Military

"The Wall", "The Shield", "The Team" -The Latest Batch of Commercials Take a Queue from the USMC

While I appreciate that the Marines stopped using lava monsters in their commercials long ago, they always tend to have the best ones.  Here's the latest USMC commercial...and, as usual, no mention of benefits, jobs, or college, only being a part of something greater than yourself..."The Wall":

 And here the Army talks about sports...or do they? "The Team":

And the Navy, after foundering on a Global Force for Good campaign, has also followed suit with "To get to you, they have to go through us...". Here is "The Shield":

So Air Force, it's been a year since the "Its what we do" commercial...what you got?!


CMH Recipient Dakota Meyer to ISIS: "Hopefully, one of those assholes actually shows up."

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U.S. Marine Corps veteran and Congressional Medal of Honor recipient Dakota Meyer had this message for ISIS, via Scout.com:

Let me say what a lot of us are thinking...If ISIS is using social media to track me, that's a dream come true in my book. These guys are a bunch of bullies that just prey on the weak," says Meyer. "I can't travel over there anymore now that I'm out of the Marine Corps, so having them come to me would help out a lot. ISIS targeting the U.S. military is like a sheep targeting a lion. Hopefully one of these assholes actually shows up. They'll definitely get more than they want at my place!

Visit Scout.com to read the whole piece and see a hilarious photo of how worried he is...

My main problem with the ISIS threats is the federal government asking veterans to take down any online reference to their service.  This is an absolutely ridiculous request and one from the nanny state.  Let me get this straight...we are supposed to not be proud of our service, particularly against the evil that is Islamic Fanaticism?!  What?  Should I take down the flag in front of my residence, too?  What the @#$%?!

We should be aware of the threat.  We should not fear the threat.
We should know what ISIS is capable of.  We should end that capability.

Last, Dakota Meyer and RangerUp have teamed up to create a new shirt that says it all.

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My Address to a Middle School Class on Veteran's Day 2014

Good morning, my name is Matt H and my daughter, is one of your 8th grade classmates.  Last December, I retired from the Navy after serving 23 years of combined active and reserve service as a Navy SEAL.  I am a combat veteran having served in the city of Ramadi, Iraq where I earned the Bronze Star Medal for Valor. 

I joined the military for a few reasons.  First of all, both of my parents are veterans. But more than just that, I wanted to become a Navy SEAL because of the adventure and noble purpose that it promised.  Through those years, I've jumped out of airplanes at night over the ocean, treated young children in Africa for malaria, spent five weeks living in the jungle along the Panama Canal, planted limpet mines on the bottom of an aircraft carrier in the middle of the night, and led the ambush of four suicide bombers. 

I also wanted to be able to look anyone in the eye and tell him, “Yes, I served my country.”  It may be difficult to understand now, but believe me when I tell you that you will absolutely derive more joy and personal satisfaction from doing something for someone else than you ever will by simply doing things for your own benefit.

Serving also means that you come to understand that you are not as important as the team or the platoon.  Recognizing that the goal of the unit is more important that your individual success, allows you to form very close bonds with those around you.  This also helps you to become the most important kind of person that there is in this world.  A reliable one.  No talent or skill will take you very far if you cannot be counted upon.  Becoming a reliable friend, student, employee, or even CEO starts with understanding your true value to an organization, not its value to you.   

Nearly every day as I face life and the many challenges that it involves, I look back on my SEAL training experience and know that nothing that I will ever do will be any more difficult than that.  This is a powerful source of self-confidence and resilience that I can draw from at any time.  This power is not limited to Navy SEALs either.  All of us Veterans have had to face extreme challenges during our duty, and they have made us stronger.  My service taught me not to fear challenge, but to embrace it because I know that each time I overcome something, I become stronger for it.

Last year when a local congressman spoke to you on Veteran’s Day I believe that there was a lot of confusion.  When my daughter came home that day, she told me that a few of her classmates asked her questions about me like, “Is your dad dead?” and “Does he have a job?”  Aside from the clear insensitivity of questions such as these, I felt that there surely are many more unanswered questions from last year. 

Before I left for Iraq, I thought long and hard about what could happen to me there that could change me in a way that would be harmful.  I thought that there were three things that could happen and that I had control over only two of them.  First, was that if I faced a dire combat situation and acted in a cowardly manner, the shame of that would never leave me.  Second, that if during combat, I was to shoot or be responsible for the death of someone innocent that would leave a lasting scar on my heart.  And third, that if I were to witness an especially gruesome situation where my comrades suffered or died painfully that those visions would haunt me.

So before I left, I prayed and I asked God to protect my heart from those things, and He did.  But where I was blessed, many of my comrades were not.  Many do suffer from one or more of those afflictions, and it can be difficult to recover from it.  This is why the one question that you should NEVER ask a Veteran is, “How many people have you killed?”  This is a deeply personal matter, and one that you have no right to the answer.  As Veterans, we are entitled to your respect, but I also ask you to give Veterans your compassion as well.  All of us have accepted the safety of America as a personal responsibility and have made sacrifices on your behalf.  Veterans are not victims, we are your protectors, and perhaps someday, some of you might step forward and accept that responsibility for yourselves.


