Category Archives: Personal

What Sox and Jackass are Plotting for the Rest of the World

You’ve been warned.  A world where bastid cats outnumber humans six to one…..  A whole enslaved class of people whose menial tasks include cleaning litter boxes and opening cans, vacuuming up hair, cleaning cat-barf…..

They MUST be stopped!

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Filed under Personal, Sox, Uncategorized

Thank You For Your Service

Last night’s post on servers and service was actually inspired by this post from Doctrine Man over at The Pendulum.

“Thank you for your service.”

I paused momentarily at the words, and looked up from my lunch to see who was speaking. An elderly woman was reaching out to put her hand on the arm of an Army captain, with a look of sincere gratitude in her eyes. It’s a scene that plays out in every airport across the country as a thankful public expresses their appreciation to members of our Armed Forces.

It happens to us all at one time or another. For me, it tends to be a humbling experience, maybe even a little uncomfortable. This is my chosen profession, and I’ve never felt a need to be thanked for my decision. But I also recognize that for many, they need to express their gratitude for the sacrifices we make, for what we give of ourselves for our Nation. So, when I’m approached, I stop what I’m doing and take a moment to acknowledge their thanks and remind them that I also appreciate what they do to support our forces and how much it means to all of us. Courtesy is a two-way street.

Do go read the whole thing, as it is a tale of appalling behavior by not just a serviceman, but a commissioned officer, a chaplain no less!

As JoshO commented on last night’s post:

wasn’t there one of these a couple years back where the waitress made a big stink online about getting stiffed on the tip and it all turned out to be bullshit? Here’s hoping that this is something similar…

Unfortunately, DM’s post shows it is all too plausible.

Generally, when someone thanks me for my service, I reply that it was my privilege. And it was. Military service may sometimes be an obligation in America, but it is not a right. That I was fortunate enough to enlist and serve is a blessing that many will never enjoy.

What thanks does my nation owe me? Well, they paid me on the 1st and 15th of every month, provided me with housing and food, health care and dental care. The nation has granted me certain benefits through the VA and the GI Bill.

What thanks does the citizenry owe me?

None.

Now, that’s not to say I don’t appreciate when citizens take the time to either thank me personally, or veterans in general.

And I’ll certainly admit that on Veteran’s Day, when Applebee’s offers me a free meal, I gladly take them up on their offer (and I most assuredly tip the waitstaff, generally about what the meal would have cost me normally).

And there’s nothing wrong with asking if an establishment offers a discount to veterans or servicemembers.

What is wrong is thinking an establishment should offer a discount or any other preference to veterans and servicemembers.

Our troops are asked to endure a wide range of hardships, from the obvious, like going into battle and risking injury or death, to the more mundane things in garrison life that are annoying and that no civilian employer could ever dream of enforcing.

That unfortunately leads some servicemembers to think that they are special. That they are “the true 1%’ers” gives them some special place in society.

But most of us recognize the key word is “service.”  Merriam-Webster provides quite a few meanings for the word, but the one most applicable to veterans is this:

contribution to the welfare of others

We would all do well to occasionally remind ourselves that we served to support the nation, not that the nation served to support us.

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Filed under Personal

Suribachi

Four days after the bloody struggle to come ashore on Iwo Jima’s fire-swept black volcanic sand beaches, a patrol from 28th Marines was ordered to the top of the sullen volcanic lump that dominated the six square miles of sulphur and rock.  The seven-man patrol under the Executive Officer of Easy Company, 28th Marines raised a small flag.  The flag, difficult to see from the beach, was replaced by a larger one retrieved from one of the LSTs offshore supporting the landing.  Five Marines and one Navy Corpsman labored under fire to plant the larger colors into the rocky ground. The raising of the second, larger flag was captured by Joe Rosenthal, and became the most iconic and reproduced image in the history of photography.

Iwo

Many commonly believe that the raising of the flag on Mount Suribachi signaled the end of the fight for Iwo Jima.  In reality, twenty-two more days of relentless and ferocious savagery lay ahead.  It was not until 26 March 1945 that Iwo Jima was declared secured.  Of the six men who raised the flag on Suribachi, three, Sgt Mike Strank, Cpl Harlan Block, and PFC Franklin Sousley, would die on the island, along with more than 6,800 others, mostly Marines.  A fourth flag raiser, Second Class Hospital Corpsman John Bradley, was among the more than 19,000 wounded.   The man who took the motion picture footage from the same vantage as Rosenthal, Marine Combat Cameraman Bill Genaust, was later killed in one of Suribachi’s hundreds of caves.

Bradley received a Navy Cross for his actions in combat on 21 February, and Strank a Bronze Star.  Bill Genaust also received a Bronze Star.

The above movie is the approximately 20 minute production called “To the Shores of Iwo Jima”.  Well worth the time, as it is a grim and unvarnished look at the titanic struggle for Iwo.  Seldom have the words of a senior officer been so accurate, or heartfelt, as when Admiral Chester Nimitz described the fight for the island.

Uncommon Valor was a Common Virtue

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Filed under Air Force, armor, Artillery, Defense, doctrine, ducks, guns, history, infantry, leadership, logistics, marines, navy, Personal, ships, SIR!, veterans, war, weapons, World War II

Wow. Just… wow.

…with Japanese subtitles!

Oh, to have a smidge of musical talent.  But, alas.  ‘Least I can still enjoy that of others.

