July 13, 2009

The Fight Continues In Afghanistan

Do we have sufficient resources in theatre for the Afghan surge?

KABUL, July 12 (Reuters) - A roadside bomb killed two U.S. Marines in southern Afghanistan, the U.S. military said on Sunday, the latest deaths in an escalation of violence that has put pressure on coalition leaders over their war strategy.

Thousands of U.S. Marines and hundreds of British soldiers have been fighting major new offensives in the past 10 days in Helmand province, a Taliban stronghold and Afghanistan's biggest producer of the opium that funds the insurgency.

The assault by U.S. Marines, Operation Strike of the Sword, is the first major operation under U.S. President Barack Obama's new regional strategy to defeat the Taliban and stabilise Afghanistan, which holds a presidential election on Aug. 20.

It was launched with insurgency violence at its highest since the Taliban's austere Islamist government was ousted in 2001 by U.S. and Afghan forces for failing to hand over al Qaeda leaders wanted over the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States.

Violence has flared again throughout Afghanistan since the operation began on July 2, with attacks in traditional Taliban strongholds in the south and east as well as in relatively more peaceful areas in the north and west.

The Taliban backlash has put pressure on leaders in Washington and London, who say U.S. and other NATO-led troops have pushed back Taliban insurgents but that a lot of tough fighting remains to be done during the summer.

The British troops are feeling the effects of budgetcutbacks

The parents of soldiers killed in Afghanistan have accused the Government of starving British forces of urgently needed equipment. They joined politicians and former Armed Forces chiefs in demanding that ministers provide more money to pay for helicopters and armoured vehicles for troops fighting in Helmand.

...The deaths of the eight soldiers prompted other families to speak out in criticism of the Government's funding of the campaign.

Jane Ford, whose son Ben was killed in an explosion in southern Afghanistan two years ago, said: ''It is our sons who are suffering because of [ministers'] stingy attitude. It is their blood that is paying. If we are not careful the Government will just waste money on things that are not necessary – like giving the money to MPs for their luxury apartments. Why can't we have luxury bombs?"

Ian Sadler, the father of 21-year-old Jack Sadler, who died in Afghanistan in 2007 when his Snatch Land Rover went over a mine, said: "Our soldiers must have a lot better than the vehicles they are being given at the moment. A Land Rover or a high-mobility truck are just not suitable for travelling in a mined environment. We also need more helicopters."

Last week The Sunday Telegraph highlighted how the lives of British troops were being put at risk by delays to a new fleet of up to 50 Mastiff armoured patrol vehicles – designed to withstand the blast from the most powerful mines and roadside bombs.

The helicopter shortage is becoming a real problem

Shadow defence secretary Liam Fox will demand answers about what he says is a scandalous shortage of helicopters in Helmand, which has left British troops more vulnerable to roadside bombs.

He told the BBC: "If we have an inability to move our troops safely, or we only have the option of moving them on the ground, that does increase the risk to them."

Mr Fox claimed that at the beginning of recent operations "up to 10" of 12 Chinook helicopters used to transport 350 British soldiers had to be borrowed from US forces.

He said the problems stemmed from cuts to the budget covering helicopters at a time when Britain had been fighting in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

Our troops, and our allies troops, need all the resources we can give them to get their job done.

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 06:01 AM | Comments (1)

July 07, 2009

WHAT a Great Plan!!!

U.S. Marines trapped Taliban fighters in a residential compound and persuaded the insurgents to allow women and children to leave. The troops then moved in — only to discover that the militants had slipped out, dressed in women's burqa robes.
Jesus, we just NEVER freakin' learn. And our kids get to pay for our willful, mealy-mouthed blindness over and over and over again.

Or bring them the fuck HOME.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 04:49 PM | Comments (5)

July 04, 2009

Lest We Forget

...the cost of it all.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 05:45 PM | Comments (1)

June 29, 2009

Sometimes You Have to Let the Actions Speak for Themselves

...before you say goodbye.

Kenneth Reusser, 1920 - 2009

The funeral for Ken Reusser, a legendary Marine aviator is taking place in Clackamas as I type this. Apologies for not finding out about this sooner.

Reusser is a much-decorated pilot who received the Navy Cross for his actions in World War II. In a dramatic counter-kamikaze mission, he and his copilot tracked down a Japanese surveillance aircraft that was providing information to suicide pilots, chasing it through skies so cold that their guns froze up.

They used their Corsair's propellers to slice through the tail of the reconnaisance plane.

His passing touches a special place in our family, too ~ he was the Grinch's Commanding Officer in VMF-232 during the mid-50's.

Semper Fi, sir.

And God speed your valiant heart through clear skies.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 07:23 PM | Comments (7)

June 05, 2009

Patton's Speech

via our friends at Babalu as he really gave it, 65 years ago today

Be seated.

Men, this stuff that some sources sling around about America wanting out of this war, not wanting to fight, is a crock of bullshit. Americans love to fight, traditionally. All real Americans love the sting and clash of battle.

You are here today for three reasons. First, because you are here to defend your homes and your loved ones. Second, you are here for your own self respect, because you would not want to be anywhere else. Third, you are here because you are real men and all real men like to fight.

When you, here, everyone of you, were kids, you all admired the champion marble player, the fastest runner, the toughest boxer, the big league ball players, and the All-American football players. Americans love a winner. Americans will not tolerate a loser.

Americans despise cowards.

Americans play to win all of the time. I wouldn’t give a hoot in hell for a man who lost and laughed. That’s why Americans have never lost nor will ever lose a war; for the very idea of losing is hateful to an American.

You are not all going to die. Only two percent of you right here today would die in a major battle. Death must not be feared. Death, in time, comes to all men. Yes, every man is scared in his first battle. If he says he’s not, he’s a liar. Some men are cowards but they fight the same as the brave men or they get the hell slammed out of them watching men fight who are just as scared as they are.

The real hero is the man who fights even though he is scared. Some men get over their fright in a minute under fire. For some, it takes an hour. For some, it takes days. But a real man will never let his fear of death overpower his honor, his sense of duty to his country, and his innate manhood. Battle is the most magnificent competition in which a human being can indulge. It brings out all that is best and it removes all that is base. Americans pride themselves on being He Men and they are He Men.

Remember that the enemy is just as frightened as you are, and probably more so. They are not supermen.

All through your Army careers, you men have bitched about what you call ‘chicken-shit drilling.’ That, like everything else in this Army, has a definite purpose. That purpose is alertness. Alertness must be bred into every soldier. I don’t give a fuck for a man who’s not always on his toes. You men are veterans or you wouldn’t be here. You are ready for what’s to come. A man must be alert at all times if he expects to stay alive. If you’re not alert, sometime, a German son-of-an-asshole-bitch is going to sneak up behind you and beat you to death with a sock full of shit!

There are four-hundred neatly marked graves somewhere in Sicily, all because one man went to sleep on the job. But they are German graves, because we caught the bastard asleep before they did.

An Army is a team. It lives, sleeps, eats, and fights as a team.

This individual heroic stuff is pure horse shit. The bilious bastards who write that kind of stuff for the Saturday Evening Post don’t know any more about real fighting under fire than they know about fucking! We have the finest food, the finest equipment, the best spirit, and the best men in the world. Why, by God, I actually pity those poor sons-of-bitches we’re going up against. By God, I do.

My men don’t surrender, and I don’t want to hear of any soldier under my command being captured unless he has been hit. Even if you are hit, you can still fight back That’s not just bullshit either. The kind of man that I want in my command is just like the lieutenant in Libya, who, with a Luger against his chest, jerked off his helmet, swept the gun aside with one hand, and busted the hell out of the Kraut with his helmet. Then he jumped on the gun and went out and killed another German before they knew what the hell was coming off. And, all of that time, this man had a bullet through a lung. There was a real man!

All of the real heroes are not storybook combat fighters, either. Every single man in this Army plays a vital role. Don’t ever let up. Don’t ever think that your job is unimportant. Every man has a job to do and he must do it. Every man is a vital link in the great chain.

What if every truck driver suddenly decided that he didn’t like the whine of those shells overhead, turned yellow, and jumped headlong into a ditch? The cowardly bastard could say, ‘Hell, they won’t miss me, just one man in thousands.’ But, what if every man thought that way? Where in the hell would we be now? What would our country, our loved ones, our homes, even the world, be like?

No, Goddamnit, Americans don’t think like that. Every man does his job. Every man serves the whole. Every department, every unit, is important in the vast scheme of this war.

The ordnance men are needed to supply the guns and machinery of war to keep us rolling. The Quartermaster is needed to bring up food and clothes because where we are going there isn’t a hell of a lot to steal. Every last man on K.P. has a job to do, even the one who heats our water to keep us from getting the ‘G.I. Shits.’

Each man must not think only of himself, but also of his buddy fighting beside him. We don’t want yellow cowards in this Army. They should be killed off like rats. If not, they will go home after this war and breed more cowards. The brave men will breed more brave men. Kill off the Goddamned cowards and we will have a nation of brave men.

One of the bravest men that I ever saw was a fellow on top of a telegraph pole in the midst of a furious fire fight in Tunisia. I stopped and asked what the hell he was doing up there at a time like that. He answered, ‘Fixing the wire, Sir.’ I asked, ‘Isn’t that a little unhealthy right about now?’ He answered, ‘Yes Sir, but the Goddamned wire has to be fixed.’ I asked, ‘Don’t those planes strafing the road bother you?’ And he answered, ‘No, Sir, but you sure as hell do!’ Now, there was a real man. A real soldier. There was a man who devoted all he had to his duty, no matter how seemingly insignificant his duty might appear at the time, no matter how great the odds.

And you should have seen those trucks on the road to Tunisia. Those drivers were magnificent. All day and all night they rolled over those son-of-a-bitching roads, never stopping, never faltering from their course, with shells bursting all around them all of the time. We got through on good old American guts. Many of those men drove for over forty consecutive hours. These men weren’t combat men, but they were soldiers with a job to do. They did it, and in one hell of a way they did it. They were part of a team. Without team effort, without them, the fight would have been lost. All of the links in the chain pulled together and the chain became unbreakable.

Don’t forget, you men don’t know that I’m here. No mention of that fact is to be made in any letters. The world is not supposed to know what the hell happened to me. I’m not supposed to be commanding this Army. I’m not even supposed to be here in England. Let the first bastards to find out be the Goddamned Germans. Some day I want to see them raise up on their piss-soaked hind legs and howl, ‘Jesus Christ, it’s the Goddamned Third Army again and that son-of-a-fucking-bitch Patton.’

We want to get the hell over there. The quicker we clean up this Goddamned mess, the quicker we can take a little jaunt against the purple-pissing Japs and clean out their nest, too — before the Goddamned Marines get all of the credit.

Sure, we want to go home. We want this war over with. The quickest way to get it over with is to go get the bastards who started it. The quicker they are whipped, the quicker we can go home. The shortest way home is through Berlin and Tokyo. And when we get to Berlin I am personally going to shoot that paper hanging son-of-a-bitch Hitler. Just like I’d shoot a snake!

When a man is lying in a shell hole, if he just stays there all day, a German will get to him eventually. The hell with that idea. The hell with taking it. My men don’t dig foxholes. I don’t want them to. Foxholes only slow up an offensive. Keep moving. And don’t give the enemy time to dig one either. We’ll win this war, but we’ll win it only by fighting and by showing the Germans that we’ve got more guts than they have; or ever will have.

We’re not going to just shoot the sons-of-bitches, we’re going to rip out their living Goddamned guts and use them to grease the treads of our tanks. We’re going to murder those lousy Hun cocksuckers by the bushel-fucking-basket. War is a bloody, killing business. You’ve got to spill their blood, or they will spill yours. Rip them up the belly. Shoot them in the guts. When shells are hitting all around you and you wipe the dirt off your face and realize that instead of dirt it’s the blood and guts of what once was your best friend beside you, you’ll know what to do!

I don’t want to get any messages saying, ‘I am holding my position.’ We are not holding a Goddamned thing. Let the Germans do that. We are advancing constantly and we are not interested in holding onto anything, except the enemy’s balls. We are going to twist his balls and kick the living shit out of him all of the time.

Our basic plan of operation is to advance and to keep on advancing regardless of whether we have to go over, under, or through the enemy. We are going to go through him like crap through a goose; like shit through a tin horn!

From time to time there will be some complaints that we are pushing our people too hard. I don’t give a good Goddamn about such complaints. I believe in the old and sound rule that an ounce of sweat will save a gallon of blood. The harder we push, the more Germans we will kill. The more Germans we kill, the fewer of our men will be killed. Pushing means fewer casualties. I want you all to remember that.

There is one great thing that you men will all be able to say after this war is over and you are home once again. You may be thankful that twenty years from now when you are sitting by the fireplace with your grandson on your knee and he asks you what you did in the great World War II, you won’t have to cough, shift him to the other knee and say, ‘Well, your Granddaddy shoveled shit in Louisiana.’ No, Sir. You can look him straight in the eye and say, ‘Son, your Granddaddy rode with the Great Third Army and a Son-of-a-Goddamned-Bitch named Georgie Patton!’

That is all.

That beats the living shit out of anything we've heard from The One.

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 08:09 AM | Comments (5)

As We Honor The Veterans Of D-Day

Let us not forget what happened on these very same days in June two years earlier:


We can never thank you glorious guys enough.

(via Ace)

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 07:21 AM | Comments (1)

May 25, 2009

Remember Them

...and give thanks.

We went there today ~ Barrancas National Cemetery ~ to say "hi" to our Uncle Nat. I always yell howdy from the car every time I go by the place, but we thought we'd park and find him this time. Say "hi" for reals.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 09:37 AM | Comments (2)

May 18, 2009

Well, That's Sad

The Hawk Checks Out

May 18, 2009: The American carrier, USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63), after a four month delay, was finally decommissioned in Bremerton, Washington on May 13th. The Kitty Hawk served for 48 years and 13 days.

That name is an instant memory flash every time. I can immediately smell the wet heat of a Subic Bay afternoon and the shippy stink of the old girl, her naked flight deck broiled and baked in the sun.

I'd been at Dungaree Beach when her birds flew off and then overhead on their way to Cubi Point NAS (the end of the runway was directly behind me). What an incredible, exhilarating, deafening twenty minutes that was! The section flights of Tomcats and Intruders at full throttle, each trying to outdo the previous with the snap of their banks and the precision of their formation. All, I swear to God, at what seemed to be about 100 feet off the deck. Flippin' rippled the water around my knees.

And then she came into the mouth of the bay, making her way majestically to the waiting tugs, their fire hoses spraying a mad welcome, like a hundred city fountains gone berserk.

A day later, a couple of us had wangled a tour. One of my most persistent memories is catching the tips of my fingers in the chain links that pass for railings in the narrow stairwells ~ the same chain links that the ship's crew slid up and down like they were greased firepoles. One of those skills you pick up, I guess. Inside, she was cramped, smelly, dangerous for both head and shin...and amazing. She hummed with life in port, even with half her crew out in town and the rest trying to work through the hangovers. It was my first taste of a living ship ~ a vastly different experience than the USS North Carolina in her museum stillness.

Some of the guys with me had been out on her when our sister squadron had done carrier work-ups, so that made the tour a little more personal. They dragged me to where the Marines are berthed and, sure as shittin', there was arresting gear stuff running under the racks, in a not-so-subtle bit of Navy "take that". The cable, as you can imagine, runs damn near twenty-four-seven during ops, so, as a Marine, even if your time on deck is over? You get treated to the cable being pulled out and rewound in your sleep.

When at last I got back out on deck, the heat hitting my face like a mugging and blinking at the brilliant light, I witnessed the most indelible memory maker of the whole couple hours. With all the birds at Cubi, the flight deck was just bare naked acres of bubbling, oozing asphalt and aviation fluid spills, heat shimmers and mirages. Dantesque. All I could think about was my flip-flops melting on my way to the boarding ladder. Or worse ~ getting glued to the deck, pulling off mid-stride and my bare puddies...oh, ick. Mentally shaking myself not to act like such a 'girl', I glanced up at the stern. And there, in the middle of that primordial morass, was a sailor. Sunbathing. In his skivvies. Laying on a miniscule white military towel (for the uninitiated: a couple inches larger than a kitchen towel), with his overhanging, unprotected calves and shoulders on the festering deck, a ball cap under his skull and the fumes of his profession rising around him like a curtain. Complete with tiny boombox nestled on a plastic sack.

That's what I remember about the USS Kitty Hawk.

Sleep well, old girl. And thank you.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 10:29 AM | Comments (9)

May 11, 2009

In Light of the Critical Eye

...turned to the LOUSY Airforce One photo, I'd like to remind all what a REAL military aviation photo looks like.

As a matter of fact, I consider it to be the best one ever.

Even though it makes me cry.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 05:14 PM | Comments (5)

May 08, 2009

"We Recommend Running Away"

This is the bold response of the Obama Navy

(CNN) -- Pirates off the eastern coast of Somalia picked the wrong target this week when they tried to attack a U.S. Navy ship, the Navy said Thursday.

...The Lewis and Clark sped up and tried to escape the pirates, and the ship's security team issued verbal warnings to the approaching skiffs, the Navy said.

... "The actions taken by Lewis and Clark were exactly what the U.S. Navy has been recommending to prevent piracy attacks -- for both commercial and military vessels," said Capt. Steve Kelley, commander of Task Force 53, assigned to the Lewis and Clark.

"Merchant mariners can and should use Lewis and Clark's actions as an unequivocal example of how to prevent a successful attack from occurring," he said, adding that "the US Navy will not hesitate to taunt them a second time should they approach one of our vessels again."

The commander of the Lewis and Clark, Brave Sir Robin, was unavailable for comment.

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 06:21 AM | Comments (14)

May 01, 2009

OO-Rah and Semper Fi

...my brave little brothers.


...If all goes according to the Pentagon’s plan, this tiny perimeter — home to an Afghan platoon and two Marine Corps infantrymen — contains the future of Afghanistan....

...In all, Corporal Conroy said, in five months here, he and Lance Corporal Murray have been attacked more than 70 times. He said he respected the insurgents’ courage, but was grateful that most of them lacked an essential skill.

“They are experienced and understand the principles of the ambush,” he said. “But they are not very good shots. If these guys knew how to shoot like even the U.S. Army, we would be taking 50 percent casualties on all of our patrols.”

(Sorry, Jeff...{8^P)
It's a great story.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 09:05 AM | Comments (33)

April 22, 2009

Happy Anniversiary to My Cosmic Twin!

It's been twenty-nine years since we got on that plane to Parris Island.

Just like Kcruella said, it "seems like yesterday"...

Posted by tree hugging sister at 09:31 AM | Comments (9)

April 16, 2009

I Have to Admit There Are Times When I Love "Motivational" Posters

This is one of them.

Thanks to JeffS for the (dare I say it....) Heads Up!

Posted by tree hugging sister at 11:21 AM | Comments (3)

April 12, 2009

As They Say "That's Why We Play the Game"

US sea capt. freed from pirates in swift firefight

An American ship captain was freed unharmed Sunday in a swift firefight that killed three of the four Somali pirates who had been holding him for days in a lifeboat off the coast of Africa, U.S. officials said.

A big Sierra Hotel to the SEAL team, Captain Phillips and the big guys who pulled the trigger for the rescue. The admiral speaking at the news conference airing right now said snipers from the Bainbridge took the scallawags out after Phillips hit the water. Damn . DAMN!!

Bravo. I'm so proud, I'm teary.

And a warm Swill salute to Gunslinger for letting us know.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 04:37 PM | Comments (11)

March 31, 2009

Great News: China Can Sink Our Carriers!

But don't worry! The Most Experienced State Department Ever will talk them out of it

With tensions already rising due to the Chinese navy becoming more aggressive in asserting its territorial claims in the South China Sea, the U.S. Navy seems to have yet another reason to be deeply concerned.

After years of conjecture, details have begun to emerge of a "kill weapon" developed by the Chinese to target and destroy U.S. aircraft carriers.

First posted on a Chinese blog viewed as credible by military analysts and then translated by the naval affairs blog Information Dissemination, a recent report provides a description of an anti-ship ballistic missile (ASBM) that can strike carriers and other U.S. vessels at a range of 2000km.

The range of the modified Dong Feng 21 missile is significant in that it covers the areas that are likely hot zones for future confrontations between U.S. and Chinese surface forces.

The size of the missile enables it to carry a warhead big enough to inflict significant damage on a large vessel, providing the Chinese the capability of destroying a U.S. supercarrier in one strike.

Because the missile employs a complex guidance system, low radar signature and a maneuverability that makes its flight path unpredictable, the odds that it can evade tracking systems to reach its target are increased. It is estimated that the missile can travel at mach 10 and reach its maximum range of 2000km in less than 12 minutes.

Needless to say, the Navy is not amused.

As analyst Raymond Pritchett notes in a post on the U.S. Naval Institute blog:

"The Navy's reaction is telling, because it essentially equals a radical change in direction based on information that has created a panic inside the bubble. For a major military service to panic due to a new weapon system, clearly a mission kill weapon system, either suggests the threat is legitimate or the leadership of the Navy is legitimately unqualified. There really aren't many gray spaces in evaluating the reaction by the Navy…the data tends to support the legitimacy of the threat."

But surely the Chinese know better than to butt heads with The Unicorn?

Gosh, it's so comforting having the world loving us again.

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 01:03 PM | Comments (4)

March 17, 2009


Schmaybe someone in Washington's taking notice of the general drift of sentiment regarding the wonderful disabled vets insurance plan they're hatching. Coming in from our trackback at HotAir and sticking around for a couple pageviews:

Domain Name house.gov ? (U.S. Government)
IP Address 143.231.249.# (Information Systems, U.S. House of Representatives)
Sure wish I'd sworn more.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 04:09 PM | Comments (2)


Schmaybe someone in Washington's taking notice of the general drift of sentiment regarding the wonderful disabled vets insurance plan they're hatching. Coming in from our trackback at HotAir and sticking around for a couple pageviews:

Domain Name house.gov ? (U.S. Government)
IP Address 143.231.249.# (Information Systems, U.S. House of Representatives)
Sure wish I'd sworn more.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 04:09 PM | Comments (2)

March 12, 2009

Re: The Obama/Shinseki "You Owe Us..."

"...for not having a leg to stand on" plan. Yeah. It sucks. Even the thought of them THINKING it...sucks.

But, speaking as both a prior 12 1/2 year active duty Marine and as the wife of a recently retired one, that isn't the only wonderful thing they're kicking around. Part of the lore of the military, besides the obvious "serving your country", is that there are benefits that make up for all the shit your country puts you through in its name. (In our time, the pay was just starting to slip ahead of slave wages ~ the kids are rather more handsomely rewarded now, but no less than they're due. And they'd do it for less.) One of those enumerated active duty benefits is, to this day, the healthcare. Out of all of them (college, etc., ad nauseum), healthcare has always been the cherry on top the Armed Forces sundae. While major dad and I were active, we'd seen it erode. And, for all that the retirees are living longer on stronger drugs, it only seems fair that we consider our medical to be something we should help pay for. (Of course, no one ever thought they'd be shunted off to Medicare at 62, but that's another argument.)Whatever it's limitations, it's still a damn site more better and affordable than 99% of what's out there for all that ails us in our dotage. But.


What should be sacrosanct is "free" healthcare that your life may pay for as an active duty member. The deal when you came in was you and your family. And that's how it should be. Sacrosanct.

But that's not how the bean counters see it. The latest proposals are an outrage of epic proportions.

Fees for Active Duty Families – Dependents of active duty members enrolled in TRICARE Prime, the managed care network, would pay new fees equal to 10 percent of the cost of health services obtained either in military treatment facilities or through civilian network providers. Total out of pocket costs would be capped, however.

To help offset these costs, dependents would receive a $500 non-taxable allowance annually. Those who elect to use alternative health insurance, rather than TRICARE, could apply the $500 toward their health insurance premiums, co-payments or deductibles.

CBO estimates these fees would save $7 billion over 10 years and encourage Prime enrollees to "use medical services prudently." It also would entice more spouses to enroll in employer-provided health plans instead of TRICARE. The downside, CBO said, would be financial difficulties for some Prime enrollees despite the cap on out-of-pocket costs. Also, CBO said, spouses induced to rely on employer health plans could see health coverage interrupted during military assignment relocations.

That last sentence is a kicker. Forcing spouses to use employer insurance, then leaving them in the lurch when husbands change commands? Sounds benign enough ~ "hey, we're going to California!" But command changes also occur when an individual is transferred to a hostile environment (Think Middle East deployment)(Bullets, carbombs and Baptists.)(BAATHists. Sorry) and isn't it wonderful to know your family's medical is completely AFU when Mom had to quit since Dad deployed, then sweet Sally falls out of a tree and breaks her arm...and it's a nightmare, because TriCare hasn't kicked in. They never HEARD of her. That arm's got to get set and then it's up to Mom to pray the bill collectors aren't calling in short order. Oh, yeah. Dad ~ writhing in isolation imposed impotence ~ needs that stress like nobody's business.

Activated reserve troops have been dealing with this mess forever, since it's the nature of the weekend warrior's world ~ different rules and twelve more levels of bureacracy. There's no excuse for it with active duty troops, I don't care how many snotty nosed, hacking coughed urchins a LCpl's wife drags into the base ER for tylenol and Robitussin. That's her right and that was the deal, DOD.

Auguries of this trend abounded even years ago. First when peckish feeling active duty members, instead of taking themselves down to "sick bay" ('twixt 0700-0900 or 1300-1500) for a de rigueur going over by a junior corpsman (invariably leaving with a bottle of 800mg Motrin, Robitussin, Sudafed and blisterpack of Cepacol throat lozenges, be it your leg or lymphoma) were then directed to "make an appointment" with TriCare. In some communities, there WAS no sick call ~ did away with it completey, requiring active duty members to travel off-base for an appointment at a "NavCare" center. So WHAT happened to the kids who had NO transportation to a facility maybe 10 miles off base, when they used to be able to WALK to sick bay? How, you might wonder, did they get there to receive their cure? "How", indeed.

Then another wrinkle was added. To everyone's great consternation, they were NOT eligible to be seen if they weren't "enrolled" in the formerly-for-dependents-only DEERS ~ 105º fever, pus-oozing fleshwound not withstanding ~ which, of course, no one had seen fit to tell them they had to enroll in to begin with, 'cause when you raised your right hand, wasn't that enrolling?

It only got more obnoxious. Our encounter came a tad later, in 2004. As we're checking major dad in for his shoulder reconstructive surgery, they want to know who I'm insured at work with, since the Navy is planning on billing those guys for the whole thing. I was sorry to disappoint them happy to say I was unemployed.

Ten years before, that question would have been unthinkable.

It should STILL be.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 09:47 PM | Comments (9)

March 01, 2009

Well, According to the New Administration, Aren't We Supposed to Share

...and share alike?

Report: Iran Stole Marine One Specs

Sensitive Details On Presidential Helicopter Taken Through Computer Security Breach

An Internet security company claims that Iran has taken advantage of a computer security breach to obtain engineering and communications information about Marine One, President Barack Obama's helicopter, according to a report by WPXI, NBC's affiliate in Pittsburgh.

"So Sue Me!" ~ President Mahmoud Imadinnerjacket explains that, since it wasn't a Metallica track he downloaded, who gives a flying goat turd and whachoo gonna do about it anyway?

Posted by tree hugging sister at 11:36 AM | Comments (3)

February 28, 2009

Sitting in a Cold, Lonely Hangar in Iwakuni at 3 a.m.

