The rest of the film then explores the catastrophic consequences of life without the entire 8999 MOS. Most of the film is seen from the perspective of Lance Corporal Karl Powers, an 0351 Assaultman who is left in charge after all the corporals and sergeants disappear to chase down a group of UA Marines who can’t be sent to the brig because no one knows how to do the paperwork.
The movie ends in a post-apocalyptic orgy of burning barracks, alcohol abuse, and Grand Theft Auto, commonly-known in the Marine Corps as a “96.”
Category Archives: marines
Originally posted 20 November 2009:
The buildings in the “regimental area” of Camp Lejeune, North Carolina are modest, post-war brick buildings that, to the visitor’s eye, look more or less alike. Yet, each of the Marine Regiments of the Second Marine Division has its own storied history and battle honors. As Captain J. W. Thomason wrote in his Great War masterpiece Fix Bayonets, these histories represent
“…traditions of things endured and things accomplished, such as Regiments hand down forever.”
There are symbols of these honors for one to see, if you know where to look. On a thousand trips past those symbols, there is one that never failed to make me pause and reflect. On the headquarters building for the 2d Marine Regiment hangs their unit crest. The crest contains only three words. They are in English and not Latin, and they are not a catch phrase nor a bold proclamation of a warrior philosophy. They are simple and stark. Across the top of the unit crest is the word “TARAWA”. And at the bottom, the grim admonition, “KEEP MOVING”.
It was 66 years ago on this date that the Second Marine Division began the assault on Betio Island, in the Tarawa Atoll. The island, roughly two thirds of the size of my college’s small campus, was the most heavily fortified beach in the world. Of the Second MarDiv, the 2nd Marine Regiment landed two battalions abreast on beaches Red 1 and Red 2. The assault began what was described as “seventy-six stark and bitter hours” of the most brutal combat of the Pacific War. More than 1,000 Marines and Sailors were killed, nearly 2,300 wounded, along with nearly 5,000 Japanese dead, in the maelstrom of heat, sand, fire, and smoke that was Betio.
Assault on Betio’s Northern beaches
Marine Dead on Beach Red 1
I will not detail the fighting for Betio here, as there are many other sources for that information. Nor will I debate whether the terrible price paid for Betio was too high. What cannot be debated is the extraordinary heroism of the Marines and Sailors who fought to secure the 1.1 square miles of baking sand and wrest it from the grasp of an entrenched, fortified, and determined enemy. The fighting was described as “utmost savagery”, and casualties among Marine officers and NCOs were extremely high. As one Marine stated, initiative and courage were absolute necessities. Corporals commanded platoons, and Staff Sergeants, companies.
Marines assault over coconut log wall on Beach Red 2
The book by the late Robert Sherrod, “Tarawa, The Story of a Battle”, is a magnificent read. Another is Eric Hammel’s “76 Hours”. Also “Utmost Savagery”, by Joe Alexander, who additionally produced the WWII commemorative “Across the Reef”, an excellent compilation of primary source material. For video, The History Channel produced a 50th anniversary documentary on the battle, titled “Death Tide at Tarawa”, in November 1993. I also highly recommend finding and watching this superb production. It is narrated by Edward Hermann, and interviews many of the battle’s veterans, including Robert Sherrod, MajGen Mike Ryan, and others, who provide chilling and inspiring commentary of the fighting and of the terrible carnage of those three days.
Master Sgt. James M. Fawcett, left and Capt. Kyle Corcoran salute Fawcett’s father’s ashes on Red Beach 1. MSgt Fawcett’s father landed on Red 1 on 20 Nov 1943.
Tarawa remains a proud and grim chapter in the battle histories of the units of the Second Marine Division. Each outfit, the 2nd, 6th, 8th, and 10th Marines, 2nd Tank Battalion, 2nd Tracks, and miscellaneous support units, fought superbly against frightful odds and a fearsome enemy. It is on the Unit Crest of the 2nd Marines, whose battalions paid the highest price for Betio, that the most poignant of those histories is remembered. Three simple words: “TARAWA; KEEP MOVING”.
Back when the History Channel used to broadcast history, the documentary “Death Tide at Tarawa” was aired on the 50th anniversary of the battle. http://shop.history.com/death-tide-at-tarawa-dvd/detail.php?p=68869 It is definitely worth the money.
We take care of our veterans. We take care of your families. Not just by saluting you on one day, once a year, but by fighting for you and your families every day of every year.
