low budget, it operates on very small timescales and the process and the laws of evidence are far more lenient and it's less awesome an environment than the English courts," he said.

Mr Siddiqi predicted that there would be a formal network of Muslim courts within a decade.

Read the whole thing here. For better or worse, this is how cultures commit suicide. Sadly, the English seem to almost welcome it. The Canadians are experimenting with it, and there have been rumblings about doing things like this in the US, as well. It begs the larger question - what happens to the rule of law, when you basically get to literally choose your law? I understand this is all voluntary, etc, and that the Brits (and Canadians) have some limits - but I think the whole philosophical and public policy underpinnings needs a far greater airing in society at large. In other words, we should be aware of, and arguing about it, not just waking up to find out it's there. Doesn't mean it isn't a good idea - but it sure nibbles away at some very basic principles.

Moving back to this side of the pond - Jim Webb, The Man With No Class.

At a recent White House reception for freshman members of Congress, Virginia's newest senator tried to avoid President Bush. Democrat James Webb declined to stand in a presidential receiving line or to have his picture taken with the man he had often criticized on the stump this fall. But it wasn't long before Bush found him.

"How's your boy?" Bush asked, referring to Webb's son, a Marine serving in Iraq.

"I'd like to get them out of Iraq, Mr. President," Webb responded, echoing a campaign theme.

"That's not what I asked you," Bush said. "How's your boy?"

"That's between me and my boy, Mr. President," Webb said coldly, ending the conversation on the State Floor of the East Wing of the White House.

Regardless of how you feel about the war, Senator - you're a Senator now. Remember, the "most exclusive club in the world?" That was just sophomoric. You have the chance to make real changes in the Democratic Party that might just make them more mainstream. You don't help things by being childish.
From the Washington Post. -the Armorer

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Snerk- From the WaPo article on Webb, referenced above, Senator Schumer on politicians...

"He's not a typical politician. He really has deep convictions," said Schumer, who headed the Senate Democrats' campaign arm.

H/t, the Blogfather. -the Armorer

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Why we do it... just one end result of Valour-IT's generous donors and hard-working volunteers. - FbL

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Reporting As Ordered, Sir! »

by Denizens on Nov 29, 2006 | TrackBack (0) | General Commentary

What Extremists are Saying

CENTCOM sends:

“Part of winning this war on terror is to understand the nature of the enemy”

Hosting provided by FotoTime

First Issue of the Technical Mujahid, a New Periodic Magazine Related to Technology and Internet Security Published by al-Fajr Information Center

The first issue of what is indicated to be a period magazine, “Technical Mujahid” [Al-Mujahid al-Teqany], published by al-Fajr Information Center, was electronically distributed to password-protected jihadist forums Tuesday, November 28, 2006.

This edition, 64-pages in length, contains articles that primarily deal with computer and Internet security, in addition to other pieces explaining Global Positioning System (GPS) satellites and video types, editing, and encoding into different formats. The editors of the publication state that it was written to heed the directives of the Emir of al-Qaeda in Iraq, Abu Hamza al-Muhajir, and his call for technical support. Material such as this, regarding anonymity on the Internet, concealing of personal files locally on a computer, and utilizing all schemes of encryption, is to serve as electronic jihad, and a virtual means of supporting the Mujahideen.

Like individual postings made by jihadist forum members concerning Internet security and protection of incriminating files, or manuals that were provided by the Global Islamic Media Front for the same, the “Technical Mujahid” demonstrates the technical acumen of the jihadists. Articles like, “The Technique of Concealing Files from View” and “How to Protect Your Files, Even if Your Device was Penetrated,” were written for the intermediate to advanced user, and describe a variety of methods and software that provide security. Links to download referenced software, such as the VMware virtual machine, and key generators to unlock features are also given by the editors. Another writer discusses PGP (Pretty Good Privacy) software and determines that its encryption is not adequate for the needs of the Mujahideen.

