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: SIR!
What formerly known as the Pritzker Military Library, (as part of it’s 10th anniversary comemoration) has changed it’s name to the Pritzker Military Museum and Library. As such, the website is now:
The name change is to reflect that the Library is in fact, more than a library.
The Museum’s mission statement from the website:
The Mission of the Pritzker Military Museum & Library is to acquire and maintain an accessible collection of materials and to develop appropriate programs focusing on the Citizen Soldier in the preservation of democracy.
Why a Military Library?
Colonel J.N. Pritzker, IL ARNG (Retired), founder of the Pritzker Military Museum & Library, assembled a major collection of books and related materials on military history, with a particular focus on the concept of the Citizen Soldier in America. Today, building upon that foundation through the generosity of private donors, the Pritzker Military Museum & Library has become a non-partisan research organization that attempts to increase the public understanding of military history and the sacrifices made by the men and women who have served.
In a democratic society, it is important for people of all viewpoints to have an open, public forum to discuss the past, present, and future of the military. Through its collection and its programs, the Museum & Library is dedicated to serving as a forum for those discussions and preserving them for future generations. Since opening in 2003, the Museum & Library has hosted more than 400 events featuring the country’s most acclaimed authors, historians, journalists, and scholars.
At the website, you can take a look at the Museum itself, take a look at some of the digitized books and art, use a searchable Library catalog, and see an overview of some of the Museum’s exhibits. There’s also an online store where some items are available for purchase. You’ll be able to see what’s going on at the Library, including author and speaker lectures. These speaker and author lectures are also available as podcasts and webcasts.
The Museum’s Veteran’s Information Center also has a wide range of resources (everything from education and employment to health care information) available for veterans and active duty military personnel.
If you happen to make it to Chicago, I encourage you to visit the Museum (I’m also a member). Admission is free for active duty personnel with an ID.
Also, make sure that you sign up for emails to get the latest on news and events at the Museum (which will also periodically appear here).
Dear Honorable Shinseki,
Good afternoon. My name is Master Sergeant Robert Thomas Bowman, I am a Veteran of 24+ years of service in the Army, and I retire in less than a month (1 October 2013). I have been involved in the VA claims process since 14 February 2013, and today (3 September 2013) I am writing you to describe to you how this process has gone for me and how I perceive the VA at this point. I will preface all my commentary by saying that despite the problems I have had, I am still one of the lucky ones. I am not physically disfigured from my service, am capable of working, and during my time in the Army I was fairly responsible with my finances and am not currently in any duress due to the VA disability compensation program and how slow things are moving. I could not imagine what it must be like for a young Soldier, Sailor, Airman, or Marine who has served multiple combat tours in service of their country, cannot work because of their disabilities, has a family, and is waiting on this process to be completed to be able to pay their bills.
Read the whole thing.
H/T Castle Argghhh! on FB.
I’ve seen SwampHeathen1 deal with the VA, waiting on the phone for nearly an hour only to be disconnected, driving two hours to Birmingham to find out that the appointment had been cancelled and “oh sorry we forgot to tell you”, and fighting red tape and bureaucratic sclerosis at every turn. The people who have served this country deserve far, far better.
“I’m gonna be an ass-clown. Straight up dude, I’m going to wear nothing but my birthday suit with a clown face on my ass. It’s going to be epic!”After he leaves Burning Man, Hagel plans on stopping by Ft. Hood to visit the troops. The secretary will eat lunch with soldiers stationed at the base, then also plans on taking them out to the strip club afterwards, drinking heavily, and trying to pull the “I’m the SECDEF bitch, let me the fuck in” card as he drives intoxicated back through the front gate.
Beats the hell out of spending travel dollars on some bullshit diversity crap.
From Foreign Policy:
Jim Mattis has signed on with Dartmouth and Stanford University’s Hoover Institution. Former Central Command commander Jim “Chaos” Mattis will not, so far as we can see, be cashing in right away. Instead, we can report this morning, he is headed to Dartmouth, where he will be a Distinguished Visitor at the John Sloan Dickey Center for International Understanding, starting in late September or early October. Dan Benjamin, the former counter-terrorism official, got to know Mattis while he was at Central Command and then asked him to Dartmouth.