...our night crew would always stop when AFN would rebroadcast "The Rest of the Story". We all loved Paul Harvey's segments, like nothing else on that sorry network.

Paul Harvey, the legendary radio host whose career sharing "the rest of the story" with listeners spanned more than 70 years, has died, according to ABC Radio Networks.

He was 90.

Immortal, more like. I thought he was.

R.I.P. and thanks, Mr. Harvey ~ from one of the millions in uniform who looked forward to hearing your voice.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 11:02 PM | Comments (5)

Sitting in a Cold, Lonely Hangar in Iwakuni at 3 a.m.

...our night crew would always stop when AFN would rebroadcast "The Rest of the Story". We all loved Paul Harvey's segments, like nothing else on that sorry network.

Paul Harvey, the legendary radio host whose career sharing "the rest of the story" with listeners spanned more than 70 years, has died, according to ABC Radio Networks.

He was 90.

Immortal, more like. I thought he was.

R.I.P. and thanks, Mr. Harvey ~ from one of the millions in uniform who looked forward to hearing your voice.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 11:02 PM | Comments (5)

February 21, 2009

If You Have HBO, In 35 Minutes Tune In

UPDATE: Oh, man.

It was a love letter. A heartbreaking, uplifting, Semper Fidelis love letter.

Thank you, HBO.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 07:26 PM | Comments (5)

February 06, 2009

"I Voted for Him. Now I'm Wondering..."

"I think I made the wrong decision."

Bless her heart. Even though I have no concept of the pain, good for her. That son of hers ~ all those daughters and sons ~ deserve justice. More importantly, they deserve the full support of the country in pursuit of that justice.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 10:12 PM | Comments (11)

January 03, 2009

A Little Encouragement From the Swilling

Dear Israel,


Now, go get 'em, Tiger.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 05:44 PM | Comments (2)

January 01, 2009

Mil Pr0n

We went to see the Intrepid on Boxing Day

Your tax dollars at work!

I lurvs me the Blackbird.

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 04:42 PM | Comments (5)

December 07, 2008

"Infamy" Still

We remember. Bless their brave hearts.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 09:56 AM | Comments (11)

November 28, 2008

One Man's Quest

To help families who received telegrams like this 65 years ago

The brief telegram James Hildebrand's grandmother received on Dec. 26, 1943, said her 20-year-old son died on Tarawa Atoll and included this line: "On account of existing conditions the body if recovered cannot be returned at present. If further details are received you will be informed."

...A Florida man's quest to find hundreds of U.S. Marines buried anonymously after one of World War II's bloodiest battles could lead to the largest identification of American war dead in history.

Researchers used ground-penetrating radar, tediously reviewed thousands of military documents and interviewed hundreds of others to find 139 graves. There, they say, lie the remains of men who died 65 years ago out in the Pacific Ocean on Tarawa Atoll.

Mark Noah of Marathon, Fla., raised money for the expedition through his nonprofit, History Flight, by selling vintage military aircraft rides at air shows. He hopes the government will investigate further after research is given to the U.S. Defense Department in January — and he hopes the remains are identified and eventually returned to the men's families.

Jules reminds us of the harrowing story of Tarawa, and the great sacrifices made there.

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 08:56 AM | Comments (1)

November 25, 2008

"It was a good day for the Marine Corps"

via RealJeffS, here's a story to make us all even more grateful this Thanksgiving

FARAH PROVINCE, Afghanistan — In the city of Shewan, approximately 250 insurgents ambushed 30 Marines and paid a heavy price for it.

...“The day started out with a 10-kilometer patrol with elements mounted and dismounted, so by the time we got to Shewan, we were pretty beat,” said a designated marksman who requested to remain unidentified. “Our vehicles came under a barrage of enemy RPGs (rocket propelled grenades) and machine gun fire. One of our ‘humvees’ was disabled from RPG fire, and the Marines inside dismounted and laid down suppression fire so they could evacuate a Marine who was knocked unconscious from the blast.”

...“The biggest thing to take from that day is what Marines can accomplish when they’re given the opportunity to fight,” the sniper said. “A small group of Marines met a numerically superior force and embarrassed them in their own backyard. The insurgents told the townspeople that they were stronger than the Americans, and that day we showed them they were wrong.”

During the battle, the designated marksman single handedly thwarted a company-sized enemy RPG and machinegun ambush by reportedly killing 20 enemy fighters with his devastatingly accurate precision fire. He selflessly exposed himself time and again to intense enemy fire during a critical point in the eight-hour battle for Shewan in order to kill any enemy combatants who attempted to engage or maneuver on the Marines in the kill zone. What made his actions even more impressive was the fact that he didn’t miss any shots, despite the enemies’ rounds impacting within a foot of his fighting position.

“I was in my own little world,” the young corporal said. “I wasn’t even aware of a lot of the rounds impacting near my position, because I was concentrating so hard on making sure my rounds were on target.”

Deadly...and economical. God bless you, young man.

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 06:24 AM | Comments (11)

November 11, 2008

Happy Veteran's Day

Thanks you for all of your sacrifices.

It's been 90 years since the "War to End All Wars" ended.

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 06:18 AM | Comments (4)

November 10, 2008

Being of Sufficient Quality and Quantity, In the Finest Tradition of the Marine Corps

“Parade the main course.”

(After ringing a bell to announce the last chance for a bathroom break — “paying tribute to Lord Nelson,” as it’s known during Mess Nights.) I proclaim this beef "Fit for Human Consumption".

President of the Mess: “Mister Vice, the United States Marines.”

Vice President of the Mess: “Gentlemen, long live the United States and success to the Marines.”

Posted by tree hugging sister at 06:57 PM | Comments (8)

"They Have Always Defended Each Other..."

"...and this nation. They still do."

Jesus, I love you guys and the big brotherhood I'm privileged to be a small part of.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 11:35 AM | Comments (5)

Happy Birthday USMC

Semper Fi.

And thank you.

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 07:06 AM | Comments (8)

November 09, 2008

A Salute Update

Congress has included the provisions of H.R.3380 and S.1877 in H.R. 4986, the National Defense Authorization Act of 2008, which President Bush signed into law on January 28th, 2008! The relevant section is Section 594 of the resolution and reads as follows:

Section 9 of title 4, United States Code, is amended by striking ‘‘all persons present’’ and all that follows through the end of the section and inserting the following: ‘‘all persons present in uniform should render the military salute. Members of the Armed Forces and veterans who are present but not in uniform may render the military salute. All other persons present should face the flag and stand at attention with their right hand over the heart, or if applicable, remove their headdress with their right hand and hold it at the left shoulder, the hand being over the heart. Citizens of other countries present should stand at attention. All such conduct toward the flag in a moving column should be rendered at the moment the flag passes.’’.

That snappy salute is good to go!!

Posted by tree hugging sister at 06:02 PM | Comments (12)

November 03, 2008

"I'll Never Forget That Order..."

"...'Hold and die'"
Neither will we, sir.

God speed and Semper Fi.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 11:04 AM | Comments (7)

October 23, 2008

NEVER Forget "The Root"

...and the lessons we SHOULD have learned. Because these animals are still with us twenty five years later. As are the root causes of this hideous and heartbreaking tragedy ~ political correctness and a willingness to leave our troops toothless and exposed for political expediency.

God speed, my brothers.

We love ya, Scipio. Semper Fi, you outstanding Gunnery Sergeant of Marines.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 05:08 PM | Comments (6)

October 19, 2008

Aw, Man

If I may...

I'd like to say something....Just to get it out there so it is clear.
To all the pampered and protected Americans who feel it is their duty to inform me that I am not fighting for their freedom, and that i am a pawn in Bush's agenda of greed and oil acquisition: Noted, and [expletive deleted] You.

Army Specialist Steve Fortunato wrote that. His mom shared it...because he couldn't.
According to BostonHerald.com: "He was killed on his first day back on patrol after a 19-day leave in Massachusetts. Fortunato was in the 26th Infantry Regiment and served as a gunner in back of a Humvee. He had served in Afghanistan since July."

God bless him. And hold his family close in this time of unspeakable pain.

We thank you with all our hearts, soldier.

And thanks to Steve for letting us know.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 11:31 PM | Comments (3)

August 25, 2008

And That's a Fact


"While air power, precision-guided bombs and missiles often receive all the glamour on the modern battlefield, cannon artillery still plays a critical role in today's fight by serving as the only 24-hour, all-weather reinforcement for the infantry soldier — a fact proven in recent conflicts."

Posted by tree hugging sister at 02:22 PM | Comments (3)

August 04, 2008

Semper Paratus

Happy Birthday and 218 years of "Thanks" to the US Coast Guard.

Thanks and God bless!

THS update: Had to share this little Coastie hi-lite film as part of the celebration.

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 07:02 AM | Comments (4)

July 31, 2008

No Passing The Buck Here

It's good to see the top guys going down over this

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The U.S. Navy fired the captain and executive officer of the aircraft carrier USS George Washington on Wednesday because of a massive fire that damaged the ship in May, Navy officials said.

Capt. David C. Dykhoff and his executive officer, Capt. David M. Dober, were relieved of duty while the ship is in port in San Diego, California, for repairs.

The two were fired because of practices on their ship that Navy investigators believe led to the fire, Navy officials said.

They're the ones who set the tone for the ship and should be held accountable. Following as it does on the heels of the Air Force shake-up, this will hopefully this will put the fear of God into more Brass. We can't afford these huge mistakes.

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 06:41 AM | Comments (1)

July 27, 2008

Semper Fi, Marine

And carry on.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 06:48 PM | Comments (2)

July 11, 2008

I Am Sick With Dread in Anticipation

...of the autopsies.

Missing soldiers' bodies recovered in Iraq

Pentagon confirms the deaths of men who were seized in 2007 ambush

Dear God, the possibilities are so horrific and I hope against hope that the animals who held them went against type this time.

Bless their brave hearts and comfort their brave families.

And I want to throttle anyone who can talk about Guantanamo unequivocally, as if we were capable of such bestiality.

Fuckers. I hate them.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 03:12 PM | Comments (1)

June 30, 2008

McCain's Years in the Hanoi Hilton

..."No Big Deal"?

Why's the Left so worried about Gitmo inhabitants then? Especially after every San Francisco reporter clawed their way to the front of the "Give Waterboarding a TRY This Summer!" amusement park line.

I don't see anyone volunteering for:

"Spend a Day as John McCain circa 1968!
It's Really NO BIG DEAL!!

Posted by tree hugging sister at 01:30 PM | Comments (1)

June 19, 2008

Did You KNOW...That If You Join the MARINES

...you might get...well...SHOT AT or something?!?!? News. To. Me.
Thank GOD for the eagle eyed MSNBC reporter who went to see "Sex and the City", sat through THIS outstanding Marine Corps commercial during the pre-"Sex" warm-ups and...felt a public service warning was needed.

...The lush music, deep-voiced announcer and stunning cinematography make it a natural fit for the big screen. In fact, it’s hard to appreciate the commercial if you don’t see it on a movie-sized screen, and it’s so eye-catching that you can enjoy it even if you are the target demographic for a movie about thirty- and fortysomethings living in New York City rather than twentysomethings considering a career in the military.

...The stereotypical military ad focuses on the adrenaline rush of serving your country -- the allure of physical feats of greatness and the sheer power of using advanced fighting machinery -- or tout benefits such as opportunities and education. Those approaches allow the military to accentuate the upsides of service while also acknowledging a sobering truth: this is a country that has been involved in a major, complex conflict for five years, and joining up these days is very literally an agreement to risk your life for your country.

...“America’s Marines,” is lovely, but its beauty risks being disingenuous. Certainly there are people who will join the Marines because they love this country, and the ad reminds us of how much there is to love about this country. But these days it takes more than patriotism to agree to serve -- it also takes the guts to know that you will likely be facing a messy battlefield....

Sh*t. Sneaky bastards. Here I was just going to sign up for the college money. (And that cool ass outfit they all wear.)

Nobody told me there was a war on.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 12:26 AM | Comments (10)

June 06, 2008

Into The Breach

Thank you.

With all our heart.

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 06:40 AM | Comments (4)

June 05, 2008

The Best, the Brightest

...and the youngest. Through every generation, the incredible, invincible youth of this country sacrifice over and over again for all of us.

Jack Lucas, who at 14 lied his way into military service during World War II and became the youngest Marine to receive the Medal of Honor, died Thursday in a Hattiesburg, Mississippi, hospital. He was 80.

... Jacklyln "Jack" Lucas was just six days past his 17th birthday in February 1945 when his heroism at Iwo Jima earned him the nation's highest military honor. He used his body to shield three fellow squad members from two grenades, and was nearly killed when one exploded.

"A couple of grenades rolled into the trench," Lucas said in an Associated Press interview shortly before he received the medal from President Truman in October 1945. "I hollered to my pals to get out and did a Superman dive at the grenades. I wasn't a Superman after I got hit. I let out one helluva scream when that thing went off."

Sweet dreams, Leatherneck.

Semper fidelis.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 02:40 PM | Comments (4)


NBC: Top two Air Force officials resigning
Secretary, chief of staff ousted; choice reportedly was 'resign or be fired'

...Sources told the Air Force Times that other senior officers could also be relieved.


Posted by tree hugging sister at 01:18 PM | Comments (3)

June 04, 2008



Jury acquits Marine of covering up Iraq killings

Officer was accused of ordering troops to delete photos of 24 slain civilians

A Marine intelligence officer has been acquitted of charges that he tried to help cover up the killings of 24 Iraqi men, women and children.

...Grayson, who has always maintained he did nothing wrong, was not present at the scene of the killings on Nov. 19, 2005, in Haditha. He was accused of telling a sergeant to delete photographs of the dead from a digital camera and laptop computer.

Grayson was found not guilty of two counts of making false official statements, two counts of trying to fraudulently separate from service, and one count of attempt to deceive by making false statements.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 09:54 PM | Comments (3)

Heads Up for Our Mil-Swillers: Supporting Our Troops Through Their Benefits

Or not.

A cut in medicare payments to doctors could soon cause cuts in health care to senior citizens and military families.

...On July 1st, medicare will cut the current reimbursement rate by another 10.6 percent.... which will force some doctors to cut services not only to seniors.... but military members as well.

...And it's not just seniors who will likely be affected by the cut.

Most active and some retired military members are covered under the Tricare insurance program.... which ties its rates to medicare.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 09:35 PM | Comments (2)

May 26, 2008

We Remember Them All

...and give thanks.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 11:32 AM | Comments (3)

May 21, 2008

Forget Momma

His wife's 7+ months pregnant.

He is SO toast.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 03:03 PM | Comments (6)

May 19, 2008

Finally! After Millions of Dollars and Reams of Battlefield Data

...it can conclusively and empirically be stated that the routine and continued ingestion of plastic turkey foisted on unsuspecting troops by a complicit and unfeeling government bureaucracy...

...inevitably results in slower troop movements...

...as the smiling vegan on the left clearly demonstrates.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 01:58 PM | Comments (15)

When He Gets Home, I Hope His Momma

...kicks his ass.

-May 18: Taliban bullet shatters a wall an inch from face of U.S. Marine from the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit during firefight with Taliban near Garmser in Helmand Province, Afghanistan.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 10:27 AM | Comments (10)

May 12, 2008

Headline Reads: "Marine Corps Surpasses Recruiting Goal"

The Marine Corps far surpassed its recruiting goal last month and could eventually be more than a year ahead of schedule in its plan to grow the force to 202,000 members.

All military services met or exceeded their monthly recruiting goals in April, with the Marine Corps signing 142 percent of the number it was looking for, the Pentagon said.

So who do they show in the picture accompanying the article?

Some dork ass Army recruiter. [Ed.: Apologies to JeffS...sort of.] [Sheesh. And Cullen.] [But I'm NOT sayin' sorry to...well...you know who. I'm just not.] [Tough.] [Suck it up, Gator Girl.]

Posted by tree hugging sister at 11:15 PM | Comments (4)

May 02, 2008

Cannonball Express

...to Heaven's Gate, unfortunately.

Civil War Buff Killed By 19th Century Cannonball

Collector Sam White Was Restoring Cannonball When It Exploded

...But in February, White's hobby cost him his life: A cannonball he was restoring exploded, killing him in his driveway.

More than 140 years after Lee surrendered to Grant, the cannonball was still powerful enough to send a chunk of shrapnel through the front porch of a house a quarter-mile from White's home in this leafy Richmond suburb.

...White estimated he had worked on about 1,600 shells for collectors and museums. On the day he died, he had 18 cannonballs lined up in his driveway to restore.

Note to self: when told to "put that thing back"...do it.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 05:25 PM | Comments (4)

We Love You, Son

If ever someone stood for Semper Fidelis...

Miracle Marine Dies

...The former turret gunner was dubbed the "Miracle Man" for his determination in facing his wounds, which cost the former saxophone player his fingers and rippled his face with scars. He endured more than 40 surgeries, spent 17 months in a hospital and had to learn to walk again.

"Sometimes I do think I can't do it," he told The Associated Press last year. "Then I think: Why not? I can do whatever I want. ... Nobody has ever been 97 percent dead and survived, and lived to walk."

Bless your brave, brave heart, Leatherneck. And our deepest thanks to your family.

What a man they raised.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 03:10 PM | Comments (11)

April 29, 2008

God Speed, You Guys

Marines launch massive assault in Afghanistan
Hundreds of U.S. forces backed by airpower enter Taliban-controlled South
Get some!

Posted by tree hugging sister at 12:00 AM | Comments (1)

April 23, 2008

Genius, Just Genius

Petraeus picked to lead Central Command
Not only a promotion that's HUGELY well deserved, but...the public, televised Congressional Democratic excoriation (not to mention a good chance the self indulged nutroots ad buying propensity being triggered) of such an admirable, honorable soldier during his confirmation hearing will serve to remind the voting public just how 'in touch' with them the Democratic party is. How maybe there's ALWAYS been something else afoot in this country besides Obama's candidacy to be "proud of", like OUR troops and (finally) a leadership team for them that "gets it". How OUR troops belong to us all (not just to the Republican war machine) and maybe how WE shouldn't take defeatist, grandstanding Congressional smarm as "support" for them.

It should make for a bitter battle and an interesting case study.

And it should be the LAST thing the Democrats want.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 02:15 PM | Comments (6)

April 18, 2008

“That Global Warming Is the Biggest Joke I’ve Ever Known,”

“[W]e’ll stick a dadgum tree up somebody’s rear if they want that and think that’s going to cure something.”
You tell 'em, Pops.

Personally, I think hand lettered "TIME Infidels Must DIE!! TIME to Behead Infidels!!" placard is called for ~ or WOULD be, if...you know...I was the excitable type.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 03:51 PM | Comments (8)

April 16, 2008

My Nephew ~ Kcruella's Baby Boy

...graduates from Army boot camp in Ft. Benning tomorrow. We're so dang proud of him.

And I get to be there!!!

UPDATE: Hmmmm... Forgot about that.

Schmaybe I was letting my enthusiasm get the best of me.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 09:03 AM | Comments (11)

April 09, 2008

Michael Yon ~ Coming Soon

...to a bookshelf near you! (Or it SHOULD be.)

Pre-order it here.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 02:42 PM

"Some People Are Meant to Be 911"

"And some people are meant to call 911."

Posted by tree hugging sister at 02:22 PM | Comments (1)

"We're In the Wild WILD West"


...The local police station here bears fresh scars from rocket attacks, young men still hide grenades in the streets, and civic leaders continue to be targeted by hit squads.

The marines are now in a scramble to oust insurgents tied to Al Qaeda in Iraq. The mission's priority was underscored by a recent visit to the outpost by Maj. Gen. John Kelly, commander of all multinational forces in western Iraq. General Kelly and his staff traveled by heavily armored convoy to Rutbah to meet with city leaders in hopes of understanding why the insurgency hasn't yet fizzled.

...The mayor of this town of 50,000, who goes by the name Qasim, fingered the gold watch hanging from his wrist, offered a pained smile and says, "The economy? We don't have one."

...Qasim knows that many Americans want even more troops to leave Iraq. He urged the general to tell his leaders in Washington that the troops should stay.

"Withdrawal right now means handing Iraq to Iran. This will fulfill the dreams of the Iranians for an empire"...
I'm assuming the Presidential candidates listening and lecturing Gen. Petreus won't be asking for Qasim's subject matter expert opinion.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 01:20 PM

April 08, 2008

There Are Times When "Thank You"

...seems such a small thing to say, in comparison to why you're saying it. Words fail.

Navy Blue, through and through.

Thank you.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 05:06 PM | Comments (4)

"Drawing Upon Considerable Technical Skills...

...[aeronautical engineers] decided to combine these features into one death-filled, high-flying hayride called the V-22 Osprey. (The proposed name, the V-22 OhJesusIdon'twanttodietellmywifeIloveher! didn't panel well.)"
- A V-22 Osprey completes a fully-automated landing via its advanced autopilot system.
...Numerous technical advances were made during the Osprey project. The Marine Corps decided to adopt the Navy tradition of going down with a stricken ship and fitted the Osprey with fly-by-wire systems. This guaranteed that, should the electronics or even the vanity mirror light fail during flight, everybody dies with the plane. The Osprey was originally planned to be a "glass cockpit" aircraft, where all the reliable gauges and indicator lights are removed in favor of scads of LCD monitors capable of simultaneously displaying the Blue Screen of Death. A V-22 variant, the MV-22B, built in partnership with Nintendo, retains the glass cockpit layout and adds three milnet-linked Nintendo Wii gaming consoles.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 02:01 PM | Comments (7)

March 30, 2008

Some Hard Core, Super Stallion



I felt a shiver run up my leg...

Posted by tree hugging sister at 04:21 PM | Comments (2)

March 24, 2008

"Bedtime Stories for Catherine"

I can't stop crying.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 03:07 PM | Comments (2)

March 20, 2008

I Sense a Disturbance

...in the force.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 09:47 AM | Comments (3)

March 13, 2008

Pot? Check the Color of That


...And lastly, I find it humorous that Boeing is using the same argument to protest the tanker award that Sikorsky and Lockheed Martin are using in their protest of Boeing's win in the CSAR-X contract: that the service asked for a medium-sized tanker and awarded a heavier one.

Are you sure it's not spelled "Boing"?

I'd like to credit comment #327 for the link.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 08:48 PM | Comments (1)

March 12, 2008

Dancin' in the Streets

Via HotAir.

UPDATE: As Lisa notes, the guy's done time... the GOOD way.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 12:17 PM | Comments (5)

February 23, 2008

Today It's "Iwo To"

They've called it something different for the longest time.
And on this day in 1945...

...somebody pretty terrific planted a flag there.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 08:26 PM | Comments (10)

February 22, 2008

Just Another Day

...at the office.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 01:19 PM | Comments (5)

February 21, 2008

How Do You Say "Cheeky" In Mandarin?

I mean I guess the Chinese are feeling a little put-out since they got used to their friends in the Clinton Administration just sending them the information( in exchange for meals at Buddhist Temples, naturally)

China called on the United States Thursday to provide information about its shooting down of a defunct US spy satellite and voiced caution about the potential international impact of the operation.

"China is continuing to closely follow the possible harm caused by the US action to outer space security and relevant countries," foreign ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao said when asked for a reaction to the shootdown.

"China further requests that the US fulfill its international obligations in earnest and promptly provide to the international community the necessary information and relevant data... so that relevant countries can take precautions."

"Take precautions". Uh-huh. As in "build a missile system just like this or better if we can" precautions.

But the operation had raised concerns elsewhere that the United States was trying to test an anti-satellite weapon, amid rising global tensions about the militarisation of space.

Um, noooo, we "weren't trying to test an anti-satellite weapon"; we successfully demonstrated an anti-satellite weapon, hence the posturing. And thank God it worked.

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 06:46 AM | Comments (7)

February 20, 2008

Aw, Man

1 of 2 F-15 pilots rescued in Gulf of Mexico dies
Pair of single-seat fighters likely collided during training, Air Force says
Eglin's local. And we were tickled when we'd heard they'd pulled both them out of the Gulf. We thought, "Alrighty, then. Got 'em both."


Our thoughts and sympathies are with that brave Eagle's family.

Thank you.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 09:55 PM | Comments (2)

February 12, 2008

Not Because They're WRONG to Begin With, Mind You

But because everybody's YELLING AT THEM!!!

Berkeley Mulls New Vote on Marines

BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) - Officials in this liberal city may soften their anti-recruitment stance toward the U.S. Marines in the face of widespread criticism.

The Berkeley City Council drew a deluge of disapproval nationwide in January when it voted to advise the Marines that their downtown recruitment office was not welcome and that they would be considered "uninvited and unwelcome intruders" if they chose to stay.

"ENOUGH , already!!!!"

Posted by tree hugging sister at 01:19 PM | Comments (21)

February 08, 2008

Get the Flock Out!

Berkley's mayor is a retired Army officer?!?

As six Republican senators devised a plan to yank $2.3 million in federal funding for Berkeley programs, the mayor of the famously liberal city apologized Wednesday for his hard stance against a Marine recruiting center.

..."That letter will probably be pulled back and maybe more moderate language will be put in place which is appropriate I think," said Berkeley mayor Tom Bates.

...Bates said the city didn't mean to offend anyone in the armed forces and the focus should have been on the war not the troops.

"There's really no correlation between federal funds for schools, water ferries and police communications systems and the council's actions, for God's sake," said Bates, a retired U.S. Army captain. "We apologize for any offense to any families of anyone who may serve in Iraq. We want them to come home and be safe at home."

Well, I'm sorry, too, Master Bates. That fact makes you ten times the pieces of shit the other a$$holes are.

UPDATE: Here's what Master Bates thinks:

I have heard from people all over the country regarding the action taken by the Berkeley City Council regarding the Marines recruiting center.

Let me be absolutely clear that this is not about the men and women who are serving our country in our armed forces. I am a retired U.S. Army Captain and I respect the choice of those who are serving our country.

And here's ~ mayor@ci.berkeley.ca.us ~ where you can tell him what you think. And if you do, share it with us, would ya?

Posted by tree hugging sister at 01:03 AM | Comments (14)

February 05, 2008

I Find This Comment


Credit McCain's
Stoic endurance, but having survived a POW ordeal no more imparts heroism to the victim than does having limped away from a bear mauling.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 05:58 PM | Comments (5)

But the Point Is

...that they DO.

"I think we shouldn't be seen across the country as hating the Marines," said [Berkley Council Member Betty] Olds, who voted against last week's proposals.

The whole country knows it and a strategic retreat won't change it, nor the unconstitutional fact that you've basically authorized another group [Code Pink] as your de-facto enforcement thugs.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 08:38 AM | Comments (9)

February 01, 2008

So They're Getting This PetitionTogether

...but, sign it though you may, I doubt it has any impact. Those people are nuts and nuts LOVE it when you call them nuts. (Ask any Ronulan or, better yet, just mention RON PAUL in a post and see how long it takes for the trees to shake.)

The city manager was directed to send a letter to the U.S. Marine Corps saying they are “uninvited and unwelcome intruders” in the city.“

F*ckin' despicable NUTS.
The one thing in the petition (I was wondering about myself the other day) was going at Berkley from the federal level. Dollars-wise. That might be doable, n'est pas? If someone in the driver's seat chose to actually pursue it.
... For the Berkeley City Council to blame the Marines for the laws passed by Congress, or to condemn them because their members fight in a war that some choose to oppose is a grave miscarriage of justice. It implies that the Marines can choose which laws they follow, or which wars they fight in. It implies that the Marines are not beholden to the very Constitution that they swore to defend.