Nous Resterons La

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David French in the National Review explains why our "moderate allies" seem especially prone to dropping their guns and fleeing. 

All of this should be elementary, but the increasing lack of combat experience in the highest echelons of our government suggests it’s not. At the most elementary level, a soldier has to find the moral courage to overcome primal fear. And when fighting jihadists, the Iraqi soldier or Syrian moderate faces a sudden, terrifying reality.

They are coming, and they will not stop.

That is the reality of fighting disciplined armies, but it is also the reality of fighting fanatics — of people who give the impression that they don’t care whether they live or die, that the normal rules of human preservation have been utterly discarded, and they exist only to kill or be killed. In the face of such ferocity, there is but one response:

We shall not be moved.

This is the response of the American fighting man...

This is so fundamental that it explains why storied units like the 3rd Infantry Division go to such trouble to maintain their unit history, and teach it to new members.  The sense of belonging to a tradition like this, and having a heritage to uphold or to shame, is one of the things that motivates young men to stand their ground.  They know their predecessors went through terrors just as bad, and somehow managed to find the way.  They know it can be done.  They just have to do it too.

When you are fighting an army that literally believes that God is on its side, you are going to need a tremendous amount of moral courage.  A force must be found, or made, that has such courage if this enemy is to be defeated.  It will not be the forces supporting a corrupt government that has deserved little loyalty.  


Why the Guard and Reserve? Why now?

Us_army_hazmat_trainingWednesday I posted a piece indicating the need for NORTHCOM to coordinate any advanced response to the Ebola outbreak.  Just a few short hours after that, Pres. Obama announces that he is ordering the National Guard and the Reserves to respond to Africa and assisting with Ebola efforts there.

This is interesting in many many ways, and many are a bit confused and concerned about this.  I'm still mixed, not yet knowing which units will be selected and from where.  My main concern is that a large group of these units have extensive deployments in their backgrounds already, and this just piles it on.  But why these 'backup' units?

Several issues make this probably necessary- one, the Reserves now hold 67% of the Army's Combat Service Support units.  Back in the late 1990's, Guard and Reserve units 'exchanged' roles; the Guard picked up more combat units, and the Reserves picked up CSS.  Here in Colorado, the Guard ended up with a Field Artillery brigade, and the reserves have medical units and PsyOp units.  The Guard also picked up a role supporting NORTHCOM headquarters- the first ones to have direct slots in a COCOM.  The Reserves will have a huge role in providing MEDREP missions to Africa.

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Another problem is that AFRICOM does not have any 'assigned' units like CENTCOM and EUCOM  and NORTHCOM.  One, it's too 'new', and two, its mission sets are not fully staffed out.  While there are QRF units assigned out of Italy and Med areas, AFRICOM missions are usually supported from CONUS units, with fillers from CENTCOM and EUCOM; rarely PACOM might throw them a few bones.  So, in order to fill out the mission planning, Reserve and Guard units are going to have to step in, for now.  

Speaking of NORTHCOM, it looks more and more like they are going to have to step in to coordinate agencies with this preparedness in the U.S.  As I mentioned, this is a fully-fleshed out role for NORTHCOM; we drilled responses to 'pandemic' situations on a weekly basis.  Whether the pandemic situation was 'stand-alone' or part of a broader response (say, a terrorist attack occurs, and as a result of some mass movement, an outbreak occurs among that populace) we had to prepare to respond.  We never knew whether the pandemic response was the 'key' event, or something else.  Several times it was the only event; H1N1 was usually the trigger event, but the responses for Ebola and others would be very very similar.  So NORTHCOM is quite prepared to coordinate this without going full-militia.  So far, Texas (or any other state) hasn't declared any disaster response for Ebola, which would almost automatically flush NORTHCOM out and require response.  (I must explain that Emergency Response Functions (ESFs) 6 and 8 were the main ones.  This is in addition to the Defense Act of 2005 that allows the President powers in pandemic situations.)

One concern: how long of a lead is required to get the Reserves and Guard into theater?  While they have response guys that can go within 72 hours or so, full units are going to take a minimum of 45 - 60 days to train-up for this.  Do we have time for that?

One last consideration:  dropping the 173d or the 18th ABN into the situation would NOT be likely; politically, sending our top-line first responders would look VERY bad.  Not just for 'escalating' the situation, but, sending the message that Ebola is more of a concern than ISIS.  Why would we send the 82d to Africa, but not Iraq to help?

This response to Ebola in Africa, as well as here, is going to get very interesting over the weekend.

BELOW POST UPDATE: 9:10am-  President has named Ron Klain as the 'Ebola Czar.'  I'm extremely curious why, since there are people in NORTHCOM, as well as those who have served there, that are eminently qualified and knowledgeable about this stuff.  This is PURELY a political play to keep it off the headlines.