Definitely some lectures I do not want to miss. Serving under General Mattis in Al Anbar in 2004 when he commanded the storied 1st Marine Division is one of the highlights of my career. His ADC? John Kelly. His Chief of Staff was Joe Dunford. A hell of a team, one the bad guys couldn’t beat.
Since XBrad doesn’t seem to have a Load HEAT post, I will step in with Kristin Chenoweth. West Wing, Pushing Daisies, Glee, and some Broadway work, and she looks nice on the red carpet.
USMC Professional Military Education has gotten a tremendous boost. Why? Tradition.
“I had junior Marines coming to me asking what an oil check was and why getting married would solve all their financial problems,” Mitchell toldThe Duffel Blog. “That’s when I realized that these Lance Corporal traditions were in danger of being lost. It’s up to us to teach a whole new generation what it means to be a Lance Criminal.”
The SgtMaj must be very proud of the results.
He then leaned out the window at his office and called over to a group of Marines in the course hanging out at the smoke pit.
“Hey Marines, don’t forget to cut the grass sometime today!”
“Fuck you, old man!” they shouted back. “Come down here and make us!”
“I had to get busted down to PFC twice before I could speak that authoritatively,” Mitchell said with a big smile,
And there is a practical side to the course, it isn’t all about customs and traditions:
“Every Marine knows the joke about using your [Honor, Courage, Commitment] cards to break into someone’s car or barracks room,” said Dalten. “Here at Lance Corporals Course we teach our Marines to be more innovative. How about placing it on the table at a restaurant like you’re paying so you can sneak out without arousing suspicion? Or stealing your friend’s, then leaving it and his fingerprints behind at a crime scene?”
“A fellow Marine was at a bar getting kind of loud and rowdy, bothering these local girls,” said Lance Corporal Terry Westerberg from Tuscon, Ariz. “But using the training I receive at Lance Corporals Course, I took out my card and showed it to him. While he was distracted by reading it, I smashed a beer bottle across his face. With him unconscious, it was much easier for me to start bothering those girls.”
It brings a tear to my eye to know that these Marines are every bit the Lance Coconuts their fathers were. Ooh-Rah, Sgt Maj. Keep up the good work. As the saying goes, if you are gonna get “bad time”, you damned sure should have a good time!
You never know what you’re going to run into at the Pritzker Military Library. I’ve been a member now for just under a year and I’m usually there weekly doing research on something for the blog.
Last night was a new member tour and I happened to run into this:
That’s Fredrick Von Stuben’s NCO “Blue Book.” Published in 1779 (I think) this is one of 3 copies in existence.
Go to Army.mil to find out the rest.
In 1779, Von Steuben’s publication, “Regulations for the Order and Discipline of the Troops of the United States,” was ready to be printed. Due to the war, however, there was a scarcity of paper. The first printer decided to bind the book with the blue paper he had on hand. This is how the book got the nickname: The Blue Book. In March of 1779, Congress endorsed it and ordered it to be used throughout the Army. Many of the state militias also adopted the Blue Book. In 1792, Washington pushed through the Uniformed Militia Act, which included the use of Von Steuben’s regulations.
Each respective owner has signed the book as it’s passed on to the next. This copy is available for viewing in the rare book room at the Pritzker Military Library in beautiful downtown Chicago, IL. There are other interesting things here in addition the huge military book collection.
XBRAD invited me to be a guest blogger here quite some time before my first effort. It took me a bit to get moving, but a year ago tomorrow I managed to hammer together my first post. This particular one is number 241. It has been a busy year, for sure. Benghazi, an election, Newtown, Benghazi again (not coincidentally, after the election), sequestration, the end of the world (Mayan scandal), the IRS scandal, the AP phone subpoena scandal, the HHS scandal, the NSA scandal, and so many others….
