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November 2013

Photo: Marine Jump

Hires_131121-F-PM645-251U.S. Marines wait on a C-130 Hercules before participating in jump training at night over Yokota Air Base, Japan, Nov. 21, 2013. The training also enabled the Yokota aircrews to practice flight tactics and timed-package drops. The Marines are assigned to the 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion, 3rd Marine Division, 3rd Marine Expeditionary Force. U.S. Air Force photo by Osakabe Yasuo

[Updated] Must Read: "A Sailor's Dying Wish"

[Updated post from November 11, 2013]

Via our own Mr. Wolf, if you read one thing today, you should make it this piece from I Drive Warships...and have a box of tissues handy.

After signing my Pop, EM2 Bud Cloud (circa Pearl Harbor) up for hospice care, the consolation prize I’d given him (for agreeing it was OK to die) was a trip to “visit the Navy in San Diego.”

I emailed my friend and former Marine sergeant, Mrs. Mandy McCammon, who’s currently serving as a Navy Public Affairs Officer, at midnight on 28 May. I asked Mandy if she had enough pull on any of the bases in San Diego to get me access for the day so I could give Bud, who served on USS Dewey (DD-349), a windshield tour...

But that's not exactly what happened.  Go to IDW and read about what the crew of the Dewey did for Bud Cloud.  

Update 11-27-13:  FoxNews has a report on this visit today.



Home for the Holidays...A Combat Controller and Spouse You Should Know


This story is from Homer News:

When Erin Chambers answered the phone at 6 a.m. Nov. 16, she wasn’t surprised to hear her husband Josh’s voice. The telephone is an important link between Erin, a second-grade teacher at a private school in Seattle, and Josh, a 2000 Homer High graduate deployed with the U.S. Air Force in Afghanistan.

This call was different, however.

“He asked if I could get on Skype,” said Erin of a computer program that allows the couple to see each other while talking. “So I got on Skype and he said he had good news and bad news.”

The good news: Josh was coming home.

The bad news: He had been shot in the leg...

Go read the whole story about looking at the bright side (of what life throws or the Taliban shoots at you).  By the way, Josh and Erin were married last June.


More here at the Homer Tribune.

You can send Josh and Erin Chambers well wishes by mailing them to 30212 5th Avenue South, Federal Way, Wash., 98003.

Photo: The Code Talkers Recognized

Hires_131120-D-HU462-038cWallace Coffey, chief of the Comanche Nation of Oklahoma, left, and Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma Chief Gregory Pyle stand during a ceremony in which their tribal citizens received the Congressional Gold Medal in Emancipation Hall at the Capitol in Washington, D.C., Nov. 20, 2013. The U.S. Congress awarded the medal as an expression of the nation's profound gratitude to the code talkers for their valor and dedication during World War I and World War II. DOD photo by U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Sean K. Harp

Ten Thanksgivings Ago...

This is a repost from ten years ago:


Below is an email (via military reader "In Media Res") from a Captain in the 501st (a unit that I know well) that was at President Bush's Thanksgiving Dinner. With all the talk of fake turkey and photo ops, maybe you should hear about the President's visit from someone that was actually there:

We knew there was a dinner planned with ambassador Bremer and LTG Sanchez. There were 600 seats available and all the units in the division were tasked with filling a few tables. Naturally, the 501st MI battalion got ourtable. Soldiers were grumbling about having to sit through another dog-and-pony show, so we had to pick soldiers to attend. I chose not to go.

But, about 1500 the G2, LTC Devan, came up to me and with a smile, asked me to come to dinner with him, to meet him in his office at 1600 and bring a camera. I didn't really care about getting a picture with Sanchez or Bremer, but when the division's senior intelligence officer asks you to go, you go. We were seated in the chow hall, fully decorated for thanksgiving when aaaaallllll kinds of secret service guys showed up.

That was my first clue, because Bremer's been here before and his personal security detachment is not that big. Then BG Dempsey got up to speak, and he welcomed ambassador Bremer and LTG Sanchez. Bremer thanked us all and pulled out a piece of paper as if to give a speech. He mentioned that the President had given him this thanksgiving speech to give to the troops. He then paused and said that the senior man present should be the one to give it. He then looked at Sanchez, who just smiled.

