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December 16, 2006

Hey! Whattaya want for Christmas?

Getting them indoctrinated early!

This is a Denizen Post, so Denizens can put their answers in here, not just the comments. I think I'm going to leave it up top for a few days. Maybe even *through* to Christmas, just to give people who only check in once a week or so a chance.

Boquisucio sent this email to plant the seed:

Hello Boss,

With 12 days 'til X-Mass, I wonder what the denizens out there would like for Christmas.

I for one would say: Oh Santa - for Christmas, I wanna' Sig Sauer .40 S&W
Two-Tone SP-2022 with SIGLITE® Night Sights, please-please-pleeeease!

BOQ

This seems like an *excellent* idea! Come one, come all, and play! Readers and lurkers are encouraged to submit *their* wishes in the comments. You can be funny, you can serious. Just be nice. Naughty is okay, just be nice. If all ya got is Grinchy Scrooginess in you this holiday season, go take it out on someone else! To avoid the thing degenerating into argument - leave the politics at the door.

Okay. Me? I want one of these! A Vickers belt-filling machine. That would about complete the Vickers collection (not to mention just about double it's value...) Hey - I'll be happy to pay shipping!

If that's too pricey for you, this would be kewl, too.

What's on *your* list?
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What does gollum want for Xmas? He wants a lot.

10) A library of either the hard copy or saved to cd books necessary to make THE career change---you know, you have to cite stuff and can't just make chit up on a whim like Paul Krugman and the AP photo service.
9) The nice piece of sheepskin that would make people believe I know what I'm doing in new discipline (or the money to pursue it).
8) My Internet BB to spend 99% of the coming year happier and less grumpy than the last, 'ya grump.
7) Bill and Sanger to write more often. We miss you chuckleheads, and the wisdom you impart on us younglings that you don't even realize you are bestowing.
6) My committee to make up its mind whether to toss me or approve me so I can get on with my life---you heartless, soul-less wanks----or a lifetime supply of Coke so I can bash my head against a wall in perpetuity to make them happy.
5) The Wife to get passed her experimental road blocks so she can get finished on her PhD.
4) Un-insane in-laws. Not just the parents of The Wife, but the whole lot of them. They're almost all crazy.(You down with me on this one AFSis?)
3) A puppy. Happiness is a warm puppy. Schultz said so.
2) All the Boys and Girls wearing The Colors to come home in one piece, and of sound mind and spirit.
1) My buddy James to get home from Iraq in time for his daughter's second Christmas since he missed her first one. It'll take an act of Congress or someone in the Corps looking the other way for that to happen. But I'm still hoping.
ry
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Reporting As Ordered, Sir! »

by Denizens on Dec 16, 2006 | TrackBack (0) | I think it's funny!

H&I* Fires, 16 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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My eldest nephew graduates from college today. WAY TO GO TIM!!!

The Master and Mistress of Argghhh! contributed to this Blogger Recipe book - and it contains the recipe for Artillery Punch (no doubts who provided *that* recipe...)

Speaking of graduations... someone else has moved along in life...

Second Lieutenant William Wales.

Prince William was commissioned as an officer in the British Army on Friday as his grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II, served as the reviewing officer.

"This is a milestone day... which will stay forever in your minds," the 80-year-old monarch, dressed in a red hat and coat, told the cadets.

"You must be courageous yet selfless, leaders yet carers, confident yet considerate. ... These are very special attributes, but those whom you will command and your country too will expect nothing less. My prayer for your success and safety will follow you wherever you happen to serve.''

I found this comment intriguing - and I hope it doesn't pan out this way:

He is now formally known as 2nd Lieutenant William Wales and will train to be a troop commander in an armoured reconnaissance unit. However, he will probably never see front line action.

"He'll go into a regiment for sure but he'll not go into danger... he's the heir to the throne," said McKercher.

All I can say is - if the Blues and Royals deploy, Lieutenant Wales should deploy with them. Otherwise, regardless of the effort put forth by Lieutenant Wales, it's all a sham. The Royal Family benefited when Prince Andrew went to the Falklands, I can't see how it would be any different should Prince William go to Iraq or Afghanistan. Noblesse Oblige. I hope that Dr. Brian McKercher, a history professor at Canada's Royal Military College, is wrong. 'Nuff said. H/t, CAPT H. -the Armorer

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The Weblog Awards are over. Looking at the categories I was tracking, it's interesting to see how things went. In our category, we came in 7th, continuing our slide from 4th, to 5th, now to 7th (and no longer making the cut as a milblog). Lots of votes in the category, with prominent lefty blogs showing their college student muscle!

In the Milblog category, Matt retains his deathgrip on first - but Lex did very well, coming in second. But this category only drew half the votes of the Top 250 category we were in - which reflects milblogs aren't read much by people who spend most of their time going to school...

The other two categories I was watching are interesting too. Bubblehead came in second in the 2501-3500 Ecosystem category, but with 1121 total votes, vice Matt's 1772 or Lex's 1249, and stomping our measly 662, shows a quirk in the nomination system - Bubblehead got more votes than most of the milblogs nominated, but didn't make the cut as a milblog (yes, I know, you can vote in multiple categories, so Bubblehead got votes in his category he might not have gotten in a milblog category - still. It's bemusing.

CDR Salamander made a good showing in the 3501-5000 Ecosystem scoring, coming in third, with 751 votes - again out-polling the Castle. Well done 'Phibian!

Now just what the heck am I supposed to infer from all this? Fark it. I'm just going to be me, and when it's down to me, Ry, and Googlers, I'll strike the tent. -the Armorer

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MaryAnn, the director of Soldiers' Angels operations in Germany is back in the U.S. due to her father's sudden illness. She needs prayers and best wishes, but in her update she shares a beautiful Christmas story.

And in on the subject of Christmas stories, this one is beaultiful but much more painful: Bringing Doc Home. It comes from the same reporter who brought us the heart-rending "Final Salute" (cross-posted at my place). UPDATE: Lex has the airline pilot's perspective on these journeys.

And while we're on the subject of hospitals, I recently was reminded how small a world it is when Valour-IT brought a name from the past back to my email inbox. - FbL

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Reporting As Ordered, Sir! »

by Denizens on Dec 16, 2006 | TrackBack (0) | General Commentary

16 December 1944

The Battle of the Bulge Begins.

Geman soldier advancing during the Battle of the Bulge.  Taken from a german newsreel.

 SC 197925. Btry C, 702 TD Bn., 2nd Armored Division, tank destroyer on dug-in ramp has plenty of elevation to hurl shells at long range enemy targets across the Roer River.</p>

<p>L-r: Sgt. Earl F. Scholz, Pvt. George E. Van Horne, and Pfc. Samuel R. Marcum. US Ninth Army. (16 Dec 1944).

Troop with water-cooled .30 cal Browning M1919 mounted on his jeep

You can read about the opening of the offensive here, from the official US Army history.

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! »

by John on Dec 16, 2006 | TrackBack (0) | Historical Stuff

December 15, 2006

H&I* Fires, 15 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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British soldiers continue to prove their individual value and skill, despite (or perhaps because of) a government and leadership class that throughout history has treated them shabbily. Which is still, on the balance, better than going the German way.

The outstanding bravery of British troops who fought some of the fiercest battles in the last 50 years was recognised with scores of medals for gallantry yesterday.