It is really somewhat humbling to be swimming in the same pool as folks like Roamy and Brad, and Craig, and the Padre and Mav, whose mastery of subject matter make me feel like an amateur.
I cannot tell Brad how much I appreciate his confidence that I would meaningfully add to what was already a really good thing. And how much I appreciate the readers and commenters who thought my words interesting enough to pay any attention to. I do enjoy the give and take, and always learn more from you than you do from me.
Brad’s assertion is absolutely true. If you wanna really know about something, don’t just read about it. Write about it!
So thank you Mister Host. (Bowing and scraping as I shuffle backwards from your presence.)
Oh, and I still haven’t eaten the crayons.
Our landings in the Cherbourg-Havre area have failed to gain a satisfactory foothold and I have withdrawn the troops. My decision to attack at this time and place was based upon the best information available. The troops, the air and the Navy did all that Bravery and devotion to duty could do. If any blame or fault attaches to the attempt it is mine alone.
The troops did not fail. More than 140,000 Allied soldiers came ashore at Normandy, on this day 69 years ago. The Second Front so long in the coming was established. The cost was more than ten thousand casualties, of which approximately 4,000 were killed. The same number that died in Iraq in eight years, died on the French coast in a single morning. Tens of thousands more would die before Nazi Germany surrendered unconditionally eleven months and one day later.
General Dwight Eisenhower’s famous note hearkens to a brand of leadership seemingly all but extinct today. People in positions of great responsibility shouldering the burden for their decisions and everything that is done or fails to be done by those in their charge. What difference does it make? The difference between victory and defeat, liberty and subjugation, existence and extinction.
There is nothing quite like a USMC Master Gunnery Sergeant. An E-9, but not a Sgt Major, with no place to go but sideways, a Master Guns can be ever so useful by bringing a capability to say what he thinks, and know of what he speaks. This is particularly true in some of our collective ruminations on plans for providing that ever-popular hybrid of security/humanitarian assistance to some third world hell hole where the people hate us and everything that came after the Eleventh Century, about which such discussions can be fraught with self-deception.
While listening to a brief from a COCOM staff regarding a West African nation, I had remarked that they were telling us things we already knew. The Master Guns reminded me of one of the immutable facts of life.
“The mission of a J-shop is to state the obvious.”
Well, Goldwater-Nichols was sposta clarify roles and missions. I guess it did.
‘In all three countries, physically strong males consistently pursue the self-interested position on redistribution.’
Men with low upper-body strength, on the other hand, were less likely to support their own self-interest.
No wonder why the men who seem most bent on relying on the protection of the collective instead of being the protector always seem to be milquetoasts.
It is a hell of a lot more plausible than Global Warming. So get thyself in the gym, move steel, and try not to act like Mary-Ellen Sisterpants. Bulk up or be crushed.
Navy Lieutenant Alan Wood, Communications Officer aboard LST 779, the man who provided the second and larger Iwo Jima flag raised by the patrol of 28th Marines in the war’s most iconic image, has passed away at 90.
Semper Fidelis, Lieutenant Wood. You may report into the growing formation of heroes mustering on the fantail above.
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.
Britain’s only female Prime Minister, a friend and confidant of President Ronald Reagan and a staunch US ally, has died following a stroke. She was 87.
Mrs. Thatcher held the office of Prime Minister from 1979 through 1990, and was a Conservative of immense stature at a time when Socialism was on the rise all over Europe and the British Isles. And she halted, temporarily alas, the decline of Great Britain following the Second World War. She had the courage to order the retaking of the Falklands, and understood the world of power politics in the depths of the Cold War. She was also a LADY, albeit an Iron one.
Her warnings against the EURO and the European Central Bank were cogent and prescient. But for Britain having followed her advice.
When the far-left feminists cite great women to hold political office in the modern age, they will invariably rattle off the names of the lessers, the second-rate and third-rate leaders (virtually all liberals), including our own, as their heroines. Almost NEVER is the name Margaret Thatcher mentioned, and when it is, there is either an inevitable qualifier that she was a conservative and therefor NOT a true “woman”, or a downright derogatory reference because she despised socialism and had utter contempt for the Socialists. Ponder.
