Wednesday, April 16, 2014


Photo: SSG Tim Kennedy (07:28AM)

1621739_629602757077014_2103729115_n-630x472

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Tuesday, April 15, 2014


Book Review - "Under a Silent Moon" by Elizabeth Haynes (07:05AM)

The following book review is a special for BlackFive readers provided by Elise Cooper.  You can read all of our book reviews by clicking on the Books category link on the far right side bar.

9780062276056_p0_v4_s260x420Under A Silent Moon, Elizabeth Haynes’ latest book, differs from her previous novels.  Her other books were more stand alone psychological thrillers than this one which can be classified as a series police procedural.  What makes this novel intriguing is the way she presents the crime investigation, through the source documents.

Readers should connect one of the team’s investigating detectives, Sam Hollands, from the Haynes’ first book, Into The Darkest Corner. Louisa Smith is introduced as the formidable DCI, heading the investigation of two victims. The first is a beautiful young woman brutally killed in her cottage, while the second is a suspected suicide at a nearby quarry, when her car plunged to the bottom of a pit. The investigation takes place over the course of six days where it becomes apparent that these two deaths are related. 

Intertwined throughout the novel is fictional source material, including police reports, phone messages, interviews, witness statements, emails, forensic reports analysis documents, and charts.  This enables the reader to feel they are part of Smith’s investigation team, collecting the clues as they attempt to solve the crime.  Even the chapter titles allows for the reader to stay in the setting since they are named with the day, date, and time. However, if these document sources become a bit detailed, and they are skipped, nothing is lost in understanding the storyline.

The author commented to blackfive.net, “This is the book I always wanted to write.  As a police analyst I would get the real sense of the story, the real crime, from these documents.  Investigators effectively piece together the puzzle as the investigation unfolds.  I thought I can write a novel just from these documents with the reader being able to fill in the gaps and can see how the story unfolds.  The reader could act like an investigator if they so chose.”

As in all her books, Haynes has a dark side to the story with graphic sex and violence.  Yet, these add to the plot as she tries to show the dark side of humanity through affairs, sexual encounters, jealousy, desire, and greed.  The relationships begin to overlap and a strong theme throughout is the father/daughter relationship.

Interestingly enough is that in this book the main characters are the police not the victims or suspects.

She noted to blackfive.net, “In a crime novel there is a lot of graphic sex out there that is part of the crime.  With Into The Darkest Corner the sex scenes were very real for me and not gratuitous.  As times I wanted to stop writing that because I wasn’t comfortable with it.  It was stomach churning for me, and gave the readers a feeling that this is just not right. With these current scenes I wanted to show that it was not put in for pleasure but to show how someone could use it to manipulate and control, as part of a power play.  This is a thread running through all my books.”

Haynes also feels as a working mother she needs to balance motherhood and professional life.  For example she asked that the interview be postponed for an hour so she could have dinner with her ten-year-old son.  She also told of another example, being invited to speak at a crime festival on a Friday.  “I said I would do it but only on a Saturday or Sunday because that particular Friday was my son’s class celebration for finishing primary school.  Amazingly they allowed me to speak on the weekend so I was able to balance my career and my family.”

Under A Silent Moon is much more of a plot-based book than a character based one as Haynes has written in the past.  However this novel allows the reader to analyze much more as they are riveted to this gripping page-turner.

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Photo: SF Drop Zone (06:10AM)

Hires_hires_140403-A-YI554-224aU.S. Special Forces soldiers and Honduran paratroopers descend to the drop zone after jumping out of an AC130 aircraft during a partner nation static line jump on Soto Cano Air Base, Honduras, April 3, 2014. The soldiers are assigned to 7th Special Forces Group, Airborne. U.S. Army photo by Spc. Steven K. Young

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Monday, April 14, 2014


Photo: Amphibious Ops (06:15PM)

Hires_140331-M-GZ082-197aKorean and U.S. Marines traverse the shoreline aboard amphibious assault vehicles during Ssang Yong 2014 on Doksoek-ri in Pohang, South Korea, March 31, 2014. The annual exercise is conducted to enhance the interoperability of Korean and U.S. forces by performing a full spectrum of amphibious operations. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Lauren Whitney

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"No Survivors" - The Twentieth Anniversary of Eagle Flight (06:01AM)

"They came to save us, and to give us dignity. Their sacrifice will remain in the minds of our children for the rest of their lives. We will teach their names to our children, and keep their names in our books of history as heroes who gave their lives for freedom." - Kurd Sheik Ahmet at the April 17th, 1994 memorial service in Zakhu, Iraq.

Today is the 20th anniversary of a dark day in our military history...while the inquiry results were weak, this was one incident in which many lessons were learned that later saved American and allied lives (true IFF came from this), and continued the long trek to freedom for one of the most deserving groups of human beings on this planet.

Let's start at what isn't quite the beginning but as good as any place to start this story...

In April, 1991, as part of U.N. Resolution 688, the National Command Authority commanded the US Armed Forces to conduct Operation Provide Comfort.  On the 8th of April 1991, the 1st Battalion (FWD) of the 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne) from Bad Tolz, Germany, deployed to conduct humanitarian relief operations for over a half million Kurdish refugees.  Soon the 2nd and 3rd Battalions arrived from the states.

From the 10th Group's history page (emphasis is mine):

...Operation PROVIDE COMFORT was one of the largest relief operations in history. During the critical first three weeks, the 10th Special Forces Group directed and executed the overall ground relief and security efforts. In the words of General Galvin, the CINCEUR "...10th Special Forces Group saved half a million Kurds from extinction."

The conditions in the refugee camps shocked the world. Before 10th Group arrived, an average of 450 refugees perished daily, with 70 percent being children. In two weeks time the rate was approximately 15-­20 per day and of these, only 28 percent were children. 10th Group had made the difference.

The basic operation was divided into three phases. Phase one provided immediate emergency relief with food, water and shelter. The intent was to make an accurate assessment of the situation and to organize Kurdish leadership. Phase two provided basic services. The ODA and ODB detachments performed many tasks and missions: pipe water from the mountains, organize food distribution and camp sanitation, service drop zones and landing zones, and coordinate with the multi­national relief organizations. Additionally, they assisted in rendering medical treatment for the refugees. Phase three prepared and moved the refugees from their mountain camps into resettlement camps in Iraq or straight back to their own homes. Way­stations built by 10th SFG(A), provided food, water and fuel, and limited medical help enroute...

As the video below shows, it was really about saving the families and the children:
 

The mission was a tough one - to provide humanitarian aid to over one million Kurdish Refugees in northern Iraq. The mission began with airdrops (food, clothing, tents, blankets, medicine) and soon launched missions taking supplies directly to the Kurds.

Providecomfortblackhawkvillage

A UH-60A Black Hawk (Blackhawk) helicopter flies over a small village in the Kurdish occupied security zone in northern Iraq. The helicopters and the crews from C Company 6/159th Aviation Regiment, Geibelstadt, Germany, are deployed to Diyarbakir, Turkey, in support of the operation Provide Comfort. (DoD photo by: SSGT. THEODORE J. KONIARES Date Shot: 1993-11-17).

To further stop Saddam from killing the Kurds, a northern No-Fly Zone was placed north of the 36th parallel. Any Iraqi aircraft would be shot down in the No-Fly Zone.

Iraq_no_fly_zones Photo from CIA Factbook

The No-Fly Zone was patrolled and kept "clean" by the USAF with fighters (F-15s) being supported by command and control aircraft (AWACS).

General John Shalikashvili, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, had this to say about the hard work of the Provide Comfort Soldiers and Airmen:

For over 1,000 days, the pilots and crews assigned to Operation Provide Comfort flew mission after mission, totalling over 50,000 hours...