Among the 134 personnel honoured was Pte Michelle Norris, 19, the first woman to receive the Military Cross, after she saved the life of a soldier while under sniper fire in Iraq.

The Parachute Regiment's 3 Bn also experienced one of its greatest days for awards after it was announced that the battalion had received a Victoria Cross, George Cross and 11 other medals for bravery.

Cpl Bryan Budd was the first posthumous recipient of the VC in 24 years after an act of "supreme courage" in which he saved the lives of his men by making a lone charge, while wounded, against a Taliban ambush.

Cpl Mark Wright became the first member of the Parachute Regiment to receive the George Cross in three decades after rescuing seven colleagues who had strayed into a minefield. He died of his wounds.

Read the rest here - H/t, CAPT H.

Follow-up on the Whatziss... Rick got it right early on, when he said 7.9x94, but he wasn't sure what kind of round, or whose it was. But he got the caliber right. Trias dropped in with his AP assertion, which was also correct. KC Steve weighed and promptly ran down a caliber rathole, and tried to have it both ways with AP or anti-aircraft. CAPT H jumped on Rick's bandwagon. I think MajMike was in the ballpark, though the Kurz confused me. Anyway - more info is available here, at Small Arms Review. You guys are getting better at this!

Then there's this - a discussion of Rules of Engagement over in Iraq - that includes soldiers in Iraq. Go visit Herschel Smith at The Captain's Journal for more. -the Armorer

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Through CAPT H via Damian Penny of Daimnation, we find that MacLean's (the TIME of Canada) has designated the Canadian Soldier as the "Newsmaker of the Year". -the Armorer

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Oh, did you know this place is... idiosyncratic? Really. Say's so here, where we got linked by The Oregonian. While we love the attention, -10 for spelling! H/t, Flag Gazer. -the Armorer

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You can help wounded Marines get Home for the Holidays.

The Marines have Hobbits?! Cassandra has the details. - FbL

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I figger if John can post about screwing, I can post some PANDA PRON! "it's the sounds of breeding that stimulates them", the researcher said. This new revelation, and the fact that Panda's are about the size and weight of a stick of butter when they're born just reaffirms my desire to be reincarned as a Panda in my next life. ~AFSister

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Reporting As Ordered, Sir! »

by Denizens on Dec 15, 2006 | TrackBack (0) | General Commentary

Thanksgiving in the Wilderness

Heidi's Thanksgiving, 2006. Via Heidi's Mom.

Thanksgiving 2006 - Afghanistan

Click the picture for a larger version.

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! »

by John on Dec 15, 2006 | TrackBack (0) | Global War on Terror (GWOT) | Observations on things Military | Something for the Soul

Motivators.

Hosting provided by FotoTime

Heh. Looks like we're gonna get we've been caught by All Things Beautiful in the Weblog Awards voting. She's been creeping up on us all week, with a strong surge last night.

Sigh. Cannon just don't sell like they used to...

It's all Bill's fault for not posting more often. Funny sells!

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! »

by John on Dec 15, 2006 | TrackBack (0) | Observations on things Military

Secretary Rumsfeld says goodbye.

From email at work yesterday.

WASHINGTON, Dec. 14, 2006 - For these past six years, I have had the opportunity -- and, I should add, the privilege -- to serve with the greatest military the world has ever known.

To all of the men and women in uniform, all across the globe, I wish it were possible for me to meet with each of you personally today so I could look you in the eyes, shake your hands and express my heartfelt gratitude for your service, and to give you some sense of what you have given me -- pride in our mission and an abiding confidence in our country and in those of you who volunteer to risk your lives to defend us all.

As I complete my second tour as secretary of defense, I leave knowing that the true strength of our military lies not in our weapons, but in the hearts of the men and women in uniform, in your patriotism, in your professionalism, and your determination to accomplish the mission.

President Abraham Lincoln once said, and I quote, "Determine that the thing can and shall be done, and then we shall find the way." That remains as true today as it did during President Lincoln's time. I have seen countless examples of this resolve when I have met with those of you serving in this long struggle against violent extremists.

I remember visiting a base near Fallujah, where Marines had been engaged in some of the most intense house-to-house fighting since World War II. It was two days before Christmas. A staff sergeant asked me why there wasn't a way he could extend his tour beyond his unit's service limit in Iraq.

And, I think back to a young man I met at Bethesda naval hospital. He was in the very early stages of his recovery from multiple wounds suffered in Iraq. He looked up at me with a tube in his nose, and he said with force: "If only the American people will give us the time we need, we can do it. We are getting it done."

And a soldier I met in Afghanistan not long ago who said, "I really can't believe we're allowed to do something this important." Well, I feel the same way. I can't believe I have had the chance to be involved in something so important to the safety of the American people and the future of our country.

What you are accomplishing is not simply important -- it is historic.

When the cause of human freedom required men and women to stand on the front lines in its defense, you stepped forward to liberate more than 50 million citizens in Afghanistan and Iraq.

You captured or killed tens of thousands of extremists -- taking the fight to where they live, rather than waiting for the extremists to attack us again where our families live; and you helped alleviate the conditions that foster extremism in places like the Horn of Africa, the Philippines and elsewhere so that your children and grandchildren will not have to face the challenges that we face today.

This month has two important anniversaries -- the free elections of the Iraqi national assembly and the seating of the very first democratically elected president in Afghanistan's long history. We all remember the images of Iraqis proudly raising their purple fingers in the air after voting in their first free elections and the images of the Afghan girls singing with joy as their new president took the oath of office. Those were historic chapters in the saga of human freedom, and you made them possible.

The long struggle we are in is complex; it's unfamiliar; and it's still little understood, leading some to believe that there is no need to go on.

The enemy is counting on us to falter and to fail. You are the ones who live the successes and who endure the setbacks of this struggle, who find your daily missions a personal test of will. And you are the ones who, above all, know that the cause of freedom is well worth the price.

In 10 or 20 years, when you are talking to your children or to your grandchildren, you will look back on your service and at what you have accomplished with a great sense of pride. You will know that you were part of a truly proud history. Indeed, you were the makers of that proud history and an inspiration to the generations that followed.

It has been the highest honor of my life to serve with you -- the men and women of the U.S. armed forces. You define the American spirit. You have helped millions triumph over tyranny, during this time of great consequence.

You have my eternal respect, and you will remain in my thoughts and prayers always. May God bless you and your families, and may God continue to bless our wonderful country.

Donald H. Rumsfeld, Secretary of Defense

Here's hoping you live long enough, Mr. Secretary, to see how it all turns out.

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! »

by John on Dec 15, 2006 | TrackBack (0) | Observations on things Military

December 14, 2006

H&I* Fires, 14 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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CAPT H sent along this lament: "I wanna screw like the old days..."

The same judge who ruled for Hamdan, just ruled against Hamdan. ArmyLawyer has more. Al-Jazeera's take. -the Armorer

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Happy Anniversary! When is the guy going to take the Long Drop? -the Armorer

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Today is the last day to vote for the 2006 Weblog Awards. Your favorite Milblogs appear in the following categories. It's your last chance to vote for them!

