If you are Army South and needing to train a unit that will be patrolling, scouting, moving to secure locations or other, and generally making life interesting for the enemy, who do you call? Why, you call the Cav, of course. It's a natural.
In this case, to train the Guatemalan Inter-Agency Border Unit (IABU), you call the Texas Army National Guard because not only are they Cav, they've done similar missions in Europe and South America. Below is an interview I did with LTC Anthony P. Flood of the TXARNG about the mission. It is a bit rough, and why is below the fold as it has nothing to do with him or the mission.
Posted By Laughing_WolfIN CONGRESS, JULY 4, 1776 The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America
in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to
dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and
to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station
to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent
respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the
causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths
to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are
endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among
these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure
these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just
powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of
Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the
People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government,
laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in
such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and
Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long
established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and
accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to
suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by
abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train
of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a
design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it
is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards
for their future security. — Such has been the patient sufferance of
these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to
alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present
King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations,
all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny
over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid
He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing
importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should
be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation
of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the
right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them
and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative
bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the
depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing
them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others
to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of
Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise;
the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of
invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured
to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing
the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to
encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new
Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.
has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our
constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to
their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which
they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:
abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province,
establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its
Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for
introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to
compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with
circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most
barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to
bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their
friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring
on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose
known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages,
sexes and conditions.
In every stage of these Oppressions We have
Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions
have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is
thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the
ruler of a free people.
Nor have We been wanting in attentions to
our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts
by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We
have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and
settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and
magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred
to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our
connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of
justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the
necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the
rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.
the Representatives of the united States of America, in General
Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the
rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the
good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these
united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent
States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown,
and that all political connection between them and the State of Great
Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and
Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace,
contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and
Things which Independent States may of right do. — And for the support
of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine
Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes,
and our sacred Honor.
New Hampshire: Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple, Matthew Thornton
Massachusetts: John Hancock, Samuel Adams, John Adams, Robert Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry
Rhode Island: Stephen Hopkins, William Ellery
Connecticut: Roger Sherman, Samuel Huntington, William Williams, Oliver Wolcott
New York: William Floyd, Philip Livingston, Francis Lewis, Lewis Morris
New Jersey: Richard Stockton, John Witherspoon, Francis Hopkinson, John Hart, Abraham Clark
Robert Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, John Morton, George
Clymer, James Smith, George Taylor, James Wilson, George Ross
Delaware: Caesar Rodney, George Read, Thomas McKean
Maryland: Samuel Chase, William Paca, Thomas Stone, Charles Carroll of Carrollton
Virginia: George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Harrison, Thomas Nelson, Jr., Francis Lightfoot Lee, Carter Braxton
North Carolina: William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John Penn
South Carolina: Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward, Jr., Thomas Lynch, Jr., Arthur Middleton
Georgia: Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton
Whatever else one may say about the desire to have the best in the new Inter-Agency Border Unit (IABU, and was told late yesterday that is correct), it is exemplified by having the majority of the leadership come from the Kaibiles (Kaibil, individual). While there are a couple of positions not held by members of this elite unit, all the field/operational leaders are from that unit.
An officer talking to a squad playing OpFor
What are the Kaibiles? A quick and accurate description is that they are the Guatemalan version of our Rangers. A more precise description would be to say that they combine that Ranger component with aspects of the Gurkhas and other elite forces into something uniquely their own. Their motto says it all:
If I advance, follow me. If I stop, urge me on. If I retreat, kill me.
Briefing before an exercise
The training is intense and two classes are run each year. According to some reports, while 64 start each class no more than 10 have made it through any given class. Any member of the armed forces can apply to take the training, but a rigorous physical and psychological testing process weeds out even before the class starts. Part of the testing and training is designed to evaluate the candidates military and moral capabilities (according to multiple reports), and during the training each candidate is assigned a fellow candidate as a "Brother." If one brother makes a mistake, both pay the cost.