The mission continued for 3 years until the first Commander was due to reliquish command...

On April 14th, 1994, two Blackhawk helicopters were ready for take-off from Diyarbakir, Turkey. COL Jerry Thompson - one of the most respected officers and commanders in Special Forces - was changing command (or co-command as "command" of Provide Comfort was shared with Turkey). He decided to show his replacement, COL Mulhern, the lay of the land. At 0730, COL Thompson assembled 26 people that comprised important (command group) roles for the mission. He included French, British, and Turkish commanders and liaisons, and also brought along Kurdish para-military personnel and linguists.

The two Blackhawks were designated Eagle-1 and Eagle-2. Their first destination was Irbil, Iraq, but they would have to make a stop in Zakhu, Iraq (where the military part of Provide Comfort operated). There were plans to visit several other areas as well.

At 8:22AM, Eagle Flight departed Diyarbakir. They were headed East-Southeast for a "gate" into the No-Fly Zone. Per Standard Operating Procedure, the command group was split between Eagle-1 and Eagle-2 to ensure continuity of command if one helicopter went down.

At 9:21AM, Eagle Flight called the AWACS (callsign "Cougar"). They requested and were granted permission to enter the "gate" into the the No-Fly Zone.

At 9:24AM, Eagle Flight lands at Zakhu, Iraq.

At 9:35AM, two USAF F-15 fighters launched from Incirlik, Turkey. They were designated Tiger-1 and Tiger-2. Tiger-1 was the lead fighter with Tiger-2 as the wingman. Tiger Flight was headed to patrol the No-Fly Zone.

At 9:54AM, Eagle Flight calls the AWACS to report departure from Zakhu, Iraq, with a destination of Irbil, Iraq.

At 10:12AM, Eagle Flight enters mountainous terrain. It's Identification Friend or Foe system (IFF) failed.

At 10:20AM Tiger Flight passes through "gate" into No-Fly Zone.

At 10:22AM Tiger Flight picks up radar contact at forty nautical miles. No IFF reading occurs. Tiger-1 reports, "Cougar, picked up helicopter tracking northwest bound." AWACS says the area should be "clean".

At 10:25 AWACS responds that there are "hits there" in the No-Fly Zone - confirming Tiger Flight's radar contact.

Tiger Flight makes visual contact with Eagle Flight at five nautical miles.

At 10:28 Tiger-1 conducts a visual identification (VID) pass of the helicopters. "Cougar, tally 2 HINDS."

HINDS are Soviet Helicopters used by the Iraqi Armed Forces.

AWACS replied, "Copy two HINDS".

Tiger-1 then instructed Tiger-2 to make a VID pass.

Thirty seconds later Tiger-2 confirms, "Tally 2."

Tiger-1 to Tiger-2, "Arm hot."

At 10:30AM on April 14, 1994, Tiger-1 fired an AIM 120 (medium range air-to-air missle) at Eagle-2. Tiger-2 fired an AIM 9 (Sidewinder air-to-air missle) at Eagle-1.

The missles hit Eagle Flight with deadly accuracy. Tiger-1 confirmed the hits to AWACS, "Splash two HINDS."

Of the 26 team members of Eagle Flight, there were no survivors...

In memoriam:

US Military:
SSG Paul Barclay (SF Commo NCO)
SPC Cornelius A. Bass (Eagle-1 Door Gunner)
SPC Jeffrey C. Colbert (Eagle-1 Crew Chief)
SPC Mark A. Ellner (Eagle-2 Door Gunner)
CW2 John W. Garrett, Jr. (Eagle-1 Pilot)
CW2 Michael A. Hall (Eagle-2 Pilot Command)
SFC Benjamin T. Hodge (Linguist)
CPT Patrick M. McKenna (Eagle-1 Pilot Command)
WO1 Erik S. Mounsey (Eagle-2 Pilot)
COL Richard A. Mulhern (Incoming Co-Commander)
1LT Laurie A. Piper (USAF, Intel Officer)
SGT Michael S. Robinson (Eagle-2 Crew Chief)
SSG Ricky L. Robinson (SF Medic)
Ms. Barbara L. Schell (State Dept. Political Advisor)
COL Jerald L. Thompson (Outgoing Co-Commander)

British Military:
MAJ Harry Shapland (Security/Intel Duty Officer)
LTC Jonathan C. Swann (Senior UK Officer)

French Military:
LTC Guy Demetz (Senior French Officer)

Turkish Army:
COL Hikmet Alp (Co-Commander)
LT Ceyhun Civas (Laison Officer)
LT Barlas Gultepe (Liason Officer)

Kurdish Partisans:
Abdulsatur Arab
Ghandi Hussein
Bader Mikho
Ahmad Mohammed
Salid Said (Linguist)

787px-1994BlackHawkShootdownWreckage

USAF Photo: U.S. Military personnel inspect the wreckage of a Black Hawk helicopter (Eagle 2) in the Northern Iraq No Fly Zone during Operation Provide Comfort, April 16, 1994.

 

800px-BlackHawkIncidentCasualtyArrival

DoD photo MSGT MICHAEL J. HAGGERTY: The remains of 26 people were flown in for transportation to the U.S. Army Mortuary Center, Frankfurt, Germany. The 26 were killed in an accidental downing of two U.S. Army UH-60A Black Hawk (Blackhawk) helicopters by U.S. AIr Force F-15C fighters in the northern Iraq "no fly zone". Standing in review was the Rhein-Main-Air Base color guard, they displayed the flags of the countries that mourn the loss of their citizens, the United States, Britain, France and Turkey.

 

Thompson

I took this photo while visiting the Colonel (his story is an interesting one).  He's near Mary Todd Lincoln's tomb on a slight rise over looking a beautiful part of Arlington...You can visit him and Barclay, Hodge and Bass at Arlington like I am today.

Please take a minute to pray for their families today and remember that their hard work and sacrifices led to a flourishing Kurdish enclave - a place they would be very, very proud of today.  I don't think in our wildest dreams we ever thought that would have been possible.

A memorial was constructed in Germany thanks to many contributors.  The Eagle Flight memeorial has been moved to Fort Rucker and was dedicated on April 14, 2007.  More information, lots of photos and details, can be found at the Eagle Flight Detachment Memorial Monument Friends web site.

And Erik Mournsey's cousin, Ian Bairnson (a member of the Alan Parson's Project), wrote this song, "Brother Up In Heaven", for Erik:

Brother Up in Heaven
by Ian Bairnson

a boy flies for freedom
but dies for the peace
in the clouds, he waits for an answer
but there's no release

it's strange here without you
and it's so hard to see
so brother up in heaven
please wait up for me

oh brother up in heaven
please wait up for me

i still see his shadow
his laugh lingers on
when i dream, we're all back together
when i wake, he's gone

it's strange here without you
this was not meant to be
so brother up in heaven
please wait up for me

and though we try to change the world
a flower when it's cut will surely die

so why do men with so much hate
destroy what they cannot create
while we all stand by

we look back in anger
but you helped us to see
so brother up in heaven
please wait up for me

oh brother up in heaven
please wait up for me


[Blackfive Note: This is an annual repost.  I am posting some of the Comments from prior years' posts below.]

Mores Mekho said...

My father was one of 26 brave men and women that was in the helicopters that day.

Just before he went to work he kissed me and my brother and sisters just like any other day. He was truely a person of great dignity and one that was admired by his friends and family. This amazing person lived a great live as a Chealdean Catholic and he was not Kurdish. (R.I.P) NADER MEKHO

You will always be loved, we miss you dad.


I was stationed in Aviano, Italy with SETAF at the time of this tragedy. In fact, my unit flew the initial Provide Comfort missions delivering countless tons of food via CH47 in 91/92. Some of your guys may have cleared the LZs for us.

