Fallen But Never Forgotten

You Sicken Me....

Not that I haven't had a sickening feeling from politicians in both parties whose spine has an elemental consistency that ranges somewhere between gelatin and mannecoti since about 2008 (ish), but the blood pressure machine was about to spontaneously combust after I saw this about the testimony of the parents of Sean Smith and Tyrone Woods and then read this list of the people who walked out that hearing.

And one name stuck out to me because her hackitude is epic; Rep. Tammy Duckworth. 

I have searched for a way to say this, but I can think of no other way:  You madam, are an epic POS. 

You, Representative Duckworth, of all the people who sat on that esteemed panel, should be acutely aware of what must have been running through the minds of Tyrone and Sean as they waited on the ground for a rescue force while enduring hostile fire.  A rescue force, that it turns out, the President in Name only was of no mind to send, because he had something pressing in the morning and he wanted to get his rest. 

You, having endured being grievously wounded and fighting to land an aircraft that was falling out of the sky in hostile territory probably can tell the story of how the minutes felt like hours until you saw a QRF that had IR "U.S." tabs on the chest plates of their IBAs coming to secure your aircraft, help treat you and your crew for your wounds, and evacuate all of you to safety at the risk of their lives so that you could be treated and returned to your families.

I bet you are glad that the QRF did their duty November 12, 2004 huh?  Couldn't be bothered to do yours though right?  Didn't you want to hear how those men and those families deserved the same response you received?  For you to walk out on those families and not even give them the common courtesy to listen to their story speaks to the epic hackery that is your career in politics and speaks volumes of your (in)ability as a leader.

You have insulted those families by refusing to hear their concerns, as elected representatives are duty bound to do. "Leave No Man Behind" evidently means nothing to you, along with your oath to protect and defend the Constitution.

My bet is that you don't know this, but when you are a leader, you can't just take the easy ones, you have to take the hard ones too.  And sometimes, you have to do the hardest thing and take the lead when you are in the wrong and make something right, that in this case, has your political party's fingerprints all over it.

But evidently, that is just a bridge too far for you because your allegiance to your party trumps your humanity, integrity and common sense.  You dishonor your service to this country as a member of the US Army and as a Congresswoman and your dereliction of duty is noted.

On 9/11, two pilots in unarmed F-16s were ready to ram their jets into United Flight 93

Pretty amazing story about a commander and one of his pilots being the only two hot jets available for take off to defend DC against any other threats on 9/11...and United Flight 93 was still in the air and headed their way.

Awesome story and wouldn't expect anything less of our pilots (said with respect and with zero inter-service rivalry that might usually be seen here):

Late in the morning of the Tuesday that changed everything, Lt. Heather “Lucky” Penney was on a runway at Andrews Air Force Base and ready to fly. She had her hand on the throttle of an F-16 and she had her orders: Bring down United Airlines Flight 93. The day’s fourth hijacked airliner seemed to be hurtling toward Washington. Penney, one of the first two combat pilots in the air that morning, was told to stop it.

The one thing she didn’t have as she roared into the crystalline sky was live ammunition. Or missiles. Or anything at all to throw at a hostile aircraft...

Her only weapon was her fighter jet so she planned to crash into the tail of the hostile flight...read the whole thing here.

Contemplating September 11th

September 11 will be a somber day, not only for the events in 2001, but in remembrance of the tragic end of four good men last year in Benghazi (an incident that remains very unsatisfactorily resolved).  Today we are Nation possibly at the brink of another unasked for conflict. We remain at war with an enemy we both refuse to name while equally refusing to fight with all elements of national power. 

 We are a Nation in chaos; we are losing our moral authority abroad and abrogating our responsibilities at home.  Our core, our center, that which makes us the special “shining city on the hill” is eroding, aided and abetted through the avarice, laziness, and greed of those who make no commitment to this Nation, but take and take and take. 