The White House and the Department of the Interior rejected a request from Rep. Steven Palazzo’s office to have World War II veterans visit the World War II memorial in Washington, the Mississippi Republican told The Daily Caller Tuesday.
From Captain John W. Thomason’s masterpiece Fix Bayonets.
Happy Birthday Marines. Semper Fidelis.
I got to thinking that, despite how much I like the little recruiting blurb, the original passage in Thomason’s book is even better. It should raise goose bumps on ANY Marine who has ever worn the Eagle, Globe, and Anchor:
And there were also a number of diverse people who ran curiously to type, with drilled shoulders and a bone-deep sunburn, and a tolerant scorn of nearly everything on earth. Their speech was flavored with navy words, and words culled from all the folk who live on the seas and the ports where our war-ships go. In easy hours their talk ran from the Tartar Wall beyond Peking to the Southern Islands down under Manila; from Portsmouth Navy Yard-New Hampshire and very cold-to obscure bush-whackings in the West Indies, where Cacao chiefs whimsically sanguinary, barefoot generals, with names like Charlemagne and Christophe, waged war according to the precepts of the French Revolution and the Cult of the Snake.
They drank the eau de vie of Haute-Marne, and reminisced on sake, and vino, and Bacardi Rum-strange drinks in strange cantinas at the far ends of the earth; and they spoke fondly of Milwaukee beer. Rifles were high and holy things to them, and they knew five-inch broadside guns. They talked patronizingly of the war, and were concerned about rations. They were the Leathernecks, the Old Timers; collected from ship’s guards and shore stations all over the earth to form the 4th Brigade of Marines, the two rifle regiments detached from the Department of the Navy by order of the President for service with the American Expeditionary Forces. They were the old breed of American regular, regarding the service as home and war as an occupation; and they transmitted their temper and character and view-point to the high-hearted volunteer mass which filled the ranks of the Marine Brigade.
Was lucky enough to sit at a table at last night’s Birthday Ball with Mac Owens and his lovely date, and a comrade from his days in 1st Bn 4th Marines and the Northern I Corps area of Vietnam. Both he and his Marine buddy had been Company Commanders with Karl Marlantes in 1/4, and both enthusiastically recommended Marlantes’ book Matterhorn. So that just moved to the top of the considerable pile making its way to the nightstand.
Seems Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega and his Sandinistas are moving to quash term limits for the office of President. He is already ruling by decree, with little restraint from any other branch of government. Funny, how a corrupt and politicized judiciary, disdain for the legislative branch, and ignoring the Constitution can lead to a Marxist dictatorship. Such an outcome occurs when a President rules instead of governing, a de facto state media is comprised of boot-licking toadies, and senior military commanders are yes-men fellow-travelers whose loyalty is to the dictator rather than the country or Constitution. It is also where political opposition is treated as a national enemy, and dissenting voices are kowtowed by the use of government force, or the threat of force, to suppress them.
The constitution article in question prohibits consecutive presidential terms but in 2010 the supreme court overturned the ban, a ruling the electoral commission said was final. The ruling allowed Ortega to run for president for a second straight term in 2011.
Gabriel Alvarez, a constitutional law expert, said the proposal would only formalise the supreme court’s decision, which Ortega’s opponents contend was illegal and made by a heavily politicised judiciary.
How long before Barack Obama thinks this is a neat idea and begins selling it to the voting public? Here’s betting he will sell it as an “American tradition”. Not mentioning, of course, that it is a tradition of Latin America. Vaminos, muchachos. We have wealth redistribution, expropriation from the Bourgeoisie, and Land Reform to inflict.
“Spelling bees are basically memory exercises,” Marino explained on the last day of the tournament. “We’re all familiar with Kim’s Games, used by our Recon and Sniper Marines, and this is basically the same thing. I thought it would be a great chance to get the Corps some publicity in an area that doesn’t involve physical activity, and show people that we have strong minds in addition to healthy bodies.”
He then watched Staff Sgt. Alex Drost, an avid runner and weight-lifter who has competed in several amateur mixed-martial arts tournaments, struggling on-stage to spell the word “radio.”
While Headquarters Marine Corps initially joked that all the spelling bee would prove is that Marines can’t spell “defeat,” they grew more alarmed when it also proved that Marines can’t spell “Marines.” After several days they ordered the contest prematurely shut down.
Once again, the Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute (DEOMI) is spouting the hackneyed and bigoted drivel of racist and grievance politics, with full endorsement of the Defense Department. Todd Starnes has the story.
