"Conner calls Arlington heaven, so he's obviously a little confused with what's going on. But if he wants to think that this is heaven, that's fine. This is where daddy is and I tell him daddy's in heaven. So, it makes sense." - Nicki Bunting, wife of fallen Soldier, Captain Brian "Bubba" Bunting, and mom of Conner and Cooper.
..."At the time he was killed we didn't know we were pregnant," Nicki says. "Four days after I was notified of his death is when I found out that we were pregnant - so it was just such a miracle. It was the best news I could have ever received."
Nicki says Cooper actually took his first step at his father's grave. Nicki says he put his hand on the gravestone, "And then he just stepped. Uh-huh. It was amazing. It was remarkable. I couldn't believe it."
Connor, 4, is old enough to have some memory of this father, and seems to understand what this place means...
It actually started on June 5th. And it almost didn’t start then. The weather had turned bad. A great storm had blown in from the Atlantic. High wind and high seas had forced ships of all kinds back into bays and inlets. Low clouds made it impossible for aircraft to find landmarks. If the weather didn’t break, nothing would happen until at least July.
But the weather did break, and so, it began only a day later than planned.
There must have been about, oh, I don’t know, 15 of us there. Our two great men were there, Monty and Eisenhower. The poor weatherman had to talk first. Eisenhower asked Monty what he felt. ”Sure, I’ll do whatever you say, you know. We’re ready.” Then Eisenhower very calmly said, ”We’ll go.”
150,000 soldiers—American, British, Canadian, French, and many others—embarked on 5,000 ships, began moving towards places known today as St. Lô, Vierville-sur-Mer, Pouppeville, Arromanches, La Rivière-Saint-Sauveur, Pointe-du-hoc, Ouistreham.
The men on those ships, for the most part, didn’t know those names. They had simpler terms for the beaches where they would be spending the day—and for many, the rest of their lives. They called them Juno, Sword, Gold, Omaha, and Utah.
There were soldiers from many nations involved that day, all of whom deserve to be recognized and remembered. But as an American, it is the men from my country that I will write about.
Only about 15% of them had ever seen combat. But by this time, cold, wet, seasick, crammed into airless holds, or huddled on unprotected decks, many of them preferred combat to what they were going through on board ship.
Get us off these ships. I don’t care what’s waiting for us.
As it happened, though, it didn’t begin on the beaches, but in the air. On the night of June 5th, an armada of over 800 C-47 transport planes ferried the US 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions over the invasion fleet towards France. For them, the weather was still pretty bad. And it was dark.
It was going to be difficult. Everything depended on landing the pathfinders in the right place. Then the pathfinders had to light the dim beacons for the landing zones. The pilots carrying the airborne forces had to see the beacons, then they had to fly precisely, right over the landing zones.
And the Germans. Always the Germans, with searchlights and flares and the 88mm anti-aircraft cannon—the “flak” guns.
Getting everyone down alive, together, and ready to fight was going to be a chancy business. And the airborne troops knew it.
I lined up all the pilots. I says, ”I don’t give a damn what you do, but for one thing. If you’re going to drop us on a hill or if you’re going to drop us on our zone, drop us all in one place.”
But…they didn’t. The airborne forces were scattered. Almost no one landed on their programmed landing zone. Units from the two airborne divisions were scattered and intermixed, forcing officers and NCOs to create scratch units on the spot, with whomever they could find. The 101st Airborne Division commander, Maj. Gen. Maxwell Taylor, found that his new “unit” consisted of himself, his deputy commander, a colonel, several captains, majors, and lieutenant colonels…and three enlisted men. He quipped, “Never have so few been commanded by so many.”
And still they fought. Gen. Taylor soon had gathered a force of 90 officers, clerks, MPs, and a smattering of infantrymen. With them, he liberated the town of Pouppeville. Elsewhere, American soldiers gathered into groups, and struck out for an objective. Even if it wasn’t their objective, it was someone’s, and they were going to take and hold it.