Another article, The Last Card: We Need it in their Homeland, written by a member of the information office of the Islamic Army in Iraq , like the editorial contained in the magazine and an introductory message, emphasizes the great purpose of jihad in the information sector. This front is determined by the author to be “a main pillar in the battle of Islam against the Crusaders and the polytheist belief”. To this end, advertisements for the most recent Juba sniper video from the Islamic Army in Iraq and a news caption about its release on DVDs in Iraq, is used as an example.

For future issues, the editors urge members of the jihadist Internet community to submit articles in the field of technology for publishing. They write: “My kind, technical Mujahid brother, the magnitude of responsibility which is placed upon you is equal to what you know in the regard of information. Do not underestimate anything that you know; perhaps a small article that you write and publish can benefit one Mujahid in the Cause of Allah or can protect a brother of yours in Allah. This way you will gain the great reward with the permission of Allah”.



Reporting As Ordered, Sir! »

by John on Nov 29, 2006 | TrackBack (0) | Global War on Terror (GWOT)

Pilot Earns Distinguished Flying Cross

Someone you should know, if you haven't seen this elsewhere. I'm sure the NYT didn't find it newsworthy.

WASHINGTON, Nov. 3, 2006 — Back in March in Iraq , Chief Warrant Officer 3 Lori Hill, with the 2nd Squadron, 17th Cavalry Regiment, was piloting her Kiowa Warrior when the lead chopper came under heavy fire. She drew the fire away, simultaneously providing suppressive fire for the troops engaged with the enemy on the ground.

A rocket-propelled grenade hit her, damaging the helo’s instrumentation, but instead of focusing on her predicament, she established communication with the ground forces and continued to provide them with aerial weapon support until the soldiers reached safety.

As she turned her attention to the aircraft, which was losing hydraulic power, the helo took on machine-gun fire, a round crashing into one of Hill’s ankles. Still,

with a damaged aircraft and an injury, she landed at Forward Operating Base Normandy, saving her crew and aircraft.

For her actions she was presented the Distinguished Flying Cross by Vice President Richard Cheney at Fort Campbell , Ky. , on Oct. 16.

Vice President Richard Cheney presents the Distinguished Flying Cross to Chief Warrant Officer 3 Lori Hill in a ceremony at Fort Campbell , Ky. on Oct. 16. U.S. Army photo


Vice President Richard Cheney presents the Distinguished Flying Cross to Chief Warrant Officer 3 Lori Hill in a ceremony at Fort Campbell , Ky. on Oct. 16. U.S. Army photo


“It’s was a once-in-a-lifetime thing to get the award and then have the vice president come and award it to you,” she said. “It’s just incredible for any soldier.”


Recalling that day in March, Hill reflected, “I was actually just glad I didn’t pass out and very happy I was able to help the ground guys out, and get our helicopter down safely on the ground.”

Right hand to the right eyebrow, Chief.

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! »

by John on Nov 29, 2006 | TrackBack (0) | Global War on Terror (GWOT)

I actually saw it! Live!

...not just whizzing by on the highway.

A quintessential piece of Americana, which was at the Fort Leavenworth Commissary yesterday. Sadly, I had no camera with me.

Souvenir postcard

And I've got the Whistle! Neener-neener-neener! SWWBO thought that was tres' kewl!

Ah, the Oscar Mayer Weinermobile.

I briefly chatted with the young man driving it. He says it handles just fine, crosswinds aren't even a problem. He says the back-up camera is very useful, however.

I asked about that blown engine from the commercial (as, apparently do a lot of people). It's a plastic add-on. *That* was kinda sad...

We return you now to your regularly-scheduled milblog. But hey, things like this are among the reasons Why We Fight!

