For some reason, video of flying in the Alps is always gorgeous.
Category Archives: ARMY TRAINING
And a rather surprising choice of music.
I’m juuuuuust starting to draft a series on the Chinese People’s Liberation Army. In the meantime, here’s a copy of the annual report to Congress on the PLA.
Wounded Warriors Project has no record of donation from lying lesbian waitress | Conservative Firing LineConservative Firing Line
Dayna Morales is probably eager for her self-inflicted 15 minutes of Warholian fame to come to an end. The waitress, who first made news and received oodles of sympathy, not to mention cash, when she falsely claimed a couple stiffed her because of her gay lifestyle, has since been exposed as a pathological liar.
It will come as no surprise, therefore, to learn that her claim of donating some of the tip money she received to the Wounded Warrior Project is another fabrication. Fox News reports via the Bridgewater (N.J.) Patch that the veterans organization is unable to verify receiving a donation from Morales.
This is my shocked face —> :0
MG Scales replies to Dana Milbank’s silly call for a return to the draft.
Slapping around Milbank is no great intellectual stretch, and while I might quibble with some aspects of his reply, I did want to touch on one bit MG Scales mentions.
The numbers are telling: Seventy percent of all Americans who died at the hand of the enemy in World War II were infantrymen. From World War II to the present that percentage has actually gone up to eighty percent. In other words, four out of five of all those killed at the hand of the enemy from Korea to Afghanistan come from a population that comprises less than four percent of the uniformed force within the Department of Defense.
I was just a grunt. Not Airborne, nor yet a Ranger, or Special Forces or any of that.
I never considered myself elite. But virtually anyone who has met a grunt knows they consider themselves special, a different breed.
That number up there, four percent, is why.
Among the more ubiquitous Soviet small arms are Rocket Propelled Grenades. Virtually every conflict in the world has seen the RPG-7 used, often by both sides.
The great strength of the RPG-7 is its simplicity. It takes only a few minutes training to impart a basic competency.
But the problem is, against anything but armored vehicles, its shaped-charge HEAT warhead is really pretty ineffective. Stories of RPGs exploding perilously close to personnel and not injuring them are common. That’s because a HEAT warhead focuses virtually all its power into a very tiny jet in one direction. Avoid the jet, and your chances of injury are quite small.
If you want to punch a hole in something, a HEAT round is the way to go. But a huge number of targets on the battlefield call for something else. Caves, buildings, bunkers and such need a different approach. Ideally, you can fire a high explosive charge through the aperture, and the resulting explosion inside will kill any enemy, and ideally dismantle the target.
And so the Soviets developed the PRO or Flamethrower Projector Rocket. Known in service as the Shmel, the PRO was single shot, disposable rocket propelled grenade. It came in three variants- high explosive (PRO-A), incendiary (PRO-Z), and smoke for screening (PRO-D). Interestingly, all three were designated as flamethrower projectors.
The high explosive variant used a thermobaric warhead. Unlike conventional high explosives that contain all their fuel and oxidizer, thermobaric warheads use the surrounding air for at least a portion of their oxidizer. Whereas a conventional high explosive forms its blast wave from a single point and diminishes in strength from that point, the “burn” of a thermobaric warhead actually increases blast wave pressure as it expands, until all the fuel is consumed. This makes thermobaric warheads nearly ideal for enclosed spaces.
All this is an excuse to post some splodey-
A later development, the PRO-M, increased range and warhead, and is still in use with Russian forces.
It’s a very short article. Go ahead and read the whole thing. In fact, I really wish there had been a more in depth piece. Having said that, one blurb that popped for me was this one:
Surgical strikes, like those waged against Osama bin Laden and other bad guys, have been quite effective. But when addressing the issue of military downsizing, it’s important to remember that behind those small, directed forces is a huge preparatory infrastructure ranging from aircraft carriers to human involvement and intelligence gathering on the ground. It’s too easy to focus on the “Zero Dark Thirty” effect and assume that small operations are just that — small.
