Don’t give it away. Just say “got it.”
Is anyone NOT seeing it? If not, say “help.”
Don’t give it away. Just say “got it.”
Is anyone NOT seeing it? If not, say “help.”
The 1st Battalion, 227 Aviation Regiment has a long proud history. Former member, and long time friend of the blog, Outlaw 13 collaborated with several others, and international film and television star Nick Searcy, to produce a great tribute to the unit. It’s well worth your time.
One cannot think back to the last thing that the Obama Administration nor any of its appointed officials have said about Benghazi, the IRS scandal, or the illegal subpoena of Associated Press phone records that has had even a shred of truth.
About Benghazi, Hillary Clinton lied. She knew it was a terrorist attack when she talked about some internet video being the cause of a spontaneous demonstration that turned violent. Hillary also knew it was her State Department, and not intelligence entities, that changed the talking points into a pack of lies. Susan Rice lied by repeating those talking points when she knew they were untrue several days after the tragedy. Barack Obama lied when he claimed he had called the Benghazi attack “terrorism”. He very pointedly did no such thing, and apparently believes us lazy enough to not remember what he said, or stupid enough to make us think we didn’t understand his words.
The IRS scandal keeps growing, as well. Despite assurances at the time that no such targeting of political opponents took place, it was widespread. Not only that but even as the assurances were being given, high level White House and IRS officials knew that targeting was happening. The tale that it was a few “low-level employees in Cincinnati” was a deliberate fabrication. So when President Obama tells us he heard about it on the news like everyone else, he is either an imbecile, or he is lying. Since he considers himself smart enough to lecture us on Naval strategy during a debate, I will have to choose the latter.
Now, new revelations that the illegal, secret, unconstitutional subpoena of Associated Press phone records is much broader than we were first told. Attorney General Eric Holder’s Justice Department has been nothing short of a criminal enterprise, with this episode yet another in a long list of violations of his oath, and of the law. (Fast and Furious, New Black Panthers) His Deputy Attorney General is also complicit. James Cole has been caught in a lie. The extent of the subpoenas is far greater than we were told. Another deliberate falsehood. Resignation is not sufficient. Eric Holder is a criminal and should be behind bars.
There has been nothing that can be believed that has come out from this Administration in this first few months of a second term. Worse, he has two people who are willing unconditionally to sell their honor and trumpet the deliberate falsehoods of this presidency. One is a spineless political sycophant. The other is Jay Carney.
The Obama apologists will cling to their ideas that this is either not important, or the result of some kind of media/right-wing persecution of their Dear Leader. That the IRS scandal, the subpoenas, and Benghazi weren’t stonewalled and obfuscated until Obama was safely re-elected. Those who assert such, and claim anyone criticizing Barack Obama (don’t be hatin’ on Brother Barack!) is either parroting Fox News or is somehow a racist are intellectually bankrupt, and seemingly incapable of serious discussion regarding the malevolence of this Administration and its statist command-economy secular socialism.
Just as a reminder, this is the Administration that wants to control dispensing of our medical care. That believes that it is a government responsibility to care for our children. That believes a secret star chamber of “informed government officials” determining the grounds for assassinating Americans without criminal charges, a trial by a jury of one’s peers, or conviction in court constitutes “due process” and is a legitimate power of government. This is the Administration that wants us to surrender our firearms, our last redress against the tyranny of government, and tells us it is for our safety and protection.
And a President that tells a commencement class not to listen to voices that tell them that tyranny is around every corner. Small wonder.
Did I mention Fast and Furious, above? Well, seems DoJ was going great guns, pun intended, to discredit the one who blew the whistle on Holder’s criminal activity:
The former U.S. Attorney for Arizona could be disbarred, after an investigation found he lied to the Justice Department about his role in trying to discredit the federal whistle-blower who exposed the botched gun-running scheme known as Fast and Furious.
An Office of Inspector General report showed that Dennis Burke — the former chief of staff for Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano appointed as U.S. Attorney for Arizona by President Obama in September 2009 — lied when asked if he leaked sensitive documents to the press meant to undermine the credibility of ATF whistle-blower John Dodson.
“The report brings into question, yet again, the treatment that whistle-blowers receive from this administration,” Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, said Monday. “Instead of examining the allegations that came forward, the Justice Department almost immediately began to attack the credibility and good name of a dedicated federal agent upset with what he was ordered to do.”
I don’t agree with Chuck Grassley. There is no question whatever of the treatment that whistle-blowers receive from this Administration. They get the Chicago treatment.
When my friend Ben had to sell his house and move into assisted living, he sold some of his stuff to me, which included, among other things, a case of MRE entrees and a few full meal MREs. These have been great for camping and for Rocketboy to keep as an emergency lunch in his locker (no cafeteria at his school). But as time passed, I wondered just how long do MREs keep? There’s no expiration date on them.
From the ReadyStore website, I learned that they stamp a modified Julian date on the MRE.
This code is usually stamped on the MRE box and pouch. The location of the code can vary. The first digit represents the year, and the last three digits represent the day. So, for example, the code 7304 would mean it was manufactured on the 304th day of 2007. Sometimes other letters representing batch numbers will be appended to the date code (i.e. 7304C).
You can see on the example… that code 1172 would mean that it was manufactured in 2011 on June 20th (the 172 day of the year).
The second MRE has a manufacture code of 1348. This would translate to Dec. 13, 2011.
The third MRE would have been manufactured on Nov. 1, 2011.
Since the official longevity of an MRE is no longer than 10 years, and the modified date code makes it impossible to determine the decade of manufacture, this calculator assumes that your MREs are not 10 years old or more.
That official longevity also assumes a decent storage temperature. Stored in a cool place, MREs should last that long. But as I discovered from the Defense Logistics Agency report on “Evaluation of Temperature Stressed MREs”, things get gross quick at higher temperatures.
so I wouldn’t recommend storing them in your garage or your attic. Mine, however, have been kept at room temperature or lower, and I would assume if it looks good and smells good (well, as good as an MRE can look or smell), it should be fine. DLA posted more comparison photos here. Looks like anything with fruit won’t keep very long.
