Category Archives: ARMY TRAINING

We Joined Troops Battling Washington’s Wildfires | War Is Boring

The air is hard to breath as we walk up the gravel road. Smoke fills the air, obscuring the trees and mountains in the distance. It’s Aug. 25 and we’re about 10 miles south of Loomis, Wash. — one of several towns in the path of the Okanogan Complex Fire. It’s now the largest wildfire in Washington state history at more than 200,000 acres. Members of the Washington National Guard are checking to see how close the fire has come to our position. The smoke is an eerie yellowish color. It would almost look like fog if everything around us wasn’t bone dry, and if the air didn’t taste like ash. As we peer through the haze from a ridge, we can see a few embers from the fire. At first just one tree, then several. “OK, you can grab some pictures or video real quick,” Staff Sgt. David Vinton hurriedly tells me. “But we need to go.”

Source: We Joined Troops Battling Washington’s Wildfires | War Is Boring

An interesting look at National Guard support for the firefighting effort in the Okanogan Complex Fire in Washington state. Read the whole thing.

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Goodyear once built an inflatable airplane.

And the crazy thing is, it worked pretty damn well.

Of course, improvements in helicopter technology meant that its primary intended purpose, for downed airmen to rescue themselves, was rendered redundant. On the other hand, what an innovative solution.

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Sierra Army Depot

Yes, it’s RT, but it’s a straight news story. Worth watching a couple minutes.

The Army is roughly half the size it was at the height of the Reagan years. In addition to shedding almost half a million people from the active ranks (and who knows how many from the reserve components) the Army has also slashed the numbers of combat units. But of all the tanks and trucks and whatnot are still valuable assets. Waste not, want not. So, while a lot of equipment is sold to allies, there still remains a healthy stockpile.

A lot of equipment returned from overseas needs depot level maintenance. That maintenance is done at other depots. The advantage to storage at SAD is much like that at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base- you can store equipment outside for long periods with little deterioration.


The main warehouses.


Each little tiny dot is a truck or armored vehicle. The lumps to the right are “igloos” or ammunition storage bunkers.


Towed artillery pieces.



What Might Have Been: Former NBA Center Darryl Dawkins, Dead at 58


Sad news out of Philadelphia.  Former Sixer Darryl Dawkins has passed away at the age of 58.

He had a lot of nicknames, Chocolate Thunder, Double D, and Baby Bull among them.  He was the first player to be drafted into the NBA out of High School in 1975, by the then-woeful Philadelphia 76ers.  He was known for his thunderous dunks and somewhat flaky personality.  He is, in fact, best known for smashing backboards and his legacy is the adoption of the collapsible rim.  He was a giant man-child, already six-foot-eleven and 252 pounds as an 18 year old, one who possessed breathtaking physical gifts.  He was, for his size, incredibly agile.  He could jump through the roof, was immensely strong and lightning-quick, and had an exceptionally soft shooting touch.


For all that, Darryl Dawkins remained one of the great stories of unfulfilled potential in professional sports.  Like so many who followed him, he could have been so much better than he was.  Despite his ample gifts, he never worked terribly hard to get better.   With all the tools to be a superior defender and rebounder, he was decidedly mediocre at both.  Dawkins never grabbed 20 rebounds in a game, nor 700 in a season.  He was foul-prone on defense, and turned the ball over with alarming frequency on offense.  Also, Dawkins never developed an inside game, preferring (when not dunking) to shoot fall-away jump shots even against smaller opponents. (Even with that, he had an exceptional .572 career shooting percentage.)   Against less gifted but harder-working centers, he was routinely bettered, especially in big games.  So much so that Philadelphia dealt him in 1982 and acquired Moses Malone to play the center position.  Malone, smaller and lighter than Dawkins, lacked Dawk’s gifts, but was a legendary worker and tenacious rebounder.  With Malone in place of Dawkins, Philadelphia won a championship in 1983.

Dawkins’ lack of physical conditioning caught up with him, as well.  Injuries shortened his seasons, and dampened his talent.  After two decent campaigns with the New Jersey Nets, Dawkins was all but finished at 29.  He would play parts of three more seasons, finishing his career on the bench with the Pistons.  His career averages of 12.0 points and just 6.1 rebounds belied a superior, if untapped, talent.  After one series where Dawkins had played poorly against the Celtics, Boston Globe reporter Bob Ryan called Dawkins “the greatest waste of space since Greenland”.  And he had a point.  Had Dawkins gotten a couple of years with a tough college coach to teach him the fundamentals, and instill a work ethic to harness his talents, he might have been a truly great player.  But alas.

This much is true, though.  Darryl Dawkins understood that basketball was largely entertainment.  He had fun, engaged the fans, and was, by all accounts, one of the nicest guys in the league.  He was never in trouble with the law, or for doing something cruel and asinine, like so many of today’s athletes.  And he is gone too early.  Which is a real shame.   He will, in his odd way, be recalled fondly, and will be missed by those who remember him.

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The Unedited Scene between Vader and Luke in Cloud City



by | August 27, 2015 · 10:00 am

Detroit Police Chief: Crime Going Down Amid Spike in Legal Gun Ownership | Fox News Insider

The number of shootings and robberies dropped from 2013. Home invasions are down 17% so far this year, Craig said, following a drop of 38% last year. Craig noted that in a survey of 1,800 felons, the respondents pointed to “armed citizens” as the thing they were most afraid of.

Source: Detroit Police Chief: Crime Going Down Amid Spike in Legal Gun Ownership | Fox News Insider

res ipsa loquitur



Russia ‘accidentally reveals’ number of its soldiers killed in eastern Ukraine – Europe – World – The Independent

Whilst Russia continues to deny that its troops are fighting in the ongoing Ukrainian conflict, a respected news site in Russia seemingly inadvertently published secret figures that detail deaths and causalities of forces on the ground. According to Forbes, Russian news site Business Life (Delovaya Zhizn) revealed what seem to be official figures detailing the number of Russian troops killed and injured in “Eastern Ukraine.” The site, which generally focuses on coverage of markets, finance and leisure, posted a piece entitled “Increases in Pay for Military in 2015,” that at first glance would be uncontroversial.

Source: Russia ‘accidentally reveals’ number of its soldiers killed in eastern Ukraine – Europe – World – The Independent

About 2000 KIA. Which when you consider the small size of the forces involved, and the relatively short time they’ve been engaged is pretty sobering.  Both sides in Ukraine have focused on using artillery as the prime weapon, rather than infantry. And the Russian (and hence Ukraine) history of artillery is that more is better, and much more is much better. That of course leads to more casualties.

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