Discussing an exercise as an observer looks on
During training, it is reported that the right to eat and the right to sleep must both be earned. It is worth noting that the training takes place at a location known as "El Infierno" or Hell, so called for the extreme temperatures in this jungle location. There are number of interesting rituals referred to during and at the end of training, including having to drink out of a mug with a bayonet tied to it so as to teach caution.
A High Dynamic Range (HDR) treatment of the discussion image
While they were formed to do anti-guerrilla work, today the focus for the unit is more on anti-terrorism and anti-narcotics operations. I can say without reservation that while I found the Kaibiles I met to be decent leaders, I was particularly impressed with three of them. The fact that I had several of the trainers who had worked with the IABU confirm to me that they were indeed "High Speed, Low Drag" confirmed the good impression.
For the IABU, leadership will be critical. Having the Kaibiles, especially those three I got to know and respect even during the brief time I was there with Army South, in leadership positions provides a good foundation. What will come remains to be seen, but a foundation is there.
A variety of advertising sponsorships are available, and you can contribute to this trip and other embeds at GoFundMe.
HDR version of photo by Scott Bragg (NSFW) who is dragging me into HDR photography and otherwise forcing me out of creative ruts. You might also enjoy his wife's venture into a creative way to let people know if you "give an F" (potentially NSFW).
Whatever one may think of the so-called War on Drugs, no one disputes that air and naval interdiction has had an impact on smuggling in Central and South America. No one with any sense will dispute that drugs are only one part of what is being smuggled across various borders. What many miss, however, is that smuggling runs both ways, and that many competent sources have added terrorism to the mix.
As drugs, humans, and other goods move north, money and worse move south. From weapons to chemicals, the return path brings even more danger to the countries they transit. As drug money comes in, crime tends to go up as various cartels seek to gain control and safe passage for their goods. As air and sea interdiction by Latin American countries, as well as the U.S., became more effective, the smuggling moved to land routes.
Terrorism comes into play as well. In addition to tactics by the drug cartels that tend to make some of the Taliban and Al Qaeda tactics look almost tame, there is growing concern that groups under the Al Qaeda banner are attempting to exploit this route for their own purposes. After all, why risk a port entry when you can exploit an existing system for your own ends.
Nor do the problems stop there for the countries involved. As more and more goods are smuggled around borders, more and more legitimate goods do the same. As they do so, the fees collected on those goods go down too, depriving countries of much needed revenue.
It is a given that we have problems securing our southern border. That is a topic for another day. For now, I would posit that stopping smuggling further down is not only to our benefit, for it reduces what we have to interdict, but it is also beneficial to the countries through which the smuggling passes.
The southern border of Mexico has long been recognized as problematic, and some of the WikiLeaks relases highlighted those problems. Forbes has even covered the issue. Guatemala has seen revenues drop and crime rise significantly over the last decade. In talking with a Guatemalan during my trip, this person reported that ten years ago there was very little street crime as such. Today, murders are common and street crime is rampant. One person told me that out of the staff of a facility we visited, everyone they had talked to had been subjected to a mugging or other form of robbery.
The government of Guatemala realized they have a problem, and that a key point of the problem is Tecun Uman. If you search video feeds for the name, you will see goods being sailed on makeshift rafts, and you can find worse. Tecun Uman is also the largest land-border crossing in Central America, which makes it a natural focus for both law enforcement and those out to circumvent the law.
This was not a problem where the government could just add more funds to/grow its border patrol. The fact is, while they have customs, the Guatemalans have never needed a border patrol such as we have. The powers we have given to our border patrol are not something that reside in any single agency there, and their constitution places strong limits on the powers that can be given.
To do something about the problem means that various agencies have to work together, and the decision was made to create an Inter-Agency Border Unit (IABU) that would bring together military, law enforcement, the judiciary, the Guatemalan equivalent of district attorneys, and others. Doing such is not an easy task, and both equipment and specialized training were needed if this was to be a successful effort.
