TAH notes a change to our push for votes to help with selection of Colt's cheerleaders. We now have two excellent people to vote for. Go read, go vote, and remember to vote early and often for Kaiti C and Rachel F.
The United States Constitution, Article I, Section 8, Clause 12 establishes that Congress alone has the power "[t]o raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years." Clause 13 speaks to the Navy. The "lack of predictability in the budget cycle" is purely about Congress' determination of budgets.
Part of the problem lies in that many news services are (badly) pulling from a story by Bill Gertz in the Washington Free Beacon. While I question parts of his story, the pulls from it (for those I've seen) are very poorly done, though I've seen what I think was an update to one to make corrections (or at least give it some basic editing). So, take this with a grain of salt and know that by the time this goes up, some of those stories may be fixed a bit.
First, some of the stories are either very poorly written or very poorly edited, not sure which. While Bill's story quotes the Air Force as stating there were two Bear bombers, some of the versions I've seen elsewhere mix tenses and numbers. FYI, two is not a fleet, but does make sense on several levels having to do with intel and flight safety.
Second, the Bear is nuclear capable but in the past rarely nuclear armed. There is a huge freakin difference there. Could we tell if it was nuclear armed? Not from looking at it; but, suspect (insert whistling idly here) there are ways to tell. Bill says his sources say there were armed with nuclear-tipped cruise missiles. Me, I have to question this as I am not getting any such confirmation nor can I find any official statement so stating. I've put in a formal inquiry to see what response I get in public. I will also note that we have rarely stated that any plane had any particular type weapon on it, as that tends to tell others about our intel capabilities...
Third, the Bear sorta sucks as a nuclear bomber. It is old, it is slow, it is fairly easy to track and shoot down if push comes to shove. As a stand-off platform, it would work better, but they are not exactly stealthy.
Fourth, the Bear has great long range capability. Combine that with a radar great for searching large swatches of ocean, and electronics to gather other intel, and it makes an excellent platform for target location and analysis (and general monitoring). That was, and as far as I know still is, the prime role for the airframe -- finding targets for others and gathering intel.
Fifth, did anyone in the vaunted layers and layers of fact checkers and editors do the first bit of basic research on the system before writing headlines to their version of Mr. Gertz's story? Wonder if any of them ever read Red Storm Rising (paperback
or played Harpoon Classic
Sixth, Bears have regularly patrolled out over the Pacific and the Atlantic in the past. In fact, they have been known to fly up and down the East Coast just outside the limits on occasion. They have approached Guam before, though they may not have done so recently. Given their range, they are perfect to provoke a response and hoover every bit of electronic noise (and even some visual data) that happens in response. Guess what they probably were doing this time?
Oh, if you want to have some fun, do a search on photos of Bear bombers taken by our pilots who "escorted" them as they approached Iceland or the U.S. Some of them are good, and some are pretty funny for the various signs held up by both sides.
So, this cold warrior is torn between being amused and grumpy at the piss-poor story and all the hysteria going with it. Was Vladimir sending a message as well as testing things? Yep. I also suspect that he is hearing intel on the reaction and has got a look of pure "you have got to be kidding me" on his face at the public side of it.
UPDATE 1: I reached out to some Air Force contacts, and the official response was most interesting and informative, if you read between the lines a bit. The official response from Capt. Bender, quoted also in the original article, is that the F-15s -- normally based in Japan -- were on Guam for Cope North, an annual exercise.
In regards the bombers being armed with nuclear-tipped cruise missiles as reported by Bill Gertz and breathlessly jumped on by others: "You will have to contact Russian officials to answer your question."
Well, that actually wasn't what I asked, as my question was " is the Air Force stating or confirming that these bombers were indeed armed with nuclear-tipped cruise missiles? If so, how was this confirmed?" But, the real answer to the real question is indeed answered. And, no, I'm not going to reach out to any Russian contacts I may still have (can hear their snickers already).
Annual scheduled exercise. Two Bears. Gotta call bullshit on the whole nuclear-armed thing. Pattern is pure intel run.
This bit of bureaucratic retardation at DoD shows how out of hand things have truly gotten...
The new blue, red and white-ribboned Distinguished Warfare Medal will be awarded to individuals for ‘‘extraordinary achievement’’ related to a military operation that occurred after Sept. 11, 2001. But unlike other combat medals, it does not require the recipient risk his or her life to get it.
Officials said the new medal will be the first combat-related award to be created since the Bronze Star in 1944.
A recognition of the evolving 21st Century warfare, the medal will be considered a bit higher in ranking than the Bronze Star, but is lower than the Silver Star, defense officials said.
Awesome... We are going to start handing out participation trophies for "extraordinary achievement." A medal that ranks higher than the Bronze Star for doing a job that I could get any 12 year old boy to do for a raise in his allowance and promising to let him have the new Call of Duty for his birthday. Speaking of that; can I get overseas/combat service credit for all of the Resistance--Fall of Man and Call of Duty playing time I had while deployed?
