Category Archives: Uncategorized

…The More They Stay The Same.

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Brad’s excellent piece about the weak-minded simps on the far-left being anti-Israel, and openly sympathetic to Hamas, can be corroborated around most any college campus on either coast.  Leftist Progressive “intellectuals” of all ages rail against Israel and the Jews so vehemently that it would make Julius Streicher blush.  They are too dogmatic and stupid to figure out that Hamas would perpetrate on Israeli men, women, and children precisely what ISIS did this week, when it massacred some 1,500 young Iraqi men (filming much of it) in scenes reminiscent of SS Einsatzgruppen on the Eastern Front.  All Hamas lacks is the means.  Which leftists in this country (which include Mssrs Kerry and Obama) seem ever so willing to give them.  To those who would recoil at such a comparison, I would ask, just what do you think “destruction of the Zionist Jews” means?   Hamas is also supported wholeheartedly with weapons and money (so much the more since sanctions were lifted) by our old friend Iran.  (Whom we are told we should trust not to build a nuclear weapon.  They don’t mean what they say about annihilating Israel, either.)

This willful blindness is, however, not a new paradigm.  Obama’s, and the American media’s, pandering to Muslims and outright sympathy for Hamas and its soulless butchers in Gaza, have a familiar ring to them.  Who else but the incomparable Kipling tells us of such a precedent?

Boh Da Thone was a warrior bold:
His sword and his rifle were bossed with gold,

And the Peacock Banner his henchmen bore
Was stiff with bullion, but stiffer with gore.

He shot at the strong and he slashed at the weak
From the Salween scrub to the Chindwin teak:

He crucified noble, he scarified mean,
He filled old ladies with kerosene:

While over the water the papers cried,
“The patriot fights for his countryside!”

So there you have it.  That said, rather than seeing members of Hamas squashed by a fat railroad employee, I would be ever so happy to see some fuel-air explosive dropped on one of their parades.   Same with ISIS.   Too bad Obama, the media, and the far-left are so sympathetic to the former and indifferent about the latter.   T’ain’t much new under the sun.

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Facia Georgius: Guadalcanal From The Marines’ Perspective

Below is a re-posting of a blog piece I wrote for USNI in August of 2011.  A bonus is a spirited exchange between the author of the blog (yours truly) and Jim Hornfischer.   Few elements of the Navy-Marine Corps rivalry engender as much emotion as the Marines’ utter contempt for Frank Jack Fletcher.  In fact, I had a long and enjoyable conversation with a RADM a couple weekends ago about the very incident described below, and he was entirely in agreement with my assessment of Fletcher’s blunder.   As the 72nd anniversary of the beginning of the epic struggle for the Solomons approaches, I suggest Hornfischer’s books highly.  Despite our differences regarding Fletcher, his books are a must-read to a serious historian of the Pacific War.  And he portrays brilliantly how thin the line was between success and failure in the struggle for the Solomons.  

The medal above is the “George Medal”, which was an unofficial award commemorating the early struggles of the Marines on Guadalcanal. The image depicts, legend has it, the sleeve of Frank Jack Fletcher, with his hand dropping a hot potato onto the Marines ashore. The inscription is “Facia Georgius“. “Let George do It”.

Let me state that, in my opinion, James D. Hornfischer is unquestionably one of the finest writers of Naval history in the last half-century. His books, especially Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors, are iconic works that tell superbly the tales of the US Navy in the Second World War in the Pacific. However, during a recent episode of MIDRATS, Mr. Hornfischer’s assertions about the US Marines’ history of the Guadalcanal campaign are entirely incorrect. The issue at hand in those assertions is the decision of Admiral Frank Jack Fletcher to depart the Guadalcanal area on the morning of 9 August 1942, after just two days of supporting the amphibious operations ashore.

Fletcher was concerned with the risk to his carriers, Saratoga, Wasp, and Enterprise, by having them tied to support of operations ashore. While understandable, what Fletcher refused to acknowledge was that with amphibious operations, once the landing takes place and forces are ashore, a commander is all in, and must support the forces ashore. The landings by the Marines were the entire reason for having Task Force 61 in the waters of the Solomons. Admiral Turner (commanding the amphibious task force, TF 62) and First Marine Division Commander General A. A. Vandegrift argued the point heatedly in a conference aboard Saratoga, but to no avail.

Chapter 5 of the splendid History of the First Marine Division, “The Old Breed” (Infantry Journal Press, 1949), begins:

The feeling of expendability is difficult to define. It is loneliness, it is a feeling of being abandoned, and it is something more, too: it is as if events over which you have no control have put a ridiculously low price tag on your life.

When word got around Guadalcanal in the second week of August that the Navy had taken off and left the Marines, the feeling of expendability became a factor in the battle.

“I know I had a feeling” says a man who was there, “and I think a lot of others felt the same way, that we’d never get off that damned island alive. Nobody said this out loud at the time. I was afraid to say it for fear it’s come true”.

“But”, says a Captain, “there was an awful lot of talk about Bataan.”

Even the greenest Second Lieutenant in the Division knew enough to understand that an amphibious operation cannot be sustained without Naval support.

The Guadalcanal Campaign, the official historical monograph published by the USMC History Division, is somewhat more matter-of-fact, but still states:

The withdrawal of the supply ships, therefore, was, from a troop standpoint, little short of a catastrophe, but Admiral Turner’s decision was not changed.

And sums up the situation of the Marines ashore this way:

The withdrawal of the transports had left the Marine forces with only a part of their initially scanty supplies ashore. Ammunition supply was adequate, but the situation in the matter of food was serious. Even with the acquisition of a considerable stock of rice and canned food from the captured Japanese area, supplies were so short that it was necessary on 12 August to begin a program of two meals per day. There was a similar shortage of defensive material, barbed wire (of which only 18 spools were landed), and entrenching tools and sand-bags.

The most serious shortage of all, however, from the point of view of the engineers who were charged with the completion of the airfield, was that of specialized equipment necessary for the task. No power shovels had been landed, nor dump trucks.

So, on 9 August 1942, the day Admiral Fletcher departs with his warships of TF 61, and the cargo vessels of Admiral Turner’s Amphibious TF 62, the Marines of the First Marine Division are ashore. But not all of them. Vandegrift’s reserve, the 2nd Marines, is still embarked. Those that are ashore have barely 96 hours of ammunition. They are short of food. The enemy strength and disposition is largely unknown. Their lifeline, the airstrip, is not yet repaired and has no aircraft. They are all but defenseless against the frequent Japanese air strikes.

Vandegrift and his staff had agreed to come ashore with an initial load plan that represented significantly less than their minimum requirement due to constraints on cargo space, with the promise that the Navy would surge supplies to them. Now, most of even that small amount was out of reach of his Marines, headed to sea in Turner’s cargo holds, as the latter was forced to withdraw when Admiral Fletcher’s warships departed.

But for three absolutely miraculous occurrences in the fortunes of war, the Guadalcanal landings might have been a disaster comparable to the loss of the Philippines just a few months before.

The first occurrence is that the Japanese commander, caught off guard, underestimate both the strength of the landing force (believing only a few thousand ashore), and the fighting spirit of the Marines, and did not move decisively to reinforce the small garrison on Guadalcanal with elements of the 17th Army that were available. (A single reinforced battalion of the 28th Regiment, about 1,100 Japanese, was given the mission of re-taking the island.)

The second was the fortuitous capture, with slight damage, of a single bulldozer, which the Marines used to maximum effect to complete a 2,700 foot airstrip on the Lunga plain. Without that stroke of luck, several weeks likely would have passed before any aircraft could have operated out of Henderson Field.

The third near-miracle was the capture of large stores of Japanese canned fish and rice, which becomes a staple of the Marines’ diet in the absence of rations still in the holds of the Navy ships.

Meanwhile, the arduous task of building of bunkers and of obstacles to defend the Marine positions and the all-important airfield, was done by hand in the searing jungle heat. The Marines, short of wire and sandbags, improvised as best as possible. By the time the 2nd Marines arrived (22 August) and additional supplies were landed, the Marines had been engaged in a number of short, sharp fights with the Japanese, the first of dozens and hundreds of bloody slugging matches in the rotting heat of the jungle on Guadalcanal.

The fight for Guadalcanal has been well-documented, and by the time last of the First Marine Division embarked for good from the island, the Division had suffered nearly 700 killed, 1,300 wounded, and more than 8,000 sick with malaria and other jungle diseases. For veterans of that time on Guadalcanal, men who didn’t have our perspective of inevitable victory either on Guadalcanal or in the Solomons, their resentment of (at the time) the US Navy and of Admiral Fletcher (which persists to this day) is entirely warranted.

Fletcher’s departure with his carriers, claiming the need to fuel (“always fueling”, wrote Morrison) was an exceedingly poorly considered move. His decision to do so infuriated Admiral Turner, commanding TF 62, who understood that his ships and their cargo were they keys to survival for the Marines ashore. While Fletcher’s aircraft carriers were precious commodities, his decision to minimize risk to those units had the effect of placing the entire of Operation Watchtower in considerable danger of failure. The lack of supplies and support which the Marines ashore endured in the opening weeks of the fight for Guadalcanal negated Vandegrift’s plans for immediate offensive operations (with an expanded airfield) to clear the island, left them all but defenseless to Japanese air and naval forces, and prolonged what became a protracted and savage fight under unspeakably miserable conditions.