“Assume racism is everywhere, everyday,” read a statement in a section titled, ‘How to be a strong ‘white ally.’”
“One of the privileges of being white is not having to see or deal with racism all the time,” the manual states. “We have to learn to see the effect that racism has.”
And it is not just bigoted drivel, but the language of Bolshevik class warfare so common in the Obama Administration:
On page 181 of the manual, the military points out that status and wealth are typically passed from generation to generation and “represent classic examples of the unearned advantages of social privilege.”
“…the unfair economic advantages and disadvantages created long ago by institutions for whites, males, Christians, etc. still affect socioeconomic privilege today,” the manual states.
DEOMI states that “full access to the resources of the club still escape the vision of equitable distribution.”
Oh, and if you’re white, you’re a racist. Don’t bother denying it.
The military also implies that white Americans may be in denial about racism.
In a section titled, “Rationalizations for Retaining Privilege and Avoiding Responsibilities,” the military lays out excuses white people use.
“Today some white people may use the tactic of denial when they say, ‘It’s a level playing field; this is a land of equal opportunity,’” the manual reads. “Some white people may be counterattacking today by saying political correctness rules the universities or they want special status.”
DEOMI points out that if “white people are unable to maintain that the atrocities are all in the past, they may switch to tactics to make a current situation seem isolated.”
The military concludes the section by urging students to “understand and learn from the history of whiteness and racism” and “support the leadership of people of color.”
As for Congressman Allan West, a black man who served in the US Army as a Lieutenant Colonel in Iraq? Not a fan.
West said he is very concerned about the training guide.
“When the president talked about fundamentally transforming the United States of America, I believe he also had a dedicated agenda of going after the United States military,” he said. “The priorities of this administration are totally whacked.”
I fear Congressman West is entirely correct. So do many others. And that Obama is weeding out those in senior ranks who disagree with his socialist-communist secular progressive agenda, using trumped-up charges and reasons, and replacing them with supplicant political lap dogs and ideological fellow travelers. The relief of General Carter Ham and RADM Gaouette certainly fit that description. Perhaps the tales of negligence and misconduct on the part of senior Officers tasked with security of our strategic deterrence (nuclear) forces point to the same reasons. How convenient for Obama, since he desires unilateral American nuclear disarmament. After all, this Administration and the President himself have few qualms about fabricating stories, obfuscating truth, and when necessary, lying outright.
Another senior retired general told TheBlaze on the condition of anonymity, because he still provide services to the government and fears possible retribution, that “they’re using the opportunity of the shrinkage of the military to get rid of people that don’t agree with them or do not toe the party line. Remember, as (former White House chief of staff) Rahm Emanuel said, never waste a crisis.”
If one group is privileged over others on the basis of something like race or religion, this institutionalizes discrimination and bigotry.
Over at Salamander’s digs, there is some spirited discussion about the next experimental transformational phantasmagorical monstrosity to be inflicted upon the sailors of the United States Navy. USS Zumwalt, DDG-1000, is now fitting out in the cold waters of the Maine coast. The Navy’s propaganda blitz for DDG-1000 continues, but I shall not enumerate all of the highly questionable “features” of the class here, only noting that a quote from the DefenseNews article caught my eye.
Sensational projections about DD(X) technical risk and cost have proved inaccurate.
Here is an image provided by uber-smart commentor Sid over at the porch. This is the “operations center” aboard Zumwalt, as conceived:
Wide-open space, crammed with electronic gizmos, computers, display screens, data lines, power cords, etc. You get the idea. Looks like NASA. Not only is this place gonna be sitting WAAAAAYYY above the water line, and will be an interesting place to be with a tumblehome hull form in heavy seas, but it is protected (?) by a bulkhead of carbon fiber, sandwiching a sheet of balsa wood. Not exactly Kruppstahl.
One cannot but wonder what the results would be of a hit by a medium caliber projectile or cruise missile warhead, causing damage much similar to what you see below, on USS San Francisco (CA-38). The 10lb plate pictured on San Francisco is many orders of magnitude more robust, by the way, than any structural material above the maindeck on Zumwalt.
The Zumwalt “operations center” would be a shambles of fried circuitry, shattered display screens, and dead and dying sailors. Technical risk? You bet your sweet a**. We would do well to study our own history from time to time. Oh, by the way, San Francisco suffered the damage as a result of combat in the littoral, off Guadalcanal.
