Category Archives: ARMY TRAINING

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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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.

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Fleet’s oldest deployable warship nears retirement | Navy Times |

The fleet’s oldest deployable warship is nearing its goodbye.

The amphibious transport dock Denver returned from its final patrol in April and is set for an Aug. 14 retirement at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii after an astounding 46 years — a lifespan akin to a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier.

Denver entered the fleet in 1968. It has served nine presidents and in conflicts from Vietnam to Iraq. In April 1975, the ship’s crew aided in the evacuation of Saigon.

via Fleet’s oldest deployable warship nears retirement | Navy Times |

I’ll bet keeping the old girl going was pretty tough in the last few years. Kudos to the crew of USS Denver.



“Light on the Right:” Ditch Deployment Dodgers — The Havok Journal

“Bro, is that an O6… with no combat patch???”

The question, asked by a good friend of mine who happens to be a former Ranger NCO, was whispered to me inside a fast food restaurant just off post where we had stopped for lunch. I don’t think his tone could have been any more incredulous if he thought he had just seen Matt Best ride in on a purple unicorn while drinking a warm can of O’Doul’s and singing Michael Bisping’s praises.

The colonel in question was in ACUs, which, ironically, is the Army Combat Uniform, and was sporting a black colonel’s eagle in the center of his chest and a MEDDAC patch on his left sleeve. He wore no badges and no combat patch. It was stunning to an NCO like my friend, who had personally served multiple combat tours to Iraq and Afghanistan very early on in his career, that such a senior person had apparently never earned a combat patch by deploying even once in the 13+ years our nation has been at war.

For the uninitiated, an Army combat patch, or “shoulder sleeve insignia for wartime service,” (SSIFWTS) designates service in a combat zone, and is considered by many if not most of the men and women in the Army to be the ultimate professional credential. This is as it should be; if the mission of the Army is to fight and win our nations’ wars, then the credibility of any senior leader should be directly tied to how well he or she performed in combat conditions.

“Light on the right:” that’s not OK for a senior leader in an Army that has been at war for 13+ years.

“Light on the right:” that’s not OK for a senior leader in an Army that has been at war for 13+ years.

Only, there are still a lot of people out there who have never served in combat. I’m not talking about lieutenants fresh out of West Point or non-commissioned officers still on their first enlistment who never got a chance to deploy. I’m talking SENIOR people. Field grade officers. Chief Warrant Officers. Senior NCOs. People who have been in 10, 15, or 20 years. Guys like the O6 my friend and I encountered. Since that day at McDonald’s, I’ve noticed more and more senior people that are “light on the right” (not having a combat patch on their right sleeve). How the hell does something like this still go on, in 2014?

via “Light on the Right:” Ditch Deployment Dodgers — The Havok Journal.

There’s plenty of folks in the reserve components that might not have been called. And there’s a few special active duty types that haven’t been deployed. But for most arms and services, if you haven’t earned a combat patch, you haven’t been trying. And the author is right. That’s a good place to start culling.



Ace of Spades HQ-Obama Foreign Policy

Apart from his determination to exit Iraq, he did not run on a claim that he would completely undo American foreign policy; just that his charisma, understanding, and intelligence would permit him to handle a mainstream foreign policy better.

Is there any evidence whatsoever of this being true?

Is there one single thing he’s accomplished through his much-vaunted personal appeal?

via Ace of Spades HQ.

Well, he brought the 2016 Olympics to Chicago.

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New Military Gear Doesn’t Have to Cost a Fortune — War is Boring — Medium

I didn’t ask to be put in charge of the BRITE project. In fact, given a choice I almost certainly would have declined. The odd little system looked distinctly underwhelming—and promised to be a blip on my radar, a forgettable job to be passed off to someone else as soon as possible.

Boy was I wrong. My work on the Broadcast-Request Imagery Technology Environment—a system for sending satellite imagery to troops on the ground—changed my thinking about how we develop military gear.

Bottom line, new weaponry doesn’t have to be expensive. It doesn’t have to involve thousands of people and take years or decades to design.

via New Military Gear Doesn’t Have to Cost a Fortune — War is Boring — Medium.

