Author Archives: xbradtc

About xbradtc

Kicking poon and taking names since March 2009

Oshkosh, B’gosh!

The Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) Fly In at Oshkosh, WI is the largest fly-in event in the world. Held annually, thousands upon thousands of planes fly in to what is otherwise a small, sleepy little airport. Spill will be heading up there later. But right now, thousands are flying in with a bewildering variety of planes. Air Traffic Control there has to stay on their toes. You can listen in here.

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Load HEAT- Gal Gadot

Since Israel is in the news this week, how about one of their nicer exports, the lovely Gal Gadot, soon to be seen portraying Wonder Woman in the Batman vs. Superman film.

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Filed under Load Heat

The Terror Tunnels of Gaza

It’s an indisputable fact that Hamas has spend a fortune building tunnels under the Gaza strip. First they were primarily thought to be storage facilities for the thousands of rockets Hamas has been raining upon Israel. As it turns out, many tunnels actually had their terminus inside Israel, with the intention of smuggling terrorists into Israel.

And some news reports say that a massive campaign of terror had been planned to occur during Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year.

Hamas had apparently been preparing a murderous assault on Israeli civilian targets for the coming Jewish New Year Holiday, Rosh Hashanah, which begins on September 24, according anonymous sources in the Israeli security services, as reported today by the Israeli daily Maariv.

The Hamas plan consisted of what was to be a surprise attack in which 200 fighters would be dispatched through each of dozens of tunnels dug by Hamas under the border from Gaza to Israel, and seize kibbutzim and other communities while killing and kidnapping Israeli civilians.

Israeli soldiers already frustrated a surprise assault by Hamas through one tunnel from Gaza into the Eshkol district of Israel on July 19. The Hamas fighters escaped back into the tunnel, but the clash cost the lives of two Israel Defense Force [IDF] troops.

The IDF should consult with the Republic of Korea. ROK troops used to constantly find North Korean efforts to tunnel under the DMZ, and became quite adept at detecting, locating and destroying tunneling efforts.

Or they can continue to simply blow them up.

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Outstanding Engineering in the development of the Apollo Program Lunar Lander

The Apollo program that lead to the landings on the moon was a stunning engineering and program management feat. It simply boggles the mind the complexity of the mission, and the countless details that went into the development of the hardware, the software* and techniques and procedures that lead to Neil Armstrong’s one small step for man.

In some ways, the most complicated piece of equipment on the entire Saturn V/Apollo stack was the Lunar Module, or LM. Designed and built by Grumman, it was America’s first true spacecraft, in that it would never fly through the atmosphere, instead only in space. Without the need for aerodynamics, it had a truly unusual appearance, sometimes leading it to be called “the bug” or “the spider.” It was a two stage rocket that had to be capable of autonomous navigation from lunar orbit to the surface. It also had to serve as a base camp for astronauts for up to 72 hours, and then it had to be capable of ascending from the moon’s surface to lunar orbit and again rendezvousing with the Command Service Module under its own navigation.  It had to have its own power supply, be able to operate both in a shirt sleeve environment for the crew as well as depressurized and open to the vacuum of the moon’s surface. It had not one, but two hatches, to allow both for docking with the CSM, and to allow the astronauts to explore the surface of the moon. It was also the largest manned spacecraft built at the time.

It was, incredibly, designed well before anyone knew if rendezvous in low earth orbit was technically feasible, let alone in lunar orbit.

  Grumman, in close cooperation with North American Aviation and NASA built this incredible craft. I’m sure you’ve all seen the movie Apollo 13 where the LM served as a lifeboat to return the crew safely to home, stressing the LM in ways it was never intended to be used. To say that the engineers of Grumman built an incredible ship is an understatement.  Some of the finest engineering talent in the world focused on getting the LM just right.

Incredibly, well into the development of the LM, with most of the configuration well established, and production ready to begin, no one ever gave serious consideration to how the astronauts were supposed to get down from the LM to the lunar surface, and back inside after hopping around the moon.

Lander no ladder

Yes. That’s an astronaut holding a knotted rope. No ladder. Grumman and NASA actually even looked at a complicated block and tackle system by which astronauts would hoist themselves down and up. It took a while before it occurred to anyone to simply fasten a ladder from which Neil and 11 others could make a great leap for mankind.


*During the development of Apollo, when the engineers spoke of software, they actually generally meant the flight rules, switchology, and cockpit procedures the astronauts would use on the hardware. Software was already coined as a term for computer code in other areas, but doesn’t appear to have been in vogue in the program office for computer programming.


