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July 2005

Operation PC

Soldiers' Angels has a new request and need your support to help the wounded at Brooke Army Hospital in San Antonio.

'OPERATION PC for The Wounded'

Soldiers' Angels is proud and honored to join together with Colonel James Riley of the Brooke Army Medical Center on an innovative program to provide our brave HERO's who have been wounded while fighting for us in Iraq or Afghanistan, or one of the many countries where we proudly raise the flag of the United States of America.

From Col. Riley...
Let me tell you what is being offered, and if you can figure out a way to help great. If not, not a problem. The governments lease on our PC's is up. They are great PCs and the company is offering them to anyone for $249. I have attached the PC specs below.  As you know, one of the most frequent comments we get is that the wounded service members want better ways to communicate with their buddies back in Iraq and with all there friends and family while in recovery. I am looking at 2 options.

Looking for someone to help donate/buy:

  • a. Each soldier a PC to take home with him when he leaves
  • b. Buy one PC for every soldier and issue it to his room and it stays in the room.. good for studying too
  • c. I am even trying to figure out a way to buy them and ship them to Iraq to help them out over there to increase their throughput back here.

I have a 1000 of these PC's. In fact.. I have asked the company if it was okay for anyone in your group to buy one or more at that price and they said YES! The cost is $249 plus shipping in that case, but I can box them up for you. You can pay by cashier's check, money order or even a credit card. I can take a personal check ( but I can't ship until the check clears the bank).

If you want to help... let me know.. but the deal for your folks holds even if you don't. Thanks again for your support to our service members..

Here are the specs on the computers:
FSM Leasing is offering employees & contractors the opportunity to purchase one or more of the IBM computers currently being used at BAMC for $249 per machine plus $19.92 Texas sales tax. The total cost per machine is $268.92. You can also purchase JUST an PC without monitor for $199 + tax.  Payment can be made with cash, a money order, a certified check, credit card or a personal check. There will be a $25 fee on any returned checks   The PC will come with a Black IBM CPU and a monitor, a keyboard and a mouse. There will be NO SOFTWARE installed on this equipment, so an operating system would have to be purchased . There is no modem in these machines but they are internet ready.

The Specification of the equipment is:  Pentium 4 , 1.6GHz Processor ,400MHz Front Side Bus; 256MB SDRAM; 40GB Hard Disk Drive; 32MB Video card; 48X CD-ROM 10/100 integrated network; 17" IBM Monitor with integrated speakers, a UPS

If you like I will also get acknowledge cards for individual donors so the receiving soldiers can thank them if we actually give them to the soldier .

Col. James Riley

Soldiers' Angels is very happy to be able to work with Col. Riley in order to facilitate this program and we encourage anyone who is able to help donate to this worthy cause. With your help, we will enable these brave soldiers who have given so much of themselves keep in contact with their friends and comrades back in Iraq or Afghanistan, as well as aid them in preparing for the rest of their lives after dealing with such tragedies.

If you can help, please:

  • Call us at (626) 398-3131
  • Email Don MacKay, Soldiers' Angels General Manager, HERE 

For monetary donations, please mail a check or money order made out to SOLDIERS ANGELS to:

Soldiers' Angels Foundation
OPERATION PC
1792 East Washington Blvd.
Pasadena, California  91104


On the Move

Travelling this week so posting might be light at times - Right now blogging from Knoxville, TN - then will be DC for a few days.  Will probably meet up with Tobacco Joe.  Bejus better not show up or there'll be hell to pay.

Next week - vacation in the Ozarks - rented a place on the lake, water skiing, lots of family, huge grill, swimming pool, movie stars...


Spirtual Warfare 2005

Tom C. sent an email to bring attention to a blog by a Navy Chaplain in Afghanistan.  Chaplain (Lieutenant) Daniel Mode has responsibility for the needs of Catholic (and other) military members in Southern Afghanistan.

Fr. Daniel Mode, Navy Reserve chaplain, has a powerful, powerful story to tell of his personal involvement in that tragedy over in Afghanistan where he is currently serving.

