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February 2010

Serious work out garb

IMG_0379 I got a chance to test out some new high speed work out gear. KAOS Komfort sent me one of their shirts made of some magic fabric that I can't comprehend. It was timely as I have shed my former sloth-like lifestyle and actually started getting back in shape. I know you can all hear JD Johannes laughing his ass off right now. Regardless I have been sweating to ABBA and this shirt does the trick as far as making the sweat disappear. Again, no clue how that happens, but it does. All of their materials and the entire manufacture process is all made in the USA which is always a good thing.

They asked me and some other folks to try the gear as they want to get it into play in the military market. It makes sense to me as it is designed as part of a layered system for temperature and moisture control. Now while I have de-slothed it's not like I was gonna throw on an 80 lb ruck and cruise around DC looking like I was training for Delta selection. But I did fill my extra large camera back pack with about 40 lbs and wandered around the woods in Northern VA. The material is good and thick and useful to stop chafing from the straps, and y'all know that I hate to get my cones or anything else chafed.

All in all it does what it's supposed to and feels kinda cool on the skin. Good thing the timer on my camera went off I couldn't have kept my chest puffed up much longer.

The preservation of the American warrior class

David Bellavia should have been blogging long ago. He has a great essay from yesterday that is required reading.

My grandfather was a reluctant hero. Most WWII vets are. There was never a need for them to share their experiences when they came home. The culture of post war America was almost Victorian and made it completely socially unacceptable for them to tell any story of the war that wasn’t sanitized. The WW II veteran did more than cow to the social convention of the era, they convinced themselves that society would not benefit from knowing of their sacrifice. It took almost two generations for these stories to come out.

Steven Spielberg was the first to show the masses that WWII veterans actually bled in the war.

There were no other stories my grandfather told that had the description and pain of those he told about the war. The only stories he painted perfectly were those of the worst days of his life. He would tell me that the war had motivated him to be a better husband, father to my mother and her twelve siblings — but it took something away from him that he would never get back.

I didn’t know what that was until I felt it missing in myself.

Today our nation still can’t handle stories like this. The masses support the troops, but cringe when they find out why the kid down the street is actually a hero. Few want to know why what we do is so worthy of support.

Then while you are over there go browse around the rest of the stories. I don't even know what to link to there is so much good shite. Do check out his guy Headhunter though. He's got an awesome stream of consciousness rant thing going on. Just go.

USS Franklin Reunion

Coming across the quarterdeck is this fantastic event:

The crew of the USS Franklin (CV-13) will hole their 2010 reunion from the 18th to the 21st of March in Branson, Missoura!

Specifically, at the Lodge of the Ozarks.

Special event:  Memorial service morning of 19 March.  This will be held on the 65th anniversary of the attack off the coast of Japan.

Registration closes 1 March, 2010.

Contact for Questions:
Sam Rhodes  772-334-0366 or
Beth Conard Rowland (daughter of crewman) 740-524-0024  (please leave message)

If you don't know the story of the USS Franklin, you need to.  Receiving 4 battle stars for her heroic efforts in the war in the south Pacific, taking the fight closer to the Japanese homeland (50 miles off the coast of Honshu) than any other carrier, suffering damage that even today boggles the mind, and after a quick touch-up in Pearl Harbor then sailing (under her own power) the 8,000 miles back to New York City for repair.


All that might not sound like much, but when you start to take a look at her casualties (724 killed and 265 wounded) and how much damage she received from the two Japanese armor-piercing bombs that detonated after penetrating her flight deck, you'll begin to understand what an incredible feat this was to simply save the ship much less sail her back to port.

One for the Iron Ships and Iron Men category.

Pass along, far and wide, please.

Fallen Hero's belongings stolen

Maybe John Edwards was right: there does seem to be "Two Americas." One America that produces heroes like SrA Bradley A. Smith; and another America that produces people who would steal said fallen hero's belongings and not cooperate with authorities. These men are innocent until proven guilty - but somebody did it, and no one's talking.

H/T Val

Special Ops Marines talk the talk

Marine Corps Special Operations Command (MARSOC) is an interesting unit. As past of US Special Operations Command (SOCOM), they are the first Marines under the operational control of anyone but the Corps. They have also been developing some very specialized skills to assist them in their missions. They have their own operator training course that teaches advanced skills in infiltration, exfiltration, weapons and surveillance. But now they have just started graduating the first students from their own language training school. They use instructors from the Defense Language Institute and the focus is on a communicative style that will allow them to converse directly with host nation personnel and the local populace where they operate.

MARSOCLanguage Photo by Lance Cpl. Stephen C. Benson
Six Marines who began the course on June 1, 2009 will graduate. The ALC is the first course of its kind in the military in which students learn French, Bahasa (the primary language of Indonesia), Dari, Pashtu and Urdu between 36 and 52 weeks. Friday's graduates will be from the 36-weeklong French and Indonesian course. The 52-weeklong Dari, Pashtu and Urdu courses will finish sometime this summer.