Furthermore, the Berkeley City Council's desire to prevent the Marines from speaking to young people about their mission within Berkeley's city limits while simultaneously giving anti-Marine protesters preferential treatment implies that the City Council is comfortable with its youth receiving information from only one side of the debate. This position insults both the Marines, many of whom are veterans of the current war and are able to provide a perspective interested people should be free to hear, and Berkeley's youth, who are apparently judged by the City Council to be too incompetent to form their own intelligent opinion about the armed forces and the responsibilities, risks and rewards that go with military service.

As American citizens and veterans of all branches of the armed services, we voice our steadfast opposition to the Berkeley City Council's despicable actions. In protest, we announce that we refuse to conduct any business within the Berkeley city limits, or patronize any company which has its headquarters within Berkeley. We call upon the U.S. Congress and the California State Legislature to suspend all federal and state payments that go to support any activity conducted by the Berkeley City Council until such time as the Council chooses to rescind its anti-Marine resolutions.

Considering how the local media is portraying Marine supporters, I doubt the quiet language of the petition will even be heard.
...- the Bay Area's CBS-TV affiliate, KPIX, painted quite disparate pictures of the leaders of the organizations involved.

.....ANN NOTARANGELO, KPIX : Do you think you could ever sit across, with a cup of coffee, and talk with somebody from Code Pink?

[Move America Forward's] MORGAN: No. Never, ever would I ever speak to any of those individuals other than the most disparaging manner possible.

This came moments after Code Pink's Medea Benjamin was shown saying:

I feel sorry for that level of aggression that they have. I've tried to dialogue with them. I've tried to invite them into our house.

Code Pink just wants to share a cup o' tea.
"That's my son!"

"He's gonna die, lady."
..."They don't kill babies, you lying piece of shit."

Posted by tree hugging sister at 10:40 AM | Comments (11)

January 24, 2008

Too Bad for San Francisco


Gateway Pundit quotes Our Marines:

We traveled to 10 different states and 15 locations across the U.S. to create the "America's Marines" commercial.

Except...San Francisco.

I think they've left their heart...and their minds...in a black hole somewhere. I'll never go back.

UPDATE: If you've never seen the Silent Drill Team, watch...and weep. It's a thing of beauty.

A warm Swill Salute to Tizona.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 10:40 PM | Comments (4)

January 21, 2008

Another Deployed Marine Suffers Horrific Wounds

...in the line of duty.

Bless her heart.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 02:19 PM | Comments (2)

"Quite Frankly, You Don't Even Look Like a Soldier..."

"You're a small little [blank],"
That's because he wasn't a soldier, asshole. He's a MARINE. Just like the Assistant State's Attorney prosecuting your case...
...Assistant State's Attorney Patrick Kelly, (Marine Corps/Vietnam 1969-1972)
...and the judge hearing it.
...Judge O'Malley has also traveled, but in his youth. He was a police officer on the West Side during the riots before law school. And before that, he performed another public service.
Judge O'Malley served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1961-1964.
And, to a one, despite your most outrageous and egregious behavior (which warranted an immediate ass kicking of epic proportions on its own), they've been law abiding gentlemen to a fault. And you still can't show up to court on time?

Not the sharpest tack in the box, are you, Mr. Grodner? Thank God someone's out there protecting your right to live your version of "stuck on stupid".

Your Honor, ADA Kelly, Marines in the courtroom and the deployed Sgt. McNulty?
DAMN, you make me proud. Semper Fi.

And Sgt. McN? Stay safe, Leatherneck. And God speed.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 01:59 PM | Comments (6)

January 09, 2008

Don't You Know

...we could use more like him? Just for the honesty alone.

..."There's an attitude everywhere else that people are smarter than they are in New Orleans and in Mississippi. They're not," the 60-year-old general said at his office at Fort Gillem, just outside Atlanta. "What happened in New Orleans could have happened anywhere on the Eastern Seaboard."

Thank you, sir.

And the best of everything to you.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 01:33 PM | Comments (5)

January 08, 2008

"Whatever Possessed You..."

"...to go running off into the paddy like that?"

"A Marine"

"How do you mean?"

"He's a Marine. I'll take care of him."

National Museum of the Marine Corps: Orientation Theater Film

Posted by tree hugging sister at 05:25 PM | Comments (1)

December 21, 2007


...and weep. Stick around for the second video.

I love a good Christmas story.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 01:34 PM

A Sad Note

Now there are only two left

NORTH BALTIMORE, Ohio (AP) -- One of only three known remaining American World War I veterans has died.

The Smith-Crates Funeral Home in North Baltimore, Ohio says J. Russell Coffey died yesterday at the age of 109. He had been living in a nursing home. There's no word on the cause of death.

The Veterans Affairs Department says Coffey was the last World War I vet in Ohio. Coffey enlisted in the Army in October 1918 while a student at Ohio State University.

It was a month before the Allied powers and Germany signed a cease-fire agreement and Coffey did not see action overseas. He did play semipro baseball and earned a doctorate in education from New York University.

Coffey taught high school and college and raised a family. According to the funeral home, he drove his car until he was 104 and lived on his own until three years ago.

What changes the world went through in his life time.

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 08:34 AM | Comments (3)

December 17, 2007

On This Day 63 Years Ago

The Battle of the Bulge began.

God bless those men.

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 08:41 AM | Comments (2)

December 13, 2007

Lex Is Going Home

Some bonds can't be broken

After more than six months of effort, the family of a fallen Marine dog handler got permission Wednesday to adopt the bomb-sniffing German shepherd who was at their son’s side when he died in Fallujah, Iraq, last March.

The family of Cpl. Dustin Jerome Lee is planning to pick up the 7-year-old dog named “Lex” on Dec. 21 at Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany, Ga., where Lee was stationed.

“Lex will always be a special part of our family,” Lee’s father, Jerome Lee, said in a telephone interview Wednesday. “Lex was Dusty’s best friend and partner.”

The Lee family has been battling bureaucracy for months after the Corps initially refused to release the dog for adoption. Well-trained working dogs are in short supply, and Lex was healthy and able to continue working, Marine officials said.

Lee, 20, spent the final months of his life with Lex at his side. He was killed March 21 on a daily mission when a rocket-propelled grenade exploded nearby. The dog was also wounded but crawled over to his handler, nudged his face, then lay at his side as a corpsman treated his wounds, Marines in Lee’s unit told his family.

Hurrah for the Corps for allowing this.

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 11:50 AM | Comments (3)

December 12, 2007

Tall Tales A Smidge Before Scott Beauchamp

...that were treated as gospel.

It is one of the most remarkable—and enduring—statistics about the way men fight war: in combat no more than a quarter of fighting men, even disciplined and well-trained soldiers, will fire their weapons. The claim, first made by military historian S.L.A. Marshall in his 1947 book, "Men Against Fire," has become accepted wisdom.

The questions (and artistic license excuse) sound familiar...
...Why would Marshall make up such a thing? Marshall was "by professional upbringing and temperament a journalist above all," wrote Spiller.

...as does the action-hero resume.
...Marshall claimed to have led men in combat in World War I. Apparently, that too was fiction. Marshall's regiment in World War I was behind the lines, involved in road work and building delousing stations. Leinbaugh discovered records of Marshall's unit, which include such stirring reports as
"1 mule killed by kick from mule. Drop from rolls."

He has finally been exposed, appropriately enough, as a louse toiling in the company of asses. I guess no one ever listens to the guys who were actually doing the fighting...
...The only real skeptics at the time were a few of the soldiers whom Marshall profiled in his histories, like "The Men of Company K." Asked one old Company K sergeant, "Did the SOB think we clubbed the Germans to death?"

Posted by tree hugging sister at 10:47 PM | Comments (4)

December 07, 2007

May We Never Forget

The Day Of Infamy.

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 08:57 AM

December 06, 2007

I See Happy Voters

...streaming to the polls.

Pentagon Says 200,000 Workers Could Receive Pink Slips for Christmas

Federal employees who work for the Army may get layoff notices before Christmas if Congress and the White House do not reach an accord on funding for the Iraq war, the Pentagon said yesterday.

The warning, posted near the top of the Defense Department's Web site, was the latest in a series from Pentagon officials in recent weeks.

About 100,000 federal employees and an additional 100,000 contract workers are at risk of being sent home without pay in February and March if the Army and Marine Corps run short of money and have to reduce operations at their bases, according to the Pentagon.

Under federal rules, the department must give 60 days' advance notice of layoffs to employees -- which, in this case, would make for a less-than-glad tiding for the holidays.

Guess the Democrats don't remember how that worked for Republicans in '95-'96. (Collective amnesia can be a wonderful thing.) Perhaps it's not coincidence that the M-W Word of the Day was:
Locofoco \loh-kuh-FOH-koh\ noun

1 : a member of a radical group of New York Democrats organized in 1835 in opposition to the regular party organization

*2 : a member of the Democratic party of the United States

They're claiming the 'loco' has its origins in “locomotive” (which was commonly taken to mean “self-propelled,” though “loco” actually means “place,” not “self,” in Latin).

I know better.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 01:33 PM | Comments (3)

December 05, 2007


...is a powerful tool. (Plus, when LCpls sit around, they always get into trouble.)

...Conway hinted at those differences, saying Marines prefer serving under fire in a combat zone to performing nation-building duties in Iraq. He said that in his meeting with Gates on this subject last week, Gates understood Conway's thinking.

"He's heard anecdotal reports that lance corporals are complaining that they don't have anybody to shoot" in the newly peaceful Anbar, where most Marines are operating, Conway said.

Imagine that! A general who has the courage to acknowledge that Marines might even look forward to a good rumble. How politically incorrect...insensitive, even.
..."My point to (Gates) is that, if and when we are able to continue our drawdown in Iraq and it comes time for Marine units to start leaving the country, ... should we bring them home or should we start looking at putting them where there is still an active fight; in this case, Afghanistan? And we were prepared to do that."

I'll bet.

And always prepared (as the Marine in the video says) to do "the one thing we do extremely well: take care of each other."
[Fallujah]... I was particularly struck by two kinds of stories recounted over and over: tales of wounded Marines--many badly wounded and eligible for medical evacuation--struggling to get back into battle, and tales of senior officers joining privates and corporals on the firing line. On April 9, 2003, for instance, [MajGen] "Mad Dog" Mattis was late to a meeting with senior brass because he had stopped his command convoy to help a small patrol reduce a house from which they had taken machine-gun fire. West quotes a gunnery sergeant:
"The general flanked the hajis from the south."

It is hard to imagine an Iraqi general--or a general in just about any other army in the world--risking his neck in this manner. Such stories demonstrate the Corps's egalitarian ethos, and go a long way toward explaining its sky-high morale and superb fighting quality.

Ugly Omar should be sending Gates a big poppy bouquet in thanks.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 11:47 PM | Comments (2)

November 27, 2007

Sometimes You Read About the Neatest People

...in the local obituaries. We lost Mr. FRANK E. ZIELINSKI (1915 - 2007) this October 24th. He was a drummer. Now, it's only a couple lines of his story, but they speak volumes...

...After high school he enlisted in the Navy as a musician, a drummer. He served as a Musician for 23 years retiring in 1959.

Frank was serving on board the USS Nevada at Pearl Harbor when the Japanese attacked.

His band completed the flag raising ceremony while under attack and then manned their battle stations.

...don't you think?

Hit by 1 aerial torpedo and 6, or more, bombs during the attack on Pearl Harbor, Nevada was beached in the harbour entrance to prevent sinking. She rejoined the fleet a year later, after repairs and refitting at Puget Sound Navy Yard.

Bless you, sir, and our condolences to your family.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 10:46 AM | Comments (3)

November 14, 2007

Rocket Man

An amazing and moving story

Spc. Channing Moss should be dead by all accounts. And those who saved his life did so knowing they might have died with him.

March 16, 2006. Southeastern Afghanistan. A fierce ambush and bloody firefight. It was over in a flash and Moss was left on the verge of death.

He was impaled through the abdomen with a rocket-propelled grenade, and an aluminum rod with one tail fin protruded from the left side of his torso.

His fellow soldiers worried: Could he blow up and take them with him? For all anyone knew, the answer was yes.

Still, over the course of the next couple of hours, his buddies, a helicopter crew and a medical team would risk their own lives to save his.

Thanks to Ace for finding this.

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 01:28 PM | Comments (2)

November 11, 2007

232 Reasons and Counting

... to love the Corps.

On Nov. 10, the Marine Corps turns 232 years old. Ever since it was formed in a Philadelphia bar in 1775, the Corps has given us countless reasons to take pride in the heritage of 'our beloved Corps'.

There is no shortage of instances in which Marine units and individuals have distinguished themselves in battle, but the bragging rights earned over the past 232 years weren't all born on the battlefield.

The Corps' culture sets it apart from other branches of the military in ways that those who have never earned the eagle, globe and anchor find difficult to fully understand. But what is obvious to even the most casual observer is that Marines distinguish themselves through their unique appearance, spirit and accomplishments.

To know the Corps is to love the Corps, which is why Marine Corps Times compiled the following list of 232 reasons to stand proudly at this year's birthday ball.

1. Cpl. Jason Dunham. First Marine to receive the Medal of Honor since Vietnam. If jumping on a grenade to save a buddy isn't worth the top of the list, nothing is.

2. Civilians have to find time to go to the gym. Marines get paid to go.

3. The National Museum of the Marine Corps. It's like a Smithsonian of leatherneck.

4. There's no such thing as an "ex" Marine.

5. Re-enlistment rates are higher IN the war zone.

6. Stink-proof socks. Well, almost. Systems Command is working on them.

7. Jalapeño cheese.

8. "Every Marine Into the Fight."

9. Lump-sum re-enlistment bonuses up to $80,000. Many of you would consider doing it for free.

10. New uniforms #1. Pixel-pattern cammies? Yeah, the Corps came up with that.

11. "Doc."

12. Flexed arm hang is harder than it looks. We tried it.

13. Barracks parties on non-payday weekends.

14. Marine Gunners.

15. The Wounded Warrior Regiment.

16. MarAdmin 266/07: Letting 18-year-old Marines drink on base at this year's birthday ball.

17. No receipt necessary for travel claim expenses less than $75.

18. The lance corporal underground.

19. Fallujah II.

21. Archibald Henderson's couch, re-upholstered, is still in the commandant's living room.

22. "No better friend, no worse enemy."

23. Typhoons approaching Okinawa often spark islandwide beer runs.

24. Waivers.

25. Gen. James Jones, who followed his tour as commandant with appointment as "supreme intergalactic overlord" (OK, it was Supreme Allied Commander, Europe, but close).

26. 10 rounds from the 500-yard line.

27. Per diem.

28. To civilians, every Marine is recon.

29. Recruiting in Texas is like hunting at the zoo.

30. The "boat cloak." Because every super hero needs a cape.

31. You can re-enlist in the IRR.

32. The wallet in your sock.

33. Motivating television commercials.

34. The "horse shoe" haircut, gone but not forgotten.

35. The global address list. Find your buddies and send them links to Marine Corps Times.

36. Running cadences that mention napalm. And Eskimos.

37. Stories that begin with, "So there I was ..."

38. Modified parade rest.

39. The transformation. Who you are when you join is not nearly as important as who you become.

40. Lt. Gen. Jim Mattis getting a fourth star.

41. If you've been on liberty in Twentynine Palms, you've been on liberty in Yuma and Barstow, too.

42. Grooming standards. Not only can you not act like a thug, you cannot look like a thug.

43. It's not the Army.

44. Women in Manhattan have all seen the Fleet Week episode of "Sex and the City."

45. Combat shotguns.

46. Combat Action Ribbons. IEDs count now, and should have counted all along. Duh.

47. The occasional free beer. Wear your blues into a bar and see what happens.

48. After decades of debate, there remains no resolution on whether sand fleas trump "The Reaper."

49. The Corps' doesn't call its officers, commissioned or not, "petty."

50. Cpl. Gareth Hawkins, lying on a stretcher after an IED shattered his leg, demanded re-enlistment before medical evacuation. And got it.

51. Whereas Army, Navy and Air Force jokes are funny, Marine jokes are potentially dangerous.

52. The occasional friendly debate. Refer to a Marine staff noncommissioned officer simply as "sergeant," and see what happens.

53. That troublesome "10 percent," making good Marines look great since 1775.

54. Everyone at a high school reunion is obliged to justify his last 10 years, except the guy wearing alphas.

55. As if ranks that include the words "master" and "gunnery" aren't intimidating enough on their own, the Corps uses them both. At once.

56. Soldiers have Hooah Bars. Marines have Ka-Bars. The second will generally get you the first.

57. The dress code. You can wear your cammies to meet the commandant or repair a tank.

58. From "Aliens" to "Doom," the future vision of warfare almost always includes Space Marines.

59. The Corps was formed in a bar.

60. Marines predicted the WWII campaigns in the Pacific years earlier and prepared for the inevitable. So when a Marine says, "Hey, I've been thinking …" perhaps you should take notes.

61. Give a Marine some free time, and he'll rip down your dictator's statue.

62. If it ain't raining, we ain't training.

64. Duty station garden spots: Jacksonville, N.C.; Yuma, Ariz.; Bridgeport, Calif.; Twentynine Palms, Calif. (Yes, we're kidding.)

65. Making morning PT on time.

66. Recruiters who promise everything EXCEPT a rose garden.

67. Mustangs #1. It's easier to take crap from a CO who went to boot camp.

69. Gen. Peter Pace, the first Marine chairman of the Joint Chiefs. He left his four-star insignia with his fallen comrades at the Vietnam Wall when he retired. Nice move.

70. The people zapper. Using microwave energy to disperse a crowd sounds like fun. Semper fry, gunny.

71. Nothing says "Good morning" like a mouthful of Copenhagen and freeze-dried coffee.

72. Nothing says "I love you" like a welcome home sheet hanging on a chain-link fence.

73. Bill Barnes. In June, the former Marine beat the crap out of a 27-year-old pickpocket who tried to make off with his dough. Oh yeah, he's 72.

74. Leftwich Trophy. Heisman winners only think they know about leaving it all on the field.

75. EOD. If you don't know why this is on the list, defuse the next IED yourself.

76. Tax-free combat pay. Doing what you signed up for and not having to give Uncle Sam a dime back.

77. Montford Point Marines. The first African-American Marines know a little something about honor, courage and commitment.

78. Front toward enemy. It's not just a visual reference on a Claymore mine, it's a Marine Corps way of life.

79. Mustangs #2. You know at least three Marines who drive them. It's like a Ford dealership exploded on base.

80. Fred Smith, founder of FedEx. Only a former Marine could truly appreciate the value of getting your mail on time.

81. CMC: The tallest member of the Joints Chiefs. OK, so we haven't actually measured, but he looks the tallest anyway.

82. No more spit shining boots.

83. Chuck Norris was in the Air Force. Steve McQueen was a Marine.

84. The Crucible.

85. 1/9, 2/9 and 3/9. Welcome back, fellas.

86. The FROG uniform. You are now sweat-wickin' AND flame-lickin'.

88. The M4. More rifles in the fight is generally a win-win.

89. MRAPs. Trucks straight out of Mad Max. We still love a good Humvee, but we loved jeeps, too. Things change.

90. Arty guys who do civil affairs. They blow it up, then they fix it. Circle of life.

91. Service Charlies. They look so good, the Navy's copying 'em.

92. Fake Marines. No one eats 'em up faster than real Marines.

93. John Lovell. A 71-year-old former Marine is sitting in a Subway restaurant when two armed men try to rob the place. Lovell grabs his .45, kills one and wounds the other. No word on how Lovell's sandwich fared.

94. 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines. Six Navy Crosses so far. Six.

95. Staff Sgt. Lawrence Dean II, aka the "BadAss Marine." He recites a poem. He gets uploaded to YouTube. Thousands get motivated.

96. Gen. James Conway takes over as the new commandant. Among his
demands: a new PT uniform, new tattoo regs, a plan to add dress blues to the seabag, a change-up in medals and 22,000 more Marines. Someone's been thinking about taking over for a while, huh?

97. Body-fat standards. Everyone hates them, until they see a fat Marine.

98. "Jarhead." Only a former Marine could write a war story about not fighting anyone and make it last for 200 pages, then get Jamie Foxx to star in the movie.

99. The Stumps. The Rock. The Sandbox. Oh, the places you'll serve.

101. Tattoos #2. Getting a fallen friend's name tattooed on your other forearm, and knowing the same.

102. The new PT running suit. Sure, the Army had them first, but the Army gets most things first.

103. Marine expeditionary units: The cheapest cruise you'll ever take.

104. Camp Lejeune: The closest interstate and the nearest good shopping mall are both at least an hour away.

105. Camp Pendleton: There are roads and malls, but try affording a house near the main gate.

106. Tattoos #3. Meat tags. Getting your blood type and other info inked on your ribcage isn't necessarily a bad idea.

107. The Marine Corps is getting bigger. The Navy is getting smaller.

109. 30 days' paid vacation, plus federal holidays off, is obscene by civilian standards.

110. Maj. Gen. Marion E. Carl, the Corps' first fighter ace. First Marine to fly a helicopter. Two Navy Crosses, five Distinguished Flying Crosses, 14 air medals. In 1998, the 82-year-old was killed during a home break-in when he jumped in front of a shotgun blast aimed at his longtime wife, Edna.

111. Tattoos #4. Reaction to the new policy: Conway says sleeves are going away, Marines run for the chair. Tattoo parlors never saw so much business.

113. Guaranteed pay raises.

114. Marine Security Guard #1. Duty in the Bahamas.

115. Having a WWII Marine say he's proud of you

116. Drew Carey used to be in the Marine Corps Reserve. Now, he's the host of "The Price is Right."

117. Combatant diver pins. No more of that Navy crap.

118. A Red Stripe is a beer, mon. A Blood Stripe is a symbol of pride.

119. NMCI, if only they would remove the "MC."

120. You watched "300," and it reminded you of your unit.

121. The "Det One" .45 pistol. Designed by Marines, for Marines.

122. Combat marksmanship. You are creeping death. And you get graded on it.

123. Never lost six nukes on a plane.

124. CamelBaks. Water tastes like water again.

125. Give a Marine enough free time, and he'll marry your Bahraini princess.

126. Go to YouTube. Type in "bored Marines." Enjoy.

127. When the president gets on a helicopter, it's not called "Army One."

128. The opposite of the Peace Corps.

129. Camouflage. You can camouflage anything and make it cool.

130. No Fear #1. Marines aren't scared of anything. Except apricots. And Charms.

131. Combat optics on M16s. Leave the iron sights, just in case.

132. "Combat loss" amnesty for missing gear. It's like pleading the fifth.

133. Riding a chartered Continental Airlines flight home from the war zone with assault weapons stuffed in all the overhead compartments.

134. In combat, the division band becomes a heavy-machine-gun platoon.

135. What do headaches, broken bones, infectious diseases, missing limbs and hurt feelings all have in common? Motrin. Thanks, Doc.

137. Global instability equals job security.

138. When NMCI goes down, and it will, it's like having the day off.

139. The honor, privilege and responsibility of leading, mentoring and caring for junior Marines.

140. Gunnery sergeants. Don't know the answer? Ask the gunny. Need something? Ask the gunny. In trouble? Avoid the gunny.

141. Because gunny said so.

142. The line to get "tazed" at a military gear expo. Marines will do anything for a free T-shirt.

143. Deployment reunions. Like reliving your wedding night. Sweet!

144. Gig lines. Even in khakis and a polo shirt.

145. Eight-point covers. Even the uniform stands at attention.

146. Marine Security Guards #2. They're not cute and cuddly, but when they greet you at the door, it's like getting a great big hug from the United States of America, no matter where you are.

147. The Mameluke sword. Distinctive.

148. The NCO sword. Earned, never given.

149. The World Famous Mud Run. Thousands of people pay good money to run through 10 clicks of muck every year at Camp Pendleton.

150. John Philip Sousa. A Marine, the nation's March King and composer of "The Stars and Stripes Forever." Ooh-rah.

151. MRE crackers. Hard as Milk Bones but much tastier. You can almost feel your teeth getting cleaner as you eat 'em.

152. Jane Wayne Day. She'll never ask about work again.

153. Shirt stays. Or garters. Whatever you call them, they're a triple whammy, keeping your shirt tucked, your socks up and removing all that unwanted leg hair.

154. The slogans: "The Few, The Proud, The Marines." "We're Looking For a Few Good Men," "Once a Marine, always a Marine," "Tell that to the Marines." If they could only purchase the rights to Hallmark's "When You Care Enough to Send the Very Best."

155. Speaking of slogans, "The Few, The Proud, The Marines" beat out such notables as Nike's "Just Do It" and Burger King's "Have It Your Way" for a 2007 spot on the advertising Walk of Fame. Better luck next year, losers.

157. Real duty station garden spots you can go an entire career without being assigned to: Southern California; Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii; Okinawa, Japan.

158. Rear-party Marines. God bless them. Whatever reason they stay behind — injury, impending retirement or being volun-told — they are indispensable. They deserve medals for what they have to deal with while a unit is deployed.

159. While field-grade officers are at the company office, company-grade officers are in the field.

160. Colonels who can take a joke.

161. Free flu shots. And smallpox shots and anthrax shots …

162. Former Sgt. Chris Everhart. While camping with his three sons in June 2007, a bear snatched their cooler and made a play for his 6-year-old. Everhart threw an 18-inch log at the bear's head, cracking its skull before it could attack and killing it instantly. Then, the park ranger gave him a ticket for leaving the cooler where the bear could get it.

163. Standards. The Corps doesn't lower the bar when recruiting gets tough.

164. Jim Nabors. "Gomer Pyle" becomes an honorary Marine in 2001 and makes lance corporal. It takes him six years to pin on corporal. Talk about art imitating life.

165. Vincent D'Onofrio. The other "Private Pyle" is doing pretty well on "Law and Order: Criminal Intent." He's still weird, though.

166. If you ambush Capt. Brian Chontosh's boys, he's going to take off his Navy Cross and kill you. Then, he's going to pick up your rifle and kill your buddies. Then, he's going to pick up your buddy's rifle and kill your buddy's buddies. Then, he's going to pick up a rocket-propelled grenade launcher …

167. Speaking of the Navy Cross, a combat award second only to the Medal of Honor, Marines have earned 15 so far in Iraq, plus one in Afghanistan. Of the six awarded to sailors for those combat zones, five went to SEALs, and one went to a corpsman who exposed himself repeatedly to enemy fire to evacuate and treat wounded Marines. Along with Chontosh, the other recipients include:

168. Gunnery Sgt. Justin D. Lehew.

169. Lance Cpl. Joseph B. Perez.

170. Sgt. Scott C. Montoya.

171. Cpl. Marco A. Martinez.

172. Sgt. Willie L. Copeland.

173. Capt. Brent Morel (posthumous).

174. Sgt. Anthony L. Viggiani.

175. 1st Sgt. Bradley A. Kasal.

176. Cpl. Robert J. Mitchell.

177. Cpl. Dominic Esquibel.

178. Sgt. Jarrett A. Kraft.

179. Cpl. Jeremiah W. Workman.

180. Cpl. Todd Corbin.

181. Sgt. Aubrey L. McDade Jr.

182. Pfc. Christopher Adlesperger (posthumous).

183. Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Louis E. Fonseca.