And when they took it from the Germans, the Germans tried to take it back. But the paratroopers held.
It was a terrible day for paratroopers, but they did terrible fighting in there and they really made their presence known.
By this time, the Germans knew something was going on, if not precisely what. Their responses were confused. Their commander, Field Marshal Erwin Rommel had returned to Germany for a brief leave. He wasn’t the only one absent that night. The 21st Panzer Division’s commander, Lt. Gen. Edgar Feuchtinger, was spending the night in Paris with his mistress. Col. Gen. Freiderich Dollman, commander of the 7th Army, and many of his staff officers and commanders, were 90 miles away in Rennes, on a map exercise. Ironically, the scenario for that exercise was countering an airborne landing.
The Germans were surprised, yet subordinate commanders began to take the initiative, seeking out the paratroops and engaging them, trying to determine what was happening. Was it the invasion? A diversion from the expected landings in Calais? What was happening?
Then, as the black night gave way to the cold, gray dawn of June 6th, they began to find out. Looming out of the fog, a vast armada of haze gray ships and landing craft began to move ashore.
At 5:50am, the warships began shelling Utah and Omaha Beaches. In the exchange of fire with German artillery on Utah Beach, one of the landing control ships was sunk. As a result, when the first wave came ashore on Utah beach at 6:30am, they were 2,000 yards south of their designated landing point.
It was a blessing in disguise. There was almost no enemy opposition. Brig. Gen. Theodore Roosevelt Jr. made a personal reconnaissance past Utah beach, and found the beach exits almost undefended. He returned to the beach to coordinate the push inland. By the end of the day, 197 Americans were dead around Utah Beach, but the landing force had pushed inland.
At Omaha Beach, the story was much bleaker.
At around 6:30am, 96 tanks, an Army-Navy special Engineer Task Force, and eight companies of assault infantry went ashore, right into the teeth of withering machine-gun fire. Despite heavy bombardment, the German defenses were intact. Because the landing was at low tide, the men had to cross 185 yards of flat, open beach, as the well-protected German gunners cut them down. Tanks were sunk in their landing ships, or blown up at the edge of the water.
Them poor guys, they died like sardines in a can, they did. They never had a chance.
The men from the 29th Division’s 116 Regimental Combat Team (RCT) and the 1st Division’s 16th RCT were pushed off course in their landing craft by strong currents, and landed with machine gun bullets spanging off the gunwhales of their LCT’s. When the bow ramp dropped, men were riddled with bullets before they could even move. Others, jumping off the sides of the ramp, burdened with their equipment, drowned as they landed in water over their heads. Many more died on the beach, at the water’s edge.
You couldn’t lay your hand down without you didn’t touch a body. You had to weave your way over top of the corpses.
The first instinct for many was to crouch behind the steel anti-tank obstacles, to take cover behind the bodies of fallen comrades, to try and scrape shallow trenches with their hands. And yet, they couldn’t. More assault waves were on the way, and the volume of fire was so great that to stay where they were meant certain death. The beach had to be cleared for the incoming waves of infantry, but to move across that open beach also seemed like a death sentence.
He started yelling, ”God damn it, get up. Move in. You’re going to die, anyway. Move in and die.”
And so they did. They crossed that empty expanse of beach to the only cover to be had, a narrow strip of rock shingle at the base of the cliffs, below a short, timber seawall.
Those who made it to the shingle in those first hours…just stopped. Behind them was a carpet of bodes, and a tide that ran red with blood, making the spray from the curling waves a sickly pink. Ahead of them were intact and well-armed German defenders. Those men cowering on the shingle behind the low seawall had seen their units decimated, watched successive waves being slaughtered as they hit the beach. Shocked and disorganized, they stayed beneath the seawall, in the only narrow strip of safety they could find.
Meanwhile, at Point-du-hoc, at 7:00am, the men of the 2nd Ranger battalion came ashore beneath the cliffs. Their mission was to climb the steep cliffs with grappling hooks and ropes, to capture the German heavy artillery threatening the Omaha and Utah landings.