French President Francois Mitterand once commented that Mrs. Thatcher had the “eyes of Caligula, and the mouth of Marilyn Monroe”. Be that as it may, she was a leader and a statesman, someone who stood unabashedly for what she believed in, and defended those beliefs with power and eloquence and unimpeachable reason. Our current crop of GOP leaders could take a lesson from Maggie.
Rest in Peace, Mrs. Thatcher. You will be missed. I sorely wish America had someone like you at the helm.
A commenter over on the porch provided a most fitting epitaph for the incomparable Mrs. Thatcher, which was spoken of Winston Churchill by Harold MacMillian upon Churchill’s final visit to the House of Commons:
“The man you have just seen leave these chambers is unique in all of British history. The oldest among us cannot remember another of his like, and the youngest among you, however long you may live, will never see his like again.”
So it is true of Margaret Thatcher.
Those of us in this somewhat focused community of MilBlog writers and readers are often asked by people who haven’t any exposure to MilBlogs, “Why do you do it? You put in a lot of time and work. What’s the point?”
It’s a fair question. Thinking of ideas, and putting together a cogent discussion starter, or historical summary, takes more time than people think. Knowing that, and being somewhat of an analysis geek (which may turn out to be a very good thing soon), I have my list of half a dozen daily reads, at least. This’n here. Salamander’s Front Porch. Ray’s Information Dissemination. OP-FOR, The Castle, and a number of other places make the list, blended with traditional news sources domestic and foreign, plus policy and analysis outfits.
Why? Well, my gracious host here gives me an outlet for expression. Like anyone with a fair-sized ego, I believe just a little bit that everyone is entitled to my opinion. But there is also the great opportunity for feedback. To hear from a mostly very educated crowd, their opinions and takes on events and occurrences domestically and in foreign affairs. But it extends into culture, literary works, certainly history, and other aspects that spark discussion.
But one of the most valuable reasons to read and write in the Military Blogosphere is to hear from people who are truly experts in their fields, who possess great wisdom, are extensively experienced, and are considered and well-spoken people. I do miss terribly reading the thoughts and musings of Lex, which was a morning staple and often provided several day-long trains of thought. And this is true of not just Bloggers, but commenters. Byron, the ugly old shipfitter, could wax authoritative about steel, and aluminum, and hull flex, and do it in a way that, perhaps over beer, I am sure I could listen intently to for hours. Grandpa Bluewater’s urbane sophistication and eloquent dissertation always is worth the consideration, whether one agrees or not. And there are others who add insight and humor, and are enjoyable to read.
Another such commenter is Steeljaw Scribe, shepherd of a superb blog of his own. I did something the last two days that I rarely do, which is to go back and re-read a comment he made in Salamander’s post of the IG investigation of Admiral Gaouette. His explanation of the dynamics of the bridge of a CVN, and the personalities and cultures that must blend and not clash if the mission is to be accomplished.
The bridge of a CVN is a unique environment that brings together two communities that normally opt to keep their distances from one another – SWOs and Aviators. That the three senior officers that regularly spend time up there (CO, XO and Navigator) are also aviators can at times, exacerbate that standoffish environment. This clash of cultures evolves from one group that is brought up in a dynamic environment and is used to rapidly changing events, making intuitive decisions and being cognizant that their butt and that of the x-number of NFOs or aircrew with them will suffer the consequences of those decisions. SWOs that typically (and note I said *typically* – there are always exceptions) come to the carrier do not come from the CRUDES environment, but from amphibs and auxiliaries and tend to be methodical if somewhat conservative and deliberative in their decision-making and watchstanding. At least that was my experience as a CVN nav. My challenge was working across that divide – to show the aviators (from watchstanders up to the XO who would go on to his first deep draft after this tour) on the one hand, how a series of events can unfold where little things not readily apparent to the eyeball can bite you (case history of the Eisenhower hitting the Spanish freighter at anchor in Hampton Roads being one of my teaching points). The flip side of that was getting the SWOs to be more anticipatory (e.g., looking to the next 2x cycles for managing sea space for downwind repositioning) as well as coming to grips with the immediacy of fixed wing operations at sea.
