Want Some Signed Books?
UPDATE: One $250 grand prize package has been claimed (19 April 14, 2100 hours app.). However, Mike is up to do one more, and so am I. So, be the next person to donate $250 and the books are yours.
Update: One book is claimed; another has been put back for another to claim; and, the grand prize package still is not claimed. Could it be yours? Think about it, for a $250 donation you get books signed by Mad Mike, John Ringo, and even myself. Several books in the package, check it out. Putting full text of the FB post below.
Michael Z. Williamson made an offer to anyone donating to help Mission: VALOR raise funds to defray the cost of the 501(c)(3) application process. I've added another incentive to that, and may sweeten the pot even more. If you want books autographed by Mad Mike, John Ringo and/or me, check it out.
NOTE: Donations now are not be tax deductible per the IRS. If the 501(c)(3) is approved your donations may be deductible. The IRS likes us to note that you should contact a tax professional for advice.
MIKE"S POST: Help Mission: Valor raise their 501(c)(3) fees. I have TWO of the limited edition copies of Freehold - Fiction signed, and I will personalize and inscribe to the first two people to donate $50 and send me a copy of their receipt. They'll even be dated before the official release date of 6 May. Plus from the comments: At $250 I'll add in The Hero - Fiction signed by me and John Ringo and Clan of the Claw signed by us both, too, in hardcover, and a copy of Tour of Duty. Further Note: at $250 I put in an autographed and personalized copy of my second book of photography from Iraq, not a fuzzy/blurry shot of the moon to be found in it anywhere.
Photo: Arabian Sea Swim Call
U.S. Navy sailors and Marines participate in a swim call off the stern gate of the amphibious transport dock ship USS Mesa Verde to celebrate the 121st birthday of the chief petty officer rank in the Arabian Sea, April 1, 2014. The Mesa Verde, with the embarked 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit, is deployed to support maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility. U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Shannon M. Smith
U.S. Marines prepare and ready their vehicles to depart Forward Operating Base Delaram II in Nimroz province, Afghanistan, for the last time as they head back to Camp Bastion in Helmand province, April 8, 2014. U.S. Marines Corps photo by Sgt. Frances Johnson
Free Book For You
UPDATE: You now can download it for free from Amazon!
Regular readers are likely already familiar with LTC Tom Kratman (ret.) [trust me, you want to go read the quotes at the page linked, really] and his outstanding Carrera series of books. He's added to his non-fiction list of books with Training for War, and Baen Books is giving it away for free. Yes, you will have to register with Baen, but do I really have to point out that you can then download other books from them for free in a variety of e-book formats? I'm not finished reading it yet, but I think that anyone interested in the military, and in good and effective training, will find this of more than a little interest.
Photo: Marine VBSS
Marines travel aboard a rigid hull inflatable boat in a visit, board, search and seizure training mission during Amphibious Squadron Marine Expeditionary Unit Integration Training off the coast of San Diego, April 11, 2014. Marines conduct amphibious operations, crisis response and contingency during the two-week predeployment training. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Jonathan R. Waldman
Airborne Sergeant Kyle White to Receive the M.O.H.
You might have seen the announcement or even read the citation that will be presented with the Medal to Sergeant White. But you should go here to read about Kyle White's actions from someone who witnessed his uncommon valor under extreme conditions over at From Cow Pastures to Kosovo. Five paratroopers and one Marine lost their lives that day...it's certain that that count would be higher if it had not been for the actions of the platoon RTO.
It's worth your time to read.
Photo: SSG Tim Kennedy
Book Review - "Under a Silent Moon" by Elizabeth Haynes
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.
Under 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.
Photo: SF Drop Zone
U.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
Photo: Amphibious Ops
Korean 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
"No Survivors" - The Twentieth Anniversary of Eagle Flight
"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...
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.
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.
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...
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)
MAJ Harry Shapland (Security/Intel Duty Officer)
LTC Jonathan C. Swann (Senior UK Officer)
LTC Guy Demetz (Senior French Officer)
COL Hikmet Alp (Co-Commander)
LT Ceyhun Civas (Laison Officer)
LT Barlas Gultepe (Liason Officer)
Salid Said (Linguist)
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.
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.
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.
New Ranger Up Video (Tim Kennedy) is sure to give Team Bisping Collective Apoplexy
Arlington National Cemetery Flyover Update
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.
Please consider contributing to our next Arlington Fly Over at IndieGoGo
or at the Warrior Aviation home page at:
The Bigotry of the Myth of the Ticking Vet
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.
Photo - Rescue at Sea
Sailors 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