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! »

by John on Nov 29, 2006 | TrackBack (0) | General Commentary

A few moments of deployed Zen

Marines.
CAMP FALLUJAH, Iraq (Nov. 21, 2006)- Marines from C Company, 2nd Tank Battalion, Regimental Combat Team 5 let loose with the M-1A1 Main Battle Tank's 120 mm main gun. Tankers recently fired on Camp Fallujah's Eagle Range to zero all their weapons, including lanyard firing some tanks for their first shot. Tankers said all the maintenance and care that goes into keeping the tank rolling is worth the effort when they get the chance to fire the Marine Corps' largest direct-fire weapon. Photo by: Gunnery Sgt. Mark Oliva

CAMP FALLUJAH, Iraq (Nov. 21, 2006)- Marines from C Company, 2nd Tank Battalion, Regimental Combat Team 5 let loose with the M-1A1 Main Battle Tank's 120 mm main gun. Tankers recently fired on Camp Fallujah's Eagle Range to zero all their weapons, including lanyard firing some tanks for their first shot. Tankers said all the maintenance and care that goes into keeping the tank rolling is worth the effort when they get the chance to fire the Marine Corps' largest direct-fire weapon. Photo by: Gunnery Sgt. Mark Oliva

Air Force.

Staff Sgt. James Guidry, center, speaks with an Iraqi policeman Nov. 23in the Hy Al-Amil district of Baghdad, Iraq. Airmen from Detachment 7, 732nd Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron deploy into the city streets of Baghdad assisting Iraqi police in achieving self-sufficiency. (U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. Steve Cline)

Staff Sgt. James Guidry, center, speaks with an Iraqi policeman Nov. 23in the Hy Al-Amil district of Baghdad, Iraq. Airmen from Detachment 7, 732nd Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron deploy into the city streets of Baghdad assisting Iraqi police in achieving self-sufficiency. (U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. Steve Cline)

Navy.

061127-N-8197M-017 Pacific Ocean (Nov. 27, 2006) - Landing Craft Utility (LCU) 1617 enters the well deck of amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) during onload-offload operations off the coast of Southern California. The LCU brought aboard 80 pallets of ammunition to assist in preparing Bonhomme Richard for a scheduled deployment. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Dustin Mapson (RELEASED)

061127-N-8197M-017 Pacific Ocean (Nov. 27, 2006) - Landing Craft Utility (LCU) 1617 enters the well deck of amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) during onload-offload operations off the coast of Southern California. The LCU brought aboard 80 pallets of ammunition to assist in preparing Bonhomme Richard for a scheduled deployment. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Dustin Mapson (RELEASED)

Army.

November 6, 2006  Pfc. Raymond Purtee, from the 561st Military Police Company, attached to the 10th Mountain Division, provides convoy security during a patrol near Bagram, Afghanistan. Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Dexter D. CloudenThis photo appeared on www.army.mil.

November 6, 2006 Pfc. Raymond Purtee, from the 561st Military Police Company, attached to the 10th Mountain Division, provides convoy security during a patrol near Bagram, Afghanistan. Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Dexter D. CloudenThis photo appeared on www.army.mil.

Coast Guard.

KODIAK, Alaska (May 22, 2006)--Life rafts and survival kits stream out the back of a Coast Guard C-130 over Hallo Bay after a DeHaviland Beaver float plane operated by Andrew Airways crashed with six people on board. The crash wreckage and survivors can be seen in the right edge of this photo. All six people were rescued by air crews from Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak. The Coast Guard rescue coordination center in Juneau received a call at 1:12 p.m. regarding the downed aircraft, which was enroute from Hallo Bay to Kodiak. A Coast Guard C-130 arrived on scene and immediately deployed several life rafts. Two Coast Guard C-130 aircraft and two helicopters, an HH-60 Jayhawk and an HH-65 Dolphin from Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak responded to the crash. Both C-130 aircrews and the Dolphin aircrew were diverted from training missions near the area of the crash which saved precious time. The Jayhawk crew rescued four people in the water, and the Dolphin crew rescued the remaining two. All passengers from the Beaver were transported to Kodiak where they were treated for hypothermia and minor injuries. U.S. COAST GUARD PHOTO