Filed under space

Daily Dose of Splodey- Midway White III

Back in 2012, the Air Force and Navy cooperated on an exercise, Midway White III designed to evaluate the effectiveness of strikes against caves. From the press release:

7/3/2012 – NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. — Midway White III is designed to quantify and improve cave characterization, standardize attack planning processes, and increase weapons employment consistency and lethality.

And here’s your splodey.

They paint the bombs with bright colors to make them easier to track with cameras.


Filed under Air Force


Your humble scribe is feeling kinda puny today, so posting is light. Maybe I’ll feel better later in the afternoon.

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Details come to light about WWII secret mission in N.C. | |

It’s almost as if the crash never happened.

There are no old news clippings about it and few recorded interviews with anyone who might have witnessed it.

That’s how secret the operation was.

On Jan. 11, 1945, a seaplane took off in the darkness from a Coast Guard base in Elizabeth City. It was piloted by a member of the Royal Canadian Air Force and carried eight other aviators. The destination: Russia.

Not long after becoming airborne, the plane nosed down and plummeted into the Pasquotank River, killing five people aboard. The pilot and three others survived.

Last month, members of a club from the Ukrainian city of Odessa, who are planning a 70th-anniversary celebration of the end of World War II, wrote Elizabeth City officials to find out more about that night. One of the men who died, Capt. Vladimir M. Levin, was from Odessa.

City officials researched the incident and plan to send a letter with a few details to the Odessites.

via Details come to light about WWII secret mission in N.C. | |

Interesting. Elizabeth City was home to a program training Soviet crews to operate a variant of the PBY. They would then fly them to the Soviet Union for anti-sub patrols, presumably along the convoy route to Archangel.

The article notes that they flew the southern route to the Soviet Union to avoid icing. That would generally mean a series of legs down to Venezuela or Brazil before flying to Africa, thence to Iran and finally up into the Soviet Union.

Most of the thousands of planes the US and Britain supplied to the Soviet Union were delivered crated via merchant shipping. But there was also the northern route, where planes would stage out of Montana, flying in legs up to Alaska, then across the Bering Straits to Russia, to begin the very long journey across Siberia to join the forces on the Eastern Front.

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US fighter jets escort plane back to Toronto – Yahoo News

Two U.S. F16 fighter jets escorted a Panama-City bound plane back to Toronto on Friday after a passenger threatened the aircraft.

Flight 772 turned around over West Virginia about 45 minutes after its 7 a.m. (1100 GMT) departure from Toronto Pearson International Airport, said Sunwing Airlines spokeswoman Janine Chapman. She said an “agitated passenger directly threatened the aircraft” but did not elaborate on the threat.

via US fighter jets escort plane back to Toronto – Yahoo News.

Read on, you’ll be shocked, shocked I say!

By the way, NORAD is the North American Aerospace Defense Command. Effectively, it’s a joint US-Canadian command, so having armed US jets fly into Canadian airspace isn’t a huge deal.  In fact, the deputy commander of NORAD is always a Canadian.

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The Red Baron

Via War News Updates.

Youtube has the complete movie. I’ve only seen the trailer. Most of it looks pretty decent, if CGI.



Guadalcanal- The Turning of the Tide

The Navy likes to say that the Battle of Midway turned the tide of the war in the Pacific. It was, of course, a stunning victory. But it wasn’t the turning of the tide. It stemmed the tide. It was the high water mark of the Imperial Japanese Navy.

But to begin the long road to Tokyo, the US had to begin somewhere. And that somewhere was a pestilent island in the Solomons, one that neither side really wanted, but felt compelled to deny to the other.

That island was Guadalcanal.

Most folks have some knowledge of the island as the first Marine landing of the war, and their epic struggle there. But the Guadalcanal campaign, and the lager campaign in the Solomons Islands and the surrounding waters was a titanic struggle, and one the US came very near to losing.

As such, it is very much worth studying.

Arthur K is “live-tweeting” the campaign on two twitter accounts, both of which are well worth following. It’s worth signing up for twitter just for this.



ArthurK also kindly sent a couple pictures for me to share with you.


Aug 8-9 USS_Quincy_illuminated_by_IJN_searchlights

From ArthurK:

        First, an amazing picture of CA Quincy brilliantly illuminated by IJN seachlights at Battle of Savo Island.  She’s already been damaged but worse is coming.  Actual pictures of night warship combat are rare – the sailors are busy!