184. Iwo JIMA. Japan might have changed the name to Iwo To, but that doesn't mean you have to acknowledge it.

185. Col. John Ripley. Received the Navy Cross for the destruction of the Dong Ha bridge in Vietnam. The Corps takes care of its own. In 2002, with Ripley near death, doctors finally found a donated liver for his much-needed transplant. So the Marine Corps sent helicopters and Marines to Philadelphia to retrieve it, and they personally rushed it back to Washington in time to save his life.

186. Marine Corps Times isn't a version of Navy Times anymore. How many careers get their own newspaper?

188. Gatorade bottles wrapped in green, 100 mph tape so as not to offend the sailors in the room.

189. Camaraderie. Marines will hook you up with their sisters, then punch you in the mouth for doing what they knew would happen the whole time.

190. Ingenuity. MRE bombs, 101 uses for cleaning rods and iPods wired into field radio speakers.

191. Getting off the ship.

192. Getting back on the ship.

193. No beach? No problem. Marines inserted 400 miles into landlocked Afghanistan and created Camp Rhino using CH-53 Sea Stallions. Imagine what you can invade with the Osprey.

194. Cases and cases of bottled water mean never having to stand behind a water bull.

195. Race as a nonissue. It wasn't always the case, but three black sergeants major of the Marine Corps in a row show that the Corps has only one color: green.

196. Every day in the Corps is another reason to celebrate. That's why they call them working "parties."

197. Riddick Bowe had what it took to be boxing's undisputed heavyweight champ. He did not have what it took to be a Marine.

198. The U.S. Army Band is called "Pershing's Own." The U.S. Marine Corps Band is called "The President's Own."

199. "8th and I." Ten bucks says you have no idea where the Army chief of staff lives. Commandants don't hide.

200. MRE "rat boxes." How grunts trick-or-treat.

201. The poncho liner. It's a blanket, it's a tent, it's a keeper.

202. Combat fit-reps. People say they're equal to regular fit-reps. People lie.

203. The "E-tool lean." Sailors don't know how good they have it.

204. Navy Lt. Vincent Capodanno, Medal of Honor recipient. If Marines have a hot line to heaven, Father Capodanno — aka the Grunt Padre — would take the call. His body peppered by shrapnel, his right hand nearly severed, the Navy chaplain and priest crisscrossed a Vietnam battlefield Sept. 4, 1967, to render last rites to his fallen Marines and corpsmen with 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines, until 27 rounds from an enemy machine gun took his life. Last year, the Vatican declared him a "servant of God." Next step, sainthood?

206. Amphibious warfare means always being near the beach.

207. No Fear #2. Talk about the AV-8B Harrier's troubled past all you like, but brave jump jet pilots are flying missions in Iraq.

208. New Uniforms #2. Wash-and-wear combat uniforms mean no more starch, no more dry cleaning.

209. Marine air-ground task force. Nothing like controlling the air and the ground.

210. Slapping an eagle, globe and anchor on the back of your car and knowing it'll get you out of at least one speeding ticket.

211. The Navy wants to put Marines back on warships. It seems that Tomahawk cruise missiles can't do everything.

212. Liberty in Thailand.

213. Liberty in Australia.

214. Liberty, well, anywhere.

215. The Navy's mascot is a goat. The Corps' mascot is a bulldog. You don't need Michael Vick to tell you who wins that fight.

216. If you need another occupying land force, you can use the Marine Corps. If you need another rapidly deployable, sea-based, front-door-kicking, air-ground team, you can't use the Army.

217. 1775 Rum Punch. Four parts dark rum, two parts lime juice, one part pure maple syrup, grenadine to taste.

218. "It's fun to shoot some people," said Lt. Gen. Jim Mattis. He says what he thinks.

219. The Beirut Memorial Wall. If you ever forget what you're fighting for, pay a visit.

221. "Son, we live in a world that has walls, and those walls have to be guarded by men with guns. Who's gonna do it? You? You, Lieutenant Weinburg? I have a greater responsibility than you could possibly fathom. You weep for Santiago, and you curse the Marines. You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know. That Santiago's death, while tragic, probably saved lives. And my existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, saves lives. You don't want the truth because deep down, in places you don't talk about at parties, you want me on that wall. You need me on that wall. We use words like honor, code, loyalty. We use these words as the backbone of a life spent defending something. You use them as a punch line. I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very freedom that I provide, and then questions the manner in which I provide it. I would rather you just said thank you, and went on your way. Otherwise, I suggest you pick up a weapon and stand a post. Either way, I don't give a damn what you think you are entitled to." Jack Nicholson, "A Few Good Men."

222. Maj. Meghan McClung, Marine public affairs officer, killed by a roadside bomb in Iraq while escorting media. The PAO is more than just a spokesman.

223. Sgt. Rafael Peralta. Like Dunham, he hugged a grenade to save his buddies in Iraq. No Medal of Honor … yet.

224. Hearing an accidental discharge into the clearing barrel, then waiting for the lieutenant to walk inside.

225. Call signs like "Spider" and "Assassin," and these guys were generals.

227. Buttered noodles for breakfast.

228. "Every Marine should look like a Marine. But a Marine looks like a Marine when he's got a bayonet stuck in the enemy's chest." Gen. Robert Magnus, assistant commandant, discussing body-fat standards.

229. "Infantry" is the easiest job for recruiters to sell.

230. Being the youngest Marine at the ball.

231. Being the oldest Marine at the ball.

232. Marine Corps Times appreciates all you do. Happy birthday, Marines!

Posted by tree hugging sister at 11:45 PM

"The Real Forest Gump"

...on Friday's The real Forrest Gump
NBC Nightly News

Grinch and I were tickled watching. One more thing we hadn't known about him.
If you remember, we've actually met that remarkable American.

Helluva fellow. But they all are, really.

Happy Veterans Day.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 11:36 PM | Comments (1)

Ben Stein

...in today's New York Times.

It’s Time to Act Like Grown-Ups

NOW for a few thoughts on the credit crisis and the need to prepare for retirement.

...Next, when I saw that Citi had taken a bath in collateralized debt obligations and subprime, and saw that Robert E. Rubin had been on the board in a major position and had failed to stop the train wreck, I was staggered. And now he has been named chairman. He couldn’t protect Citi’s stockholders, and now he’s in charge? And let’s remember, he was Treasury secretary when we had the first part of one of the worst bubbles in stock market history. What on earth are the Citi directors thinking?

... But it certainly hurts to spend day after day, as I did this fall, at Walter Reed Army Medical Center — where the incredibly brave wounded soldiers from Iraq and Afghanistan learn about walking and eating without their natural legs and arms — and to realize that the America for which they’re fighting is led in so many arenas, especially the money one, by such weak, disappointing specimens.

It’s high time that the America for which soldiers sacrifice so much is run on a moral standard more like theirs. And this is without even talking about Section 60 at Arlington National Cemetery, where fresh graves are dug every week and the fresh tears keep the ground damp. They deserve better.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 12:05 PM

November 10, 2007

Semper Fi

Happy Birthday, Marines!

and Thank You.

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 11:14 PM | Comments (1)

To My Brothers and Sisters: HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!

And...always...Semper Fi.

MARINE CORPS ORDER No. 47 (Series 1921)
U.S. MARINE CORPS Washington, November 1, 1921

The following will be read to the command on the 10th of November, 1921, and hereafter on the 10th of November of every year. Should the order not be received by the 10th of November, 1921, it will be read upon receipt.

On November 10, 1775, a Corps of Marines was created by a resolution of Continental Congress. Since that date many thousand men have borne the name "Marine". In memory of them it is fitting that we who are Marines should commemorate the birthday of our corps by calling to mind the glories of its long and illustrious history.

The record of our corps is one which will bear comparison with that of the most famous military organizations in the world's history. During 90 of the 146 years of its existence the Marine Corps has been in action against the Nation's foes. From the Battle of Trenton to the Argonne, Marines have won foremost honors in war, and in the long eras of tranquility at home, generation after generation of Marines have grown gray in war in both hemispheres and in every corner of the seven seas, that our country and its citizens might enjoy peace and security.

In every battle and skirmish since the birth of our corps, Marines have acquitted themselves with the greatest distinction, winning new honors on each occasion until the term "Marine" has come to signify all that is highest in military efficiency and soldierly virtue.

This high name of distinction and soldierly repute we who are Marines today have received from those who preceded us in the corps. With it we have also received from them the eternal spirit which has animated our corps from generation to generation and has been the distinguishing mark of the Marines in every age. So long as that spirit continues to flourish Marines will be found equal to every emergency in the future as they have been in the past, and the men of our Nation will regard us as worthy successors to the long line of illustrious men who have served as "Soldiers of the Sea" since the founding of the Corps.

Major General

Posted by tree hugging sister at 11:14 PM | Comments (2)

November 06, 2007

Oh Great.

Good to know our skies are protected

Nov. 5 (Bloomberg) -- The U.S. Air Force temporarily grounded its fleet of Boeing Co. F-15 fighter-bombers, including those flying missions in Afghanistan, the service said, citing ``airworthiness concerns.''

The grounding of more than 700 aircraft, which includes F- 15E fighter-bombers that carry the largest U.S. precision guided weapons, took place after the crash of a Missouri Air National Guard F-15C fighter on Nov. 2.

30 year old planes are starting to fall apart? No kidding.

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 07:01 AM | Comments (22)

October 30, 2007

For Marines

...one of Charlie Rangel's concerns 5 years ago...

...Service in our nation's armed forces is no longer a common experience. A disproportionate number of the poor and members of minority groups make up the enlisted ranks of the military, while the most privileged Americans are underrepresented or absent.

...haven't proved to be true. In fact, quite the opposite.
Marines Begin to Reverse Sharp Drop in Black Recruits

The proportion of Marine Corp recruits who are African American jumped by 40 percent over the last 12 months, halting a seven-year slide that has worried service leaders.

A 'SEVEN-year' slide ~ that predates 9/11 if my math is correct. The astonishing thing are the casualty figures in the article...
...Of 969 Marines who have died in Iraq, 39 were African American and 139 Hispanic. Hispanics comprise 18 percent of enlisted Marines today up from 15 percent when the Iraq war began.


Posted by tree hugging sister at 09:24 AM | Comments (3)

October 29, 2007

No "Blood For Oil"...

But what about "Blood for Eleanor"? Read the remarkable story of the Marine Crusader refers to below, Mitchell Paige.

Semper Fi, Marine.

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 06:58 AM | Comments (1)

GI Joe, a real world hero?

The hill had held, because on the hill remained the minimum number of able-bodied United States Marines necessary to hold the position.

Posted by Crusader at 06:33 AM | Comments (5)

October 24, 2007

Utter Coolness

An HMX bird just went over the house at 200-250 feet.

We waved.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 03:16 PM | Comments (2)

Squirm, Baby, Squirm!

Fiasco inferno!

... The documents appear to expose that once the veracity of Beauchamp's diaries were called into question, and an Army investigation ensued, THE NEW REPUBLIC has failed to publicly account for publishing slanderous falsehoods about the U.S. military in a time of war

Posted by tree hugging sister at 01:39 PM | Comments (3)

October 12, 2007

The Marines Want to Take Over the Afghanistan Show

Marines Press to Remove Their Forces From Iraq

The Marine Corps is pressing to remove its forces from Iraq and to send Marines instead to Afghanistan, to take over the leading role in combat there, according to senior military and Pentagon officials.

The idea by the Marine Corps commandant would effectively leave the Iraq war in the hands of the Army while giving the Marines a prominent new role in Afghanistan, under overall NATO command.

Letting a MAGTF do it's thing would be an interesting demonstration of what they're designed to do to begin with. For those unfamiliar with the Marine Corps air/ground doctrine, it is a mighty thing.
The Marine Air Ground Task Force is the Marine Corps’ principle organization for conducting missions across the spectrum of military operations. MAGTFs provide combatant commanders or joint task force commanders with scalable, versatile expeditionary forces able to respond to a broad range of crisis and conflict situations. They are balanced, combined-arms force packages containing organic command, ground, aviation, and sustainment elements.A single commander leads and co-ordinates this combined-arms team from peacetime training through deployment. MAGTF teams live and train together,further increasing their cohesion and fighting power.

Marines bring EVERYTHING they need to operate with them, as well as the supplies to keep going. Marine Air is already in place and operating when the ground pounders call a strike in.

I was heartened by this paragraph...

...It is not clear whether the Army would support the idea. But some officials sympathetic to the Army said that such a realignment would help ease some pressure on the Army, by allowing it to shift forces from Afghanistan into Iraq, and by simplifying planning for future troop rotations.

...because of a disturbing policy that has kept me and major dad pissed off beyond all reckoning. Something we've spoken personally to outraged parents about. And we've yet to see anyone address it or write about it. Watching the Honor Rolls on news programs (as it does on The News Hour on PBS) that run when they've pictures and names of the fallen, you may have noticed the odd E-1 to E-3/4 Navy or Air Force casualty. One would normally think 'Dang! This isn't a naval war! Must be a corpsman or something.' But it's not.

It's some junior enlisted Navy or Air Force reservist who's been called up...to fill Army billets on convoys, security duties, in supply...whatever hole the Army can plug an untrained body into. And they have minimal combat training.

And we think that's wrong.

As is what is happening within reserve units who finally get home...

Army Denies Guard Members Education Benefits

More than 1,000 members of the Minnesota National Guard who returned from Iraq this summer have been denied full education benefits under the GI Bill.

All the soldiers served nearly two years in Iraq, but half were told they served only 729 days, one day short of qualifying for full education benefits.

That would be a unit with a happy taste in its mouth, I'd say.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 05:37 PM | Comments (4)

October 04, 2007


I mean, who knew?

A daring ambush of bombs and gunfire left Poland's ambassador pinned down in a burning vehicle today before being pulled to safety and airlifted in a rescue mission by the embattled security firm Blackwater USA. At least three people were killed, including a Polish bodyguard.

The attack — apparently well planned in one of Baghdad's most secure neighborhoods — raised questions about whether it sought to punish Poland for its contributions to the U.S.-led military force in Iraq. But Poland's prime minister, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, said his nation would not retreat "in the face of terrorists."

...Poland, a staunch U.S. ally, contributed combat troops to the 2003 U.S.-led invasion and has since led a multinational division south of Baghdad. About 900 Polish troops remain in the country training Iraqi personnel; 21 Poles have died during the conflict.

Bravo, Poland. And we thank you.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 10:15 AM | Comments (3)

September 18, 2007

Here's A Couple Nazguls

...I'd willingly ride with.

Ch-53 Nazgul - MyVideo
"Don't touch me ~ I'm a grasshopper!"

Posted by tree hugging sister at 11:57 AM | Comments (5)

September 05, 2007

The 'Haditha Massacre'

...'conspiracy' and media witch hunt continues to fall apart, thank God.

A two star general and two other officers were censured Wednesday for failing to promptly investigate the killings of 24 civilians at Haditha, Iraq, but were cleared of a coverup, the military said.

... Marines killed 24 Iraqi civilians at Haditha on November 19, 2005 but commanders did not investigate the deaths until the following February after a investigative report into the killings by Time magazine.

"The essential issue was that ... no investigation was initiated immediately," the marine officer said.

... "Our goal has been to do it as expeditious as possible, but these were substantial cases and huge investigations," the marine officer said.

Their careers are effectively ended. A recap so far...
A total of eight marines were initially charged in connection with the Haditha deaths.

Four were charged with murder while four senior officers were accused of failing to properly investigate the killings.

Of the four marines charged with murder, two have since had charges withdrawn, while allegations against a third are also expected to be dismissed.

There was a quick mention of this new development on World News Tonight. No where near the hyperbole that accompanied the original, lurid reports.

Imagine that.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 06:38 PM | Comments (2)

August 19, 2007

A Programming Note

In case you missed it the first time, the Travel Channel is re-broadcasting Tony Bourdain in Beirut at 10 p.m. e/p tonight. (9c) It's pretty terrific, not only for the heartbreaking realization of what the Lebanese people have lost as a result of Hezbollah's actions and, pretty much, their government's inaction, but as well for the turn-about in Bourdain's attitude when he finally walks into the welcoming arms of the U.S. Marines. To his great credit, he is emotional and eloquent.

If you have an hour this evening, we recommend it.


Posted by tree hugging sister at 02:43 PM | Comments (1)

August 15, 2007

"The Thing That We Do Extremely Well..."

"...is take care of each other."


Posted by tree hugging sister at 03:11 PM | Comments (3)

July 10, 2007

Those Are Some Lucky Damn Guys, I Tell Ya

I'm sure they'll be thanking the new president from the bottom of their hearts.

Clinton presents plan to end Iraq war
Democratic presidential front-runner Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.) Tuesday unveiled her plan to bring U.S. troops home from Iraq within 60 days of taking office.

...Clinton promised to initiate phased redeployment as soon as she takes office. However, as part of her plan, specialized forces would remain to fight terrorists.

With the absence of U.S. troops, the senator hopes to stabilize the country by focusing on aid efforts that put money in the hands of the Iraqi people.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 01:39 PM | Comments (4)

July 09, 2007

This Is Stupid

There. I said it. And it's late and this kind of weasel speak makes my head spin. For the record, more American service members died during the Clinton years than have left us so far during Bush's tenure. Well, okay. Some gooberhead wants to argue about more "combat" deaths during Bush's term, but dang Einstein ~ it's a WAR. As opposed to Bubba's Somalia/Haiti/Bosnia/ad nauseum adventures in Commander-in-Chiefness. Honestly...aren't people expected to die in combat any more? Else, why would we call it 'combat'? And, if we weren't in a 'MAJOR conflict', why were all those folks dying during Clinton's 8 years? Maybe Hillary can answer, huh? And if all these combat deaths still don't add up to what was, in actuality, a peacetime armed forces during Bubba I & II, WHY were there so many dead service members? (Come to think of it, there were a lot of dead/dying Clinton types period, weren't there?) (Forget I said that ~ I mean no harm...) Training accidents, schmaybe? If so, then we should be vastly proud of the advances made in troop safety manifesting itself in far lower numbers once we bugger out and stop all those nasty 'war' wounds. They just screw up the stats.

A Swill Salute to the Gateway Pundit for confusing the pi$$ out of me.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 11:55 PM

Nothing Like Having Your Family

...be quietly supportive.

All Grown Up -- and Going to War

July is a month I sincerely hoped would never come.

At the end of this month, my young son, my only child, deploys with the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit. His departure had been six months away, three months; now it is a matter of weeks...

...The ironies of this conflict are many for me. More than 30 years ago, I wrote my master's thesis at Columbia University on "Political Integration of the Kurds in Iraq." Little did I ever suspect that any child of mine would be a pawn in a senseless conflict in that distant land...

Couldn't she have held off sending this very PUBLIC message until her hard chargin' Jarhead was in country? Where maybe mom's writing the freaking WaPo with her liberally credentialed, anti-war screed wouldn't embarrass or even demotivate her son in real time?

You'll notice that NOWHERE in her navel gazing accusations and gloomy prognostications (Mentally deranged? Wounded, even? Scarred and limbs missing? She's already got him legless in a VA hospital in her mind!) does she mention pride in her son. Nowhere does she speak of the man he has become and how she feels about him. Pitiful. Her letter is a selfish, pitiful intellectual exercise.

Grow up, Ms. 'Columbia' and be a man...for your boy. Save the Cindy Sheehan parenting handbook steps for when he's deployed and busy with the life-or-death life he's chosen.

Oo-RAH, Marine. Semper Fi.

A Swill Salute to Wake Up, America.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 12:16 PM | Comments (7)

July 08, 2007

I Was Waiting for the Transcripts So I Could Share

...and see if you were as surprised as I was. The setting? A round table on CNN's "This Week at War". The participants? BRIG. GEN. David Grange, U.S.A.(RET), Jamie McIntyre, the usual CNN suspects, including...correspondent Michael Ware. I was already rolling my eyes. They would wind up bugging out in shock.

...[Tom] FOREMAN: Jamie, how afraid are the generals that now with General Petraeus in command, they are moving in the right direction that things actually are making progress but that the clock in Washington has just run out?

McINTYRE: You saw that comment from General Lynch. It followed the one on Thursday from General Mixon, his counterpart to the north. There's a united front from front line commanders who are urging patience with the surge. The biggest fear now is that the surge is going to be successful in the short term and then the troops are going to be pulled out. It's all going to go back to the way it was. That's what they're warning about now and basically say they're not paying attention to what's happening in Washington, but they can feel the heat of the disillusionment in Washington, the impatience with the policy and they're very concerned that the rug might be pulled out from underneath them just when they think they have a strategy that's working.

...FOREMAN: Michael Ware, you've had some of the most pessimistic outlooks at times that anything can be done to make things better, but you're on the ground there. You see the so-called surge at work. Would you say to the politicians here, yeah, give it until September, see how it works out or would you say, look, we've waited and waited and waited. Maybe you're doing the right thing to change now?

WARE: What I would say is quite the contrary. I would say that, you know, I'm sorry, but American forces took this country. A set of circumstances emerged and whether you like it or not, whether you're for or against this war from the beginning, whether you're for or against the surge now, I'm sorry, America has very little choice but to stay and for the long-term. I mean, this country is broke. America's enemies are emboldened and stronger. Their spheres of influence are increasing as a direct result of U.S. presence here and the ongoing war. And what, you want to turn around and pull out and leave it behind to them? If that's what you want to do, I mean, if America wants to pull out now...

...is America ready to pay the price?

The next question is "General Grange, what do you think that price would be, very briefly?" and you can tell the General is stunned by what came out of Ware's mouth, as were we. He was all fired up to dispute what he knew Ware was going to say, got completely blindsided and has to regroup, speaking as if he can't believe what he's about to say...
GRANGE: I think Mike's right on.

Buried on a Saturday afternoon show, I doubt this got the attention it deserves, since the New York Times editorial page had already gone to print. Sh*t. I'll bet they had this written a year and a half ago and were just waiting to spring it.

It is time for the United States to leave Iraq, without any more delay than the Pentagon needs to organize an orderly exit.

...It is frighteningly clear that Mr. Bush’s plan is to stay the course as long as he is president and dump the mess on his successor. Whatever his cause was, it is lost.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 10:19 PM | Comments (3)

June 14, 2007

This Is So Dangerous

UPDATE and BUMP: Oh, the weaselly son of a bitch.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid confirmed Thursday that he told liberal bloggers last week that he thinks outgoing Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Peter Pace is "incompetent."

Reid acknowledged similarly disparaging Army Gen. David Petraeus, head of Multinational Forces in Iraq.

But Reid, whose comments to bloggers first appeared in The Politico, also told reporters: "I think we should just drop it."

Easy enough for you to want turn tail and run, Dirty Harry. You seem to be pretty well versed in those tactics.


A Democratic challenge to Gen. Peter Pace indicates that uniformed officers no longer are exempt from the partisan fire on Capitol Hill once reserved for civilian policymakers.

Mr. Levin might want to recall how the military was harangued for even the perception of losing their political neutrality when it came to respecting a certain Democratic commander-in-chief.
...Military personnel aren't required to like their Commander in Chief, or even respect him in the privacy of their own hearts. But they are required, in accordance with military law and tradition, to show respect for the office, regardless of how they may feel about the office holder.

The 'privacy of their own hearts'. Like when the civilian in charge asks for your opinion, you give it truthfully and earnestly. But if he decides to go the other way, it's then 'yes sir, yes sir, three bags full' and you carry out your assigned mission, again, to the best of your ability. Because, no matter your rank, you are SUBORDINATE to your civilian commander. That's the duty you're sworn to. And the duty that once sworn is compelled by the force of law.

The miserable incompetence of this war's handling has nothing to do with it's military prosecution and everything to do with policy. Policy=political, because only elected civilians can set 'policy'. Oddly enough, that's what another Congressperson argues, when setting out why Gen. Pace (and henceforth ALL military officers, I guess) should be castigated publicly.

...[Rep. Ellen O., D-Calif.] Tauscher said his [Pace's] comments on gays "showed his ignorance" and "had to be deeply discounted because they came from a man who had presided over a war that we got into on a lie and what I consider to be a serious dereliction of duty in having our troops and our readiness so destroyed by the policies of this administration."

I'm sure there are Republicans who could have said as much to Marines during Clinton's foray into Haiti, for example. Or his morphing of the mission in Somalia to hunt down bald headed warlords, vice the 'feed the children' exercise major dad went in-country for originally. Those would have been legitimate moments to ask military commanders "What the F*CK were you thinking?" ~ don't you think? But your questions would have to be addressed to the policy maker, vice the implementer. The U.S. military has never ordered ITSELF anywhere.

And where does this end, once the Pandora's Box is spewing its contentious contents unchecked? Does it end with a sitting Democratic president making policy, because the majority now agrees with him, so all decisions must be peachy? Does it end when Mr. Levin abuses a military member at the table before him ~ for policies over which he had no control and could only do his sworn duty to do them to the best of his ability ~ and said service member breaks and calls Mr. Levin a sweet, well-earned perjorative, only then to be prosecuted for breaking the cardinal rule, "in accordance with military law and tradition, to show respect for the office"?

Of course, no member of the United States military would ever, ever do such a thing. Mr. Levin and Mr. Tauscher and all the despicable loser lefties in the United States Congress know it. They demand the respect their offices provide and wield the power therein to abuse, belittle and destroy those who protect their institution but have no recourse ~ those whose oath actually carries penalties.

Mr. Levin obviously feels shooting uniformed fish in a barrel suits his purposes...makes his point...makes GREAT television theater. Be damned what it does otherwise.

UPDATE: Some background.

Article 88, which states:

“Any commissioned officer who uses contemptuous words against the President, the Vice President, Congress, the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of a military department, the Secretary of Transportation, or the Governor or legislature of any State, Territory, Commonwealth, or possession in which he is on duty or present shall be punished as a court-martial may direct.”

…Not likely. The UCMJ is not the product of military fiat, but rather a 1950 act of Congress. Congress intentionally chose to narrow the prior version of Article 88, which had covered all soldiers, in order to ensure that it applied to officers but not enlisted personnel. From a policy standpoint, why did it chose to do so?

First, Congress probably recognized that the primary purpose of Article 88 should be to prevent active military officers from meddling in politics–a persistent problem in other republics, both ancient and modern.

…More recently, a number of military officers faced disciplinary action after drawing attention to deficiencies in President Clinton’s moral character - an activity which for civilians seemed to constitute a hearty national pastime throughout the 1990s. These cases, while relatively few in number, became emblematic of Clinton’s difficult relations with the military, particularly its professional officer corps.

For example, Maj. Gen. Harold Campbell was compelled to retire after referring, no doubt affectionately, to the “gay-loving,” “womanizing,” “draft-dodging” and “pot-smoking” President in a speech at an Air Force banquet. Other officers received reprimands for characterizing their Commander-in-Chief as a “lying draft dodger,” a “moral coward,” and an “adulterous liar” in letters to their local newspapers.

Even retired officers may be at risk when they speak out - as Lt. Col. Michael J. Davidson noted in his July 1999 Army Lawyer article, “Contemptuous Speech Against the President.” Davidson noted that Article 88 may apply to retired commissioned officers by virtue of other articles of the UCMJ.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 08:18 PM | Comments (2)

June 06, 2007

There's a Couple More Magnificent Military Moments

...associated with this day in June. The Japanese were buggering out of Midway...and then there was this guy. At Belleau Wood. In 1918. Who had something to say.