I know of no other vehicle by which an audience can learn, and share the insights of men and women with such experience. It is the gaining of understanding, at the end of the day, that makes all this effort worthwhile. Brad’s rules here do not include “write only what I agree with” or “water it down so it couldn’t possibly offend”. He trusts us to understand and abide by propriety, and we seem to, as do the commenters, on the whole. And that is appreciated.
So in the end, despite the trolls, and my own alarming tendency to follow links and wind up pissing away two hours looking at cool stuff, reading and writing is worth the effort. Even if the pay isn’t great.
Ninety-five years ago, on 26 March 1918, at a conference in Doullens, the Allies, the French, British, and now the Americans, finally agree to appoint an Allied Supreme Commander for the Western Front. For three and a half years, neither the British nor the French were willing to countenance placing their forces under command of a General from the other respective nation for any but the most local and temporary situations. Differences in philosophy, national pride, individual ego, and centuries-old mutual distrust (exacerbated by the very lack of coordination such a situation made inevitable) created an environment where the alliance became, at times, highly contentious and all but hostile. The result was most often a stunning lack of coordination of effort and vision that played into the hands of the Imperial German commanders, allowing them to defeat in detail discordant Allied offensive efforts that might have otherwise seriously pressed the Germans.
The Great War on the Western Front is a grim and maddening exposition of military incompetence with the most tragic of consequences. There are myriad reasons for this seemingly endless phantasm which wasted an entire generation. Elderly, ossified commanders who had neither the energy or mental flexibility to wage modern war. Weapons technology that rendered a generation of tactics (and tacticians) dangerously obsolete.
To these shortcomings and failures must be added the lack of a single overall commander to coordinate strategy, impart mediation, and provide the vision for fighting the armies of the Western Front. Unity of Command, one of the nine principles of war, did not come until very late in the day, and that under extreme and compelling conditions as the German Spring Offensive threatened to break the British 5th Army and capture Paris.
So it would be Ferdinand Foch, erstwhile Chief of Staff for Marshall Petain, who would finally, at long last, command in the West.
The argument for women at rifle battalion team level is unsound. Makes as much sense as mandating women on all-male professional contact sports teams.
Life in a rifle company is still incredibly brutal, filthy, requires enormous physical energy and upper body strength, and calls for a spirit of personal violence. There is zero personal privacy. Bodily functions take place in close proximity.
Troops are constantly injured from carrying heavy loads and crashing down hills in the dark. They dig like moles to stay alive.
Infantry units live like wild animals during periods of extended combat. Mostly it is a business of self-selected young men. Most of these combat soldiers end up in these units because they actually want to fight.
One might think there would be some additional recognition of such opinions expressed by long-time practitioners of the craft of ground combat. But alas. Objective analysis gives way to activism and some other “isms” all too often.
Pity the truthful leader who attempts to hold to standards based on realistic combat factors, and tells truth to power. Most won’t, and the others won’t survive.
(H/T to Battleland)
Of course, I am referring to Danny Dravot and Peachy Carnehan, the two former Sergeants of Her Majesty’s Fore and Fit, who set out to rule Kafiristan, and in the process become the richest men in the Empire.
Among the treasure trove of goodies from Moe Delaun that I referred to in a previous post was the magnificent epic film The Man Who Would be King, the John Huston-directed adaptation of the Kipling tale. The spectacular cinematography and beautiful (and authentic!) Edith Head costumes add to a brilliant performance by Michael Caine (Peachy) and Sean Connery (Danny), and an equally brilliant portrayal of Kipling himself by Christopher Plummer. Saeed Jaffrey plays a long-lost Gurkha trooper, the lone survivor of a survey expedition killed in an avalanche some years before.