KODIAK, Alaska (May 22, 2006)--Life rafts and survival kits stream out the back of a Coast Guard C-130 over Hallo Bay after a DeHaviland Beaver float plane operated by Andrew Airways crashed with six people on board. The crash wreckage and survivors can be seen in the right edge of this photo. All six people were rescued by air crews from Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak. The Coast Guard rescue coordination center in Juneau received a call at 1:12 p.m. regarding the downed aircraft, which was enroute from Hallo Bay to Kodiak. A Coast Guard C-130 arrived on scene and immediately deployed several life rafts. Two Coast Guard C-130 aircraft and two helicopters, an HH-60 Jayhawk and an HH-65 Dolphin from Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak responded to the crash. Both C-130 aircrews and the Dolphin aircrew were diverted from training missions near the area of the crash which saved precious time. The Jayhawk crew rescued four people in the water, and the Dolphin crew rescued the remaining two. All passengers from the Beaver were transported to Kodiak where they were treated for hypothermia and minor injuries. U.S. COAST GUARD PHOTO

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! »

by John on Nov 29, 2006 | TrackBack (0) | Tanks and AFVs

November 28, 2006

H&I* Fires, 28 Nov 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...
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Were-Kitten University? Hmmmmm..... Maybe that's the sort of edjumacation that Jon Carrey was referring to when he told students to "study hard and apply themselves." (via ALa) ~AFSis

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

*blink* Doggone -- it worked!

Now all I have to do is figure out how to bargain my soul back from Meffi (Mephistopheles and I are on a first-name basis -- I married his sister) and get about three uninterrupted minutes to post the backlog I've got.

Meantime, I leave you with this thought: Ever notice things began to go to Helena Handbaskette since the Big Three stopped using mechanics to design cars and started hiring "automotive engineers"?

Not to belittle that worthy perfeshun er nuthin' -- but I would never have designed a car that required you to pull the engine just to get at the #6 spark plug during a tune-up. Or stuck the fuse box behind the AC ducting and abutting the steering column... -- BillT

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
DO-OH!
Anyone see any missing catchphrases? At a glance, it looks like a pretty good list to me! ~AFSis

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! »

by Denizens on Nov 28, 2006 | TrackBack (0) | Denizen Link-Fest!

I'm not fit to be in the Israeli Army!

Good thing I didn't join it, then.

From an email:

Oh puhleeze! And I thought most of this lunacy was confined to our own Perfumed Princes...

Good thing they never knew about you and your murderous ways of nuking otherwise innocent Assassins in the middle of an arena. So much for your security clearance...

The article opens thusly:

Army frowns on Dungeons and Dragons

IDF says players are detached from reality and automatically given a low security clearance

By Hanan Greenberg Published: 02.28.05, 14:17

Does the Israel Defense Forces believe incoming recruits and soldiers who play Dungeons and Dragons are unfit for elite units? Ynet has learned that 18-year-olds who tell recruiters they play the popular fantasy game are automatically given low security clearance.

“They're detached from reality and suscepitble to influence,” the army says.

Fans of the popular roleplaying game had spoken of rumors of this strange policy by the IDF, but now the army has confirmed that it has a negative image of teens who play the game and labels them as problematic in regard to their draft status.

You can read the whole thing here.

I was a powerful fighter back in my D&D days... and my Dungeon Mastering experience stood me in good stead when writing doctrine and designing sims. It's all fantasy anyway, right?

And *I* didn't nuke the Assassin - that happened when Bruce the Enchanter, with his farking Golf-Bag of Holding chock-full of rods, staves, wands and who-knows-what-else, teleported into the solid rock column of the cavern behind the gate of the castle of the frost giant Jarl... well, let's just say that it takes a *lot* of hit dice to account for the energies released. Not to mention the party survivors had to find another way in.

And puh-leeze, Kevin - you made your saving throw and got your diety deity [grumble] to resurrect you. Sheesh. Be glad he didn't resurrect you as a ferret! Yeah, naked and weaponless in arctic climes was a little rude, but hey, you sweet-talked everybody into giving you stuff. Of course, for a price. Which, as I recall, was a debt you welched on anyway...

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! »

by John on Nov 28, 2006 | TrackBack (0) | I think it's funny!

Uh-oh.