Nov 13 Hiei vs. Honey Badgers

 Second, a painting I’ll use Nov 13.  I like to call it “Night of the Honey Badgers.”
At first I thought it was exaggerated – then I remembered that at least 2 USN DDs had to take evasive action to avoid getting run over by BB Hiei – they were THAT close!


The campaign would be among the longest in the Pacific, and rarely would the US Navy or Marines be so evenly matched. Be sure to follow both accounts and learn so many interesting things that are little known.



Victory in Palmer v. D.C. | Reality-Based Litigation

Justice never sleeps…. not even on a Saturday afternoon, when this opinion was just handed down.

via Victory in Palmer v. D.C. | Reality-Based Litigation.

DC’s total ban on handgun carry has been struck down. There’s a lot of litigation to go, but it’s nice to see the courts recognize that the 2nd Amendment means what it says.

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The Reason You Keep Seeing the IDF Attacking In Civilian Areas…

… is because that’s where Hamas keeps hiding weapons and tunnels.


I’ll say this, I never would have thought to look that closely in there.


Filed under israel

Jack Daniel’s lounge opens Friday on Army base | Army Times |

A handful of Jack Daniel’s-branded gathering places draw whiskey drinkers and other patrons in sports arenas, stadiums like Wrigley Field, even in Dubai International Airport.

You might not expect to see such an establishment inside the gates of an Army base. As of Friday, you’d be wrong.

The Jack Daniels’ Lounge opens that afternoon at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, taking the place of the Lanyard, a bar last renovated during the Reagan administration.

The base’s morale, welfare and recreation officials had been looking for a way to turn the location into a suitable social setting for soldiers and other community members, either as a place to gather after work or as a pre-party spot for the banquets and gatherings held in one of the many rooms inside the Patriot Club, where the lounge is based.

via Jack Daniel’s lounge opens Friday on Army base | Army Times |

The biggest problem with drinking in a club on post in my day was simply  a lack of women.

If there’s a club just outside the gate that is full of cute young college girls, who isn’t going to go there?



On what academic planet does a 14 page paper merit John Walsh an M.A.? – The Washington Post

It’s worse than that, actually. Having read Walsh’s thesis, it’s not just that it’s only 14 pages of text; it’s that even if you ignore the plagiarism, it’s a pretty bad 14 pages. The thesis is ostensibly about whether the United States should prioritize democracy promotion in U.S. grand strategy. If I was supervising this thesis — and I’ve supervised a fair number them for my day job — then this is what I’d have e-mailed Walsh if he’d handed this in to me:

via On what academic planet does a 14 page paper merit John Walsh an M.A.? – The Washington Post.

That’s a pretty dang good question.

I’ve never spent any time reading theses from the AWC, but I have read quite a few from the Command and General Staff College. Most of them are quite a bit longer, and one heck of a lot better.



In other MoH news today…

There’s an old Army saying that if you lock a private in a padded room with two anvils, when you come back, one anvil will be lost, and the other one broken.

Look what happens when you give a Staff Sergeant a gavel.

Just two days after receiving the nation’s highest award for battlefield valor, the Medal of Honor, former Army Staff Sgt. Ryan Pitts rang the closing bell of the New York Stock Exchange Wednesday.

The gavel never stood a chance.

via Video: Medal of Honor recipient Ryan Pitts closes NYSE, destroys gavel, looks horrified – The Washington Post.




Obama administration: Russia firing artillery at Ukraine military targets | Fox News

Obama administration officials said Thursday that Russia is firing artillery from its own territory into Ukraine to hit Ukrainian military sites, pointing to escalating Russian involvement in the deadly conflict.

“This clearly is a military escalation,” Pentagon spokesman Col. Steve Warren said, adding there is no question that Russian military — as opposed to Russia-backed separatists — are firing the shots.

State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf first made the accusation during a press briefing earlier Thursday. She also claimed Moscow is boosting its military shipments to pro-Russian separatists.

via Obama administration: Russia firing artillery at Ukraine military targets | Fox News.

Well, that ups the ante a bit.

Of course, there’s not a heck of a lot we can do about it. The NATO countries are reliant upon Russian natural gas to keep from freezing to death in the winter, so they might grumble, but they won’t do much.

The Dutch are (quite justifiably) outraged over the shoot down of MH17, but they too have little real leverage.

Unless NATO is willing to stage a “no fly zone” operation over Ukraine (and they aren’t willing) there’s not a lot any soft power is going to accomplish.