The 80/20 rule. You can get 80% of the capability for 20% of the cost.

The classic example of a small focused team working on a well defined project with well defined capabilities is the A-12/SR-71 program run by Kelly Johnson in the Lockheed Skunk Works. It’s predecessor, the U-2, and the follow on project, the F-117 were all very successful, especially since they didn’t try to be all things to all people.



You too can fire an SA-11 Buk!

Someone asked me how hard it is to learn to operate the SA-11 Buk system used to shoot down MH17.

Like most Soviet era weapons, it was designed to be operated by conscripted soldiers. Admittedly, Air Defense troops tended to be selected from the brighter conscripts, and the Soviet Army used officers to supervise tasks that western armies would use an NCO for. To operate the system well, as a part of an integrated air defense plan took training and experience and judgment. But to simply learn to shoot a missile was a good deal easier.

And if you’d like to learn how, there’s a simulator for it. You can also learn to operate various other Soviet era SAMs such as the SA-2 and the SA-5.



Alaska Guardsman mauled by bear while on LandNav : This ain’t Hell, but you can see it from here

The Washington Times reports that an Alaska National Guardsman was mauled by a brown bear protecting her cubs while he was on a land navigation course on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson;

via Alaska Guardsman mauled by bear while on LandNav : This ain’t Hell, but you can see it from here.

Not The Duffel Blog. There’s critters out in the woods.

When we did land nav in Hawaii, we were issued 3 rounds of live ammo, just in case.

Jonn tells us the soldier is in stable condition and recovering.



US Says Donovian Militants Responsible For Shooting Down Malaysia Airliner


WASHINGTON, D.C. — President Barack Obama told reporters he has a “mountain of evidence” that proves militants from the Donovian People’s Army shot down Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 in the breakaway province of Gorgas, sources confirmed this morning.

The announcement came as a shock to most of the world, as many following the news after the civilian airliner was brought down initially believed it happened in eastern Ukraine, at the hands of pro-Russian separatists.

“We are deeply concerned by not only the Donovians’ lawlessness, but also their continued aggression toward their Atropian neighbors,” Obama said.

via US Says Donovian Militants Responsible For Shooting Down Malaysia Airliner.

The investigation has widened and NTSB officials are travelling to Louisiana.

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Delta Cancels All Israel Flights Over Missile Fear « CBS New York

The Federal Aviation Administration has notified all United States airlines that flights to Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion International Airport are prohibited for the next 24 hours.

The move follows a rocket landing near the airport.

The FAA issued a NOTAM, or Notice to Airman, barring the flights just after noon on Tuesday.

“The notice was issued in response to a rocket strike which landed approximately one mile from Ben Gurion International Airport on the morning of July 22, 2014. The NOTAM applies only to U.S> operators, and has no authority over foreign airlines operating to or from the airport.”

“The FAA will continue to monitor and evaluate the situation. Updated instructions will be provided to U.S. airlines as soon as conditions permit,” the FAA said in a statement.

via Delta Cancels All Israel Flights Over Missile Fear « CBS New York.

No big surprise there. While Hamas has been tossing hundreds of homemade Qassam rockets over the border for years now, it takes a much bigger rocket to reach to Tel Aviv. These are military grade weapons smuggled in from Iran.

The rocket fire itself isn’t the only risk. There’s also the theoretical risk of Iron Dome rockets being launched to intercept an attack.

In fact, the likelihood of losing a plane to either is tiny, but civil aviation likes to reduce risks whenever possible. Especially in the wake of Malaysian Air 17.

We’ll see how long this flight restriction lasts. For now, it’s only 24 hours. Hamas, seeing this reaction, will likely continue to attempt to target the airport. Shutting down commerce is something of a victory for them.

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Fore Sale – Arezzo – Think Defence

The MoD is selling one of the RLC’s Ramped Landing Craft

via Fore Sale – Arezzo – Think Defence.

You guys need to hit the tip jar a little harder so I can get this and cruise around the San Juan Islands!