The Man Who Would be King was the first offering last evening in the new DVD player. I last saw this movie some 35 years ago on network television, when, as a callow youth I knew Kipling only for Just So Stories, and The Jungle Book, and Rikki Tikki Tavi. But the film stayed with me, and very much was a factor in my adult appreciation of the brilliant work of that man. And last evening, I enjoyed the movie immensely, once again.
While very much faithful to the original Kipling short story, The Man Who Would Be King has a few minor changes from the written tale. All in all, though, I imagine Brother Kipling would be most pleased at the results of Huston’s direction and the performances of the cast.
If you have never seen it, or it has been a number of years, The Man Who Would Be King is must viewing. A poignant epic, with touches of charm and humor, and a revealing vision of the Empire of Victorian Britain.
The Son of God goes forth to war,
a kingly crown to gain;
his blood red banner streams afar:
who follows in his train?
Who best can drink his cup of woe,
triumphant over pain,
who patient bears his cross below,
he follows in his train.
Thanks again, Moe!!
And a wonderful insight from Billy Fish!
One of the great things about being able to write for this or any other blog is the ability to ask questions with the purpose of drawing out opinions and generating discussion amongst knowledgeable readers.
The question I pose today is the following:
In your opinion, what was the most beautiful warship ever built?
Defining “beauty” in an instrument of war may seem a contradiction, but to the denizens here and elsewhere who are either Naval enthusiasts or have been to sea on a warship, there is an instinctive reaction to the sight of a graceful and well-balanced vessel that exudes power and strength.
Beauty, also being in the eye of the beholder, still has some qualifiers on this first offering:
- The ship (for this round, at least) must be a capital ship, a fleet carrier, battleship, battle cruiser, armored cruiser, guided missile cruiser, or heavy cruiser.
- The ship must be primarily steam-powered and of steel/iron construction.
Note that neither design success nor combat record is a part of any consideration. This is not about the most effective fighting vessel, but rather the most aesthetically pleasing.
My offerings below are not at all exhaustive, and I encourage any additional input for which class or one-off ship strikes your sense of beauty. That said, one can likely easily spot some of my biases in my selections. The “clipper” or “Atlantic” bow. Funnel caps. I could think of no pre-Dreadnoughts that were beautiful ships. Amphibs, either. I offer only a single aircraft carrier class, as well. I heavily favored guns, but not exclusively. And there are a few selections that either precede or follow major rebuilds which make the vessels all but unrecognizable from their original design. Which is good in one case, bad in another.
And I selected no French battleships. They tend to be ugly affairs, with tumble-home sides and oddly-spaced machinery and funnels. Even the Dunkerques and Richeleius, while significant improvements, suffer from the truncated appearance that plagued Nelson and Rodney, which are also not on my list.
Without further ado, grouped by country, below are my considerations for the most beautiful warships ever built. Select from them, if you like, or offer your own choices.
Helgoland-class Second Generation Dreadnoughts
Hipper-class Heavy Cruisers**
Queen Elizabeth-class Super Dreadnoughts (As built)
Mikuma-class Heavy Cruisers
Maya-class Heavy Cruisers
Andrea Doria-class Battleships (post-rebuild)
Vittorio Veneto-class Battleships
Zara-class Heavy Cruisers
The United States
Lexington-class Fleet Aircraft Carriers
South Dakota-class Battleships
Des Moines-class Heavy Cruisers
California-class Nuclear Guided Missile Cruisers
Duquesne-class Heavy Cruisers
Suffern-class Heavy Cruisers
Project-68 (Sverdlov)-class Heavy Cruisers
So there you are, some suggestions for the most beautiful warships ever built. Fire away, either with the ones I provided, or offer your own ideas.
(Next round will be Light Cruisers and Destroyers.)
** Both Gneisenaus and cruiser Hipper were completed with straight stem and no funnel cap. The addition of the “clipper bow” and capped funnel was not considered a significant rebuild in either class/unit.
UPDATE and BUMPED: Now with a poll added. I’ll have to teach URR how to make one before the next round. Vote!