There is a large gathering of Beirut Veterans today at the Beirut Memorial in Jacksonville, North Carolina. I am sorry I was unable to make it. Today is a day to think about the 241 men who lost their lives that Sunday morning thirty years ago. And those who survived and dug their surviving comrades from the rubble. Semper Fidelis, Marines.
***Below is a re-post from 2009***
A Blast that Still Echoes
At 0619 on a bright October morning in Beirut, Lebanon, a Mercedes pickup truck packed with explosives raced past US Marine sentries with empty weapons, sped through largely dismantled vehicle barriers, through a fence, and into the lower floor of the US Marine Barracks that held HQ Company Battalion Landing Team 1/8. The explosion, one of the largest non-nuclear detonations since the end of World War II, collapsed the barracks, killing 241 Americans (mostly Marines) and burying and wounding dozens of others.
The facts from Beirut were grim and maddening. Sentries without loaded weapons, crew-served guns with no ammo belts, lack of barriers on high-speed avenues of approach. All tactical sins, all foisted upon BLT 1/8 by those in Congress and in government concerned with “posture” and “appearances”.
Imad Mughniyeh, the alleged mastermind of the Beirut attack (where a simultaneous bombing killed 58 French soldiers) died in a car bombing in Lebanon in 2008. In the intervening 25 years, he ran rampant throughout the world, killing and terrorizing as far away as Argentina. He was responsible for the hijacking of TWA 847 in 1985, and the murder of US Navy Diver Robert Stethem, 23, a passenger on that flight. In addition, Mughniyeh was linked to the bombing of the Khobar Towers.
Some hard lessons came out of that physical, military, and diplomatic rubble. One would think that they would be with us yet. Some apparently either forgot, or never learned.
- Muslim extremist are willing to die in order to kill Americans, even when they are send to help other Muslims.
- Proper “posture” is one in which US Servicemen are allowed to defend themselves and kill the enemy.
- Restraint in pursuing and killing those responsible for such acts is seen as weakness by America’s Muslim Extremist enemies, and such encourages more and more terrorism and killing.
We learned, though. Didn’t we?
Well, the words coming from Afghanistan sound eerily familiar. Overly restrictive rules of engagement that allow the enemy to engage and disengage at will unless caught in the act of shooting at American servicemen. An admonition on the parts of General McChrystal and CJCS Admiral Mullen for US Servicemen to take “more risks” and not be so concerned about their own protection. An outpost sited on poor defensive ground and vulnerable to attack, positioned not by tactical necessity, but by political expedience. Again we hear the words “appearance” and “posture”. We see the handcuffs on our servicemen engaged in combat with an elusive and ruthless enemy.
Let’s hope we don’t hear again how US Soldiers or Marines died sleeping, or without a chance to fight back, because appearance, posture, risk, and political expedience put them in that position. On 23 October, 1983, 241 US lives were lost. If we do not remember them, and how and why they were lost, we allow those lost lives to be wasted.
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.
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.
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.
The Marine Corps has suddenly dropped criminal charges against an officer in the infamous Taliban urination video case, heading off what promised to be an embarrassing pre-trial hearing for the commandant on Wednesday.
The Washington Times has the whole sad, maddening story. Images of Marines urinating on Taliban corpses in January 2012 elicited an angry response from the White House, which prompted Marine Commandant General James Amos to allegedly jump with both Corfam shoes into ensuring that everybody involved was tried and punished.
[Waldhauser] told of a one-on-one meeting in 2012 with Gen. Amos in which the commandant said he wanted Marine defendants “crushed” via courts-martial.
The Greyhound serves an important role in Carrier On-Board Delivery (COD). COD helps to keep CVWs supplied with the various sundry items to keep it running at sea (along with VERTREP and UNREP, from helos and oilers respectively). Most importantly to those deployed CVWs they deliver the mail (because of this, it’s easily the MOST popular aircraft in the airwing).
In addition to COD, the Greyhound does special forces insertion and VIP transport to and carriers.
The Osprey is controversial because its darn expensive and having the COD Osprey lowers the per unit cost so it would make sense perhaps to buy for that role. Or maybe not:
Extending the tiltrotor’s flying distance would require the constant attention of Air Force aerial tankers, which can cost up to $10,000 per hour to operate. The V-22 is also slightly slower than the C-2, can’t fly as high because it’s unpressurized and costs more: $68 million for a new V-22 compared to an estimated $50 million for a new C-2.