As people call for the drawdown of the Army (almost always in favor of the Navy or Air Force), they often argue that more missions should be done by Special Forces or other elite formations.
Special Operations forces don’t exist in a vacuum. First, for the most part, they’re recruited from the ranks of their parent services. Second, and most importantly, they’re still inextricably entwined with them, relying upon the parent services for logistics, intel and, critically, reinforcement. When things go right for SOF, a small team can do wonders. But when things go wrong, they need Big Army (or AF, Navy, Marines) to come help. They’re willing to risk being cut off and alone, but asking them to do so without any hope of outside intervention is a bit much.
Finally, discrete operations do not a campaign make. SOF is a tool in the theater commander’s kitbag, just like any other force. The strength of the US isn’t so much the capability of any particular weapon or unit. It’s the ability of the US to “systemize” the systems it uses, integrating its forces in combined and joint operations better than any other force in the world.
An example is Special Forces in support of a conventional light division in the field. Intelligence generated by Special Operations is used to plan operations by the conventional forces. In turn, it is the intelligence generated by those conventional operations that enable successful missions by the SOF.
First in a short series of posts on fairly obscure Soviet weapons.
You do recall that the Soviet Union and China had a series of division sized clashes along their shared border back in the 1960s, right?
Well, they did. And at the time, the preferred Chinese tactic was much as it had been during the Korean War- massed human wave attacks. That’s pretty tough if you’re part of the wave. But its also pretty tough to defend against. The need to counter possible future attacks, along with reports from the Vietnamese about US automatic grenade launchers just entering service, prompted the Soviets to design their own.
It took a few years, and never saw action against Chinese forces, but by the early 1970s, the AGS-17 was in widespread use amongst Soviet forces. A fully automatic, blowback operated grenade launcher fired from a tripod, the launcher uses a 30mm x 29 casing, with high explosive fragmentation warhead. It’s fed by a non-disintegrating metallic link belt stored in a 29-round drum.
The launcher can be used in direct-fire mode against targets out to 800m for point targets, or area targets out to its maximum range of 1700m. Interestingly, it can also be used in high-angle fire, almost like an automatic mortar, to engage defilade targets.
The AGS-17 saw extensive use during Soviet operations in Afghanistan, where it proved quite useful firing against Mujahedeen positions, especially RPG and anti-tank teams. Variants were developed for mounting on vehicles, helicopters, and aircraft. It has also seen widespread use in Chechnya and other Russian operations.
A refined, lighter version, the AGS-30, has entered service and is slowly replacing the –17.
One of the funner things I got to shoot as a young Lightfighter in Hawaii was the M202 Flash “flamethrower.”
Basically a box of four rocket tubes, the launcher fired a 66mm rocket (based on the M72 LAW) with an incendiary warhead.
We shot them on the range, but I don’t recall ever even seeing any plans for using them in wartime. If I had to guess, I think we were primarily just shooting off some old stocks before they were withdrawn from service.
Update: Fixed!~ Thanks to GregC for the help.
I recently replaced the hard drive on my laptop. An old Seagate 160gig with a Western Digital 500gig.
I cloned the drive and got it installed and it runs great.
The problem is, Windows Explorer still thinks it has a 160gig capacity. BIOS recognizes it as 500gig. When I go into hardware settings, the system recognizes the drive as Western Digital, but still thinks it only has a 160gig capacity.
If you’re a grunt, and not following The Most Infantry Man In The World, you’re a NO-GO.
It\’s painful for US soldiers to hear discussions and watch movies about modern wars when the dialogue is full of obsolete slang, like \”chopper\” and \”GI.\”
Slang changes with the times, and the military\’s is no different. Soldiers fighting the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have developed an expansive new military vocabulary, taking elements from popular culture as well as the doublespeak of the military industrial complex.
Most of these have been around for a long time, but a few are quite specific to Afghanistan or Iraq.
Though I mentioned woobie just yesterday.
What are some of your favorite slang terms?
The Christmas season must be upon us. How do I know? Dave in Texas’ Crap Tree Post is up!
