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December 2014

Photo: US - China Joint Anti-Piracy Exercise

Hires_141211-N-GW139-475aThe USS Sterett, left, transits alongside the CNS Yun Chang, right, and the CNS Chao Hu during U.S.-China Counter-Piracy Exercise 15 in the Gulf of Aden, Dec. 11, 2014. The Sterett is deployed as part of the Carl Vinson Carrier Strike Group, and is supporting Operation Inherent Resolve conducting maritime security operations, strike operations in Iraq and Syria as directed, in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility. 
U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Eric Coffer 

Book Review - "Top Dog: The Story of Marine Hero Lucca"

The following book review is a special for BlackFive readers provided by Elise Cooper.  You can read all of our book reviews by clicking on the Books category link on the right sidebar.

9780525954361_p0_v2_s260x420Dogs always seem to be an intricate part of people’s lives.  Maria Goodavage’s latest book, Top Dog: The Story of Marine Hero Lucca, is a true story that is also a riveting thriller with action-packed scenes, heart-pounding combat sequences, high tension, and suspense. It is the story of two heroes, one male and one female, one four-legged and her handler.  The author shows the passionate relationship between a military working dog and its partner.

Top Dog is the story of a German Shepherd-Belgian Malinois mix, Lucca, and her dog handlers, Marine Staff Sergeant Chris Willingham and Marine Corporal Juan "Rod" Rodriguez. The intensity of the book is presented from page one, where readers find themselves immediately rooting for Lucca.  Unlike other books the author skillfully goes back and forth between Lucca surviving an IED bombing and how she became such an important part in the effort to save her fellow Marines’ lives. The reader is taken on a six year journey with Lucca from her youth in the Netherlands, her formative months in Israel as part of the elite Israeli Oketz K-9 group, wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the death of her best four-legged friend, to losing a leg and being adopted by her handler and his family. A Specialized Search Dog, Lucca belongs to a group trained to work off-leash at long distances from her handler. She served alongside both Special Forces and regular infantry, and became so sought-after that platoons frequently requested her by name. But this is more than a war story, it is also about the extraordinary bond that developed between Lucca and Marine Corps dog handlers Chris Willingham and Juan Rodriguez.

Chris and Lucca in Iraq (2)

Chris Willingham commented, “Military dogs have drive, loyalty, intelligence, are trainable, can handle the rigors of combat, and can take directions.  The handlers have to be independent thinkers, mature, responsible, have confidence in themselves and the dog, but are never cocky.  Being a kennel master at Pendleton, and a supervisor for all the Marines and the military dogs including training and operational readiness I can tell a special dog.  I personally think the best breeds of dogs for the military are the German Shepherd and the Belgian Malinois because they are the easiest to train.  Lucca being a mix of both these breeds had the best of both worlds.  I know all handlers think their dogs are the best but she is truly the best. She is a real Marine and we are called a team for a reason.”

Kris Knight a fellow dog handler and a supervisor will be retiring this month.  He is called the “dog whisperer,” since he knows so much about training a dog. (Gpscanine.com) He describes the relationship between Lucca and Chris as “the perfect match.  They are absolute rock stars.  Like one in a thousand who did something no one else will be able to duplicate during my lifetime. They had such a rapport.  Too bad she could not be cloned. She went on over four hundred missions and no one lost a life to an IED.”

It is not necessary to read the first book in the series, Soldier Dogs, but in doing so readers will get an understanding of military working dogs as a unique part of the military tapestry.  This book goes into great detail about the military working dog program, the training of these dogs, their deployments, and their retirement. While researching this first book the author was able to speak with Gunnery Sergeant Chris Willingham about his time in Afghanistan when he was kennel master in charge of 30 dog teams. Maria later connected the dots and found out that Chris was the handler of Lucca, and decided to write a follow up book that would concentrate on this special dog and her military partners.

Maria noted, “I decided to write these military dog books because the program is so important regarding the number of lives saved.  I put this quote in Soldier Dogs, ‘There is one response that the Taliban has no answer for: the soldier dogs.’  Lucca would frustrate the insurgent bomb makers because she was so smart, calm, and heroic. She saved those serving from getting killed, hurt or maimed.  Lucca was one of the first off leash US military dogs, which allowed her the freedom to find the explosives, a great force multiplier.”