 In the aftermath of the attack in 2001, we came together as a Nation.  We suppressed less important issues to try and rebuild.  Success, however, breeds overconfidence.  Whether it was our zeal to respond or because we feel protected (again) in the blanket of freedom provided by those who serve,  I think that we, as a Nation, have managed to lose our way - again.  

I pray we get back on the correct path – and soon – lest we lose this great Nation to those that would tear it limb from limb given a chance.

 We can lament failure.  I’ve found that unproductive. Let’s instead take a moment and remind ourselves of first principles:

  • Those enshrined in our Nation’s founding documents. 
  • The core canon or tenets of the religions we practice, or the spiritual nature one choses to view the world.  
  • Those in the business of defense or first response, I ask you recheck your personal rucksacks and other kit, and make sure each of us remembers why we do what we do, and to acquit ourselves each day with honor, integrity and selflessness.  

We are a Nation whose strength comes, ironically, from the shared, collective action of people steeped in a rugged individualism.  The whole really is greater than the sum of its parts, yet each individual part is critical for this experiment in Constitutional Republicanism to work. We’ve had that tested many times, none more blatantly than 11 September 2001.  It is being test again now – and maybe more insidiously.

 Please take a moment – a serious moment – and,

Remember the fallen:

  • Those we lost on September 11th.
  • Those we’ve lost in far flung places defending freedom. 
  • Those who perished on our own shores upon return either by happenstance, bad choices, or other circumstances.

Requiescat in Pace

 But also, remember the living:

  • The survivors
  • The families
  • Those whom we serve and protect (yes, even they who we disagree with and outwardly do not appreciate that which we do).

 America, the idea, is in peril.  The United States needs to remember who we are and regain our place in the world.  This is our moment.  We can let circumstances dictate our future or we can shape it.  Choose to shape it.  Let today be a clarion call to begin our renewal.

Return to Mogadishu: Remembering Black Hawk Down

"Return to Mogadishu” chronicles the journey of Army Best Ranger Jeff Struecker’s return to Mogadishu, Somalia, as he reflects on the experience that transformed his life twenty years ago. As the film revisits the traumatic events of October 1993, we learn about the routine military mission that went awry and quickly unraveled into brutal warfare. It was in the middle of the violent combat when Struecker realized that He was free to LIVE because he wasn’t afraid to die.

The video should be available on Friday.  Will post details when available.  Check the site also.

Here is the trailer:

A few years ago at the David L. Grange Best Ranger Competition, Uncle Jimbo and I were able to talk with (then Chaplain) Jeff Struecker, about being a chaplain of Rangers. Check this out:

The Last Known Sighting of an American Hero

Investor's Business Daily had a great article on Rick Rescorla back in 2006.  Here's a taste:

His Actions Saved Thousands
After the second plane hit the south tower on Sept. 11, some people panicked when one staircase filled with smoke. Using his bullhorn, Rescorla directed them to a clear one. As on the battlefield, he sang to keep workers calm.

Even after it appeared that Rescorla evacuated most of the Morgan Stanley employees, he returned to check for stragglers. As Olson was working his way down on about the 10th floor he saw Rescorla going back up.

"I said, 'Rick, you have got to get out of there,' and he said, 'I will, as soon as I get everyone out,' " Olson said.

It was the last known sighting of Rescorla...

"Today is a day to be proud to be American"

Those words were shouted by Rick Rescorla as he herded 2700 people out of tower two, September 11, 2001.

"Men of Cornwall stop your dreaming
Can't you see their spear points gleaming?
See their warriors' pennants streaming
To this battlefield.
Men of Cornwall stand ye steady
It cannot be ever said ye
for the battle were not ready.
- "Men of Harlech"
Sung by Rick Rescorla in the Ia Drang Valley 1965 and in the stairway of WTC Tower 2 on September 11, 2001

First, you must read the definitive post about Rick Rescorla by Greyhawk at the Mudville Gazette.  Rescorla was one of my heroes when I was a Sergeant-turned-Cadet and began reading extensively about Viet Nam and the Ia Drang Valley.

