Remembering Alex Varella, Travis Haslip, David Behrle, Joeseph Gilmore,
Jean Paul Medlin, Christopher Moore, and "Caesar II" today.
KIA Ameriyah, Baghdad, Iraq 19 MAY 2007 1 PLT/A CO/1-5 CAV/1 CD
Six years ago today.
Long-time readers may well remember these fine men, and Lt. Hickey. For those that don't go learn more about them, and previous things that showed their character, at this post that was part of Operation Puppy Love.
Please join me in remembering and honoring them today.
Captain Wales recently took a walk in Section 60 at Arlington National Cemetery. A friend of mine posted the note below on Facebook, and I asked if I could share it with all of you. If you read another post today, read the one above about Harry and Todd Nicely ("The Prince and the Marine").
From Maas, second generation paratrooper:
I’ve been a fan of his for a long time. They call him the Warrior Prince
After seeing the day at Arlington my gf asked why do you guys like him so much.
That’s an easy answer but it’s difficult to explain. I told her there were thousands of 28 year old pilots in US military doing the deed everyday through out our history. And not one of them laid a wreath at Arlington. That’s a high honor for a very young CPT.
There is a historical bond in the military between the British and us. We based our ranks, organization off them. We also sent soldiers to fight with them more than once.
If there was any guy in the world who could pick another job, it’s him.
He didn’t become a community activist, he didn't order the Naval Special Operations team to kill OBL, and he didn’t marry a woman who for the first time felt pride in our country was only when her husband got elected. He grew up being proud of his country. Just like every military family.
He served one tour on the ground and another as a pilot. And from a buddy flying MEDEVAC with the Brits covering, I was told that he was deadly serious about his job.
And while this may make a few of my family cringe...He rated everyday naked in Vegas.
There is a picture of him walking among the graves. Politician’s lay wreaths and family members visit the one grave . Only Warriors do that walk. That’s why we like him.
He’s one of us. And if in 5 years he’s still alive and naked in Vegas we’ll only love him more.
9th Annual Pat's Run to honor the memory of Ranger Patrick Tillman
Posted By Blackfive
From the 75th Ranger Regiment:
Nine years ago today, April 22, 2004, Cpl. Patrick D. Tillman, was fatally wounded when his Ranger unit came under fire during combat operations in southeastern Afghanistan. After he was medically evacuated from the scene, he was pronounced dead by U.S. officials at approximately 11:45 a.m. Eastern Standard Time.
He was born in California on Nov. 6, 1976.
In the prime of a stellar football career, which included four years at Arizona State University on athletic scholarship and four years as a defensive back with the National Football League’s Arizona Cardinals, Pat Tillman walked away from a multiyear, multimillion dollar football contract to serve his country as a Soldier in the U.S. Army.
Tillman volunteered for duty with the Army in May 2002, requesting to serve as a member of the 75th Ranger Regiment — the U.S. military’s premier light infantry fighting force.
Here is the video of the participants and their thoughts on the 9th Annual Pat's Run (last Saturday):
Hero: Officer Sean Collier Killed Because He was a Sheepdog
Posted By Blackfive
"...if you have a capacity for violence, and a deep love for your fellow citizens? What do you have then? A sheepdog, a warrior, someone who is walking the hero's path. Someone who can walk into the heart of darkness, into the universal human phobia, and walk out unscathed." - Colonel Dave Grossman on Sheepdogs"
A much-loved MIT campus police officer with less than two years on the force is the Boston Bombers’ fourth victim, authorities said.
Sean Collier, 26, of Somerville Mass., was shot multiple times in his squad car by the bloodthirsty brothers Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev around 10:20 p.m. after the pair attempted to rob a 7-Eleven, according to police and news reports.
One thing is certain, Sean Collier is a Hero. End of watch, Officer Collier, Godspeed.
Hero Finally Recognized: Chaplain receives Medal of Honor Posthumously for actions saving lives during Korean War
Posted By Blackfive
Photo Credit: ACME Photo
Father Emil Kapaun (right) and a doctor carry an exhausted Soldier off a battlefield in Korea, early in the war. The photo shows Kapaun to the GI's left. The soldier on the GI's right side was Capt. Jerome A. Dolan, a medical officer with the 8th Cavalry regiment.