We talked earlier about the proposed aerial tanker role for the Osprey. Also the Osprey did operate in a COD role for the deployed airwing on the USS Bataan during combat operations off Libya in 2011. The Osprey is a new platform and has enough flexibility to operate in an “impromptu COD” role but I think the C-2 is better suited.
The Axe piece makes for interesting reading and makes me think how flexible the Osprey platform is.
Here are some pictures from the trails with an accompanying F/A-18 Hornet:
The refueling system makes use of onboard tanks as well as a roll-on/roll-off bladder, Sparks says. The hose extends 90 ft., about 80 ft. from the end of the ramp of the MV-22. The operator must open the ramp to extend the refueling hose; once extended, the ramp is then raised back up with the top ramp door left open, Sparks says.
Depending on mission profile, the system can offload up to 12,000 lb. of fuel, Karika says.
The F/A-18 Hornet was used to test behavior at that distance below and behind the V-22. More testing with fixed and rotary winged aircraft are slated for the future.
After all, no one kicks ass without tanker gas.
Back in 2008, Congress passed a law that allows federal prosecutors to pursue cases against discharged servicemen who are alleged to have committed crimes under the UCMJ, and yet were discharged before any proceedings.
There’s some sound reasoning behind this. Let’s say a notional service member committed an offense while deployed, say murder of a foreign national, and yet managed to escape detection until he was beyond the reaches of military law. Absent an ability to try him in federal court, it’s conceivable he could get away with murder.
When the gun went off inside the trailer at a Marine outpost in Iraq in 2008, the bullet pierced the left temple of a Navy hospital corpsman who was seated on his cot, rupturing his left eye and exiting though his right cheek. He survived, but was left partly blind.
A Marine corporal who was present, Wilfredo Santiago, then 23, first told the authorities that he had heard a shot but not that it came from his own gun. About a week later, he admitted to a Navy investigator that while unloading his weapon, it accidentally discharged, copies of his statements show.
“I froze for a moment,” Corporal Santiago said, adding that he looked at the corpsman and “saw blood begin to form on the left side of his face.”
Corporal Santiago said that the corpsman, who acted as a medic for their team of Marines, which was stationed at Camp Echo and periodically rotated to the outpost, had been a close friend, and that he “would never do anything to intentionally hurt him.” He regretted not coming forward sooner with the truth, he said, adding, “I was afraid, and did not know what to do.”
The military took no action against Corporal Santiago, who was honorably discharged some months later and now lives with his wife and child in the Bronx. But last January, federal prosecutors in Manhattan had him indicted on charges of assault resulting in serious bodily injury and of lying to military investigators, all stemming from the Jan. 26, 2008, shooting of the corpsman, Michael Carpeso.
At the time of his discharge, no punitive measures were taken under the UCMJ, neither judicial nor non-judicial.*
I tend to believe the prosecution’s assertion that an administrative error lead to Santiago’s discharge without any punitive actions. In my experience, a negligent discharge of any type is grounds for some adverse action, and certainly one which sees a fellow servicemember** severely wounded and disabled. My own negligent discharge of a blank round on a training mission lead to a Summarized Article 15 (5 days extra duty, in my case). And a friend who negligently discharged 7 rounds from an M249 SAW badly wounded two other soldiers. He was sent before a General Court Martial, and sentenced to 18 months, reduction to E-1, forfeiture of all pay and allowances, and a dishonorable discharge.***
But here’s the thing. The government had its shot at Santiago. It is not his fault that the Marines dropped the ball on flagging his records (preventing him from being discharged while under investigation) or otherwise meting out some punishment to him. It isn’t like the Marines didn’t know the incident had taken place. The 2008 act by Congress was clearly not meant as a way for the state to get a second bite at the apple.
Further, a delay of five years from the incident certainly seems extreme. The government has vast resources with which to locate and interview witnesses for the prosecution, but the defense rarely has more than the barest assets with which to merely review the government’s case, let alone locate and depose witnesses for the defense. Especially, in this case, when the unit interpreter, an Iraqi national, will likely prove quite difficult to locate, let alone bring to trial as a witness.
I’m all for the vigorous prosecution of wrongdoing. That’s a keystone of a stable democratic society. But I’m even more for the concept of a fair trial, in which the vast powers of the state are constrained, and laws intended for one purpose are not imaginatively applied by zealous prosecutors for entirely different reasons (RICCO, anyone?).
What say you?
*Punishment under Article 15 of the UCMJ is handled by the unit commander, and is non-judicial in nature. That is, while it has adverse administrative effects and is often the basis for separation from the service, it does not count as a conviction, unlike a court martial.