Bremer then said that we should probably get someone more senior to read the speech. Then, from behind the camouflage netting, the President of the United States came around. The mess hall actually erupted with hollering. Troops bounded to their feet with shocked smiles and just began cheering with all their hearts. The building actually shook. It was just unreal. I was absolutely stunned. Not only for the obvious, but also because I was only two tables away from the podium. There he stood, less than thirty feet away from me! The cheering went on and on and on.

Soldiers were hollering, cheering, and a lot of them were crying. There was not a dry eye at my table. When he stepped up to the cheering, I could clearly see tears running down his cheeks. It was the most surreal moment I've had in years. Not since my wedding and Aaron being born. Here was this man, our President, came all the way around the world, spending 17 hours on an airplane and landing in the most dangerous airport in the world, where a plane was shot out of the sky not six days before.

Just to spend two hours with his troops. Only to get on a plane and spend another 17 hours flying back. It was a great moment, and I will never forget it. He delivered his speech, which we all loved, when he looked right at me and held his eyes on me. Then he stepped down and was just mobbed by the soldiers. He slowly worked his way all the way around the chow hall and shook every last hand extended. Every soldier who wanted a photo with the President got one. I made my way through the line, got dinner, then wolfed it down as he was still working the room.

You could tell he was really enjoying himself. It wasn't just a photo opportunity. This man was actually enjoying himself! He worked his way over the course of about 90 minutes towards my side of the room. Meanwhile, I took the opportunity to shake a few hands. I got a picture with Ambassador Bremer, Talabani (acting Iraqi president) and Achmed Chalabi (another member of the ruling council) and Condaleeza Rice, who was there with him.

I felt like I was drunk. He was getting closer to my table so I went back over to my seat. As he passed and posed for photos, he looked my in the eye and "How you doin', captain." I smiled and said "God bless you, sir." To which he responded "I'm proud of what you do, captain." Then moved on.

Update December 4, 2003 (links no longer work): As if you needed more (well, hell, maybe you do if you work for the Washington Post), a reader sends this link to another story about the Bush Thanksgiving visit via a family member who was there.

Oh my god, here is another one....these things are everywhere.

BTW, Reuters and the Washington Times have stories reporting that the dinner was in the early evening hours and not at 0500...

Peace in our time with Iran

I would say this deal is abject surrender from a winning position, but that is far too kind. Naivete, foolishness, hubris, and the arrogant misconception that wolves will become sheep if we just treat them sweetly, have combined to give the world's most dangerous totalitarian theocracy a green light to build a nuclear bomb at their leisure.

I could go on, and on and on. This deal is really that bad. But James Carafano of Heritage did the heavy lifting.  Over to you Mr. Carafano.

No, that’s not a facile, partisan jab. What just went down in Geneva is, in fact, a replay of the greatest diplomatic tragedy of the 20th century.

The Munich deal rested on the ridiculous notion that Hitler could be satiated. The new pact builds on the equally ludicrous idea that Iran would give up the means to build a nuclear weapon that will serve as the tip of its foreign-policy spear.

The saddest part of this negotiated fiasco is that everyone agrees why Iran came to the bargaining table. The sanctions worked; the mullahs had run out of cash, and Tehran determined that the easiest way to get the funds flowing was to get the West to back off.

This is where the realists and the idealists part company. Realists knew that the sanctions were good for only one purpose: to weaken the regime to the point where it would collapse or be overthrown.  They crossed their fingers, hoping that would happen before Tehran got a nuke it could turn on the West. Regime change remains the only realistic option to bombing or bearing the danger of living with a nuclear-armed Iran.

Idealists, on the other hand, held that sanctions were the magic button for getting the Iranians to be reasonable. Once Tehran started on the path to accommodating the West (they theorized), the mullahs would realize that the benefits of collaboration and transparency outweighed the burdens of isolation and confrontation.

Team Rubicon - Operation Seabird in Tacloban, Philippines

Here's a recent map of all of the NGOs in and around the areas hit by the typhoon...As you can see, there's really not that many of them.  Of course, Team Rubicon was there ASAFP.  You can read more about TR's Operation Seabird here.


Providing medical aid during the critical time gap between disaster and conventional response, Team Rubicon combines veterans and medical professionals into deployable teams and gets them in country FAST.

995864_10153525862100080_1997458489_nThe #OpSeabird medical team, including those patrolling barangays to provide on-site care, have treated nearly 600 patients at field hospitals and clinics established in Carigara and Tacloban.

You can help by donating or volunteering.