Back online after a great vacation on/in Lake of the Ozarks (thanks to my in-Laws).
Had a 185hp waverunner that I was able to sink/submerge in one wave (from a wake) and then accelerate out of the water launching off of the next wave and getting a foot or two out of the water. *SPLASH!!!*
Little Blackfive got to pilot a boat for the first time (not over 25mpg). He is also becoming a really good swimmer for a four year old. He also seems to be able to putt better left-handed.
Pinkfive was mostly just along for the ride and was sleeping most of the time getting ready for her big 1st Birthday Tuesday.
Okay, I've been getting a few emails every minute or so with negative reactions to the FX show "Over There". I had checked the site a few days ago and found the characters to be cartoonish and stereotypical. I figured it wouldn't be very complimentary or truthful or real.
I decided to nurse a Guinness here on Lake Ozark rather than watch it or TiVO it.
If you've seen it, sound off in the Comments. I'd be interested to hear what you have to say.
Could we start withdrawing troops from Iraq as early as next spring?
Most likely, hell no.
At least, that's my opinion. But now General Casey (the top General in Iraq) has just made a comment that troops could begin a draw down in Iraq as soon as next Spring (2006) or Summer. That's pretty @#$%ing crazy.
Of course, there could be some logical and very Sun-Tzu-ish reasons for this statement - via the Financial Times:
..."If the political process continues to go positively, if the developments with the [Iraqi] security forces continue to go as it is going, we will still be able to make fairly substantial reductions after these elections, in the spring and summer of next year," Gen Casey said...
This could be a carefully crafted ploy to (1) increase the activity (non-violent) of the insurgency in order to facilitate finding them, (2) get the Iraqis in gear to take responsibility for their country, and (3) appease some politicians in the US that we are looking at leaving sometime in the near future. There are many other theories too ("HELLO, SYRIA!"). And let's keep in mind that we aren't talking about sending 100,000 troops home right away...
However, General Casey has never been a great public speaker (see the last testimony in front of the Armed Services Committee) and often speaks out of step with some in the chain of command and some of the civilian leaders.
His name is BillChip and he is mostly unstable, often makes ridiculous threats (can't believe he threatened her...of all the sweetest, most beautiful girls to be mean to?), and definitely is not funny. So whatever you do, don't visit his site (although, apparently, his brother is very cool).
Michael Yon's latest is another must read - Empty Jars:
...There is a pattern of cascades in counterguerrilla combat
operations. In this kind of warfare, information drives maneuvers, and
a single capture of a key person frequently cascades into a shower of
raids and captures, each pregnant with the next storm.
night, Iraqi police took the 4 captured men out to identify targets. On
route, one "tried to escape" and was killed, intensifying the pressure
on the remaining three. The cascade had begun with the snippet of
information, but now was fanning open, as police, operating alone,
uncovered the original cache in the village northwest of Mosul. While
this catch was merely a depot to Mosul, it led to the giant cache we
raided ["The Devil's Foyer," 21 July 05], and from there to yet another
large cache uncovered on the same day on the east side of the Tigris
River in Mosul. The cascade fizzled to the end of its run at a fourth
cache that rendered only empty munitions containers.
Of greater interest was the prisoners' admission that the munitions were being readied for the next elections...
Tom C. sends some cool photos of the new F/A-22 Raptor in case you haven't seen them before. The first Raptor (combat-ready...the USAF has some others) was delivered to the USAF last week.
Dayton Daily News (print version only):
The Air Force's newest
warplane, the F/A-22 Raptor, is scheduled to make a flyby at the
Vectren Dayton Air Show in July, air show officials said Thursday.
Not yet operational, the stealthy Raptor is the Air Force's most
advanced and most expensive fighter jet. The first combat-ready F/A-22
was delivered this week to Langley Air Force Base in Virginia for
maintenance training. <...> The Air Force's Aeronautical Systems Center manages the F/A-22 program at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base...
Here are a few more I found that, I believe, didn't make it into the articles. All photos taken by Sergeant Lynne Steely (click on the thumbnails for larger version of photo):
Spc. Viseka Dawson of the 306th Military Police Battalion listens while
Multi-National Corps-Iraq commander, Lt. Gen. John R. Vines speaks at a
Naturalization Ceremony Monday at Camp Victory, Iraq. This is the
second ceremony of it’s kind held in Iraq for deployed Soldiers who
want to obtain U.S. citizenship.
Spc. Kimberly Flowers and Spc. Yuen Fai Fu of the 306th Military Police
Battalion, stand at ease as they wait to receive a Certificate of
Naturalization from Lt. Gen. John R. Vines, Multi-National Corps-Iraq
commander, in ceremony at MNC-I headquarters Monday. 168 Soldiers
became United States citizens, some of whom have waited up to two
Spc. Elizabeth Allen of the 306th Military Police Battalion gives the Oath of Citizenship during a ceremony held at the Multi-National Corps-Iraq headquarters at Camp Victory, Iraq Monday. Allen is stationed at Abu Ghraib, Iraq and was one of four Soldiers from the 306th who obtained United States Citizenship. MNC-I commander, Lt. Gen. John R. Vines presented the Soldiers with a Certificate of Naturalization.