Best Military Blog
Best Indivdiual Blog: Blue Star Chronicles
Best New Blog: Blue Crab Boulevard and Jules Crittenden
Best of the top 250 blogs: The armorer suggests voting Stop the ACLU
Best of the top 251 to 500 blogs: There are a bunch of milblogs in this category
Best of the Top 1001-1750 Blogs: Soldiers' Angel Holly Aho and Mudoc Online:
Best of the top 1751-2500 blogs: From My Position and Parkway Rest Stop

- FbL

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Well, I figured it wouldn't be "man"... but bats!!?!? Oh, that's just not fair! Perhaps genetic altering isn't such a bad idea after all. ~WereKitten

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by Denizens on Dec 14, 2006 | TrackBack (0) | General Commentary

I find this photo fascinating.

Anybody guess what I find so interesting in this photo?

To take away those first thoughts amongst the grognards - no, not the markings.

German Armor destroyed during Operation Bagration in WWII

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! »

by John on Dec 14, 2006 | TrackBack (0) | Tanks and AFVs

Specialist McGinnis update.

From my correspondent in the 1st Cav.

John,

MOH recommendation moved up today for Division Commander’s signature. We had some bad weather in Taji, but the packet was eventually specially flown from his unit’s FOB. FYI his battalion is assigned to 2/1 ID, one of our 7 BCTs, but was task organized to 2nd Brigade, 2nd ID, another of our 7 BCTs, so a lot of units will get the privilege of honoring his heroism.

First Team.

C

As I alluded to in my post and Matthew Maynard points out in full - there are 141 precedents. And, as Matt has pointed out - the kid was a lion.

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! »

by John on Dec 14, 2006 | TrackBack (0) | Global War on Terror (GWOT)

Motivators - Attitude!

A positive outlook is important.

Motivators - Attitude!

Suitable for framing, here.

So, a little attitude! Go Vote!. The lefties are winning this category in a walk... though MVRWC and Stop the ACLU are giving 'em a run for the money. The Castle isn't going to catch anyone. So, go vote for Stop the ACLU, and maybe the Right can score second place... I'm throwing my votes to Lex for Best Military Blog - if only to keep Matt's head under control.

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! »

by John on Dec 14, 2006 | TrackBack (0) | I think it's funny!

MOTHER, SON AND BROTHER-IN-LAW JOINING KANSAS NATIONAL GUARD TOGETHER

News of the Kansas Guard.

Serving one’s state and nation runs in Bill Knitig’s family. Knitig is a former Marine and member of the Kansas National Guard, retiring from Detachment 1, 170th Maintenance Company in Goodland in 2000. Picking up his mantle of service are three members of his family: his daughter, Patricia Langley; her son, Jack Mayfield and Knitig’s son-in-law, Damon Rickard, who made the decision to enlist in the Kansas National Guard together. The three are from Grainfield, east of Colby.

All three will begin the process to become members of the Kansas National Guard on Friday, Dec. 15 at the Military Entrance Processing Station in Kansas City, Mo., 10316 NW Prairie View Road.

For Langley, the decision to join the Guard came because “It was time for a change in my life, plus I wanted to do something to serve my country.”

“I kind of toyed with the idea of joining back in 1990,” said Langley, but her life’s circumstances weren’t right for her at that time. “My daughter was just a year old, then. I did go to vo-tech at that time.”

Langley, who just turned 39, said that the education benefits offered by the Guard played a part in her decision to join, in addition to the extra income and the chance to learn a new skill. Langley will be joining the 170th Maintenance Company in Goodland. She said she’d like to go into vehicle maintenance.

“I thought about maybe learning refrigeration,” she said, “but now I think I’d like to go into electrical generator repair.”

Langley said she’s received a lot of support from family and friends regarding the decision to join. She hopes to make the Guard a new career. “I’d like to retire with it,” said Langley.

Good on 'em.

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! »

by John on Dec 14, 2006 | TrackBack (0) | Citizenship | Observations on things Military

December 13, 2006

H&I* Fires, 13 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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Two steps forward and one step back seems to be the fate of the F-35. Yesterday Canada signs on. Today Britain tosses a hissy fit over it and threatens to not buy.
ry
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Snerk. Speaking of throwing hissyfits - Ry does a pretty good one himself over at Alan's place, and gets a pat on the back for doing it. Too much potty mouth for *this* space, though. No wonder Ry gets all wordy over here, he's compensating for the PG-17c!

Jules *likes* the Holocaust Conference in Iran. If only because, by their words and their deeds shall you know them. He also notes the death of an AP photographer (and other journalists) who actually did their job, rather than flacked their politics.

Oops. The recruiters and their recruits Just Don't Get The Message! How is Mr. Rangel going to get his draft if people keep joining voluntarily? -the Armorer

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Heh.

Ney lawyers urge letter-writing By Jim Snyder Lawyers for Bob Ney last week urged his friends to write letters of support in advance of the former Ohio Republican representative’s sentencing on corruption charges in January.

The attorneys hope to show the judge that the actions that led Ney to plead guilty to corruption charges in October were an aberration in a professional career otherwise dedicated to public service. Ney was a member of the House at the time of his guilty plea, but later resigned his seat.

“Letters of support are a very important part of the sentencing process, and, we hope, will give Judge Huvelle a clear picture of the kind of person Bob is, the contributions he has made, and the support that he continues to enjoy from his friends and others in the community,” wrote Ney attorneys Mark Tuohey and David Hawkins of Vinson & Elkins in a Dec. 6 letter obtained by The Hill.

Here's mine: Dear Judge Huvelle: A crooked and corrupt politician is a crooked and corrupt politician, who does much more damage to "trust and confidence" than is simply wrapped up in the dollar amounts of the graft. Please keep that in mind as you send him to the slammer for the maximum amount of time allowable, and hit him with the maximum restitution requirement. Let him *earn* his way back to polite society by his behavior in prison and performance in paying his debts. Anything else, for his ilk, comes off as a partial victory.

We shouldn't allow those who seek power to duck the responsibility for it's abuse, no matter how nice they are.

Cheers,

John of Argghhh!

BTW - the same thing applies to General Officers. Just sayin'.

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Today's Must-read: War Weary. Lex on "The Long War" with his usual...oh, I give up describing it. Just go and read it. It's good. - FbL

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I forgot: Vote for Us. The lefties are winning this category in a walk... though MVRWC and Stop the ACLU are giving 'em a run for the money. Oh, piffle. We can't catch anyone. Go vote for Stop the ACLU, and maybe the Right can score second place... Oh, and I'm throwing my votes to Lex for Best Military Blog - if only to keep Matt's head under control. -the Armorer

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by Denizens on Dec 13, 2006 | TrackBack (0) | General Commentary

A new whatziss.

Prior to 1960.

Whatziss?

Go for it. It's out there, in the usual places.

Oh, and the bullet is the correct bullet - the neck of the cartridge was damaged by the numbskull who used pliers to remove the bullet... and the color on the tip of the bullet *is* a clue.

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! »

by John on Dec 13, 2006 | TrackBack (0) | Gun Pr0n - A Naughty Expose' of the fiddly bits

Happy Birthday to the National Guard.

Soldiers of the 35th Division, KSARNG, at the Leavenworth Veteran's Day Parade.

By Sgt. Sara Wood, USA American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 12, 2006 - The National Guard turns 370 years old tomorrow, and the National Guard Bureau is celebrating with a Web site dedicated to the organization and its history.