**The Navy provides medical services to the Marines, including attaching Hospitalmen to the Fleet Marine Forces as combat corpsmen. They wear Marine uniforms, and are generally accepted by the Marines in a way no other sailors are.
***Upon review by the convening authority, his sentence was commuted to 6 months, reduction in grade to E-1, and forfeiture of pay and allowances. I forget the exact nature of his discharge, but I do recall it wasn’t a Dishonorable.
So says President Obama in reference to US military action in Syria. Problem is, he has. Two of them, actually. Whether he acknowledges so or not. Both of them are exceedingly poor ones. The first was Obama’s August 2012 ill-conceived bluster about use of chemical weapons being a “red line” for the United States. Tough talk that sounded good, at least to the untrained ear.
When it seemed that the Assad regime used chemical weapons on rebel forces, in April of 2013, Obama was caught bluffing like a teenager in a grown-up poker game. So, his second decision was to do nothing after promising “serious consequences” for such use.
Now, the rather predictably beholden news media, led by ABC News, is attempting to tell us that Obama really did not say
“…a red line for us is we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized.”
Or, if he did, that he didn’t mean to imply what his words meant.
And now, he is stuck. The Administration has “concluded” that the chemical weapons, likely Sarin (GB), which is not a gas but a liquid nerve agent, were fired by elements of the Assad regime. What evidence? Not very much. None, in fact, that would stand up to the scrutiny of 2004.
“We have concluded,” the president said, that Assad’s regime “in fact carried these out. And if that’s so, there needs to be international consequences.
“…We have looked at all the evidence and we don’t believe the opposition possessed… chemical weapons of that sort,” he continued. “We do not believe given the delivery system using rockets, that the opposition could have carried out these attacks.”
Anyone with much intelligence background would acknowledge immediately that such an assertion is utter nonsense. Following a statement from that icon of Foreign Policy, Joe Biden, that there was “no doubt” the attacks came from the Assad regime, the President uses the phrase “we don’t believe” twice in making his assertion.
In truth, neither Biden nor Obama has any way of knowing. The delivery system? Such is easy enough to acquire. In Iraq, the enemy captured or fabricated rail fairings for 122mm rockets, and for the Chinese-made 107mm variety, routinely. The capability most certainly exists in Syria. In fact, there are videos of anti-regime elements firing 122mm rockets from captured BM-21 launchers and improvised systems all over YouTube. Here are two.
So much for the Administration’s assertion on that point.
As for Assad’s chemical stockpiles, my guess is that they have been divided among dozens or even hundreds of caches, with varying levels of security around them, in order to keep Western forces from being able to secure them with special operations forces. Have the “rebels” (which include Al Qaeda in strength, and other radical Islamists) lain their hands on one or more of those stockpiles? There is no way for the US to tell. And it isn’t as if the Assad regime would volunteer the information, even if they knew.
The major point, however, is the question of why the Assad regime would resort to chemical attacks at this juncture. Regime elements are no longer hard-pressed, the Assad regime is winning. What would be the strategic purpose of facing international condemnation and risking the alienation of a very powerful ally (Putin’s Russia) to launch a chemical attack that doesn’t even accomplish a tactical objective? Assad is not a fool. He understands survival.
This is not to say conclusively that the Syrian government did NOT launch such an attack. A miscalculation borne of the weakness and vacillation of the US response the first time, a thumb in the eye of America on the heels of the empty “tough talk” of Obama, may have played into the decision. But I find that eventuality rather unlikely. Could a junior commander have fired the chemical barrage without authorization? Also a possibility, and perhaps more likely. Though I find hard-pressed and increasingly desperate anti-government forces using such weapons with the hope of being saved by outside intervention just as likely. Especially if they are egged on by an Al Qaeda presence that understands the import of the fall of Assad for the advent of yet another Radical Islamist state in a strategic region.
There are no good options, and thanks to Obama’s indiscretions regarding his “red line” comments, there now are not even neutral options, only bad ones. Yet another head-on collision with the real world for the arrogant, naive, incompetent, bumbling, indecisive ideologues in the White House and at Foggy Bottom.
And the newly-minted US Ambassador to the UN? Where was she when the emergency UN session on Syria was held? On vacation in Ireland. She did, however, “tweet” on the subject. Perhaps she even used a frowny-face icon when discussing the chemical attacks. Not yet a month on the job. Gotta wonder, how many Corporals have been recalled or had leave canceled in the last two days because of this crisis? At least Malik was absent in protest, and not in a pub in Belfast.