In his efforts to protect his carriers, Fletcher inexcusably risked something even more precious and irreplaceable. The only trained and equipped amphibious force that the United States had in the entire Pacific. The loss of the carriers would have had severe operational implications, but defeat on Guadalcanal, resulting in an evacuation, or worse, capitulation, would have been strategic disaster.

Attempts at “reassessment” of Fletcher’s decision to pull support for the Marines on Guadalcanal, and justifying that decision six decades hence as “prudent”, are exercises in revisionism mixed with ample doses of 20/20 hindsight. The Marines’ bitterness at Fletcher is well-placed. Asserting differently dismisses the situation the Marines faced in mid-August of 1942 vis a vis the enemy as well as their own logistics. The Marines would gain a new respect for the Navy once Fletcher and the overmatched and timid Ghormley are replaced, the latter by the legendary William F. Halsey, who immediately visited Vandegrift and the Marines on Guadalcanal. Halsey’s “battle-mindedness” and promise of the support of the Navy was a refreshing and comforting change from his predecessor, and was immediately reflected in the morale of the Marines ashore.

Mr. Hornfischer’s goal in his exploration of Naval history, to put himself (and his reader) in the shoes of the commander, is extremely admirable. He would be remiss, however, if the sets of shoes he places himself in do not include the muddy boondockers of a First Division Marine on Guadalcanal. Were Mr. Hornfischer able to interview the First Marine Division veterans of Guadalcanal forty years ago, he would have gotten their perspective on those weeks without Navy support, expressed in the most colorful of language. Which needs no revision.

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Interesting comments from the esteemed author, James D. Hornfischer:

I’m delighted to find this colloquy unfolding in this reputable forum between such well-informed service professionals.

As I tried fervently to convey in NEPTUNE’S INFERNO, I’m sympathetic to the plight of the Guadalcanal Marines who were forced to persevere without air cover or full provisions for a period of time that they could not know at the time. Doing their business under these conditions, they were gallant and resourceful as ever. They are entitled not only to their pride, but also their chagrin. The question is whether the study of this history should end there. Is their heat-of-the-moment rage sufficient to serve as the final word on Frank Jack Fletcher and the Navy’s performance in the campaign? This question pretty well answers itself in the asking.

The blogger labels as revisionist any assessment of Fletcher that does not comport with the partisan, Corps-centric assessments formulated during and immediately after the war and abetted by Samuel Eliot Morison (and never rebutted by Fletcher himself).

The Marines’ resentment of Frank Jack Fletcher was well placed in its day. Our burden today is to see it in light of everything else we know about the complex circumstances that attended the campaign. Most of these, of course, were invisible from the beach. In NEPTUNE’S INFERNO I tried to thread that needle without resorting to the kind of interservice partisanship that characterizes many of the Corps-centric accounts of the campaign.

Admiral Nimitz instructed his commanders at all times to operate under the guiding star of “calculated risk,” that is, to weigh the potential benefits of an action against its potential costs and drawbacks. In choosing how long to expose the Pacific’s only three carriers in direct support of the Guadalcanal landings, Admiral Fletcher determined how much risk he was willing to accept in the opening act of Operation Watchtower. He informed his colleagues in advance of the operation and his decision was extensively debated in advance.

Today, it’s all over but the shouting. History bears out the wisdom of his determination. The Marines were left without carrier air support from the carriers’ withdrawal on August 9 until August 20, when the USS Long Island delivered the body of the Cactus Air Force. The consequences of those eleven days of exposure turned out, happily, to be negligible. The Japanese did nothing to seriously threaten the U.S. position on Guadalcanal during that time. The carriers returned in time to fight the Battle of the Eastern Solomons. (His conduct of the battle demonstrated the sincerity of his caution; he ordered one of his three carriers, the Wasp, out of the battle area to refuel.) Fighting with one hand behind his back, so to speak, he used the Enterprise and Saratoga to deflect the Japanese push. He saved his fleet for that moment and the others that followed. One could well speculate that had he left his carriers near Guadalcanal continuously from August 7, they might have been struck, making the close victory of Eastern Solomons impossible and imperiling the Marine position even more seriously.

This, much like Marine partisans’ complaints of “inexcusable risks to the landing force,” is a fruitless exercise in speculation. It’s only proper to damn Fletcher—or say the “risk” he took was “inexcusable”—by assuming an alternate universe of events where his decisions led to disaster. That’s when you ask the question Why and cast the arrows of judgment at the perpetrators.

It seems reasonable to judge the final wisdom of a particular risk by looking at the results that flowed from it. If we do that, there is no compelling basis for labeling Admiral Fletcher anything other than a winner.

As events actually unfolded, the Battle of the Eastern Solomons marked the beginning of the Navy’s sustained commitment to fight in defense of the Marine position on Guadalcanal, risking its most valuable assets the whole way through. By the time it was over, the Navy had fought seven major naval actions in which its KIA outnumbered infantry KIA by a factor of nearly 3 to 1.

It is entirely coherent to sympathize with the authentic anger of the Marines on Cactus, and simultaneously recognize the balance of merit favoring Admiral Fletcher’s controversial decision. The Marines lacked air cover for eleven days, and a large portion of their supplies, and suffered the bracing uncertainty how long those circumstances would attend.

By the time it was over, the three-to-one KIA ratio stood starkly apparent to anyone who was watching, and victory absolves all sins. General Vandegrift remembered the November 13 deaths of Admirals Scott and Callaghan with his famous dispatch “lifting our battered helmets in deepest appreciation.” To wallow in the bile of interservice partisanship, from a tendentious evaluation of a fragment of events, in spite of the actual outcome of history, is little more than a parlor game that negates the final judgment of the 1st MarDiv commander himself regarding the performance of the fleet. Nearly 70 years after events, we can do better than that.

*********************************************

And response from the “blogger”:

The questioning of Admiral Fletcher’s decision to remove the carriers of TF 61 from supporting the Marines ashore at Guadalcanal is far more than “a fruitless exercise in speculation”, or “bile of interservice partisanship”.

To assert that because the Japanese failed to take advantage of a golden opportunity to interdict the US drive into the Solomons and bring about a potentially crippling strategic setback, the decision Fletcher made to withdraw was correct is to assert that “all’s well that ends well”. Such is a singularly dangerous approach to the study of military history, as it goes great lengths toward the already-prevalent tendency to believe that the winners have little to learn from an ultimately successful outcome.

In any amphibious operation, support from the sea is critical to success, irrespective of the service executing the amphibious assault. Nimitz’ concept of “calculated risk” is in no way sufficient to excuse the willful passing of initiative to the enemy in the very place that was the US main effort at the time in the Pacific. Fletcher left Vandegrift without the forces and supplies to execute his plan ashore, in fact with barely enough to defend a thin perimeter against an enemy whose strength and disposition was largely unknown. That the enemy did not seize that initiative is to our eternal good fortune. We have several bloody examples of what happened in amphibious operations when the initial advantage of the initiative is allowed to pass. At Anzio seventeen months later, Army General Lucas dithered in his beachhead while Kesselring acted, reinforcing the threatened area as fast as he could with every available formation at his disposal. The result was a costly slugging match against what was by then an enemy well prepared to meet the breakout. We should be grateful that Hyakutake was no Kesselring.

It remains speculation, as well, whether Fletcher represented truthfully to Ghormley that both General Vandegrift and Admiral Turner had stated that 96 hours was the time required for full unloading of the transports. Both had done so, and had argued vehemently against Fletcher’s decision while aboard Saratoga.

No, this debate is not “partisan service” anything. Initiative is among the most precious commodities on the battlefield, to be surrendered only at dear cost. Fletcher did so, or rather forced Vandegrift ashore to do so, but the Japanese did not take it. He was, as were the Marines ashore, fortunate in the extreme.

As stated above, the Marines by and large came to respect greatly the efforts of the Navy in the waters around Guadalcanal. It has been a subject of intense study on my part, and worthy of the highest of admiration for the bravery and tenacity of the American Sailor. However, the anger of the Marines and their contempt for Fletcher is understandable. The loss of the transports and the Division reserve crippled the commander ashore, and prevented the undertaking of immediate offensive operations that could have cleared the island before Japanese reinforcements arrived in significant numbers. Instead, Guadalcanal became a protracted and bloody fight on the island and in the surrounding waters that ended only with the evacuation of the Japanese survivors in early 1943.

Fletcher’s decision should be recognized for what it was, a major tactical blunder that could have had severe strategic consequences. That he, and his boss, Ghormley, were removed from command, speaks volumes. That is true, seventy years or seven hundred years after the battle.

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Those Poor Children at the Border!

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Seems there are more than just dear little innocents in those crowded Processing Centers along the US southwestern border.  Townhall has the story.

An internal Border Patrol executive summary obtained by Townhall confirms that at least 16 unaccompanied illegal minors (those under the age of 18, according to U.S. government policy), are members of the brutal El Salvadorian street gang Mara Salvatrucha—or MS-13.  Gang members left graffiti on the walls of the Nogales Border Patrol processing center, which suggested they had ties to the organization.