I’ve been eating the entrees on occasion for lunch at work and at home. I’m the child of two parents who grew up during the Depression, so I hate to waste food, but at the same time, I looked at that Julian date and figured they have served their purpose of being emergency food. So far, the beef roast with vegetables has been the best in taste and appearance. The meatloaf with onion gravy looked great until that last lump of fat slid out of the pouch. Mr. RFH stated that he should have kept the chicken and salsa in the pouch because it didn’t look good, but it tasted fine. Sloppy Joe, grilled beef patty, and chili with macaroni have been fine. Mr. RFH said the spaghetti was really good. The only one I’ve tossed so far was an enchilada that was packed with no sauce and just didn’t look right. I figured if they forgot the sauce, they might have forgotten something else.
A year or two ago, in discussing small infantry units, Esli mentioned that the current doctrinal emphasis of the Maneuver Center of Excellence (formerly, the Infantry School) was on making the rifle squad more lethal, more effective, more of an overmatch to the enemy equivalent.
The current US Army 9 man rifle squad* versus an enemy of comparable size has several significant advantages, and yet also faces serious disadvantages.
First, US squads tend to be better educated and better trained in infantry combat, in both the technical and tactical aspects. They are virtually never without some type of supporting fires on call, from machine gun teams and anti-armor weapons at the squad level, company and battalion level mortar fire, through brigade and higher level artillery, and even close air support.
The soldiers of the rifle squad have body armor, clothing and load bearing equipment that is far better than their opponents. Their food is healthier, and less likely to lead to illness. Their communications are generally better. His night vision devices are almost always far more capable than the enemy’s.
But the US rifle squad also has its problems…
That body armor and load bearing equipment leads to soldiers carrying loads that severely limit the mobility and agility of the squad. These same heavy loads also lead to an increase in sports type injuries. Rules of engagement often delay or prevent supporting fires from higher echelons from joining the fight in a timely manner. That healthful and nutritious food is heavy, further increasing the soldier’s load, and tying him to a logistical chain. His communications and night vision devices all require large amounts of battery power, all of which has to be manpacked.
As to weapons, frankly small arms are small arms. We can spend the next fifty years debating the relative merits of the M16/M4 family versus the AK family that have spent the last fifty years fighting one another. But neither weapon so overmatches the other as to be decisive. The same is true for any other weapons found in the rifle squad or the threat squad.
So, today we find ourselves in a situation where a US squad can pretty much hold its own with any similar sized threat. And generally, it will come out better than the enemy.
But that isn’t the goal. The goal, the desire is to be confident that virtually any time a US squad encounters an enemy formation of similar size, the US squad can fix it, fight it, finish it, hunting it down and destroying it. Today, most squad on squad engagements are not decisive- either one or the other force breaks contact and lives to fight another day.
Now, in the context I just shared with you, that sounds kinda nuts. One of the primary problems the dismounted infantry squad faces is the crushing burden of carrying the stuff they already have.
But the report does make some sense. The Army has spent untold billions designing network centric warfare capabilities the give commanders unprecedented ability to “see” the battlefield. A commander can know almost instantly where his forces are, and with support from UAVs and other intel assets, very often where enemy forces are, even before the battle is joined.
But once a squad leaves its vehicles, it is cut off from this network. Its only data stream, if you will, is voice radio. And the “bandwidth” of voice radio is awfully narrow. It is very, very difficult to transmit a clear tactical picture through words alone, especially absent the non-verbal cues humans routinely use in face to face communications. Even with standardized formats, the limits to how much information can pass from the squad to higher, or from higher down to the squad is very limited.
In the past, we’ve mentioned the possibility of using smart phones on the battlefield to increase the dismount squad’s ability to access data, rather than just voice. And there’s some hope for that. But smart phones aren’t exactly set up to run on Army tactical radio networks. Further, a smart phone is not the most ergonomic way to present information. You know it is foolhardy to text and drive. How much more foolhardy is it to text and shoot? So a more “heads up” method of presenting the information in an intuitive manner will eventually be needed.
And whatever technology comes along, it will have to weigh less than the current state of the art. And not only will it have to weigh less, its batteries will have to weigh much less.
Further, for all the advantages technology may in the future give the squad, it is not without its own burdens, even beyond simple weight. Every piece of equipment calls for maintenance and training, both of which take time. And time available for training is limited. What other training should the squad sacrifice to achieve competency in these new technologies?
Do we sacrifice time spent on marksmanship? Fire and movement? First aid? Weapons maintenance? Map reading? Sexual assault awareness and prevention training? Language and cultural training for upcoming deployments? It isn’t like there isn’t enough on the plate already.
The report also pings Big Army for spending far more money and attention on big ticket acquisition programs than on the bread and butter of everyday stuff used at the squad level. The Program Executive Officer for Command and Control technologies is a Major General. The PEO for small arms is a Colonel, who, judging by the fact he’s been there for several years, ain’t a “comer” for stars.
So what do we do? I don’t know. I’m not entirely sure, absent a far greater willingness to take casualties, we can make the rifle squad capable of decisively defeating a threat squad.
And I’m not even sure that should be the goal. The great strength of the Army, and indeed all our services, has long, long been not so much our technology, but our ability to “systemize our systems.”
In an artillery duel, the US doesn’t fight gun against gun. It pits US target acquisition, communications, fire control, guns and ammunition (as well as soldiers, doctrine, and training) against the foe. And no other nation has shown the talent for tying together these elements to effectively produce a whole far greater than the sum of their parts. I’ve used artillery here as an example, but the general rule applies across the entire armed forces. The challenge is to continue to understand that technology is a tool that enables this synchronization, and not a substitute for it.
*Marine rifle squads have thirteen members. Basically, they add an extra fire team to each squad.
This week marks VE Day, commemorating the Victory in Europe over Hitler’s Third Reich. The last and perhaps the most savage battle was for the German capital of Berlin. This from the Battlefield series, which was aired weekly on Far East Network (“Forced Entertainment Network”) when I had an artillery battery in Okinawa in 1996. The entire series is superb, and if you look, you can find most of them on line. They are also available on DVD. They contain a pretty good description of the higher tactical through the strategic picture, and have enough detail and technical stuff, but not too much.