The day following this horrific event, I was standing in line at the BX behind two F-16 pilots. One said to the other, "Air Force- 2, Army- 0," and they chuckled.

Eventhough I was in uniform (at the time an E-6),I introduced myself to the officers and said that I thought that their sense of humor "sucked, and find myself suddenly embarrassed to be even remotely associated with the USAF and not because of the actions of those in Turkey, but because of the two officers and gentlemen standing in front of me." I dropped what I had been planning on buying and walked out of the store, fully expecting to be chased down and brought up on charges, didn't happen.

I remember and will say a prayer for all involved.


I was involved there as well, although I departed after a few months. Pretty early in the game. I remember reading those events.


I remember this well. A very unfortunate tragedy - many great folks were lost.


I knew SFC Ben Hodge and had attended Army schools and training events with him. I currently work in Hodge Hall, named for him, in Darmstadt, GM. I am sorry to say that daily mission kept from even recognizing that this was the 10 year anniversary. I am now working on organizing a brief memorial.
These men served so that others could be free.


Thanks, Chief!


i'm a civilian, i've never been in the military. but this just brought tears to my eyes. thank you for this post, Blackfive. it's hard to read about what our troops go through every day. May God bless all of you. We should never take these things for granted.


I was one of the Air Force CSAR pilots that recovered all 26 bodies from the crash sites. It was a sad day indeed. However, it was an honor to recover the fallen soldiers and return their remains to Diyarbakir that day. I am now in the Army National Guard attending the Aviation Warrent Officer Advanced Course. Next week I will brief my class on the trajedy. My goal is to help prevent this from happening again and to remember those lost in the service to our country.


I was stationed as a Air Force SP at Pirinclik AS, Turkey during this horrific event (Dec. 1993 - Dec 1994). To this day I can remember I was sitting at one of the radar entry control gates when I heard the news. I thought to myself - "we just spent time together at the "Club" the night before during one of our weekly good meals. No one could speak - we didn't know at the time who was onboard. All I can remember is everything being in a uproar and panic.
I saw several Eagle Flight teams come and go on their rotations. I also spent time with all of you who came to Pirinclik at the "Club". It was an honor to work with each an every one of our fallen comrades.
Please, don't hold a grudge against all Air Force personnel - as military members we all know - there are good ones and there are bad ones. Pirinclik was never the same, but we had to learn to hold our memories close to our hearts. My thoughts and prayers go out to the families and friends of "our" Eagle Flight team. May we always remember what each and every one of them stood for!!!!


While discussing a recent MEDIVAC with my platoon medic, I thought about SGT Robinson....I went to PLDC (Primary Leadership Development Course) with him in Feb of 1994 and remember how passionate he was about his job and being a Crew Chief. I am currently stationed in Mosul, Iraq close to where the tragedy happened. I haven't thought about him in a long time, but I do believe that the Lord tapped me on the shoulder and reminded me of those who have served before us and paid the ultimate price. The Robinson family is in my prayers and I thank you for your sacrifice and that I had the honor of spending time with SGT Robinson.

Very Respectfully,

Nathan Brookshire
2LT, MP
Platoon Leader
Mosul, Iraq


I was in SFC Hodge's unit in Germany when this happened. The first thing we thought when we heard the news was his wife and kids. I recall our batallion being extremely angry when we heard of the incident. It made us more angry when we found out it was friendly fire.
GOD BLESS SERGEANT HODGES SOUL, AND SENDING HIM A BUDDY 'HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAH'!!!!

SPC Fernando Ruiz
US Army (disabled vet)


I was stationed at Pirinclik Air Station (August 94 to August 95 so I just missed the incident but it got talked about often) as an Air Force SP, worked in the Armory, and would often issue weapons and ammo to Eagle Flight personnel before their daily departures. The sacrifices that were made and the personnel involved in this tragedy will not be forgotten.


Wow! I just found this website and am totally amazed! Col Richard A. Mulhern was my cousin. I've tried to search for information about this senseless tragedy for years, but it seemed like the answers would never be revealed. Thank you all for remembering my cousin and all the other brave souls who were lost this day. God Bless them all and those of us left to bear their tragic loss.

Every once in a while I go online and search for any information I can find on this incident. For whatever reason, tonight I came upon this website. Reading all of these messages brought me to tears. Not because I am brought back to that day on April 14th, but because over a decade later the 26 heroes we lost are still being saluted. Colonel Rich Mulhern was my dad, and I just want to than you all for keeping his memory alive.

To Bill Wieber:
I was honestly shocked when I came across your posted message! I don’t believe we have ever had the pleasure of meeting (forgive me if we did, I was fairly young when my dad was killed). I am truly touched that you have made such an effort to find answers to the questions that we all continue to have. The time you have spent searching and even posting your message is appreciated more than words can express. Thank you!


Although, it is about 3 years too late. I am glad I came across this post in your Blog. Two members of my team were killed. I had the sad duty of participating in the recovery operation. I still think about Ricky and Paul often. Thanks for taking the time to remember them. Mike


This is extremely emotional, another Anniversary will yet arrive. This was a love story and a family story in which I was briefly intertwined, bittersweet memories flow. I attended the wedding of Erik and Kaye in 1987. I'll never forget the outrageous
and comedic moment that broke the sweetness of the ceremony. The sole of the groom's shoes read TOP GUN. I briefly dated his brother John. I felt sad that I refused to remain in touch anymore. I was shocked to find in picking up the newspaper and seeing Erik's photo! What a shame it had to end this way. The circumstances were devastating, since John told me something that was eerily prophetic, like an omen, that being a military wife is a wrenching daily process, the constant worry of loss.... I remember John's sense of humor and warmth.. it gave me a laugh.. The entire family were a joyous and jolly bunch.
The Cock n Bull Pub on Lincoln Blvd. was once the 2 Drops 'o' Scotch bar, which was where I met John 1986 and was a raucous stomping ground..
John, Kaye, Erik,, I have never stopped thinking of you since I went my seperate ways.. Kaye has a beautiful girl with daddy's eyes and my heart stings when I hear Leather and Lace by Stevie Nicks.
All my Love to the Mounsey family, and prayers for those who serve and fly.

Catherine


Always remember. I am a former AWACS senior director, the same position Capt. Wang was sitting on 14 April, 1994. I am now a civilian. You should all know the legacy of these 27 lives on at Tinker AFB. Not a single AWACS crewmember steps foot on an aircraft before learning all about this tragedy and what should have happened instead.


I check this blog often to see new posts. 3 of my team mates got bumped while the rotors were turning. 2 stayed on board and got killed by our Air Force. F**k the Air Force. It disgusts me that my brothers are a "Teaching Point".


I didn't realize so many cared about the shoot down this many years later. Thanks to all.


I to have just come across this blog. Harry Shapland was my platoon commander in the Irish Guards and he was without a doubt the best officer I ever had the pleasure of serving under. He was reported as a General in the making in the British press and I feel that it was such a waste of not only such a promising military career but also of a human life that meant so much more to his family, friends and colleagues alike. But once again due to the cowboy antics of the USAF (who killed more British soldiers in the first Gulf war than the Iraqis did) we buried a very highly respected and much liked Irish Guards officer in London in 1994 with full military honours, when the fact is we should have been welcoming him back at the end of his tour. I took part in his fureral and to see grown men who ultimately are paid a wage to kill in war cry like children was gut wrenching. This is one person I personally will never forget and I know that Irish Guards members past and present feel the same and hold this man in such high regard that even the thought of working with the USAF makes their skin crawl. "Quis Seperabit"


I am very aware of this incident. I spent 3 and half years in the unit that this happened too. Now a days they are called B co 3/158 "Wareagles". The company patch lists the two tail numbers on it. Our brothers are gone, but not forgotten.