To give those in the audience who have no idea what it takes to get a Bronze Star, this is the award criteria:
The Bronze Star Medal was established by Executive Order 9419, 4 February 1944 (superseded by Executive Order 11046, 24 August 1962, as amended by Executive Order 13286, 28 February 2003).
The Bronze Star Medal may be awarded by the Secretary of a military department or the Secretary of Homeland Security with regard to the Coast Guard when not operating as a service in the Navy, or by such military commanders, or other appropriate officers as the Secretary concerned may designate, to any person who, while serving in any capacity in or with the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, or Coast Guard of the United States, after 6 December 1941, distinguishes, or has distinguished, herself or himself by heroic or meritorious achievement or service, not involving participation in aerial flight—
(a) while engaged in an action against an enemy of the United States;
(b) while engaged in military operations involving conflict with an opposing foreign force; or
(c) while serving with friendly foreign forces engaged in an armed conflict against an opposing armed force in which the United States is not a belligerent party.
The acts of heroism are of a lesser degree than required for the award of the Silver Star. The acts of merit or acts of valor must be less than that required for the Legion of Merit but must nevertheless have been meritorious and accomplished with distinction. The Bronze Star Medal is awarded only to service members in combat who are receiving imminent danger pay.
The Bronze Star Medal (without the "V" device) may be awarded to each member of the Armed Forces of the United States who, after 6 December 1941, was cited in orders or awarded a certificate for exemplary conduct in ground combat against an armed enemy after 7 December 1941. For this purpose, the Combat Infantryman Badge, Combat Action Badge or Combat Medical Badge award is considered as a citation in orders. Documents executed since 4 August 1944 in connection with recommendations for the award of decorations of higher degree than the Bronze Star Medal cannot be used as the basis for an award under this paragraph.
So this new medal for sitting in an OPS center at some undisclosed location will be higher than that? Higher than the Bronze Star that a PFC at a remote COP might be awarded for taking charge of his mortar team during a patrol and providing accurate fires on the enemy after his team leader was wounded? Higher than a Bronze Star awarded to a Buck Sergeant, who after being deployed for 7 months, is working 3 levels higher as the Company First Sergeant in his section because of combat attrition? No disrespect to the Predator driver and missile shooter; you guys are an important component in the battles we fight, but I could get my work done in the 'Stan without them. They are doing a job that can be done wearing flip-flops while eating take out. The only thing funnier than giving this award would be seeing this medal awarded to the awardees standing at attention in their flight suits.
There are alot of medals for achievement, I don't think we need one that would rank higher than a Bronze Star for the ‘‘extraordinary achievement’’ of pressing the "FIRE" button on your Predator Drone flight control to launch a missile that is going to ride a laser beam being painted on a target by a TAC-P that is just as dirty, sleep deprived and smelly as the platoon of infantry in the fight around him; who are actually and life threateningly engaged with the enemy.
And if you are thinking "Deebow, why are you so upset about this? Don't you want to recognize the contributions that these people have made to the GWOT?"
Ask me that after you read my Bronze Star citation...
Nine-year-old Houston native Neil Sawh (right) takes the oath of enlistment given by San Francisco native Lt. Col. Jay Miseli (left), the commander of 1st Squadron, 7th "Garryowen" Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division -- U.S. Army Photo
Given all that is going on, I thought we might enjoy something different -- something good. This can make things a bit dusty, but huge kudos to Garryowen for making a difference.
'Garryowen' helps boy become Cavalry Soldier for a day
FORT HOOD, Texas (Feb. 11, 2013) -- Deciding on a career can be a
difficult decision some make very late in life, but for 9-year-old Neil
Sawh of Houston, there's nothing he wants more than to be a Soldier.
The 1st Squadron, 7th "Garryowen" Cavalry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat
Team, 1st Cavalry Division, gave Neil Sawh, a fourth grader from
Houston, the chance to be a Cavalry Soldier for a day, Feb. 8, here.
Neil was diagnosed with a rare strain of Muscular Dystrophy at the age
of 7 and he received the opportunity of a lifetime when his parents
surprised him with a visit to Fort Hood.
Calling all Phils (but especially *you*, bronstein)
Posted By Mr Wolf
UPDATE 1: B5 sends me a Twitchy link where 'Jennifer' steps all in it again; trying to defend the indefensible; he still doesn't get it right.
Another Twitchy link, where the MSM goes all-in, and makes even bigger fools of themselves. Ezra Klein, military benefits commentater? Really? I need to look at writing for the Economist. At least I understand capitalism...
Nextly, TSO and the farm team at TAH links 'Jennifer's' article to IVAW and the Winter Soldier crowd; 'Jennifer' the 'investigative reporter' most affected.
I'm going all in and call this an outing for Obamacare...
Original Post: Hopefully, most of you have read or at least heard about the article in Esquire yesterday about 'The Shooter', supposedly the SEAL that shot Bin Laden. I'm not linking it here, as you'll see why.
