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March 2012

Hero - Godspeed, Sergeant Dennis Weichel

Over at This Ain't Hell is a story that we've been talking about behind the scenes here for a few days...A Rhode Island National Guard soldier saved an Afghan girl's life, but, in the process of saving her, he was killed.

...Most of the children moved, but one little girl went back to pick up some brass shell casings in the road. Afghan civilians often recycle the casings, and the girl appeared to aim to do that. But a Mine-Resistant Ambush-Protected vehicle was moving toward her...

It was at that moment that Dennis Weichel had to make a choice, and he chose to save the life of an innocent child.  Words just can't express the sorrow I feel for Weichel's family and the pride I feel as an American that we have men like Weichel.

Go to TAH for the details.

Godspeed, Sergeant Weichel.

Maybe I'm "over sensitive"

Maybe I need to take a ‘chill pill’.  Perhaps I ought to just be happy that for the most part the vast majority of Americans thankfully “get it”.

But there still seems to be a small percentage that don’t.  And I made a vow years ago that I’d confront this sort of nonsense whenever I saw it.

What am I talking about?  What do most American’s “get”?  They understand that it isn’t the warrior who declares war, it is the warrior who goes to war when ordered.  And to blame the warrior or depict the warrior as the problem or the cause of the problem is, well, ignorant at best. 

Unfortunately there are those in various backwaters who apparently either haven’t figured this out (ignorant) or don’t care (malevolent).

And just as unfortunately they produce things like this and they’re shown to our kids as a “public service” (via Breitbart):



There are so many things wrong with this it is hard to know where to start.  The visual is just abhorrent.  And it so accurately portrays the 1970s mindset of many at that time it is chilling. 

On to the particulars:

A) like I said, the military or as specifically depicted here driving the “meat grinder”, the US Army, doesn’t declare war.  It goes where those who can and do such things tell it to go.  So instead of US Army on the side of the meat grinder, it should say US Government – that is if there’s any desire for accuracy.

B) if you want to whine about the draft, and there are certainly very good reasons to do so, don’t blame it on the Army.  Again, they had little to do with it.  It was an act of Congress signed into law by a President which enacted that.  Or, as with A) above, it was the US Government.

C) the skeletal driver on the meat grinder shouldn’t be wearing a helmet.  He should be wearing a “vote for me” button that identifies him as a politician.  Politicians got us into Vietnam, not the US Army.

D) if one wants to identify Vietnam as a “meat grinder” that’s their right.  But they should realize that this cartoon depiction of the “meat grinder” spitting out flag draped coffins is disrespectful as hell of those who died there.  It dishonors their sacrifice.  But to the point, if Vietnam was a meat grinder the same crew that brought you A) B) and C) above are responsible.

All of that in a 17 second clip.

To MTV and “Rock the Vote”, you ought to be ashamed.  There is no excuse for this sort of historic ignorance or cowardice. If it is neither of those, then it is propaganda of the worst sort.   If you’re going to presume to inform the public, tell the freakin truth.

As for ‘chill pills’, sorry, that’s a no-go. The vow remains, regardless of how insignificant the event.

I plan to always call BS on trash like this.

Every. Time. I. See. It.

Godspeed Captain Carroll "Lex" LeFon

Day by day, fix your eyes upon the greatness of Athens, until you become filled with the love of her; and when you are impressed by the spectacle of her glory, reflect that this empire has been acquired by men who knew their duty and had the courage to do it.” - Thucydides, The Funeral Speech for Pericles

Yesterday, our friend, Neptunus Lex, was laid to rest.

Fbl over at Castle Argghhh attended the funeral and has written a beautiful post about it.  It's worth your time to go over there and add your goodbyes.

Godspeed, Friend.

An Unexpected Opportunity

The economy continues to be big news, and with good reason.  Yet, what can be problems for some can offer opportunities for others. 