I was perusing the periodicals in the *ahem* adjunct library this morning, when I came across this gem from NR:
Now is the winter of our disinterment
Made summer by the glare of media hype.
Here fought I manfully; now my remains
Are brought to light from ‘neath a parking lot.
And if the good interred with my bones
Be yet redeemed from Tudor calumny,
My shade receiving then strange new respect
It ne’er did win in life, ‘tis no surprise:
‘Twas ever thus with dead Plantagenets.
Now civil war gives way to MPs’ jests
And Englishmen drive Volvos to the mall
On blood-soaked ground o’er which I reigned, where shops
Sell chicken vindaloo with tea and scones.
Oh, cursed be he who parks upon my bones!
It actually made me LOL. But with a tinge of lament for the Outlaw King.
Since there is no horse too dead, nor any cat too flat, let me suggest the following modifications to our Armed Forces awards chart:
Let’s have a look at the ones I would can, and why:
Defense Distinguished Service Medal- The same as the Distinguished Service Medal, except GOFOs get a separate one for doing something “joint”. Rescind it, and either replace with the DSM, or the star for additional awards of DSM.
Defense Superior Service Medal- The “joint” equivalent to the Legion of Merit. Another 0-6/GOFO bauble. Get rid of it. Award the Legion of Merit, or stars for additional awards.
Defense Meritorious Service Medal- You got it, the “joint” MSM. Rescind. Award MSM or stars for additional awards.
Joint Service Commendation Medal- Notice a trend here? You have a service branch, presumably. Make the Joint HQ convince your service branch that you rate your service branch’s Commendation Medal. If they can’t, maybe you shouldn’t have one. Certainly not some “joint” equivalent. Rescind.
Joint Meritorious Unit Award- Precisely the same rationale as the JSCM above. Except for the collective. If your outfit was that good, your service branch should award as appropriate.
Global War on Terror Expeditionary Medal- Never understood creating an expeditionary medal for wars in which campaign medals were sure to be minted. I might be able to see it for guys in the Philippines and elsewhere, not in IRQ or AFG. BUT, we have the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal for that. Rescind, and replace it with the AFEM.
Global War on Terror Service Medal- This formerly held the position of “Dumbest New Award”, but has been overtaken by the Drone Medal. Get rid of it. They already have the National Defense Service Medal for those who didn’t deploy. (Formerly known as the CNN Medal. As in “You saw Desert Storm on CNN? Me too!”) Rescind without replacement with a current equivalent.
Armed Forces Service Medal- “Significant activity”? Are you kidding me? Rescind without replacement.
Humanitarian Service Medal- Another non-warfighter feel-good award. Get rid of it. After Hugo ripped through South Carolina, Marines from MCB helped out cutting and clearing trees, and delivering water, etc. The base CSTAFF spent a formation droning (!) on and on about how they worked twelve hour days for two weeks to help out. Meanwhile, the Drill Instructors continued their 140-hour work weeks for the entire two year tour. So the Sgt from base motors was awarded this thing while my Sgt Senior Drill Instructor got zilch, and had his NCM downgraded to a NAM.
Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal- Makes the Humanitarian Service Medal look like the Iron Cross. Away with it.
Overseas Service Ribbon- Another “everybody gets one” trinket. You were PCS overseas, with all the concomitant bennies that the UDP bubbas pumping to WESTPAC didn’t have. Want a ribbon for being OCONUS? Ride a gator freighter for 200 days. Or do Camp Hansen unaccompanied.
Recruiting/Drill Instructor/Marine Security Guard Ribbons- Wrong, wrong, wrong. No “special duty” ribbons on a Marine uniform. Lousy idea from jump street, let’s get rid of them most rikki tik.
These are, of course, in addition to the Distinguished Warfare Medal, hereby unofficially known as the “Stays in Vegas” Medal.