Since the series was made, Russian archives have been explored more completely, and the number of Soviet casualties have been scaled up more than two-fold, from the 305,000 quoted in this episode, to nearly 700,000. Note the ever-present use of artillery and mortars, rockets, and field guns, even in an urban environment. The episode is 116 minutes, roughly the time one spends clicking on all of Mav’s aviation links and cool pictures and videos and stuff. So get your Eastern Front geek on, and watch it. You know you wanna.
Hardly surprising. The IAF has a long history of strikes against high value targets in neighboring countries. And even some countries way the heck and gone away.
The Navy is the focus of the article, but they’re hardly the only sinners here.
As far as I can tell, the LA Fire Department’s S-70 Firehawks are the only civil registered Sikorsky Hawk type helicopters in the US.
Almost time for the Kentucky Derby. Guess who is a favorite among veterans?
We poked fun at the Navy’s pink helicopters yesterday, but here’s a pic of one using a Bambi Bucket to help fight the wildfires ravaging Ventura County.
We’ve seen a lot of press about Chinese expansionism in the South China Sea and western Pacific. But they’re also being a tad un-neighborly toward India.
If this was a Pakistani incursion, India would be shooting already.
Have some Sox:
And have a great weekend!
KILLEEN, TX — The Army’s 1st Cavalry Division has been under fire in recent years, with soldiers claiming their obsession with obsolete uniform items — Stetson cowboy hats and spurs without rowels — make them stand out in addition to being the target of countless jokes from other service members.
More recently, the enormous and expensive patch of the unit has also drawn the ire of lawmakers after a brigade comptroller’s proposal to shrink the size of the emblem drew immediate and devastating reprisals.
But not all soldiers are so critical of the ‘First Team.’ Newly minted Trooper Specialist Ernest Whitman recently completed his change of MOS (Military Occupational Specialty), or re-class as it’s more commonly known, from the infantry into the ‘Cav.
When asked about the reason for his transition, Whitman didn’t hesitate. ”That’s easy bro, Apocalypse Now. Did you see that movie? That fucking bad-ass Stetson hat Robert Duvall was wearing. God I can’t wait to get mine! And those spurs, who wouldn’t want to wear them? I’m gonna pull so much tail it’ll be sick.”
Suddenly, Whitman stood back from the table and shouted, “I love the smell of napalm in the morning! How amazing is that line?”
I was gonna make a crack that the real clue it was satire was the fact that NO Infantryman would ever reclass to Cav.
But then, I remembered, I know someone who did. He clings to his story that his knees were the issue, but I’m not really buying it. It has to be the hat.
An interesting post over at Op-For by the redoubtable LtCol P commemorating the 150th anniversary of the famous Stonewall Jackson flank attack in the middle of the week-long battle.
While the Battle of Chancellorsville was a stunning Southern victory, and the end of General Joe Hooker’s time at the head of the Army of the Potomac, the battle was not all disaster for the Federals, nor did their soldiers fail to fight. Some fought extraordinarily well. The 240-odd Officers and men of the 115th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, fighting under Dan Sickles’ Third Corps, held the western wall of the Federal position just west of Wilderness Church, in and around Hazel Grove. The Regimental History for the 115th PA Vol. Inf. tells the story:
At daylight on the 3rd, the first line was attacked. After holding its position for an hour, it fell back on its supports. The Second line was then ordered to advance. With alacrity it sprang forward, driving the enemy, when Colonel Lancaster fell, pierced through the temple with a minie-ball, [sic] the command devolving on Major Dunne. Without faltering, the line pressed forward, recapturing the breastworks, taking four hundred prisoners and two stands of colors… The position was held against the desperate efforts to carry it…
The price, including the desperate fighting withdrawal on the 6th, was high.
The Regiment entered the battle with fourteen Officers and two-hundred thirty men; of these, Colonel Lancaster, and Captains John J. Donnelly and George Cromley were killed, and Captains Richard Dillon and Wm. A. Reilly, and Lieutenants William J. Ashe, James Malloy, and Evan Davis were wounded, the two latter mortally. Captain Dillon lost his left arm. Eight men were killed, seventy-three wounded, and twenty-two missing; an aggregate loss of one-hundred eleven.
One of those seventy-three wounded was Private C. A. Warner of D Co., who was struck in the chest by a Rebel musket ball.
Warner, C.A. Private Wounded at Chancellorsville, Va., May 3, 1863 (Pa. Archives); Tr. to Co. D, 110th Regiment, P.V., June 22, 1864 D
Surgeons could not remove it, so it remained in his chest for the remainder of his life, which was all too short. Just weeks before his son, my grandfather, was born in 1885, Christopher A. Warner died of complications from his wound. He was 43.
One of the most incredibly moving experiences I ever had was walking through the Chancellorsville Battlefield in 1986 while at the Basic School. Our 25-mile MCCRES hike was conducted there, and while 25 miles in 8 hours with a full march order is no leisure stroll, the venue was inspired. On our breaks, Park Rangers would conduct impromptu lecture on the course of the battle. I asked a Ranger at one point where the 115th PA Volunteers had fought, and he informed me that we were standing on the spot.
Knowing that I was within yards of where one of my ancestors had been wounded in the Civil War was both a thrill and a strongly compelling experience. Even after the nearly thirty years, I remember every detail of the spot, and of the few minutes spent in thought, before shouldering MY pack again and falling into the long column of men being trained for war. It is something I shall never forget.
[Update-XBrad]- Of course, for ALL your American Civil War blogging needs, be sure to check out Craig’s blog To The Sound Of The Guns. He’s devoted considerable space to Chancellorsville.
Seems it might become policy for the US Military. Unless you are Muslim. Which is fine, provided you can somehow refrain from blowing up your CO with a grenade, or shooting four dozen comrades while yelling “ALLAHU AKBAR!” And even if you do, we can conjure terms like “pre-traumatic stress” and speculate about discrimination being the cause if not the justification for such acts.