Cooking with the Troops now has additional opportunities for sponsors for the reception being catered at Normandy on D-Day.  For those not familiar, Cooking with the Troops will be taking 3-6 young veterans turning into chefs to Normandy to plan and execute a reception for the dedication of the statue of Dick Winters by the WWII Foundation

Sponsors of the event won't get just a donation.  They will get a series of web articles that will feature their name, links where possible, and even their logos as we detail the planning and execution of the trip.  They will get their name and logo on all videos about preparations for the event, as well as video from the event.  What's more, while we can't promise anything yet, we are working on some additional coverage in multiple media outlets, and to try to do something very special for the young veteran chefs if possible. 

Cooking with the Troops helped more than 2,000 in its first full year of operations, more than double the few hundred helped in the first few months of operation.  Our Facebook page now has more than 1045 members, more than 600 are following us on Twitter, our videos have been viewed more than 850 times, and we have started to develop some major media interest as well.  Our video and reports are also able to be syndicated through SOGMedia and other outlets are in development. 

This year, we can't just double again.  More than 100,000 troops are likely to be demobilized over the next five years, on top of those leaving because of wounds and other reasons.  This number is deceptive as more than three times this number will be affected by the draw down.  Given the economy, getting our Culinary Career program up and running, and helping as many as we can, is essential. 

If you, your company, or organization would like to be a part of this event, and in bringing our culinary career program online as we help advance some new careers, contact [email protected].

Mike Yon - Some History and (a ton of his) Hysteria

Over here at Chromed Curses is the explanation/history of Michael Yon's fascination with CJ Grisham.

...Yon put on his Drama Panties and declared (and still declares to this day), that CJ threatened him and has homicidal ideations...

So read that to get an idea of where the Yon- Grisham thing started.  It is really the best blow-by-blow explanation of the duel between the two of them and worth your time to read.

And go read this post to get a history of his issues with Soldiers' Angels

...For me, it was just the (then) latest example of someone turning to me with behind-the-scenes trouble with Mike Yon.

It wouldn't be the last...

And, in the interests of making up your own mind, please see this Facebook post of his to see how off the rails he has gotten by calling Soldiers' Angels members "Soldiers' Demons" and calling me "the Godfather" . In his latest post, I'm not sure if he's cheering on the IED planting Taliban kid or not.  It's so convoluted, I can't tell his main point - even paragraph to paragraph.  One commentary on it:

It's a veritable jambalaya of dopey Army MEDEVAC (aka Crusader Copters), Mendard, T.G.I.F. on KAF, SSG Bales and his West Coast lawyer, CJ, Special Forces on bicycles, PAOs disguised as jackasses (or was that the other way around?), and something about Nazis with scars. Interspersed with commentary from some shrink who could very well be MAJ Hasan.

And recently, he has been accusing me of attacking his reputation.  All of my posts (whether they were about his fight with Professional Soldiers or about Medevacs) had to do with his posts and the issues at hand.  Don't take my word for it, go read the links and judge for yourself.  And on his Facebook page, I told him that he was only hurting himself by continuing to attack me.  I think that history will bear that one out.

Mike accused me on Facebook of using my SA Board membership to hurt him.  That is patently false.  I have never linked the two and always do my best when working for SA to support the troops.  SA members bought his latest book in order to help him support SA. 

Mike also posted accusations about the financials of SA.  The entire board and I also have our reputations staked to Soldiers' Angels.  SA maintains the highest ratings for transparency and scores extremely high with the Better Business Bureau.  But don't take it from me (and please don't take it from Mike Yon), go check the website where seven years of financials are posted (along with auditor reports). And, you can see that Board members are not compensated.  We are all volunteers.  Just like the other 250,000 people around the world who call themselves Angels.  In fact, two board members that haven't raised the ire of Mike Yon (yet) and doing a separate report on his accusations in order to assure everyone that SA is operating in the best and most fiscally responsible manner. 