War Correspondent Roy Floyd Gibbons lay surrounded by the dead, pinned down and terrified. At this critical point, one of the Old Breed Leathernecks leapt to his feet with a curse. Double Medal of Honor awardee from the Boxer Rebellion and Haiti, Gunnery Sergeant Dan Daly swept by. The sergeant, Gibbons reported in his dispatch, swung his bayoneted rifle over his head with a forward sweep, yelling at his men
"Come on, you sons of bitches, do you want to live forever?"
With a roar the survivors in the wheat surged forward and overran the first line of German machine guns in the woods.*

*From "A Fellowship of Valor", Col. Joseph Alexander, USMC, Ret.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 10:40 AM | Comments (3)

June 6th, 1944


Posted by Mr. Bingley at 09:40 AM | Comments (5)

May 27, 2007

God Bless Them



Posted by tree hugging sister at 10:57 PM | Comments (5)

May 24, 2007

Turf Battle?

Jules Crittenden links to a very interesting and revealing discussion on how best to conduct a counter-insurgency campaign. What I think some of the commentators are missing is the audience to whom the various remarks are addressed: The Army/USMC folks who wrote the report are speaking to the troops who will be doing the brunt of the fighting; the Air Force general is writing to the Congress (and MSM) who will control the budgets.

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 07:12 AM | Comments (2)

May 22, 2007

Sitting in a Tent for the Weekend

...does have it disadvantages. Like missing the heads-up on this great post from Lamplighter.

Go get 'em, Mike!

Posted by tree hugging sister at 07:58 AM

May 13, 2007

Old Mullah Dadullah

...bites it.

A U.S.-led coalition operation supported by NATO troops killed the Taliban's most prominent military commander, dealing the insurgency a "serious blow," a NATO statement said Sunday, confirming Afghan reports of Mullah Dadullah's death.

Rock on!

Raise one to the good guys.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 11:58 AM | Comments (3)

April 30, 2007

Blue Angels in the Pattern

...overhead. Life goes on.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 11:36 AM

April 26, 2007

Leviathan's Bones

I find these pictures and the whole story of the Kursk so very sad. I can't imagine the horror those poor guys went through. And at 155m she was longer than the depth of the water she sank in.

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 10:15 AM

April 23, 2007


This was really nice of CNN. Who woulda thunk it and I got the screenshot before they could change their minds. Reports are his folks were in the stands and I hope they get some comfort from knowing he was doing what he truly loved, something that so few people ever have the chance and courage and ability to do. Plus, with the Angels being the dashing media darlings that they are, there are lots of film clips of him that his family can gather and cherish. (ABC News showed a great segment tonight.) I would think that will a huge comfort, too, once the pain subsides. They're blessed in that respect, I told major dad. Then the Grinch called after seeing the footage ~ he's our resident subject matter expert in such awful things ~ and thinks he may have suffered an aggravated stall: pushing the plane so hard out of a turn to play catch-up you run out of air holding you up. He's just sick about it, too.

So, anyway, we watched for them overhead this evening, but we didn't hear them. Usually the approach is right over the backyard, so low I can read the BUNOs without binos. The roar shakes the plates off the walls and BooBoo chases 'the boys' as they cross our slice of the evening sky...but not today.

That was way nice of CNN.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 12:38 AM | Comments (4)

April 22, 2007

Happy Anniversiary, Kcruella!!

We met at the AFEES station in Newark and then it was off to Parris Island.
Hardly seems like 27 years ago, does it?

Posted by tree hugging sister at 11:34 AM | Comments (9)

April 21, 2007

Oh, No

Blue Angel Down at Airshow

NEWS 3 has confirmed a Blue Angel aircraft has gone down somewhere near Pine Grove Road in Beaufort. NEWS 3 has crews on the scene and we'll have the latest tonight at 6 and 11.

Oh, no. First reports are in a residential neighborhood.

Say a little prayer.

UPDATE: The pinhead on CNN has put MCAS Beaufort (S.C.) near Camp Lejeune (N.C.). Somebody hand her a map. Reports are a house is on fire.

UPDATE: Damn. Fox is saying the Navy has confirmed that the pilot didn't make it out. Sh*t. But holy moly, are these assholes talking out their...asses on this coverage. FOX even had a newscaster on the phone from Tampa who was supposed to have flown with them in Tampa, but didn't get to because of mechanical difficulties. WTF? Because he got bumped from his media flight the day of the airshow, now he's a military aviation expert?! And some granny listening in Cleveland is thinking "Oh my God, those planes break all the time! Why are they flying them?"

These people make me sick.

UPDATE: They're backing off the house one fire, too. I'm hoping that turns out to be true. One death is one too many.

UPDATE: Local fishwrap reporting it was the Number 6 pilot.

...Reports indicate that it was Blue Angel No. 6 that went down and plane No. 1 circled the Air Station, possibly looking for the pilot. Later, officials at the crash site called for the coroner.

What a miracle no one else was killed.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 04:42 PM | Comments (4)

April 20, 2007

Dear Major Dad ~ Thank You For Your 30+ Years of Faithful Service...

...now fuck off.

So, basically that's where we stand. It's been 50 plus days since he headed off to retired land. Didn't see a check his first month and, being the patient sorts we are, asked his old group S-1 (who are under no obligation to help) to check into it. Bless their hearts, they did, explaining that the office dweeb answering the phone at DFAS Cleveland had said it was being 'reviewed'. After 30 years, they don't know who he is? Okey dokey, we'll wait.

His S-1 called again last week and got more 'being reviewed'. Okey dokey.

Today major dad gives up being polite and calls himself. Speaks to two people at various points in the foodchain, who parrot 'being reviewed'. "When will I get paid?" Simple question, with tap dancing for answers. "Probably 1 May."

"You're not giving me a warm fuzzy here. Probably? If it's not approved this week, WHEN will I get paid?"

"1 June. Probably."

"That's pretty unsatisfactory there, don't you think? After thirty years, WHAT has to be reviewed?"

After asking repeatedly, major dad identifies the source of all the pain. Headquarters Marine Corps had sent his retirement documents to DFAS$holes Cleveland...on paper. Not electronically. So they sat until someone got around to picking up pieces of paper in a moment of boredom. They KNEW they were retirement docs, but if they weren't on a computer screen? Sorry. Low priority.

This particular dweeb in the foodchain was the last one major dad could talk to, since the supervisors above his GS level were 'unavailable'. On a Friday afternoon? I'll bet. But he took md's number, so one of them can call him back. Probably.

Being reactive and fresh out of polite, we broke in our shiny new fax machine with a filled out Federal Case Form to Rep. Miller's office number. Will he have a chance to act on the fax?

Probably long before the senior dweebs call back. Or major dad gets paid.


Posted by tree hugging sister at 06:11 PM | Comments (4)

April 11, 2007

The Fiendish BASTARDS!

...Seaman Batchelor's claim that he cried himself to sleep after his Iranian captors likened him to the comedy character Mr Bean made him a laughing stock.
Oh, those cagey Islamic Republic types sure know how to go for a guy's cajones, eh? Not guns. Not mock executions. Not CAR BATTERY LEADS CLAMPED TO YOUR TESTICLES!! All is takes is the unspeakable cruelty of being compared to...


And his unfeeling mates in the British military are piling on...

...One serving soldier posted: "Batchelor didn't do the reputation of servicemen much good either! Being broken by being called Mr Bean FFS! - that must be on a par with Monty Python's Spanish Inquisition and the comfy cushions."
Wretches! All of them. You can laugh about the Spanish Inquisition...until they're at your door! We'll see who sheds girly tears then.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 12:55 PM | Comments (5)

April 06, 2007

Another Hot Air Post

...about the 'backlash' among Americans in uniform regarding their released British counterparts brought to mind an old axiom we had hammered into us at Parris Island. It might help explain the way we would expect to act given the same situation, with no superior orders to the contrary (i.e.; the American Ambassador in Tehran telling the embassy guards to stand down).

Background for the boot camp propaganda goes...

In Elizabeth, New Jersey, on 14 October 1926, the brutal robbery and killing of a U. S. Mail truck driver forced President Calvin Coolidge to turn to the Marine Corps for assistance in the civil community. By Presidential Order, 2,500 Marines proceeded on duty to guard the mail. The Commandant, anticipating the Presidential Order, on 18 October had directed the Commanding General, Headquarters, Department of the Pacific, located in San Francisco, ..."You will organize a force from the 4th Regiment, to be known as the Western Mail Guards, under the command of Brigadier-General Smedley D. Butler"...Brigadier-General Smedley D. Butler, known as "Ol' Gimlet Eye" to fellow Marines, brought a long record of combat leadership and two Congressional Medals of Honor to the Mail Guards. Veteran of both World War I and the guerilla wars of Central America, Butler's easy-going manner hid his cold, methodical approach to the task given to the Marines. As the primary source of personnel for the Western Mail Guard, the 4th Marines initially would be spread throughout eleven states(7). Part of a twelfth state, Texas would be added on 22 October 1926. General Butler's fully armed Marines soon became sobering influences throughout Post Offices, mail trains, and mail trucks in those areas. While Marines carried out their mail guard assignment, only one attempted robbery was recorded. That particular robbery involved an unguarded mail train carrying no mail at the time.

It was repeated often but what stuck in our shell shocked boot camp brains ~ as it was meant to ~ was the guidance given to those Marines guarding the mail, coincidentally part of the deterrent for those robbing the mail. I haven't found the attribution online (Mike?), but Kcruella and I sure remember the quote, having twisted it to our own purposes for these past 27 years. Goes like this:
"If the mail is missing, the Marine on that post had better be dead."

To my jaundiced eye, your average sailor (SeaBees, SEALS, etc. obviously not 'average', so don't even start) is basically a mail bag ~ they're not trained to defend themselves. If they were, there'd be no point in having Marines onboard to begin with. Those Royal Marines, with no orders we know of to the contrary, had an obligation to protect those sailors and, yeah...sometimes you might get hurt.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 08:53 PM | Comments (3)

"If His Forebearers, the Greatest Generation of Great Britain

...who fought and died so this MEATHEAD could be here now..."
Col. Jack Jacobs (who knows a bit about these sort of things) takes exception to the captured British Royal Marine captain's reasoning re:
"From the outset, it was very apparent that fighting back was simply not an option. Had we chosen to do so, then many of us would not be standing here today. Of that, I have no doubts."
And here I thought 'fighting back'...Hell! STARTING the fight was the point of wearing a Marine's uniform all along. I didn't know it was strictly to look snappy at press conferences explaining why you didn't put yer dukes up and protect those wimpy sailors you're with. I suggest a new uniform for Captain Air... ...with his mascot at his side.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 05:21 PM | Comments (1)

April 05, 2007

Didn't I Already Tell You

...to leave that stuff at home?

Top-secret data on an advanced US military system was leaked because Japanese officers were swapping porn files at work, a newspaper said Thursday.

Japan is questioning a naval officer on charges he obtained confidential data on the US-developed Aegis combat system, the defence ministry said Wednesday.

But the Yomiuri Shimbun said the data was leaked when the petty officer second class had copied pornographic images -- accompanied by the sensitive files -- from a colleague's computer and circulated them to a third officer.

I hope you washed your hands before you touched the keyboard...

Posted by tree hugging sister at 06:01 PM

April 04, 2007


Tony Blair has welcomed the release by Iran of 15 British sailors and marines taken captive 13 days ago. The Iranian president had said it was a "gift" to Britain.
Home by tomorrow it says.

UPDATE: The Times U.K. is doing some musing over who put their foot down to end this thing and they're betting it was Khamenei.

...The only possible explanation is that the release was ordered by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s Supreme leader, who has so far not spoken publicly about the 13-day crisis.

Behind the scenes it is assumed that a fierce struggle has been taking place in Tehran between hardliners and pragmatists.

The extremists wanted to put the British on trial or at least hold them as a bargaining chip for the release of five Iranian officials arrested by US forces in Iraq in January who are still in custody.

The more moderate elements advised the opposite. Iran is already reeling from sanctions imposed by the United Nations Security Council and in all likelihood faces further measures this year if it is does not halt its controversial nuclear programme.

The day's bit of hilarity is provided in the comments by (I'm supposing) a proud Venezuelan citizen. Or maybe a HuffPo/Kos flying monkey masquerading as one.
Your vision of Iran is skewed. You need Iran, they don't need you. Iran's oil gushing out of the ground is worth over 100 billion $ annually. Further, they make everything else they need and have surplus agriculture. Your farsical sanction against Iran has been in place for 30 years and has achieved null except negative return for yourself and that is why you are screaming. It is britain that can freeze to death if it didn't import oil and did not commit aggression to rub the people of Iraq from theirs.

glead, barqisimeto, Venezuela

Some people will do anything for a good 'rub'.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 01:40 PM | Comments (6)

March 29, 2007

I Am Stuffing Ding Dongs Into My Gaping MAW

...as I post this.

Marine Reservists Involuntarily Recalled

The Marine Corps is recalling 1,800 reservists to active duty, citing a shortage of volunteers to fill some jobs in Iraq.

Members of the branch's Individual Ready Reserve (IRR) will get letters this week notifying them of plans to mobilize them involuntarily for a year, said Lt. Col. Jeff Riehl of Marine manpower and reserve affairs.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates last week approved the action, under which reservists would report for duty in October and deploy to Iraq early next year, Riehl said.

From the 1,800 called, officials hope to get 1,200 Marines for aviation maintenance, logistics support, combat arms and several other skills needed for the early 2008 rotation into Iraq.


Posted by tree hugging sister at 01:18 PM | Comments (9)

March 23, 2007

What a Great Way to Start Another War the Day

Iranians seize 15 British sailors

Fifteen Royal Navy sailors have been seized by Iranian warships in Iraqi territorial waters, the Ministry of Defence said.

Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett has summoned the Iranian ambassador in London to demand their immediate release, a spokesman said.

The incident happened following a routine inspection of a merchant ship off Iraq.

The MoD said the incident happened at around 10.30am local time.

"The boarding party had completed a successful inspection of a merchant ship when they and their two boats were surrounded and escorted by Iranian vessels into Iranian territorial waters," a spokesman said.

Next move, anyone?

UPDATE: More coming out now.

UPDATE: What IS it with these people? The Fox News correspondent is reporting the British sailors have already been paraded BLINDFOLDED on state TV. If the Iranian government feels they've seized these guys legitimately, then act like a government, not freakin' cheesy-ass terrorists.

Wait. What am I saying...?

Posted by tree hugging sister at 08:44 AM | Comments (11)

March 21, 2007

Some Girls Are Just Crazy

...for a guy in uniform.
UPDATE: Finally, the AP story is out.

A U.S. Marine helicopter pilot who rescued a wounded British soldier in Iraq has received a rare British honor.

Queen Elizabeth II on Wednesday presented the Distinguished Flying Cross to Maj. William Chesarek, 32, of Newport, R.I.

...Chesarek was flying a Lynx helicopter for British forces in an exchange program. He braved hostile fire to evacuate a wounded British office in Al Amara province in June.

British Pvt. Michelle Norris, 19, of the Royal Army Medical Corps, received the Military Cross for her action in attending to the wounded officer. She was the first woman to be awarded the Military Cross.

How 'bout that! Big day at the palace all around, I'd say. A heartfelt Bravo Zulu to our major and the brave Pvt. Norris.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 09:35 PM | Comments (7)

February 27, 2007

I Know This Isn't Funny

...but it is.

"Being known to the world as a male rape victim is not fun. It is hard for them to sit up straight. If they are concerned about their military careers, why say anything?" [military prosecutor Maj.] Reder said.

You'd never hear that in an episode of JAG.

UPDATE: Oy. Not funny at all anymore.

An Air Force officer was found guilty Tuesday of raping four men and attempting to rape two others.

A nine-member military jury deliberated for about seven hours in Capt. Devery L. Taylor's court-martial. Taylor gave no reaction upon hearing the verdict.

Taylor, the former chief of patient administration at Eglin Regional Hospital, faces a maximum sentence of life in prison.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 10:44 AM | Comments (3)

February 16, 2007

So. Off He Went to Work in His Marine Corps Uniform Today

...for the last time. After 30 years, 5 months and fifteen or so days. He's always been a Marine's Marine, fiercely protective of his troops and his Corps, and so damn proud to wear that green. It's like his second skin. From the time he was a young leatherneck ~ bluntly answering the CG's innocent "How's it going, Corporal?" with "It's all fucked up, General" ~ to a mellow Captain assuring Bell V-22 Osprey mucky mucks that their vaunted program was "a train wreck". And then he was the major ~ 2 weeks removed from massive shoulder reconstructive surgery ~ who wound up being the senior Marine on station when Ivan wiped out the command's buildings. He's always been the common sense, 'take charge', 'straight scoop' guy people turn to immediately. Ebola and I adore him beyond all reason.
And we're so damn proud of him. We always have been.

OO-rah, love. And Semper Fi.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 09:22 AM | Comments (60)

February 10, 2007

Picture That

...Marines from Golf Company said they recently fished two bodies out of the local river: a man had been decapitated, and his 4-year old tied to his leg before both were thrown into the river and the little boy drowned...
...when 'run away' is broached. I guarantee you those Marines will.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 11:54 AM | Comments (2)

February 05, 2007

Maybe We Should Be Asking

...the boots ON the ground what they think.

Mahdi Army gains strength through unwitting aid of U.S.'

... "Half of them are JAM. They'll wave at us during the day and shoot at us during the night," said 1st Lt. Dan Quinn, a platoon leader in the Army's 1st Infantry Division, using the initials of the militia's Arabic name, Jaish al Mahdi. "People (in America) think it's bad, but that we control the city. That's not the way it is. They control it, and they let us drive around. It's hostile territory."

The Bush administration's plan to secure Baghdad rests on a "surge" of some 17,000 more U.S. troops to the city, many of whom will operate from small bases throughout Baghdad. Those soldiers will work to improve Iraqi security units so that American forces can hand over control of the area and withdraw to the outskirts of the city.

The problem, many soldiers said, is that the approach has been tried before and resulted only in strengthening al-Sadr and his militia.

Amid recurring reports that al-Sadr is telling his militia leaders to stash their arms and, in some cases, leave their neighborhoods during the American push, U.S. soldiers worry that the latest plan could end up handing over those areas to units that are close to al-Sadr's militant Shiite group.

"All the Shiites have to do is tell everyone to lay low, wait for the Americans to leave, then when they leave you have a target list and within a day they'll kill every Sunni leader in the country. It'll be called the `Day of Death' or something like that," said 1st Lt. Alain Etienne, 34, of Brooklyn, N.Y. "They say, `Wait, and we will be victorious.' That's what they preach. And it will be their victory."

Quinn agreed.

"Honestly, within six months of us leaving, the way Iranian clerics run the country behind the scenes, it'll be the same way here with Sadr," said Quinn, 25, of Cleveland. "He already runs our side of the river."

Then again, maybe it's not what they want to hear.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 05:59 AM | Comments (1)

February 03, 2007

February 3rd Is Known As "Four Chaplains Day" Now

...because of a terrible night on the USS Dorchester in 1943.

...Outside it was another cold, windy night as the midnight hour signaled the passing of February 2nd and the beginning of a new day. In the distance a cold, metal arm broke the surface of the stormy seas. At the end of that arm, a German U-Boat (submarine) captain monitored the slowly passing troop transport. Shortly before one in the morning he gave the command to fire.

Quiet moments passed as silent death reached out for the men of the Dorchester, then the early morning was shattered by the flash of a blinding explosion and the roar of massive destruction. The "hit" had been dead on, tossing men from their cots with the force of its explosion. A second torpedo followed the first, instantly killing 100 men in the hull of the ship. Power was knocked out by the explosion in the engine room, and darkness engulfed the frightened men below deck as water rushed through gaping wounds in the Dorchester's hull. The ship tilted at an unnatural angle as it began to sink rapidly, and piles of clothing and life jackets were tossed about in the darkness where no one would ever find them. Wounded men cried out in pain, frightened survivors screamed in terror, and all groped frantically in the darkness for exits they couldn't find. Somewhere in that living hell, four voices of calm began to speak words of comfort, seeking to bring order to panic and bedlam. Slowly soldiers began to find their way to the deck of the ship, many still in their underwear, where they were confronted by the cold winds blowing down from the arctic. Petty Officer John J. Mahoney, reeling from the cold, headed back towards his cabin. "Where are you going?" a voice of calm in the sea of distressed asked?

"To get my gloves," Mahoney replied.

"Here, take these," said Rabbi Goode as he handed a pair of gloves to the young officer who would never have survived the trip to his cabin and then back to safety.

"I can't take those gloves," Mahoney replied.

"Never mind," the Rabbi responded. "I have two pairs." Mahoney slipped the gloves over his hands and returned to the frigid deck, never stopping to ponder until later when he had reached safety, that there was no way Rabbi Goode would have been carrying a spare set of gloves. As that thought finally dawned on him he came to a new understanding of what was transpiring in the mind of the fearless Chaplain. Somehow, Rabbi Goode suspected that he would himself, never leave the Dorchester alive.

Before boarding the Dorchester back in January, Reverend Poling had asked his father to pray for him, "Not for my safe return, that wouldn't be fair. Just pray that I shall do my duty...never be a coward...and have the strength, courage and understanding of men. Just pray that I shall be adequate." He probably never dreamed that his prayer request would be answered so fully. As he guided the frightened soldiers to their only hope of safety from the rapidly sinking transport, he spoke calm words of encouragement, urging them not to give up. In the dark hull of the Dorchester, he was more than adequate. He was a hero.

Likewise Reverend Fox and Father Washington stood out within the confines of an unimaginable hell. Wounded and dying soldiers were ushered into eternity to the sounds of comforting words from men of God more intent on the needs of others, than in their own safety and survival. Somehow, by their valiant efforts, the Chaplains succeeded in getting many of the soldiers out of the hold and onto the Dorchester's slippery deck.

In the chaos around them, life boats floated away before men could board them. Others capsized as panic continued to shadow reason and soldiers loaded the small craft beyond limit. The strength, calm, and organization of the Chaplains had been so critical in the dark hull. Now, on deck, they found that their mission had not been fully accomplished. They organized the effort, directed men to safety, and left them with parting words of encouragement. In little more than twenty minutes, the Dorchester was almost gone. Icy waves broke over the railing, tossing men into the sea, many of them without life jackets. In the last moments of the transport's existence, the Chaplains were too occupied opening lockers to pass out life jackets to note the threat to their own lives.

In less than half an hour, water was beginning to flow across the deck of the sinking Dorchester. Working against time the Chaplains continued to pass out the life vests from the lockers as the soldiers pressed forward in a ragged line. And then....the lockers were all empty...the life jackets gone. Those still pressing in line began to realize they were doomed, there was no hope. And then something amazing happened, something those who were there would never forget. All Four Chaplains began taking their own life jackets off....and putting them on the men around them. Together they sacrificed their last shred of hope for survival, to insure the survival of other men.... most of them total strangers. Then time ran out. The Chaplains had done all they could for those who would survive, and nothing more could be done for the remaining...including themselves.

Those who had been fortunate enough to reach lifeboats struggled to distance themselves from the sinking ship, lest they be pulled beneath the ocean swells by the chasm created as the transport slipped into a watery grave. Then, amid the screams of pain and horror that permeated the cold dark night, they heard the strong voices of the Chaplains. "Shma Yisroel Adonai Elohenu Adonai Echod." "Our Father, which art in Heaven, Hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done."

Looking back they saw the slanting deck of the Dorchester, its demise almost complete. Braced against the railings were the Four Chaplains...praying...singing, giving strength to others by their final valiant declaration of faith. Their arms were linked together as they braced against the railing and leaned into each other for support, Reverend Fox, Rabbi Goode, Reverend Poling, and Father Washington. Said one of the survivors, "It was the finest thing I have ever seen this side of heaven."

Posted by tree hugging sister at 10:54 AM | Comments (7)

February 01, 2007

As Long As It's NOT the Smell of 'Napalm in the Morning'

...or the 'baby shit' we used to strip drop tanks with (in those looser, pre-'Superfund Site' days)...

A manly foo-foo juice for a good cause, none the less.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 02:00 PM | Comments (7)

That's a Good Question

A recent standoff between National Guardsmen and heavily armed outlaws along the Mexican border has rattled some troops and raised questions about the rules of engagement for soldiers who were sent to the border in what was supposed to be a backup role.

...And some lawmakers have questioned why the rules prohibit soldiers from opening fire unless they are fired upon.

"Why would this be allowed to happen?" Republican Arizona state Rep. Warde Nichols said. "Why do we have National Guard running from illegals on the border?"

Unfortunately, the National Guard might be used to whack rules of engagement, considering all the time they've spent in Iraq. But in a perfect world, the National Guard, the Marines...NONE of them should be watching the border. The BORDER Patrol and law enforcement agencies along the BORDER should be policing the BORDER. Our military is: a) stretched thin enough b) was never meant to be a police force. They're trained for combat and extraordinary circumstances/natural disasters.
...Several soldiers said the Arizona confrontation worried them.

"I didn't think they were going to get that bold," said Sgt. Samuel Perez of Savannah, Ga. "It's kind of been chilling that somebody is going to be that crazy."

First Lt. Wayne Lee, a spokesman for the New Mexico National Guard, said soldiers "are not supposed to get into a firefight. It's not the Sunni Triangle."

No, it's not. But chances are it might sound like it sometimes. The first National Guardsman who hears rifle shots ~ maybe even hears them zing by his ear ~ and fires back will have his own firestorm to handle, I guarantee it.
...Weinacht told OneWorld he hopes the military has learned some lessons from the last time around, but he doubts any military deployment can be successful. "When you have soldiers on the border, you have to make sure they're properly trained. But if you're going to spend a lot on training why not just train more border patrol?"

Posted by tree hugging sister at 09:04 AM | Comments (6)

January 26, 2007

By-the-Bye, OUR Rules

...are here.

In order to ensure that the additional combat troops being deployed to Iraq can achieve their objectives, we must change the current restrictive rules of engagement (ROEs) under which they are forced to operate. The current ROEs for Baghdad -- including Sadr City, home of the Mahdi Army -- have seven incremental steps that must be satisfied before our troops can take the gloves off and engage the enemy with appropriate violence of action.
(1) You must feel a direct threat to you or your team.
(2) You must clearly see a threat.
(3) That threat must be identified.
(4) The team leader must concur that there is an identified threat.
(5) The team leader must feel that the situation is one of life or death.
(6) There must be minimal or no collateral risk.
(7) Only then can the team leader clear the engagement.

These ROEs might sound fine to academics gathering at some esoteric seminar on how to avoid civilian casualties in a war zone. But they do absolutely nothing to protect our combat troops who have to respond in an instant to a life or death situation.
If our soldiers or Marines see someone about to level an AK-47 in their direction or start to are receive hostile fire from a rooftop or mosque, there is no time to go through a seven-point checklist before reacting. Indeed, the very fact that they see a weapon, or begin to receive hostile fire should be sufficient justification to respond with deadly force.

I feel better already.

Where's my sandal?

Posted by tree hugging sister at 12:12 PM | Comments (12)

January 24, 2007


The return of radical Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr's political bloc to the Iraqi government is a "positive sign" but could be a tactic to help its militia survive a US-Iraqi crackdown, the US ambassador to Baghdad said.
That kind of bull-Shiite is exACTLY why I have a huge, sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach.

And why I didn't watch the chief architect last night on the telly.
So as not to beat an innocent and perfectly good TV monitor with a shoe.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 09:28 AM | Comments (2)

January 23, 2007

What a Beautiful Baby Boy He Was

And what a magnificent human being he grew up to be.