Those who believe this will end up as a “common-sense” regulation against those forcing their religion, unwelcome, upon comrades and juniors must have missed the DoD genuflecting (pun intended) to Islam, Global Warming, Diversity, Gun Control, Feminism, LGBT, and the various other “religions” that General and Flag Officers spend an inordinate amount of time proselytizing as a matter of command influence.
Could one imagine the Defense Department having ANY dealings with someone who declared sharing the Koran with fellow Muslims to be “spiritual rape” and those who do so are “enemies” of the Constitution?
The reason, perhaps, that this grates so is that it is another in a long line under this Administration, with these GOFOs, of political pandering to the far-Left, anti-Christian, anti-cleric secular progressives. With no end in sight.
But don’t worry, Marty Dempsey and your band of bended-knee political servants. Jesus loves you.
Some of the rest of us can’t stand the sight of you.
So, a little birdie passed along this quiz of great commanders of history. I did pretty well on the Civil War and World War II stuff (and more recent stuff, of course) but wow, do I suck at ancient history.
No, I’m not telling you my score.
Most armies, if you desert in wartime, you get lined up against a wall and shot. Ours? Not so much. This dirtbag faces a max of five years, and likely will get less than that.
The Army is starting to look at future helicopter programs. I have to say, using a two-ship technology demonstrator to neck down to one production program of record isn’t exactly giving me a warm fuzzy. Since that was the methodology that brought us the F-35 JSF program.
There’s nothing particularly wrong with using competing technology demonstrators. The problem came when the program treated a technology demonstrator as a prototype for an actual combat aircraft. Neither JSF demonstrator was fundamentally incapable of being developed. Both teams should have been invited to compete for the actual JSF contract. But necking down at the technology demonstrator phase, intended to spare the expense of developing two fighters, left the government with only one design, in effect, a monopoly. And we’ve seen how well that worked out.
TAH has a bunch of stuff on phony soldiers. What I find even more depressing is when a former soldier, one with a perfectly respectable career, feels the need to puff up his credentials. Keith Keeton has a pretty reasonable collection of the usual awards and accomplishments.
I think the bravest thing I ever did in the Army was to take the last donut when the 1SG was reaching for it.
Part one is a general description of the YC-15 aircraft. You can view that here. This post will detail the flight test program of the YC-15.
There were 2 YC-15 aircraft,serials 72-01875 and 72-01876. 875 was rolled on 5 August 1975. The first flight was 26 August 1975. 875 flew from the Douglas plant in Long Beach, CA to Edwards AFB. The only problem during this 2.5 hour flight was a landing gear door found to be ajar. The flight itself was therefore speed limited to 200kts at 20,000ft.
875 flew 3 times over the next 3 days, conducting general flight envelope verification and expansion tests. A further 2 weeks were conducting 7 air-worthiness flights. On 12 September, 875 moved to a Douglas Aircraft Company (DAC) test facility at Yuma, AZ.
876 flew for the first time on 5 December 1975. This flight took the aircraft from Long Beach, CA to join 875 at Yuma AZ.
The YC-15 Joint Test Force (JTF) personnel from the Air Force Flight Test Center (AFFTC), Air Force Test and Evaluation Center (AFTEC), McDonnell Douglas, Boeing (for the YC-14). The (Air Force Logistics Command (AFLC), Tactical Air Command (TAC), Army and the USMC played minor logistical roles in the flight test program. NASA also sent (short take-off and landing (STOL) engineers to analyse data gleaned in the AMST program. The core pilot cadre for the YC-15 was made up of 3 contractors, 3 AFFTC and 3 AFTEC pilots. The competing aircraft were housed in separate hangars with the JTF office between the 2 contactors. This became the model for both the ATF and JSF programs.
The consensus amongst the test pilots and crews was that the YC-15 had generally good handling qualities. The aircraft was easy to fly with the SCAS off and on. There was concern that the pilot could overload the aircraft with the SCAS off but control forces were considered light in both modes.
There was some discussion on whether or not the YC-15 should have a stick or yoke for control input. The intention was to have a “fighter-type” stick installed but there was some skepticism over it’s suitability from higher up the chain-of-command so the stick was removed. To counter, it was argued that the yoke obscured the view of the instrument panel.
The YC-15 had no natural warning upon entering the stall (i.e. vibration) so warning for the stall relied on an artificial “stick-shaker” to provide some warning within the critical angle of attack. This was judged as an inadequate solution because the shaker could activate in conditions of high thrust and flap settings when the aircraft clearly wasn’t in a stalling condition and because a high stink rate (such as during a STOL landing) could mask stalling conditions. As such, a Supplemental Stall Recognition System (SSRS) was developed and tested during the program. The SSRS provided an aural warning when the aircraft approached critical alpha during a given flight condition.
At gross weights of 149,300 the YC-15 flew STOL approaches at 87kts at a 6 degree glideslope giving a sink rate of 15.4 degrees per second. Conventional Takeoff and Landing (CTOL) approaches were normally made a 127 kts with a typical 8-12 feet per second sink rate with no flare at touch down. In STOL mode the aim-point for touch down was about 300 feet from the runway threshold . The YC-15 tested both flare and no-flare landing techniques in STOL mode. Testing at Edwards AFB showed the YC-15 was unable to land consistently in “hot-and-high” conditions in the required 2000 feet because of the slow actuation of the thrust reversers.
The thrust reversers could be used in-flight with some minor airframe buffet.
Testing the VAM, used approaches very similar to Navy carrier approaches were airspeed on approach is governed by angle of attack. The major issue was that the VAM didn’t display enough information to enable a completely “eyes-out-of-cockpit” approach.