However, the two people Mike Yon attacks - MaryAnn of SA Germany and Patti Patton-Bader - are two of the best people that I have ever had the honor of knowing.  PERIOD.  Those are the two people who do more for our wounded and our military than anyone I have ever heard of.  I'm not going to call anyone names here, but I think you can draw a conclusion about what I think of the kind of man throws vague accusations and innuendo ("where there's smoke, there's fire") around hoping to discover secrets (like he did with the generals that he claims he got fired).  He should immediately apologize to SA and especially to Patti and MaryAnn, admit his wronging of a great organization, and go do what he does best - report from places where journalists don't tend to go - like Thailand.

Soldiers' Angels continues to be one of the best, most responsive, fiscally responsible, and biggest volunteer driven organizations dedicated to taking care of our military men and women and their families.

I am humbled and honored to continue to support them in their mission, and I sincerely hope you do too.

Thank you!


"The Godfather"

Penetration as Flanking Maneuver

When judging the danger posed by this particular plot, the temptation may be to ask how many more of our Afghan compatriots are plotting against the government we are trying to stabilize.  

An alternative metric is to ask how many similar penetrations of the enemy command and control structure we have managed to make.  Could we stage a similarly disruptive attack using people within, say, the Haqqani network or the Quetta Shura?

If the answer is no -- and my sense is that the answer is, in fact, "no" -- then we need to consider ourselves outmaneuvered.  This kind of war is more similar than it is sometimes thought to be to classic maneuver warfare, except that the field of maneuver is not marked by flags and uniforms but by the real loyalties of the people.  What you are seeing here is evidence that we have been flanked.  

That leaves us with the usual options when you find that your enemy has successfully flanked your position.  It is possible to withdraw to a stronger position, call for reinforcements and try to hold until they arrive, or to attempt a counterflank, or to attempt to overcome the enemy advantage with fires, or to surrender.  There will be no more reinforcements.  If, as it appears, we lack the capacity for a counterflank, and surrender is certainly off the table, that leaves us with the options of fire and withdrawal.  These are not necessarily exclusive, although evidence is that our fire support is under increased pressure.

The fighting season hasn't even properly begun as yet.  Expect this to be a hot one, especially in areas where the Afghan troops can be separated from NATO forces.

U.S. Soldiers save boy’s life in Kushamond district

U.S. Soldiers save boy’s life in Kushamond district
PAKTIKA PROVINCE, Afghanistan—Once in a while, an event occurs that develops the human perspective of warfare into the mission in Afghanistan. The Soldiers of Blackjack, or Company Bravo, Task Force 3-66, 172nd Infantry Brigade, Task Force Blackhawk, participated in such a life-changing set of events from March 14 through March 25.

On the afternoon of March 14, coalition force soldiers responded to a blast in Kushamond District in the qalat of Saduzi. An improvised explosive device, stored for a planned attack on Coalition Forces and Afghan National Security Forces operating within the district, detonated prematurely.

Upon arriving at the scene, the Soldiers realized that the detonation killed four children who appeared to be playing in the area and may have unwittingly engaged the trigger device.

They did not know it, but one child, Saduzi’s eight-year-old son Matten, survived the blast.

Within minutes, a man named Sultan who lives in a neighboring qalat, carried the severely injured Matten to Combat Outpost Kushamond.

U.S. Army Sgt. Anthony Merino, senior medic for the company, reacted immediately, treating the surviving child at the entry control point.

“I assessed and stabilized the patient while we called in a medical evacuation,” said Merino. “He was losing his airway. Had we not been able to treat him when we did, his wounds would certainly have been fatal.”

The boy was prepared for movement on an aircraft. Sgt. Michael Torres and Pvt. 1st Class Cody Sandstrom, along with Sultan, escorted the boy from Kushamond to the Sharana Medical Treatment Facility and then to the Craig Joint-Theater Hospital at Bagram Airfield.

Torres, Sandstrom, and Sultan remained with Matten in Bagram for 10 days while surgery was performed on his multiple facial lacerations.

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