The site, www.ngb.army.mil/features/birthday/index.html, chronicles the Guard's history, starting in 1636 when the General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, which functioned as the colony's legislature, ordered existing militia companies from the towns surrounding Boston to form into three regiments: North, South and East.

"These first Minutemen answered the call, banding together for the common defense, an effort which grew nationwide to protect towns, states, and ultimately the nation from all enemies, civil, natural and foreign," Army Lt. Gen. H Steven Blum, chief of the National Guard Bureau, wrote in a letter on the site.

The American colonies adopted the English militia system, which obligated all males to possess arms and participate in the defense of the community, according to the site. The need for a colonial militia was ratified in the Constitution, and since then, Congress has enacted several militia and defense acts to strengthen the National Guard.

"Today, more than 50,000 citizen-soldiers and airmen are serving overseas as part of the global war on terror," Blum wrote in his letter. "Over 9,000 are serving here at home in domestic missions such as supporting our nation's efforts to secure our borders, guarding critical infrastructure, and providing emergency response to our governors.

"Not unlike those Minutemen 370 years ago, today's Guard members are citizens who believe that an organized militia is essential to the common defense. With centuries of courage, commitment and tradition behind them, the National Guard proudly remains always ready, always there."

In a letter commemorating the birthday, Marine Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, thanked the members of the National Guard for serving valiantly in times of war and peace. "We simply could not sustain current operations without the National Guard," Pace wrote. "The courage and sacrifice of every Guard member are truly inspiring. Your outstanding service as citizen-soldiers comforts those in need and protects our homeland."

The National Guard has made up a significant portion of the forces deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. At one point in 2005, half of the combat brigades in Iraq were Army National Guard, according to information on the Web site. The Guard is playing a more active role than ever before, integrating with active forces in combat, humanitarian and peacekeeping missions, information on the site says.

The Web site lists information from each period in the National Guard's history and details on some state-sponsored events commemorating the 370th birthday.

Locally, the Kansas National Guard marked it's 151st anniversary of service to the State and Nation.

Kansas Guard units serving the nation this year:

Units and where they went or are:

Currently Deployed:

731st Transportation Company - Operation Iraqi Freedom
714th Security Force Company - Operation Iraqi Freedom
635th Regional Support Group - Operation Enduring Freedom
HHB, 130th Field Artillery Brigade - Operation Enduring Freedom
Embedded Training Team - Operation Enduring Freedom
1st Battalion, 108th Aviation - Operation Iraqi Freedom
HHB, 35th Division Artillery - Operation Enduring Freedom
Battery B, 1st Battalion, 161st Field Artillery - Operation Iraqi Freedom
35th Military Police Company - Operation Enduring Freedom

Completed Deployments this year:

2nd Battalion, 137th Infantry - Operation Iraqi Freedom
1st Battalion, 127th Field Artillery - Operation Iraqi Freedom
184th Civil Engineering Squadron - Operation Jump Start
35th Military Police Company - Operation Enduring Freedom
190th Air Refueling Wing Security Forces - Operation Enduring Freedom
1st Battalion, 635th Armor - Operation Enduring Freedom
24th Medical Company - Operation Enduring Freedom

Serving the State: This has been a comparatively light year for natural disasters in Kansas (unless you were a victim of one). The National Guard, with other agencies, mans the State Emergency Management System and participates, in one way or another, in all them, even if no units are activated in support. This year the major events thus far have been:

Butler County Wildfires
March wind storm
Late March storms and fires
Late November storms

And there has been a price. Specialist John Wood was killed in Iraq this year.

And, as exemplified in this letter by Major Roger Aeschliman, of the "First Kansas Volunteers" Kansas Guard troops will risk their lives to help children. Any children. Anywhere.

Way to go, Guys and Gals of the National Guard of the United States, with a extra nod to those who hang out in Kansas!

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! »

by John on Dec 13, 2006 | TrackBack (0) | Observations on things Military

Someone you should know.

Arvil Stanley.

He was assigned to the 1st Marine Raider Battalion, A Co. in Virginia. He saw combat on Savo Island, of the British Solomons;Tasimboko, Guadalcanal; but it was at Battle of Bairoko Harbor, New Georgia that he would be wounded in 1943.

His real name? Grandpa.

Bloodspite's Grandpa.

Cronaím thú my grandfather. I miss you.

I didn't know him, but through Bloodspite's post, I miss him too.

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

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! »

by John on Dec 13, 2006 | TrackBack (0) | Something for the Soul

Heh. I wondered when they would show up.

On the memorial post for PFC McGinnis we found a troll-bomb, left in the usual fashion, anonymously.

IP Address: 217.189.244.109
Name: olfi
Email Address: queeeee@aol.com
URL:

Comments:

One more poor gay who died for the lies of George W. Bush, Donald
Rumsfeld, Colin Powell and company.
America, wake up!
:-(

Ry, who crossed the threshold soon after and stepped in the troll-flop first, answered with:

'poor gay who...' Wow. That's pretty random. How do you know the guy was gay? Rather immaterial to the heroism of the guy.

It's just to bad we only find out about these guys, people we should know, posthumously. Guys like this should be the rolemodels for kids in school, gay or not, rather than Allen Iverson or 50 Cent.

There is no greater sacrifice than laying one's life down for the sake of another. McGinnis has done that in an exponential fashion(going to Iraq and protecting his fellows).

So, what have YOU done today, olfi, other than whine?

Well said, Ry.

Now, when I read it, my spidey-sense tingled. Just something about it said... German.

I think "gay" is a typo, but I could be wrong. But the IP maps to Telefonica Deutschland, in Verl (not that Olfi is necessarily in Verl, my IP maps to Roadrunner in Virginia).

I'm guessing that Olfi is not, nor has he been, a member of the Bundeswehr contingent in Afghanistan. Otherwise he'd know that PFC McGinnis didn't die for any political abstraction or personage.

He died so his buddies would live, pure and simple. That's the way it is, where the rubber meets the road.

As exemplified by the actions of Technical Sergeant Arizona Harris, Engineer and top turret gunner of the B-17 Sons of Fury, as described in Donald Miller's book Masters of the Air:

Harris met his end on the way back from St. Nazaire on January 3, 1943. Sgt. P.D. Small, a tail gunner in another of the 306th's [Bombardment Group] bombers, observed Harris's final minutes. Small saw four white parachutes snap open just before Sons of Fury hit the water. The gunners who remained on the ship must have gone to the radio room, the safest place to be in a crash. But two guns were still blazing, Harris's twin .50s. Then Sons of Fury made a perfect belly landing in the freezing waters of the Bay of Biscay. As sheets of white water rolled over the wings and the plane began to drop out of sight, the top turret guns were still spitting flame "as fast as the feeding arms would pull the shells into the guns." Arizona Harris was trying to protect the pilot and copilot, who were in the water and under fire from Fw 190's, "the steel gray sea boiling under the rain of bullets." Harris must have felt the winter water fill his turret and climb to where it began to cut off his breath, yet he kept firing until the sea swallowed the hot muzzles of his guns."

Or any of those soldiers, Marines, and sailors I listed in the McGinnis post.

Rare is the soldier who dies in combat for his politics. His politics might have gotten him to the battlefield, but they rarely get him through a fight. So, on a memorial post, keep your politics to yourself. If you have nothing good to say, then say exactly that - nothing.