33 STOL and CTOL off field demo landings, at Edwards, were conducted on 5000ft x 200ft runways with markers placed at 2000ft x 60ft. 5 pilots flew these tests and the YC-15s landing gear tire pressure was reduced. It was also found that the YC-15 could taxi over a 4-inch dump at 75-80kts. A unique procedures for the YC-15 during a STOL takeoff was extending the flaps from 14 to 23 degrees during the takeoff roll. Below is some archive video of STOL testing in 1975 (please pardon the music, Creed’s “Higher” just doesn’t work IMO):
During testing cracks were found in the blown flap material and fasteners had to replaced on a cracked rob. This was due to repeated exposure of hot jet exhaust. Direct Lift Control (DLC) (*see update below) was found to be effective for corrected high approach errors in the glide-slope but wasn’t effective for getting too low during approach. Flight path correction was done with a slightly high arrival at glideslope,correct with DLC, and then add thrust. Maximum DLC deflection angle was 20 degrees from flush on the upper surface of the wing. Orientation of the DLC actuation in the cockpit was a major “human factors” issue of debate among the pilots.
The YC-15 displayed docile engine out characteristics with mild crew indication 4-6 seconds after an engine out occurred. The YC-15 also was unable to meet the range requirement of 2600nm. The aircraft had more drag than predicted giving it a range of 1760nm.
I’ll be standing fast on this post for now. I’m splitting part 2 into this and an additional part detailing some of the operational and international demonstrations as well as technical improvements and further flight test results.
Cross-posted at The Lexicans.
*[UPDATE]: For reader that may not know, direct lift control (DLC) is a system of spoilers, located on the upper surface of the wing. that either differencially control roll and in unison control pitch by dumping lift from the wings. They are common to most airliners.
“I think that in many ways a line’s been crossed when we see tens of thousands of innocent people killed by a regime, but the use of chemical weapons and the danger that is poses to the international community, to neighbors of Syria, the potential of chemical weapons to get into the hands of terrorists, all of those things add increased urgency to what is already a significant security problem and humanitarian problem in the region,” Obama told reporters.
So the hundreds of thousands of innocent people being killed by a regime, the use of chemical weapons, the potential for chemical weapons to get in the hands of terrorists, ARE considerations for military intervention? Could we say as a counter, perhaps, that Bashar al-Assad poses no imminent and direct threat to the United States, or to his neighbors…and that in concert with the international community he can be contained until, in the way of all petty dictators, he falls away into the dustbin of history?
Yes, indeed we could. I am not advocating for or against intervention in Syria, though I would be curious to know whom we believe we would ally with, and whom against, and just what we could accomplish given the active opposition of Putin’s Russia (not least because of the possibility of Russian fingerprints on Syria’s chemical stockpile, and on a chemical stockpile of Iraqi origin).
It seems that President Obama’s “student union view” of the world and how it works has once again collided head-on with reality. The “game-changer” bandied about so often of late has already happened. The world, our allies, and our adversaries, will see what comes next. Will we see the Obama who condemned his predecessor for Iraq? Or the Obama whose tough talk regarding Syria is a virtual echo of that predecessor? Has he the statesmanship and foreign policy acumen to act decisively and effectively? Considering the string of diplomatic failures punctuated by the Benghazi catastrophe and the ineffectual confrontation with the DPRK, I am not terribly hopeful.
The events of this video occurred in 1999-2000. I remember the story then, but I did not know the most amazing part of the story. That the Butaritari people of that island had buried the Marine dead, had given them a warriors’ burial, is astounding and incredibly moving.
The August 1942 Makin Raid by Carlson’s 2nd Raider Bn killed a large number of Japanese on the island, but the raid was not really a success. as no prisoners were taken, and no Japanese forces diverted from the Solomons to the Gilberts. Nonetheless, the Butaritari people honored the sacrifice of those Marines, and protected their slain comrades from the hated Japanese until they were liberated in November of 1943.
(Among those on the Makin Raid was 2nd Lt Oscar Peatross, who would win a Navy Cross there. I had the honor of meeting him when I was stationed at Parris Island in the early 90s.)
Don’t be surprised to get dust in your eye while watching the video. Nineteen brave young Marines, honored by the people they died to free, and again by those they died to keep free. Semper Fidelis.
H/T to Dennis
The small armies of Australia and New Zealand, during World War I sent troops to serve with the British Army. Formed into the Australia and New Zealand Army Corps, they quickly became known as ANZACs. Soon their wartime prowess earned them the reputation as the shock troops of the British Empire.
In World War II, both nations again provided key infusions of manpower into the imperial forces, and struggled to fight campaigns alongside the United States in the Pacific to achieve their own strategic goals.
And in virtually every major US campaign since World War II, troops from the antipodean nations have served alongside our soldiers and Marines.
Both Australia, and particularly New Zealand are small countries, with small armies. But both are highly respected for their professionalism, gallantry, and heritage. And so it is appropriate that we take a moment to remember the shared sacrifices of our allied neighbors from the other hemisphere as they celebrate ANAZC Day.
In the very darkest days of the Second World War, when England stood alone, and suffered alone, Prime Minister Winston Churchill replaced his friend General Edmund Ironside, veteran of two wars, as Chief of the Imperial General Staff with General Sir John Dill. Churchill told Dill:
“We cannot afford to confine Army appointments to persons who have excited no hostile comments in their careers… This is a time to try men of force and vision, and not to be exclusively confined to those who are judged to be thoroughly safe by conventional standards.”
But for the leadership in our Armed Forces to embrace such sentiment.
Many of you may remember an article Jonn did some time ago on the proposal by the government of Iraq to award a an “Iraq Medal of Commitment“. The new medal would go to those who served in Iraq between Mar 2003 and Dec 2011.
I’m a little surprised this hasn’t come to pass yet. Though, if I recall correctly, it took years for the foreign awards from Desert Storm to come through.
I received two awards for the Liberation of Kuwait, one from the Saudi Government (and it was a rather splendiferous bauble) and a rather more restrained medal from the government of Kuwait. I think it took until almost the mid-1990s for the Kuwaiti version to be approved.
As one of the commenters at This Ain’t Hell notes, it’s not the end of the world if he doesn’t get one. But given the sacrifice made by so many Americans, it would be nice to receive some recognition from the Iraqis. I’m sure there’s a reasonable explanation for the delay, but I just don’t see how hard it is to gin up a medal, and get it approved. But then, I’ve never had a Pentagon tour.
