Staff Sgt. Jacob Dipietro, 525th Military Police Battalion, Guatanamo Bay, Cuba, fires at his target at with his M4 Carbine Rifle at the Qualification Range. (U.S. Army Photo by Master Sgt. Kevin Doheny, U.S. Army South Public Affairs)
U.S. Army South is holding it's Best Warrior Competition, hosted this year at Camp Bullis, Texas. U.S. Army South (ARSOUTH) has responsibility for 31 countries (and 15 areas of special sovreignity) covering the Carribean, Central, and South America. The Warrior Games(corrected) Best Warrior Competition is an Army-wide competition that tests basic skills and knowledge through simulations and drills, demonstrations of basic skills, board reviews, essays, and other activities relevant to modern operations. Here are some photos from day one of the competition, which wraps up tomorrow.
Sgt. Andrew French, 512th Geospatial Engineering Detachment, Fort Sam Houston, Texas, fires his M4 Carbine Rifle at the Zero Range. (U.S. Army Photo by Master Sgt. Kevin Doheny, U.S. Army South Public Affairs)
A Legitimate Criticism of the Military in the Washington Post
Posted By Grim
It doesn't happen much, but this one is pretty much straight up. It's about camoflauge. Many of you may remember that we used to have pretty much two patterns: BDUs and DCUs. They were pretty good. Then... well, things changed.
Today, there is one camouflage pattern just for Marines in the desert. There is another just for Navy personnel in the desert. The Army has its own “universal” camouflage pattern, which is designed to work anywhere. It also has another one just for Afghanistan, where the first one doesn’t work.
Even the Air Force has its own unique camouflage, used in a new Airman Battle Uniform. But it has flaws. So in Afghanistan, airmen are told not to wear it in battle....
The Navy spent more than $435,000 on three new designs. One was a blue-and-gray pattern, to be worn aboard ships. Pattern No. 8.
Sailors worried that it would hide them at the one time they would want to be found.
“You fall in the damn water and you’re wearing water-colored camouflage. What the hell is that?” said one active-duty petty officer. He asked that his name be withheld because he was criticizing a decision by the brass. “It’s not logical. It’s not logical at all to have water-colored uniforms.”
Yeah, that last one especially has had a bunch of us head-scratching for a while now.
Congressman Duncan Hunter is a former Marine officer and the son of a veteran of the 75th Rangers during the Vietnam era, so nobody thinks he's a bad guy. But Congress can tell on even the best man, and recently he made the mistake of trying to set up General Odierno's staff to look either hapless or unconcerned about the fate of troops in the field. It provoked one of the most intense responses I've ever seen from a military officer testifying before Congress.
See for yourself. The issue at stake is the Distributed Common Ground System-Army (DCGS-A), which Rep. Hunter would like to derail in favor of a product produced by Palantir.
A lot of people have made much of the fact that Palantir is a Silicone Valley startup, and Rep. Hunter is from California. But Palantir is free to lobby Congressmen from their state, and Rep. Hunter is free to support a system he thinks is better for a constituent. That's part of our system.
What is improper is for a Congressman to compel a general officer to sit silently while that Congressman suggests he or his command are insensitive to the needs of the men in the field. To raise the suggestion is not itself bad, because Congress has a duty to oversee the military on just that point. What Rep. Hunter intended was to make the accusation without permitting a response, as he admits:
If you don’t let me say anything, we can’t have a conversation.
Well, you weren’t gonna let us say anything.
Well, you — you’re right, but I have that prerogative when I’m sittin’ up here.
Rep. Hunter questioned the honor of every man and woman in General Odierno's command, and expected him to sit silently for it. The general refused to let the slander stand without objection. Good for him.
Book Review: Standing By: The Making of an American Military Family in a Time of War
Posted By Blackfive
The following book review is a Special provided by Elise Cooper for BlackFive readers. You can read all of our reviews by clicking on the Books category on the far right side bar.
Alison Buckholtz’s book, Standing By: The Making of an American Military Family in a Time of War is a very powerful reminder that the families of those serving are also heroes in the War on Terror. This book, written more like a diary, allows the reader to see what it is like for a military family as they transfer with their serviceperson to different bases throughout the US. From 2009 to 2012 Scott, Alison, and their two children, Esther and Ethan, moved to the small town of Anacortes, Washington for Scott’s three year Navy assignment.
Alison allows the average citizen as well as those marrying into the military to understand the trials and tribulations of being a military family: the difficulty of deployment, how a military mom becomes a single mother, and the families reliance on each other for strength and support.
The author gives a candid and moving account of her friendships with other military wives and the way they acted as a team, their own unit, to support each other and help one another endure during these difficult times. This was no more obvious that in the chapter about “Pippi,” who struggled to make ends meet both financially and emotionally. While in the hospital recovering from a C-section, Alison organized fellow military spouses to report for duty, to come together to help and support Pippi by cleaning her house, which looked like a junkyard. Buckholtz noted to blackfive.net, “Helping other spouses became a reflex. I wrote this book as a service to other military spouses.”
She believes that in military marriages, “The service member’s spouse typically takes on the role of the pep-talk-giver. When the kid is sad about Dad’s absence, wonders why Dad has to be away for so long, or demands to know why someone else can’t do the job.” She fabulously describes what is like not only for the spouse,
but for the children who must come to grips with having a parent gone for long periods of time. She noted, “I wanted to stress to my children that this is dad’s job; yet, I understood that it is really tough for a younger child to understand since they see the work as black and white.” This was emphasized in the book when she gave the example of another military wife who felt that her husband chose “to stay in the Navy, which means you choose to leave us.”