The course is intended to prepare Marines to meet the challenges of mastering the cultural understanding necessary to partner with host nations. The aggressive curriculum includes formal classroom work taught by contracted instructors using the communicative approach, a two-week immersion period within the U.S. and later four additional weeks in a foreign country where the language is spoken.

I spoke with MAJ Michael Armistead, MARSOC spokesman, today about the program. He explained that many of the missions they are tasked with involve extended contact and interactions with the host nation military in joint operations and also with the civilians they encounter in building rapport and gaining their support.

"This allows the Marines to show that they have done more than just learn a few words, and have taken the time to be able to really speak the language fluently and understand the culture."

 Much of what we do overseas is low intensity conflict not outright war and the ability to work with local forces and among it's people is vital to being able to do that.While their credibility as pipehitters is just fine, this shows they realize kinetic operations are only part of the game. This is another example of what makes the Marine Corps and SOCOM valuable to the military and the country. They adapt to new situations and missions and develop the necessary skills to conduct them successfully.

David Benke: Stallion

This guy is still tough on himself for not acting sooner.  A real hero who did what had to be done.

"It bugs me that he got another round off"

And as our own Grim says, if he had cowered and not taken action, might have been killed, too.

Mr. David Benke stopped a school shooter 'with the faith of his body,' as they used to say: wagering his life against a killer, and saving many others in the process. He also came away unhurt himself, whereas had everyone cowered he could well have been shot. 

Another teacher also helped subdue the shooter. 


John Yoo: Stallion

John Yoo. What a stallion. DOJ bureaucrats in general and the Obama administration in particular threw him as hard as they could, as often as they could, under that 1962 Volkswagen bus otherwise known as the anti-American and self-loathing Left. And he dodged and he dodged and he dodged, Eric Holder grinding the gears until the transmission slipped and the axle bent, and he could be pursued no more. Yoo won't get a medal for his service, not ever, but if you care about defending this country, do him the honor of at least reading his big, thick [email protected]# you, entitled "My Gift to the Obama Presidency", a choice selection of which follows:

I did not do this to win any popularity contests, least of all those held in the faculty lounge. I did it to help our president—President Obama, not Bush. Mr. Obama is fighting three wars simultaneously in Iraq, Afghanistan, and against al Qaeda. He will call upon the men and women serving under his command to make choices as hard as the ones we faced. They cannot meet those challenges with clear minds if they believe that a bevy of prosecutors, congressional committees and media critics await them when they return from the battlefield.

This is no idle worry. In 2005, a Navy Seal team dropped into Afghanistan encountered goat herders who clearly intended to inform the Taliban of their whereabouts. The team leader ordered them released, against his better military judgment, because of his worries about the media and political attacks that would follow.

In less than an hour, more than 80 Taliban fighters attacked and killed all but one member of the Seal team and 16 Americans on a helicopter rescue mission. If a president cannot, or will not, protect the men and women who fight our nation's wars, they will follow the same risk-averse attitudes that invited the 9/11 attacks in the first place.

Without a vigorous commander-in-chief power at his disposal, Mr. Obama will struggle to win any of these victories. But that is where OPR, playing a junior varsity CIA, wanted to lead us. Ending the Justice Department's ethics witch hunt not only brought an unjust persecution to an end, but it protects the president's constitutional ability to fight the enemies that threaten our nation today.

Plenty more for you to suck on here, hippies. And thank you for your service, Professor Yoo.

--Uber Pig

In the Crosshairs- Afghanistan Rules of Engagement

We are seeing the results of the tightened Rules of Engagement now in place in Afghanistan and they need a bit of work. The concept is valid, but the implementation is not correct yet. This story of Gen. Zinni's son calling a lawyer for permission to call in an air strike is ridiculous.

When Capt. Zinni spotted the four men planting the booby trap on the afternoon of Feb. 17, the first thing he did was call his lawyer. "Judge!" he yelled. Capt. Matthew Andrew, judge advocate for 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, advises the battalion about when it is legal to order the airstrikes. He examined the figures on the video feed closely. "I think you got it," Capt. Andrew said, giving the OK for the strike.
The onus is on Gen. McChrystal to ensure that all his officers understand his intent and do not overly restrict their troops from taking necessary steps. We want to win hearts and minds, but we are still at war. I don't think the implementation of these rules has been well done, but it is definitely the right call. It is vital that the company grade officers be empowered to use the force they are authorized and need. These rules allow them what they need, but only if the gutless weasels on staff are stopped from leaving them flappin' in the breeze.

The entire ITC video series is here.