Under heavy fire from the cliffs, they fired back with the small mortars that launched the grappling hooks. With their fellow rangers dying on the beach beside them, they grasped the ropes and climbed. They climbed until German riflemen picked them off. They climbed while they watched their buddies arch in pain, and then fall headlong to the rocky beach below. They climbed as the men above them plummeted into them while falling, threatening to tear their fragile grip from the rope. They climbed and climbed.
And when they got to the top, the Germans were ready for them. But the Rangers were ready, too. So they fought their way through the pillboxes and trenches surrounding the gun emplacements. Pushing through the Germans, killing them to capture the guns.
And when they did, they discovered that the guns weren’t there. The men of the 2nd Ranger battalion had captured empty concrete emplacements, at the cost of half their number.
Back on Omaha Beach, the carnage continued.
Confusion, total confusion. We were just being slaughtered.
And as for the men (Huh. “Men.” Most of them hadn’t yet seen their twentieth summer.) who had survived the holocaust on the beach, and who now hid behind the tiny cover of the shingle? Well, who could have blamed them if they had just quit? Decided that this one taste of violence and death was enough for a lifetime? Decided that they didn’t want to face what must have seemed like inevitable and horrible, painful death?
And yet…they didn’t. Somehow, they gathered whatever courage was left to them, and began to try and figure out how to get off that beach, and move inland.
We were recreating from this mass of twisted bodies a fighting unit again, and it was done by soldiers, not by the officers.
It was C Company of the 116th RCT, accompanied by men from the 5th Ranger Battalion, that began the push. At the top of the seawall was a narrow road, and on the other side of it, protecting a draw, was a mesh of barbed wire. Pvt. Ingram E. Lambert jumped over the wall, crossed the road, and set a Bangalore torpedo in the barbed wire obstacle. He pulled the igniter, but nothing happened. Caught in the open, Pvt. Lambert was cut down by machine gun fire.
His platoon leader, 2d Lt. Stanley M. Schwartz, crossed the road, fixed the igniter, and blew the torpedo. The men of C Company and 5th Rangers began crossing through the gap, some falling to enemy fire. As they left the beach, and assaulted through the draw, others followed. Those men shivering behind the seawall grabbed their rifles, stood up, and began leaving the beach, moving toward the Germans.
Other breaches in the German defenses followed. Company I of the 116th RCT breached the strongpoints defending les Moulins draw. The 1st Section of Company E, 16th RCT, who had come ashore in the first wave, along with elements of two other companies, blew their own gap in the wire, and moved inland. Company G, 16th RCT, needed four Bangalore torpedoes to cut a single lane in the wire and anti-personnel mines that were set up with trip wires.
The breaches were narrow, and tenuous. Follow-on waves still faced murderous fire from the bluffs overlooking the beaches, and there was still confusion as the timetable was set back by the initial fury of German defenses. The 18th RCT was originally scheduled to land at 10:30am, but didn’t get on the beach until 1:00pm. The 118th RCT was delayed even more.
By the end of the day 3393 Americans were dead or missing, 3184 wounded, and 26 captured. But the breaches in the German defenses had been made. The Americans were ashore, and they were moving inland. The “Atlantic Wall” had been broken, but at a heavy cost.
When I was relieved and I walked by, oh God, the guys that died that day — all those beautiful, wonderful friends of mine, the day before, the night before, kidding and joking.
Field Marshal Gerd von Rundstedt was the German Army’s Commander in Chief, West. He was a crusty old soldier who disdained the flashy accouterments of rank that a German field marshal usually wore. He was content to attach his batons to the shoulders of his old regimental colonel’s uniform. He was also a realist.
Knowing what D-Day meant, he called the Chief of Operations for the German Armed forces, Col. Gen. Alfred Jodl. “What do you suggest we do now, Herr Feldmarschall?” Jodl asked.
“End the war, you fools! What else can you do?” replied the old warrior. ____________________ All quotes taken from the PBS documentary, D-Day.