My son, Spc Mark A. (Tony) Ellner was killed in this incident. I also just ran across this site. Mark was the door gunner on the lead helicopter Eagle-1. Cornelius Bass was the door gunner one Eagle-2. I realize the insignias that were presented at the time of the memorial services show them reversed but it was incorrect.

Thank you for expressing your thoughts and remembrances and prayers for all the family members of Eagle Flight. We have needed every one. It has been exactly 13 1/2 years ago today. The friends of Eagle Flight have moved the Memorial Monument from Giebelstadt, Germany to Ft. Rucker, Alabama. It was rebuilt and rededicated this year on the anniversary of the shootdown. If you're in the area, stop in and see it - - it's beautiful.


I will always miss my son, Tony. Everyday. It is amazing how many lives were touched by this shoot down. I regret not being there for my son until he was older. I can't go back.But I'll see him again.
God bless,
A remembering Dad.

Posted by: MJ Ellner | November 06, 2007 at 02:28 PM


Didn't know you took part in those Ops, BF.

It genuinely sucked up there. I was Marine ANGLICO, leading a team attached to 3/325 out of Vicenza, IT (They're 173rd ABCT now, right?) near Dohuk.

I got hit on May 24 when a soldier I was moving with tripped a mine - PFC Lars Chew. He didn't make it out of Iraq, perishing at the Brit field hospital at Sirsenk Airfield. Actually had the fortunate chance to meet his brother (former 82nd) and family years later - great folks from Colorado, and we're still loosely in touch today.

Rest in peace, PFC Chew... Even after suffering tremendous wounds, you were one helluva brave man up on that mountain ridge.


Amen, Blackfive, amen...

Prayers also for Tiger-One and Tiger-Two, who must have gone through some pretty rough times when they realized what had happened...


I must echo all the previous posters and say that we must never forget the 26 innocent lives lost 11 years ago.
Both last year & this year I find myself searching for answers as to how this could happen.
I did find a 50 page transcript of a seminar by West Point professor LTC Scott Snook at http://www.pirp.harvard.edu/pubs_pdf/snook%5Csnook-i01-1.pdf
Thanks Blackfive for reminding us of the loss of your friends and countrymen!


As soon as I started reading, I remembered the post from last year. Took me all day to get back here... every time I thought I'd come post a comment, I'd start crying. It's a terrible terrible thing - and I hope that something was learned from it, so this never happens again. My prayers go out to the families and friends who remember and wonder why...


I can still touch the rage of the coverup that followed this shootdown. Army pilots took the fall, and they followed every rule by the book. It was one of the most shameful episodes of the time.


I have privates in my platton who know the differences between a Blackhawk and a Hind, I will never understand how those pilots ccould have been so wrong


The old style of materials was a photographic slide kit (thus requiring a slide projector). Producing (and reproducing) these slides is time-consuming and expensive, resulting in everyone one using the same couple of images for training. Further, because recognition training wasn't "sexy", it tended to be lightly regarded by both trainers and pilots/trainees.

Using newer technology, recognition materials moved more into video/computer-based media--much cheaper and thus incorporating more images, realistic movement, and even activity simulations. Plus, you could now run the recognition training on a laptop (or a computer network). This took money, which would never have been allocated without the tragic results discussed in this post.


I worked on one of those aircraft recognition training software programs. It was called Joint Visual Identification (JVID). As a vet and an airplane nut, it was one of the most fun jobs I ever had, but it was also one of the most important. We never forgot the reason why we were developing the software.

I used to work that mission as a platoon leader in C 6-159 AVN. I knew all those guys on the flight crews. I owed CPT McKenna $20 which I never got to repay. I had been on the previous rotation, in Dec-Feb , and I remember attending an Operation Provide Comfort briefing at Incerlik AFB. One of our constant gripes with the AF was that the fighter jocks were constantly flying below their minimum altitude so that they could have fun in the mountain valleys of N Iraq. There were several instances where they would underfly our Blackhawks. The reaction from the AF General was something akin to "well, you know, they're fighter jocks, so if I tell 'em to stay above 8,000 ft and they're coming down to 7,000, they're still doing pretty good." Reprehensible, but it pretty much summed up the AF mindset at that place and time. He, and the officers directly involved, paid for that attitude, although not dearly enough if you ask me. I haven't had a nice thing to say about the Air Force since that time.


The regurgitation of the Black Hawk shoot down as addressed by the military and DOD is both tiring and inaccurate. The facts to this incident is hidden within the 23 volumes of disconnected data of public but very sensitive testimonies of those directly involved in this alleged Friendly Fire. This was a politically prosecution driven by senior Department of Defense leadership with a perceived need to hold no one accountable, a conviction would mean an appeal, an appeal would require the Article 32 be challenged for truth through fact finding, something the DOD found to horrible to contemplate since it would involve the rule of law as prescribed under the UN and NATO. The UCMJ was only technically complied with, unheard of in a case of this magnitude. It was manipulated by lawyers, judge advocates, and commanders to achieve a predetermined outcome
by guarding and surrounding it with a wall that was less than truthful to protect the truth of their blow-back.


SGT Michael S. Robinson was my sisters husbands brother. He was a wonderful person that left behind a son and a very caring family. He is missed still today and will always be missed. His death tore through his family like a knife. The government tried to conceal what really happened and in the end sent his mother photos in the mail of his burnt corpse to verify that it was him. The death was a tragedy, but the way the government dealt with it was the real tradegy! His flag and his picture sit on my sisters dresser still today. As a soldier myself I look at that flag with great pride and my heart still hurts for him and his family.


GYSGT BRAD O'NEAL, LCPL WATTS AND MYSELF THEN PFC. BACCARIE WERE PART OF PROVIDE COMFORT. MY HEART AND PRAYERS AND ALSO SORROW GOES OUT TO ALL U.S. FORCES INJURED OR KILLED. YOU WILL ALL BE MISSED. CALL SIGN PACKERS FCT. WITH SECOND AIR NAVAL GUNFIRE LIAISON COMPANY. ATTACHED TO THE SPANISH.
SEMPER FIDELIS

ALWAYS FAITHFUL GOD, COUNTRY AND CORPS


"Comment below written by: huck

<...>

I got hit on May 24 when a soldier I was moving with tripped a mine - PFC Lars Chew. He didn't make it out of Iraq, perishing at the Brit field hospital at Sirsenk Airfield. Actually had the fortunate chance to meet his brother (former 82nd) and family years later - great folks from Colorado, and we're still loosely in touch today.

Rest in peace, PFC Chew... Even after suffering tremendous wounds, you were one helluva brave man up on that mountain ridge."

I was in that unit at the time. I would like very much to get in touch with you Huck.