Rick was a British (Cypress and Rhodesia) and American (Viet Nam) war hero.  He retired as a Colonel in 1990.

Decades later, after 9/11, I had no idea that Rescorla had everything to do with denying Al Qaeda a huge victory.  I wasn't surprised that Rick had saved 2,700 people that day, and then paid the price with his life when he went back into the tower for stragglers.  He knew, KNEW, it was coming down.  And he went anyway...

Tenacious, strong, and leading all the way to the end.

In 2006, we honored Rick at Pundit Review Radio where I featured him - Rick Rescorla - Someone You Should Know Radio ("September 11th" podcast for Pundit Review Radio).

Appropriately, Rick now has a statue at the Infantry Center at Fort Benning.  The US Army has honored his accomplishments.  AWTM had a post about visiting the museum and defending Rick.

And Bookworm Room has a great post about how Rick's life prepared him for his heroic death.

Rick's town of Hayle, Wales (UK) has this plaque honoring their son:


Rick's widow, Susan, left this comment for all of us (you, too!) here at Blackfive in 2008:

Thank you for keeping Rick alive. I know why Rick died, and I am so proud of him. The book, and of course the fabulous bronze statue, which will be on Heroes'Walk in 2008 will endure forever, as his legacy, as a new Hero in our new millinium. Today is a day to be proud to be an American.

All the best, Susan Rescorla

September 11th is a day to be proud to be an American.  .

Stand and never yield!

[In case you're wondering why the Men of Harlech may be familiar]

A Must Read This Weekend

It was the worst day of his life. 

He found his crew, and to them all I can but say Godspeed.


UPDATE:  For those getting malware warnings in Chrome, they apparently are being caused by a link to Greyhawk/Mudville.  Please note that they unless someone is getting a different warning, it is not indicating the site linked. 

Godspeed SSG Stephen New

Update: Here is the video of the funeral:

Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Stephen-new-6568489Apparently, the Westboro asshats are at it again and going to protest at US Army Special Forcers Staff Sergeant Stephen M. New.  He was killed in action (small arms fire) on the 28th of July and was with the2nd Battalion of the 20th SFGA out of Jackson, MS.

Please pass this information to anyone you know that may be able to help counter the Westboro haters. I appreciate your help and I'm sure his family would as well.  I'm sure the Patriot Guard Riders are on this <- rider info at link, but every person at the funeral could help counter those jackwagons and show a greiving family some support.


Here is the information for the funeral home and the service time.

Funeral Service
Saturday, August 10, 2013
Faith Baptist Church
3755 North Germantown Road
Bartlett, TN 38133

Saturday, August 10, 2013
11:00a.m. - 2:00p.m.
Faith Baptist Church
3755 North Germantown Rd.
Bartlett, TN 38133

Below is a link to the facebook post regarding the plan to protest.  https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=663037880391528&set=a.377232688972050.101915.342559202439399&type=1

Give up your DNA!

No, I'm not talking about the latest NSA tracking system.

Hondo, over at the Major League team, says this:

...The remains of one Airman recently identified here as No Longer Missing – SGT Dominic J. Licari, US Army Air Forces were recovered from a 1944 crash site last year.  He was identified using various forensic techniques.  In this case, the mtDNA recovered from his remains in a 68-year-old crash site in the mountains of Papua New Guinea was matched with a sample obtained from his brother...

There's a lot more over at This Ain't Hell...Hondo has links if you are related to a MIA from IWWII, Korea or Viet Nam.  Why?  Because you can help.

...If you qualify, please submit a sample.   By submitting a mtDNA sample, you may be able to help identify US remains that have been recovered and repatriated but not yet positively identified – or which may be recovered in the future.

Everybody deserves a proper burial.  That’s especially true for those who gave their all in the service of this nation.

Damn straight.  Read the whole piece.