We here at B5 and other places have been discussing this amongst ourselves, and among some of the operators out there. We have all come to a conclusion:
Something ain't right, Jackson.
See, here's this SEAL guy, who supposedly was a main character in the single most important mission of the GWOT, who took out the most wanted man on the planet, and he just ups and walks away from it, not looking to ensure he has healthcare or anything? That he has no options BEFORE he walks out?
Really? Can he be that stupid? Do people in the military with health issues really leave without any backstop?
I doubt it. More like the author, Phil Bronstein, made this thing up, or he was rolled. And I don't mean Rickrolled. Phil, I'm calling you out on this one. And it's not just this singular article. From his Wiki entry:
Phil Bronstein is a journalist and editor. He serves as executive chair of the board for the Center for Investigative Reporting in Berkeley, California. He is best known for his work as a war correspondent and investigative journalist.
He went on to reoprt from conflict areas around the world as a foreign correspondent for eight years... Peru, the Middle East, El Salvador and the Phillipines.
See, he's been in 'conflict areas'. I cannot find any reference or story where he's been in Iraq, Afghanistan, or even Bosnia. But he's a 'war correspondent'. Really? Which war? Was the U.S. involved in it? Talking to warriors does not make you a 'war correspondent'.
See Mr Phil, I don't think this is all adding up. As we've seen, ST6 is not a term used anymore; hasn't been for many years. And I doubt he'd be using it just in front of you. Does DELTA still use that name for themselves? Don't think so. That would out a phony pretty quick.
The main thing with this article that really burns is that this 'SEAL' is left hanging. I don't think that's the case here. I think either you've been rolled, Mr Phil, or you don't have the full story, or you don't know enough to even ask. See we here at Blackfive constitute a military blog- we have enough experience among us to recognize when something ain't right- and your story ain't cutting it so far. And to me, your background ain't either.
Why would a team guy go blabbing to a journo with no military cred, who has basically been hanging out in San Fran all his life? Berkeley, in fact. Not San Diego, where he might meet a few dudes like this over the years and build rapport. Or near Ft Bragg, or in Florida. Hell, even DC. Is it possible that Phil has 'connections' that set him up with this dude, in order to put even more 'spin' for the administration? I'm not going that far...yet.
Further in his article for Esquire, Phil quotes the wife: "the loss of income and insurance and no pension aside, she can no longer walk onto a local base... they've surrendered their military IDs." "He's lost some vision, he can't get his neck straight for any period of time..." If this were indeed the case, this is easy stuff to document in the out-processing; and they DO do a medical when you out-process for a separation physical. Period. If his vision, alone, was affected, they'd document it. Neck issues? The x-rays would pick it up.
He then writes that according to Shooter, ''if I come back alive and retire, I won't have a pot to piss in or a window to throw it out of for the rest of my life.'' So what do you have now? If Shooter had retired, he'd have an income and med coverage, at a minimum. So he comes back from the 4-month deployment, leaves, and STILL has nothing? He'd have been better off waiting. At 18 years, he could have reached 'sanctuary' and been what we call 'retired on active duty'.
More and more issues show up the more I read the article. It's good fiction, but that's all it is- fiction.
Phil, I think you'd make a better 'Jennifer' than a 'Phil'. Yeah. Let's call you 'Jennifer'. You don't rate a 'Susan'.
For all you vets out there, hit us in the comments if you've ever had, or heard of, someone separating without some medical eval, and going on without ANY coverage if you've served combat and had injuries. I just don't see it. Neither do others I've talked to. If you want, hit me at the email listed in the sidebar and I'll compile it for you.
And 'Jennifer', it's time you came clean on this. We need some better explanation or proof...
There are a couple of interesting questions about the Federal government's robust purchase of ammunition at a time when "a decade of war is ending." Here are two from Investors Business Daily:
1) Other Federal agencies have offered some sort of explanation about their purchases, but DHS has bought 1.6 billion rounds without explaining why it needs that kind of stock. That's enough ammunition to cover the Iraq War outlays for 25 years (although not the right types: these are mostly handgun cartridges, and presumably not FMJ as there is no Geneva Conventions protecting civilians from expanding bullets).
2) Why did DHS illegally redact information from its purchasing orders of ammunition?
Is it too much to ask that we prioritize Naval ship maintenance and the training of Brigade Combat Teams over these ammunition purchases? We're actually going to use the brigades and the ships. Rarely does the TSA find itself called to shoot anyone, and the Border Patrol gets in trouble every time it discharges a weapon. Presumably most of these rounds are to be used, then, in training of law enforcement rather than for actual combat. If anyone needs to cut back on training dollars right now, why not let the BCTs train and have Homelands Security stand down?
I know the answer to this question, of course. It's because Congress is incompetent to pass a budget and has been for years, while the President is so far out to sea that his last budget didn't get even a single vote in the House.
Yes, that is White Dog for those in the know, and you will like the story (don't hate me for it). I also will be sharing information about one distillery tour that offers a very nice discount for active duty with ID.
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.