You want to send me an email, or leave a comment on the H&I Fires post - that's entirely appropriate. But don't walk into the church and fling poop during the service, so to speak. That's just childish.

I'm sure that Olfi felt that he was sadly compelled to note that the sacrifice was in vain, and he was simply doing his duty to point it out to those of us blinded by a slavish devotion to the evil Bushitler. And sorrowfully surfed away, knowing he had done what had to be done, and done so manfully! Taking full accountability for his actions. Well, except for that leaving no legit contact data because, well, someone might send him a note or something that wasn't, oh, laudatory. Feh. I *never* leave unsigned comments, anywhere. If I'm not willing to accept the feedback, then I'm not going to leave the comment. Whatever your motivations, Olfi, you're a coward.

Which just makes it all the more bemusing that he closes his comment (which I have elided from the memorial post, as I will all comments like that on a memorial post) with an ethereal remnant of Germany's Nazi past, where "Germany Wake Up!" was an electoral rallying cry of the Nazis. You might better recognize it as "Deutschland Erwache!" and it graced the banners of Nazi standards... An unfortunate turn of phrase for a tut-tutting German.

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! »

by John on Dec 13, 2006 | TrackBack (0) | Observations on things Military

December 12, 2006

H&I* Fires, 12 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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Eaglespeak, a lawyer desperate for attention and to beat CDR Salamander, begs your vote with "Bringing out the big guns and skimpy swim wear."

Me? I just say vote for us or Beth at MVRWC, so we can oppress those lefty blogs. I am a bit chagrined to see that CDR Salamander is shilling more successfully than I...

Funny Cats!

Sigh. I made the Deans List, oh, twice I think, while I was in college (of course, there was also that semester of, oh, 1.9 or something, too). I never made my high school honor roll, though my sister was a rash on it. Of course, I prolly overcompensated by winning the state wrestling championship by pinning all the way through conference, district, region and the state meet. Wait - there was one win on points at district. The all-state football thing prolly helped my self-esteem, too. Therefore, being completely unable to relate, I find things like this bemusing. High School Halts Publishing of the Honor Roll. Sigh. Nope, don't wanna reward or recognize excellence in any way. In fact, we really don't want to encourage it, seemingly. Feh. I blame Bush.

Hey! A reason to come to our neck of the woods other than incarceration... the National WWI Museum.

I was gonna comment on Kofi Annan's speech - but Jules covered it for me.

In Missouri today, departing UN Secretary General Kofi Annan delivered these thoughtful reflections on 10 years of learning: [translation follows]

In one of the backwater Jesusland flyover states yesterday, departing UN Secretary General Kofi Annan rudely lectured one of the few nations that actually tries to accomplish anything useful, from which he has been sponging for the last 10 years:

Read the rest here. -the Armorer in Jesusland.

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Iraq War News Now has a great pictorial of U.S. troops leading Iraqi police marksmanship training.

An analysis of Rumsfeld and the press and what it means for Gates.

Salamander discovers that Reuters and AP "stringers" are at it again: staged photos in Ramadi. - FbL

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To borrow a phrase, "Virginia Hall, Someone You Should Know:"

Escaping France by crossing the Pyrenees on foot in November 1942, Allied agent Virginia Hall cabled headquarters: "Cuthbert is giving me trouble, but I can cope." So hungry for Hall's capture was the Gestapo that even her wooden leg--dubbed Cuthbert--needed a code name..."The woman who limps is one of the most dangerous Allied agents in France," proclaimed Gestapo fliers, depicting a high-cheekboned brunet. "We must find and destroy her." As she fled to Spain, Hall's London-based compatriots misunderstood her cryptic communique. "If Cuthbert is giving you trouble," London cabled back, "have him eliminated."
More here and here. She is being honored today.

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Btw, the Denizen blogroll isn't updating, but that doesn't mean Denizens aren't blogging. Don't forget your favorite reads just because they don't have "New Stuff!" next to their names... - FbL

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! »

by Denizens on Dec 12, 2006 | TrackBack (0) | General Commentary

Private First Class Ross A. McGinnis

Someone you should know.

Private First Class Ross A. McGinnis

FORWARD OPERATING BASE LOYALTY, Iraq – Private First Class Ross A. McGinnis packed only 136 pounds into his 6-foot frame, but few have ever matched his inner strength.

McGinnis sacrificed himself in an act of supreme bravery on Dec. 4, belying his status as the youngest Soldier in Company C, 1st Battalion, 26th Infantry Regiment, attached to the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division.

The 19-year-old amateur mechanic from Knox , Pa. , who enjoyed poker and loud music, likely saved the lives of four Soldiers riding with him on a mission in Baghdad .

McGinnis was manning the gunner’s hatch when an insurgent tossed a grenade from above. It flew past McGinnis and down through the hatch before lodging near the radio.

His platoon sergeant, Sgt. 1st Class Cedric Thomas of Longview , Texas , recalled what happened next.

“Pfc. McGinnis yelled ‘Grenade…It’s in the truck,’” Thomas said. “I looked out of the corner of my eye as I was crouching down and I saw him pin it down.”

McGinnis did so even though he could have escaped.

“He had time to jump out of the truck,” Thomas said. “He chose not to.”

Thomas remembered McGinnis talking about how he would respond in such a situation. McGinnis said then he didn’t know how he would act, but when the time came, he delivered.

“He gave his life to save his crew and his platoon sergeant,” Thomas said. “He’s a hero. He’s a professional. He was just an awesome guy.”

Three of the Soldiers with McGinnis who were wounded that day have returned to duty, while a fourth is recovering in Germany .

For saving the lives of his friends and giving up his own in the process, McGinnis earned the Silver Star, posthumously. His unit paid their final respects in a somber ceremony here Dec. 11.

McGinnis was born June 14, 1987, and joined the Army right after graduating high school in 2005. He had been in the Army 18 months and made his mark even before his heroic deed.

“He was a good kid,” said C Company’s senior enlisted Soldier, 1st Sgt. Kenneth J. Hendrix. “He had just gotten approved for a waiver to be promoted to specialist.”

He also appeared on the Nov. 30 cover of Stars & Stripes, manning his turret.

Besides his military accomplishments, McGinnis leaves his friends and family with memories of a fun-loving, loyal man.

Private First Class Brennan Beck, a 1-26 infantryman from Lodi , Calif. , said McGinnis made others feel better.

“He would go into a room and when he left, everyone was laughing,” Beck said. “He did impersonations of others in the company. He was quick-witted, just hilarious. He loved making people laugh. He was a comedian through and through.”

While having a witty side, McGinnis took his job seriously.

“He was not a garrison Soldier. He hated it back in garrison,” Beck said. “He loved it here in Iraq . He loved being a gunner. It was a thrill, he loved everything about it. He was one our best Soldiers. He did a great job.”

Beck has memories of talking all night with McGinnis about where they wanted their lives to go, and said McGinnis always remembered his friends.

“When I had my appendix removed, he was the only one who visited me in the hospital,” Beck said. “That meant a lot.”

Another 1-26 infantryman, Private First ClassMichael Blair of Klamath Falls , Ore. , recalled that McGinnis helped him when he arrived at Ledward Barracks in Schweinfurt , Germany .

“When I first came to the unit…he was there and took me in and showed me around,” Blair said. “He was real easy to talk to. You could tell him anything. He was a funny guy. He was always making somebody laugh.”

