Category Archives: ARMY TRAINING

Bowe Bergdahl Charged with Desertion :

Weeks prior to the Army’s announcement on Wednesday that it would charge Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, with desertion, personnel assigned to a unit within the military’s Tampa, Florida-based Central Command headquarters read signs of bad things to come for the man they spent five years searching for in Afghanistan.

“Shortly after Bergdahl disappeared, his parents gave one of Bowe’s horseshoes to Gen. Mattis as a keepsake,” says an Army source who has knowledge of the incident.

General James Mattis, the charismatic, now-retired Marine Corps four-star, was head of Central Command at the time. “Mattis hung the horseshoe at CentCom. He put it on a wall. He hung it prominently, where everyone could see it, every day, as a constant reminder that we were searching for Bowe.”

via Bowe Bergdahl Charged with Desertion :

We don’t usually link to People Magazine,* but SKK is a long time friend of the blog, and she tells an interesting story.


*We do like to read it while waiting for our haircut at Supercuts. Gotta find Load HEAT candidates somewhere!

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Strike Fighter Shortfall: Are More Super Hornets The Answer? | Fighter Sweep

For the purposes of full disclosure, I have a duty to inform you all that I am a U.S. Navy (Reserve) F/A-18 Hornet pilot. And while some may remark of a bias because of that, please follow along and draw your own conclusions.

When I read the remarks of the current Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Jonathan Greenert, to Congress about the impending Navy strike fighter shortfall, I couldn’t help but feel that the answer is staring us right in the face: the Navy needs to buy more Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornets as a stop-gap measure until Lockheed-Martin can deliver the F-35C Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter to the fleet.

Originally designed to serve for 6,000 flight hours, the Navy and Marine Corps’ Hornet fleet is well into its prime with over 62% of the fleet already beyond 7,000 flight hours. Instead of reconstituting the fleet with newer aircraft, the Navy has gone “all in” on the Joint Strike Fighter.

via Strike Fighter Shortfall: Are More Super Hornets The Answer? | Fighter Sweep.

Jack argues for 36 more Supers. That’s a good start, but I’d really like to see a two year buy of 36 Supers each year. That covers the shortfall, covers attrition, and may even allow some of the very oldest legacy Hornets retire, all while buying just a bit of cushion for any more slippage in the F-35C program.

Seriously, the Navy has never had too many planes. And Congress is likely to be in a fairly giving mood, even in the face of very tight budgets.



Bergdahl, The Military, and Capital Punishment

SGT Bowe Bergdahl* has been charged with Desertion (Article 85 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice) , and Misbehavior Before the Enemy (Article 99 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice).

News reports such as this from the Washington Post tell us that if convicted, Bergdahl faces the possibility of life in prison. Without having seen the actual charge sheet, I’ll admit that this confuses me somewhat, as theoretically, both articles, and especially Article 99, provide for the death penalty.

Since 1942, the services have executed 160 service members. Of these, three were Air Force personnel, and the remainder were all Army personnel. The vast majority were during World War II. The last person executed under the UCMJ was John A. Bennett, in 1961, for the rape and attempted murder of a young girl in Austria.

The only execution not for murder or rape was that of Eddie Slovik, famously the only American soldier executed for Desertion during World War II.

There are currently six servicemembers facing the death penalty for convictions under the UCMJ. Four are, for want of a better term, rather garden variety spree murders. Two are rather more imfamous, Hasan K. Akbar and Nidal Hasan, both cases of “Sudden Jihad Syndrome,” if you will.

The military, while arguing against appeals in the above cases, does not currently seem to be pressing forward toward actually executing any of the above. Every death sentence under the UCMJ must be personally affirmed by the President.


*Here is an interesting aside. SGT Bergdahl was a Private First Class when he was alleged to have deserted. His promotions were automatic, under the presumption of satisfactory service, as is the norm with POW/MIA personnel. The Army now alleges that his performance was not satisfactory. Would the reduction from Sergeant to PFC be administrative, or would a conviction under the charges listed be required for reduction? Any JAG officers around?



The Royal Canadian Navy

Just a nifty little hooah video from our friends up north, showing operations well to east.

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CDR Salamander: What if we gave a war and everyone came

The future? At best, we cull the herd and let the scavengers fight over the remains of the Islamic State. Even if the Islamic State is defeated, thousands of radicalized young fighters who survive will return home to France, Germany, Britain, Australia and the USA. They will not come home in peace.

via CDR Salamander: What if we gave a war and everyone came.

For myself, in the short term, I see the defeat of ISIS as a pressing matter. In the  rather more long term, the containment of Iran is, I think, more important to our long term security.

Having said that, the bolded part of that piece from CDR Salamander will almost certainly haunt us for years to come.

Western societies are, by their nature, quite open. That inherently makes them vulnerable to some level of terrorist attack, be it as simple as driving a car into a crowd, or something rather more sophisticated.

We will have to deal with these radicalized people. But we also have to do so without losing the soul of what it means to be a free society. We’ve not done well on that front to date. We’ve already seen the reaction by Boston PD to what was, really, a rather small incident, essentially placing a major metropolitan region under house arrest.



Saudis contest Iran’s hegemony – and might just win | Asia Times

Saudi diplomacy in preparation for yesterday’s air strikes in Yemen is impressive. The Kingdom is reaching out to the Sunni world with apparent success: Pakistan, which only last week rejected any role in Yemen, is now considering a role in the Saudi-led operation against Iran-backed Houthi rebels. Pakistan is by far the largest Sunni state with a strong military and air force, and its alignment with the Saudi-led coalition is of decisive importance. Egypt has sent four warships to the Gulf of Aden to secure the southern approach to the Suez Canal, and may have deterred an Iranian naval presence. The Israel news service Aretz Sheva reports, “Senior editor of Saudi online paper Arab News, Siraj Wahab, has just tweeted that Egyptian ships forced Iranian retreat from Bab Al-Mandab strait near the Port of Aden.”

via Saudis contest Iran’s hegemony – and might just win | Asia Times.

At this point, I think the best we can hope for from our current administration is to shut up and stay away from the grown-ups at the table.

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Hezbollah’s gains in Syria have triggered concerns in Israel | Public Radio International

And that’s ringing alarm bells among Israelis.

Hezbollah is a Lebanese Shiite group, an old enemy of Israel, which came out openly in support of Syria’s president Bashar al-Assad almost two years ago. Both Assad and Hezbollah are allies of Iran, another Israeli enemy.

Hezbollah is “fighting on multiple fronts,” explains Nicholas Blanford, Beirut correspondent for the Christian Science Monitor, and author of ‘Warriors of God,’ a military history of Hezbollah. But he says Israel’s concern is focussed on one particular area — “the region [of Syria] adjacent to the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.”

“The Iranians and Hezbollah, and various other Iranian allies — Shia paramilitary groups from Iraq and even Afghanistan — are waging an offensive in southern Syria against the rebel forces there. But that’s going to put them face-to-face with Israeli troops on the Golan, which is a prospect that has filled the Israelis with some alarm.”

via Hezbollah’s gains in Syria have triggered concerns in Israel | Public Radio International.

The Golan Heights are THE dominant terrain feature in Israel. It’s unlikely Hezbollah can force them, but on the other hand, they can make continued possession of them expensive and painful. Israel cannot strategically afford to abandon them. Israel will find itself either having to absorb casualties from Hezbollah attacks, or launch an attack from the Heights against well prepared defensive positions to push Hezbollah back. Neither is a particularly attractive prospect.

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