SFC Benjamin T. Hodge was my best friend. He lived around the corner from me in Weiterstadt, Germany, and rode with me to work almost everyday. He was the PSG of the "Arabic" platoon of A Co., 165th MI Bn, based in Darmstadt, Germany. I was PSG of the "German/Slavic" platoon. Ben and I went to the field together, played raquetball together, ate together, smoked together, drank together, cried together, and took ass-chewings together. Ben volunteered for the OPC mission, only after consulting with his wife, Brenda, who had a medical condition that required Ben to be stationed within 50 miles of a military hospital. The last time I saw Ben, he was filling out some legal paperwork in the hallway of our orderly room. He said, "Hey, wanna play some raquetball later?" I replied, "Affirmative." He said, "Well, you'll have to pack your dufflebag, and come with me to the Big Sandy!" It was only then that I realized his volunteering had earned him the privilege of serving his country and the Iraqi Kurds yet again. He was so unselfish in that way. Ben had previously served in (if I remember correctly) Grenada, Panama, and Desert Storm.
On the morning of April 14th, 1994, I was just a few weeks away from rotating back Stateside. I was the ASGM while the rest of the battalion was out for range density. I went to inspect the dining facility, and while standing at the door of the facility, my orderly ran up to me and said, "SFC Hodge was on the manifest!" I was shocked, stunned, and in total disbelief....we had all heard via AFN and AFRTS of the shootdown. The orderly had a transcript from somewhere in his hand, and there, in black and white, was Ben's name. I made commo with the battalion in the field, and all was confirmed. The unit returned to Darmstadt, as we awaited the return of Ben's (and the others') remains to Wiesbaden for graves registration personnel to ID. It took forever! In the meantime, everyone and their brothers decided to show up in Darmstadt - brass hats from everywhere - Deputy Chief of Staff for this and that, Undersecretary of this or that, press reporter this, photographer that - they didn't even know Ben or Brenda, or their 11-year old daughter. It was all about showing that the Army "cared" or something....at the same time, the Army was insisting that Brenda pay back the TDY advance that Ben had collected prior to his departure! (His wallet was later returned with his remains, and all of the money was still in it) The Army wouldn't even pay Brenda's way back to Arlington for the internment - the unit took up a collection to help her get there and back, since she still had to outprocess from Darmstadt. Good Casualty Assistance Personnel helped her with that, thank God.
I took a photo of Ben to a German photo studio in Darmstadt to have it enlarged for the memorial ceremony. The owner wouldn't allow me to pay for the work. He said, "This brave soldier gave his life for us all..."
Some of the bigwigs that showed up insisted on sitting next to and "comforting" Brenda during the memorial ceremony....what a sham!
Members of Ben's unit offered the sincerest of eulogies, poems, songs, and memories in front of that memorial of spit-polished jump boots, helmet, and M16 that day. 1SG Moore's roll call at the end of the ceremony was a BEE-ATCH....3 volleys of 7 x M16s later, and it was all over.
Those of us who really knew Ben remember him as being a simple, honest, loyal, and generous soldier, who genuinely cared about those troops in his charge. He loved his family - spoke of them always - and he loved his country! Truly a soldier for others to emulate.
In the aftermath, I followed the investigation and subsequent courts-martial of the fighter pilots and the AWACS crew members, in particular USAF Cpt Wang, and I was stunned by the outcome. Accidents don't happen, they are caused. SOMEONE was responsible, but only those 26 innocent victims paid for the awful chain of events that occured that day!
Ben - keep the courts waxed and warm. When the Big CO decides it's my time, I owe you a game of raquetball....and this time, I'll woop your ass!
Rick


As the wife of a member of this unit at the time of the shootdown, I felt I must comment. I am very appreciative that so many still remember these guys. Many were our friends, one even went to flight school with my husband. We lost family that day....part of our military family. Anyone that has spent any time in the military, understands that. It WAS a horrible accident, that everyone on those 60's paid the price for and their families pay for each and every day! The Eagle Flight memorial holds a special place in my heart. We helped fundraise for it before we left Germany and then once we returned to Germany in '99, I was able to bring awareness once again to the Giebelstadt community. Many at that time in the area had grown used to seeing the model hawks sit atop that monument, but had no idea why it was there nor knew the persons behind the names. From 2000 until the monument was moved to Rucker, the Memorial Day ceremony was held at the monument and the story of this unit was shared as part of Giebelstadt's history. We were also forunate enough to be at the ceremony when it was moved to Rucker. It was nice to re-unite with old friends, our military family. As for the mis-identification, I would like to believe that it was true human error. However, my heart tells me it was over-eagerness to shoot something. I was told that it was not uncommon for the AF to lock-on to the hawks on a daily basis. My prayer is that these fine people did not die in vain and that lessons have been learned for our soldiers and airmen alike and that through this tragedy the families can feel the loving touch of the Lord's hand. And I too pray for the 2 that fired those deadly shots, they too need the healing touch of God. C6 wife '92-'95 WAR EAGLE
MJ said:  Jul 9, 2009 

I think of these guys all the time, as a USAF SSgt back then, Col Thompson would treat me great. And I would threat them great because I was the TV Technician out of Incilik that used to fly up the Zakho or should I say the big house and setup their Sat dish to get AFRTS and CNN broadcasts from the world. Nothing warms the heart more than being able to bring TV to our troops.
 B.Lee said: Apr 29, 2009

 

Thank you Blackfive for the heart and the character that you share with us, WO2 Michael Hall was a very young pilot, but a good one, part of the Attack Bn at Gieb before joining the support unit that took him to North Iraq. May the Lord Bless and keep his loved ones, specially his dad. CW3 (Ret) Hector M. Rodriguez-Luina
Wolfpack said:  Apr 14, 2008

:: Comments left behind ::

Thanks to B5 for this remembrance. I remember this incident and had not realized it was that long ago. I would like think the COL Thompson Team's mark with the Kurds was still there when the SF came back in 2003 to kick Saddam's butt for good. Sometimes, good comes from a bad thing. RIP all.

:: Vern Apr 14, 2014 7:30:13 AM

A truly sad remembrance and memorial for all of us. Our heroes, our family and friends. We are all less for their passing.

:: vet66 Apr 14, 2014 9:03:28 AM

RIP Heroes...

:: thebronze Apr 14, 2014 1:40:31 PM

I remember well that day. As a former Blackhawk pilot in the U.S. Army, I also recall my anger over what happened notwithstanding the instruction from AWAC to get a VID. The F-15 pilots were chicken-shit to fire without first confirming the targets...especially since a couple Mi-24's aren't a threat to a couple of F-15 doing a 600Kt pass!

:: moronibreitbart Apr 15, 2014 12:06:34 AM

Ex-Navy electronics technician here. One thing I could never figure out when I first read about this incident: the IFF transponders on two separate aircraft failed almost simultaneously? Isn't that -------- a little strange?

:: Frank Smith Apr 15, 2014 7:34:53 AM

Crap. Twenty years already.

My sincere prayer is that all the lessons that needed to be learned from this, were in fact learned.

:: OldSoldier54 Apr 16, 2014 9:54:27 AM

It does seem unusual.

:: OldSoldier54 Apr 16, 2014 9:55:45 AM

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Sunday, April 13, 2014


New Ranger Up Video (Tim Kennedy) is sure to give Team Bisping Collective Apoplexy (01:08PM)

:: Comments left behind ::

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Thursday, April 10, 2014


Arlington National Cemetery Flyover Update (03:32PM)

We're just under 2 weeks away from our Arlington National Cemetery Missing Man Flyover for USMC 1st Lt Bruce Guetzloe.  Things are shaping up but we still need help with fuel and operational contributions. Links are below the fold!

The line up will be Jim Tobul in his F4U Corsair, the type aircraft Lt Guetzloe flew in the south Pacific (off the USS Franklin) and in Korea.  On either wing will be 2 P-51 Mustangs owned/flown by Andrew McKenna and Scott Yoke.  Following will be 4 L-39 jets, with Sean "Flopper" Cushing flying lead, Scott "Buster" Clyburn on the left wing,  Geoff "Hak" Hickman flying the pull jet at #3 and Art "Kaos" Nall on the right wing.