McGinnis’ final heroic act came as no surprise to Blair.

“He was that kind of person,” Blair said. “He would rather take it himself than have his buddies go down.”

The brigade’s senior noncommissioned officer, Command Sgt. Maj. William Johnson, also had high praise for McGinnis.

“Anytime when you get a Soldier to do something like that - to give his life to protect his fellow Soldiers - that’s what heroes are made of,” Johnson said.

It also demonstrates, Johnson continued, that the ‘MySpace Generation’ has what it takes to carry on the Army’s proud traditions.

“Some think Soldiers who come in today are all about themselves,” Johnson said. “I see it differently.”

The Silver Star has already been approved for McGinnis’ actions Dec.4, and will be awarded posthumously.

Well done, PFC McGinnis. Requiescat Im Pace.

However, I have a question. Is the Silver Star a final award, or an interim? Why do I ask? Glad you asked. This is why:

*ANDERSON, JAMES, JR.
*ANDERSON, RICHARD A.
*AUSTIN, OSCAR P.
*BACA, JOHN P.
*BARKER, JEDH COLBY
*BARNES, JOHN ANDREW III
*BELCHER, TED
*BELLRICHARD, LESLIE ALLEN
*BLANCHFIELD, MICHAEL R.
*BOWEN, HAMMETT L., JR.
*CARTER, BRUCE W.
*COKER, RONALD L.
*CONNOR, PETER S.
*CREEK, THOMAS E.
*DAHL, LARRY G.
*DAVIS, RODNEY MAXWELL
*DE LA GARZA, EMILIO A., JR.
*DICKEY, DOUGLAS E.
*FERNANDEZ, DANIEL
*FLEEK, CHARLES CLINTON
*FOLLAND, MICHAEL FLEMING
*FOSTER, PAUL HELLSTROM
*FOUS, JAMES W.
*FRATELLENICO, FRANK R.
*GUENETTE, PETER M.
*HARVEY, CARMEL BERNON, JR.
HERDA, FRANK A.
*HOSKING, CHARLES ERNEST, JR.
*HOWE, JAMES D.
*INGALLS, GEORGE ALAN
*JENKINS, ROBERT H., JR.
*JOHNSON, RALPH H.
*KAROPCZYC, STEPHEN EDWARD
*KELLOGG, ALLAN JAY, JR.
*KINSMAN, THOMAS JAMES
*LANGHORN, GARFIELD M.
*LAW, ROBERT D.
*LEISY, ROBERT RONALD
*LONG, DONALD RUSSELL

What do these 39 men have in common? They all, in one way or another, fell on grenades to save the lives of others around them. Some were involved in hairy fights, some were isolated incidents. Few of them survived.

In other words, they all acted as did PFC McGinnis.

The difference? All the names listed above, except for PFC McGinnis, recieved the Medal of Honor during the Vietnam War. And that's only from the A-L list, not the M-Z list.

And that doesn't include WWII or WWI, which I don't have time to go through.

So, I hope this is an *interim* award. I've asked. I'll let you know if I get an answer.

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

Update: Glad I asked. I just got this (of course, right *after* I posted the above) from a buddy and long-time reader who is in-country and in a position to know.

John,

Just wanted to give you a heads up that PFC Ross McGinnis, 1-26 IN, was KIA on 04 DEC 2006 here in Baghdad. His parents will receive his Silver Star (hopefully interim) at the funeral. He is being submitted for the Medal of Honor. AIF got a grenade into his M1151 through the top hatch.

He yelled "Grenade" and shielded his comrades by throwing his body on the grenade. Everyone in that vehicle walked away; some were pretty hurt, but nonetheless, were alive.

I hope this award doesn't drag out for two-plus years.

C

Good. And ditto on that timliness thing.

As ever, Matt does it better. More story here.

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! »

by John on Dec 12, 2006 | TrackBack (0) | Observations on things Military

50 Heroes from 50 States.

DoD, responding to pressure from the blogs and others, is finally getting their "Honor the Heroes" meme working. They've launched a new website: 50 Heroes From 50 States.

The Armorer wishes to highlight our regional representatives. Denizens should feel free over time to honor the ones from their areas - on their blogs and link 'em here in the H&I Fires post!

Kansas:

While serving as the battalion surgeon for a Marine unit from January to September 2005 in the Al Anbar province of Iraq, Dr. Gratton was responsible for the health and well-being of 1,700 Marines, sailors and Iraqi soldiers. During his deployment, Gratton provided specialized medical care to more than 1,000 patients, and organized material and personnel support for more than 500 Iraqi army personnel. On May 7 alone, he supervised and treated 11 casualties injured in an IED attack in Haditha. In addition, Gratton provided trauma care to the battalion’s 345 troops wounded in action, 150 of whom were in critical condition and had to be evacuated. On Aug. 28, 2006, Gratton received the Bronze Star Medal for his work.

Missouri:

During her deployment at Kirkuk Air Base from March 28-July 10, 2003, Master Sgt. Whitaker helped establish the first air-control service in northern Iraq since 1990. The service supported about 4,800 combat actions, including covert operations, humanitarian airlifts and medical evacuations. She also supervised several covert flight operations using tactical radios and night vision goggles, and developed explosive-ordinance disposal procedures for the base. She co-authored airfield operating procedures for aero-medical evacuation of wounded coalition forces that resulted in the rapid evacuation of more than 86 critically wounded soldiers and airmen. In May 2006, Whitaker became the first woman in the Missouri Air National Guard’s history to receive the Bronze Star Medal.

Nebraska:

Then-Cpl. Mitchell was involved in the same fight during the battle of Fallujah on Nov. 13, 2004, as Sgt. Maj. Kasal (see Iowa). Several wounded Marines were trapped inside an Iraqi home known as the “House of Hell” with numerous insurgents waiting to ambush the incoming troops. Mitchell organized his men to assault the building, charged, and quickly took firing positions. Mitchell sped through the kill zone, getting hit as he went. He killed an enemy fighter with his combat knife, and called in support through a small, barred window. With information supplied from Mitchell, the Marines suppressed the insurgents’ attack, and extracted the wounded Marines inside. Mitchell was one of the last to leave, despite being injured. On April 25, 2006, Mitchell was awarded the Navy Cross.

Iowa:

Then-1st Sgt. Kasal was assisting a platoon in Fallujah on Nov. 13, 2004, when heavy gunfire broke out in an Iraqi home known as the “House of Hell.” Marines quickly began exiting the building as Kasal rushed in to assess the situation. Kasal was hit repeatedly as he grabbed a wounded Marine stranded in the line of fire. He then gave his medical supplies to the other Marine instead of dividing the limited materials. The insurgents threw a hand grenade close to the Marines to force them to come out from under cover. Kasal used his own severely injured body to protect the other Marine from shrapnel. Despite losing about 60 percent of his blood from more than 47 wounds, Kasal survived. On March 23, 2006, Kasal was awarded the Navy Cross.

