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April 2008

US Marines in a Fight (finally) in Southern Afghanistan

And in other news, water is wet....

I am certain that these Marines are violating some long standing NATO rule on not endlessly negotiating with these butt-monkeys before convening a meeting to decide when to give the Taliban their exact battle plan so that every one feels all "even" and stuff when they kick it off.

Now don't get me wrong, the Danes, the Poles, and the British (certain units) I have fought with are doing a bang up job down there, but they just don't have the same issues with these guys that we Americans have.  And for the Brits at least, they are hamstrung by a crazy, socialist, leftist, elitist media that demonizes their every move, good or bad.  But we all know what I am talking about when I talk about negotiations with these guys.

But anyway, I watched Fox News today while spending my last day healing from my gall bladder surgery and found out some interesting facts from the reporting that I would like to share with everyone.

Many of the 2,300-member unit who conducted the operation are Iraq war veterans.

Many of the men in the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit served in 2006 and 2007 in Ramadi, the capital of Anbar province in western Iraq. The vast region was once the stronghold of Al Qaeda in Iraq before the militants were pushed out in early 2007.

(Capt. John) Moder said that experience would affect how his men fight in Afghanistan.  "These guys saw a lot of progress in Ramadi, so they understand it's not just kinetic (fighting) but it's reconstruction and economic development."

Speaker Pelosi, Senator Reid, and Senator Murtha; I hope you had your pencils out.... 

Continue reading "US Marines in a Fight (finally) in Southern Afghanistan" »

And they wonder why 73 plus percent of military members are registered as Republicans

I want them to defend this...

I want them to defend using the video of the apparent death of American Soldiers while serving in Iraq to the religious zealot, gun nut, under-employed working class folk that probably have either served before, serve currently or have a family member who faces danger every day in the ITO.

I want them to defend using this video to make the misleading statement that we are "losing in Iraq."

Of course, the cowards respond according to the script:

Calls to the DNC for comment and for information about the footage went unreturned.

I don't want to hear anymore from the pompous gas-bags in the Old Media and the Code Pink turd-burglars about how they "Hate the war but support the troops"....  Where I come from, we say "that dog won't hunt."

But, since the media outlets are not showing it, out of respect for our comrades in arms, I would like to encourage everyone to tell everyone you know to go and see the ad and tell their friends too.

That way, whichever candidate is chosen by the Democrats, the American voters can ensure that the Democrats are headed for a McGovern style beat-down in November....

A beat-down that will sting for a couple generations....

Leadership: Rumbles from Below

We had a Roundtable call with Army Colonel Bruce J. Reider on the subject of the Army's new Muti-Source Assessment and Feedback system.  The concept here is, for the first time, to mandate that officers and NCOs -- as well as Department of the Army civilians, interestingly enough -- get formal feedback on how they do as leaders from their subordinates and peers as well as from their command.  While it won't be part of their performance evaluation, every single person in a leadership position will have to receive these comments.  COL Reider feels this has the opportunity to fundamentally improve Army culture by letting people know exactly where they are weakest in terms of the Army's leadership values.

Furthermore, everyone participating in the system will be submitting their comments on you anonymously.

One of the things that bloggers have a lot of experience with is the effect of granting anonymity to commenters.  The natural question, then, is:  Will you be editing out the profanity?

The Colonel says, "Actually, yes."  The concern for anonymity is such, however, that they will be doing so with an automated filter -- so that no human except the person being evaluated sees the comments.

Quite a bit more on this after the jump.

Continue reading "Leadership: Rumbles from Below" »

What Did You Do For The Troops Saturday?


Well, I spent the day out at a friend's home helping bake (and putting/hiding a funny here that most seemed to miss). The son of some friends of my friend is on his second deployment to Iraq, and she wanted to try to top her previous 30 or so pound box of treats she sent last time. So, between us we alternated mixing and baking two different types of brownies, three different types of mini-cupcakes, almond shortbread, two different types of chocolate chip cookies, two different types of oatmeal cookies, homemade granola bars, and homemade protein bars. Net take was that when all was done, she mailed a 37-pound box of treats for him (and his buddies). In August, we are planning to do this again.


Thousands Honor Matt Maupin

Soldier's Mom wrote me this weekend about the funeral of SSG Matt Maupin, letting me know that more than 4,000 people filled the Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati for his funeral. He is home, he is honored, and his family knows that people truly care about him and -- most of all -- about them.

WLWT has a story and video here, the Enquirer an article here (and actually notes why the missing are important) and coverage of the funeral here, and WCPO has stories here.

Godspeed Matt. May the light shine down on your family, and they are blessed to know how many people truly care.


Different But Important: Testicular Cancer


MaryAnn asked me if I would do this post, and I am glad to copy her post here so that the information can get downrange to the troops. Her site is often blocked (Blogspot), and while Blackfive is in some places as well, the thought is that it will reach places her's can't. If anyone else wants to copy this, please feel free to do so as caught early this is a very treatable cancer -- just ask Lance Armstrong. Copy for post, copy to mail, just help get the word downrange.



