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January 2012

A Milblog You Should Check Out

If you spend any time over at This Ain't Hell (and I do), you have seen comments from Doc Bailey.  They are usually quite good, reasoned, and interesting.  If you didn't already know, he has his own blog, and this post is a good introduction to the Madness of the Combat Medic.  Well considered, well reasoned, and well worth reading. 


FAKE SEAL and Special Operator Busted

Over at This Ain't Hell (we are soon to be THEIR farm team), Jonn Lilyea takes a Blackfive reader request and uncovers yet another SEAL poser.  Check it out.  Jonn has made outing phonies a cottage industry.  And this phony should have been proud of his service rather than making claims that are more f#$%ed up than polio.

Thank you, General Peter Chiarelli

Today, one of the good guys retires.

Go here to read the last words that General Chiarelli has to say while on duty.  And read the comments - they are a tribute to his hard work, leadership and unwavering support of our troops and their families.  And of course, he continues to push and challenge to make our Army the best:

...If we all continue to do our part – reach out – help connect individuals with the tremendous outpouring of support services and resources available to them we can help heal wounds, enable opportunity, and ultimately achieve a stronger, more capable Army for the future...


Thumbs Up! - 2011 Army Photo of the Year Runner Up

Private First Class Shawn Williams gives the thumbs-up to members of his unit as he is evacuated after being injured by a roadside bomb

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Pfc. Shawn Williams of the 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, based in Fort Wainwright, Alaska, gives the thumbs-up to members of his unit as he is evacuated after being injured by a roadside bomb in the Kandahar province of Afghanistan, June 17.

June 17, 2011 - Photo by U.S. Navy Lt. j.g. Haraz N. Ghanbari

Somewhere in the Arabian Sea...

...U.S. Marines are going to "visit" someone.

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U.S. Marines conduct insertion from a CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter in the Arabian Sea, Jan. 19, 2012. The Marines are assigned to the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit, which is embarked aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island. The ship is supporting 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 Alan Gragg.


Leaking the KBL Details - View of the SEALs

Joe Biden's spineless drivel aside, most SEALs that I have spoken to (Active Duty and Reservists) are NOT HAPPY that the details of the raid to capture or kill bin Laden were divulged and now we know what unit rescued the hostages in Somalia.  Identifying the unit after direct action was something that no one has done before to such a level of disregard for the safety of the men of that unit and their families.

Leif Babin, a highly decorated SEAL, in the WSJ expresses the same sentiment that I have heard over and over again...

...A week after the bin Laden raid, then-Secretary of Defense Robert Gates expressed dismay about Washington's loose lips, telling a town hall meeting of U.S. Marines at Camp Lejeune: "Frankly, a week ago Sunday, in the Situation Room, we all agreed that we would not release any operational details from the effort to take out bin Laden. That all fell apart on Monday—the next day."

Do the president and his top political advisers understand what's at stake for the special-operations forces who carry out these dangerous operations, or the long-term strategic consequences of divulging information about our most highly classified military assets and intelligence capabilities?...

Sadly, I highly doubt that they understand what's at stake (and worry more about politics than honor) and what these efforts mean to the men and the families who do the hard work while they make the "gutsy calls".

Damn disgusting.

[Thanks to Jimmy for sending the article]


A call not to repeat history

One of the things that policy makers seem to inevitably do is repeat history.  And repeating history, when talking national defense, usually isn’t a good thing.  It usually ends up costing us both blood and treasure.

RAdm John Stufflebeem (USN, Ret), a former 6th Fleet commander and a carrier pilot, lays out an argument for not repeating it in the context he knows best, the carrier battle group and its future.   This is transferable to other arms and services as well.  Stufflebeem concentrates on the fact that weapons systems have to evolve with strategy, and, that we have a tendency to be short sighted in both areas.  He discusses the future role of the carrier battle group in general and why the F-35, specifically,  is vital to that future roll.

The bottom line is it’s not enough to keep the 11 carriers we now have.  They also have to be equipped to survive and thrive in the future should they be called upon to do so:

A modern U.S. nuclear powered aircraft carrier (CVN) with a life expectancy of at least fifty years is only as good as the power it projects whether in combat or deterrence through its weapon system—the carrier Airwing and the men, women and aircraft that make it up. However, the Airwing of the future is under attack witness - the current call in some quarters to scrap the F-35C Lightning II Carrier Variant (CV). This type of clarion call is traditional following periods of war such as World War I and II, Korea, Vietnam and again as we are witnessing today. But it also follows a flawed and shortsighted strategy to achieve short-term economic gains or cater to parochial interests that, based on history, will have to be made up later at higher costs and possibly lives while depriving our Navy men and women of the best military technology available.

Why does Stufflebeem so heavily tout the F-35?

But many fail to realize that the F-35C, with its data exchange and interoperability capabilities, will make the entire Carrier Strike Group (CSG) more capable, effective and lethal. Using similar methods in exercises like Red Flag, the F-22 Raptor made both air and ground units more effective by providing enhanced situational awareness of the battlespace; so will the F-35 provide better maritime awareness to the CSG including both Airwing assets as well as surface forces. The F-35C will make the CSG a better, more capable fighting centerpiece of American military power and force for good around the globe.

In fact, instead of being a consumer of intelligence, situational awareness (produced by other means) and communication, it will be a provider and enhancer of each in addition to its kinetic role.  It will create a synergy that really doesn’t exist right now to, as Stufflebeem points out, “make the CSG a better, more capable fighting centerpiece of American military power and force for good around the globe.”

Of course our potential adversaries are building 5th generation fighters as we speak.  And we’re all familiar with China’s reported “carrier killer” missile.  Everyone is upping the ante.  Common sense says, given those facts, we can’t afford yesterday’s technology to be the technology we send forward into the 21st century. 

Stufflebeem provides both a good history lesson - discussing why we must avoid the sort of mistakes of the past we and other countries  have made – as well as looking toward the future and its requirements. It’s a good read.


Twitter: @McQandO

Biden advised against bin Laden raid

Crazy Uncle Joe said no to whacking OBL. First of all is anyone surprised by his lack of judgment? Second look at the type of advisers Obama has surrounded himself with.

When the president asked his top advisers for their final opinion on the mission, all of them were hesitant, except for the former CIA director, now Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, Biden said.

“Every single person in that room hedged their bet except Leon Panetta. Leon said go. Everyone else said, 49, 51,” Biden said, as he offered the unsolicited details of the decision-making process.

Being the gutsiest guy in a room full of spineless losers, Leon Panetta excepted, is not too tough. John Weisman said in his book Kill bin Laden, and confirmed to me personally, that Obama had a poll taken on the potential fall out if the public found he didn't pull the trigger, and that this delayed the raid while he waited on the answer. Still glad bin Laden took a round to the eye, but spare me all the political grandstanding.

Special Ops Snow Drop

Snow hires_120125-N-CI175-039c
A member of the coalition special operations forces begins to recover pallets of supplies in the snow during an airdrop in the Shah Joy district in Afghanistan's Zabul province, Jan. 25, 2012. The coalition is part of the International Security Assistance Force. U.S. Navy Petty Officer Petty Officer 2nd Class Jon Rasmussen