The links to Father Mode's blog posts concerning the SEALs:

Fourth of July I

...In the next 10 hours I would quickly learn the full and powerful story of courage, incredible loss, and one heroic sailor daringly rescued. I would enter into world I had only heard about but never knew--Special operations. I would open my heart and my very soul seeking God's grace and His energy to embrace the spiritual challenge that lay before me...

Fourth of July II

I woke up in a mental fog. I met up with the a representative from the Navy SEALs in the morning. I was thinking we would begin to discuss the memorial for those who had died, instead I was taken without an invitation to another location. In just an hour, I would learn the full account and the fate of the other four Seals who were still on the ground. I was given a 24/7 beeper, a Land Rover SUV, a security badge and whisked into a briefing. At this initial meeting, I was given the additional task of being the lead chaplain on the Repatriation team that would bring back one of the true heroes of this war. The acronyms were flying and most of the details of the brief went right over my head--I was in a fog. I kept thinking, "how did I get here?"...

Fourth of July III

And then there was one. It has been a very long and powerful two weeks. As I reflect over these days, I can't help but come to the same conclusion: this has truly been the most spiritually profound experience of my 13 years as a priest and my 7 as a Navy Chaplain.

So much to witness--the pain of so much loss, yes; but also the incredible will to hope.

The "one" was the last Navy SEAL that had died during the fire fight of June 28th, whose body was finally recovered on Sunday, July 10th, and whose Ramp Ceremony was held on July 12th...


Ma Deuce Gunner Responds

Ma Deuce Gunner responded to Bob's hatemail to me/all of us in an email that has to be posted. 

Bob wrote, "...So what is the point of excessive discipline and exercise?  I'd say it's more oriented to breaking people down mentally than having any real battlefield advantage.  Yep, make those greyhounds run and do push-ups until they keel over, and then make 'em do more.  What bull.  But it sure singles out those are most obedient...""

MDG, a Corporal in the US Army Cavalry ("Scouts Out!") in Iraq, wrote the following:

I would like to respond to your email to blackfive.

In it you ask: "So what is the point of excessive discipline and exercise?"

Discipline:

IED's.  It takes discipline to be able to keep your eyes on the road for LONG periods of time, to look for signs of threats.  It takes discipline to not randomly shoot back when engaged from a concealed position.  It takes discipline to stay alert, awake, and aware when sitting in an OP looking for bad guys.  It takes discipline to be able to maintain situational awareness in a 360 degree battlefield.  Fighting the kind of war we are fighting requires that we be disciplined and ensure we are ready to destroy the enemy, wherever he is, however he chooses to engage us, in a sometimes VERY monotonous setting.

Also, refusal to follow orders in the heat of battle, due to being undisciplined can and will cost lives.  A disciplined soldier does as he is told, as quick responses and actions can change the tide of battle.  A disciplined soldier keeps his weapon clean and functional.  It will save his life by not jamming in a firefight.  A disciplined soldier maintains proficiency in his art, in order to keep himself and his fellow soldiers alive.  A disciplined soldier scans his sector at a short halt, and doesn't close his eyes because they are not moving, or gets out of the truck to have a cigarette.  A disciplined soldier keeps his helmet on, even when the sweat is running into his eyes, because you never know which window has an enemy sniper behind the glass.  A disciplined soldier maintains his vehicle, and does maintainance out in the sun and the heat or in the cold and the snow, because a broked down vehicle is a good target.

Exercise:

Have you ever worn body armor??

Do you know :

1.  How much it weighs? (24LBS)
2.  Range of motion you have while wearing body armor?? (highly reduced)
3.  How much it increases your body temperature??  (7-10F)

Our body armor alone weighs 16 LBS.  That is the basic set.  Add on the groin protector, neck and throat pieces, flank pieces and shoulder attachments, you are looking at over 24 lbs.  Strap 24 LBS to your chest and shoulders and go run around for a while.  Let me know if the average American physical conditioning cuts the mustard.