Our foreign policy is in shambles. Absolute shambles.
The above image was front and center on this morning’s Drudge Report. And it is telling, perhaps more so than even the folks at Drudge realize.
Such an image cannot be viewed in isolation. Bearing in mind Franklin’s warning about trading freedom for safety, one cannot but be most chagrined at the course of individual liberty during this present Administration, especially if you are not of a preferred color/gender/sexual orientation.
But the image above captures something deeper, more disturbing even than the predictable constriction of individual freedom by secular-progressives who desire a statist command-economy and all the forced equality trappings that go with it. What the image shows is a US General Officer, sworn to support and defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic, explaining how the subversion of that Constitution is helping protect us from bad people. He is, by transitive property, asserting rather unilaterally (and against the ruling of SCOTUS) that Americans have no reasonable right to privacy in their electronic communications.
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
Still ringing in my ears is the voice of Marine General James Cartwright, in full uniform, explaining how Constitutional limits on the authority of Title 10 forces represented “obstacles to mission accomplishment” which must be “overcome”, instead of those limits being bulwarks of liberty against the arbitrary and dangerous use of government/military power.
Here is where the political pliability of our senior uniformed leadership is far more than just disappointing, becoming instead a grave threat to our liberty and our Republic. The willingness of men like General Casey to insert the politically-motivated remarks about diversity in the immediate wake of a Muslim Army MAJOR killing 13 at Fort Hood (while shouting ‘Allahu Akbar!’), and CJCS Mike Mullen violating the most basic of discipline by offering his personal opinion unsolicited, while in uniform, regarding repeal of DADT, are of themselves deeply disappointing and corrosive to the credibility of both men, and that of senior leaders in general. Marine Commandant General Amos’ alleged actions in subverting the legal rights of Marines accused in high-profile misconduct is yet another example. But each is a symptom of a much larger problem.
The politicizing of our senior uniformed leadership is not a new phenomenon, but what is a far more alarming and grave situation is the willingness of these senior officers to set aside their oath to the Constitution and to the tenets of their offices in order to comply with and curry favor from their political bosses. Marty Dempsey’s shameful conduct in criticizing lawful free speech of a Veterans’ group was compounded immeasurably by his despicable actions in the Benghazi incident. He was quick to call a private American citizen and urge that citizen to refrain from lawful free expression, and did so in the execution of his office. Not only is that a blatant violation of the Constitution he is sworn to support and defend, but it was patently dishonest. Even before Dempsey made that call, he knew that his premise, the supposed video that sparked a spontaneous protest at the Consulate, was a lie. And he did it anyway, selling his soul and what shreds were left of his honor for his political masters. Worse, it seems General Dempsey was conspicuously derelict in allowing someone with virtually no Constitutional authority (Valerie Jarrett) to make decisions regarding deployment of military forces, when she likely issued the stand-down order contributing to the deaths of Ambassador Stevens and three brave Americans, and the humiliation of the United States internationally.
The Obama Administration has amply demonstrated its willingness, even eagerness, to identify political opposition as national enemies. The FBI identification of white Veterans who believe in small government and the Second Amendment as possible “domestic terrorists” happened not long after Obama entered the White House. Military exercises in which law-abiding political movements are posited as violent enemies of the state have been conducted on more than one occasion. In fact, the replacing of “Islamic extremist” with “violent extremist” has very intentionally allowed the far-left to demonize gun owners and believers in the right to keep and bear arms with that very label, “violent extremists”. The media, ideally a check to such detestable action on the part of government and its elected officials, has been all too eager and complicit in the efforts to demonize.
Not long following the Obama Administration’s Alinsky-esque demonizing of those who disagree with the socialist-progressive mantra has come the wielding of the apparatus of government to punish and persecute political opponents, and to cajole and threaten others into compliance and cooperation. The IRS scandal, in the wake of the Benghazi fabrications, is indicative of both the ruthless nature of this Administration and the dangers of unchecked government authority. Sibelius’ extorting of hundreds of millions of dollars for the support of Obamacare is another. The NSA surveillance revelations, first revealed by Edward Snowden, are unsurprisingly far more serious than we had been led to believe.