Top Dog is an appropriate title for this special canine.  This book is a great present for the holidays. It is a very heart warming story since this heroic animal and her Marine buddies had an unbreakable bond. Everyone should read this book if for no other reason than to be a part of the deep loving relationship between Lucca and her handlers, where they overcame the endless brutalities of war and the traumas created by this violence.

Free Fire Zone- Known Wolves part of Global Jihad

The killer in Sydney was another Lone Wolf, right? Except he was a known Islamist radical howling his hate at the top of his lungs. He repaid the Aussie hospitality that allowed him to live there as a refugee from Iran, by slaughtering innocents and raping. Yet still the media and politicians quibble and equivocate about his motivations, as if his own words and actions weren't enough. He flew the black flag of jihad people, that makes him an enemy of mankind. Wake up!

The New, The Discounted, The Free

The holidays are upon us, and after the year that has been I think we all need something better than good, bad, and ugly.  So, for a limited time, it will be possible to not only buy my new book (CreateSpace, Amazon, Kindle) but you can get print versions of ADV: Travels to Al Qa'im and Beyond and ADV: Travels with Team Easy at a reduced price; and, through the weekend you can get the Kindle version of A Different View: Travels to Al Qa'im and Beyond at the sale price of $2.99 and you can get the Kindle version of A Different View: Travels with Team Easy, Iraq 2007 for free.

A Different View: DJ, Doura, and Arab Jabour (Volume 3) is a view of the day-to-day life of the troops.  It shares one of the most amazing Christmas dinners I've ever had, and it shares a bit about Operation Puppy Love.  More than that, it shows how far things had come, and the hope on all sides that existed in late 2007/early 2008.  It shares what was tossed away for domestic political purposes, and stands in stark contrast to the situation today.

I think you really need to read Sarah A. Hoyt's entire introduction, but this part captures so much of what I hope is shown in the images:

Continue reading "The New, The Discounted, The Free" »

Free Fire Zone- Torturing the CIA

The White House is releasing the Senate report on the CIA's Enhanced Interrogation Techniques often mistakenly referred to as torture. The reason for this is pretty hard to fathom although I'll take a stab starting with hair shirt liberal guilt and the ongoing embarrassment of our Apologist in Chief preening about as if he occcupies some moral high ground. 

The sad thing is that the program worked, we caught terrorists, we saved lives and now all of that has been thrown away and we are stabbing the CIA in the back for doing what we asked of them. Have a watch as I point out the folly of all of this.

Book Review - "Stonewalled" by Sharyl Attkisson, former CBS News Correspondent refuses to be intimidated over Benghazi

The following book review is a special for BlackFive readers provided by Elise Cooper.  You can read all of our book reviews by clicking on the Books category link on the right sidebar.

9780062322845_p0_v3_s260x420Sharyl Attkisson’s book, Stonewalled, is a must read for all Americans.  Her book reads like a mystery straight out of a John Grisham or Vince Flynn novel.  Unfortunately the bad guys are not Islamic terrorists but those in government today.  Instead of using guns and bombs they use intimidation and harassment.

Stonewalled is an account of an investigative reporter that wanted to follow the facts and refused to be intimidated by the Obama Administration.  She was one of the few mainstream journalists that tried to seek out the truth regarding what happened on that tragic day of September 11th, 2012 in Benghazi, Libya when four Americans were murdered by Islamic terrorists.

It is stunning how this administration tried to push their narrative on reporters.  In the book Sharyl recounts how she was told that the President early on referred to the attack as terrorist based.  This quote from the book shows that the White House viewed her as uncooperative in pushing their narrative, “I give up Sharyl…I’ll work with more reasonable folks...” Unfortunately, Candy Crowley seems to be one of those that did cooperate with the White House considering her actions in the national Presidential debate.  Crowley obviously did not check the facts herself.  It makes readers question, if the “substitution” technique Attkisson talks about in the book was used: would a journalist from Fox News who had jumped in defense of Romney be drummed out?

Sharyl speculates, “As I say in the book, it did make me wonder if Crowley, like me, had received an advance call from a White House official prompting her with the claim that the President had called Benghazi a terrorist attack the next day when, in fact, that was questionable.” 