It's hard to sign the guestbook through the tears.

The President of the United States in the name of The Congress takes pride in presenting the MEDAL OF HONOR posthumously to

for service as set forth in the following

CITATION: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as a Rifle Squad Leader, 4th Platoon, Company K, Third Battalion, Seventh Marines (Reinforced), Regimental Combat Team 7, First Marine Division (Reinforced), on 14 April 2004. Corporal Dunham's squad was conducting a reconnaissance mission in the town of Karabilah, Iraq, when they heard rocket-propelled grenade and small arms fire erupt approximately two kilometers to the west. Corporal Dunham led his Combined Anti-Armor Team towards the engagement to provide fire support to their Battalion Commander's convoy, which had been ambushed as it was traveling to Camp Husaybah. As Corporal Dunham and his Marines advanced, they quickly began to receive enemy fire. Corporal Dunham ordered his squad to dismount their vehicles and led one of his fire teams on foot several blocks south of the ambushed convoy. Discovering seven Iraqi vehicles in a column attempting to depart, Corporal Dunham and his team stopped the vehicles to search them for weapons. As they approached the vehicles, an
insurgent leaped out and attacked Corporal Dunham. Corporal Dunham wrestled the insurgent to the ground and in the ensuing struggle saw the insurgent release a grenade. Corporal Dunham immediately alerted his fellow Marines to the threat. Aware of the imminent danger and without hesitation, Corporal Dunham covered the grenade with his helmet and body, bearing the brunt of the explosion and shielding his Marines from the blast. In an ultimate and selfless act of bravery in which he was mortally wounded, he saved the lives of at least two fellow Marines. By his undaunted courage, intrepid fighting spirit, and unwavering devotion to duty, Corporal Dunham gallantly gave his life for his country, thereby reflecting great credit upon himself and upholding the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 09:17 AM | Comments (3)

January 22, 2007



From: SGT Jason Hess
Sent: Tue Jan 16 3:25

Do you ship to APO address? I’m in the 1st Cavalry Division stationed in Iraq and we are trying to order some mats but we are looking for who ships to APO first.


From: contact@discount-mats.com
Sent: Tuesday, January 16, 2007 9:44 PM
Subject: Re: Feedback: from discount-mats.com

SGT Hess,
We do not ship to APO addresses, and even if we did, we would NEVER ship to Iraq. If you were sensible, you and your troops would pull out of Iraq.

Bargain Suppliers

Now, normally I'm not big on passing along this stuff, but they've got Snopes involved. That's the first step. Then they've tracked down the owner of the website and ~ lo and behold ~ there's a bunch of them all run by Milwaukee [ths]Arab Pakistani types. According to the latest wrinkle in the case, the website owners HAVE responded to a local radio station (major mistake THERE ~ I'd be talking to Snopes FIRST), insisting that the employee accountable was being...um...held to account.
...A Vice President with Bargain Suppliers, the website's parent company, confirms the email was sent. He says the employee who sent it is being held accountable and will be dealt with.

In addition, the spokesperson says the address and phone number that are now being circulated around the world are someone's home in West Allis. He says they've been bombarded with phone calls and as you can imagine they're getting plenty of complaints.

Oh, no doubt! (That 'will be dealt with' is rather ominous, n'est pas? Was he a cab driver at an airport or something?) The poor sergeant is getting his rugs regardless and I feel safe in saying the carpets won't be flying out of Mr. Faisal Khetani's warehouses any time soon.

If CAIR wants to keep Muslims off '24' and the front pages, it might help if they sent a memo about "Public Relations: Answering Emails in a Small Business Environment" to their members.

Via The Big Dog.
UPDATE: Oh, well, dang. According to the latest Snopes update, people are going batsh*t crazy on the guys. No need for death threats, for God's sake. (Like a$$holes who come out of the woodwork using 'Timothy McVeigh' as their commenting name and then espouse Daily Kos talking points. Hello? You don't get the 'ick factor' in that, Rocket Man?)

"That was rude and I'm not buying your rugs" would suffice.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 02:32 PM | Comments (6)

January 12, 2007

It Sucks to Wind Up Being Right

...after you've been hung out to dry, huh?

New Strategy Vindicates Ex-Army Chief Shinseki

After President Bush told the nation on Wednesday night that he was ordering a rapid increase of American forces in Iraq, Gen. Eric K. Shinseki was not among the retired officers to offer instant analysis on television.

But the president’s new strategy, with its explicit acknowledgment that not enough troops had been sent to Iraq to establish control, was a vindication for General Shinseki, who as Army chief of staff publicly told Congress as much just before the war began in 2003.

First vilified, then marginalized by the Bush administration after those comments, General Shinseki retired and faded away, even as lawmakers, pundits and politicians increasingly cited his prescience.

“We never had enough troops to begin with,” Senator Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican, said just before the president’s televised address. “A month or two ago we found out the Army is broken, and they agreed that General Shinseki was right.”

Gen. John P. Abizaid, the departing commander of American forces in the Middle East, told Congress late last year, “General Shinseki was right that a greater international force contribution, U.S. force contribution and Iraqi force contribution should have been available immediately after major combat operations.”

In his prime-time address on Wednesday, even President Bush said the main reason past efforts to stabilize Baghdad had failed was that “there were not enough Iraqi and American troops to secure neighborhoods that had been cleared of terrorists and insurgents.”

The acknowledgment was far different from the harsh administration rebuttals after General Shinseki electrified Washington with his blunt warning that victory in Iraq would require more troops than were being deployed for the invasion.

He was the target of immediate rebuke from the Pentagon leadership, in particular from Donald H. Rumsfeld, then secretary of defense, and his deputy, Paul D. Wolfowitz. Mr. Wolfowitz dismissed the testimony as “wildly off the mark.”

If it's any consolation, General, you have your fans here.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 06:35 AM | Comments (1)

January 10, 2007

On 'News Hour' Last Night

...one of the guests during the 'Surge' discussion mentioned that the U.S. troops will have carte blanche to go into Sadr City (or wherever they need to), for however long they need to, unlike the 'last time'. I hope to God that's true. For ONCE.

For those who ask '¿que?', this is the way it went 'last time'.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 10:12 AM | Comments (3)

January 09, 2007

Of Course

...they were.

Helicopter gunships attacked suspected al-Qaeda fighters in the south Tuesday after U.S. forces staged airstrikes in the first offensive in the African country since 18 American soldiers were killed there in 1993, witnesses said.

Witnesses said 31 civilians, including two newlyweds, died in the assault by two helicopters near Afmadow, a town in an area of forested hills close to the Kenyan border 220 miles southwest of Somalia's capital, Mogadishu. The report could not be independently verified.

Newlyweds could never be terrorists.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 01:45 PM | Comments (2)

January 08, 2007


...takes out the weasels.

A U.S. Air Force gunship has conducted a strike against suspected members of al Qaeda in Somalia, CBS News national security correspondent David Martin reports exclusively.

The targets included the senior al Qaeda leader in East Africa and an al Qaeda operative wanted for his involvement in the 1998 bombings of two American embassies in Africa, Martin reports. Those terror attacks killed more than 200 people.

The AC-130 gunship is capable of firing thousands of rounds per second, and sources say a lot of bodies were seen on the ground after the strike, but there is as yet, no confirmation of the identities.

The gunship flew from its base in Dijibouti down to the southern tip of Somalia, Martin reports, where the al Qaeda operatives had fled after being chased out of the capital of Mogadishu by Ethiopian troops backed by the United States.

Once they started moving, the al Qaeda operatives became easier to track, and the U.S. military started preparing for an air strike, using unmanned aerial drones to keep them under surveillance and moving the aircraft carrier Eisenhower out of the Persian Gulf toward Somalia. But when the order was given, the mission was assigned to the AC-130 gunship operated by the U.S. Special Operations command.

If the attack got the operatives it was aimed at, reports Martin, it would deal a major blow to al Qaeda in East Africa.

Oh, I'll BET there were 'a lot of bodies on the ground' and that they looked pretty much like catfood.

Come on baby, LIGHT MY FIRE.

You GO, guys.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 08:37 PM | Comments (6)

Oh My GOSH ~ We Have a Swaddling Swiller!!

Our very own Mike Rentner and his beautiful wife have welcomed an equally beautiful young lassie into the world. Mike assures me via email ...

Ten fingers, ten toes, eating sleeping and doing all other things
thereunto pertaining. Probably coming home tomorrow.

How wonderful.

Congratulations to Major and Mrs. Mike from ALL of us!!

(And those pictures BETTER be quick, Dad...)

Posted by tree hugging sister at 08:27 PM | Comments (11)

January 07, 2007

A Heartfelt Congratulation To Paco

And our thanks


Paco’s boy graduates. From everyone here: congratulations.

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 08:10 AM | Comments (1)

January 05, 2007

The National Guard in This Country

...just can't catch a break, bless their overworked hearts.

A warm Swill salute to LGF

Posted by tree hugging sister at 11:28 AM

December 22, 2006

On This Day in 1944

...they weren't talking about warnings on Christmas cookies.

...On December 21, Bastogne was isolated. The Germans' encirclement was complete. Panzer Lehr blocked Bastogne on the south, and the 2nd Panzer on north. Some elements of Panzer Lehr remained with the 26th VGD in order to take Bastogne. U.S. Brigadier General Anthony C. McAuliffe, in temporary command of Bastogne, placed the four regiments of the 101st Airborne on the perimeter.

He kept Combat Command B of the 10th Armored Division in reserve in Bastogne. A force made up of elements
of the 9th and the 28th Divisions (Team Snafu) constituted a reserve of 600 men, from which the units on the line would be able to draw according to their needs.

At 11:30 a.m. December 22, four German soldiers - two officers and two enlisted men - under a white flag delivered a note to three American soldiers. The note demanded the "honorable surrender" of Bastogne. McAuliffe, reading the message, laughed and murmured, "Aw, nuts!" As the general wondered how to answer, his aide Lt. Colonel Harry W. O. Kinnard suggested: "That first remark of yours would be hard to beat." So McAuliffe sent the Germans a one-word reply in writing, and...

...became legend.

German 1st Lieutenant Hellmuth Henke asked the Americans whether "Nuts" was a negative or affimative answer. "The reply is decidedly not affirmative," Colonel Joseph H. Harper of the 327th Infantry said, and he added a few minutes later, "If you don't understand what 'Nuts' means in plain English, it is the same as 'Go to Hell.' "

Earlier in the month, on December 8th, someone wrote a little prayer that General Patton took a real shine to. A weather prayer. But the Old Man was concerned that there wasn't enough human force driving it, so he issued Training Letter Five and prayer cards to the entire Third Army, with this admonition to his chaplains:
..."Urge all of your men to pray, not alone in church, but everywhere. Pray when driving. Pray when fighting. Pray alone. Pray with others. Pray by night and pray by day. Pray for the cessation of immoderate rains, for good weather for Battle. Pray for the defeat of our wicked enemy whose banner is injustice and whose good is oppression. Pray for victory. Pray for our Army, and Pray for Peace.

"We must march together, all out for God. The soldier who 'cracks up' does not need sympathy or comfort as much as he needs strength. We are not trying to make the best of these days. It is our job to make the most of them. Now is not the time to follow God from 'afar off.' This Army needs the assurance and the faith that God is with us. With prayer, we cannot fail.

"Be assured that this message on prayer has the approval, the encouragement, and the enthusiastic support of the Third United States Army Commander.

"With every good wish to each of you for a very Happy Christmas, and my personal congratulations for your splendid and courageous work since landing on the beach, I am," etc., etc., signed The Third Army Commander.

Things seem to change when they all got with the program.
...As General Patton rushed his divisions north from the Saar Valley to the relief of the beleaguered Bastogne, the prayer was answered. On December 20, to the consternation of the Germans and the delight of the American forecasters who were equally surprised at the turn-about-the rains and the fogs ceased. For the better part of a week came bright clear skies and perfect flying weather. Our planes came over by tens, hundreds, and thousands. They knocked out hundreds of tanks, killed thousands of enemy troops in the Bastogne salient, and harried the enemy as he valiantly tried to bring up reinforcements. The 101st Airborne, with the 4th, 9th, and 10th Armored Divisions, which saved Bastogne, and other divisions which assisted so valiantly in driving the Germans home, will testify to the great support rendered by our air forces. General Patton prayed for fair weather for Battle. He got it.

It was late in January of 1945 when I saw the Army Commander again. This was in the city of Luxembourg. He stood directly in front of me, smiled: "Well, Padre, our prayers worked. I knew they would." Then he cracked me on the side of my steel helmet with his riding crop. That was his way of saying, "Well done."

I love that story. LOVE it. And they relieved General McAuliffe and the brave men holding on to Bastogne by their fingernails.
...[Dec 26]General Maxwell Taylor arrived with the first vehicles of the 4th Armored Division. Taylor, who had been on leave in the United States, took a plane back to Europe when he learned of the German attack in the Ardennes.

McAuliffe transfered command of Bastogne to Taylor with a somewhat humorous certificate indicating the place was in good condition and disinfected of "Krauts." From December 27 to December 29, the German attacks were stopped.

I know you've all seen the movie and will have noticed the time line is a bit out of whack with actual events, but it really doesn't change the power of the words Msgr. O'Neill typed on his 3" by 5" card that evening 62 years ago.

Almighty and most merciful Father, we humbly beseech Thee, of Thy great goodness, to restrain these immoderate rains with which we have had to contend. Grant us fair weather for Battle. Graciously hearken to us as soldiers who call upon Thee that, armed with Thy power, we may advance from victory to victory, and crush the oppression and wickedness of our enemies and establish Thy justice among men and nations.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 09:52 AM | Comments (4)

December 19, 2006

John Podhoretz Talks

...baton twirling passing.

...Former Secretary of State Colin Powell, once the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said on Sunday that he didn't see how a troop surge would make a difference because there was a minor surge in the summer of 2006 and it didn't quiet down Baghdad.

This puts Powell on the same page with the man with whom he supposedly clashed on the war, Donald Rumsfeld - who made clear last week as he was leaving the Pentagon how skeptical he was of committing new troops to a "combat situation."

Powell and Rumsfeld also agree on what tactics to use if we are to win the war in Iraq: training, training, training. Let's train the Iraqis and get out by the middle of 2007. Powell calls it the "baton pass," though he might have just used the word "escape" and been done with it.

The problem with Powell's likening the current "surge" idea to last summer's surge is that Keane designed the new plan as a counterweight to what happened six months ago.

As Keane said on Sunday, "We cleared out the insurgents and the Shia death squads from the areas but never committed ourselves to phase two of the operation, which is significant, and that is to put a 24/7 force in the neighborhoods to protect the people . . . [so that] they do not go back to their bases at night."

...This is a "heavy footprint." If we do this, we will be saying we will engage and roust the enemy and then stay put for a while. Show our presence. Make it clear to the Iraqis that we're not bugging out.

Ironically, it's only with this kind of time that the "train, train, train" option becomes a viable security measure for Iraq's future - because training takes time, too.

Can it work?

That may be the wrong question.

The right question may be: Will America allow it to work?

Considering how badly the Bush administration has botched this whole thing, I'm not optimistic. The tragedy would be if W suddenly grows a pair, gets in there, hammers bad guys left and right and then BAM. Gives in to whines from the losing Iraqi factional side and/or the 'worldwide community', and holds everything up for 'negotiations'. Like the general says above, you HAVE to stop them from coming home at night. (Sweet JESUS, what does it take? I'd offer to draw a pie chart but they pay guys big bucks for that already and still don't pay attention.) We have 'negotiations' to thank for Shamu the Cleric Sadr alive and skulking. The Marines know how helpful hold-ups for 'negotiations' were in Fallujah. And all that 'native' participation in Afghanistan's been a real success, too, right?

I'm as gloomy as Podhoretz, I'm afeared. I'm completely behind anything that lays a sustained case o' cans o' whupass on the whole slimy, murderous snakepit. To parrot Dennis Miller, "I thought we went into Iraq to be scary again?" I thought we did, too ~ "Oh thank God, we're gonna lay a hurt on these cavedwelling assholes." Nope. And now? If W grows a pair only for a limited engagement again?

Our troops pay the piper in vain AGAIN.

And that sickens me.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 09:39 AM | Comments (1)

December 18, 2006


Of course they are.

France to withdraw 200 special forces
France is to withdraw its 200-strong special forces from Afghanistan, (all of its ground troops engaged in the U.S. antiterror operation there**) a contingent engaged in the U.S. anti-terror operation there, authorities announced yesterday.

The decision to pull the elite troops, based in the southeastern city of Jalalabad, comes as the Taliban militia gain strength despite the strong engagement -- about 32,800 troops -- in NATO's International Security Assistance Force, which includes Canadian troops. France has balked at sending its 1,100-strong NATO contingent outside the relatively safe Afghan capital, Kabul.

"Elite troops" who wouldn't leave the 'safe' capital and now are buggering out completely, since the bad guys are, like, getting badder.

That's how they keep those fashion forward "elite" uniforms looking so spiffy.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 09:30 AM | Comments (8)

December 07, 2006

Thirteen Marines of Christmas Mail Cut-Off

Heads up, ya'll!! Monday's the 'deadline' for Christmas Priority Mail delivery to the APO/FPO addresses.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 04:15 PM | Comments (2)

December 04, 2006

From Here...

It was a routine patrol, in the third week of June -- if, in fact, there is such a thing as a routine patrol in Fallujah, in the Anbar Province of Iraq.

Chris Walsh, a Navy medic assigned to a US Marines weapons company, was riding in a Humvee with three Marines, when a hidden bomb exploded in the dirt road just in front of them.

Even before the thick dust had settled, the Marines, and Walsh, were out of the vehicle, looking for the insurgents who had planted the remote-control device. The triggerman, as several who joined the pursuit vividly recall, was spotted first on a rooftop, then on the ground making his escape through the maze of ramshackle houses that line the road.

When Walsh and the Marines came to one doorway, M-4 rifles up and ready, a woman emerged from a room, holding an infant and saying, over and over again, "Baby. Baby sick."

Walsh put his gun down and the woman put the baby down.

Walsh had seen bad things -- as an EMT back home in St. Louis, and at war. But he told his comrades he had never seen anything like this: The child, just a few months old, looked as though her insides had been turned inside out.

Her name was Mariam, and she looked up at Walsh with dead eyes.

...to here...
Mariam's grandparents, who traveled with her because her mother has not recovered from complications at childbirth, told Maureen Walsh they had learned of Chris' death last month, when Captain Donovan visited them at the hospital.

Mariam's grandfather took Maureen Walsh's hand in his and, speaking in Arabic, said, "Thank you for your son."

Mariam's family does not believe it was coincidence that Chris Walsh was the one who came into their house in hot pursuit of someone who had tried to kill him and instead put down his gun and picked up Mariam.

"This," her grandfather said, nodding solemnly, "was an act of God. God sent Chris. To Mariam. So she will live."

..."Saving Baby Miriam" is a story of promises kept.

"Thank you for your son", indeed. We all thank you, Mrs. Walsh.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 11:53 AM | Comments (1)

November 15, 2006

Thirteen Marines of Christmas Time!!!

I have NAMES, I have ADDRESSES ~ I have EVERYTHING YOU NEED to adopt a Marine...or two or THREE. (And Lisa's National Guard hubby. {8^P) We're even on top of this a month earlier than last year!!

For those of you who are new to this post: It is our second year taking care of this unit as best we can. Lemme tell you a little about our kids ~ we took care of them last year through the holidays (and by that I mean from before Thanksgiving until the mail cut off end of Feb) and we're adopting again this year. Yep ~ you heard that right ~ mostly the SAME Marines, same station. They run the unmanned drones and, since there's only two units PERIOD, they rotate in and out of country

(One of their young captains is on his FOURTH tour.) So they left Iraq in March and got back there mid-September. That's a LOT to ask of anybody, but they just pack up and go, bless their hearts.

There's some old friends on the list, so there's a good chance you can touch base with your Marine from last year if you'd like. From cards and notes to ATOMIC FIREBALLS ~ WHATEVER you can do is hugely appreciated. Please start sending me those "I need a Jarhead" emails ~
thsister-at-gmail.com ~ subj. "13 Marines of Xmas"

Kcruella has already gotten Halloween goodies to Lt. Sara, so we need to get hopping! Please, please help. Some of these Marines have been to Iraq FOUR times already. That's a lot to ask.

For newbies to our Swillers, lots of helpful info in these posts from VMU-1's deployment last year.
of good

Nov. 10th note: It's the Marine Corps Birthday. It's easy to send money. It takes an effort to send friendship and support. We'd love to have you along.


Posted by tree hugging sister at 11:52 AM | Comments (22)

"Don't Listen to Me..."

"I'm a Pinhead."
Perhaps for the first time in recent history, cooler talking heads will prevail. I could live with that.
One of the most resonant arguments in the debate over Iraq holds that the United States can move forward by pulling its troops back, as part of a phased withdrawal. If American troops begin to leave and the remaining forces assume a more limited role, the argument holds, it will galvanize the Iraqi government to assume more responsibility for securing and rebuilding Iraq.

...But this argument is being challenged by a number of military officers, experts and former generals, including some who have been among the most vehement critics of the Bush administration’s Iraq policies.

Anthony C. Zinni, the former head of the United States Central Command and one of the retired generals who called for the resignation of Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, argued that any substantial reduction of American forces over the next several months would be more likely to accelerate the slide to civil war than stop it.

“The logic of this is you put pressure on Maliki and force him to stand up to this,” General Zinni said in an interview, referring to Nuri Kamal al-Maliki, the Iraqi prime minister. “Well, you can’t put pressure on a wounded guy. There is a premise that the Iraqis are not doing enough now, that there is a capability that they have not employed or used. I am not so sure they are capable of stopping sectarian violence.”

...While Mr. Levin’s plan calls for beginning troop reductions over the next six months, it does not stipulate a time-frame for completing the withdrawal, or spell out precisely how many troops should be removed in the initial phase. The plan, however, does call for shifting the American military role to more limited missions like protecting the American Embassy, training the Iraqi forces and engaging in counterterrorist operations against cells of Al Qaeda.

“The point of the proposal is to force the Iraqis to take hold of the situation politically,” Mr. Levin said.

But some current and retired military officers say the situation in Baghdad and other parts of Iraq is too precarious to start thinning out the number of American troops. In addition, they worry that some Shiite leaders would see the reduction of American troops as an opportunity to unleash their militias against the Sunnis and engage in wholesale ethnic cleansing to consolidate their control of the capital.

John Batiste, a retired Army major general who also joined in the call for Mr. Rumsfeld’s resignation, described the Congressional proposals for troop withdrawals as “terribly naïve.

Especially since the Iraqis in uniform seem to be a BIG part of the problem. Even super-secret-squirrel-serial-numberized-impossible-to-copy-Iraqi-uniformed guys are fakes.
Gunmen dressed in Iraqi police commando uniforms and driving vehicles with Interior Ministry markings rounded up dozens of people inside a government building in the heart of Baghdad on Tuesday and drove off with them in one of the most brazen mass kidnappings since a wave of sectarian abductions and killings became a feature of the war.

I'm still of the opinion that splattering copious amounts of Muqtada al-Sadr fat deposits would help immensely. And in the power vacuum to follow, there is opportunity ~ we'd just have to be the first ones in.

Plus, DAMN! It would just be so satisfying in a 'wrath of God' kind of way.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 09:32 AM | Comments (4)

November 12, 2006

James Baker and the Daddy Bushycons

...should scare the SH*T out of every American who's supported the troops in Iraq. (via Insta)

...The commission’s discussions are said to be focused on an option presented by a panel of experts that the United States concede that the situation in Iraq cannot be stabilized and make plans for a phased withdrawal of U.S. troops.

An alternative proposal, that the United States commit money and troops toward stabilizing Iraq before a withdrawal, appears less likely of adoption, according to sources familiar with the proposals.

John Negroponte, director of national intelligence, is already working closely with Baker on some of the recommendations of his panel.

Negroponte reportedly has come to agree with what is expected to be the most controversial of recommendations from the Baker group: that the United States approach Iran, and, in tandem with Israel, approach Syria, for help with Iraq, according to a source familiar with Negroponte’s thinking. A spokesman for Negroponte did not respond to a request for comment Friday.

If this is a public opinion fishing expedition, the uproar should be ferocious and biblical in response. How DARE they. Shrub and his know-it-all-cheap-war neocons f*cked this up royally from the beginning. They never gave their wonderful idea the commitment of money, planning and support the troops who would pay the price for their arrogance deserved. And now they're looking for a way to slide out of Dodge. So you ask older, slyer escape artists. Remember how they operate?

They cut a fledgling democracy movement off at the knees once before that hadn't cost one American life. F*ckin' Scowcroft was a weasel of epic proportion and Baker his enabler. So if Baker's back in the picture, who's our weasel of the moment already in contact with Iran and/or Syria?

And I didn't vote for them the first time, either.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 02:59 PM | Comments (3)

November 10, 2006

Happy Birthday, My Brothers and Sisters

And Semper Fi.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 09:39 AM | Comments (12)

November 05, 2006


Shown to "wild applause" at the Army-Air Force game.
I mean, we're willing to let it go ~ he's a horse's ass and that's all there is ~ but dang if Newsweek doesn't do four pages on him. Are we 'piling on' if we discuss it? I'm torn. He's such a DOPE. Let it DIE, Johnny Boy. But, oh no. Even on his OWN website, the keeps going like the Energizer Bunny of Bad News. Good Lord ~ when you can cause even Dead Eye-Dick Cheney to slip in the Freudian manner...wait...maybe that was a botched joke?
I don't know what to believe anymore.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 10:46 PM

October 31, 2006

John Kerry


..."Kerry then told the students that if they were able to navigate the education system, they could get comfortable jobs - "If you don't, you get stuck in Iraq," he said to a mixture of laughter and gasps.

That's all I'll offer on the subject, since other friends have his horse's a$$ on a platter already.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 12:32 PM | Comments (4)

We've Had 103 Troops Killed So Far This Month

So I BET they were happier than dogsh*t to get these orders.

U.S. Obeys Order to Abandon Checkpoints
U.S. troops on Tuesday abandoned checkpoints around the Shiite militia stronghold of Sadr City on orders from Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, the latest in a series of moves by the Iraqi leader to assert his authority with the U.S. administration.

...U.S. forces disappeared from the checkpoints within hours of the order to remove the around-the-clock barriers by 5:00 p.m. (1400 GMT), setting off celebrations among civilians and armed men gathered on the edge of the sprawling slum that is under the control of the Mahdi Army militia run by radical anti-American cleric Muqtada al-Sadr.

Iraqi troops loaded coils of barbed wire and red traffic cones onto pickup trucks, while small groups of men and children danced in circles chanting slogans praising al-Sadr, who earlier Tuesday had ordered the area closed to the Iraqi government until U.S. troops lifted what he called their "siege" of the neighborhood.

...Al-Maliki's order underscored the his government's reliance of Shiite support and sensitivity to their concerns.

Damn. I mean DAMN.

Why don't we just declare the fat little f*ck 'Shah' and get the misery over with?

Posted by tree hugging sister at 10:46 AM | Comments (4)

October 27, 2006

Crusader Sends Word of What's Shaping Up to Be

...an epic Naval battle.

What has a better ring to it?

The USS America and the "America-class" of aircraft carriers? Or the USS Gerald R. Ford and the "Ford-class"?

