Category Archives: army

North Vietnam Hero of Dien Bien Phu, Vo Nyugen Giap, Dead at 102

General-Giap-300x202

BBC has the news.

They called him “Red Napoleon”, and for all his brutality and callous wasteage of the lives of his forces, he was a man of considerable military genius.   He had never been formally trained in tactics, strategy, or the operational arts.  Yet, his accomplishments on the battlefield and his unmistakeable savvy in exploiting enemy weakness make him one of the great military leaders of the post-World War II 20th Century. 

He once said that the NVA and Viet Cong were never strong enough to push half a million US troops out of Vietnam.  So his objective was to break American will.  His victories, not coincidentally, remain textbook lessons for insurgents and revolutionaries the world over.  

Interestingly, it was Giap who strongly encouraged warmer relations with the United States in the mid-1990s, as the threat of a burgeoning China began to grow. 

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Filed under Afghanistan, Air Force, army, Around the web, Defense, guns, history, islam, marines, navy, Uncategorized, veterans, war

Dr. Benjamin Carson Audited by IRS After Obama Criticism

Carson

Someone say “chilling effect” on free speech?

During an interview on “The O’Reilly Factor” Wednesday, Carson says the Internal Revenue Service started looking into his real estate holdings following his comments against the White House at the National Prayer Breakfast in February.

Carson says he had never had a problem with the tax-collecting agency until he spoke out against the president.

If anyone believes Doctor Carson’s audit was coincidence, they are willfully ignorant.  I am not going to type words here to try and get them to see the truth in front of them if they cannot bring themselves to face unpleasant facts.   That comes with being an informed citizen, and a grown-up.  Those with fingers in their ears and shrieks of “racist!” and “false scandal!” on their lips are neither, but rather are blind and contemptible worshippers of a personality cult.

This administration thinks nothing of using the apparatus of government to punish political opponents.  Enemies, domestic.  And those who assist them in these actions are as guilty as they, more so if they are wearing a uniform.

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P-61 Black Widow Footage…In Color!

From the video description over at Liveleak.com:

For aviation history fans. Very rare color P-61 night fighter footage shot at the end of World War II. From the 422nd NFS operating out of Florennes, Belgium, an up close look at P-61 “No Nothin II.”
Then in the Pacific and the island of Saipan, the legendary 548th NFS P-61 “Bat Outta Hells.”
Including P-61 gun camera film showing a night attack with bombs, rockets and 20mm cannon.

Click here for the vidya.

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Protect and Serve? All I See is Bully and Intimidate.

Yet another outrage with regards to how police in this country treat citizens with contempt and disrespect.   The video below was of an incident that began with a traffic stop for a license plate violation.

The officer drew his service weapon and pointed it at the head of the man on the ground.   Neighbors were concerned enough to begin filming the debacle.  Notice how the police officer told the witnesses he “didn’t need them there”, as if they haven’t a right to be.   They were interfering not at all with the officer, but were calling the police themselves because of the erratic and dangerous conduct of the officer.

Ask yourselves if you would trust the judgment and temperament of such a police officer in a real crisis, and whether he is upholding the law or instead merely bullying using the power of his badge and gun.   True, we don’t know the entire circumstance of the incident, but it seems extremely unlikely that the officer had reason to unholster.

I have had a police officer draw his weapon on me exactly once, on a routine traffic stop in LA in the late 80s.   He held the pistol at the ready (I could see him in the side mirror), while the other officer wrote the ticket.   (There is no “routine traffic stop” in LA.)  Both officers were nice as you please, pleasant and respectful.    A marked difference from the conduct of the policeman in the video.  This Toledo police officer deserves to find himself being called “the defendant” by a judge.

In Vermont, this right-to-carry state, such a police officer may well end up looking into the muzzle of a pistol himself, and will have earned it.   If he fears for his safety, he should become an accountant.   He sure as hell shouldn’t be a cop.

But, of course,

The police department stands by Hart’s actions…

As usual, our esteemed host is correct.  The militarization of our nation’s police forces is de facto the standing army the founding fathers warned us away from.   There will be more of this, as less restraint is shown by police officers, and individual liberties are increasingly curtailed in the name of “safety” and “compliance”.

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CPT William Swenson to be presented Medal of Honor

This is for his actions in the same engagement where SGT Dakota Meyers earned his.

THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 16, 2013
President Obama to Award Medal of Honor
On October 15, 2013, President Barack Obama will award William Swenson, a former active duty Army Captain, the Medal of Honor for conspicuous gallantry. Captain Swenson will receive the Medal of Honor for his courageous actions while serving as an Embedded Trainer and Mentor of the Afghan National Security Forces with Afghan Border Police Mentor Team, 1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, during combat operations in Kunar Province, Afghanistan on September 8, 2009.
Captain Swenson will be the sixth living recipient to be awarded the Medal of Honor for actions in Iraq or Afghanistan. He and his family will join the President at the White House to commemorate his example of selfless service.
PERSONAL BACKGROUND:
Captain William D. Swenson separated from the Army on February 1, 2011 and currently resides in Seattle, Washington. He is single.
Captain Swenson was commissioned as an Army Officer upon completing Officer Candidate School on September 6, 2002. His military training and education includes: Infantry Maneuver Captains Career Course, Ranger Course, Infantry Officer Basic, Infantry Mountain Leader Advanced Marksmanship Course, Airborne, Officer Candidate School.
At the time of the September 8, 2009 combat engagement, Captain Swenson was an Embedded Trainer and Mentor of Afghan National Security Forces. His actions were performed as part of 1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry Regiment, 3rd BCT, 10th Mountain Division.
His military decorations include: Bronze Star Medal with Two Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters, Purple Heart, Army Commendation Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal with One Campaign Star, Iraq Campaign Medal with Two Campaign Stars, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon, Combat Infantryman Badge, Ranger Tab, Parachutist Badge

I stole this from John Donovan’s facebook feed. Thanks, John. John also mentions his suspicion that, for whatever reason, the Bush era DoD had a strong reluctance to consider any award of the MoH to surviving troops, whereas the Obama administration has not shown such reluctance.