 

H/T

 

Drum TV/JS

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Filed under army, Around the web, history, Personal, SIR!, Uncategorized, veterans

Pass the Flask!

…before Jackass Cat finishes it.   He is already almost out of catnip.  Little doper.

005 (2)

Another excellent Christmas gift from our gracious host.  I have been remiss in not posting this earlier.  Thanks, XBRAD.  Your gift will let me stay warm inside when the wind chill is -30 (like today), or when forced to contemplate our invertebrate Chief Executive, or our eroding liberties, or our lemming-like voter base….

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Filed under army, ARMY TRAINING, budget, Cold War, infantry, logistics, marines, obama, Personal, recruiting, SIR!, Sox, Uncategorized, veterans

Government Regulation of the Internet

first-amendment

This Friday is a very big day for free speech.  It is the day in which the Federal Elections Commission once again addresses regulation of political content on the internet.  The Washington Examiner tells us:

Claiming that thousands of public comments condemning “dark money” in politics can’t be ignored, the Democrat-chaired Federal Election Commission on Wednesday appeared ready to open the door to new regulations on donors, bloggers and others who use the Internet to influence policy and campaigns.

During a broad FEC hearing to discuss a recent Supreme Court decision that eliminated some donor limits, proponents encouraged the agency to draw up new funding disclosure rules and require even third-party internet-based groups to reveal donors, a move that would extinguish a 2006 decision to keep the agency’s hands off the Internet

It was a close vote, 3-3, back in October.  The Washington Times reminds us of Democrat Ann Ravel’s plans to govern political content on the internet, including blogging and other forms of expression:

While all three GOP-backed members voted against restrictions, they were opposed by the three Democratic-backed members, including FEC Vice Chair Ann M. Ravel, who said she will lead a push next year to try to come up with new rules governing political speech on the Internet.

It would mark a major reversal for the commission, which for nearly a decade has protected the ability of individuals and interest groups to take to engage in a robust political conversation on the Internet without having to worry about registering with the government or keeping and reporting records of their expenses.

One should be most alarmed at handing ANY administration or entity of government the kind of power being considered here.  To consider giving such power to THIS administration is akin to willfully loading the Bill of Rights into a shredder.  Republican Chairman Lee Goodman summed up perfectly the impact of such an intrusion by the Federal Government back in October:

FEC Chairman Lee E. Goodman said what Ms. Ravel is proposing would require a massive bureaucracy digging into the corners of the web to police what’s posted about politics.

“I cannot imagine a regulatory regime that would put government censors on the Internet daily, culling YouTube video posts for violations of law — nothing short of a Chinese censorship board,” Mr. Goodman said.

One can wager that the objectivity of such government censorship will be on par with that of the IRS in deciding tax status of PACs, the EPA in approving or denying construction of nuclear plants, and the Justice Department in dealing with cases involving black perpetrators.

If you really believe that the push to designate broadband wireless networks as a Public Utility under Title II is really about “net neutrality” and is unrelated to the clearly-stated desire by Democrats for regulation (read: censorship) of Constitutionally-protected free speech by political opponents, you can drive to Brooklyn and walk around on the bridge you just bought.    Or you can recite a thousand times:

DSC_00035

 

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Filed under Around the web, China, history, leadership, obama, Personal, Politics, terrorism, Uncategorized, veterans, war, weapons

The Third Yeltsin Story

In this story Boris was not directly involved.

I was flying as flight escort and translator for an IL-76 carrying Yeltsins’s limos and security vehicles into NYC. Yeltsin was scheduled to speak at the UN that week.

It was late at night, we were headed into JFK. Cleared to fly the Carnousie VOR approach. The Carnousie VOR approach was a bit odd because the VOR is off the field and it has a visual segment.

These are things the Russians did not know.

As we fly over the water I’m thinking, ‘Hmm, we just fucked up. Shouldn’t we be turning left to follow the breakers?’

I look at the Captain’s Nav Display, it shows us on course.

I look up at the nav radios. They are tuned to the JFK VOR, which is NOT the NAVAID that the approach is based off of.

I’m trying to explain this to the crew: yes, you’re on course, but you’ve got the wrong navaid tuned. Just then all of Yeltsin’s secret service guys barge into the cockpit.

‘Piotr, где статуя свободы?’

Uh, where is the statue of freedom? Trying to translate…Crap. Just realized they were looking for the Statue of Liberty.

And it just passed off our right wing.

And I was looking up at the torch, that’s how low we were.

Actual radio transmission from JFK tower: Aeroflot, where are you going?

Captain: We are on course!

Phat: No you’re not! You’re flying the wrong approach with the wrong navaid tuned!

JFK tower: Aeroflot, do you have the airport in sight?

Captain: Airport in sight!

JFK tower: Aeroflot, you are cleared to land on ANY runway at John F. Kennedy International Airport.

Secret Service guys: So we just passed the Statue of Freedom?

Phat: Facepalm.

I called the tower after we landed, expecting to get a lot of grief.

The ATC controllers said, don’t worry about it, it’s a diplomatic flight and we can’t do anything about those.

Just as I was getting ready to hang up the tower controller said,, «we could hear you in the background and it sounded like you were having a worse day than us!»

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Filed under Air Force, anthropology, ARMY TRAINING, Humor, Personal, planes, Politics