Several years ago my wife conceived a plan to take over Christmas decorations in our home. She’s been very patient, moving so carefully that I only realized the scope of her plan this year. This fight isn’t over, not by a long shot. But I’ve lost a lot of ground.
I am what you would call a ‘Christmas kind of guy’. I love Christmas. I love the lights and the pretty packages, the wreaths, the greenery hanging everywhere. I like Christmas plates and coffee cups. Christmas cookies, Christmas music, Christmas towels in the bathrooms, Christmas napkins, Christmas movies and books, if they had Christmas toilet paper I would buy two cases (does anybody know if they make that?). I think Christmas lights on pickup trucks look terrific.
I had the pleasure of gifting a couple crappy ornaments to DinT last year. I hope they were tacky enough to earn a spot on the tree.
On my first solo flight at K-13, Suwan, Korea, in June 1952, I took off in an F-80 Shooting Star. It was not a combat mission. All I had to do was go up and have fun boring holes in the sky for about an hour and a half.
Those aren’t the holes you’re looking for. Read the whole thing.
Duffel Blog makes fun of military absurdities — and has the Pentagon laughing, too – The Washington Post
It reads a bit like a brewing mutiny. Writing mostly under pen names, the tribe of former and current service members behind the satirical Duffel Blog regularly lampoons military leaders, blasts the bureaucracy and mocks policy.
You might think the Pentagon — zealous about message control — would be scrambling to unmask the scribes and shut down a site that has managed to find humor even in taboo subjects such as the force’s suicide epidemic, the sexual assault crisis and the psychiatric wounds of combat.
Sample headline: “Anthony Weiner Selected As Air Force Sexual Assault Prevention Chief.”
The brass seems to be laughing along, for the most part, as the once-obscure site has become a widely read guilty pleasure at the Pentagon and at military bases around the country and the world.
It’s nice to see our friends at The Duffel Blog getting some love from the WaPo.
Generals’ emails raise questions in Marine officer’s legal case | Marine Corps Times | marinecorpstimes.com
A Marine Corps officer who faces the end of his military career for transmitting classified information over an unsecured network wants the service to replace the three-star general overseeing his prosecution, saying he may have discouraged another general from coming to the embattled officer’s defense.
The case against Maj. Jason Brezler, a civil affairs officer in the Marine Corps Reserve and New York City firefighter, stems from a warning he sent last year to U.S. troops in Afghanistan about a shady Afghan police chief whose teenage “tea boy” is accused of killing three Marines at at joint base in Helmand province. Shortly after he sent the warning, his colleague expressed concern that Brezler had shared classified information through improper channels. Both officers self-reported, and an investigation ensued.
Brezler also is accused of mishandling more than 100 other classified documents by keeping them on a personal hard drive. He says his team was not issued computers and resorted to working on their personal laptops and sharing documents on thumb drives.
Since we’re discussing honor and integrity here today, let me just touch on this not so much from the legal side of the issue, but on the downstream effects the Marines might be inflicting upon themselves here.
Failure to properly handle classified information is a big deal. Especially in the age of Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden, it’s a high visibility issue.
But the purpose of properly handling classified information is to prevent its disclosure to hostile forces, not to serve as an end in and of itself.
Here we have MAJ Belzer improperly handling information. It appears that at least some of the cause of this is the incredibly weak IT systems the entire government is famous for.
And so when MAJ Belzer was warned by a peer that he had probably broken the rules, he self-reported. The goal of self reporting is to mitigate or prevent any further disclosure.
But if the Marines hammer MAJ Belzer mercilessly, will the next person to make a mistake report it, or will they see a lesson where every good deed goes punished, and strive to conceal their error. Are the Marines actually putting into place a regime that obliquely encourages people to lie?
The company that earned the no-bid contract to build the failed Obamacare website also runs the Army’s disastrous Human Terrain System in Iraq and Afghanistan, which has been accused of fraud, sexual harassment and racism.