That’s the question posed by this piece at Foreign Affairs. Sadly, it’s a premium article, so I can’t read the whole thing, just the set up. But it does raise the question. Do we still need heavy forces in an era of a “pivot to Asia?”
I’ll just note that we’ve actually spent a lot of time post-World War II fighting in Asia, and armor was important in every fight.
Plus, here’s a tank.
I think it was fair to say I wasn’t a fan of former Republican Senator Chuck Hagel being nominated as Secretary of Defense.
Having said that, he’s not totally managed to infuriate me so far. Indeed, by quashing the fatuous Distinguished Warfare Medal (ie, the Drone Medal) he’s earned a tiny bit of goodwill from me.
“Today the operational forces of the military — measured in battalions, ships, and aircraft wings — have shrunk dramatically since the Cold War era. Yet the three- and four-star command and support structures sitting atop these smaller fighting forces have stayed intact, with minor exceptions, and in some cases they are actually increasing in size and rank,” Hagel said.
The last major revision of the DoD establishment was the 1986 Goldwater-Nichols Act. Perhaps in the almost 30 years since then, the strategic picture has changed a bit.
I do think massive cuts to the overhead of the services could be instituted with little real diminishment on our true combat power. Mind you, the institutional side of the services are important. Much of the immense combat power of the US resides in our ability to “systemize systems.” But a hard look at the accretion of staffs and positions, I suspect, would show a great many that are more self-licking ice cream cones than eventual precursors to combat power.
I strongly suspect that devolving some power from the Office of Secretary of Defense (OSD) back down to the services, particularly in the area of acquisition, might streamline processes.
We shall see.
Over on the Front Porch, the ever-thoughtful Commander Salamander has some very good thoughts on an initiative by which commanders and General/Flag Officers would be subject to evaluation above and beyond what should be the considered judgment of their reporting seniors and reviewing officers. Salamander calls it “Outsourcing Leadership”, and so it is. He makes good arguments as to why such a thing should be anathema to anyone who considers him/herself worthy of high command.
While I agree with everything Sal says, I do believe very strongly that the implications are far more destructive than he points out. What this new “review” is setting the conditions for is nothing less than an evaluation of Officers in the US Armed Forces for their political and social reliability. We have had a long tradition of political non-alignment among especially our senior commanders, but also among Officers, commissioned and non-commissioned, which has largely protected us from the scourge of a military that is a social force that has its say in national politics. No Kurt Schleicher or Francisco Franco here. Our military leaders who have held office have been retired from the Armed Forces before doing so. Any test of political and social reliability was in the obverse, in that propriety was maintained by refraining from expressing personal opinions or political views in uniform, especially as a part of official duties of office.
The landscape changed dramatically in 2009, when CJCS Admiral Mike Mullen indulged in telling Congress and the American people, unsolicited, his personally-held views on repeal of DADT and open service for homosexuals in America’s military. At the time I warned of the damage of that unprofessional, arrogant, and selfish act. Soon, Mullen informed our service men and women that, unless they held the same personal beliefs he did, they were not fit to serve, and should “vote with their feet”. We were on our way down the well-greased slope.
This Administration, many of whose principles have openly and loudly expressed their disdain for our military (Hillary Clinton conspicuously among them), has spared no effort to co-opt military leadership into conforming to a political stance. Even when Stanley McChrystal was justifiably relieved, he blithely informed the American public that he had indeed personally voted for Obama, and such a revelation garnered scant attention. One has to imagine that, had he mentioned he had voted for John McCain, the howls of the Administration and its complicit “free press” would have been deafening. Rightly. But because McChrystal voted “correctly”, not a peep of of objection was heard.
The push to allow Commanding Generals to order confiscation of lawfully-owned firearms from service members in private residences has far less to do with any kind of prevention, and much more to do with General Officers falling in behind a gun control agenda that anyone in DoD is willing to admit. Violation of due process and Constitutional liberties of those who defend our freedom is scant cost for active advocating of a Leftist crusade.
In the midst of escalation of rhetoric and sabre-rattling of a nuclear North Korea and a China bullying our allies over two sets of disputed islands, the Commander of the Seventh Fleet informs us that he believes the biggest security threat in his assigned Area of Operations is…. global warming. Someone in Locklear’s position who says something so patently absurd and politically pandering should be relieved forthwith as someone who lacks the judgment and/or integrity to lead. If he doesn’t believe his own words, he is disingenuous and untrustworthy. If he does, he is an imbecile. In either event, he does not belong where he is. But, of course, he remains. He toes the line of political agenda.
Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, a political appointee, volunteers the US Navy to be a beta-tester of biofuels, at enormous expense, not least of which is the up-front cost of the fuel itself, but as yet undetermined is the cost of the damage that the corrosion and water will do to extremely expensive systems in ships and aircraft in the medium-long term. While Mabus doesn’t wear a uniform, I would speculate that nobody who does raised a single objection to SECNAV in any way, or told him how inappropriate such measures were, that it amounted to incestuous political pandering at the expense of readiness and warfighting. Not one.
When outgoing Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta fired his parting political broadside and removed the exclusion of putting women in combat arms units (the issue is NOT women in combat, and anyone honestly evaluating the situation knows that), there were loud promises from every corner that standards would not be lowered. Until CJCS General Dempsey quickly said that the would be, to accommodate making women successfully pass the training requirements.
To anyone who watches what is said and not said, all these occurrences are signposts that point in the direction of travel. This “review process” is another waypoint on that journey of the destruction of the fiber of our Armed Forces and its leadership. That same CJCS, General Marty Dempsey, is now mandating that the review program will include inspections.
The inspections will not be punitive, but will provide a “periodic opportunity for general officers and flag officers to understand whether, from an institutional perspective, we think they are inside or outside the white lines,” he said. In addition, new programs will be instituted to ensure that a commander’s staff, and a spouse, are fully aware of military regulations.