Former Paratrooper and Army Officer, "Blackfive" started this blog upon learning of the valorous sacrifice of a friend that was not reported by the journalist whose life he saved. Email: blackfive AT gmail DOT com
Retired Special Operations Master Sergeant, Jim Hanson ("Uncle Jimbo") is now focused on writing about the military, politics, intelligence operations and foreign policy. Email: jimbo AT unclejimbo DOT com
Writer, photographer, and raconteur C. Blake Powers is the Laughing Wolf. He is independent in politics and covers topics including journalism, military, weapons, preparedness, space, science, cooking, food and wine, product and book reviews, and even spirituality. Email: wolf1 AT laughingwolf DOT net Laughing Wolf's Amazon Wish List
Bill Paisley, otherwise known as Pinch, is a 22 year (ongoing) active and
reserve naval aviator. He blogs over at www.instapinch.com on a veritable
cornucopia of various and sundry items and will bring a tactical naval
aviator's perspective to Blackfive. Readers be warned: any comments of or
about the F-14 Tomcat will be reverential and spoken in low, hushed tones.
Email: wpaisley AT comcast DOT net
Mr. Wolf has over 26 years in the Army, Army NG, and USAR. He’s Airborne with 5 years as an NCO, before becoming an officer. Mr. Wolf has had 4 company commands. Signal Corp is his basic branch, and Public Affairs is his functional area. He recently served 22 straight months in Kuwait and Iraq, in Intel, PA, and senior staff of MNF-I. Mr. Wolf is now an IT executive. He is currently working on a book on media and the Iraq war. Functional gearhead.
In Iraq, he received the moniker of Mr. Wolf after the Harvey Kietel character in Pulp Fiction, when "challenges" arose, they called on Mr. Wolf...
Email: TheDOTMrDOTWolfAT gmail DOT com
Deebow is a Staff Sergeant and a Military Police Squad Leader in the Army National Guard. In a previous life, he served in the US Navy. He has over 19 years of experience in both the Maritime and Land Warfare; including deployments to Southwest Asia, Thailand, the South Pacific, South America and Egypt. He has served as a Military Police Team Leader and Protective Services Team Leader and he has served on assignments with the US State Department, US Air Force Security Police, US Army Criminal Investigation Division, and the US Drug Enforcement Administration. He recently spent time in Afghanistan working with, training and fighting alongside Afghan Soldiers and is now focused on putting his 4 year Political Science degree to work by writing about foreign policy, military security policy and politics.
McQ has 28 years active and reserve service. Retired. Infantry officer. Airborne and Ranger. Consider my 3 years with the 82nd as the most fun I ever had with my clothes on. Interests include military issues and policy and veteran's affairs.
Email: mcq51 -at - bellsouth -dot- net
Tantor is a former USAF navigator/weapon system officer (WSO) in F-4E Phantoms who served in the US, Asia, and Europe. He is now a curmudgeonly computer geek in Washington, DC, picking the taxpayers pocket. His avocations are current events, aviation, history, and conservative politics.
Twenty-three years of Active and Reserve service in the US Army in SF (18B), Infantry and SOF Signal jobs with operational deployments to Bosnia and Africa. Since retiring he's worked as Senior Defense Analyst on SOF and Irregular Warfare projects and currently ensconced in the emerging world of Cyberspace.
Major Pain --
A Marine who began his blog in Iraq and reflects back on what he learned there and in Afghanistan. To the point opinions, ideas and thoughts on military, political and the media from One Marine’s View. Email: onemarinesview AT yahoo DOT com
Uber Pig was an Infantryman from late 1991 until early 1996, serving with Second Ranger Battalion, I Corps, and then 25th Infantry Division. At the time, the Army discriminated against enlisted soldiers who wanted use the "Green to Gold" program to become officers, so he left to attend Stanford University. There, he became expert in detecting, avoiding, and surviving L-shaped ambushes, before dropping out to be as entrepreneurial as he could be. He is now the founder of a software startup serving the insurance and construction industries, and splits time between Lake Tahoe, Boonville, and San Francisco, CA.
Uber Pig writes for Blackfive a) because he's the proud brother of an enlisted Civil Affairs Reservist who currently serves in Iraq, b) because he looks unkindly on people who make it harder for the military in general, and for his brother in particular, to succeed at their missions and come home in victory, and c) because the Blackfive readers and commenters help keep him sane.
COB6 spent 24 years in the active duty Army that included 5 combat tours with service in the 1st Ranger Battalion and 1st Special Forces Group . COB6 was enlisted (E-7) and took the OCS route to a commission. COB6 retired a few years back as a field grade Infantry officer.
Currently COB6 has a son in the 82nd Airborne that just returned from his third tour and has a newly commissioned daughter in the 4th Infantry Division.