These are just the ones careless or arrogant enough to reveal their gang affiliations.  How many thousands among the throngs virtually welcomed into America’s communities by our President are also affiliated with such criminal organizations, or worse ones?  What are the chances that terrorist organizations are using these open borders to bring terrorists and materials into the United States?  Hint:  Think “virtual certainty”.

The FBI describes MS-13 activity as “perpetuating violence—from assaults to homicides, using firearms, machetes, or blunt objects—to intimidate rival gangs, law enforcement, and the general public. They often target middle and high school students for recruitment. And they form tenuous alliances…and sometimes vicious rivalries…with other criminal groups, depending on their needs at the time.”

Maybe Obama can set the example, and have Sasha and Malia volunteer to work in these Processing Centers until the problem is resolved.  Oh, they can have no Secret Service or Law Enforcement protection of any kind, because (as we were told in Iraq about putting our safety in the hands of local security) they need to “establish a trust relationship” with the people they are helping.

It was reported earlier that these MS-13 gang members, some of whom have admitted to murder and torture in their home countries, are being held for placement inside the United States.

“But remember, this is a ‘humanitarian crisis.’ They are just kids,” a source working in the Nogales processing center said in frustrated and sarcastic tone. “They are MS-13 gang members. They’ve done everything from torture to murder. They act as teenage ‘enforcers.'”

That will be great, then.  Perhaps Michelle Obama can join them.  After all, she loves working with kids.

Gee, I wonder if the systematic attempts to disarm the law-abiding and defeat voter ID efforts are in any way connected to Obama’s immigration non-policy?   Naaaahh.

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Democratic Voter Fraud (yet again) in Mississippi

Operation ACORN II is under way, and not surprisingly, with the intent of illegally influencing a Republican Primary.  Here’s the story.

At the direction of the Cochran campaign, Reverend Fielder went “door to door, different places, mostly impoverished neighborhoods, to the housing authorities and stuff like that,” telling fellow blacks that McDaniel was a racist and promising them $15 per vote. “They sold me on the fact that he was a racist and that the right thing to do was to keep him out of office,” Fielder says.

Text messages released to Got News and a recorded interview with Reverend Fielder confirmed that Saleem Baird, a staffer with the Cochran campaign and current legislative aide to U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, and Cochran campaign manager, Kirk Sims, were involved in a $15-per-vote cash bribery scheme to target members of the black community.

“They said they needed black votes,” said the Reverend Fielder on the phone. He says Baird told him to “give the fifteen dollars in each envelope to people as they go in and vote. You know, not right outside of the polling place but he would actually recruit people with the $15 dollars and they would go in and vote.” Fielder said he received thousands of dollars in envelopes from Baird and distributed them accordingly. Fielder also says he went to the campaign office on another occasion to pick up $300 in cash and was among a room full of people who were doing the same thing he was.

Yet, according to the “black community”, being required to show a simple ID is racist because you are suppressing the “black vote” with your white hoods and Jim Crow laws.

When you hear those that argue “no proof” of widespread voter fraud by the Democrats, what you are hearing is hogwash.  If you don’t think so, watch the footage of a Democratic election commissioner counting “hanging chads” in Florida in 2000.   These are many of the same people who talk about “no proof” of Saddam’s chemical arsenal, and “no proof” of Obamacare causing health insurance coverage to be canceled.

Early morning H/T to DB

 

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A Timely Laugh or Two in Time for the World Cup

You all know how I feel about soccer.  It’s frigging communist.  And played by guys that fall down in agony if you invade their personal space.  Yeah, I know a goodly chunk of the rest of the world plays it.  But a goodly chunk of the rest of the world doesn’t use toilets, either.  It doesn’t make it a good idea.

Anyway, witness Jason Sudeikis, American football coach, hired by Tottenham of the English Premiere League.   Pretty well done.  But I am still not watching soccer on NBC.  It makes golf look like nonstop action.

BIG H/T to Delta Bravo!!!

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DHS is Our Standing Army? John W. Whitehead Goes All XBRAD at Rutherford Institute

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“A standing military force, with an overgrown Executive will not long be safe companions to liberty.”—James Madison

Constitutional lawyer John W. Whitehead pens a very chilling summation of the growth of the American Police State.

In the 12 years since it was established to “prevent terrorist attacks within the United States,” the DHS has grown from a post-9/11 knee-jerk reaction to a leviathan with tentacles in every aspect of American life. With good reason, a bipartisan bill to provide greater oversight and accountability into the DHS’ purchasing process has been making its way through Congress.

With that premise, Whitehead summarizes the most disturbing of the erosion of privacy and liberty as DHS becomes the “national police force” and proceeds to shred the Constitution.  It is worth the read.

I am going to be ordering Whitehead’s book, too.

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A Winner Finishes Second

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Yesterday was the final round of the 2014 US Open, played at Pinehurst Number 2, near Fort Bragg, NC.  Martin Kaymer ran away with this year’s Open, considered one of golf’s “majors”, leading on all four days an winning by eight strokes with a score of -9.

But the remarkable story was the tie for second.   Along with Ricky Fowler at -1 was 34-year-old Erik Compton, a virtual no-name on the PGA tour.  Not that such is unusual at a major tournament.  Cinderella stories (Carl Spackler notwithstanding) have been commonplace, especially this year with a crop of rookies and first-time winners.  But Erik Compton’s story is different.

When Compton was 9, he was diagnosed with viral cardiomyopathy, a condition in which the heart muscle is inflamed and unable to pump as hard as it should. That led to his first heart transplant in 1992, when he was 12.

In October 2007, at 27, Compton suffered a heart attack and drove himself to the hospital. The next May, he underwent his second heart transplant.

His story is well known in golf circles but barely heard outside the sport. Yet even within the confines of his sport, it leads to interesting moments. When he was asked by NBC Sports about his comfort level in playing this U.S. Open compared with his only other major, the 2010 U.S. Open (in which he missed the cut), his comment was priceless:

“You got to give me a break, I just had a new heart when I was at Pebble Beach.”

Amazing.  Simply amazing.  I would be amazed if he were playing with me and sharing my 18 handicap on the municipal course I frequent.  But to compete at that level, after enduring (and recovering from) what Erik Compton has, is one of the true great stories in sport.

Oh, and his second-place tie earned him an invite to The Masters.   I will be rooting for Erik Compton next year at Augusta.

 

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President Takes Decisive Action in Iraq

In a stunning reversal of his previous equivocation regarding US involvement in the worsening security situation in Iraq, President Obama stated that the US is prepared to act with strength and decisiveness to help defeat the ISIS radical jihadist forces that have engulfed several major cities and killed many thousands of Iraqis.

MIchelle hashtag iraq

There.  That’ll show ‘em.  Worked like a charm with Boko Haram in Nigeria, too.   They certainly have mended their ways.    Administration officials speculate that the Islamic Extremist fighters that have invaded Iraq have little chance of resisting the pressure of tweets and re-tweets that show support for the Iraqi people, and will be forced to withdraw.  On the outside chance that somehow ISIS can withstand such an onslaught of social media, the President is prepared to conjure his best “I’m not kidding” expression and talk about “consequences”, possibly even “dire consequences”.   No word yet on whether or not Secretary of State Kerry will scold ISIS for “behaving in a 7th Century fashion”.   New White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest was quoted as saying, “The President is making the best of a situation left him by the previous Administration, which is responsible for declaring the war over and abandoning Iraq to its fate.  Wait, ….what?  That was us?  You sure?  No more questions!”

Gawd, we are so screwed.

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“Fighting Joe” Dunford is the Next Commandant of the Marine Corps

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Congratulations to General Joseph Dunford, nominated by Secretary of Defense Hagel to be the 36th Commandant of the Marine Corps.  Marine Corps Times has the story. 

I have known General Dunford a long time, since he was the MOI at Holy Cross in the late 80s.  I had the distinct honor to serve with then-Colonel Dunford in Al Anbar in 2004, when he was MajGen Mattis’ Chief of Staff.  BGen John Kelly was the ADC, and LtGen James Conway had the MEF (and the MEF SgtMaj was the incomparable Carlton Kent).  What a team!    Joe Dunford also skipped a pay grade.  He was nominated for his second star, and before he pinned on his new rank, picked up his third star!  Nearly unheard of in today’s day and age.

Lord knows, the Marine Corps needs a warrior, and an INFANTRY OFFICER at its helm.   The infantryman is the very soul of the Marine Corps, and the Commandant should be someone who knows him and his comrades intimately.   Besides, the Amos years have not been good.

Congratulations, General Joe Dunford.   Our Marine Corps is in your capable hands.  Right where it should be.   Godspeed.

(I am willing to overlook that he went to BC High.)

H/T to LTCOL P

 

 

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DaveO at Op-For has Questions

They should be everyone’s questions.  The true answers to which may cement the Obama Administration as an outlaw regime that makes Richard Nixon on his worst day look like honesty itself.

Who is America’s negotiator with the Taliban?

Are we also negotiating with AQ?

Are we negotiating with terrorist groups in the Philippines and/or Thailand? What are they getting from the White House?

Why won’t the White House negotiate with Congress? Not enough beards?

Why these particular 5 Taliban? Who read their dossiers and agreed that lesser capable detainees in Gitmo would not suffice?