Regarding Hillary Clinton’s involvement in pushing the false narrative of Benghazi and her many differing statements Sharyl noted to blackfive.net,  “She appears to want to revise the facts on Benghazi in her book.  Clinton begins her Benghazi discussion acknowledging ‘Americans were killed in a terrorist attack,’ the very thing that the administration had worked so hard not to say initially. Her contradictions in her book include discussions explaining why no rescue mission was launched and the supposed surprise nature of the attack, while at the same time she argues the US was on alert and well prepared because of the anniversary of 9/11. She also claimed the Foreign Emergency Support Team was not deployed because the attack wouldn’t last long enough for them to arrive to help; yet, she also said she believed there would be more attacks in the region as there had been in Egypt. In the days after September 11, she didn’t attribute the attacks to terrorism but mistakenly blamed a YouTube video, and later said that was due to the confusion caused by the ‘fog of war.’ Yet documents we now have show officials concluded from the start that the terrorists were at fault and even told the Libyans that right away. Mrs. Clinton eventually testified before Congress asking, ‘what difference does it make?’ as to who was behind the attacks. My response, if it doesn’t make a difference, why did the administration work so hard to steer the public in the direction of the video rather than the truth?”

She also reminds readers of the Fast and Furious debacle: the issue of corruption, cover-ups, and government misdeeds.  Early into the Obama Administration ATF officials came up with a plan to secretly enlist the help of licensed gun dealers in Arizona and encouraged them to sell firearms to suspected traffickers for the cartels.  Part of the plan was to allow these guns to be used in crimes that would lead to the arrest of major drug cartel figures. Sharyl kept pursuing the story and was told by an Obama Administration official, “Every other outlet is ‘reasonable’ except you.  Nobody else thinks there is a story.  Just you.  You’re the only one.  Sharyl Attkisson is right and everybody else is wrong?”  She noted to blackfive.net,  “There was a great deal of pushback, attempts to manipulate opinion by the Obama Administration. According to my sources, other reporters were trying to publish stories on Fast and Furious, but their managers or editors apparently blocked it.”

However, the mystery of the book comes about when she is targeted by a government agency or official that infiltrates her computer and cell phone.  They are not listening to a terrorist plotting to kill Americans, but are trying to find out what information this CBS reporter has that will be damaging to them.  Big brother is not only listening but in Sharyl’s case has actually put damaging classified information on the computer.

Sharyl pointed out, “For a reporter to have classified information is not a crime in itself.  What could be a crime, if the person who took them, and handed them over, broke the law. My sources have theorized that perhaps they could put something in someone’s computer for some pretense to justify a legal wiretap at some point. The long story short, they could then get a court order, frame a federal source, or frame the owner of that computer.  Whoever did this to me is very sophisticated. I have decided to pursue it to let them know I was not just going away and to make the public aware.  It is almost humorous that people think my accusations are outlandish and they call me paranoid.  It is part of the propaganda campaign.  This is not a figment of my imagination if you look at the undeniable forensic reports and the CBS press release.”

Stonewalled needs to be read so Americans can understand that currently this administration is targeting journalists and the sources.  But a word of warning, anyone can be targeted.  This book shows how corporate and political interests try to manipulate public opinion.  They add some obstruction, some intimidation, and some threats and an alternate reality is created.  Attkisson chronicles her journey in a fascinating manner.

CMH Recipient Dakota Meyer to ISIS: "Hopefully, one of those assholes actually shows up."

B35nxmTCUAAVRYDFrom Gruntworks.com

U.S. Marine Corps veteran and Congressional Medal of Honor recipient Dakota Meyer had this message for ISIS, via Scout.com:

Let me say what a lot of us are thinking...If ISIS is using social media to track me, that's a dream come true in my book. These guys are a bunch of bullies that just prey on the weak," says Meyer. "I can't travel over there anymore now that I'm out of the Marine Corps, so having them come to me would help out a lot. ISIS targeting the U.S. military is like a sheep targeting a lion. Hopefully one of these assholes actually shows up. They'll definitely get more than they want at my place!

Visit Scout.com to read the whole piece and see a hilarious photo of how worried he is...

My main problem with the ISIS threats is the federal government asking veterans to take down any online reference to their service.  This is an absolutely ridiculous request and one from the nanny state.  Let me get this straight...we are supposed to not be proud of our service, particularly against the evil that is Islamic Fanaticism?!  What?  Should I take down the flag in front of my residence, too?  What the @#$%?!

We should be aware of the threat.  We should not fear the threat.
We should know what ISIS is capable of.  We should end that capability.

Last, Dakota Meyer and RangerUp have teamed up to create a new shirt that says it all.