Squadron Cars: The Amazingly Liveried Rides Of Air Combat Units

The modern requirements for a squadron vehicle are simple: it has to be gaudy, relatively expendable and a continuous work in progress. Most importantly it has to capture the culture and lore of the flying squadron it belongs to, no matter how outrageous.

via Squadron Cars: The Amazingly Liveried Rides Of Air Combat Units.

It was always fun seeing the Garudamobile around Oak Harbor.



Profile | Staff Sergeant Ryan Pitts | Medal of Honor Nominee | The United States Army

Profile | Staff Sergeant Ryan Pitts | Medal of Honor Nominee | The United States Army.

Staff Sergeant Ryan Pitts

hometown-Nashua, New Hampshire
enlistment date-January, 2003
military occupation (mos)-Forward Observer (13F)
unit-Chosen Company, 2nd Battalion (Airborne), 503rd Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade
deployments-Operation Enduring Freedom VI & VIII, Afghanistan

Staff Sgt. Ryan Pitts joined the Army in 2003, at the age of 17 under the delayed entry program. He attended basic training and advanced individual training at Ft. Sill, Oklahoma.

Pitts then went to the U.S. Army Airborne School at Fort Benning, Ga., before being assigned as a radio telephone operator for the 4th Battalion, 319th Field Artillery Regiment and 173rd Airborne Brigade at Camp Ederle, Italy from 2004-2005. He remained headquartered at Camp Ederle as part of the 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment, 173rd Abn. Bde. from 2006 to 2009.

While assigned to the 173rd, Pitts deployed twice to Afghanistan. His first deployment in 2005 lasted 12 months. His final deployment spanned 15 months beginning in 2007. Pitts departed the active-duty Army in 2009.

His civilian education includes a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business from the University of New Hampshire at Manchester. He currently resides in Nashua, New Hampshire where he is in business development for the computer software industry.

His military education includes the U.S. Army Airborne School, U.S. Army Pathfinder Course, and the Warrior Leader Course.

Staff Sergeant Pitt’s awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal w/ “V” Device, Purple Heart, Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal w/ “V” Device and three Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters, Army Achievement Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal with Bronze Clasp and two Loops, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal with Two Campaign Stars, Global War on Terrorism Medal, Noncommissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon with Numeral “4″, NATO Medal, Presidential Unit Citation, Valorous Unit Award, Combat Action Badge, Pathfinder Badge and Parachutist Badge.



The Right Way, The Wrong Way, The CGSC Way

Via Comrade Arthur

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Obama: focus in Gaza conflict must be on ceasefire | Reuters

(Reuters) – President Barack Obama repeated on Monday that Israel had the right to defend itself against rocket attacks from Hamas militants but said he had serious concerns about the growing number of civilian casualties resulting from the conflict.

“We have serious concerns about the rising number of Palestinian civilian deaths and the loss of Israeli lives, and that is why it now has to be our focus and the focus of the international community to bring about a ceasefire that ends the fighting and that can stop the deaths of innocent civilians,” he told reporters at the White House.

via Obama: focus in Gaza conflict must be on ceasefire | Reuters.

Israel would do well to ignore President Obama (as so much of the rest of the world does).

A cease fire gains Israel nothing.

As usual, the only time calls for a cease fire arise are when Israel responds to attack.

And for those on the left that “genocide” and “war crimes,” where is your outrage against the Hamas war crimes?  For that matter, where are your protests against ISIS and the dozens of other Islamic terror groups that slaughter Muslims in numbers that make the casualties in Gaza look like a church picnic?

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AIRSHOW-Carrier test with extra EA-18G jets went well -U.S. Navy | Reuters

The U.S. Navy said it was pleased with the results of a test that put three extra Boeing Co EA-18G electronic attack jets on the deck of an aircraft carrier in late May and early June, an exercise that could underpin future orders of the jets.

“The exercise went very well. We gained a deeper understanding of the incredible value of the EA-18G Growler and how to best employ its capability, and increased capacity, from the flight deck of our aircraft carrier,” said Commander Jeannie Groeneveld, spokeswoman for the U.S. Pacific Fleet’s naval air force.