The nephew of Chaplain Kapaun recently received the MOH on his uncle's behalf last week. If you don't know the story behind Chaplain Kapaun's sacrifice as a prisoner during the Korean War, the story is one you should know (via the US Army below). Kapaun never gave up, no matter what the Chinese did to him...:
Chaplain Emil J. Kapaun, while assigned to Headquarters Company, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division, distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism, patriotism, and selfless service between Nov. 1-2, 1950. During the Battle of Unsan, Kapaun was serving with the 3rd Battalion of the 8th Cavalry Regiment. As Chinese Communist forces encircled the battalion, Kapaun moved fearlessly from foxhole to foxhole under direct enemy fire in order to provide comfort and reassurance to the outnumbered Soldiers. He repeatedly exposed himself to enemy fire to recover wounded men, dragging them to safety. When he couldn't drag them, he dug shallow trenches to shield them from enemy fire. As Chinese forces closed in, Kapaun rejected several chances to escape, instead volunteering to stay behind and care for the wounded. He was taken as a prisoner of war by Chinese forces on Nov. 2, 1950.
After he was captured, Kapaun and other prisoners were marched for several days northward toward prisoner-of-war camps. During the march Kapaun led by example in caring for injured Soldiers, refusing to take a break from carrying the stretchers of the wounded while encouraging others to do their part.
Once inside the dismal prison camps, Kapaun risked his life by sneaking around the camp after dark, foraging for food, caring for the sick, and encouraging his fellow Soldiers to sustain their faith and their humanity. On at least one occasion, he was brutally punished for his disobedience, being forced to sit outside in subzero weather without any garments. When the Chinese instituted a mandatory re-education program, Kapaun patiently and politely rejected every theory put forth by the instructors. Later, Kapaun openly flouted his captors by conducting a sunrise service on Easter morning, 1951.
When Kapaun began to suffer from the physical toll of his captivity, the Chinese transferred him to a filthy, unheated hospital where he died alone. As he was being carried to the hospital, he asked God's forgiveness for his captors, and made his fellow prisoners promise to keep their faith. Chaplain Kapaun died in captivity on May 23, 1951.
Chaplain Emil J. Kapaun repeatedly risked his own life to save the lives of hundreds of fellow Americans. His extraordinary courage, faith and leadership inspired thousands of prisoners to survive hellish conditions, resist enemy indoctrination, and retain their faith in God and country. His actions reflect the utmost credit upon him, the 1st Cavalry Division, and the United States Army.
President Barack Obama awards the Medal of Honor to Chaplain (Capt.) Emil J. Kapaun, accepted posthumously by his nephew Ray, during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House, Washington, D.C., April 11, 2013.
Given some of the progressive and pseudo-libertarian whinging today, I can only say that no, she was not perfect; but, unlike most of the commentators I've read today (or then) she never quit trying to be the best she could and do the best possible job she could. It may not be your narrowly defined and cherry-picked philosophy, but that's okay, she did it her way. And she did it well.
She had a brain, and used it. She had a backbone, and that's more than I will say for many/most politicians on either side of the pond. Then or now. She believed in hard work, a level playing field, and individual responsibility. She tried hard to steer the state onto a new path; and, sadly, her efforts were not continued in my opinion.
I did not agree with all she did, just as I did not agree with all Ronald Wilson Reagan did. That said, I would put either of them down as the best leaders of their respective states in quite some time. The only reason I don't go for 100 years on both is that Sir Winston in the early days of WWII spikes it for the Brits.
That said, as Jonn notes, it was an amazing time when she ruled, and when she stood in partnership with President Reagan. The cold war ended without going hot; a number of other trouble spots and things were dealt with expeditiously, terrorists learned not to screw around in and with England, and Argentina learned the hard way that the British lion was not toothless and asleep.
Sadly, those days are gone, and to be honest I fear that which is to come. For now, however, I raise a toast the the Iron Lady with the iron balls the size of basketballs.
This is an annual repost honoring Casey Sheehan who gave his life in a fight to save his brothers on a Palm Sunday, seven years ago...
Casey Sheehan grew up in a devout Catholic home. He served as an altar boy and then as a key member of his church's youth group for years.
When he was old enough, Casey joined the Boy Scouts, becoming the very second Eagle Scout out of his troop.
He enlisted in the Army when he was twenty years old. He decided to be a mechanic. He would undergo Combat Lifesaver training - a class on how to give IVs and treat trauma only second in intense learning to combat medic training. He was also certified to assist with giving communion to soldiers while in the field.
Specialist Sheehan re-enlisted in the Army in 2004 knowing full well that he could be sent into a combat zone.
Casey Sheehan was a Humvee mechanic with the 1st Battalion, 82nd Field Artillery Regiment.
On April 3rd, 2004, forces loyal to Shi'ite cleric Muqtada al'Sadr stormed police stations and government offices in Sadr City (a city of over 2 million). They knew the Americans would come, and they wanted a fight. Muqtada Sadr was working them up into a religious frenzy. And he had his thugs murder anyone who he thought might stand in his way - even other Shi'ite clerics. His forces were known as the Mahdi Army.
American forces quickly surrounded Muqtada al'Sadr's quarters.