..."We just find it appalling that the name of the country has been pushed aside in favor of living politicians," said Walt Waite, the association's vice president. "The name of the country belongs on a carrier well before individuals and politicians especially living ones. What better way to start the new class than the America?"

My country? 'Tis. I agree.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 12:37 PM | Comments (11)

October 26, 2006

"With Friends Like This..."

Maliki gives the old trusim life for the 21st century.

Does Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki have the political spine to deal with Iraq's No. 1 problem — the Shi'ite militias? There's a growing suspicion in Baghdad that he does not. Having promised, for the umpteenth time, to crack down on the sectarian death squads wreaking havoc on the Iraqi capital, the prime minister promptly turned around and castigated U.S. forces for doing precisely that. The Iraqi leader claimed that a predawn raid Wednesday on a militia stronghold by U.S. and Iraqi soldiers had been conducted without his approval, and said such attacks would not be repeated.

...For the beleaguered residents of Baghdad, this has become a familiar Green Zone farce. Beholden to the very militias he has vowed to crush, the increasingly hamstrung prime minister has forced U.S. troops guarding the city to don kid gloves when dealing with the Mahdi Army, the militia loyal to the radical Shi'ite leader Moqtada al-Sadr, which has been blamed for much of the sectarian violence that kills an average of 100 Iraqis a day. And there is palpable frustration among U.S. soldiers patrolling the streets of Baghdad that every time they strike against the Mahdi Army, they are publicly scolded by the Iraqi prime minister. "Every time he does one of these about-turns, he makes the Madhi Army stronger and the government weaker," says a Western diplomat in Baghdad. "And of course, it drives the [Americans] up the wall."

It's not as if the kids gloves are on the other guys at the same time. I've said it before and I'll say it 'til the cows kids come home: OUR troops. OUR blood is paying the price for YOUR f*cked up 'diplomacy' where NONE is warranted.

George? Don? Hey, White House/Pentagon ~ to quote the old Pink Floyd song "Is there anybody IN there?"

Anybody on our side?

UPDATE: Hahahaha! THIS guy must have read my post the other day!


...We should've killed him in 2003, when he first embarked upon his murder campaign. But our leaders were afraid of provoking riots.

Back then, the tumult might've lasted a week. Now we'll face a serious uprising. So be it. When you put off paying war's price, you pay compound interest in blood.

We must kill - not capture - Muqtada, then kill every gunman who comes out in the streets to avenge him.

Our policy of all-carrots-no-sticks has failed miserably. We delivered Iraq to zealots, gangsters and terrorists. Now our only hope is to prove that we mean business - that the era of peace, love and wasting American lives is over.

And after we've killed Muqtada and destroyed his Mahdi Army, we need to go after the Sunni insurgents. If we can't leave a democracy behind, we should at least leave the corpses of our enemies.

The holier-than-thou response to this proposal is predictable: "We can't kill our way out of this situation!" Well, boo-hoo. Friendly persuasion and billions of dollars haven't done the job. Give therapeutic violence a chance.

Our soldiers and Marines are dying to protect a government whose members are scrambling to ally themselves with sectarian militias and insurgent factions. President Bush needs to face reality. The Maliki government is a failure.

There's still a chance, if a slight one, that we can achieve a few of our goals in Iraq - if we let our troops make war, not love. But if our own leaders are unwilling to fight, it's time to leave and let Iraqis fight each other.

Our president owes Iraq's treacherous prime minister nothing. Get tough, or get out.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 10:13 AM | Comments (8)

October 23, 2006

Another Mea Culpa Buried

...at the bottom of the column.

CORRECTION: We said official Army photos appear at the end of Clint Eastwood's "Flags of Our Fathers." A Marine points out "Army" is not generic and the Iwo Jima photos were taken by Marines, just as they took the island!

All through the reviews of the movie it's "the soldiers". No. It's not.


Posted by tree hugging sister at 10:57 AM | Comments (9)

October 20, 2006

Someone Needs to Take That Fat Little Sh*t Out

Bill Roggio says so, too, but nicer.

We have been tippy toeing around this ee-ville SOB for far too long. Everytime we're within a hair's breadth of wiping his smug mug off posters for good, he scuttles back to his lair like Shelob (Update :Exhibit A) and we get to start all over again. Malaki needs to be told take care of it NOW, or know that we will. And then we HAVE to. No Fallujah Cotton-Eyed Joe, so he can rearm. And no deals. Dear God, let this be the "new direction" the administration takes.

The kids on the ground are the ones paying for diplomacy where none is warranted.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 01:18 PM | Comments (10)

Read It

...and decide for yourself. There are quite a few elements that ring true for me. But I also know families are the fiercest advocates for the accused.

I think the truth is somewhere in between.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 09:52 AM | Comments (6)

October 18, 2006

I Didn't Know

But it's wonderful.

Christmas at Arlington

Every December since 1992, volunteers have laid wreaths donated by the Worcester Wreath Company of Harrington, Maine, at the headstones of over 5,000 of America's honored dead.

Morrill Worcester initially brought 4,000 surplus wreaths from the holiday decoration company he owns to adorn gravesites at Arlington in 1992. Every year since then he has set aside several thousand wreaths especially for that purpose, driving to Arlington in December with a trailer full of decorations and dozens of volunteers to distribute them throughout the cemetery. As Mr. Worcester told an Air Force reporter in 2005:
We couldn't do anything in this country if it wasn't for the people who gave their lives to protect us. It's a great honor to be able to come here and pay our respects.

That first year, there were just a few of us, and it took us five or six hours to get them placed. This year, we had extra help and got done in about an hour.

In 2006, Mr. Worcester hopes to expand the Arlington Wreath Project into Wreaths Across America, an effort to place memorial wreaths at more than 230 State and National Cemeteries and Veterans Monuments across the United States.

The 2006 wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington (and other sites) will take place on December 14. Persons interested in participating in this event should contact Wayne Hanson at (703) 971-4148. Those who cannot attend in person may participate by observing a moment of silence at noon hour on December 14 "to reflect on the sacrifices made and freely given by those who will not be home for the holidays."

Posted by tree hugging sister at 09:49 AM | Comments (3)

"In This Galaxy...

...you will NOT."

Bush Sets Defense As Space Priority
U.S. Says Shift Is Not A Step Toward Arms; Experts Say It Could Be

President Bush has signed a new National Space Policy that rejects future arms-control agreements that might limit U.S. flexibility in space and asserts a right to deny access to space to anyone "hostile to U.S. interests."

The document, the first full revision of overall space policy in 10 years, emphasizes security issues, encourages private enterprise in space, and characterizes the role of U.S. space diplomacy largely in terms of persuading other nations to support U.S. policy.

"Freedom of action in space is as important to the United States as air power and sea power," the policy asserts in its introduction.

Essential it is.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 09:30 AM

October 17, 2006

But a "Peacetime Footing" Is Cheaper!

Ask any 'Rumsfeld doctrine'/neocon analyst.

The U.S.-led coalition in Afghanistan failed to follow through as it should have after ousting the government in 2001, said the NATO commander in the country.

The mistake — adopting "a peacetime approach" too early — set the stage for this year's deadly Taliban resurgence, British Gen. David Richards told Pentagon reporters Tuesday.

He said the international community has six months to correct the problem before losing Afghan support.

"The Taliban were defeated. .... And it looked all pretty hunky-dory," Richard said of the environment at the end of 2001. "We thought it was all done ... and didn't treat it as aggressively as ... with the benefit of hindsight, we should have done."

Posted by tree hugging sister at 09:31 PM | Comments (1)

October 14, 2006

Aw, Man

I'm crying here.

Navy SEAL falls on grenade to save comrades
Monsoor was only the second member of force to be killed in Iraq

A Navy SEAL sacrificed his life to save his comrades by throwing himself on top of a grenade Iraqi insurgents tossed into their sniper hideout, fellow members of the elite force said.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael A. Monsoor had been near the only door to the rooftop structure Sept. 29 when the grenade hit him in the chest and bounced to the floor, said four SEALs who spoke to The Associated Press this week on condition of anonymity because their work requires their identities to remain secret.

“He never took his eye off the grenade, his only movement was down toward it,” said a 28-year-old lieutenant who sustained shrapnel wounds to both legs that day. “He undoubtedly saved mine and the other SEALs’ lives, and we owe him.”

...Prior to his death, Monsoor had already demonstrated courage under fire. He has been posthumously awarded the Silver Star for his actions May 9 in Ramadi, when he and another SEAL pulled a team member shot in the leg to safety while bullets pinged off the ground around them.

Bless his brave heart. Damn.

A Swill thank you to GALA for the heads-up on this.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 05:12 PM | Comments (2)

October 13, 2006

Ogle a Few Good Men

...for a good cause. It's Marine Force Recon calender time. Oooooh-RAH !!

In my own smug way, I'd point out they missed one...

...but he's my favoritest calender Jarhead...

...and we'll just leave it at that.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 01:45 PM | Comments (3)

We Missed Posting This Yesterday

...but others carried the flag so beautifully. Sailors of the USS Cole we lost that awful day six years ago are remembered. They all look so young. (A warm Swill Salute to Brian.)

For our part, I think I'll link to our post of June 8th this year ~ her 10th birthday and the day the USS Cole took to the seas again. I'm sure many of the folks who know her from the bombing would love to hear the story of her namesake, Darrell S. Cole, USMC (1920-1945). Remember the story, Swillers?
He was the bad a$$ bugler.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 09:43 AM | Comments (2)

October 06, 2006

"More Troops Please"

"Not losing" isn't the same as winning.

I've heard President Bush repeatedly state he will send more troops to Iraq if the commanders on the ground ask for them. I think, having returned home from Iraq two months ago, that there must be a breakdown in communication somewhere along the line. Maybe units on the ground are painting too rosy a picture for the generals. Perhaps the generals aren't asking because it goes against the "can do" ethos of the Army. Possibly the military is being squeezed by the Pentagon to do more with less. Or maybe the White House doesn't want to admit more troops are needed. In any case, while I do not have the answers nor do I seek to place blame, it is painfully obvious there's a disconnect.

I volunteered to serve in Iraq because I believe in our mission there. I share the president's conviction about the Iraq war--we can and must win, for the Iraqi people, for the future of our country and for peace-loving people everywhere. But I'm frustrated. America is fighting with a hand tied behind its back. Soldiers have all the equipment we need--armored humvees, body armor for every body part, superior technology, etc.--but we simply do not have enough troops in Iraq, and we need them now.

...I believe, as the president noted, that "the safety of America depends on the outcome of the battle in the streets of Baghdad." Why then do we have just enough troops in Iraq not to lose?

Crusader sent this along and it's an argument we back seat drivers have been making since this whole mess started.
Give our troops everyTHING and everyONE they need to do this right ~ massive, overwhelming force and support to unleash the hounds and get it DONE.

Not the Rumsfeld doctrine of "more on less".

Posted by tree hugging sister at 09:46 AM | Comments (2)

October 03, 2006

Ken Posts

...on a someone with "touch of greatness".

How is it these young Jarheads can make you cry so damn hard?

Posted by tree hugging sister at 04:21 PM | Comments (1)

September 29, 2006

The Senate Wants Federal Employees

...you know, the mostly air-conditioned office type ~ to get a 2.7% pay raise in January. A pittance and fair enough. Until you realize the Senate also thinks the military's worth only a 2.2% pay raise for what THEY do.

I sent a little note emphasizing that I thought we were worth at least as much as Madge the secretary. (Or her only as much as us.)

Posted by tree hugging sister at 07:48 AM | Comments (6)

September 26, 2006

My Most Favoritest Teeth Gnash Causing Columnist

...is at it again. This time she's, well, going on about the 'rift' her book (on life as a military wife) 'created'.

It's been nearly a year since my book, "Going Overboard: The Misadventures of a Military Wife," went on sale. Immediately upon its release, the book had critics, all of them military spouses. I've waited this long to respond for a reason.

And her response is right up her peculiarly mis-informed, self-absorbed alley.
It's the "just make the casserole and smile" mentality, and it breeds two things -- discontent and rebellion. As military spouses, we need to get with the times or be left in the dust with the 1950s housewives who smiled and nodded, then threw back the alcohol once the kids were in bed.

Oh, please. I'm sure she got most of those impressions and angry letters from long retired Navy wives, who were appalled by her comportment. If she'd actually bothered to speak to a 'not-in-her-age-group-nor-hubby's-chain-o'-command' military wife from the past few decades, she'd lose that whole stupid 'Angie Dickinson in Pearl Harbor' thread and then what would be left for her to write about? Um...pitiful, witless crap like this, I guess...
Military wives also took issue with my inability to cope on my own. I admit, at barely 25 years old (when the book took place), I was helpless. Haven't we all been at one time or another? Maybe, maybe not. But here's what I hope you will remember: there are still so many young military wives struggling the way I was. How can we turn our backs on them by criticizing someone for being honest and real? By being outspoken, I hope I've made other women feel free to ask for help, because no two people experience deployments and military life the same way. And no one's experience should be discounted.

TWENTYFIVE YEARS OLD and HELPLESS??!! Oh, you are so right we took issue with that, since you're a college educated ADMIRAL's daughter who is also an OFFICER'S WIFE. "Helpless", my feckless friend, is reserved for the UN-educated, eighteen year old Lance Corporal's wife with TWO BABIES and he's on a year deployment. The pity meter is pegged for you, Sarah. You have every support mechanism in the world to help you, while those poor kids don't and NEVER have. Maybe if you'd spent less time whining about seemingly self-induced daycare problems and more time helping the younger enlisted spouses find that help, you'd have:

a) gotten answers you needed, too

b) actually done something of service to the military community (granted, you might not have had time for the NYT photo session)

c) have some street cred with ACTIVE DUTY wives like me ( with street cred of their own ) who just think you're a spoiled dolt.
Perhaps what saddened me most about the reactions from fellow wives was the amount of hostility and close-mindedness. I had always thought military women were progressive and accepting. After all, we endure much and become family when our spouses are away. So it surprised me that compassion came not from the women who share my lifestyle, but from those who do not. And it worries me that, in the end, we are the hardest and least tolerant of our own.

Coincidentally enough, that's why we also don't write you letters or show up for book signings...why we roll our eyes when our military husbands mention "Sarah's column..." (see "c" above) and cringe when we see those fawning presentations in our local fishwrap whence you got your start or, God forbid, on a national stage.

We are just so mean.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 09:54 AM | Comments (3)

September 14, 2006

Come One, Come All

...in the state veterans' cemetary.

Wiccan Sign Allowed on Soldier's Plaque
The widow of a soldier killed in Afghanistan won state approval Wednesday to place a Wiccan religious symbol on his memorial plaque, something the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs had refused.

...He was a follower of the Wiccan religion, which the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs does not recognize and therefore prohibits on veterans' headstones in national cemeteries.

..."The VA still has not determined yet if a Wiccan symbol can go on the headstone," said Tim Tetz, executive director of the Nevada Office of Veterans Services. "But we have determined we control the state cemetery and that we therefore have the ability to recognize him for his service to his country."

Posted by tree hugging sister at 11:39 AM | Comments (4)

Only But Ask and Ye Shall Receive

...help from the most unlikely of quarters.

Poland to send 1,000 new troops to Afghanistan
Announcement comes in response to NATO pleas for reinforcements

...“Poland will increase its contingent in Afghanistan. We will send 1,000 additional troops from February,” Defense Ministry Spokesman Leszek Laszczak said.

We know this will be a dangerous operation. Poland understands that NATO will have to be more active in Afghanistan. We are well aware of that, and that is why we decided to increase the size of the force.

Thank God somebody in Europe 'gets it'.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 09:32 AM | Comments (3)

September 13, 2006

Dear Lou Dobbs: Lay Off The Olbermann Juice

Don't start this blame the generals shit

Both the White House and Congress should be demanding accountability from our generals who have failed so far to succeed in destroying our enemies. Not a single general has been fired for failing to lead our men and women to victory against the insurgencies of Iraq and Afghanistan. I believe it is time for all Americans -- Republicans, Democrats and Independents -- to demand such accountability.

I, for one, do not want to hear another of our generals urge the American people to be patient. Patience favors the enemy. And our generals have the responsibility to our brave troops and this nation to deliver certain victory, and that responsibility rests first and foremost with the commander in chief.

I will demand accountability from our Generals only after they are given the ability to do their jobs. But when they are hamstrung by second-guessers on both sides of the aisle and the MSM, when every mistake is magnified a thousand times and broadcast around the world, then, no, I demand the accountability from the idjits in Washington and the media who are tying the military's hands.

Unleash the dogs of war, focus our whole being on destroying the enemy, and then let's see which generals deserve rebuke.

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 03:30 PM | Comments (6)

September 08, 2006

Wunderkraut and His Wunder Family

...have had quite the evening. And you need to visit and watch every little snippet and read every single word. I am so sniffling grateful he thought to share.

The only thing I can add is, if the United States Marine Corps Silent Drill Team and Band have an Battle Colors Ceremony engagement within a hundred miles of your humble abode...GO.

Thank you, Kraut.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 10:15 PM | Comments (1)

August 23, 2006

Regarding the Marine Corps IRR Call-Up

...major dad (being the gentleman and the scholar he is) has found a link on the right hand side of USMC.mil. See where it says...

Volunteer for duty
IRR Marines and recent retirees needed for GWOT billets
Learn more and apply

...? This is the link (if mine doesn't work just click through theirs ~ might be Privacy Act issues). It's got cool little boxes where you fill in your MOS, grade, DuSta CONUS etc. and when you're available. Plug all that in, hit search and see if the Marine Corps can use you. Nobody wants or needs a SNCO in either 6313 OR Career Planner, which is just dandy by me. (So I'm not gonna sweat a recall and won't be power chugging ding dongs to get out of it.) But if anyone's worried they might be on the hit list, it probably wouldn't hurt to see if your MOS is something they're in dire need of. Like the WaPo article says:
They would come from a pool of about 59,000 members of the Individual Ready Reserve (IRR) -- Marines with specific skills who left active duty and returned to civilian lives, but are obligated to serve if called. Marine Corps officials said yesterday that reservists in their first or last years of enrollment will not be subject to recall.

Officials said they will try to choose Marines with the smallest number of combat tours, leaving about 35,000 subject to the call-up.

Those receiving a recall notice will have five months to report to active duty and could serve tours of 12 to 18 months, Marine officials said yesterday.

Forewarned is forearmed. And, if you're like most Marines I've ever known and there's a slot for your MOS, you'll beat them to the punch if your wife will let you.

UPDATE: More on the skill sets they're looking for:

Yet the call-up is a rare one for the smallest of the country's four military services, which has always prided itself on its recruitment and retention record. Less than 180,000 Marines serve on active duty, but the Corps has consistently met or exceeded its recruiting and re-enlistment goals for years, even as the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq drag on.

Those expected to receive involuntary activation notices include infantry and other combat specialties, communications and intelligence specialists, combat engineers and military police, the Marines said.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 02:42 PM | Comments (2)

August 22, 2006

A must watch.



Posted by Crusader at 09:39 PM | Comments (3)


...I think I've aged out on my IRR commitment, thank God.

Marines to issue involuntary call-ups
Corps faces shortage of volunteers for deployments to Iraq, Afghanistan

The U.S. Marine Corps said Tuesday it has been authorized to recall thousands of Marines to active duty, primarily because of a shortage of volunteers for duty in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Up to 2,500 Marines will be brought back at any one time, but there is no cap on the total number of Marines who may be forced back into service in the coming years as the military battles the war on terror. The call-ups will begin in the next several months.

...The call-up affects Marines in the Individual Ready Reserve, a segment of the reserves that consists mainly of those who left active duty but still have time remaining on their eight-year military obligation.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 05:14 PM | Comments (7)

August 21, 2006

Joe Rosenthal

...the WWII, Pulitzer prize winning photographer (left) has died at 94 years young.

Rest in peace Joe. And thank you.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 07:38 AM | Comments (3)

August 18, 2006

The Kind Letter

"...but they both said that they would rather have him never come back than never have gone."
...and TR's response.

Makes me cry.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 11:14 AM | Comments (5)

August 11, 2006

The IDF Gets a Taste of Warfare

...American style.

Analysis: IDF fumes over denied victory

...This wishy-washy decision-making process cost the IDF lives, according to one senior officer. "A military force always needs to be on the offensive, pushing forward and keeping the enemy on its toes," he said. "When you sit still for too long, you turn into a target and you begin to get hit again and again."

That is what has been happening. Over the past 30 days of fighting Hizbullah, the army has lost 83 soldiers, 35 of them this week. "That is what happens when you sit still and don't move," the officer said. "The enemy fortifies its positions and gains the upper hand."

The results of sitting in place can also be seen in the way most of the soldiers who died this week were killed. Hundreds of anti-tank missiles have been fired at troops in southern Lebanon. When a force sits still it becomes an easy target, officers said. One said he thought that the number of casualties from "just sitting and waiting for orders" could turn out to be the same as the IDF would have lost had it been allowed to make the push to the Litani.

UPDATE: It looks like "Unleash the Hounds!!" is back on.

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is dissatisfied with the emerging cease-fire deal and told his defense minister in a meeting Friday to get ready for a wider ground offensive in Lebanon, a senior Israeli official said.

I hope they carry through this time. There's nothing worse than getting jerked around ~ just ask the Marines who went into Fallujah.

Others are watching at Michelle Malkin.

And Bill Quick at The Daily Pundit ~ all I can say is "WOW". Please, please read it.

UPDATE: Hold the phone and NOT SO FAST !!

Mideast peace deal reached at U.N.
Israeli media say Olmert will recommend government accept it

Slimey Hezbollah jackals will be dancing in the streets at yet another 'victory'.
Jesus, we're killing ourselves here.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 01:05 PM

August 09, 2006

Watched It Last Night and WOW

We loved it.

Watch the clip from the film. You can take or leave his interview with Maher (the pretentious ass), but Ross comes off as genuine as he does in the film. And doesn't let Maher lead him into anything, no matter how hard Maher tries.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 04:55 PM | Comments (1)

An Eagle Eyed Jarhead Stars In

"Through the Green Door".

One glance at an unusual door to a house west of Falluja launched U.S. troops on a hunt that led to the capture of four men suspected of kidnapping Jill Carroll, the U.S. military said on Wednesday.

A Marine lieutenant thought he recognized a small structure on the door and the gate from intelligence reports about the U.S. journalist's 82-day abduction, spokesman Maj. Gen. William Caldwell said.

"Troops on the ground, young Marines and sailors, paid attention to what may have been considered minor details at the time," he told a news conference in Baghdad.

..."The young Marine ... continued to follow up on what he remembered from the reports and [was] able to specifically identify some features associated with that ...

"He determined that, in fact, he had probably found the house where kidnap victims may have been held, specifically in this case, Jill Carroll."

Marines arrested the homeowner in al-Habbaniya beginning a chain of events that took them to three more houses that may have been used as holding cells.

In one of the houses, Marines disarmed booby traps before rescuing two other hostages, Caldwell said.

It's a GREAT frickin' story! OO-rah!!

Posted by tree hugging sister at 01:54 PM | Comments (6)

August 07, 2006

Lost and Found

How wonderful is that?

An unknown Marine who rescued two Port Authority cops at Ground Zero - the characters at the center of Oliver Stone's 9/11 movie - and then shunned public attention for nearly five years is a humble courthouse security officer from America's heartland, The Post has learned.

Long Island native Jason Thomas, 32, teamed with another Marine to freelance their way through the burning rubble of Ground Zero and find PA cops John McLoughlin and Will Jimeno pinned below.

...A decorated sergeant during his active Marine service between 1996 and 2000, he was living in Hempstead, L.I., and attending the John Jay College of Criminal Justice on 9/11. When the hijacked planes struck, he threw on his military fatigues and headed for lower Manhattan.

"I knew my city was under attack," Thomas said of his impulsive trip. "I felt compelled to do something."

Thomas and Karnes - an accountant and reservist who made his own impulsive trip from Connecticut - randomly met at Ground Zero and launched their own search-and-rescue mission.

Barking out, "U.S. Marines! Can anyone hear us," they gingerly made their way through wreckage until hearing Jimeno crying out for help.

And there's someone anxious to meet him.
..."I am looking forward to thanking another one of my angels," Jimeno said.

...Said Jimeno: "You have to admire that there are people in this world who do things because it is just the right thing and are content with their actions and not looking for fame or money."

Man...you sure do.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 12:23 PM | Comments (7)

August 04, 2006

Murderous Acts Need No Aggrandizement

...from liars.

General briefed Murtha after murder comment, Corp says
The head of the U.S. Marine Corps briefed Rep. John Murtha (news, bio, voting record) on the Haditha case after the vocal war critic publicly said Marines had killed innocent civilians in that Iraqi city, the Corps said on Thursday.

...Murtha, a Pennsylvania Democrat, is being sued by one of the accused Marines for libel. He had told The Philadelphia Inquirer that Gen. Michael Hagee had given him the information on which he based his charge that Marines killed innocent civilians.

But a spokesman for the Marine Corps said Hagee briefed Murtha on May 24 about Haditha. Murtha had made comments on the case as early as May 17.

A Swill salute to the Gateway Pundit.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 12:35 PM | Comments (3)

"Run Away!!"

Well, that's what happens.

...A Duke University study demonstrates that it matters whether civilian decision makers have military experience: A review of U.S. foreign policy over nearly two centuries shows that when we have the fewest number of veterans in leadership and staff positions in Congress and the Executive branch, we are most likely to engage in aggressive (as opposed to defensive) warfighting. And we are most likely to pull out of conflicts early.

Just ask the Clintonites.
...The Triangle Institute of Security Studies has tracked the growing disconnect between the military and the leadership, and finds evidence of a growing distrust of both groups toward each other. The group in America that reports having the lowest opinion of the military is the elites: They are almost six times more likely than members of the military to say they would be "disappointed if a child of mine decided to serve."

...In World War I, one of Congress's stated reasons for proposing a draft was that without it, too many of the upper-class children would rush to service, and we'd lose the leadership class of the country. In 1956 a majority of the graduating classes of Stanford, Harvard and Princeton joined the military, and most were not drafted. Leadership was then understood to have a moral dimension — the cry "follow me" was more convincing than "charge!" Those who aspired to future leadership saw service as a hallmark of credibility.

'Credibility'. Now there's a word. But how do you convince someone whose kindergarten education may have cost in the tens of thousands and now has their Ivy League pass in hand to crawl through the wet woods in Quantico? Or breathe in the incredible stench that comes with a third world country up-close-and-personal, instead of the rarified air of a resort located there? Even more daunting ~ how do you convince his parents and that's true for conservative as well as liberal mom and dads. It's even harder when we're stuck in a snake pit/quagmire/piece-o'-shit-country-run-by-f*ckin'-loons and the whole American psyche is teetering. Waiting for the "cut and run" order we KNOW is wrong but probably inevitable. Do you encourage your baby to go off and risk dying for that? None of this is going to change until the military receives it's full measure of support and respect. It's been hamstrung since Truman fired MacArthur and only gotten worse. There aren't decisive results anymore. There's no 'vanquishing the darkness' to take pride in. We stop just short of the prize ~ "We don't have a 'mandate'/U.N. authority" ~ and we fight with one eye on the economics. Going in as cheap as we can. And then skitter out of the mess we created with our ineptitude. Only our troops pay and pay and pay for it.

major dad sent this as I was writing and it's perfect.