Arkansas:

First Lt. McCarty’s platoon was patrolling in the Adhamiyah district of Baghdad on Nov. 20, 2004, when a group of insurgents attacked. As the enemy fighters inflicted a massive assault on the 26-man team, McCarty directed a counterattack. At one point, McCarty charged and destroyed an enemy machine-gun team without any support. In all, his team stopped an enemy three-man machine-gun team and a force of about 75 insurgents. McCarty’s actions prevented the capture of an Iraqi police station. On Feb. 4, 2006, McCarty was awarded the Silver Star Medal. He was previously awarded the Bronze Star, the Purple Heart, the Meritorious Service Medal and the Army Commendation Medal with Valor.

Oklahoma:

Staff Sgt. Payne’s battalion was finishing an operation on Haifa Street in Baghdad on Sept. 12, 2004, when a vehicle-borne IED exploded into the rear of a Bradley fighting vehicle. As the blast disabled the Bradley and trapped men inside, insurgents began firing down onto the street. Payne directed his squad into a position to provide cover fire while he and another soldier raced to help those stuck inside the damaged vehicle. Payne climbed atop the Bradley and helped two of the crewmen out of the turret. He reached inside the compartment and began pulling the trapped infantrymen out one by one. As the battle lulled, Payne and his soldiers loaded the injured up for evacuation. For his actions, Payne received the Silver Star Medal on Feb. 27, 2005.

Colorado:

Navy SEAL Petty Officer Dietz was sent on a mission to kill or capture the enemy militia leader Ahmad Shah, aka Mullah Ismail. After the terrorists found the team, Dietz helped others keep the large enemy force at bay. Dietz was also severely wounded in the firefight, but also continued to hold his ground, giving one of the other SEALs the chance to escape. The other SEAL was able to evade the Taliban fighters and was recovered by U.S. forces a few days later. Dietz died in the firefight.

Dietz was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross on Sept. 13, 2006.


Reporting As Ordered, Sir! »

by John on Dec 12, 2006 | TrackBack (0) | Observations on things Military

Sharing the costs...

...of procurement, anyway. Canada signs on to the Joint Strike Fighter.

Department of Defense and Canada Sign Next Stage Joint Strike Fighter Agreement

Deputy Secretary of Defense Gordon England and the Canadian Deputy Minister of National Defense Ward Elcock signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) today to begin future cooperation in the production, sustainment, and follow-on development (PSFD) phase of the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) Program. Canada has already contributed $150 million to the first development phase of the program.

The JSF PSFD MOU has been signed by the U.S., the Netherlands, and Canada, and will be signed in the near future by the other JSF partner nations -- the United Kingdom, Italy, Turkey, Denmark, Norway, and Australia. This new MOU will expand cooperation among the nine JSF Partner nations beyond the ongoing JSF system development and demonstration (SDD) phase, providing a framework for future JSF Program efforts in production and beyond . The U.S. and the Netherlands signed the PSFD MOU on Nov. 14, 2006. Canada joined the SDD MOU in February 2002, and becomes the third JSF partner nation to sign the PSFD MOU.

This agreement will have a significant positive impact across the entire spectrum of the US-Canadian defense relationship, including North America Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), for many years to come, not only in terms of providing air dominance for homeland defense, but also interoperability, defense transformation, modernization, cost reduction, acquisition excellence, and the health of the North American industrial base. We anticipate that the other JSF partner nations will sign the JSF PSFD MOU between now and the end of December to support commencement of cooperative production, sustainment, and follow-on development efforts by all nine partner nations in January 2007.

Joint Strike Fighter, as the largest ever US DoD acquisition program, continues to set new standards in development of manufacturing technologies, acquisition and business practices, technology transfer, and export licensing. The first test aircraft is on-track for first flight later this month. The JSF Program is providing great opportunities for partner industries through the best value model - selecting manufacturers and maintainers based on a combination of quality, price, and timeliness.


Once the JSF PSFD MOU signing process is completed, the partners will cooperatively develop, produce, test, train and operate a Lightning II JSF Air System that will enhance the interoperability, survivability, and affordability of our future forces. Continued Canadian participation reinforces the longstanding and close relationship between the U.S. and Canadian Air Forces, and ensures a solid foundation for future air operations with other allied and friendly nations in a joint and coalition environment.

Damian offers his Canadian take, here.

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! »

by John on Dec 12, 2006 | TrackBack (0) | Aircraft

News of the Armed Forces Of, and In, Kansas.

MILITARY PERSONNEL WILL BE HONORED AT CITY COUNCIL MEETING DEC. 12, 2006 Personnel from five branches of the U.S. military will be honored at the Topeka City Council meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 12, 2006. Personnel from the Kansas Army National Guard, U.S. Army Reserve, U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, Kansas Air National Guard and the U.S. Coast Guard will be presented with Military Personnel of the Year awards from the Topeka Military Relations Committee.

Receiving the awards will be Maj. Edward G. Keller, Kansas Army National Guard; Spc. David J. Hawkins, U.S. Army Reserve; Staff Sgt. Jason P. McCaffrey, U.S. Marine Corps Reserve; Master Sgt. Sherry L. Hertlein, Kansas Air National Guard and Petty Officer Thomas M. Underwood, U.S. Coast Guard.

The committee sponsors the award, but the recipients are selected for the honor by the military branch they represent, according to Dave Fisher Jr., chairman of the Topeka Military Relations Committee,

“These individuals are being recognized not only for their contributions to the defense of our country, but also as good citizens within the community,” noted Fisher.

Fisher said the Topeka Military Relations Committee was formed by a group of businessmen who “recognize just how important the military is to Topeka.” The committee also includes representatives from each military branch in Topeka. The committee’s goal is to promote the military within the community and to act as a liaison between the military and the community.

Each honoree will receive a plaque that includes a likeness of Ad Astra, the Native American statue on top of the Kansas Statehouse dome.

The City Council meeting will begin at 6 p.m. in the City Chambers, 215 SE 7th, Topeka.

Congratulations to Major Keller, Specialist Hawkins, Staff Sergeant McCaffrey, Master Sergeant Hertlein and Petty Officer Underwood!

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! »

by John on Dec 12, 2006 | TrackBack (0) | Observations on things Military

There is always a penalty...

...exacted for maintaining contact with kinfolk on the other side of Hadrian's Wall.

The penalty is -- British humo(u)r...

Far away, in the tropical waters of the Caribbean, two prawns were swimming around in the warm, azure sea. One was named Justin and the other Christian. The prawns were constantly being harassed and threatened by the numerous sharks that patrolled the area.

One day, Justin said to Christian, "I'm bored and frustrated at being a prawn. I wish I was a shark, and then I wouldn't have any worries about being eaten."

As soon as Justin had fixated on becoming a predator, a mysterious cod appeared and said, "Your wish is granted!" – and, lo and behold, Justin turned into a shark.

Horrified, Christian immediately swam away, afraid of being eaten by his old mate.

Time went on and Justin found himself becoming bored and lonely as a shark. All his old mates simply swam away whenever he came close to them. Justin gradually realized that his new, menacing appearance was the cause of his sad plight.

While out swimming alone one day, he saw the mysterious cod again and couldn't believe his luck. Justin figured that if the fish could change him from a prawn to a shark, he could just as readily change him back into a prawn. He begged the cod to return him to his original form and, lo and behold (again), he turned back into a prawn. With tears of joy in his tiny little eyes, Justin swam back to his friends and bought them all a cocktail.

[note: the punch line does *not* involve a prawn cocktail -- that would be trite]

Looking around the boisterous gathering at the reef, Justin searched for his old pal. "Where's Christian?" he asked.