“Curiosities” indeed.  Perhaps it is time for a “revolt of the Generals”.  Though those in senior positions seem to have been placed there with careful consideration to their political pliability/reliability and their distinct lack of spinal column.  The pattern of military and foreign policy of this Administration, if laid out chronologically and without the spin of the lap-dog MSM co-conspirators, can only be described as an active effort to erode America’s security and military capability.  The time for calling such “miscalculation” and “blunder” has long passed.

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More About the Reconstituted Domestic Terrorism Executive Committee

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XBRAD told us about this the other day.  He openly questioned its purpose, especially in light of the track record of this Administration to act illegally and oversee the persecution of law-abiding political opponents with the apparatus of their own government.

Well, Eric Holder tells us the purpose of this new task force:

But we also must concern ourselves with the continued danger we face from individuals within our own borders who may be motivated by a variety of other causes from anti-government animus to racial prejudice.

Anyone who doesn’t pick up on the verbiage has missed the last five years of Eric Holder’s corrosive and bigoted black activism.  There was, of course, the FBI memorandum telling us that returning white Veterans who believe in God, small government, and the right to keep and bear arms are domestic terrorist suspects.  There is the military’s “education” (extracted from documents at the Southern Poverty Law Center, no less) that conservative groups and Christian organizations are akin to the KKK.   And that military members may be charged under the UCMJ for supporting and belonging to such groups.  The US military has routinely run training scenarios in which the adversary is “right-wing extremist”, which is to say, actual and otherwise law-abiding citizens who are magically attributed a violent character which requires a military response so they may be “crushed”. Then, there is the study a couple of years ago in which “domestic terrorists” were defined as those who “defended the Constitution” and have reverence for individual liberty.

One has only to quickly peruse the various “See Something, Say Something” Public Service Announcements about terrorism to see that virtually every portrayal of a terrorist is a white male.  All of them.  Despite the 1993 WTC bombing, 9/11, Khobar Towers, USS Cole, the Boston Marathon bombing, and dozens of other domestic attacks and murders perpetrated by Muslim Jihadists, the US Government’s portrayal of terrorists is invariably white and male.

So the Domestic Terrorism Executive Committee?  Under an Attorney General who has vowed not to pursue cases that reflect badly on “his people”?   In an Administration that has perpetrated use of the IRS, EPA, Justice, and NSA to visit retribution on individuals and groups that differ politically with the far left?  Place your bets.   Gabriel Rottman, First Amendment lawyer for the ACLU, already has.

Given the already lenient standards for when the government can launch an investigation, the announced task force is both unnecessary and an invitation to investigate Americans because of the beliefs they hold, not because of any wrongdoing.

Which is to say, with this Administration especially, conservative heterosexual white males.  And other, law-abiding political opponents.  And one can reasonably assume that this “Executive Committee” will have all the trappings of due process that comes with a closed-door deliberation of “informed high-level government officials” instead of those pesky and inconvenient Constitutional rights under the 4th, 5th, 6th, and 14th Amendments.

Oh, and by the way…

I… do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.

H/T to Fran

 

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Women can be Marine Infantry Officers. All You Have to do is Change the Standards.

Feminist advocate Ellen Haring, a Reserve Army Colonel, wrote a piece over at War on the Rocks about how to fix why females cannot pass the US Marine Corps Infantry Officers’ Course.   Not surprisingly, Haring’s assertions ring hollow and partisan to any Marine ground combat Officer, especially one with the Infantry MOS.

…why are the physical standards different for officers and enlisted infantry Marines?…
Officers and enlisted infantrymen perform the same physical tasks in their units and during combat operations.  The discriminator between officer and enlisted has always been education, not physical differences.

What Haring writes is utter nonsense.  The answer, which should be glaringly evident to someone with the rank of Colonel, is that Marine Officers must not just “perform the same physical tasks”, but to LEAD, and lead by physical example.  A great deal of a young Officer’s credibility with his Marines comes from the display of physical courage and personal fitness, which includes strength, stamina, and endurance.  A Marine Infantry Officer must be prepared to lead despite extreme physical fatigue, and retain the ability to make alert and sound decisions.  The lives of his platoon or company depend upon it.  That Haring ignores such a fundamental of leadership in a combat MOS is not surprising, and I don’t think for a minute it is unintentional.

Haring also cites the op-ed by 2nd Lt Santangelo, in which the Lieutenant asserts that expectations, and not physical limitations, are the reasons for failure among the female Officers.  Nowhere does Haring mention the viewpoint of Captain Kate Petronio, whose extensive experience serving beside Marine Infantry units would seem to have a bit more validity than to be ignored.

Haring’s focus is, of course, the Combat Endurance Test, a grueling physical event that has been a part of the Infantry Officers’ Course for decades.  This is where 13 of the 14 female Officers have failed, and it is administered on the first day of training.  (The 14th female was dropped with a stress fracture in the first few days of training.)  Haring calls the Combat Endurance Test an “initiation”, rather than an occupational qualification, and to an extent that is correct.  In order to lead Infantry Marines, an Officer must successfully complete that test.  So, of course, since it is a stumbling block for 93% (at least) of the female Officers, Haring takes aim at that event.  And here is the crux of her argument:

Do initiation rites have a place in our military?  There will be those who argue that they absolutely have a place in developing the esprit de corps that is vital to the Marine Corps and those arguments have merit.  Certainly the Marines have built their reputation on being tough, trained professionals whose motto Semper Fidelis (always faithful) embodies their total dedication to this country and to the Corps. But does an initiation rite that effectively filters out half the American population (all women) do the Marine Corps justice?

It is that last line which says it all.  Haring apparently has issue with how the Marine Corps trains its Infantry Officers, as such training doesn’t do the Corps “justice”.   Huh.  Here I was thinking the Corps had a rather successful training program for what it rightly considers the backbone of the service, the Marine Infantry Officer.  Haring parenthetically mentions that such training “filters out” women, as if that part of her argument is an afterthought.  In reality, her entire effort centers around that very premise.  While she goes on to say that she is not advocating elimination of the Combat Endurance Test, she does advocate advancing female Officers through IOC without passing the test, as she claims male officers have done, and allow females to repeat the test (one assumes, indefinitely), until they pass.  (I question the accuracy of her assertions that males have been given unlimited chances to pass the Combat Endurance Test, and know of several males who have washed from IOC because they could not do so.)

This will have the effect of making passing of the Combat Endurance Test a graduation requirement rather than an entry requirement.  Of course, once a female Officer has had all that time and money invested in her training, the argument will then be to waive passing of the Combat Endurance Test altogether.  Because it would be foolish and wasteful to put a female Officer through all that training and not have her graduate.  Which will be precisely the goal of feminist activists like Haring.  Female Marine Infantry Officers, no matter how unqualified or ill-equipped to be such.  Because, well, the cause is more important.

So, despite her assertions that she does not advocate changing the standards in order to have female Marine Officers become Infantry Officers, she is advocating just that, and she knows it.  Like so many in the “girl power” feminism ranks, she simply lacks the integrity to say so.

h/t to Info Dissem

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Cal Thomas on the Cultural double standard: Michael Sam, Tim Tebow and free speech

Cal Thomas at Fox News writes on the double standard that reflects the stark intolerance of modern “Liberalism”.   Among the compelling truths Thomas points out include this:

Criticize anything gay people do and you risk ostracism, fines, suspension or loss of your livelihood.

When, as Michael Sam was being drafted, sports and media outlets fawned over him and prominently feature Sam kissing his boyfriend, one Dolphins player had the unmitigated audacity to not see things that way, and said so.  Within a few days, that player faced what can be called nothing short of persecution for his beliefs.

Jones tweeted “OMG” and “horrible” after he saw Sam and his boyfriend kiss each other live on ESPN.

His tweet was quickly taken down, but the political correctness police swooped in anyway. Jones has been fined and suspended. He’s also being forced to attend “educational training” to get his “mind right,” to borrow a phrase from the film “Cool Hand Luke.” This sounds like the old communist “re-education” camps.

Dolphins Coach Joe Philbin called Jones’ comment “inappropriate and unacceptable.” Jones issued a statement that read like it had been written by a lawyer, apologizing for his “inappropriate” tweet and taking “full responsibility” for his comment.

Apparently Joe Philbin is from the Missy Mullen school of “you must believe as I believe or else” when it comes to personally held values.   Cal Thomas juxtaposes this “thinkpol” reaction with the severe criticism, and often ridicule, of Florida QB Tim Tebow, whose publicly-stated faith in God made him an archenemy of the Secular Progressive Left.

When the quarterback heroically led the Denver Broncos to a playoff victory in 2012 and dropped to one knee, as he often did to express gratitude to God… he was widely ridiculed by many of the same entities that now defend Michael Sam, including some NFL players and even “Saturday Night Live,” which in a skit had “Jesus” offering Tebow advice while sitting next to him on a locker room bench.

…Tebow endured a sometimes silent and often shouted campaign to brand him in a negative way. He was called “polarizing.” It was said he had “baggage,” though his “bags” were considerably lighter than many other professional athletes who have had drug and alcohol problems, incidents with guns at strip clubs and numerous out-of-wedlock children.

NFL players who joined in the mockery were not fined, disciplined or forced into education training camp.