As you celebrate Memorial Day today, remember its real purpose. When you’re with your family today, please remind them the sacrifice this day memorializes, and the young men and women who’ve given their all for us to be able to celebrate it. In all of America’s wars, approximately 1.2 million Americans have paid the ultimate price. It is only fitting and proper that we honor that sacrifice and make it known to all our appreciation for what they fought for and have helped preserve.
I had plans for a different post today, but yesterday afternoon I was asked to be the pinch speaker at a local event. I thought I would share instead the remarks I plan to make shortly.
This Story Shall The Good Man Teach His Son
I speak today in place of Dylan, a young veteran who was scheduled to be here. He sends his sincere regrets, but his band of brothers is now smaller, and this day he and those closer in many ways than family, gather for a different ceremony of remembrance. I hope you will understand and forgive Dylan his absence.
Unlike him, I can’t speak on what it is like to serve in the modern armed forces. As a civilian, I have been fortunate to spend some time with our armed forces in Iraq. I can tell you that from the limited training and exposure I had back when Carter was President, and I declined commission, that they no more resemble the forces of that time than I resemble Ann Margaret.
The all volunteer force that we have today is professional, and does things with a precision that truly can’t be appreciated by those here at home. They have equipment that can honestly make me feel old, and even a touch envious, and for all the usual gripes, is so far beyond what was in place even 30 years ago as to seem like Mr. Spock’s phaser.
That is not to say that all is perfect, for it is not. The SNAFU fairy and, worse yet, the Good Idea Fairy, still strike. Yet, when that happens, those men and women serving today find a variety of creative and interesting ways to adapt and overcome.
I do not wish you a Happy Memorial Day, for this is not a happy day. Many things it is, but happy: No. When greeted with such, I tend to just simply say “to you too” though I long to say more.
For far too many, this is just another holiday. The joke told in the military is that they are at war, and America is at the mall. For those at the mall, those with no real connection to the day, this is a time for sales, vacations, and parties.
In many ways, it is not their fault. For far too many the reason for the day is abstract at best because they have no personal connection to the day. Nor are they taught any connection, much less taught its meaning.
For a good part of my life, Memorial Day was a day of the past. It was when I remembered my several times removed ancestor who died somewhere southeast of Nashville in a very uncivil war, and who lies there in an unmarked grave. It was a day I remembered my Uncle Foster, lost in one of the last naval attacks on mainland Japan, who’s casket is his plane which lies somewhere on the bottom of the sea.
For me, change began with the Marine Barracks in Beruit and truly changed on 9-11. I was lucky that day, the people I knew in the Pentagon and at the World Trade Center got out alive. Their friends and colleagues, however, were not as fortunate. It was then that this day truly ceased being a thing of the past, and became a thing of the present.
In America, we are far more fortunate than we can truly appreciate. When the drum has sounded, when freedom and liberty have been threatened, a select group of men, women, and even children in times past, have stood forward and answered the call. They have watered the tree of liberty with that most precious of gifts, their blood, their lives.
On this day of memory, I want to introduce you to some of the most recent, who have special meaning to me.
Major Mathew Schram gave his life this day in 2003. He was the colleague and friend of someone I give thanks to be able to call friend. On this day, he led a convoy in Iraq and when it came under attack, he and his driver personally counterattacked to a plan they had worked out in advance. Their action caused the enemy to flee; however, Major Schram was killed in the process. It is worth noting that aside from him, no one else died because of his plan and prompt action. Two other soldiers were wounded, one of whom, his driver, continued the mission. It is also well worth noting that the convoy was being followed by a vehicle with a reporter for a major weekly magazine. When the ambush broke, they turned to flee and did so – something that would not have been possible if not for Major Schram’s action and sacrifice. It is also worth noting that the reporter and magazine never reported on this, as it wasn’t news that a good and better man died to save his life. From all I have heard of Mat Schram, I do wish I could have met him and known him. I remember him this day.