"He's at home, distraught that his best friend went over to the enemy and became a shark," came the reply.

Eager to put things right again and end the mutual pain and torture, he set off to Christian's house. As he opened the coral gate, the memories came flooding back. He banged on the door and shouted, "It's me, Justin, your old friend! Come out and see me!"

Christian replied, "No way, man, you'll eat me! You're a shark, the enemy, and I'll not be tricked!"

Justin cried back, "No, no, I'm not! That was the old me -- I've changed..."

[punchline stashed in Flash Traffic to spare the excessively sensitive viewers -- both of them]

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! »

by CW4BillT on Dec 12, 2006 | TrackBack (0) | I think it's funny!

December 11, 2006

H&I* Fires, 11 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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The 2006 Weblog Awards. Vote for us... or MVRWC. Don't let those lefty blogs have all the glory... Once a day every day until the 15th.

MajMike and the rest of you treadheads - this link's for you.

The 2006 Warbloggers Awards are posted at Right Wing News. Kinda like a very unscientific Coaches Poll. Just how unscientific? Take a look at where Andrew Sullivan placed.

I got an email last night:

Mom gives up kid to join Navy. Holy crap, she gave up her kid to join the Navy. Man, that's some cajones.

From KOMO-TV:

GRANITE FALLS - A local mother's dream to join the Navy comes with a heavy price: She had to give up custody of her 13-year-old daughter.

It's the toughest decision 32-year-old Rebecca Tate has ever had to make, but she believes it's the right choice.

"To be able to serve in the military and defend my country and do what I know is good and right makes me proud," she said.

As excited as Rebecca is to join, she's doing it with a heavy heart. Single parents cannot enlist in the Navy, so she had to give up custody of her 13-year-old daughter Anya to sign up.

You can read the rest here.

Heh. Five more years and she still could have joined *and* let her daughter loose at her majority.

There's dreaming, and there's responsibility.

Absent any other information - I am not impressed. I've been impressed with soldiers who have given up their military careers because of family requirements. Giving up the family to join the service? I suppose I needn't have concern about walking away from responsibility in order to pursue personal needs on the part of a Petty Officer Tate. She'll periodically get reassigned away from sailors who are inconvenient to her pursuit of her dream.

I am not impressed. Just sayin'. Your mileage may vary. -the Armorer

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Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! »

by Denizens on Dec 11, 2006 | TrackBack (0) | General Commentary

Rush Limbaugh's Cat.

Ah, Rush and pets.

From Radio Equalizer:

DEHUMANIZING RUSH

Even His Cat Generates Controversy

In the twisted world of partisan politics, how could Rush Limbaugh's cat manage to become an issue?

The answer is that when it comes to dehumanizing a key conservative enemy, nothing is sacred in this stage of the game.

I used to listen to Limbaugh a lot, 10 years ago. Then I got tired of the "Long Time Listener, First Time Caller, and I gotta say, Mega-Mega-Mega-Dittoes on [fill in the blank issue] geez yer a genius Rush!" callers, and listened only to his monologues that started the hour, and then, I just drifted away. Nothing against Rush.

One of the things I was always piqued by was when he discussed animals. Rush clearly believes that only people have souls, thoughts, feelings, etc, of any sophistication whatsoever (and many animal behaviorists will agree with that assessment) and his discussion of pets followed that line. Such as this description of his relationship with his cat:

I told the story about the cat. I'll try to recreate the story. I love my cat. I got the greatest little cat in the world. You people know it. I pet this cat. I love this cat. I feed this cat. But I'm smart enough to know she only really wants me when she wants to be fed. I have learned enough to know that when she comes and starts head butting me or walking around my legs, she wants to be fed.

Every time I hear (or read) Rush discussing pets, I understand why he thinks like he does. He treats 'em like objects, and, on a fundamental level, doesn't really respect them (as treacly and new-agey as *that* sounds!).

The Interior Guard of Argghhh!, when they want to get fed, get vocal, and underfoot. It's clear when they want to be fed. But I get the head-butting, leg-rubbing and other behaviors Rush describes... *after* they've been fed. And at random times during the day. And the cats come to hang out. They watch tv with us (Barney *really* watches TV, especially anything with animals on it - I'd love to know what's going on in her mind at those times).

My point is - we treat the critters as family, not as objects. And they respond to that. In ways that clearly are not related solely to food.

More starkly is how that manifests itself with the horses. Our horses come when we call. Whether there's food involved or not (they come *much* quicker when they know there's food involved, you betcha!). But they come on their own volition. Our horses, in a horsey way, like us. Yes, we trained them to that. I got that. But you watch how many hard-core horse people treat their horses, and watch how their horses behave. Then watch our horses. Our horses want to be around us. They want to go riding. They want the head scritches, etc. And it isn't just us - our boys are the barn sluts. Everybody comments on how nice they are, and how different our horses are than others in the barn - including theirs, as they jerk on the reins and bully their horse around.

This is getting longer than I intended. My point being - not to pile on Rush, but to use Limbaugh's words to illustrate my point - that if you treat your critters like family (and that, like children means discipline and training... all larded with love and affection) they'll *want* to hang around you, and not just because you feed 'em.

That's all.

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! »

by John on Dec 11, 2006 | TrackBack (0) | Something for the Soul

Chicken Soup for The Armorer's Soul.

The broadside of the USS Constitution. A sight that was the last sight for many a sailor and ship, starting with HMS Guerriere.

The carronades on her upper deck. (Note the period battle lantern!) I see the sponges aren't stored on the exposed deck, just the worms. Without shafts. Hey, if you understood that, we're prolly kindred spirits!

Her broadside guns from the crew's perspective - with some people for scale.

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CDR Salamander needs to get his name on this board. So we can score an invite to sail on one of her harbor cruises! Feh on your career progression, Salamander! I wanna sail on this ship!

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! »

by John on Dec 11, 2006 | TrackBack (0) | Artillery

December 10, 2006

H&I* Fires, 10 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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Greetings! SWWBO and I are in Princess Crabby's stomping grounds, Boston. Yesterday was the day of taking the Trolley to see the sights (so much stuff for a history geek packed into such a small area). Today is the day of the USS Constitution, USS Cassin Young, and wandering the Freedom Trail. Or, as some of our Commonwealth visitors have put it (to paraphrase) the "Greedy Merchants Forcing Everybody Into A War No One Wanted Trail".

Snerk. Boston - the Very Old (for America) sandwiched in amongst the New.

Boston - the Old Statehouse nestled amongst the tall buildings

SWWBO is getting all the seafood she can handle. She's actually here in Massachusetts for two weeks working in Lowell (fascinating place itself, as a monument to the Industrial Revolution), and she decided rather than leave me unsupervised in Leavenworth for a weekend (who knows how many sharp pointy things I might find to pierce my integuement) she'd fly me up here for the weekend.

One observation thus far: Boston - friendly people, good food, poor service. How can you let someone go at breakfast without once checking to see if that coffee cup needs refilling? Or dinner, with that ice tea glass? Or if another beer is needed? Shakes head sadly. Especially considering prices around here - you'd think service staff would fall all over themselves to pump up the bill! Anyway - that's it for me. You guys have fun. I'm off to see some warships. -the Armorer

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by Denizens on Dec 10, 2006 | TrackBack (0) | General Commentary