Thomas is precisely correct.  The LGBT double standard is the same as the racial double standard (“Jay-Z” vs Donald Sterling) and the girl power double standard (simultaneously fierce feminine warriors and helpless victims), all a part of the double-speak that is “Liberal” intolerance.  Rules for thee, but not for me.   Its logical end is the erosion of liberty and the subversion of our society.

Given Michael Sam’s horrendous performance at the NFL Scouting Combine (4.93 40 and just 17 reps of 225), one has to wonder whether he would even had been courted as an undrafted free agent by any NFL team without the intense pressure from the NFL commissioner and the liberal media to “make sure he gets a chance”.

Just how bad was Sam’s performance in the Combine?  For a player at his position, he is slow and very weak.  When I was his age, I was faster than he is (a 4.8-ish 40 in college).  And even at age 50, I can STILL pump out considerably more reps with 225 than he can.  He will face offensive tackles who are fifty pounds heavier, far stronger, and just as fast as he is.  Yet, he will be given an opportunity that far more deserving and more capable players will not.   One has to be naive to the point of obtuseness and stupidity to think that his very public disclosure of his sexual preference is not the reason.

 

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Fiddy

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Well, that day has finally come.  A bit of a strange sensation to leave your forties behind.  Especially when you’re the youngest, you always picture yourself as being young.  A childhood friend who lives in the area told me once that she still sort of thought of me as a little kid, because when she was ten years old, I was eight.  Which made me laugh.  Because I think I was 46 at the time.   Yep, that is me above.  First Grade, I believe.  I was a cute little kid, and am still not sure how I managed to evolve into this present hideous visage without some sort of tragic and disfiguring event.  But, here I am.

My “youthful outlook” consists largely of the sense of humor of 4th grader, who still giggles at cartoons, the Three Stooges, and bathroom humor.  (My mother used to warn that I was “confusing crudity with sophistication”.)  Anybody know where I can find re-runs of Beavis and Butthead?

I will say I do believe my 50th will be considerably less exciting than my 40th.  I spent that one in Ramadi, with the first order of business being told we are heading into the Governor’s Compound no matter what condition Route Michigan was (and it was invariably BLACK in May and June that year).   The operations staff sang Happy Birthday to me (thanks, Doc!), and we got mortared twice.

They say that 50 is the new 40.  Perhaps it is.  I am considerably “younger” than my parents were at the same age, as their generation did not get much exercise, and both of them smoked.  I still play basketball with guys half my age, and can hold my own in the weight room.  (I am not as strong at 50 as I was at 40, but I was stronger at 40 than 30.)  And my golf game is, believe it or not, improving.  But, running is really a chore these days, and has been since breaking my back in the early 90s.   And I don’t heal nearly as quickly.  But what the hell.  Never up, never in.

homer go getter

I just have to get used to the fact that I am no longer the “young go-getter in Sector 7G”.  Then again, I haven’t been for some time.

One cool fact about the day I was born is that it is 100 years to the day after the Battle of New Market.  Various friends who are VMI Alum commemorate that battle as New Market Day, where the VMI Corps of Cadets participated in the fight against Franz Sigel’s Federals.  Today is the 150th anniversary of the fight, one for which VMI should be justifiably proud.  Just the same, LTCOL P should mention that it is not only the 150th commemoration of New Market, but URR’s 50th birthday!  I am not asking for much, perhaps a stone monument somewhere….

 

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Iron Birds

Static test airframes, or more commonly called, “iron birds” are partially built, non-flying airframes or old formerly flying airframes that are used by agencies and manufacturers to test either the strength of than airframe, various design components or aircraft subsystems (avionics, flight control, engines, etc).

The iron birds used for strength testing are typically full-scale representations of the aircraft that are rigged to giant gantry cranes with weights and strain gauges attached. See the pic:

Lockheed's F-35 test airframe installed on gantry cranes with strain gauges.

Lockheed’s F-35 test airframe installed on gantry cranes with strain gauges.

Once installed on the cranes the airframe is literally pulled and pushed to properly simulate all the aerodynamic forces that the aircraft will encounter throughout it’s flying career.  Often the iron birds are tested till destruction.

This is a VC-10 undergoing wing fatigue testing. Note the bending wing.

This is a VC-10 undergoing wing fatigue testing. Note the bending wing.

Some iron birds are formerly flying airframes that have accumulated too many flying hours and are no longer consider safe to fly. These aircraft are typically stripped of most equipment (engines mostly) and used to test various aircraft subsystems in support of other programs.

This NASA's F-8 Crusader iron bird that was used to test software for NASA's Digital Fly-By-Wire program in the 1960s,

This NASA’s F-8 Crusader iron bird that was used to test software for NASA’s Digital Fly-By-Wire program in the 1960s,

 

As the latest example of NASA's iron bird, this is an F/A-18 Hornet used by NASA to support many of the F/A-18 test programs.

As the latest example of NASA’s iron bird, this is an F/A-18 Hornet used by NASA to support many of the F/A-18 test programs.

Iron birds aren’t limited to NASA. The US military also used them for the same purposes.

This B-2 at the National Museum of the USAF was never an actual flying airframe. This "aircraft" appropriately named "Fire and Ice"was used for fatgiue and climatic testing.

This B-2 at the National Museum of the USAF was never an actual flying airframe. This “aircraft” appropriately named “Fire and Ice”was used for fatgiue and climatic testing.

A close up of "Fire and Ice's" nose gear door.

A close up of “Fire and Ice’s” nose gear door.

You can learn more about that particular aircraft here.

As an aside, old airframes are also typically used as maintainance trainers in the military. These are called ground instructional airframes:

images 080613-F-1322C-001

 

 

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The Most Dangerous Job in America

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No, not Bering Sea fisherman.  Not being a cop or fireman.  Cab driver?  Nosiree.  None of those.  Not even close, apparently.  The most dangerous job in America is being an associate of the Clintons.

During the diner scene in the comedy “Tin Men”, one of the characters refers to “Bonanza” patriarch Ben Cartwright as “the kiss of death” because he had three sons by three different mothers, all deceased.   Ol’ Ben has nothing on Bill and Hillary.  The below list does not include Ambassador Stevens and the others killed at Benghazi while serving in Hillary’s State Department, but is still quite remarkable actuarially:

1- James McDougal – Clintons convicted Whitewater partner died of an apparent heart attack, while in solitary confinement. He was a key witness in Ken Starr’s investigation.
2 – Mary Mahoney – A former White House intern was murdered July 1997 at a Starbucks Coffee Shop in Georgetown .. The murder happened just after she was to go public with her story of sexual harassment in the White House.
3 – Vince Foster – Former White House councilor, and colleague of Hillary Clinton at Little Rock’s Rose Law firm. Died of a gunshot wound to the head, ruled a suicide.
4 – Ron Brown – Secretary of Commerce and former DNC Chairman. Reported to have died by impact in a plane crash. A pathologist close to the investigation reported that there was a hole in the top of Brown’s skull resembling a gunshot wound. At the time of his death Brown was being investigated, and spoke publicly of his willingness to cut a deal with prosecutors. The rest of the people on the plane also died. A few days later the air Traffic controller committed suicide.
5 – C. Victor Raiser, II – Raiser, a major player in the Clinton fund raising organization died in a private plane crash in July 1992.
6 – Paul Tulley – Democratic National Committee Political Director found dead in a hotel room in Little Rock , September 1992. Described by Clinton as a “dear friend and trusted advisor”.
7 – Ed Willey – Clinton fundraiser, found dead November 1993 deep in the woods in VA of a gunshot wound to the head. Ruled a suicide. Ed Willey died on the same day his wife Kathleen Willey claimed Bill Clinton groped her in the oval office in the White House. Ed Willey was involved in several Clinton fund raising events.
8 – Jerry Parks – Head of Clinton’s gubernatorial security team in Little Rock .. Gunned down in his car at a deserted intersection outside Little Rock.  Park’s son said his father was building a dossier on Clinton.  He allegedly threatened to reveal this information. After he died the files were mysteriously removed from his house.
9 – James Bunch – Died from a gunshot suicide. It was reported that he had a “Black Book” of people which contained names of influential people who visited prostitutes in Texas and Arkansas
10 – James Wilson – Was found dead in May 1993 from an apparent hanging suicide. He was reported to have ties to Whitewater..
11 – Kathy Ferguson – Ex-wife of Arkansas Trooper Danny Ferguson, was found dead in May 1994, in her living room with a gunshot to her head. It was ruled a suicide even though there were several packed suitcases, as if she were going somewhere. Danny Ferguson was a co-defendant along with Bill Clinton in the Paula Jones lawsuit Kathy Ferguson was a possible corroborating witness for Paula Jones.
12 – Bill Shelton – Arkansas State Trooper and fiancee of Kathy Ferguson. Critical of the suicide ruling of his fiancee, he was found dead in June, 1994 of a gunshot wound also ruled a suicide at the grave site of his fiancee.
13 – Gandy Baugh – Attorney for Clinton’s friend Dan Lassater, died by jumping out a window of a tall building January, 1994. His client was a convicted drug distributor.
14 – Florence Martin – Accountant & sub-contractor for the CIA, was related to the Barry Seal, Mena, Arkansas, airport drug smuggling case. He died of three gunshot wounds.
15 – Suzanne Coleman – Reportedly had an affair with Clinton when he was Arkansas Attorney General. Died of a gunshot wound to the back of the head, ruled a suicide. Was pregnant at the time of her death.
16 – Paula Grober – Clinton’s speech interpreter for the deaf from 1978 until her death December 9, 1992. She died in a one car accident.
17 – Danny Casolaro – Investigative reporter. Investigating MenaAirport and Arkansas Development Finance Authority. He slit his wrists, apparently, in the middle of his investigation.
18 – Paul Wilcher – Attorney investigating corruption at MenaAirport with Casolaro and the 1980 “October Surprise” was found dead on a toilet June 22, 1993, in his WashingtonDC apartment. Had delivered a report to Janet Reno 3 weeks before his death.
19 – Jon Parnell Walker – Whitewater investigator for Resolution Trust Corp. Jumped to his death from his Arlington, Virginia apartment balcony August 15, 1993. He was investigating the Morgan Guaranty scandal.
20 – Barbara Wise – Commerce Department staffer. Worked closely with Ron Brown and John Huang. Cause of death unknown. Died November 29, 1996. Her bruised, nude body was found locked in her office at the Department of Commerce.
21 – Charles Meissner – Assistant Secretary of Commerce who gave John Huang special security clearance, died shortly thereafter in a small plane crash.
22 – Dr. Stanley Heard – Chairman of the National Chiropractic Health Care Advisory Committee died with his attorney Steve Dickson in a small plane crash. Dr. Heard, in addition to serving on Clinton ‘s advisory council personally treated Clinton’s mother, stepfather and brother.
23 – Barry Seal – Drug running TWA pilot out of Mena Arkansas, death was no accident.
24 – Johnny Lawhorn, Jr. – Mechanic, found a check made out to Bill Clinton in the trunk of a car left at his repair shop. He was found dead after his car had hit a utility pole.
25 – Stanley Huggins – Investigated Madison Guaranty. His death was a purported suicide and his report was never released.
26 – Hershell Friday – Attorney and Clinton fundraiser died March 1, 1994, when his plane exploded.
27 – Kevin Ives & Don Henry – Known as “The boys on the track” case. Reports say the boys may have stumbled upon the Mena Arkansas airport drug operation. A controversial case, the initial report of death said, due to falling asleep on railroad tracks. Later reports claim the 2 boys had been slain before being placed on the tracks. Many linked to the case died before their testimony could come before a Grand Jury.