Our senior Officers, those who swore the oath to support and protect the Constitution of the Unites States against all enemies, foreign and domestic, have become politically pliable sycophants who follow unquestioningly the direction of their political masters. There may come a time when these senior Officers are faced with the moral dilemma of following orders from senior civilian (and other military) officials they know are in contravention of the law and our Constitution, or standing firm on their oath and honor to uphold that Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic. Alas, it is all too predictable which choice so many of them will make.
The men who held those posts once stood as the guardians of freedom, brave men whose moral and physical courage were to be admired. Not perfect, even sometimes badly flawed, but loyal to our Constitution and the oaths they swore. Those days, and those men, are gone. At the top of this post is photographic evidence. One more critical protection of our precious liberties has been dismantled, and replaced by yet more instruments of a dangerous Administration to increase and consolidate its hold on power. Such is the apparatus of rulers of the people, rather than government by the people. Should we lose our Republic, posterity can point to this time, and to these men, as the true beginning of the end. The shame and disgrace of those in uniform who helped it along will be eternal. And those they so desperately wanted to please will still despise and scorn them.
A while xbradtc had a post about the OV-10 Bronco undergoing eval at Pax. Both of the OV-10 Bronco aircraft were observed at Camp Pendelton today probably continuing testing for NAVAIR/Boeing.
Note that the sponsons have been added to the aircraft pictured.
Those of you who follow the exploits of the incomparable Boston Maggie likely have noticed that there has been a shift in the Boston Republican Party demographic. Suddenly, eastern Massachusetts is missing one of its half-dozen remaining GOPers. Despite once being accused of being Ted Kennedy’s left hand (“You have the right to remain silent…”), reliably conservative Maggie has moved south.
So where is the sense of humor of Clio’s on display? Well, Maggie is the Goddess of the Naval Blog Strike Force, and an avid reader of history. She has gone great guns on the Bicentennial of the War of 1812, and the involvement of her personal yacht, USS Constitution. She is an able conversationalist regarding both of the World Wars, particularly the Naval aspects, and is more than passable when talking about Korea and Vietnam. She has an interest and grasp of current military thinking, too. So where is her self-admitted weakest area? Why, the Civil War, of course.
So where is it that Boston Maggie, perhaps the consummate Yankee (with a Chaahhhlstown accent that is barely decipherable “west-a-Wisstah”) ended up? A little town twenty or so miles WSW of Staunton, VA, called Craigsville. Smack dab in the Shenandoah Valley, the breadbasket of the Confederacy. Surrounded by towns rich in Civil War history, and history predating that unpleasantness. Kernstown, and Front Royal. New Market, where a battle was fought one hundred years to the day before I was born. Harrisonburg, Lexington, Winchester, Lynchburg, and Cedar Creek. All scenes of pitched battles, fought among the lovely hamlets of the Blue Ridge and in the rolling farm fields of the valley.
Now, Maggie has no choice and no excuse, she has to immerse herself in the Civil War. I know she will. It isn’t like they won’t be able to tell where she’s from. But like so much of the South, as long as you don’t try to find a Virginia version of Ed Markey or Elizabeth Warren, they will take you as their own. Who knows? I would love to be there the first time Boston Maggie tells some nincompoop “Oh blessyahahhht!”
The picture, by the way, is of Maggie engaging in her most favoritest thing to do. Shooting!
Very sad news out of Baltimore.
Hall of Fame Defensive Tackle Artie Donovan has died at 89. Arthur Donovan Jr. was far more than a superb football player. He was a highly intelligent man, and a tremendous story-teller who would regale for hours with tales of his playing days with Unitas and Ray Berry, and with and against other giants of the National Football League.
But Donovan was more than just a colorful character with football talent. He went to Notre Dame on a football scholarship, before dropping out in 1942 to join the Marines. He served in an anti-aircraft gun crew aboard USS San Jacinto, before fighting on Okinawa, where he was wounded. He returned to college football at Boston College after the war.
Artie Donovan played for the Colts at about 275 pounds, a massive man for the times, and was nicknamed (maybe by himself) “Fatso”. He wrote a book by that title, which is eminently enjoyable from start to finish, especially if you are a football fan. His commentary for the Ravens post-game show was always something to tune into, especially when the team was awful. It was always at least as entertaining as the game. I remember his admonition that “the fans are gonna have to enjoy Testavoidie (Vinny Testaverde) now, cuz if they don’t get him an offensive line worth a damn, the guy’s gonna get KILT!” Now THAT is football analysis.
His is a generation of irrepressible characters who were also tough and brave men. They are missed more than they could ever know.
Goodbye, Fatso. Semper Fi.