On April 4th, 2004, al'Sadr's Mahdi forces blocked roadways and bridges with burning tires, vehicles and trash. Visibility was less than 300 meters anywhere in the city. They began to attack American vehicles on patrol throughout Sadr City - some were protecting Shia worshipers (Holy Arbayeen) while others were escorting city government vehicles.
A battle raged across Sadr City. Insurgents assaulted American troops while looters and mobs formed and stormed through the streets. Word spread quickly across the American FOBs that there was trouble.
Soldiers of the 2nd Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment were ambushed with RPGs and pinned down and dying. While fighting off an attack himself, the Commander of the 2/5th, LTC Volesky, called for help. A Quick Reaction Force (QRF) was formed of volunteers - their mission was to go out and rescue the American troops.
Casey Sheehan's Sergeant asked for volunteers. Sheehan had just returned from Mass. After Sheehan volunteered once, the Sergeant asked Sheehan again if he wanted to go on the mission. According to many reports (and according to his own mother), Casey responded, "Where my Chief goes, I go."
The QRF was launched. Not long after entering the Mahdi area, the QRF was channeled onto a dead-end street where the roofs were lined with snipers, RPGs, and even some militia throwing burning tires onto the vehicles. The Mahdi blocked the exit and let loose with everything they had.
Sheehan's vehicle was hit with multiple RPGs and automatic-weapons fire.
Specialist Casey Sheehan and Corporal Forest J. Jostes were killed.
A second QRF was formed - all volunteers - to go rescue the first. Specialist Ahmed Cason was hit in the second QRF - but kept fighting until he bled to death.
They were Spc. Robert R. Arsiaga, Spc. Ahmed Cason, Sgt. Yihjyh L. "Eddie" Chen, Spc. Stephen D. Hiller, Spc. Israel Garza, Cpl. Forest J. Jostes, and Sgt. Michael W. Mitchell.
It was Palm Sunday.
Palm Sunday commemorates the day that Jesus entered Jerusalem. Back then, the palm frond was a symbol of victory - laid beneath the feet of those of the highest honor and triumph. Some believe it was this honor fit for a king that forced Jesus's enemies to act and crucify him.
In recognition of Casey, the Catholic Chapel at Fort Hood, Texas (where Sheehan was stationed) named the Knights of Columbus chapter the "Casey Austin Sheehan Council".
Casey also received the Bronze Star for his Valor that day.
This is an annual Someone You Should Know (St. Patrick's Day Edition) post to celebrate an Irish soldier's sacrifice. Below is the story of Ian Malone - a young Irishman who bridged the divide between Ireland and England in life and death.
Ian died during the invasion of Iraq in April of 2003 doing what he wanted to do - Soldiering for his country. Below is his story, told expertly by Philip Watson of the Telegraph:
Lance Corporal Ian Malone died in an ambush on the streets of Basra in April last year. Throughout a long, hot Sunday, he and his armoured brigade had been pushing through the southern suburbs of Iraq's second city, flushing out enemy soldiers. While most of the regular Iraqi Army had fled, the streets and houses contained pockets of determined Fedayeen fighters, paramilitaries who remained loyal to Saddam Hussein.
Having reached the edge of the old city and achieved their objective of securing a university campus, Ian Malone and his colleagues had left their Warrior armoured personnel carrier, and were regrouping. They had scoured the area and, in the dusty shade of dusk, all seemed safe.
In an instant, however, two Fedayeen in civilian clothes broke cover and sprayed the crew with automatic fire. Four soldiers were hit. Ian Malone took two bullets - one through the neck, the other in the head - and died instantly, becoming one of 55 British soldiers killed in Iraq in the past year.
What made the 28-year-old Lance Corporal remarkable, though, apart from the peerless qualities that all who knew him instantly recognised - he was a thinker and philosopher; courteous and religious; a talented chess player and musician; an exceptional soldier; and, as his school chaplain said at his funeral, not macho but manly - was that Ian Malone was an Irishman fighting for the British Army.
Many have found in Ian Malone's life and death something profoundly symbolic: the notion that he represents the continuing spirit of progress and reconciliation between Britain and Ireland...
This has been going around today on Facebook, and I've just talked with the funeral home. There is a WWII veteran, Lee Roy Cochran, who has reported to the Green and has services tomorrow. At 93, most of his friends and family have gone before him. His granddaughter would like for any and all fellow veterans (and troop supporters) who can attend to do so. A bit about him provided by the family:
Lee Roy Cochran was drafted into the
infantry and was assigned to a glider unit, set to jump into Europe.
Their entire platoon got shot down. Survivors were re-deployed to the
Philippines, where he was awarded a Bronze Star.
The funeral is tomorrow at 1530 hours (3:30 pm) at South Fork Cemetery, Gurdon, Clark County, Arkansas. Ruggles-Wilcox Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements, and will be glad to provide directions for those needing them. You can contact them via the link at need.
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.