The much-maligned Human Terrain System (HTS), launched in 2007, sends academics from social science fields like anthropology and linguistics into war zones to help soldiers understand the local population. The Army spent $58 million on the program in 2013, down from $114 million in 2011.
CGI Federal, the U.S. arm of the Canadian CGI Group and the designer of the failed Obamacare website, attempted a failed turnaround in HTS during the Obama administration. The young company, which employs Michelle Obama’s former Princeton classmate and Christmas guest Toni Townes-Whitley as a top executive, received eight figures from the Army in 2013 for the project, records reveal.
CGI Federal, unlike most IT businesses, seems to have a unique business model. Most IT firms concentrate on deliverables, on time, on budget.
But CGI Federal is a business geared to contracting with… well, Federal Government. And so their business model seems to be focused on writing winning bids. Product be damned.
Maybe we should get these jerks to run the Iranian nuke program.
At this time of Thanksgiving, I’m grateful for the U.S. military — not just for the usual reason that it protects us from our foes but also because it has the potential to save us from ourselves.
As I make my rounds each day in the capital, chronicling our leaders’ plentiful foibles, failings, screw-ups, inanities, outrages and overall dysfunction, I’m often asked if there’s anything that could clean up the mess.
My usual answer is a shrug and an admission that there’s no silver bullet. There are many possibilities — campaign spending limits, term limits, nonpartisan primaries, nonpartisan redistricting, a third party — but most aren’t politically or legally feasible, might not make much of a difference or, as with Harry Reid’s rewriting of Senate rules, have the potential to make things even worse.
But one change, over time, could reverse the problems that have built up over the past few decades: We should mandate military service for all Americans, men and women alike, when they turn 18. The idea is radical, unlikely and impractical — but it just might work.
No, it won’t.
And the problem isn’t so much a lack of service experience with Congress, or civic engagement amongst the population. The problem with governance is that Washington, D.C. is too all-ecompassing. The Constitution was explicitly written to reign in the size and scope of the federal government. The founders were well aware that the government that governs least governs best. That’s true whether the government consists of 100% veterans or not a single one.
Dana, you were 3/4 right. It’s radical, unlikely, and impractical. You should have just quit there.
I saw recently that Singapore Airlines recently cancelled what had been the longest scheduled airline service in the world.
Here’s what may be the shortest.
I don’t usually go to Business Insider for deep thoughts. But I think this author might just be on to something.
And then you exit the service.
No more intrusive surprise health and welfare inspections. No more grueling runs and setting your speed to the slowest member of your group. No more morning formations. No more of the countless bureaucratic irritations of military life. Paradise, right?
Actually, for many of us, no.
Gone, suddenly, is the cohesive structure that existed to take care of you. Gone is that strong sense of social security. Gone is the sense that, wherever you go, you know where you fit. Gone are the familiar cultural norms. Gone are your friends from your ready-made peer group, who are just as invested in your success as you are in theirs.
Much of the time the service spends its time intruding upon your life outside the normal duty hours. It’s almost always incredibly annoying. And the enforced close conditions with others can be wearing. But on the other hand, if you stick a group of 18-20 year old men together 24 hours a day, bonds of friendship, or at least shared purpose, are bound to develop.
But I suspect that the main contributor to troubled adjustment to civilian life is something else entirely, and rarely is it because of battle trauma. Rather, when Veterans leave military service, many of them, like me, are leaving the most cohesive and helpful social network they’ve ever experienced. And that hurts. Most recent Veterans aren’t suffering because they remember what was bad. They’re suffering because they miss what was good.
Of course, many Veterans just power through and do fine. Veterans on average have better health and earn more money than the average American. But others fall short of their potential, simply because they’re missing something, and they can’t tell what it is.
I remember that same sense of loss when I got out to go to college. I struggled to make friends with dorm residents and classmates. The shift from working toward a unit mission to a pursuit purely of the self was disorienting.
It’s a cliché that people will say the strongest friendships they’ve ever formed were those in the service. But there’s a reason that cliché has evolved.
What say you?
This one’s been making the rounds. Seems legit.