 Here's a little bit of what it was like last September while waiting to be cleared for the fly-over:

Arlington Nat’l Cemetery Fly Over for MAJs Sizemore and Andre

The Turn In. We’d been in holding for probably 20 minutes or so near the NOTTINGHAM (OTT) VORTAC (a VHF omnidirectional range (VOR) beacon and a tactical air navigation system (TACAN) ) in southern Maryland, along the Patuxent River near the town of Nottingham. Andrews AFB was a bit to our north and the President was supposed to be heading out on AF1 at some point that morning. That had me/us worried that we may end up being an airborne scrub if he was delayed and the Secret Service wanted a sterilized air environment for his helo transit from the White House to Andrews. Flopper (my pilot) had made it known to the other L-29 aircraft during the brief that he had 53 fewer gallons of gas than they did because of the no tip-tank mod his aircraft had, so we had a bit more of a pucker factor than the other aircraft had in terms of holding time.

Tooling around in our holding pattern, 10 mile legs, inbound to the OTT VORTAC, we heard our controller slide our Time on Top (TOT) target from noon to 10 past to 20 past the hour, making the whole evolution a bit dicey in my mind. Not being too familiar with the L-39 fuel system, with its litres of fuel or whatever former communist fuel display system that jet had only added to the entertainment.

Finally though, we received the signal to “Push”, and all the aircraft, at their different holding altitudes, edged their noses to the northwest and began their inbound transit. It was going to work out fine after all.

Sizemore andre flight 2

Please consider contributing to our next Arlington Fly Over at IndieGoGo

http://igg.me/at/guetzloeflyover

or at the Warrior Aviation home page at:

www.warrioraviation.org

:: Comments left behind ::

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Wednesday, April 9, 2014


The Bigotry of the Myth of the Ticking Vet (06:01AM)

Bump/UPDATE:  Paul Szoldra at Business Insider takes on the "scaremongering" and the execrable story done by HuffPo (no linky love for that ****). Read and shae. 

Over at Mission: VALOR, I have a plea up for all reasonable beings to go read some good words on PTS from some very good men; and, a small bit of discussion on the bigoted Myth of the Ticking Vet, which harms our veterans and veteran employment.  It deserves a fuller treatment with proper cites, but it is a start and hopefully may get some people to think a bit.  

LW 

:: Comments left behind ::

Glad you are posting about this LW.
God I get tired of people...even highly educated people who are normally capable of critical thinking, repeatedly buying into the "crazy Vet" stereotype.

I never leave without reminding them that 1) the military recruits from a cross-section of our society/population, and 2) that many of these people already were likely a jerk (criminal/mentally unstable/insert problem here) to begin with the military's structure and leadership probably helped them. If they hadn't been in the military they would have more than likely been the same jerk (insert Adj.) and it was NOT the military who made them do whatever they did.

Hollywood's stereotyping certainly doesn't help either.

:: Matt Snyder Apr 4, 2014 10:54:37 PM

This has gotten to be a huge issue for me, and for a number of others. As I note in the article, were the same tropes used on a race or orientation, the screams of outrage would be long and loud. But, it's okay because it's about one of the smallest minorities out there -- veterans -- that so few of them know. It's not okay.

From Macy's (http://www.macysinc.com/) on down it is a huge problem with HR types, and that is just making the crisis in employment for our younger veteran's worse. We need to fight this on every front, particularly in the popular media ("news" and entertainment). We need to not only counter with facts, but to mercilessly mock it and laugh at them -- long and loud -- if this is to change.

So, standby, there is more to come.

:: Laughing_Wolf Apr 5, 2014 7:06:56 AM

" Please note since so many media reports don’t mention it, but he was NOT a combat veteran"

If anything, reaction from civilian society (by that I mean the Left), in my mind amplifies mental health issues among all soldiers.

Imagine you have a young man, coming back from a war which had mixed reviews at home, and in which he feels somewhat ambivalent about participating. Does anyone think that calling him a 'war criminal' or 'baby killer' is going to ease his return into society?

- ex-baby killer


:: The Drill SGT Apr 5, 2014 7:18:11 AM

If I were a totalitarian form of government and I feared an armed populace, the first thing I'd do is lay the groundwork to demonize those that were well trained and who had combat experience. Well guess who that is? Recently we had the DHS hag tell us that veterans were potential terrorists, and we've had other mouthpieces suggest that "mental illness" in the form of PTS is not a good mix with gun possession. Now, conveniently we have a military shooting where guns and the suggestion of PTS are coming into play. Well watch your six Brothers and Sisters as we have real fine databases that can pin point who is being treated for PTS and also owns firearms. As to the issue of PTS, first of all it's not new and secondly, for your own interest check out how many citizens were screened out of the military during the selection process for WW11. Seems like we had a fair share of mentally unstables back then also.
I write this as a veteran, a proud Marine, holder of a Purple Heart, and I'm also a psychotherapist with a focus on PTS and trauma. I can tell you my combat experience and the Purple Heart give me more credibility with clients than any paper I could hang on a wall. I've treated Veterans from many named wars and it breaks my heart to witness another generation of our finest get used and abused for empty reasons.

:: A Facebook User Apr 5, 2014 12:04:20 PM

What few people know is that many PTS problems are because the individual cares too much about others. He/she remembers and relives incidents in which others were killed or hurt more than he/she relives incidents of bad things happening to him/her. As a former Veterans Counselor, I had occasion to talk with many PTS sufferers. Their problems were remembering what happened to others and a combination of survivor's guilt and the feeling that, if they had been a better leader or fellow combatant, they would have prevented the incident. Many of their nightmares/flashbacks are the re-living of these incidents. Knowing what is going to happen but unable to change it re-inforces their feelings of guilt & inadequacy. The more they cared, the worse the feelings.

:: Longwalker21 Apr 6, 2014 12:58:38 PM

Nice post - thanks for sharing your thoughts.

I ran into a guy online that thought that any Veteran whose PTSD was diagnosed after service was a - his words - "mooching faker".

I responded through my Veterans Law Blog, but still, the misconceptions of what PTS is and is not (or what TBI is and is not) are so false and so harmful.

I'm glad to see someone tackling these issues!

Chris Attig
Veterans Law Blog
http://www.AttigLawFirm.com/veterans-law-blog

:: VetLaw_US Apr 6, 2014 6:38:35 PM

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Tuesday, April 8, 2014


Photo - Rescue at Sea (08:25AM)

Hires_140406-N-ZO999-884cSailors from the frigate USS Vandegrift help rescue a family with a sick infant in the ship's small boat as part of a joint U.S. Navy, Coast Guard and California Air National Guard effort in the Pacific Ocean, April 6, 2014. The family and four Air National Guard pararescuemen were safely moved from the sailboat to Vandegrift, which then transited to San Diego. U.S. Navy photo

:: Comments left behind ::

Many thanks to the rescue team.

Oh, hell, I am going to pile on with everybody else: while I am pleased with, and proud of, the performance of our people in uniform, the baby and the toddler had no place on a parental joy-ride in the middle of the ocean.

:: Valerie Apr 8, 2014 9:13:57 AM

That was my first impulse as well, but I'll be honest. What have I done today? Dropped my kids off at a public indoctrination center -- err -- public school, then went to sit in front of a computer screen for 8 hours. In other words, "making a living." So who am I to criticize those who've decided to actually live a life?

:: Jeffliss Apr 8, 2014 9:25:37 AM

So, what happened to the boat?

:: Robert Granger Apr 8, 2014 10:11:10 PM

I read somewhere that the family had recently had the child to the doctor for a visit. The doctor had said it was ok for the child to travel. Thank god for the USN, USCG, and the California Air National Guard. They are the ones who saved this child's life! Thanks to all now serving, those who have, and those who will in the future.

:: JusCruzn Apr 9, 2014 7:56:32 AM

If by "living a life" you mean going out to cross the ocean in an inadequate boat, which in fact lost communication and the means for propulsion and sank, fine. Just leave the children who are too young to even swim, much less help themselves in the event something goes wrong, at home. Their family offered to keep the kids.