Before you ask, yes, at least three of these are ones I am authorized. By comparison, my Dad came home from the Pacific, after eleven landings and almost three years, with four ribbons. One was a Navy Good Cookie, and another was the Asiatic-Pacific Theater Ribbon with four battle stars. Along with a PUC. He got a WWII Victory Medal on his way out in ’46. In 1991, we had people sit at Al Jubayl for two weeks and come home with five.
It would do us well to have senior Officers that look like warriors instead of Idi Amin, or BG McSoulpatch. Just sayin’. Any others I failed to mention that should go?
The Late General Robert H. Barrow, former Commandant of the Marine Corps, winner of the Navy Cross, Distinguished Service Cross, Silver Star, Bronze Star, Veteran of three wars, World War II, Korea, and Vietnam, speaks on the notion of women in ground combat units. Thirteen and a half minutes. (The last three are dark screen.) Listen to it all.
Those who would dismiss General Barrow as hidebound, sexist, closed-minded, or any other of the various derogatory labels that tend to be employed by the feminists who push such agendas should feel a tinge of shame. If they are capable of such, which I doubt.
Those who comprise the Joint Chiefs of Staff, particularly CJCS Dempsey, CSA Ordierno, and Marine Commandant Amos, should be ashamed of themselves. They must know deep down that what a man like General Barrow asserts is the brutal truth. Yet they have nodded their heads in enthusiastic agreement with their political masters as a sop to the feminists and progressives who despise our military and everything it stands for. Gentlemen, you must do some serious soul searching. You KNOW that General Barrow speaks an unvarnished truth honed by 41 years of wartime service and leadership of men in some of the most bitter combat of the 20th Century. Are your current assignments and your careers so much more important than the lives of those you will unnecessarily risk to implement this corrosive policy?
The Commandant’s assertion that “we will maintain our high standards while ensuring maximum success for every Marine” smacks of the dishonesty of the “everyone gets a trophy” Left. War, we damned well should know, knows no such considerations. If we didn’t have such morally and intellectually bankrupt leadership spending so much time and money painting the Potemkin Village instead of training to win our nation’s wars, we would not find ourselves in the current fix.
A network of ruggedly handsome Marine Artillerists keeping an eye on the world is an invaluable commodity. LTCOL P over at Op-For alerted me to Tom Ricks’ post this morning over at FP regarding near-legendary Marine General James N. Mattis. Some telling statements from Ricks, an avowed Obama supporter.
CIVIL-MILITARY SIGNALS: The message the Obama Administration is sending, intentionally or not, is that it doesn’t like tough, smart, skeptical generals who speak candidly to their civilian superiors. In fact, that is exactly what it (and every administration) should want.
SERVICE RELATIONS: The Obamites might not recognize it, but they now have dissed the two Marine generals who are culture heroes in today’s Corps: Mattis and Anthony Zinni. The Marines have long memories. I know some who are still mad at the Navy for steaming away from the Marines left on Guadalcanal.
If Ricks is finally admitting to Obama’s “smartest man in the room” act precluding his desire for informed advice, things have gotten damned bad.
…I am at the point where I don’t trust his national security team. They strike me as politicized, defensive and narrow. These are people who will not recognize it when they screw up, and will treat as enemies anyone who tells them they are doing that. And that is how things like Vietnam get repeated. Harsh words, I know. But I am worried.
The rest of us have been for a while, Tom. ”Three bags full” has been the standard answer from senior military leadership regarding the social experimentation, group punishment knee-jerk overreactions to perceived discipline problems, and US Pol-Mil actions (or non-actions) in Libya. Casey with Fort Hood, Dempsey in any number of situations. Mabus bankrupting the Navy for a green-fuel pat on the head. Why would he think such would not bleed over into strategic decision-making?
I don’t know if military action against Iran is the right course or not, but casting away men like Mattis and Zinni (and driving off Jim Jones) won’t do much to get him informed advice. Coupled with the amateur-hour soup sandwich that is Foggy Bottom, the ship of state is running without charts into the shoals. They may make Johnson-McNamara-Bundy look like a well-oiled machine, and George W. Bush look positively like Metternich.