NEWS RELEASE

HEADQUARTERS UNITED STATES CENTRAL COMMAND
7115 South Boundary Boulevard

Title: USAF F-16 CRASH INVESTIGATION BEGINS

Description: SOUTHWEST ASIA — The interim safety investigation board convened by U.S. Central Command Air Forces has begun its efforts to gather evidence to determine what caused a United States Air Force F-16C to crash approximately 20 miles northwest of Baghdad at about 1:35 p.m. Monday.

The single-seat jet was in direct support of extensive coalition ground combat operations when it crashed in an uninhabited field.

Coalition reconnaissance assets and fighter aircraft were overhead when the crash occurred and confirmed that insurgents were in the vicinity of the crash site immediately following the crash.

Ground forces secured the crash scene Monday as soon as the extensive ground combat operations in the area had ceased. The primary concerns of USCENTAF in responding to this incident have been the safety of Coalition forces and the recovery of the pilot. The pilot was not found at the crash site and his status cannot be confirmed at this time. The investigation board has collected DNA samples from the crash site and will release results upon completion of testing.

The F-16 was deployed to the 332nd Air Expeditionary Wing at Balad Air Base, Iraq. The accident investigation convening authority is Air Combat Command.


Reporting As Ordered, Sir! »

by John on Nov 28, 2006 | TrackBack (0) | Global War on Terror (GWOT)

November 27, 2006

H&I Fires, 27 Nov 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...

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First up - CAPT H got the Whatziss correct. And in the second pic, I was just being mean. Those are the tracer loads that go into the bottom of 40mm Bofors rounds. I figured if anyone was going to get it, John was going to.

Yes, lets! Let us indeed have a BZ for some Diggers!

An email I got this weekend:

Hey,

I read your blog with regularity, and I thought you might be interested in this one.

{Click this link for the story}

Glad they are on our side.

KP,
CW4, TC, retired (but working on coming back)
MOS 881A

Well done, Sergeant A and Corporal B! Well done, indeed. I think the picture is a hoot, too. Good on ya, Chief P, for working that recall thing. Hope you have better luck than I have. And as for your, um, regularity, well, we're glad we can help with that, too!

The newly-promoted-to-Major Heartless Libertarian has discovered Someone You Should Know. I wanna know when the promotion party is, and are you paying airfare? -the Armorer

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So, this is what Lex does while on a cruise... H/t, Rich B. -the Armorer

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Jay at Stop The ACLU sees the shadowy hands of secularism in this coinage development. I see the trend of creativity in the paper specie moving to the coins. Just as the engravers wanted some new stuff to do, so too the die-makers. My absolute favorite coin in the world? The Brit 1 Pound coin. And I've always like the Germans putting the words on the edge of their coins. I say Huzzah! and I don't think it's all part of a conspiracy. But I've been wrong before. -the Armorer

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Warning, warning! Shameless self promotion alert! I just wanted to celebrate that I've gotten 50,000 hits on my blog! Yayyyyyy! Okay, shameless self-promotion alert ended. You may return to your previous level of alert. - FbL

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Andi of Andi's World is walking a path familiar to many bloggers and regulars here: saying goodbye to your furry best friend. This one got her through her husband's deployments. - FbL

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Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! »

by Denizens on Nov 27, 2006 | General Commentary

Ewwww. All that politics.

We need an eye cleanser.

How about some Canadian artillery in WWI?

Canadian artillery firing in WWI.

Yeah, that works.

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! »

by John on Nov 27, 2006 | Artillery

Representative Rangel, a fly in amber.

I deliberately unplugged this weekend. I needed to get stuff done, and spend some time with family. So, I left the laptop at home, didn't surf the 'net much, and certainly didn't watch an TV news.

So I missed the performance of one of those new fresh faces brimming with a new world-view and New Ideas who will be in charge next Congress.

Y'know, Representative Rangel. Who more than anything, seems to me to be a fly in amber, a preserved relic from a bygone day.

I want to make it abundantly clear: if there’s anyone who believes that these youngsters want to fight, as the Pentagon and some generals have said, you can just forget about it. No young, bright individual wants to fight just because of a bonus and just because of educational benefits. And most all of them come from communities of very, very high unemployment. If a young fella has an option of having a decent career or joining the army to fight in Iraq, you can bet your life that he would not be in Iraq.