:: Valerie Apr 9, 2014 9:34:49 AM

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Book Review - "Warriors" by Ted Bell (08:22AM)

The following book review is a special for BlackFive readers provided by Elise Cooper.  You can read all of our book reviews by clicking on the Books category link.

9780062279385_p0_v4_s260x420Best-selling author Ted Bell’s latest book Warriors delves into the dangers of an emerging China.  This spy thriller brings back his main character Alex Hawke who is not the ordinary super spy.  In this novel Hawke plays a supporting role to the gripping plot, which the author uses as a sounding board to wake-up Americans.

Bell commented to blackfive.net, “The whole China angle came about while at Cambridge.  From 2011 to 2012 I was elected to be a visiting scholar and a visiting writer in resident by Sir Richard Biling Dearlove, the retired head of MI6, now a professor there.  We focused on the issue of China with a subset of North Korea.  It was fascinating for me because anyone who wants a future in the intelligence community, the highest level of military, espionage, and intelligence, were there.  It was like Spy vs. Spy meets Harry Potter.”

The plot begins when a rogue Chinese military general kidnaps American scientist William Lincoln Chase and his family.  Chase is known for his research on creating weapons that will alter the global balance of power.  Intertwined with this are the sub-plots that have Scotland Yard Chief Inspector Congreve Ambrose investigating the murder of a Cambridge professor and coming to the rescue of Hawke’s son with the culprits being beastly black birds.

Although Bell told blackfive.net that most of the technology in the book was fictional, there is a believability and realism to it.  Readers will be engrossed with the highly advanced fighter jet designed to deliver Alex to his Chinese contact, a pair of equally advanced missiles designed to prevent him from making that meet, sophisticated drone planes, and a new class of submarine that is able to stay submerged in the water without a crew.

The torture scenes, although old school, are never the less very graphic and sophisticated, displaying the cruelness of the Chinese and North Koreans.  Bell wonders where the outcry is considering “waterboarding to them would be like me shooting you with a squirt gun.  These places are horrific and no one does anything about it.  There are four of these prisons with thousands of people who are sent there if they make the government angry.  Yet, China continues to fund the North Koreans, probably because, excuse my language, North Korea is China’s bitch, happy when they give the US a hard time.”

Many of Bell’s fans have likened Alex Hawke to James Bond, a comparison he disagrees with. The author describes his main character as dashing, sophisticated, emotional, witty, passionate, and a very eligible bachelor.  He noted, “Bond was a creature of the 20th century where as Hawke is from the 21st century.  He is thirty-three years old and the sixth richest person in England.  Unlike Bond Alex is a living breathing man who falls in love, misses his child, gets hurt, sees the world as good vs. evil, and can be very emotional. He represents a way of life that is rapidly receding in America.  Alex is a man of character with the bulldog tenacity of Winston Churchill and Ronald Reagan.  All these men would never give in.  We have gone from fighting on the beaches to sun tanning on the beaches.”

There are two powerful themes from the book. The mindset in Washington: We will not have to worry about the Chinese military capability until well into the next decade, and Washington behaves like a crippled giant.  Bell commented, “Looking at every possible recent scenario we are on the losing side, whether in Crimea, Syria, or Iran, our government makes a big show but there is never a price to pay.  Our navy is the smallest it’s been since WWII.  It is like we are dismantling this country with a lot of damage being done.  We are on the defensive, which is depressing.  China is becoming much more powerful.”

Ted Bell hopes his readers will find Warriors, a “tongue in cheek book, that is fun to read while learning a little something.”  This book accomplished this and a lot more with a gripping and realistic plot with likeable main characters.

:: Comments left behind ::

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Monday, April 7, 2014


Exclusive Interview with Nelson DeMille - "Plum Island" to be brought to television! (08:06AM)

The following is a special for BlackFive readers provided by Elise Cooper.  You can read all of our book reviews by clicking on the Books category link in the far right sidebar.

9780446515061_p0_v2_s260x420Plum Island, the New York Times best-selling book by Nelson DeMille, will likely be made into a television series. Produced by Sony and Lionsgate for a cable TV station, each of the ten episodes will be one hour long. This novel introduced the wisecracking, confident, not politically correct, street-smart character, NYPD John Corey. Although Plum Island was supposed to be a stand-alone book the popularity of Corey convinced DeMille to make him the lead in a series of novels. The dean of political thrillers was kind of enough to take time away from writing his next John Corey book to speak with blackfive.net about this project as well as future projects.

Plum Island’s plot begins with Corey on medical leave, recovering from bullet wounds, when his friend, chief of the Southold Police Department, enlists his aid while looking into the double homicide of Tom and Judy Gordon, also friends of Corey.  They happen to be employees of Plum Island, the nearby high-level bio-containment facility located in Long Island, studying deadly diseases such as anthrax and simian Ebola. The investigation originally leads the detectives to suspect the Gordons’ of stealing a vaccine with the motive of peddling it to the pharmaceutical world for billions of dollars. But Corey contemplates a competing theory that the couple might have been involved in selling drugs, or looking for buried treasure. The local murder investigation soon crosses jurisdictional boundaries and draws county, state, and federal investigators with Corey’s nemesis Ted Nash also introduced in this novel.

Although written in 1997 it is still relevant today with the many different issues explored: genetically engineered viruses, bio-terrorism, government cover-ups, and government surveillance.  DeMille commented to blackfive.net, “It will be interesting to see how the screenwriters make it into a contemporary piece.  Originally, pre-9/11 it was not well guarded and was under the jurisdiction of the Department of Agriculture.  However, today it is under the control of Homeland Security.”

Hopefully the screenwriter, Ron Bass, will be able to capture not only John Corey’s personality but also his partner’s, Beth Penrose.  In all of the Corey books the characters dialogue helps to create a plot that has tension, suspense, and humor, including the silly type jokes DeMille is known for as a writer. The female lead plays the perfect “straight man” to Corey matching his wit, wisdom, and sarcasm. As DeMille describes it, “Usually the women in Corey’s life are the voice of reason.  In the books he brings in his street smarts and the women bring in the logic. The one thing that was told to me is what they might do with Corey’s romantic interests.  They are hinting that possibly he would not ever be married.  What they might do is have the male/female lead romantically involved with some sexual tension.”

How much control will DeMille have over the project? DeMille’s short answer was not much.  However, he has offered his advice and is hoping that Bass will take him up on it.  “I think having the author involved is a good thing because it makes the project more successful.  On the other hand I don’t want to meddle since writing for a TV show is such a different format than what I am used to.  I sometimes wonder why a book property is bought for the screen considering all the changes made.  You wonder if they are buying the story or buying it for the built-in audience of the author. A good TV series allows the viewers to really understand the characters that the novelist has written.  One of my other books was made into a screenplay where they missed everything and the screenwriter did not understand that people want to read and watch other people. Without the jokes and sarcasm the characters do not sound like real people.  My son interviewed to be a screenwriter for this project since in TV land there is a team of writers.  Maybe if he is chosen he will consult with his father.”

If the pilot is successful a TV series will be made with the possibility of a feature film being produced. There is talk that each season will be based on the next Corey book.  His favorite book, The Lion’s Game is considered for the second season.  “Although I resisted a TV series for a number of years I decided to go with it because of the very good cable shows currently on TV.  Also, TV is willing to deal with Islamic terrorism while feature films will not.  The reason for this is the need for movies to be distributed overseas.  They would have to worry about the movie theatre being blown up, threats, and any backlash, while TV shows are just watched in people’s homes. That is why there is great interest in making my latest book, The Quest, into a feature film.  It does not deal with terrorists and is marketed as Indiana Jones meets The Da Vinci Code.”