How far Putin will push is the question.  While I don’t sympathize with Putin, I do see that from his seat, his goal of restablishing Russian control over the territories to its west and south makes strategic sense. Just how far west, and how far south…

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Employers are missing real opportunities to serve their businesses by hiring veterans.

One opportunity Rusty says he was especially hopeful for was a receptionist opening in an allergist’s office near his kennel. “The benefits were solid and I thought I’d really enjoy working with people, but when I showed up for the interview they just apologized and said I’d be a bad fit. They didn’t say it, but I think it was because I’m a veteran.”

via Veteran Working Dog Has Trouble Marketing Skills To Local Employers.

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Liberal ‘Live the Wage’ Challenge is a Laughable Exercise in Failing to Budget or Plan Ahead | SOOPERMEXICAN

Last year the left had the “SNAP Challenge” that purported to show just how tough it was to get by on food stamps.

This time around, they’re showing how hard it is to get by on minimum wage (never mind that most families that only earn minimum wage probably also qualify for SNAP).

Obama and his mindless liberal minions are at it again with their #LiveTheWage campaign. They’re trying to guilt Americans into supporting a minimum wage hike by living on what the average minimum wage earner would have to budget. So this is the only campaign a liberal can actually succeed at, because it depends on them NOT being able to budget, and NOT planning ahead – something every American does who earn any wage every day. Here are some examples:


via Liberal ‘Live the Wage’ Challenge is a Laughable Exercise in Failing to Budget or Plan Ahead | SOOPERMEXICAN.

As one of our friends asked, who pays $1.67 for an apple?!

I get my produce at the 99c store. It’s not the best, but it’s more than adequate. Rather than paying $2.37 for a can of Progresso (even the damn soup has to be liberal!) I pay $0.79 a can for macaroni and beef at Ralph’s.

Is it tough being poor? Trying to eek out a living on minimum wage? Yes! Yes it is! Which, maybe that provides an incentive to work harder, improve your skills, move up the chain to higher responsibilities (and pay).

And every time I see liberals trying to raise the minimum wage, I try to remind them, the real minimum wage is ZERO. If you make it too expensive for someone to hire you, you’ll get paid nothing.



Cornelius Davis, the stolen valor SGM : This ain’t Hell, but you can see it from here

WPTV in West Palm Beach says that they’ve talked with Cornelius Davis, the fellow who starred in the viral video last weekend at a funeral when he was cornered by a couple of Marines. Davis continues to claim that he’s a sergeant major and that he’s in the Army.

‘WPTV spoke with the man in the video, who refused to go on camera and said he was angry at the social media postings. He identified himself as 44-year-old Cornelius Davis, showing dog tags and scars.

A spokesperson for the United States Army says the items on the uniform do not make sense and are not correct.

The Army says it has no record of a Cornelius Davis with the date of birth he provided having served in the Army since 1999.’

via Cornelius Davis, the stolen valor SGM : This ain’t Hell, but you can see it from here.


This guy is ate up like a soup sammich.

If you try to impersonate a soldier, sailor, airman, or Marine (or even a Coastguardsman) the gang at This Ain’t Hell will learn of it, and they will expose you as the fraud you are.

As TAH notes, they’ve done this so many times, they know beforehand the script the frauds will follow, even before the frauds know.


The miserable excuse for a human was first noticed by a couple of young Marines attending a funeral. A funeral for God’s sake.



Medal of Honor recipient SFC Leroy Petry retires today | Military Times |

One soldier’s career: Ranger with eight deployments, lost his hand to a grenade while saving his buddies, pinned with the Medal of Honor, met presidents and celebrities, smiling in dress uniform as grand master at parades and speaker at university commencements.

Now it’s time for the next chapter.

Sgt. 1st Class Leroy Petry retired from the Army on Wednesday and was promoted to master sergeant in a ceremony at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, three years after receiving the nation’s highest award for valor.

His next challenge?

“The hard part for me,” Petry said in an interview Tuesday, “is going to be choosing what I put on every day for clothing.”

via Medal of Honor recipient SFC Leroy Petry retires today | Military Times |

An awe inspiring man, with an incredible sense of humility.

I suspect we’ll continue to hear good things from MSG Petry.



Massacre at Yarmouk | Jonathan Messing

Yarmouk was home to the largest Palestinian refugee community in the country before the conflict began. 180,000 Palestinian civilians called it home. Now only 20,000 remain. Food and medical supplies are routinely denied entry and starvation is one of the three main causes of death. Recently, in the Jarabulus area, 22 people were killed and thrown into the streets to instill fear in the population. Some of them were children.