Damn you, SGT Hook! Here I thought you were quality. Turns out you're a schnook. And what about neuroscientist Prakash? Apparently he's a toad, too. Then there's professional football player Pat Tillman, he certainly had no prospects. Not to mention Dr. Holland had no prospects to speak of, either.

Hey, it's true for me. All I was gonna do was flip burgers if I hadn't joined the Army. That's why my other career choices were Policeman and Firefighter. I wasn't ever going to be an investment banker or a furniture salesman, nope. Don't have the wherewithal to do those jobs. And I so hate being over my head as a Beltway Bandit that I'm on the volunteered-for-recall roster so I can take a big pay cut and go play in the sandbox. Because I know I'm just a poser, and they only place I can succeed is if I get back in the tie-dyed clothing - which is much kewler now, anyway! Me who takes a month of weekends to do a two-day job... because of how bunged up I am from having been in for 20 years. Oh, I know, I'm just a stupid horse, running back into the burning barn, too dumb to know any better, right Representative Rangel? Thank heavens you aren't my Representative, sir - I'd have to write you a letter. Hmmmm. That said, it's probably time to write my new representative a letter and tell her the quickest way to get in my sights will be to talk like... Representative Rangel. So, Representative Boyda, what *are* your thoughts on the Honorable Mr. Rangel's characterization of military service?

To sum up, Uncle Jimbo sez it pretty well:

I guess it’s inconceivable to Chuck that there are actually people who can look at the world see the dangers we face and consciously choose to meet that threat so others don’t have to. He also repeats the repeatedly debunked BS about the poor brown kids dying so W and Cheney can make money. What a world class jackass. Enjoy your two years in the sun you sanctimonious, s**thead, You , Pelosi, Jackass Murtha, Freakin’ Lurch, Al Gore, Howard Dean, there is no way that cast of clowns doesn’t remind America that even though things have been tough, handing the keys to to a bunch of asylum inmates doesn’t make much sense either.

Sigh. New faces, new ideas. In 1969, mebbe. When we had a draft... as Mr. Rangel proposes.

Of course, Mr. Rangel proposes a draft because he knows it would make the services largely unable to be used for anything other than WWIII or Bosnia.

And, I would argue, they wouldn't be that good at WWIII kinds of things.

A fly in amber.

Discuss.

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! »

by John on Nov 27, 2006 | Politicians Hit Bottom, Dig...

Jonathan Chait thinks the unthinkable...

From his LA Times piece (and you should read the whole thing, not just my selective quoting):

THE DEBATE about Iraq has moved past the question of whether it was a mistake (everybody knows it was) to the more depressing question of whether it is possible to avert total disaster. Every self-respecting foreign policy analyst has his own plan for Iraq. The trouble is that these tracts are inevitably unconvincing, except when they argue why all the other plans would fail. It's all terribly grim.

So allow me to propose the unthinkable: Maybe, just maybe, our best option is to restore Saddam Hussein to power.

He goes on:


At the outset of the war, I had no high hopes for Iraqi democracy, but I paid no attention to the possibility that the Iraqis would end up with a worse government than the one they had. It turns out, however, that there is something more awful than totalitarianism, and that is endless chaos and civil war.

One can only expect that Mr. Chait finds this next quote, well, quaint, outmoded, and astonishingly naive...

War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself. John Stuart Mill English economist & philosopher (1806 - 1873)

Oh, there's no doubt we screwed the pooch in Iraq, and that Rumsfeld's Way of War was certainly an incomplete doctrine if you were going to do something other than fight the Big War. Rumsfeld's Way of War is really more of the Way of A Campaign, and especially a campaign that is a supporting effort.