Specialist Marieo Guerrero, Captain Anthony Palermo, Private First Class Damian Lopez, and Specialist Ryan Dallam died in 2007 in West Rasheed, Iraq. They were part of the catalyst for my first embed to Iraq, and also the reason that Combat Outpost Ellis became the lynchpin for bringing the Anbar Awakening into the area southwest of Baghdad – and into Baghdad itself. Their colleagues and friends shared some of their stories with me, and I wish I could do more to bring them to life for you this day. Captain Palermo inspired the men who served under him, including those that stepped up when he fell to enemy action. The stories I heard of all these men brought forth smiles, laughter, and some tears. Specialist Guerrero died in March, and the rest on one dark day in April to a massive IED.
Lance Corporal Jeremy W. Burris is someone I particularly want to remember this day. His story, to my mind, exemplifies the special people we are here to remember. I can’t say I knew him, for I met him only in passing out at Al Qa’im on the Syrian border. Like most Marines I’ve met, he was full of – life.
He was one of a small horde of Marines to whom I was introduced in a blur of faces and names. He went out on a patrol, one on which I wanted to go on but couldn’t. While out, his vehicle was hit by an IED. Like any good Marine, he responded and got his buddies out to safety. There, he treated them for their injuries. Realizing that there were items in the vehicle that would make his brothers more comfortable and otherwise help, he went back. It was then that the second IED was detonated.
Afterwards, I learned more about him, those things I did not get a chance to learn from him. He had a love of music, an appreciation of the opposite sex, drive, and energy. He was in many ways, a very typical young man, who very atypically volunteered to serve his country in time of war. He, like all who currently serve, knew what they were doing, knew the risks, and still stepped forward and chose to join. I think of him often, and am glad I can share that very small bit of him I have learned with you this day.
Today is a day of remembrance. It is a day to honor those that paid the ultimate price for our freedom. It is a day to give most profound thanks to whatever God you worship, that such have walked and do walk among us and, stepped up to the call.
They are our parents, our children, our husbands, our wives, our friends. They fight for us this day, as generations before did for them. Next year, we will have more to remember, but we should not remember in sorrow, but with pride, thanks, and appreciation for them and for their sacrifice. One they have chosen to make, by knowingly volunteering in time of war, and we should do nothing to belittle that choice and the costly gift they have willingly laid on the altar of freedom.
No, this is not a day of sales, vacations, and parties. That said, in my far to brief journeys with them, I have met none that would find it wrong to be remembered in the happy setting of a barbecue or cook out. In fact, many of them would appreciate it, for they would know that you have the freedom to choose what to eat, when to eat, and to live your lives with liberty because of them and their sacrifice. So, eat a bite of good food for them, and raise a toast to them with your libation of choice.
Let us remember them, and give thanks for them, this day.
"Most people think that all it takes is two hands and two feet and a stupid mind. Maybe so, for cannon fodder. Possibly that was all the Julius Ceasar required. But a private soldier today is a specialist so highly skilled that he would rate "master" in any other trade."
Robert A. Heinlein, Starship Troopers
I will throw out my usual plea for all to take some time out today for prayer and reflection on how the sacrifices of all veterans, from the Battle of Bunker Hill, to the daily firefights in Helmand and Kandahar really do affect our freedom. I will be thinking about the men and women who make my "today" a free "today" between cocktails and bratwursts and the families that are celebrating without them today.
And I will never be able to thank Earl, Larry, and Bernard enough for their sacrifice, but promise to think of you today, and everyday, when I think about what it takes and what I teach my son about what it takes to be free. The cause of freedom and it's triumph over tyranny will never be in doubt because of men like you.
Concrete Bob shares the news that heaven has three new angels. Amanda Prewett Doss, a friend of his and a long time troop supporter, member of the Patriot Guard, and more is dead along with her two children. To make it worse, they were murdered and their home set on fire to try and cover the crime. According to a report, her parents were injured trying to reach them in the burning house.