Groeneveld said the Navy was still reviewing lessons learned from the exercise, which took place aboard the USS Carl Vinson off the coast of southern California. The test came at a time when Boeing is lobbying U.S. lawmakers to add orders for the planes and keep its St. Louis production line open past 2016.

via AIRSHOW-Carrier test with extra EA-18G jets went well -U.S. Navy | Reuters.

With the greatly increased numbers of effective radar guided surface to air missiles worldwide, bumping the size of EA-18G squadrons from five to eight aircraft would be a very good idea, especially given how few aircraft of all types are currently deployed on US carriers.

That’s to say nothing about the fact that virtually any US Air Force air campaign will also require support from the Navy’s Electronic Attack community.

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Articles: Ten Reasons Why I Am No Longer a Leftist

How far left was I? So far left my beloved uncle was a card-carrying member of the Communist Party in a Communist country. When I returned to his Slovak village to buy him a mass card, the priest refused to sell me one. So far left that a self-identified terrorist proposed marriage to me. So far left I was a two-time Peace Corps volunteer and I have a degree from UC Berkeley. So far left that my Teamster mother used to tell anyone who would listen that she voted for Gus Hall, Communist Party chairman, for president. I wore a button saying “Eat the Rich.” To me it wasn’t a metaphor.

I voted Republican in the last presidential election.

Below are the top ten reasons I am no longer a leftist. This is not a rigorous comparison of theories. This list is idiosyncratic, impressionistic, and intuitive. It’s an accounting of the milestones on my herky-jerky journey.

via Articles: Ten Reasons Why I Am No Longer a Leftist.

Great piece for your Sunday afternoon reading.



RIP James Garner

Legendary actor James Garner has passed at the age of 86.

This Ain’t Hell reminds us that Garner was an infantryman, twice wounded in combat.



“Houston, Tranquility Base here…”

On this day in 1969, those words spoken by Neil Armstrong traveled across some quarter million miles of space to the headsets of the Mission Control Team, and the televisions of a significant portion of humanity, signaling that the Apollo 11 Lunar Module had landed upon the surface of the moon.


To this day, the Apollo program remains, 45 years later, a stunning achievement, an effort unparalleled in terms of planning, construction, development and manufacturing. 

NASA has a fine collection of materials on the history of the Apollo program, both technical and for the layman. I’m currently reading this fine overview of the program.

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Only One US Citizen aboard MH17

We linked to a source yesterday claiming as many as 23 US citizens were killed in the shoot down of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17.

We searched repeatedly for confirmation of that number, but no other sources were forthcoming. As of this morning, it appears only one American was killed, Quinn Lucas Schansman, who held dual US and Dutch citizenship.

That in no way minimizes the enormity of the crime. But I felt obligated to update you since my previous post was inaccurate.

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Martial Law!

First, it’s “martial law.” I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen people worried about Marshall Law in the internets. What? James Arness is gonna lock you up?

The keen political observer above has been making the rounds at Facebook.

One of the major advantages of the Army buying the Stryker ICV was that it could simply be driven to and from training areas, avoiding the cost and hassle of using flatbeds or trains.



Israel puts a stopper in a tunnel

13 Hamas terrorists attempted to infiltrate Israel last night via a tunnel. As soon as they entered the tunnel, Israel blew it up.



IDF starts Gaza ground invasion | JPost | Israel News

IDF ground forces began to move into the Gaza Strip on Thursday evening, the prime minister’s office confirmed.

The purpose of the operation was to destroy the Gazan terror tunnels leading to Israel, according to a statement released by the prime minister’s office.

“Israel is committed to act to protect its citizens. The operation will continue until its goals are reached: To bring quiet to the citizens of Israel for a long period of time, and to seriously harm Hamas and other terrorist organizations’ infrastructure in the Gaza Strip,” the statement read.

via IDF starts Gaza ground invasion | JPost | Israel News.

Well, it’s not a big surprise. The only question recently has been when, not if.

And now the question becomes, how long before the US pressures Israel to stop.