Too many invalid assumptions were made, and weak, uncoordinated planning between the relevant US agencies, not to mention the seemingly deliberate sabotage by some elements of the US government directed at others, such as the strife between the CIA, State, and Defense. And that was all the professional bureaucrats there - the long-termers, a problem that spans Presidents and parties. But, President Bush was in charge, and he failed to take heed and bring those people to heel. Of course, I know from long experience in government myself they can be a hard breed to bring to heel.

I also know that nothing is as ever clear while it's happening as it is after the dust has settled, which is one reason I don't get as shirt-rendingly shrill as some when things turn out to have been a cock-up. I get shrill when people won't fix what is now clearly wrong, and this President seems to have left that to his successor, not that he'd get much done now, anyway. They can wait him out.

But that's a digression.

Chait is on to something. Perhaps not Saddam, but whoever rises in his place. The ultimate in realpolitik. Who cares what's going on somewhere as long as it doesn't affect us directly. The silence of the grave is preferable to chaos... at least as long as it isn't our personal grave.

Problem is, Mr. Chait - as long as your doctrine prevails, little advances, really, and the rule of law is really eroded, until we're completely back to the rule of men. Tribalism Resurgent.

I can hear the intake of breath, and see the fingers poised over the keyboards of some readers - Rule of Law? What part of torture, and illegal wars have you missed, Donovan?

Heh. The fact that we discuss torture, the fact that people can call the President a liar who made up an excuse for war and should be sent to The Hague to stand trial, the fact that terrorists are tried in courts and have lawyers (whatever limits may be placed on them because the terrs are truly dangerous people), and that Famous People and Faceless People make these claims... yet there hasn't been one "disappearance," or "death under suspicious circumstances," or mass arrests and imprisonments, and that government policies are challenged in multiple venues argues that the rule of law is actually working quite well, despite what the loons at DU think. Or the loons at Freeper during the Clinton administration.

But Chait is essentially arguing that peace at any cost is preferable.

I'm in Mill's camp.

Discuss.

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! »

by John on Nov 27, 2006 | Global War on Terror (GWOT) | Politics
» The Thunder Run links with: Web Reconnaissance for 11/27/2006

November 26, 2006

H&I Fires, 26 Nov 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...

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

Once John leaked the location of the steel covered 6-inch gun from yesterday's post, I was able to track the little critter down and post more pics, with some added history. Now, I just have to go into town and take my own pics! - The Adjutant

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Negotiation or paying off kidnappers is the humane thing to do, right? Only if you don't worry about the consequences.

This story has been running around the blogs for a week or so, but it's finally hit the mainstream: Sunni tribes turning against the terrorists in Ramadi. UPDATE: Greyhawk has more . - FbL

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It is not too late. The United States can still extricate itself honorably from an impending disaster in Iraq - Sen. Chuck Hagel in the Washington Post

Where I have heard that before... Well, I was too young to have actually heard it... - FbL

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Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! »

by Denizens on Nov 26, 2006 | General Commentary

The Garden Shed of Argghhh!!!

The bits and pieces of the Shed of Argghhh!!!

Raised, finally. I tell ya, sometimes, when I see that deposit from the VA hit the bank I feel a little guilty about the size of it.

Then, I try to build a shed. I'm underpaid. It took us a month of weekends to do what probably should have been a weekend job.

Okay, some of that was inefficient materials handling, I admit it. Moving stuff more times than it needed to be be moved. But some of it you just can't avoid. Picking up the 1.5 tons of gravel and 1.5 tons of topsoil at the store and loading it onto the big cart. Then loading it into the car. Then off-loading it into the garden tractor's trailer. Drive. Off load at work site. Then, one more time, spreading the stuff around when you needed it. Turns out fatboy was lifting a lot more than 1.5 tons, even if it was 50 lbs at a time.

Then you have to dig the hole, to get things roughly level. SWWBO did that. She's good at digging. I watched from the ramparts with a 'Rita.

Then some screwing needed doing, so I went down to the work-site and screwed away. Oh, puh-leeze. Get yer mind outta the gutter. Assembling the frame for the gravel pit foundation.

Then, load in the topsoil and gravel, and get that sucker level. Pound in some rebar through holes in the frames so the thing won't migrate.