Important information about testicular cancer and self-exams

Ok, this is an unusual post. But it's really important because we see quite a few cases of testicular cancer at Landstuhl due to the gender/age group of the patients.

Please help raise awareness about the importance of deployed men doing testicular self-exams.

There's very high awareness for breast cancer and the need for women to carry out self-exams.

However, there's much less awareness about testicular cancer (TC), which is the most common type of cancer affecting guys between the ages of 15 and 35.

Most often, TC is found by men themselves. The thing with being deployed is that you don't want to look like you're playing with yourself in the shower or whatever while checking yourself out. Also, back home, it's often found by wives/girlfriends.

But a monthly self-exam of the testicles is the best way of becoming familiar with your body and thus enabling detection of TC at an early - and highly curable - stage.

Information about self-exams. [http://tcrc.acor.org/tcexam.html]

General information about TC. [http://tcrc.acor.org/index.html]

Important to Know:
- TC has a VERY high cure rate.
- Treatment usually involves removal of the affected testicle and follow up.
- Having one testicle is almost always sufficient to keep everything "working".

Finally, embarassment is a poor excuse for not having things checked out. If you think there is something wrong or something has changed, get your butt to sick call!

Please help by passing this information on to those you know in the sandbox. Thanks.

Update: In the comments Mrs. G shares this cancer prevention tip ;-)

UPDATE: An example is given below the fold, may not be family friendly (especially if you are this idiot & his moronic co-sponsors), can cause Aunt Minnie to blush, palpitations in the susceptible, etc.

Continue reading "Different But Important: Testicular Cancer" »

On Waivers

I also attended the Blogger's Roundtable that Armed Liberal at Winds of Change mentioned today.  These waivers are characterized this way:

The vast majority of the conduct waivers are misdemeanors and a litany of three-or-more traffic offenses. And with that, there are some felony arrests and a few felony convictions. Together they total to about a half of one percent of the intake.

In the past year, the Army increased its numbers, almost doubled them.  But they are so small that it equates just for scale to fewer than one per congressional district, insofar as felons that were waivered in.

The kind of person that we're talking about is someone who doesn't appear to be morally corrupt. Rather it was perhaps a prank gone terribly wrong, a grotesque error in judgment.

But in every case, if their community has joined behind them and said, this is really a good kid, and offered their support, then the recruiter might, if we've got a strong candidate in terms of their other attributes, send it up for a waiver.

A two-star will look at it. And let me say a general officer. I'm not sure if it's always two-star. But a general officer or flag officer will look at it, look at what they read about this person, what their parents, teachers, coaches have to say, and then make a judgment.

Is there any one of us who doesn't know someone who started off on the wrong track -- or made a mistake as a young man -- and ended up better because the military gave them a few years of structure, discipline, and a chance to move into adulthood?  It used to be that judges gave young men a choice between the military and jail in these circumstances.

Armed Liberal makes the point that labeling someone as a "criminal" at this age is destructive to their entire lives, whereas the military may be just what they need to begin a long and productive citizenship.  One of my closest friends as a boy was in just this category.  He made a bad decision, although a clever one -- he figured out a way to steal from his employer and work the paperwork to cover it so as to get free money.  At the age of seventeen you are the very next thing to amoral:  between hormones, young male pride, and lack of experience, you neither understand the harm you are causing nor can resist a clever scam.

They caught him, and the Marine Corps recruiter he'd been working with said:  "Well, hang on.  Let us have him."  They produced proof that he was a Boy Scout and had risen to the rank of Life Scout; that he had been a good student; and other things.  The local DA didn't press charges (a felony arrest, not a conviction, as this man says) and he went into the Marines.

A few years ago, he was Honorably Discharged after more than a decade's service.  He now lives as a good husband and reliable employee to a local manufacturer, and is the father of several daughters -- he described his home to me not long ago by saying, "If it's pink, we've got it."

Prison doesn't rehabilitate.  Very often, the Marine Corps does. 

Read the whole transcript, though, and make up your own mind.

UPDATE:  SFC B, in the comments, adds some perspective:

Since 2003 the Army (the only service which I've bothered to get the full details on, however the other services are similar) has allowed anywhere between .2% and .6% of all enlistees to enlist with a waiver for a felony conviction. Two years ago, 2006, was by far the lowest percentage of felony waivers in a long, long time. The .439% of waivers that were allowed in last year (2007) was right in line with the .4% that has been the average since 2003. Basically, the AP story casts an ominous light on the subject by pointing out that the number of felony waivers doubled from last year, but they fail to provide any context to that by 1) not mentioing how many people were enlisted last year (116,141) and 2) not mentioning that 2006 was abnormal in that only 249 felony waivers were enlisted.