DeMille also noted the book he is currently working on will be another John Corey novel, A Quiet End.  Corey is no longer with the Anti-terrorism Task Force and now works for the Diplomatic Surveillance Group, essentially being demoted.  His new duties include following people from the foreign embassies.  Assigned to watch the Russian UN mission Corey finds out that one diplomat is a bad guy associated with the KGB.  DeMille noted, “This book is about a resurgent Russia which as you know I thought about long before the Ukraine crisis.  The theme of this book is that the Cold War has come back with Corey understanding the Russian threat as existential and long range. This book is almost like a stand-alone in the same way as Plum Island.”

He also told blackfive.net, the female lead will not be Corey’s wife, FBI agent Kate Mayfield who is off to Washington DC after a promotion. “There will be sexual tension with his new partner. He is having problems with his wife since her promotion.  They seem to be drifting apart.  Something has to happen with Kate because the backstory has become cumbersome.”

Fans of the John Corey series are looking forward to two new projects, a new book due out sometime later this year, and a TV series probably entitled Corey.  With any luck, next fall fans will be able to get their fix of John Corey.  Hopefully, the TV series will maintain DeMille’s fingerprint over this great character.

:: Comments left behind ::

I can't wait to see who they cast as Corey. I damn sure hope it is an actor who can truly show the characters (and the authors) great sense of humor. Anything else would be fall short. This ought to be interesting.

:: Matt Snyder Apr 10, 2014 8:11:39 PM

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Running A 5K (07:47AM)

Those of you who have been following over at LaughingWolf and Facebook know that I made a major lifestyle change just about a year ago.  The result is that I have dropped more than a few inches off the waist (have no idea on weight as that is, frankly, a meaningless measure), enjoyed the best health I've had in years, and have picked up doing things I've not done in far too long.  

One such is running, as in cross-country/long-distance running.  I'm a plodder more than a runner, always have been, but it is one of the things I really want to do.  So, I will be taking part in Hope For The Warrior's 5th Annual Big Apple Run For The Warriors, which is also starts events for Army Week .  What does that have to do with you? Well, there are two things. 

I want to invite all our readers to join me in walking/running/rolling/loping/whatever the 5k.  It isn't about how fast we do it, but rather that we do it.  

Second, I want to use this to raise funds for Mission: VALOR as well as Hope for the Warriors.  So, I've set a goal to raise $500 which will cover expenses (registration and new shoes, literally nothing fits anymore) with everything over expenses going to Mission: VALOR.  I've got some free coaching and such lined up, and plan to start building for this as quickly as possible.  You can donate through my GoFundMe (http://www.gofundme.com/2wwguw), or the PayPal link at LaughingWolf.  Just want to donate to Mission: VALOR?  The best way is via the Square Marketplace.  Reminder, we are not yet at 501(c)(3), but working on it.  Want to just put it to HftW?  Well, that info coming soon once I get registered.  

5thBA

:: Comments left behind ::

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Sunday, April 6, 2014


Time For a Caption Contest (07:19PM)

Ok...Time to get the creative juices flowing....

 

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And.....GO!

:: Comments left behind ::

Forget it Batman, I'll save our military !

:: squaredawaymarine Apr 7, 2014 9:23:16 AM

Major Fobbit says: "Take that hill, boys!"

:: Battleblue1.wordpress.com Apr 7, 2014 9:28:34 AM

Captain Blue Falcon says: "That is where i want the TOC, right next to the Burger King!"

:: Mathew Jones Apr 7, 2014 9:33:29 AM

Yondah lies da castle of my faddah

:: Frank Emerson Apr 7, 2014 10:42:45 AM

The Major soon discovered that the tactical pancho did not trump the tactical blast skivvies.

:: FLYNAVY Apr 7, 2014 11:12:25 AM

What you get when you let a Justin Bieber impersonator into the military...

:: Battleblue1.wordpress.com Apr 7, 2014 1:03:17 PM

Okay who's making the brews? No dice. Rock paper scissors? spoof? Anyone..? f**k it! Eeny, meeny, miny, moe..

:: Mr.Sparkle Apr 7, 2014 1:10:48 PM

"I believe all the Butter Bars went....that way."

:: VetLaw_US Apr 7, 2014 4:41:30 PM

My statue should be placed right there...

:: Rusty Bill Apr 7, 2014 5:39:55 PM

Mere mortals pale in comparison to my flatulence!

:: American Yeehawd Apr 8, 2014 4:48:00 PM

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Saturday, April 5, 2014


Crisis Hotline: Will You Be There? (07:15AM)

Army Week Association and HBO are putting on a special screening and panel discussion about the real issues facing our veterans when it comes to mental health and suicide prevention.  If you are interested in reality and not media/agenda fantasies, you really want to be there.  This is first-come/first-served so RSVP now.  

AW-HBO1

Click on the image to enlarge and get the RSVP information. 

LW 

:: Comments left behind ::

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Thursday, April 3, 2014


Book Review - Conversations with Coach Wooden (11:42AM)

The following book review is a special for BlackFive readers provided by Elise Cooper.  You can read all of our book reviews by clicking on the Books category link on the far right sidebar.

9781595800763_p0_v3_s260x420This time of year has sports fans euphoric since it is the beginning of the baseball season and March Madness is heating up.  A new book, Conversations with Coach Wooden by Gary Adams is very relevant since it combines both these sports.  Gary Adams was the long time coach of UCLA baseball who shared an office with the legendary Coach Wooden for almost a decade after the legendary basketball coach’s retirement.

The book reflects on Wooden’s core philosophies and principles behind his numerous basketball successes.  It also shows how Wooden influenced Adam’s career and coaching style as they became very close friends.  Adams told blackfive.net, that his first year of coaching was Wooden’s last.  After retiring UCLA’s Athletic Director asked Adams if he wanted a high profile officemate.  “The book describes how we met and told me ‘Gary, you know you are coaching my favorite sport, baseball.’”

Adams went on to say that during an interview Wooden commented that he was never asked to be an assistant baseball coach.  Adams chuckled as he noted, “I would have been proud and honored for him to be my bench coach.  Can you imagine having Coach Wooden as my right hand man to help me think about what I should do?  Unfortunately, during those times there was never such a thing as a bench coach.”

There are many stories about former players, as well as how both coaches viewed the changes to the games.  Both coaches, as with today, believed change is not necessarily for the better.  Regarding basketball Wooden was disheartened with the one and done, the slam-dunk, and the “show-off” players.  He felt basketball was no longer a sport but pure entertainment.  For him, the beauty of basketball was in the fundamentals of it being a team sport.  In the book Adams quotes Wooden, “Those fancy behind-the-back passes and showmanship slam dunks do not make the execution of the game any better.  They are only done to entertain the fans.  Well it does not entertain me.” He went on to say that the best basketball is having sound fundamentals that emphasize “good old-fashioned teamwork.”

Wooden thought, “the slam dunk may be good for entertainment, but it’s not good for the game.”  He once told Adams that at a UCLA basketball game a Bruin went high in the air and did a slam-dunk.  His response was, “that player would have been sitting on the bench before his feet landed on the ground.”

Baseball according to both coaches has not changed for the better with the American League rule of having a designated hitter. Adams said he and Coach Wooden did not like the designated hitter rule because it took the strategy away from the game.  Would a pitcher who is doing well be pulled for a pinch-hitter?

Conversations with Coach Wooden is an engrossing book for both a sports fan and a non-sports fan.  If you like basketball or baseball, the reader will love the personal stories of the coaches and players in this book.  But beyond that is the life lessons these two coaches taught through the sports of baseball and basketball.  These lessons seem to have been forgotten by some Americans today.

:: Comments left behind ::

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