THE FOLLOWING PERSONS HAD INFORMATION ON THE IVES/HENRY CASE:
28 – Keith Coney – Died when his motorcycle slammed into the back of a truck, 7/88.
29 – Keith McMaskle – Died, stabbed 113 times, Nov, 1988
30 – Gregory Collins – Died from a gunshot wound January 1989.
31 – Jeff Rhodes – He was shot, mutilated and found burned in a trash dump in April 1989.
32 – James Milan – Found decapitated. However, the Coroner ruled his death was due to natural causes”.
33 – Jordan Kettleson – Was found shot to death in the front seat of his pickup truck in June 1990.
34 – Richard Winters – A suspect in the Ives/Henry deaths. He was killed in a set-up robbery July 1989.

THE FOLLOWING CLINTON BODYGUARDS ARE DEAD
35 – Major William S. Barkley, Jr.
36 – Captain Scott J . Reynolds
37 – Sgt. Brian Hanley
38 – Sgt. Tim Sabel
39 – Major General William Robertson
40 – Col. William Densberger
41 – Col. Robert Kelly
42 – Spec. Gary Rhodes
43 – Steve Willis
44 – Robert Williams
45 – Conway LeBleu
46 – Todd McKeehan

Of course, I am certain there is an explanation for all of these people meeting an unfortunate and early demise.  After all, the above names have been circulating for a number of years.  In fact, calling the above anything other than a series of tragic coincidences has been labeled by some as “urban legend”.  Just the same, I would like to see the explanations for each and every one of them, and have someone in the risk business calculate the odds that such misfortune could befall 47 people in such a short time.

But I’m sure it’s nuthin’.   And anyway, at this point, what difference does it make?   I’m gonna go play golf.  I hope I can avoid any self-inflicted (or other) gunshot wounds, hangings, plane crashes, leaps from buildings, etc., that are apparently a lot more common than I would have thought….

H/T  Fran

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China Provides a Lesson About Influence Squadrons

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Sort of Sir Julian Corbett meets Woody Allen.  (“Ninety percent of life is just showing up”. )  From Forbes.com:

On Wednesday, Vietnamese officials announced that one of China’s ships intentionally rammed two of their Sea Guard vessels.  The incidents took place on Sunday, the 4th.  Six were injured, according to Hanoi.

“Chinese ships, with air support, sought to intimidate Vietnamese vessels,” said Tran Duy Hai of the Foreign Ministry at a news conference.  Other officials said six other Vietnamese craft were hit.

The incidents occurred after China National Offshore Oil Corp., better known as CNOOC , had on May 2 towed a deep-water rig, the size of several football fields, to an area that Hanoi claims is within its exclusive economic zone, near the Paracel Islands.

Beijing brought a fleet of about 80 vessels to keep the Vietnamese from stopping the oil rig, designated HD-981.  CNOOC called HD-981 a “strategic weapon”at its launch in 2012.

This is not some commercial venture, nor can any Chinese incursion of this type ever be so considered.

…it is clear that the company was using the rig at Beijing’s behest.  “This reflected the will of the central government and is also related to the U.S. strategy on Asia,”said a Chinese oil official, speaking anonymously to Reuters, about drilling in Vietnam’s waters.  “It is not commercially driven.  It is also not like CNOOC has set a big exploration blueprint for the region.”

It did not take long for Chinese leaders to test President Obama’s general commitment to maintain regional security after his eight-day, four-nation “reassurance” visit there at the end of last month.  …This is the first time China has drilled in Vietnamese waters.  Moreover, this is the first time Beijing openly used its “gray hulls”—navy ships—in close support of “white hulls”—civilian maritime craft—while enforcing a territorial claim, according to the Nelson Report, the Washington insider newsletter.  There are seven Chinese naval ships in the vicinity of the rig.

Perhaps President Obama and his Administration can begin to appreciate the value of a truly global Navy with sufficient hulls and capabilities to protect US interests and that of her allies.   An inadequate number of large, expensive capital ships cannot provide adequate forward presence in all the places in which such presence is required, irrespective of the relative combat power of the individual warship.  Wednesday’s events near the Paracels provides an object lesson of precisely that.   China’s example of the use of an “influence squadron” is a telling one.  The PLA Navy is where the PRC wishes it to be in order to further Chinese interests.  Those interests are being furthered at the direct expense of US interests.  And the US Navy, stretched past the breaking point by global commitments with a shrinking force, is notably absent in the role of forward presence.

The entire episode of China’s expansion of exploration into the Paracels, the erecting of a massive rig structure, and the protection of that rig with Navy units shows also that The People’s Republic of China is no more intimidated by the hollow platitudes of President Obama’s guarantees to our Asian allies than Vladimir Putin is by Obama’s incessant harping on non-existent “consequences” for actions along Russia’s borders.  Once again, we have rivals and potential adversaries who understand power.  The ability to influence allies and enemies to act in a way which is in consonance with one’s national interests, and the willingness to use all the elements of national power to bring that about.

The common thread along both Russia’s western border and the South China Sea is a feckless and vacillating United States, whose statecraft is in the hands of naive and talentless amateurs who are rapidly dismantling their own military capabilties.  Small wonder our allies are not reassured by the words of our President.  Because, like our rivals East and West, they know those words are without consequence, because they are without the will (nor soon, the means) to give them meaning.

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Michelle Obama’s Trite and Meaningless Gesture

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By now most of us have seen the above image of First Lady Michelle Obama holding a “hashtag” sign in reference to the kidnapping of nearly 300 Nigerian Christian girls by Islamic extremist terror group Boko Haram. Maddening as it is, the image is appropriately symbolic of the Obama Presidency. This silly idea that “Twitter” hashtags being circulated amongst empathetic bystanders somehow equates to actually DOING SOMETHING is right in line with the abysmally weak and ineffective foreign policy of her husband’s administration. Which is to say bold and serious talk of “red lines” and “changing calculus” is accompanied by stern warnings and finger wagging, talk of “consequences”, “sanctions”, and “pivots”, all amounting, like this hashtag nonsense, to nothing at all of any value or consequence.

hc

Worse, Michelle Obama’s meaningless little stunt comes after her husband’s State Department assiduously avoided labeling Boko Haram as a terrorist organization for more than four years. The burning of churches, the murder and torture of thousands of Nigerian Christians, elicited not a peep from Michelle Obama. She seems only now to care in the slightest because Boko Haram’s campaign of terror and murder can be seen as a “women’s issue”.   And Lord knows she needs to be at the front lines in the “War on Women”. Just like Hillary Clinton, who now sees Boko Haram as “abominable” and “criminal”, committing “terrorist acts”. For the four years in which the State Department dithered in labeling Boko Haram as terrorists, however, the Secretary of State was that very same Hillary Clinton.