Ammo and gear.  Now it starts getting ridiculous.  The standard combat load is 210 rounds of 5.56mm ammunition.  Most guys carry more, I carry 360, and I am a rifleman.  Machine gunners carry 1200, on average.  I also carry handcuffs, a radio, smoke grenades, smoke grenades and illumination rounds for my grenade launcher, pistol ammunition, shotgun shells, a flashlight, night vision, and water in my camelbak.

So, all together, with my armor and all my combat accoutrements, i have close to 70 lbs over my body weight i carry around in the 120F+ heat.  Try going room to room in a hotel in downtown Kirkuk, Iraq, trying to maintain speed, suprise, and violence of action, in the middle of the day with a VBIED going off outside.  Run up and down stairs and hallways, kick in doors, and chase the bad guy through the hotel and alleyway.  Hell, just try and walk 100m down the street on flat ground when it is 133F outside wearing long pants, long sleeves, wearing a 4lb helmet, carrying a 7lb rifle in your hands, a 3lb pistol strapped to your leg, a 5 lb shotgun strapped to your back, and 70lbs on your back and chest, and try to comprehend that A HIGHER LEVEL of physical conditioning is REQUIRED.  I know, I have done it.  I did it last week.

So, why do we maintain discipline and physical fitness??  Because it keeps men alive.  Plain and simple.  Let an army become undisciplined and fat, I will show you an army that will die in place.  Even you don't want to see American soldiers dead.

I as a leader, keep my men disciplined and physically fit for their own good.  If they do not, they put their lives and my life in jepoardy, and the lives of every soldier in their battlespace.  I ride them hard, but they understand the importance.  They know that anything else is just plain not acceptable.

Thank you for your time.

If you ever wonder why I talk frequently about MDG when I get the chance in the media, it's because that Corporal is an excellent representative of the entire NCO Corps.


Lefty MilBlogger Faces Probe Over Blog

Many, many of you have emailed me about this story.

Basically, Specialist Leonard A. Clark is in Iraq as part of a Arizona National Guard MP Company.  He's run for office a few times before and is going to run for Senate when he returns to Arizona.  However, there are regulations that stipulate that military members must notify the DOD before announcing candidacy for office.

Also, there's the fact that Specialist Clark has been posting criticisms of the War on Terror, and the Kos-sacks have been eating it up.  The reason(s) behind the  investigation, whether it's because he's violated rules with regards to seeking public office or because he was critical of the War on Terror or critical of his commanders or if he disclosed Operational Security (OPSEC) Information, is the question.  (It should be known that he really just left audio files and a lefty blogger encouraged him to start a blog - it appears the lefty blogger wrote the blog based on Clark's emails and voice mails).

From the Army Times reprint of an Arizona Republic article (Bienz is the National Guard's spokesperson):

...Bienz said she could not say whether the investigation in Iraq focuses on Clark’s blogging or issues related to running for political office.

Whatever the specific focus of the Army’s investigation — and regardless of whether Clark intentionally may have instigated this controversy to gain more attention for himself — the intensity of the Internet chatter about his situation is giving him some national notice.

For instance, the online magazine Daily Kos has been providing updates...

And then here's a quote from an email post on the Daily Kos.  Maybe you'll see why this Soldier may be a problem:

...Now, fellow activists, let us keep up the non-violent fight against the terrorists and the tryants at home who are needlessly endangering my fellow soldiers and causing many of them to die needless deaths in this lie we call the Occupation of Iraq. We need to let the three-piece-suited politicians and their crooked lackeys know that we're mad as hell and we're not going to take it anymore!...

Clark's webmaster has removed content from his blog.  However, here is a Google Cached blog post from Clark's blog:

From his webmaster Kevin Spidel
On that note… I will be taking specific “operational” material down which Lenny’s commanders instructed him to do. He has called me and told me the specifics of the material that needs to be taken down. I will take it down in the next 48 hours. For now… pray for him, and keep our brave troops in your hearts on this July 4th.