Interestingly, this is the second small unit engagement that has seen the award of the MoH to two participants. Both here and the battle of COP Keating were desperate fights, and both came in for widespread criticism for the way Big Army handled the fight. I have a suspicion that the scrutiny of the fights has lead to greater documentation of the actions, which in turn raised the visibility of the participants, and led to greater supporting documentation for the awards process. Of course, in CPT Swenson’s case, the awards package was “lost” leading to a delay in the decision to make the award. That’s absolutely shameful.

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Just because you’ve been discharged doesn’t mean you don’t still have a duty.

We’ve borrowed this most excellent letter from An Enlightened Soldier.

GEN “Skinny” Wainwright had the unenviable duty of surrendering US (and Philippine) forces in the Philippines to the Japanese in World War II. He endured the rest of the war in captivity. His sense of duty led him to believe he deserved court martial for failure to accomplish his mission and save his command. Instead, when the Japanese delegation boarded the USS Missouri on September 2, 1945 to sign the articles of capitulation, GEN Wainwright stood by General of the Army MacArthur in a place of honor.

His command to his soldiers then is every bit as valid today.

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Regional Reaction Forces- Marine Mission, or does the Army want to play?

Army Times has a piece where Vice Chair of the Joint Chiefs, ADM Sandy Winnefeld, says the Army should establish similar rapid regional response units like the one the Marine Corps recently stood up in Spain. The Marine unit, a reinforced rifle company with supporting aviation, was deployed as a response to the public outcry over an ability to respond to the terrorist attack on our consulate in Benghazi a year ago.

The Army should consider establishing forward-deployed crisis-response units similar to the Marine Corps’ instead of ceding that mission entirely, a top military official said.

Adm. Sandy Winnefeld, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the crisis-response mission has taken on greater urgency in light of recent world events.

“I would say that I’d like to see the Army place more emphasis on the growth industry of the national security interest of protecting American citizens abroad; don’t yield that entirely to the Marine Corps,” he said.

The comments are unlikely to be popular in the Corps, which has claimed crisis response as its own mission. Commandant Gen. Jim Amos frequently refers to the service as the United States’ premier 9-1-1 force, and he has expressed significant interest in the Corps expanding its crisis-response capabilities in the last year.

 

Should the Army establish a similar team in support of our facilities in the Middle East or South America?

I am dubious, at best. For the Marines, deploying a reinforced rifle company with attached aviation assets is part and parcel of their business. While typically the Marines don’t deploy units smaller than a reinforced infantry battalion with aviation and logistics units as a Marine Expeditionary Unit, or MEU, while the MEU is deployed, slicing off a rifle company for a fair period of time isn’t unusual. To be sure, adding this mission to the Marine’s plate is a burden. But it is also very much a historical part of their skill set. And the Marines typically already deploy and afloat MEU to the Middle East on a continuing basis.

For the Army, such a mission is outside its typical deployment package. Outside the Special Forces community, typically the smallest element independently deployed would be the Brigade Combat Team.  Battalion and company sized elements may deploy overseas for training evolutions, but the logistics and communications for an operational deployment of an Army unit that size would call for tailoring a special task force.

Make no mistake, the Army would not be given extra funding, or establish special new companies to perform this mission. Instead, a rotation of various companies from existing BCTs would be tasked to perform the mission in rotation. So the tasked BCT would lose an integral part of its end strength not only for the length of time of the deployment, but also the time needed to train the unit for its specialized mission, and time to reintegrate it with the BCT’s training upon its return. And it wouldn’t just be a BCT impacted. A slice from a supporting Combat Aviation Brigade would also need to participate. And not just that, but if the notional rapid response force is to have a reach of more than about 200 miles, it would require air transport and support from the Air Force. Worse, Army helicopters are incapable of in-flight refueling (unlike Marine MV-22 and CH-53E helicopters).

The Marines have long had the mission of protecting US embassies and consulates. This is a mission very much in their wheelhouse. Let’s let the Army concentrate on training and executing those mission best suited for its strengths.

True story. I had a roommate in the barracks in Germany who was prior enlisted Marine. He enlisted in the Marines, wanting nothing more than to be a grunt, and deploy on a “float” to the Far East, and follow in his father’s footsteps. So what did the Marine Corps, in its infinite wisdom do? It made him an Embassy Marine, and sent him to the US Embassy in Bonn, Germany. Steve loathed Germany. He couldn’t think of a single good thing about being stationed in Germany. So when his enlistment was up, he quit the Marines, and enlisted in the Army, hoping to be stationed in Korea. The Army had about 50,000 people then in Korea, and 200,000 in Germany. So Steve found himself stationed back in Germany, only this time, at least, he was in a real Infantry unit. I know he stayed in the Army after his first enlistment. I just don’t know if he ever made it to the Far East.

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