Also, Michelle, the abducted girls are not “yours”. Even though you think some idiotic picture of you with a “hashtag” showing “support” makes them so. They are the children of parents who have lived in fear of violence and death at the hands of these Islamic extremists for half a decade. Those extremists are armed partially by the very same weapons, and trained by the very same fighters, that your husband’s administration provided when it shipped arms to in Libya to overthrow a docile Khaddafi, all the while “leading from behind”.  Those Islamic extremists have now metastasized across Africa, into Mali, and the CAR, Algeria, and northern Nigeria. Boko Haram is, in no small part, what it is because of the wildly misguided and irresponsible policies of Barack Hussein Obama.

Men such as those that comprise Boko Haram and the other malignant Islamist terrorists that are soaking Africa’s sand with blood, Christian and Muslim?  They cannot be reasoned with. They are not open to “negotiation” or “beer summits”. Your pathetic display is fodder for their humor, as it shows how intellectually and morally weak you are. Such men as Boko Haram are not men with whom one can live peacefully, ever.  No, those men need to be killed. When it comes to that, other men, good men, far better men than your husband, leave their loved ones to face the danger and the fear, to risk everything to keep the wolves at bay.   They go because their country calls them to go. And because they know that the safety of those they love depends on their willingness to put their lives on the line to kill those with whom peaceful coexistence is impossible.

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And when some of those good, brave men die keeping us safe, we honor them and remember them. Men like Ty Woods and Glen Doherty, Sean Smith, and Chris Stevens.  Part of that ceremony involves the respectful handling of the symbol of the nation they fought and died for.   That’s right, Michelle. All that for a flag. Because their sacrifice is what stands between our children and Boko Haram. And they gave their last full measure of devotion. While you tweeted. Which is why you will never understand about the flag. Much to your lasting shame. Such men have always been proud of their country, even if you aren’t.  Because you haven’t the wherewithal to understand why you should be.

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Shiver Away Those Extra Pounds!

The all-new “Sweatin’ to the Microbes!”

I know I need to lose a few, but didn’t think I would be doing it by lying in bed with the God-awful crud, shaking and sweating and coughing.

I know that John’s place (the Castle) is now a plague village, but so far I am the only victim up here.   I told Jackass Cat he was responsible, that the disease was brought in on the fleas of Cattus Cattus, but he challenges my understanding of that period of history.   Let’s hope we don’t lose two-thirds of the population.

Since I am self-employed, there is no such thing as a man-cold, because if I don’t work, I don’t get paid.  So I worked yesterday and here I am today.  Which could lead to the absolute optimal Obamacare actuarial result.  Me keeling over dead at my desk, whilst sitting there, not building that.

But, somehow, I doubt it is mortal.

PS:  Jackass Cat carries his own disease.  Yeradam Pestis.

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Lazarus Calls for Executing Plan URR with Tico Reduced Commission Proposal

Information Dissemination contributor (and Salamander Front Porch regular) Lazarus lays out a good plan which should ring slightly familiar.  Laz’s post contains far more practical information than my conceptual musings, and I am very pleased to see the ideas be floated in such a widely-read forum as ID.

A Ticonderoga class cruiser shorn of most of its combat systems, operations, and supply departments would qualify for nucleus crew status. A U.S. nucleus crew might spend a week to 10 days per quarter underway with these opportunities spread out rather than concentrated in one at sea event. Underway periods need be no greater than 24 hours in duration in order to provide elements of basic crew training. Crews could eat pre-prepared meals for short underway periods, and a shore-based centralized supply office could support individual ship’s logistics and maintenance support needs. All CGs selected for such a program would be assigned to geographic areas relatively free from foul weather sortie requirements. The program would need to be flexible in order to be resilient through periods of fluctuating budget support.

Lazarus points to the wear and tear that the Ticos have endured, and is far more diplomatic than I have been about the cause of their “rapid aging”.

Shortfalls in training and maintenance in the decade of the 2000’s as highlighted in the Balisle report further indicate the class has been proverbially “put away wet” without necessary attention as well.

In short, a bunch of senior Naval Officers, including a number of Admirals, decided that skimping on maintenance and manpower was a good way to save money.  For all of their MBAs and other service experience, that cabal of Officers cost this country and its Navy BILLIONS of dollars in premature retirement of fully capitalized assets, by formulating a stupid and short-sighted plan that ignored the very fundamentals of equipment operation that any Vocational High School Equipment Maintenance and Repair teacher could have taught them in ten minutes.

I do hope someone is listening at Big Navy.  Otherwise more valuable assets and taxpayer treasure go down the drain for the stubborn stupidity of our Navy’s leadership.

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Filed under Around the web, budget, China, Defense, guns, history, logistics, navy, obama, Politics, stupid, Uncategorized, veterans, war, weapons

“Racism!” They Cry, Selectively

But only selectively.

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Gossip site TMZ has NBA franchise (Los Angeles Clippers) owner Donald Sterling on audio tape apparently admonishing his girlfriend for cavorting with “black people”.    From CNN/SI:

It bothers me a lot that you want to broadcast that you’re associating with black people. Do you have to?” l

You can sleep with [black people]. You can bring them in, you can do whatever you want.  The little I ask you is not to promote it on that … and not to bring them to my games.”

Don’t put him [Johnson] on an Instagram for the world to have to see so they have to call me.  And don’t bring him to my games.”

Pretty damning, certainly racist.  Except Sterling’s attorney is asserting that the audio was altered, and that the (presumably ex-) girlfriend leaked such audio out of revenge.   Sterling, for his part, has a history of being an odd duck.  He used to bring women into the locker room while players were showering, for some reason, and has a history of otherwise behaving, well, oddly.

Of course, NBA players are all up in arms, as are black coaches, and there are cries for Sterling’s head.  New NBA Commissioner Adam Silver is already under enormous pressure to punish Sterling.  Players’ Association President Chris Paul has called for “aggressive” addressing of this “serious issue”.  Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, a former NBA player still affiliated with the league, has called the remarks “reprehensible” and calls for “strong and swift action” if allegations are true.   Black NBA commentators are also piling on.  I am sure we will hear from Barack Obama and Eric Holder on the issue before too long.

The collective and individual outrage is pretty understandable.  Well, it would be.  If it weren’t for THIS:

racist necklace

Earlier this month, former NBA owner and current sports agent Jay-Z, whose grown-up name is Shawn Carter, attended a Brooklyn Nets game prominently displaying a pendant featuring the symbol for the “Five Percent Nation of Gods and Earths”,  an offshoot of radical Black Islam founded by a disciple of Malcolm X in the mid-1960s.  Among the “Five Percent Nation” tenets is the belief that “(w)hiteness is weak and wicked and inferior — basically just an errant child who needs to be corrected.”  Also common to this belief system is that the white man is the devil.

five percenter

While a few articles made note of Carter’s ostentatious display of racial hatred, virtually none of the NBA players, or the association, or Mayor Johnson, commented publicly.  In fact, many NBA players have been seen sporting similar necklaces bearing the “Five Percent Nation” symbol.

What would be the effect of a white player of any sport attending a sporting event with an ostentatious display of neo-Nazi ideology?   Like, say, an Aryan Nation armband?  In the weakly-reasoned defenses put forth for Carter’s racism was the comment that the symbol is “not really racist” and has been integrated into American society like other formerly racist symbols, such as the Confederate flag.   No kiddin’?

The difference between Sterling and Carter, of course, is that Sterling is white, and Carter is black, which means Sterling’s alleged comments will spark angry outrage, while Carter’s documented actions elicited a litany of excuses and justifications.  I would have much more empathy toward those so seemingly aggrieved by Sterling’s comments had I heard similar condemnations for the overt racism displayed by Shawn Carter.  I have even less patience for the faux-outrage when I read and hear the endless refrain that black racism isn’t really racism, or if it is, it is justifiable racism.

So Doc Rivers, Chris Paul, Stephen A. Smith, the NBA players en masse, and (pre-emptively) Barack Obama and Eric Holder, can keep their big mouths shut about Sterling if they were struck with collective laryngitis about Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter.   They won’t, of course.  And we will hear about Sterling’s comments ad nauseum, and be told that it is somehow proof that ALL whites are racists.   But if they consider Donald Sterling a hypocritical and bigoted racist, they can ask him to move over, and each can grab a seat on that same bench.  They are of precisely the same ilk.

“It bothers me… that you are associating with black people” is no more (and probably less) racist than “whiteness is weak and evil and inferior”.

No matter how offended you pretend to be.

 

 

 

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Today is ANZAC Day

anzac hat

Today is the 25th of April.  It is ANZAC Day, commemorating the 99th anniversary of the landings of 31,000 men of The Australian Division, and the Australian-New Zealand Division (reinforced with two batteries of mountain guns) on the crescent-shaped portion of beach known as Ari Burnu, forever after known as Anzac Cove.

 gallipolilanding

The ANZAC landing began before dawn on 25 April 1915, and was initially unopposed,  By mid-morning, however, Turkish troops under LtCol Mustapha Kemal had reacted strongly and taken the landing beaches and the precariously shallow Dominion positions under rifle, machine gun, and artillery fire.  Unable to move forward, and hanging onto hillside rocks and scrapes, ANZAC Commander MajGen Sir William Birdwood asked to have the beach-head evacuated.