To that end, they asked for assistance and received it. Through existing agreements, U.S. Army South has provided trainers from the U.S. Army, the Texas National Guard, the U.S. Border Patrol, and the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation. In addition, the United States has provided vehicles and protective gear.
This new unit also needed good people, and the government asked the various organizations involved to send their best people. Tomorrow, I want to introduce you to one of the Guatemalan units involved in the IABU.
UPDATE: Per a message I just received, the IABU has been renamed the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF). Not sure when that took place, as most during my visit still called it the IABU as did previous releases, but want to be accurate and up-to-date.
Imagine you are a country that has seen a huge increase in traffic through your land as U.S. and Latin American efforts have shut down air and naval smuggling routes. Worse yet, as those things move one way, even more potentially destabilizing things are starting to move back in the other direction. To make it even worse, as these things avoid your border checkpoints, goods on which you collect taxes and fees join them -- reducing income you needed.
Your country not only has civilian control of the military enshrined in law and constitution, but has laws and regulations that can make posse commitatus seem weak in comparison. You have no border patrol, never having needed one before, and to create such you have to bring together the judiciary, the local equivalent of District Attorneys, your Customs service, the police, and the military so that they work together seamlessly to provide one. You want and need this, are determined to do it right and so commit the best of each branch to the effort.
Part of the training cadre
Now, imagine that you are the United States government and that you want to help this country create an effective border patrol as a good bit of the bad things going through will end up at your border -- and beyond. Air and naval interdiction has worked to reduce the amounts coming in by those routes, and increased the amount traveling over land. Now imagine you are the U.S. Army South, and you've been tasked with helping this country in their efforts to create this new border patrol.
What do you do?
You bring in the experts from U.S. Customs and Border Patrol, the Texas National Guard, and other resources. You help the country procure the equipment necessary, develop a training program that teaches law, best practices in border protection operations, and offer guidance and suggestions as the country creates a program that brings together the elements mentioned above under a cabinet level officer who reports directly to that country's president. She is one call away from that office, and the head of the program is one call away from her. You create a training program that brings all those groups together to learn to work together on an administrative level, to train together and figure out how to work together as a team on the squad level so that the strengths and duties of each group work together. And, to make it even more challenging, after years of work and planning, you make this happen in less than a year.
This, ladies and gentlemen, is what Army South is doing right now. I've got the pleasure of being present for the final testing and exercises that will see the first battalion of this new Inter Agency Border Unit complete its basic training and begin operations and advanced training. There is much more to come, stay tuned.
We are still short funding for a flight home and other expenses. If I can't raise the funds very quickly, the embed may be cancelled. This could be the start of something very good, so if you can, please help.
Thanks, and thanks for putting up with all the pitches.
I had an unexpected treat last night, when a friend came in from out of town. Better yet, he brought his studio lights so we went to a semi-regularly scheduled photo seminar and shoot. We shot. They shot. Fun was had. Problem is, however, that I have two versions of a photo and can't decide which I like better. Go over to Laughing Wolf and let me know which you prefer. Comments are open.
I didn't retire to insult General Officers, it seems to be a perk of the status though, and this is the dumbest thing I have EVER heard any General say:
Earlier this year, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey said the sexual assaults might be linked to the longstanding ban on women serving in combat because the disparity between the roles of men and women creates separate classes of personnel — male "warriors" versus the rest of the force.
So you think they will be sexually assaulted LESS OFTEN if we train them to be Army Rangers and Navy SEALS and forward deploy them? FFS! Is there no one in on his staff that has the sense or courage to tell him what an asinine thing to say that is? Or even have the courage to tell the nation and the Administration what an asinine idea this is.
Women may be able to start training as Army Rangers by mid-2015 and as Navy SEALs a year later under plans set to be announced by the Pentagon that would slowly bring women into thousands of combat jobs, including those in elite special operations forces
If you are new to this argument, you can review what some of us think here and here, here and I spoke about it here.
Not the top-level finding, that the CIA's analysis didn't always give specific categories to the people killed in allegedly-CIA-led drone strikes. Nor the secondary claim, that the CIA is lying about the number of civilians killed.