Thoughts and prayers for her family and many friends including Concrete Bob are needed. Let's also pray that whomever did this is found quick, and that justice is done.
Phelps Wannabes Try To Mar Michael Murphy DDG-112 Dedication
Posted By Laughing_Wolf
As most of you know, DDG-112, the USS Michael Murphy, was dedicated yesterday. A ship named for a selfless warrior who made the ultimate sacrifice. A time when his friends and family can see him honored and reflect upon their loss, that sacrifice, and a legion of virtues respresented in both acts.
Well, a nice theory at any rate as a group of political three-year-olds having a temper tantrum managed to mar and disrupt this solemn event. AW1 Tim does a good job with his post and photos, and I agree with him on their right to do so. That said, anyone of any maturity with even a glimmer of respect or dedication to civil discourse would not do what they did. Then again, they are not into civil discourse, but the overthrow of such. I never thought I would say anything remotely approaching good about the Phelps clan, but at least they are in it to make money (via lawsuits, their stock-in-trade) while this group is simply about spoilage: spoiling all they can for anyone they can for no good cause or reason. If anyone can point out any significant difference between them and a three-year-old pitching a temper tantrum for attention, I would love to know what it is. They loathe this country, and most of all, they loathe themselves, which leads them to insist that everyone be as miserable as they are. Old fashioned terms boor, bore, poltroon, base-born, and such strongly apply. The deserve approbium and censure by all with any self-respect, much less not-so-common decency, and should be shunned for the societal rejects they are.
I had the opportunity to be with seven Medal of Honor recipients on Friday, and they showcased the words humility, respect, honor, and integrity. They would no more think of acting as did this bunch of socially-arrested immature louts than they would have thought of appearing in pink tutus. Michael Murphy was more than a fit addition to their company, and well worthy of the Medal of Honor awarded him posthumously.
Rather than expound further on the myriad failings of the paragons of subintellectual virtueless operation, I will point you here, here, and here. Also, Zero shares some thoughts at This Ain't Hell.
Previous Blackfive posts about Michael Murphy you should read include:
SANGIN, Afghanistan ” It would be hard to forget that face, even if they hadn't seen it just the day before.
A young Afghan man stood on the side of a narrow dirt lane, watching an open-top truckload of Marines head into a volatile neighborhood in this river valley town coveted by Taliban insurgents and drug lords.
The man smiled at the Marines and waved. Then he yanked a kite string detonation cord attached to a bomb buried in the road.
A platoon from Camp Pendletons 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment would have been decimated in the attack. The battalion already had suffered more casualties than any other in the 10-year war in Afghanistan, long before its seven-month tour ended this month. But the homemade device was a dud. It smoked but failed to explode until the Marines drove safely out of the way.
The next day, the Marines shot their way back into the ravine, wounding an armed fighter who was dragged into a mosque. When they reached the alley where they had been attacked, Cpl. Jason Gaal and Staff Sgt. Nathan Stocking couldn't believe their eyes. Both recognized a guy riding by on a motorcycle.
"Lo and behold, there's our trigger man," Gaal said.
Stocking walked the trembling flex-cuffed detainee back to base, overcompensating for his fury with exaggerated gentleness. "My buddy ... my buddy," he sang, guiding his prisoner lightly by the arm.
Unfortunately, Jimbo and the Tankerbabe let me know that film maker and cameraman extraordinaire, Tim Hetherington, was killed in Libya. Details at this time are thin.
Award-winning war photographer Tim Hetherington and Getty photographer Chris Hondros were killed in Misrata, Libya, today in a mortar attack, colleagues told ABC News.
Hetherington, one of the best known photojournalists, produced powerful pieces for ABC News' "Nightline" from the Korengal Valley, Afghanistan, and for the documentary "Restrepo," which won an award at the Sundance film festival last year.
Three other journalists were wounded in the same attack, including Andre Leon and Michael Brown. The identity of the fifth reporter has not yet been confirmed...
Our thoughts and prayers go out to Tim's family and friends.
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.