This is the Marty Dempsey who violated his oath to our Constitution on two occasions, actively criticizing the legal free expression of private citizens in direct violation of that Constitution he is sworn to support and defend against all enemies. In the Benghazi incident, Dempsey’s admonitions amounted to a deliberate falsehood, a lie, to perpetuate the lies told us by our State Department (and Hillary Clinton) that the attack on the embassy was a spontaneous one stemming from a demonstration regarding an online anti-Muslim video, when both he and SecState knew good and well their words were false. He readily and easily forfeited his integrity for his bosses. Are we now expected to believe that those “white lines” reflect the traditional role of the non-political military officer? The traditional tenets of leadership, technical and tactical proficiency, integrity, judgment, courage, decisiveness, and the others, will be pre-empted and eventually superceded by assurance of political reliability and the “correct” beliefs regarding social and political issues, and a willingness to set aside one’s honor at the behest of military and political seniors.
Why ever would we expect any different? Men (and women) in uniform who behave as political sycophants should not be trusted to lead. Certainly, Martin Dempsey has proven on several occasions not to be worthy of my trust, nor yours. Except to use these new standards of performance as a tool to remake the senior officers of our military in his image, that of a pliant servant of political masters, whose oath to the Constitution is a mere gesture. Those who conform to that mold will not be worthy of our trust, either. When the choice is between obedience to our Constitution or obedience to political bosses, why, it won’t be a choice at all.
Alles klar, Herr Kommisar?
Hardly a day goes by where I don’t find myself in disagreement with at least something from the Op-Ed pages of the NYT. Today is no exception. It’s far more rare that I find myself in agreement with the left leaning blog Lawyers, Guns, and Money. Today is an exception.
The Korean crisis has now become a strategic threat to America’s core national interests. The best option is to destroy the North Korean missile on the ground before it is launched. The United States should use a precise airstrike to render the missile and its mobile launcher inoperable.
President Obama should state clearly and forthrightly that this is an act of self-defense in response to explicit threats from North Korea and clear evidence of a prepared weapon. He should give the leaders of South Korea, Japan, China and Taiwan advance notice before acting. And he should explain that this is a limited defensive strike on a military target — an operation that poses no threat to civilians — and that America does not intend to bring about regime change. The purpose is to neutralize a clear and present danger. That is all.
China’s role in a potential war on the Korean Peninsula is hard to predict. Well then. Might as well just bomb North Korea and see what happens!
For that matter, we might just want to consult our South Korean allies on the matter, rather than just giving them advanced notice since, after all, the inevitably resulting war would take place on their turf. Seoul, the capital of South Korea, and one of the densest metroplexes on Earth, lies within easy artillery range of North Korea. I’m not entirely convinced they’d relish being plastered by thousands and thousands of artillery rounds and rockets just based on a hunch that North Korea was doing more than its usual sabre-rattling-for-aid routine.
That’s not to say I don’t take the threat of a nuclear armed North Korea seriously. Just that any serious (or even the most amateur) student of strategy in the nuclear era* knows there are more options on the table than shoot/don’t shoot, today, at this moment in time. I tend to agree with URR that willfully lying to ourselves that China is a strategic partner with a shared interest in maintaining stability on the Korean peninsula is foolish. But that doesn’t mean we can’t point out to China that a full scale crisis holds greater risks to them economically and politically than it does to us, and maybe dialing it back a bit might help. A steadfast refusal to submit to North Korean extortion for aid might be a good idea as well. And finally, if historians must weigh in on the matter, perhaps they should stick to reminding the Obama/Kerry foreign policy team of the parlous rates of returns that investing North Korean promises of good behavior in the past, when previous tantrums have been rewarded with food, fuel oil, and nuclear reactors.
*As opposed to nuclear strategy. Nuclear strategy is how to fight a nuclear war. Strategy in the nuclear era is how to avoid a nuclear war.
Army Lieutenant Colonel Don C. Faith Jr., commander of “Task Force Faith”, whose remains were identified on Wednesday, will be laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery on April 17th.
Army Lt. Col. Don C. Faith Jr. of Washington, Ind., will be buried April 17, in Arlington National Cemetery. Faith was a veteran of World War II and went on to serve in the Korean War. In late 1950, Faith’s 1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry Regiment, which was attached to the 31st Regimental Combat Team (RCT), was advancing along the eastern side of the Chosin Reservoir, in North Korea. From Nov. 27 to Dec. 1, 1950, the Chinese People’s Volunteer Forces (CPVF) encircled and attempted to overrun the U.S. position. During this series of attacks, Faith’s commander went missing, and Faith assumed command of the 31st RCT. As the battle continued, the 31st RCT, which came to be known as “Task Force Faith,” was forced to withdraw south along Route 5 to a more defensible position. During the withdrawal, Faith continuously rallied his troops, and personally led an assault on a CPVF position.
Records compiled after the battle of the Chosin Reservoir, to include eyewitness reports from survivors of the battle, indicated that Faith was seriously injured by shrapnel on Dec. 1, 1950, and subsequently died from those injuries on Dec. 2, 1950. His body was not recovered by U.S. forces at that time. Faith was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor – the United States’ highest military honor – for personal acts of exceptional valor during the battle.
LtCol Faith’s Medal of Honor citation:
Lt. Col. Faith, commanding 1st Battalion, distinguished himself conspicuously by gallantry and intrepidity in action above and beyond the call of duty in the area of the Chosin Reservoir. When the enemy launched a fanatical attack against his battalion, Lt. Col. Faith unhesitatingly exposed himself to heavy enemy fire as he moved about directing the action. When the enemy penetrated the positions, Lt. Col. Faith personally led counterattacks to restore the position. During an attack by his battalion to effect a junction with another U.S. unit, Lt. Col. Faith reconnoitered the route for, and personally directed, the first elements of his command across the ice-covered reservoir and then directed the movement of his vehicles which were loaded with wounded until all of his command had passed through the enemy fire. Having completed this he crossed the reservoir himself. Assuming command of the force his unit had joined he was given the mission of attacking to join friendly elements to the south. Lt. Col. Faith, although physically exhausted in the bitter cold, organized and launched an attack which was soon stopped by enemy fire. He ran forward under enemy small-arms and automatic weapons fire, got his men on their feet and personally led the fire attack as it blasted its way through the enemy ring. As they came to a hairpin curve, enemy fire from a roadblock again pinned the column down. Lt. Col. Faith organized a group of men and directed their attack on the enemy positions on the right flank. He then placed himself at the head of another group of men and in the face of direct enemy fire led an attack on the enemy roadblock, firing his pistol and throwing grenades. When he had reached a position approximately 30 yards from the roadblock he was mortally wounded, but continued to direct the attack until the roadblock was overrun. Throughout the 5 days of action Lt. Col. Faith gave no thought to his safety and did not spare himself. His presence each time in the position of greatest danger was an inspiration to his men. Also, the damage he personally inflicted firing from his position at the head of his men was of material assistance on several occasions. Lt. Col. Faith’s outstanding gallantry and noble self-sacrifice above and beyond the call of duty reflect the highest honor on him and are in keeping with the highest traditions of the U.S. Army.