What made the book very interesting is how she showed different points of view, that she did not feel the same way as the Navy spouse. She tells of Scott quoting a phrase from the Lovelace poem, “I could not love thee, Dear, so much, Loved I not honour more.” When asked about this she commented, “Scott’s career was so much a part of his character, that person who I loved and admired. He would not be that person without the military service.”
She told blackfive.net that what she loves about the military is being able to have friendships with people that have a different perspective than hers. There were people who were judged on their actions rather than their sex, political affiliations, religions, or race. “This is the upside. We had a mutual respect for each other that might not have the glue in a civilian world. I am grateful to the military for allowing me to be given the opportunity to get to know people from different backgrounds, people I otherwise might have never met.”
Standing By is a beautifully written book that should touch the heart of every American. The author does a great job in explaining how different families reacted to the issue of deployment. It is one of those rare books that can appeal to both those in the military and citizens who want to understand more of what it is like to be a military family.
With a post-2014 civil war not out of the question, Afghan officials must stop horsing around and face the country’s deteriorating governance – made worse by its illicit economies – writes Vanda Felbab-Brown…
They are often called "The Greatest Generation" was given to me on Wednesday. I had the honor of talking to the Vinings (GA) Rotary, during which I met a WWII veteran who is an active member with the organization. Our talk led to finding out that he did indeed see the elephant while being a forward artillery observer in Europe.
Rather, he half saw the elephant. When he turned 18 around 1943 and was accepted to Georgia Tech, he and other students went down and signed up. He had everything they were looking for except one thing: he was blind in one eye (since birth). They did not ask, and he did not tell. When the time came for his vision test, he very dutifully put his left hand over his left eye and read the chart. When the time came to test the left eye, he put his right hand over his left eye and read with the right eye again. He demonstrated to me what he did, and did it so well I can see how he got away with it then and two other times he had to take an eye exam.
They did indeed stand up to serve, and did not let little things like age, blindness, or other things that could be hidden stop them. Bless them all.
The Intricate Richard-Dance of The Mentally Insane....
Posted By Deebow
I had no idea when I was young that adults were going to be this foxtrotting dumb when I grew up. It appears that the US Army has now demonstrated that they are capable, on the grandest of scales, of reaching a level of mental midgetry and political correctness that has no limit or bottom.
“The vendor etched those inscriptions on scopes without the Army’s approval,” Army spokesman Matthew Bourke told Fox in a written statement. “Consequently, the modified scopes did not meet the requirement under which the contract was executed.”
Bourke said the vendor (which is Trijicon--ed.) agreed to remove all Bible references on future deliveries.
“Some of these scopes had already been fielded,” Bourke explained. “Corrective measures were taken to remove inscriptions during the RESET/PRESET process in order to avoid a disruption in combat operations.”
Our enemies are laughing at us as they watch us dance around trying to kick their ass without hurting their feelings, using bad words or getting some gravy from their lemon chicken on their precious holy book; as they ambush our soldiers with explosives and gunfire.
So, following along with your idea there Mr. Big Army spokesman Matthew Bourke, in order to be intellectually consistent with this galactically stupid idea that religion should not be part of our operations overseas, or part of the identity of our army, or part of the values of our soldiers; and that soldiers deployed in combat operations should not be in possession of anything that makes reference to bible verses and by their extension, religious materials; I demand that DoD take the following action immediately:
Every Chaplain in every service located at every post, on every ship, at every airfield and forward base be redeployed or PCS'ed and upon arrival in CONUS, I want them immediately out processed and given an RE-4 re-enlistment code. I also want every piece of religious material taken from every post and base here and abroad. I want every chapel on every post and base torn down. I want AR 670-1 changed so that every soldier is prohibited from carrying, wearing or being in possession of while in uniform and religious symbol or piece of religious jewelry; whether visible or not. I want every pocket copy of the New Testament confiscated from all soldiers in theater.
If the giving of offense by religion and the possibility thereof needs to be removed from our rifle scopes, then all of these things, according to your definition, will "disrupt" combat operations and need to be removed from our forces. In fact, we probably need to complete this little circle of ass-hattery you have got started here by ensuring that from this time forward, we only recruit atheists; you know, just to make sure.
And, I am not certain if you know, and this part comes from someone who has looked down a rifle at them, the Muslims aren't going to be more pissed at us because we wrote a bible verse on a rifle scope, and removing them isn't going to increase the likelihood of mission success, so what is your objective exactly with this order?
We are not talking about knocking down a burr on a firing pin that causes negligent discharges or making a work around for up armoring a truck, you are talking about removing part of a serial number on piece of US army equipment; which I think will get you some UCMJ action,
I know this is all about the stupid premise of not somehow making this a "crusade." If it really was, we would have wrapped this up about 8 years back and had them all converted by now.
Mostly though, this kind of shiznit just makes our society look weak, as if we have no courage of our convictions to stand for what we believe in; and I understand how our enemies would get this impression, given the well documented love of America by our current Secretary of State, Occupant in Chief and the rest of the most inept and clueless administration in history.
If I were the King; I would have this inscribed on the upper receiver of every rifle in the inventory:
Blessed be the Lord, My Rock who trains my hands for battle and my fingers to war.
I say if you are going to inflame their passions, I want them to be on fire.
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.
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.