No, the worst news was that the CIA couldn't just ask.
For a decade, these tribal regions where these drone strikes have been conducted have been one of the very top priorities for US intelligence collection. The most rudimentary of human intelligence networks could have come up with a definitive list of who was killed. Almost no risks would have been run in collecting on this topic, as it would have been the subject of common conversation among everyone in the area -- everyone whose family members might have been killed, for example. No one would have thought it was odd to ask who died in yesterday's drone strike. You could collect on this kind of thing without breaking a sweat, if you had a HUMINT network at all.
What this means is that the CIA has completely failed at its main function, in one of its highest-priority areas, for more than a decade. The reason we're turning to all this fancy "collect-everyting-anyone-says-anywhere-at-any-time" technology is that we've failed at traditional tradecraft. The bueraucracy isn't doing its job.
As the CIA case shows, there are a lot of disadvantages to relying on SIGINT. It's simply nowhere near as reliable as human intelligence. You can't ask questions: you have to infer from what you are told, or what you can happen to see in the signal. The reason we don't know isn't that we aren't collecting everything SIGINT can show us: as we see here, Pakistan was one of the NSA's most intensely-collected states.
I personally would like to see a lot of this SIGINT capacity dismantled, on the theory that we ought to be as secure in our electronic communications as in those we write on paper and seal in a thin envelope. But whether you agree with that or not, the fact is that it's less reliable than the traditional capacities we no longer develop. That failure -- a failure, I believe, of will -- is driving these scandals. Because these SIGINT techniques are less effective, that failure is also putting America at risk.
Sorry, but last week was brutally beautifully intense. I went to bed at about 1000 hours last night, and was very grumpily awakened by some sickeningly happy and cheerful early risers at the campground about 0600. Finally gave up, got up, and got in the car to warm up at 0730. For the record, I've camped everywhere from the high moors of Norway to the Superstition mountains, even in freezing Iraqi winter nights. Last night is the coldest I can remember being. I ran the heater in the rental car for about five minutes, decided to rest a bit, and the next thing I knew it was after 1000 hours. Had to make a supply run (note for the future, stores do not sell ice thank Ifni for helpful restaurants!), do laundry, and other mundane stuff.
Right now, I'm torn between trying to catch up on all the writing and all the photos I need to go through, or going out and doing more. I really hope to spend several more hours at Pointe du Hoc (six or more would be nice, sigh), among other things and places I really want to visit. I still need to do Omaha and Utah right, have not spent near enough time at either even with wading through the brambles above Omaha today. Well, I had to do something while waiting on the laundry to dry...
So, no ice cream today but there is more to come. For those complaining about only one story a day, keep in mind: I can write or I can do, and I choose to spend my time getting as many stories and photos in a day as I can; my computer is like me, old and slow, and it has less than half the memory "suggested" for the software in use and the data transfer is from 2007, which means it runs at about one quarter the speed of newer systems -- which impacts operations in that it is taking me 2-4 hours to download one chip from the camera, and you don't want to know about the backups; I do have to do mundane things too, like sleep, laundry, etc. though I really don't care to do so; I also admit I've gotten caught up in things to the point that I miss deadlines, like the times most hotels, stores, etc. close in more rural France and, yes, that has indeed made life interesting; and, wifi is available, but a lot of "free" wifi comes attached to restaurant bills I can't afford right now. Want to change the latter, hit the tip jar.
Don't mean to sound (too) grumpy, just want to lay out the facts. Fact is, I'm having an amazing time, meeting some truly wonderful people, and may be able to bring some neat and even exclusive stories to Blackfive (and my site) even if it means limiting posts to but one a day. Then again, I somehow think most of you won't mind if the posts run on a week or three. I really want to get some of my camp neighbors (who shake their head at my bivy sack) on tape as several of them could hold doctorates in history for their research into D-Day. Also glad one or two of them may take me under thier wings and make some introductions and show me some things. Meantime, just saw an "American" duck check into the camp, think there might be a story to that so...
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.