I do pray that such sacrifice on that peninsula will not soon be required again, but should it be, that we have men like LtCol Faith in our ranks.
Rest easy, Colonel. The strife is o’er, the battle done.
At least, not when it comes to active duty troop levels.
One of my frustrations when frequenting Milblogs with a naval or air centric theme is that in tough budget times, the authors and commentariat are quick to offer up ground forces on the budget alter. “Oh, put the bulk of ground forces in the reserves!”
Well, here’s the thing. In the almost seven decades since the end of World War II, we’ve found ourselves time and again involved in manpower intensive ground combat.
Recently, retired Admiral Gary Roughead and defense analyst Kori Schake published a paper from the Brookings institution recommending that, in effect, all the looming budget cuts in DoD should come from the Army, and that the Navy and Air Force should see their funding levels maintained.
First, thanks guys, for validating the suspicion many of us harbored that AirSea Battle wasn’t a doctrine, but political maneuvering to preserve Navy/Air Force budgets. One can hardly fault a former Chief of Naval Operations for being a tad proprietary when it comes to his service’s budget.*
But to wave your hands and pronounce that henceforth, wars will be high technology affairs with little or no need for manpower intensive operations is to ignore not just the last seven decades of history, but all of history.
It would be nice if the United States could simply opt out of all messy conflicts, but it cannot. Global connectivity means that conflict in any part of the world has cascading effects. These are most intense in neighboring states or regions as combatants, refugees, money, disorder, crime, and weapons flow back and forth, but in most cases will spread even further. The recent conflict in Libya shows this contagion effect, when there is no sustainable security following the defeat of an enemy regime. In the future, major conflicts anywhere will affect the global and American economies, increasing commodity prices, disrupting the supply of goods and services, and creating uncertainty. U.S. economic growth will depend, in part, on whether the global economy is generally stable or conflict-ridden. This will make it difficult or impossible for the United States to totally avoid major conflicts (although it does not mean the U.S. will intervene militarily in every major conflict). The profusion of global diasporas will also make it politically difficult to ignore major crises or conflicts.
Now, Metz and Lovelace are not unbiased, either. They work for the Army War College at the Strategic Studies Institute. But they’re quite right that in spite of all our efforts to avoid messy operations on the ground, we seem to always end up there.
I’ll grant that one reason we tend to fight land wars is that in recent history, our naval power has been so overwhelming as to effectively preclude a naval war. And I do fully support the nation keeping a strong, forward naval presence throughout those areas of the world that hold our strategic interest. But the Navy has done poorly at managing the relatively strong support it has received. That’s not to say the Army has done much better, but before the Navy and the Air Force raid the Army’s budget, maybe they ought to consider which branch has born the brunt of the nation’s fighting for the past 70 years.
*We’d be a lot more sympathetic if his term as CNO hadn’t been such a goatrope in terms of shipbuilding.
We’ve written before about mortars being the infantry commander’s “hip pocket artillery.”* And in our Army, mortars are infantry weapons, separate from the Field Artillery. Currently, our Army fields 60mm, 81mm, and 120mm mortars.
But that doesn’t mean there aren’t larger mortars. Israel and several other countries use 160mm mortars. And the current largest mortar in service is the Russian 240mm mortar.
That’s a pretty hefty tube.
It’s odd to see a weapon that has a rotary magazine and power loading and yet the each round has to have its primary and booster charges hand applied. I mean, really? Tying the “cheeses” on with string?
Looks like some guided and rocket assisted shells in there too.
*well, Infantry, Armor and Cavalry- basically each ground maneuver battalion has its own mortars.
So, Soldier Systems Daily had an April Fool’s post about the Army ditching camouflage and going back to the simple, green uniform of yesteryear.
Apparently, so industry insiders didn’t notice the date of the post (or even the over the top post itself) and whined a little bit.
And really, I have had it in the back of my head that for the most part, it really is stupid to have camo uniforms.
The woodland pattern Battle Dress Uniform was a good, fairly cheap, serviceable uniform. It was based on the OG107 olive drab Vietnam Era jungle fatigues (which was based on the khaki WWII airborne jumpsuit).
But the Army, Marines, heck, even the Air Force and Navy have spent untold millions of dollars crafting camouflage uniforms for their members. And damn near every penny of that is a waste.
I’ll grant, for the sake of argument, that a handful of service members in the infantry and special operations forces, need a camouflage uniform.
But the vast, vast majority of people in the Army (or the Marines for that matter) could be performing their duties, in garrison, or in combat, in a plain, non-camouflage uniform. Obviously, Fobbits don’t really need camouflage. Nor, really, do tankers, artillerymen, and most other combat support jobs.
The old “pickle suit” would do just fine for most jobs, and cost less to boot.
Heck, it would be nice to be able to see someone’s rank from more than 3” away.
I’ve kind of had a suspicion that with the great increase in the cost of combat uniforms (which will only go up as new technologies are added, such as embedded blood clotting agents), eventually the Army will adopt a field/combat uniform for Infantry, and a garrison/field uniform for all other uses.
Time will tell. But I can say this, camouflage patterns on uniforms are an extremely marginal issue when it comes to the concealment of troops.