That's three weekends worth of work for slugs like us. And that's work to exhaustion.

Comes the Big Weekend. We really can't risk the weather too much more.

There's the shed. It's in boxes too big and heavy to move, so we leave it on the driveway, at the mercy of the elements. Finally, Prodigal Son and His Sweetums arrives, and he and she and SWWBO get pressed into service schlepping the pieces back to the work-site.

All right! Ready to go! The instructions being in the box buried under the others, I sit down to go through the assembly process. This things a snap-together plastic job, shouldn't be too much of a problem, right?

Heh. Farking thing needs to be on either a concrete slab (preferred, but ain't happening) or a 2"x6" framed wood foundation with 3/4" plywood floor. Treated, natch. Sigh.

Off to the Big Orange Boxy Store. Get the lumber, take it to get cut, rent their truck, load their truck, schlep it to the house, unload the truck, return their truck. Then everyone gets pressed into service to schlep the lumber back to the work site. Thus endeth Wednesday. Thursday is Thanksgiving, off to visit family! Come back Friday, too late to get anything done.

Saturday. Lay down the cement tiles to support the frame, get 'em mostly level. Lay out the frame. Start nailing. Get the sides done, start first stringer. Discover that lumber is cut to "rough dimensions," meaning it's going to be roughly 2"x6"x10'. They're pretty good about the 2"x6" part. It's the 10' they're a little sloppy with. Knock apart the frame. Get sawhorses. Get circular saw. Get tape measure. Schlep the damn wood up to where I've got a safe place to put the sawhorses. Measure. Measure again. Cut. Schlep the farking wood back down the yard to the work-site.

Put together the frame. 72 nails later, the Armorer is in agony. But the frame is built and anchored.

The Frame.

SWWBO renews her offer to buy a gun for the Arsenal. Woot! A gun!

Off to the Big Orange Boxy Store to buy a framing nail gun. The Armory now has Airsoft! Hey - it worked that way in Lethal Weapon II, right?

Bangity-bangity-bangity-bang-bang! SWWBO likes the new gun, too.

100 or so nails later, the frame and floor are done. The Arthritis of Argghhh!!! manifests itself in a manner not to be ignored this day. Undaunted, I determine that at least the finagle-danged floor of the shed will get finished on this day. 48 pan-head screws and 8 lag screws later, the floor of the Shed of Argghhh! is complete, and anchored to the frame.

I ponder my next move.

Whatever it is, it's gonna be tomorrow.

Morning dawns. To helk with blogging. I read email, make sure no one is being too naughty in the comments, slug down some coffee, and head for the work-site.

So, of course, it's gusty. And me trying to assemble light plastic panels seemingly suitable for wind-surfing.

I was supervised.

Undaunted, the walls go up. Then, the roof. There's some challenges there. Assembling the roof required the Presence of SWWBO.

SWWBO supervising roof assembly.

But she brought lunch, which was cool. There was some frolic (or disagreement) over who has successfully hunted the Wily French Fry of Argghhh! which made an appearance during lunch.

Finally, the roof of the Shed of Argghhh! is raised! Huzzah!

There were some last minute things that need attending to - like the door handles, shutters and window boxes. An itinerant furry blob was hired for that work.

Then comes the Loading of the Shed.

And finally, the doors close, and the Garden Tractor of Argghhh! sleeps under true cover (vice the deck) for the first time since it joined the motor fleet. The tractor and a buncha other stuff. Hey, that's what goes in sheds, right? Stuff?

Hosting provided by FotoTime

It didn't take long - but the Woodland Gnomes of Argghhh! made themselves at home, too. Loo and all.

Woodland Gnomes of Argghhh!!!

Do your Gnomes need homes? Get 'em right here, from Murray, Castle Worker-in-Metal. This particular home was one that went un-bid upon in the last Project Valour-IT fundraiser, so I ponied up the bucks for the donation and left it where the Gnomes would find it.

No Armorers were pierced or mashed in the making of this post.

Coda.

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! »

by John on Nov 26, 2006 | I think it's funny! | I'm an idiot...