Here's a Google-Cached link to his audio files.  You can listen to him here.  Among other things, he discusses corruption in the Iraqi police (the ones he's supposedly training), the twelve month troop rotation cycle and how it is destroying families, and how we are trying to steal Iraqi oil...His last email says he was physically threatened by his Sergeant Major.  His leadership asked him to stop his voice mails and his blog for security reasons. 

So it's very possible that he posted OPSEC info on his blog.

Anyway, I don't have confirmation on Clark's MOS or what is his role in Iraq.  I don't know if he's gone outside the wire and volunteered for turret duty as he has claimed.  According to Clark, he's in Camp Victory with the 860 MP Company (42nd MP Brigade).

I do know that he's unhappy, he doesn't sound like he's focused on the mission at hand, he's got a martyr complex, and he seems a bit unhinged and paranoid.  That's not someone you want covering your six.

If anyone at Camp Victory has info about Clark, please email me.


Flight of the Fallen

Fire Power Forward has a must read post about his flight to Germany with the Fallen heroes from the tragic SEAL rescue attempt in Afghanistan.

...Two people standing alone but very near me watched the procession, unmoving and in silence for the nearly 20 minutes I stood on that ramp. Instinctively, I knew that it was the CJSOTF commander and his Sergeant Major and when our escort thankfully turned us around to return to the terminal for a few minutes, this instinct was confirmed when I caught a glimpse of their name tags and ranks. 

Thinking back, I’m not sure why I did it or if I would do it again, but I was surprised to see my hand tugging at the commander’s sleeve.  When he turned to face me I saw the trails of tears glistening on his cheeks, and I could say only “Sir, I’m sorry for you loss.”  Words failed him but were unnecessary as he reached out and squeezed my shoulder before I started my walk back to the terminal.  What I did know at this time was that this man had completed his tour and was scheduled to hand over his command.  This couldn’t have come at a worse time for him personally, but what I didn’t know then was that the reason those aircraft had flown up that valley to start with was to search for four other SEALs who had gone missing...

Be sure to read the whole post.


Hatemail

I used to do this routinely but stopped because it's all the same. 

I've had an influx lately of some really hateful and, well, ignorant mail.  Anyone know if my email address has been posted to the DU or something?

Anyway, this is for Harv (who loves to see this stuff because it is soooo dumb).  It's fairly indicative of the hatemail I've gotten over the last week or so:

I'm not opposed to live fire exercises or good physical conditioning.  But the impression I get from these posts is that of unreasoning fanatics who push beyond what is reasonable and necessary.  It's like the military is under control of high school football jocks freaking out on steroids.
 
What modern army of today relies on marching infantry?  How often do combat troops engage in unarmed hand-to-hand combat?  Seldom.  So what is the point of excessive discipline and exercise?  I'd say it's more oriented to breaking people down mentally than having any real battlefield advantage.  Yep, make those greyhounds run and do push-ups until they keel over, and then make 'em do more.  What bull.  But it sure singles out those are most obedient.
 
And that's what the military wants.  Obedient, robot-like killers. Slaves who will take it any way their superiors decide to give it to them.  Go off on suicide missions, murder civilians by the hundred, even abuse and kill their own.  I pity the young men who get suckered into this system.  Me, I'll take my freedom.  And please, don't give a bunch of crap about how the military protects my freedom.  The only war my freedom was seriously threatened was WW II.  Everything since has been BS.
 
And as for the "noble" quality of the US soldier, here's a website featuring testimony of Vietnam vets which hangs that myth out to dry. The American fighting man is one of the dirtiest soldiers ever sent into combat because he is trained to think and act that way by the fruitcakes in charge.
 
http://homepage.ntlworld.com/jksonc/docs/vietnam-nviuswcv-19701201.html
 
-Bob
 

I responded asking if he actually knew anyone in the military and wondered how someone could get such a hateful and skewed view of thing.  His third paragraph sounds like he's describing Hamas or Al Qaeda, doesn't it?

You can email Bob here.  Keep it polite, please.

Update 07-19-05:  Bob responds.  I'll put his email in the Extended Section.

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