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The Royal Navy argued that such an evacuation, particularly under fire, was impractical.   So Birdwood was ordered to stay, with the advice given by General Sir Ian Hamilton to “dig, dig, dig!”.  It is from this message, many conclude, that the ANZACs became known as the “diggers”.    Despite herculean efforts and near-suicidal courage, including the tragically costly landings at Sulva Bay in August of 1915, the stalemate was never broken.  Unable to advance, with no evacuation possible, the ANZACs remained locked in their initial positions, enduring conditions even more horrendous than those on the Western Front, until finally pulled out as a part of the general evacuation of the Gallipoli Operation in December of 1915.

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ANZAC Day has become a day of remembrance for all Australian and New Zealand war dead, but remains especially poignant for the nearly 13,000 Australian and New Zealand soldiers who gave their lives in the foothills of the Bari Sair Mountains, in the eight months of hell on Earth that was Anzac Cove.

At the going down of the sun,

and in the morning,

we will remember them.

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Filed under Artillery, guns, history, infantry, navy, SIR!, Uncategorized, veterans, war

William S. Lind’s Grim Assessment of the US Officer Corps

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From The American Conservative.   Bill Lind, one of the authors of Fourth Generation Warfare, is often a bit of a scratchy contrarian who is firmly convinced of his own infallibility when it comes to military theory.   Lind has never served in uniform, and often his condescending pontification and admonitions of “You’re doing it all wrong!” to US military thinkers causes his views to be dismissed out of hand.  But Lind is very smart, and often had nuggets of insight that deserve our consideration.  Here are a few from his TAC article:

Even junior officers inhabit a world where they hear only endless, hyperbolic praise of “the world’s greatest military ever.” They feed this swill to each other and expect it from everyone else. If they don’t get it, they become angry. Senior officers’ bubbles, created by vast, sycophantic staffs, rival Xerxes’s court. Woe betide the ignorant courtier who tells the god-king something he doesn’t want to hear.

And:

What defines a professional—historically there were only three professions, law, medicine, and theology—is that he has read, studied, and knows the literature of his field. The vast majority of our officers read no serious military history or theory.

While my personal experience has been that Marine Officers tend to read and discuss military history, it could be that I gravitate toward those who do.  I will admit that I am chagrined at the numbers of Officers of all services who have seemingly no interest in doing so.

Lind also identifies what he calls “structural failings”:

The first, and possibly the worst, is an officer corps vastly too large for its organization—now augmented by an ant-army of contractors, most of whom are retired officers. A German Panzer division in World War II had about 21 officers in its headquarters. Our division headquarters are cities. Every briefing—and there are many, the American military loves briefings because they convey the illusion of content without offering any—is attended by rank-upon-rank of horse-holders and flower-strewers, all officers.

Command tours are too short to accomplish anything, usually about 18 months, because behind each commander is a long line of fellow officers eagerly awaiting their lick at the ice-cream cone… Decisions are committee-consensus, lowest common denominator, which Boyd warned is usually the worst of all possible alternatives. Nothing can be changed or reformed because of the vast number of players defending their “rice bowls.” The only measurable product is entropy.

The second and third structural failings are related because both work to undermine moral courage and character, which the Prussian army defined as “eagerness to make decisions and take responsibility.” They are the “up or out” promotion system and “all or nothing” vesting for retirement at 20 years. “Up or out” means an officer must constantly curry favor for promotion because if he is not steadily promoted he must leave the service. “All or nothing” says that if “up or out” pushes him out before he has served 20 years, he leaves with no pension. (Most American officers are married with children.)

It is not difficult to see how these… structural failings in the officer corps morally emasculate our officers and all too often turn them, as they rise in rank and near the magic 20 years, into ass-kissing conformists.

I cannot help but notice the truth that rings from much of what Lind asserts.  I have made some of those very same assertions myself on more than a few occasions.  Give the article a read.  What does the gang here think?  Is Lind on target?  If so, how do we fix it?  Can it be fixed?

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The Liars’ Club and the IRS Scandal

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Elijah Cummings, D-Md, is a liar.  Quite simply, Cummings made statements last July about the IRS and their targeting of conservative groups that he knew not to be true.  Cummings claimed that somehow evidence was “discovered” that showed that progressive liberal groups had been targeted, as well as conservative groups.  His fib was immediately given wide dissemination by the beholden liberal news media, who trumpeted faithfully yet another chorus of “false scandal” emanating from the White House.   Despite the protestations of the New York Times, Washington Post, et al, none of what they asserted, nor what Cummings said, was true.

Who said so?  Why, IRS agents said so.  In sworn testimony.

IRS agents testified before Congress that the agency’s political targeting did not apply to progressive groups as Democrats and the media have claimed, according to a bombshell new staff report prepared by the House Oversight Committee chairman, Rep. Darrell Issa.

Remember, the original story from Lois Lerner and the IRS was that the targeting of conservative groups was the result of the actions of just a few people in the Cincinnati Office.  Which was a lie.  Untrue, and known to be untrue when it was uttered.  No more true than Cummings’ tall tales about the IRS targeting liberals, too.  Just to be on the safe side, however, the US Attorney General declared in January that he would not pursue criminal prosecution for anyone in the IRS involved in the scandal, claiming that an “investigation” led by Obama campaign contributor and political supporter Barbara Bosserman “found no criminal wrongdoing”.   Despite the provisions of 18 U.S. Code § 245:

(b) Whoever, whether or not acting under color of law, by force or threat of force willfully injures, intimidates or interferes with, or attempts to injure, intimidate or interfere with—

(B) participating in or enjoying any benefit, service, privilege, program, facility, or activity provided or administered by the United States;

Barack Obama, when he told America that there wasn’t a “smidgin of corruption” in the IRS scandal, was also knowingly stating a falsehood.  He is a liar of the inveterate type.  The IRS Agents’ testimony under oath today directly contradicts his assertions.  His “angry” act at the scandal was a rather pathetic attempt to sell outrage at the idea of treating his political opponents as national enemies.  It is something he, and his Attorney General, have employed as a tactic since inauguration.  See: Alinsky, Saul, Rules for Radicals.

Elijah Cummings, he of the wildly unprofessional conduct at the House Oversight Panel, shares several things with both Obama and Holder.  He shares skin color, and an obsession with that skin color.  In short, he is, like Holder and Obama, a race-hustler who would be roundly condemned if his skin color was white and he spoke of race as he does.  Cummings, like Obama and Holder, is also a far-left collectivist.  He is also an inveterate fibber.  His whopper that the Democrats and the NAACP “never called the Tea Party racists” was undone by video of that very thing being said.   His conduct on the Oversight Panel on the IRS investigation is similar to what it was during the Benghazi hearings.  He wished to disrupt, obfuscate, grandstand, do ANYTHING to distract from the proceedings in order to keep the Obama Administration from having to answer for the highly questionable and possibly criminal things it has done.   And so, with IRS agents’ testimony in the IRS scandal directly refuting his claims, Cummings joins the IRS Scandal Liars’ Club.  With Holder, and Obama, and Lois Lerner already belonging, at least the club has enough minority members to suit him.

 

 

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General Carl E. Mundy, Jr, 30th Marine Commandant, Dead at 78

mundy

Very sad news that General Carl Mundy, the 30th Commandant of the Marine Corps, passed away on Wednesday in Alexandria, VA.   General Mundy’s career was long and distinguished, beginning with his enlistment in the Marine Reserves in 1953, where he would rise to be a Sergeant Squad Leader.

Commissioned out of Auburn University, General Mundy served two tours in Vietnam, one as OpsO and XO of 3/26, and the other with III Marine Amphibious Force.  Following his service in Southeast Asia, General Mundy commanded the Second Marines, and then 2nd Marine Division, and eventually II MEF at Camp Lejeune, NC.

General Mundy served as the 30th Commandant of the Marine Corps from July 1991 to June 1995.  General Mundy was also a plain-spoken man.  And as such, has always been a hero of mine.  He had the backbone to stand up to the Diversity Tyrants, and to try and do what was best for the Corps rather than his career.  The infamous “60 Minutes” hack job that was as dishonest as the Westmoreland piece and the George W. Bush service record fabrication portrayed Mundy’s remarks as being something other than what they were.  General Mundy had criticized the racial quota approach to recruitment of Marine Officers, rightly pointing out that simply taking in men and women based on skin color, without regard to intelligence and aptitude, did them and the Corps a disservice.  He correctly observed that those accessed with below-average intelligence and aptitude were at a severe disadvantage and did not do as well with marksmanship, land navigation, and other skills.  Mundy apologized for any offense that the edited remarks may have caused, but never backed off from his premise, which infuriated the Diversity advocates.

Later, General Mundy ordered the eventual elimination of recruiting quotas for married Marines, again rightly pointing out that first-term non-rate Marines with wives and children had a much higher proportion of problems because of low pay and long hours, and the effects were deleterious to readiness and morale.  Mundy was ordered to rescind that guidance, but again remained unwilling to revise his views.

I had the privilege to serve with General Mundy’s son Carl E. “Sam” Mundy III, at Parris Island.  He was a superb Officer who rightly admired and emulated his Dad.  Carl E. Mundy III is now a Brigadier General, I believe.    General Mundy’s legacy to the Marine Corps remains with us almost twenty years later.  He was a warrior who believed in the warrior ethos.  And was unwilling to compromise those beliefs for political expediency.

But for other senior Officers in all the services to take a lesson from General Mundy.

Farewell, General.  30th Commandant, departing.  Marines from every age who guard Heaven’s streets will present arms.

 

 

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