Amnesty International has called for the immediate lifting of the siege, the cessation of shelling and other indiscriminate attacks, and for humanitarian agencies to have unfettered access to the area. The disproportional attacks on civilians must end.

via Massacre at Yarmouk | Jonathan Messing.

If you can’t see the hook in this piece, you’re exactly the person who needs to read it.

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Happy Anniversary, ‘phib!

10 years is a near eternity in the blogosphere. And today CDR Salamander celebrates his first decade blogging. From humble beginnings, to a genuine influencer in the real world, it’s one of the most important stand-alone blogs out there.

Go and congratulate him. There’s cake!

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Presented without comment


by | July 23, 2014 · 5:02 pm

Here’s why no one trusts the liberal press to write about guns.

So, YahooFinance writer Douglas McIntrye writes a piece about Berretta offering a new rifle.

Gun company Beretta is tone deaf when it comes to calls for restrictions on powerful guns sold in the United States. It must be the chance to make money.

Beretta’s website carried an announcement that the ARX100 is “shipping now.” Beretta markets the rifle as “Italian Design — American Built.” Regardless of its origins, the gun is unusually powerful.

Emphasis mine.

First, nice way to editorialize right out the gate on a supposed news article. Second, McIntryre is dishonestly putting words in Beretta’s mouth. Nowhere in Berettas statement does it say “unusually powerful.” 

And anyone who has ever had even the most passing familiarity with small arms in the last 50 years knows the single biggest gripe with the .223/5.56mm family of ammunition is that it isn’t powerful enough.

Backing up briefly to the tone deaf portion, various AR based semi-automatic 5.56mm rifles constitute the most popular rifle today, in terms of sales. Of course Beretta is going to want to participate in that market. They’d be fools not to.  That’s not tone deaf. They hear exactly what the market is crying out loud for.

Shame on McIntrye, and shame on whomever is supposed to edit him at YahooFinance.

H/T to



“Oh. I guess maybe you are setting the right example.” : This ain’t Hell, but you can see it from here

Hondo over at This Ain’t Hell has a fun little story of an IG inspection. Normally, “IG” and “fun” don’t go together, but it’s a cute story.

Dave Hardin’s comment here about a LSoS former cook, fake SF, and congressional candidate reminded me of one of the funniest things that I ever saw in the military. So I thought I’d relate it here.

At Fort Bragg years ago, the XVIII Airborne Corps at one time had a formal IG Inspection – and no, I’m not talking about what later came to be called an “IG assistance visit”. This was a freaking formal, unannounced, full-blown no-notice inspection.

I understand the change to a different form of IG inspection (the IG assistance visit) happened during the early 1980s. However, my unit was one of the ones tagged for the formal hoo-hah before the change occurred. Lucky us. (smile)

Under the old-style IG inspection procedure, a unit would be called at 0500 and would be notified it was having an IG inspection that day. You might here a rumor that your unit was a “possible” beforehand, but the date was almost never known. Or you might get completely blindsided. That depended on how good your higher HQ was at working the “BRAGG RUMINT” pipeline.

via “Oh. I guess maybe you are setting the right example.” : This ain’t Hell, but you can see it from here.

That whole deal of layout inspections and in ranks formal inspections…

My first unit, the Wolfhounds, was very big on that. First, we had an inspection of sorts every single day. First call was at 0600 every morning. By 0605 (if not sooner) I could expect my team leader, at least, and usually my squad leader, to pop into my room and make a quick visual inspection of my room for cleanliness. My wall locker had to be open, and presentation ready. If my bed wasn’t made, it was because I was still in the process of making it.

At least once a month, we would have a full layout inspection of field equipment. We’d also have a (separate) in ranks inspection of dress uniforms. Normally, given the climate in Hawaii, we would wear a modified Class B uniform, ditching the dress jacket, and wearing ribbons on our short sleeve uniform shirt.

And every trip to the field meant first a formal layout inspection of every piece of kit on the packing list (down to displaying the pen, pencil and notepad required), followed by a formal layout inspection three days after returning, to ensure both that all equipment had been “recovered” (that is, cleaned) and was serviceable, or tagged for exchange.

As you might guess, this was a flaming pain in the ass.

On the other hand, the NCO leadership in that unit was outstanding. With the exception of an occasional “drive by” from the platoon leader or company commander, all this was NCO business. NCOs took seriously their job of providing their officers with trained and ready troops and equipment to fulfill the mission.

The IG held no terror for us, as we’d already been scrutinized countless times by NCOs who knew exactly what the standard was, and permitted no deviation from it.