... WHEN you fly as often as I do you learn to mind your own business as soon as you take your seat. But that wasn’t possible once I saw the military honor guard boarding US Airways’ 1:45 p.m. flight from Boston to Washington earlier this week.

I was heading through the gate when I first noticed Senator Ted Kennedy, walking down the concourse and arriving fashionably late, not an uncommon sight on this route. I stepped aside and followed him down the ramp.

As we got to the arched entrance of the plane, the members of a Marine honor guard in their dress blues were coming up that outside staircase usually used for stowing strollers and allowing mechanics on board. The marine in charge held in both hands a flag that had been folded into a triangle as if it had been previously draping a coffin, which it had.

Senator Kennedy extended his hand to the marine and said, “Thank you for your service.”

“Thank you, sir,” replied the marine.

“Are you escorting remains?” asked Senator Kennedy.

“Yes, sir, a marine.”

“And the funeral is at Arlington Cemetery?”

“Yes, sir, on Wednesday.”

“Thank you, I’ll try to get out there.”

...They stood at the window between Gates 43 and 45 and watched as a full Marine honor guard marched up the tarmac, coming to attention between the plane and a silver military hearse. The unloading of their son’s coffin from the cargo hold was very slow, and every time someone inside the terminal noticed and stopped to stare, someone else noticed and did the same, and this kept happening until about 20 people stood in silence watching out the window.

The mom leaned her elbows on the window ledge, supporting her chin and cheeks with both hands. She remained perfectly still. She stared for 10 or 15 long minutes and never moved. The father stood nearby, rocking from foot to foot and pacing a bit. They did not touch; they did not say a word to each other. Neither wore a wedding band. Perhaps they were divorced, or simply isolated in their pain.

Standing nearby was a man wearing the T-shirt of a suburban fire and rescue department that he may have earned 20 years and 35 pounds ago. He went over to the parents to chat, not knowing who they were, just one curious spectator to another.

But whatever he said to the mother caused her to turn and look at him in disbelief. Her lips didn’t move, which only encouraged him to repeat it. Her eyes widened and her chin tilted upward like a boxer who had taken a blow. She stared at him and then looked back outside toward her son. Down on the tarmac the white gloves of eight marines snapped their final salute as the doors of the hearse closed...

In the figurative sense that poor Marine guarding the BLT gate in Beirut in '83 ~ with no bullets in his weapon ~ is the perfect symbol for the American military from Vietnam on.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 10:59 AM

Well, That's Good News

She's out of the hospital.

CBS News journalist Kimberly Dozier has been released from a rehabilitation hospital, where she had been recovering from critical injuries suffered during a May 29 car bomb attack in Iraq.

"I'm up on crutches and can even manage with a cane," Dozier said in a statement issued by CBS News on Thursday. "It's not pretty, but I'm walking on my own."

..."The last I saw Paul and James, they were rushing from their Humvee to 'get the shot' of a young U.S. Army Captain, James Funkhouser Jr., greeting Iraqi locals at a streetside tea stand," Dozier said.

The blast killed the three men and an Iraqi translator, and seriously wounded Dozier.


Posted by tree hugging sister at 09:31 AM

August 03, 2006

Give a Man a Fish and You Feed Him

Teach a man to fish...

Israeli commandos made their daring raid on a Hezbollah hospital because they believed that the two soldiers whose kidnapping started the Lebanese war had been treated there, sources revealed yesterday.
The commandos didn't find the Israeli soldiers but they seized five Hezbollah fighters, killed at least 10 others and took a treasure trove of intelligence documents when they escaped, as they came, by helicopter.

...Israeli officials said the raid sent a message to Hezbollah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah.

"The army and air force proved their ability to go everywhere, even when Hezbollah turns a hospital into a headquarters," said the mission commander, Brig. Gen. Yochanan Locker.

Israeli television said the real target of the raid may have been a senior Nasrallah deputy, who escaped.

When Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was asked whether any of the five men seized were "big fish," he replied, "They are tasty fishes."

...and you clean up the neighborhood.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 09:19 AM

August 02, 2006

This Is a Damned Shameful Thing If Proven True

Evidence collected on the deaths of 24 Iraqis in Haditha supports accusations that U.S. Marines deliberately shot the civilians, including unarmed women and children, a Pentagon official said Wednesday.
I can't see where criminal charges wouldn't be coming (as indeed they should) based on these initial findings. At least we'll have a chance to hear what the Marines have to say in their defense. And it would appear military authorities are being thorough in investigating all aspects.
A parallel investigation is examining whether officers in the Marines’ chain of command tried to cover up the events.
Sort it out and nail the bad guys.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 10:36 AM | Comments (2)

July 31, 2006

It's a Different Perspective

"It doesn't bother me. Obviously, me being a devout Catholic, it's a conflict of interest. Then again, God supported David when he killed Goliath,"
...through a Marine sniper's scope.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 07:43 PM

Quotes of the Day

On Beirut...

We're not helping one bit, risking the lives of American Marines serving over there, trying to keep peace, when they've got a bunch of jackasses who want to kill each other. I'd get out of there and let them shoot. - Senator Bary Goldwater

...and the Marines...
You would think that over a period of 23 years that the United States military, the memory of the barracks bombing would have faded. It hasn't.

When Secretary Rice talks about perhaps a peacekeeping force, the first question in a U.S. officer's mind is, does that mean us? No one in the military wants a replay of 1983.

...in 1983.

From an OUTSTANDING CNN Presents: "Marine Barracks Bombing". (If you can't find it re-scheduled, the transcript's here. )

As soon as we suffer casualties, we will cut and run.
We are a paper tiger.


Oh yeah, we do. And the whole Islamic world knows it. They're counting on it.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 02:24 PM

July 28, 2006

Zeppelin discovered!

Graf Zeppelin, that is.

Poland's navy said today that it identified a sunken ship in the Baltic Sea as almost certainly being Nazi Germany's only aircraft carrier, the Graf Zeppelin — a find that promises to shed light on a 59-year-old mystery surrounding the ship's fate.

Backround on the ship here.
Cool stuff!

Posted by Crusader at 08:27 AM | Comments (9)

July 27, 2006

Speakin of the Religion of Pieces and Sensibilities

...I don't think now is the time to dump this guy ~ an ARABIC speaking Sergeant ~ regardless of who he spends his off time with.

Army Dismisses Gay Arabic Linguist
A decorated sergeant and Arabic language specialist was dismissed from the U.S. Army under the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, though he says he never told his superiors he was gay and his accuser was never identified.

Bleu Copas, 30, told The Associated Press he is gay, but said he was "outed" by a stream of anonymous e-mails to his superiors in the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, N.C.

...The policy is becoming "a very effective weapon of vengeance in the armed forces" said Steve Ralls, a spokesman for the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, a Washington-based watchdog organization that counseled Copas and is working to repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."

Posted by tree hugging sister at 09:23 AM | Comments (25)

He Gave Courage, Honor and Commitment

...a leg to stand on.

Carl M. Brashear, the first black U.S. Navy diver, died Tuesday. Brashear, 75, was portrayed by Cuba Gooding Jr. in the 2000 film "Men of Honor."

He died at the Naval Medical Center Portsmouth of respiratory and heart failure, the medical center said.
Brashear retired from the Navy in 1979 after more than 30 years of service. He was the first Navy diver to be restored to full active duty as an amputee, the result of a leg injury he sustained during a salvage operation.

An incredible man. God speed, Master Chief Petty Officer.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 08:57 AM | Comments (3)

July 26, 2006

A Little Success'll Do Wonders

...for the soul. Bad guys killed and captured, IED material and weapons snagged and three hostages rescued. All in a day's work.

Marines from Regimental Combat Team 5’s, 1st Battalion, 25th Marine Regiment, and soldiers from 2nd and 4th Brigade, 1st Iraqi Army Division, rescued three Iraqi hostages in an intelligence-driven operation July 23.

The three were personal assistants and bodyguards to Dr. Rafa Hayid Chiad Al-Isaw, an Iraqi government official in Baghdad.

...The three were held captive by al-Qaeda insurgents in a spiderhole complex for 27 days. The hostages were beaten with electrical cords, bitten and threatened with their lives at gunpoint by their captors. They were treated by Coalition Forces medical personnel.

The three were taken hostage by al-Qaeda insurgents west of Zaidon, a rural area south of Fallujah. They were rescued near Fuhaylat, southwest of Fallujah.

Also recovered nearby was a significant weapons cache, including a fully-assembled suicide vehicle-borne improvised explosive device. Marines also recovered IEDs and IED-making material, mortar tubes and round, artillery rounds, machine guns, bulk explosives, anti-tank mines, rocket-propelled grenades and launchers, AK-47 assault rifles, small-arms ammunition and video cameras.

BITTEN? (I know the answer, but I have to ask...what kind of whack monkeys are these religion of pieces a$$holes anyway?)
Sierra Hotel and a big OO-RAH! Keep roundin' 'em up, Jarheads.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 02:25 PM | Comments (5)

July 25, 2006

An Adventure at Sea

Lucky land lubber John at Castle Argghhh! He gets to go sailing in (and for) a most worthy cause. She's

DD-574 ~ the U.S.S John Rodgers...

...and they're bringing her home.

Fair winds, following seas and we'll work on being dockside in Mobile when ya get here.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 03:40 PM

July 13, 2006

"They fired the first harpoon at her yesterday and today EOD set off bombs. It only took an hour but she's been taking hits all yesterday from the other ships....she just wouldn't sink."

..She wasn't designed to sink. She was designed to fight, to stay afloat, and carry her crew through the perils of enemy hostilities. How confusing the last moments must have been for this great lady to have the guns of those she held so dear fire the fatal blows that would carry her to the depths of darkness. May she rest in peace, and may all those who served upon her feel her presence with each misty spray of ocean breeze.


I'm sorry we're so late in our farewell, brave lady.

Adieu, peaceful dreams and our thanks.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 11:59 AM | Comments (3)

Sad day.

When a life is lost, and a piece of history is gone.

HICKORY - Witnesses: Plane was trying to take off but went off runway, burned The pilot of a single-engine Korean War-era fighter jet died Monday when the airplane skidded off a runway at Hickory Regional Airport, crashed and exploded.

Close friends and the pilot's pastor identified him as Wyatt Fuller, a vintage-airplane buff who was headed to an air show in Oshkosh, Wis., when the crash happened. He was piloting a 1954 F-86 Sabre made in Canada.

Officials with the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board arrived on the scene late Monday afternoon to start investigating the accident, the only fatality that Hickory officials can recall at the small airport.

Officials said they didn't know what caused the crash.


His F-86 Sabre was one of a handful still flyable, Terry said. More than 5,500 Sabres were built in the United States and Canada.

Fuller had long admired the jet, an Air Force one-seater similar to those flown in the Korean War, when he found one for sale on the Internet, according to a story in the Augusta (Ga.) Chronicle.

He bought it in 2003 and thought it would take a few months to get it flying. It took 1 1/2 years to restore in Mojave, Calif., where it had been stored.

The plane, built by Canadair, originally had been flown in the Royal Canadian Air Force and then was owned by a flight testing company.

For a while, it was assigned to Col. James Kasler, a decorated American pilot in Korea and Vietnam, where he was a POW for seven years after his plane was shot down in 1966.

"That's one of the reasons we worked so hard and went to the lengths we did," Fuller told the Augusta newspaper. "We felt like we owed it to the public and owed it to him.

"The plane was meant to fly; it's what it was built for."

Jim Carr, who flies with the Civil Air Patrol and who kept his airplane next to Fuller's at the Hickory airport, said Fuller had to make an emergency landing in the Sabre jet at Maxwell Air Force Base in Alabama this spring.

Carr said the plane's right landing gear failed to fully extend and that Fuller landed the plane on the nose and left main wheels, then set down the right side on the underwing fuel tank and slid on the fuel tank until the plane came to a stop.

He said Fuller had spent the past couple of months taking apart the plane and cleaning it to prepare for the Oshkosh air show.

Carr said that amid his tinkering, Fuller was friendly and liked to talk with kids interested in aviation. "I could bring a young cadet (teenage Civil Air Patrol student) to his hangar and he would stop what he was doing and show them."

Fuller, a former airline pilot who also made a name for himself as a motorcycle designer for Harley-Davidson, had a generous nature, said Ruffin Snow, pastor of Tri-City Baptist Church in Conover, where Fuller had been a member for a decade.

Snow spent much of the afternoon with members of Fuller's family. He said Fuller has three children.

"He did a flyover this past November for our Veterans Day service at the church," Snow said. "We had a ceremony with a 21-gun salute and then here came Wyatt and he did a barrel roll or whatever you call it, and it was so thrilling. He did all that just out of the goodness of his heart."

God Speed.

Posted by Crusader at 10:06 AM | Comments (5)

Another Sign the Apocalypse is Upon Us

My unnamed, senior military sources have informed me that THIS (pictured below) time honored feature of innumerable presentations, lectures, brainstorming sessions and office jokes is no longer to be referred to as ~ regardless of the fact that the sheets of paper contained herein do, indeed, "flip" from one side of the easel to the other ~ a


...since that is also slang for residents of the Philippine Islands. Someone might mistake the chart for a racial slur. So "FLIP" chart is right out.

No word on what the new, politically correct chart has been dubbed. I would offer:
"Butt-kissing Idiots' Turpitude Enhances Madness Exponentially CHART"

Or it's military acronym:


Posted by tree hugging sister at 09:16 AM | Comments (20)

July 21, 2006

Made Me Teary Eyed and Sniffley

...John at Powerline did.

...But an American citizen is a member of a nation that, most of the time, has the power to vindicate its citizens' rights. And, for those now being evacuated, their citizenship means that they are entitled to the protection of the United States Marine Corps. Is that a high privilege? It is indeed.


Posted by tree hugging sister at 05:01 PM

Why is It Such A Surprise That One Guy With Wire Cutters

...can ruin your entire day?

...As the air force received 60 percent of the military budget, army training was cut to the bone and the armored corps was significantly reduced.

Reservists forgot what the inside of a main battle tank looked like. Army supplies dwindled way past the danger point as military intelligence dismissed the prospect of a conventional war against Israel.

Over the last two years, the Ground Forces Command has been administering the Digital Army Program, a nearly $1 billion effort to link ground forces assets to ensure situational awareness as well as coordination with the air force and navy.

Today, Israel's advanced technology has been unable to detect, let alone stop Hizbullah assaults. Military sources said Hizbullah quickly developed methods to penetrate Israel's C4I [command, control, communications, computers and intelligence] border system, based on advanced sensors and heavy air surveillance.

Hizbullah, the sources said, learned how to disable cameras and exploit blind spots to cut through the border fence and attack Israeli military positions. They said this was how a small Hizbullah force attacked an Israeli border post on July 12 and abducted two soldiers.

In the words of that famous philospher:
"The more they over think the plumbing, the easier it is to stop up the drain."
-Scottie, Star Trek III

Posted by tree hugging sister at 04:45 PM | Comments (6)

July 20, 2006


...is reporting that the Israelis bombed a bunker earlier that was supposed to have contained Hezbollah's leader. No word yet on whether the strike was a complete success or not, may he rest in pieces.

UPDATE: Ah. The JP has more on the elimination efforts.

And you know...honestly? It doesn't bother me one whit ~ the thought of these f*ckers looking up at the sky in terror and foreboding or shreiking at the weird noise from the closet at night. I really can sleep soundly knowing that ~ just for once ~ it's guys like us in the shadows.

UPDATE: Hmmm... It's been over 21 hours since I posted this and mighty quiet. Anyone heard from the fat little sheikh himself yet? Captain Ed offers a little gem about why verifying the casualties is a smidge difficult:

UPDATE II: One of the reasons given for the lack of confirmation at this point explains a lot about the war itself:

Hizbullah has a headquarters compound in Bourj al-Barajneh that is off limits to the Lebanese police and army, so security officials could not confirm the strike.
Got that? The Lebanese police and army are not allowed to enter onto its own land. That's not much of an excuse for a state, especially given that the land is in the capital city of Lebanon.
And people are questioning Israel's show of force?


Posted by tree hugging sister at 03:44 PM | Comments (1)

"Marines to the Rescue"


U.S. Marines landed in Lebanon Thursday to help evacuate Americans onto a Navy ship bound for Cyprus as Israeli warplanes continued to bomb targets in Beirut and Israeli ground troops fought Hezbollah guerillas in Lebanon.

This headline's been seen before and Marines have spent quite a bit of time there, unfortunately. And THIS sounds hugely risky...
No plans have been made yet for the several hundred Americans in southern Lebanon, where fighting has been fiercest and Israeli troops entered Tuesday.

Harty said the State Department will move them when it's "safe and prudent ... we're always going to err on the side of caution," she said.

A senior defense official told CNN on Wednesday that the military is considering using teams of Marines aboard helicopters to extract Americans who are stuck in remote parts of Lebanon. The official stressed that nothing has been decided.

Vice Adm. Patrick Walsh, commander of the U.S. 5th Fleet, told CNN that one reason he is moving the Iwo Jima Expeditionary Strike Group and the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit to Lebanon is to give him the ability to get Americans out of other parts of Lebanon, if necessary.

God speed, Jarheads.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 10:00 AM

July 15, 2006

Overheard on FOX News Just Now

During an interview with women who are American University students now trapped in Beirut:

"Where are the Marines? We wanna go home."

We're pretty sure they're already close enough to help.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 07:09 PM | Comments (1)

July 14, 2006

Aw, Jeez


Posted by tree hugging sister at 12:40 PM | Comments (2)

July 13, 2006

It's a Big Day in Iraq

...that I have a feeling will get lost in the world sauce. And that'd be a shame.

Iraq witnessed a historic event today with the transfer of security responsibility in Muthanna Province from the Multi-National Force - Iraq (MNF-I) to the Provincial Governor and civilian-controlled Iraqi Security Forces. The handover represents a milestone in the successful development of Iraq’s capability to govern and protect itself as a sovereign and democratic nation. Muthanna is the first of Iraq’s 18 provinces to be designated for such a transition.

Via a Centcom Press Release.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 01:28 PM

July 11, 2006

Progress in Fallujah

...is slow but steady in terms of us rebuilding that snake pit.

Clean water should flow to 80 percent of Fallujah's homes this fall, and by summer's end a planned wireless network will provide phone service and Internet access to thousands, a technological leap unimaginable just months ago.

But mounds of rubble litter the city, electricity is available only four hours a day, and an estimated 50,000 people still have not returned 18 months after Fallujah was destroyed in an American assault to wrest control from insurgents.

...Officials are eagerly looking forward to the completion of a multimillion-dollar water treatment project they say will deliver clean water to 80 percent of Fallujah's homes.

I'll lay money the a$$holes try to blow it up.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 01:42 PM | Comments (2)

July 07, 2006

Just Keep Rounding Them Up

It's a good thing.

Iraqi forces backed by U.S. aircraft battled militants in a Shiite stronghold of eastern Baghdad early Friday, killing or wounding more than 30 fighters and capturing an extremist leader who was the target of the raid, Iraqi and U.S. officials said.

...U.S. officials did not identify the insurgent leader but residents of the Shiite neighborhood said he was Abu Diraa, a commander in the Mahdi militia of radical cleric Muqtada al-Sadr.

The U.S. statement said the militant leader was involved "in the transfer of weapons from Syria into Iraq" in an effort to break away "from his current insurgent organization." The statement did not mention any U.S. role in the raid, but residents said they could hear American aircraft providing cover.

In a statement Thursday, the U.S. said Iraqi and U.S. forces also arrested Adnan al-Unaybi, commander of a Mahdi militia force south of Baghdad. The statement said he was arrested north of Hillah, about 60 miles south of Baghdad.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 07:57 AM

July 05, 2006

The Iraq War Has It's First Medal of Honor

And it's been awarded posthumously. God, I hate that. I want them all home in one piece, bless their hearts.

In the early days of the Iraq war, on the last day of his life, Army Sgt. 1st Class Paul R. Smith showed valor that no U.S. soldier has matched in Iraq.

...It was April 4, 2003. A company of Iraqi Republican Guards attacked Smith and other soldiers as they built holding areas for prisoners of war.

Smith's medal citation said he organized a two-platoon defensive wall, braved hostile fire to attack with hand grenades and anti-tank weapons and evacuated three wounded soldiers from their disabled armored personnel carrier. Still under fire, he mounted a damaged armored personnel carrier and fired its .50 caliber machine gun into the Iraqi ranks.

In helping defeat the Iraqi attack, Smith killed as many as 50 Iraqis and allowed the extraction of numerous wounded soldiers before being killed himself, the citation said.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 11:30 AM | Comments (7)

June 29, 2006

Gettin' Some of Your Own Back


Camp Fallujah, Iraq - Call it a little bit of justice.

Marine snipers from 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment shot and killed an insurgent sniper and spotter preparing to shoot at passing Marines, June 16. And the insurgents were going to use a stolen Marine sniper rifle for the attack.

That rifle – an M-40A1 – belonged to the “Magnificent Bastards” of 2nd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, a battalion within the Regimental Combat Team 5 family. It was taken by insurgents when a team of four Marines were killed in a rooftop outpost June 21, 2004, in Ramadi.

Nearly two years to the day, Sgt. Maj. James E. Booker, the battalion’s sergeant major during their tour in Ramadi, said the news “sends a chill down my spine.”

“It makes me feel real good to know a brother sniper got final revenge,” said Booker, in a phone interview from his post as the Marine detachment sergeant major at Fort Sill, Okla. “I really respect those young studs to do what they did.”

Posted by tree hugging sister at 04:47 PM

June 27, 2006

He Can Durka, Durka to His Heart's Content

“The preliminary inquiry has been concluded. No punitive action will be taken against Corporal Belile. And there will be no further investigation,” said Maj. Shawn Haney, a spokeswoman at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point in North Carolina.

Haney said the inquiry ruled out any violations of the Uniform Code of Military Justice

Another Marine Corps official, who asked not to be named because details of the inquiry are private, said poor taste, poor judgment and poor timing, not to mention offensive lyrics, do not necessarily amount to criminal conduct.

Cpl. Belile is free to carry rock on.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 03:18 PM | Comments (5)

June 26, 2006

He Has a Paypal Button

...Pat Dollard does, for "Young Americans". (The video teasers might not be considered work safe if combat, potty mouthed Jarheads and a rocking 'F*CK yeah' sort of anthem playing in the background will get you ee-ville glances and a knuckle-smacking.)

GEORGE Clooney may be Steven Soderbergh's muse, but the director's ex-agent sure doesn't seem to be a fan of the outspoken Oscar winner.

Pat Dollard was Soderbergh's 10- percenter until he ditched his lucrative Tinseltown career to make a pro-war documentary about U.S. Marines fighting insurgents in Iraq. Last year, his Humvee convoy was blown up in Ramadi, killing two Marines and sending Dollard to the hospital with a concussion and shrapnel wounds.

So it's understandable that Dollard might have been annoyed when Clooney chastised Democrats last year for not having the guts to condemn the war. While Dollard was careful not to name names, he told Page Six that he went into "a black rage" while in Iraq after reading a certain movie star's pompous pronouncements online.

"I read something on the Internet in which someone was patting himself on the back for having the courage to oppose the war," Dollard recalled. In an obvious reference to Clooney, who owns a villa in Italy, he said, "They actually equate bravery with speaking out against the president because [losing fans] might cost them one less servant at their Italian villa . . . It put me into a black rage and made me sick to my stomach."

He sounds like quite a guy. I'm always a smidge behind the power curve, but thought if you hadn't heard about it either, I'd pass it along. If the film doesn't make it to HBO, we'll be getting the DVD.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 10:38 AM | Comments (2)

June 22, 2006


Military Says Murdered Soldiers Were Abandoned at Checkpoint, Launches Probe

Two U.S. soldiers who vanished during a terrorist attack on a checkpoint and were later found slain had been left alone while other vehicles in their patrol inspected traffic, the military said Thursday.

...The two soldiers — believed to have been kidnapped by insurgents before their mutilated bodies were found this week — and a third soldier killed during the attack had been alone with one Humvee to guard a hydraulic bridge at a Euphrates River canal south of Baghdad.

When the attack occurred, others in the unit could not see the vehicle and were checking on their colleagues by radio, Martin-Hing said.

"Abandoned" seems at bit strong at this point, but they definately were isolated from the unit in the last place on earth you'd want that to happen, in the next to smallest number possible. In that situation it's a fight to the death, because capture is not a viable option. I can't imagine the horror.
Or have a pact, an "Aliens" agreement...
Ripley: Hicks, you won't let them get me...

Hicks: Don't worry about it. If it comes to that, I'll do us both.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 10:55 PM | Comments (5)

Lord, This is Tough to Watch

The Tucker Family, bless their hearts.

A Warm Swill Salute to Blackfive He's got an address for condolences, too.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 03:16 PM

The Hug

...heard 'round the world.

Gabriel Whitney says he did not plan to nearly suffocate President Bush in a bear hug. In fact, he did not plan to hug him at all.

But when Mr. Whitney, one of 202 midshipmen to graduate from the United States Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, N.Y., on Monday, stepped forward to receive his diploma, it just sort of happened. Call it irrational exuberance. But after six years of undergraduate school and 4,872 demerits, Mr. Whitney, 25, of Nashua, N.H., could hardly restrain himself.

With more reason than most to be overjoyed, the 6-foot-7 midshipman stepped onto the stage to accept his degree and hugged Vice Adm. Joseph D. Stewart, the academy's superintendent. Then he raised both arms in a victorious salute as his classmates roared their approval.

Elated and with his arms still upraised, he turned toward President Bush, who had just delivered the commencement address.

Mr. Bush, wearing a quizzical expression, responded by raising his arms as well and moved in for a hug. The midshipman — almost unwittingly — found himself squeezing the president in his powerful arms. When the president caught his breath, he shook Mr. Whitney's hand.

"I said, 'You're the man! Thank you very much,' " Mr. Whitney said in a telephone interview yesterday.

"The president thought the big bear hug was funny," said Dana M. Perino, a White House spokeswoman. "He appreciates the terrific enthusiasm of our nation's graduates, and he was honored to be the first president to address the Merchant Marine Academy. It was quite a thrill for everyone."

Mr. Whitney's sister, who works in an advertising office, had designed T-shirts for the 15 family members who attended the ceremony. Mr. Whitney's many difficulties in reaching graduation were emblazoned on the front of the shirt: 4,872 demerits ("painful"); four and a half years on academic restriction ("wounding"); two visits to the committee that weighs student expulsions ("agonizing"); two reprieves from the admiral ("necessary"); and six years of school with only an undergraduate degree to show for it ("humbling").

The back of the shirt, which bore a photograph of the midshipman and the American flag, celebrated his crowning achievement: "Passing all licensing exams, first try: Priceless."

The MSNBC video interview with the good midshipman is hilarious.
UPDATE: Yeesh ~ if you Technorati search 'merchant marine hug', you will see the leftoids being really sh*tty about something as good heartedly cheering as this. Wonkette called it "the creepy hug". (I dunno ~ I guess when you all you write about is pottymouthed, furtive, twisted, power grubbing sex in congressional men's rooms, a hug could be creepy...I guess. I'm not that cutting edge, so I can't relate.)

Posted by tree hugging sister at 12:14 PM | Comments (9)

June 20, 2006

Two Soldiers Found Dead

Looks like those poor men have been found.

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- An Iraqi Defense Ministry spokesman said Tuesday that two U.S. soldiers missing since Friday have been found dead, Reuters reported. U.S. military authorities in Baghdad told CNN they could not confirm the report. "The two soldiers were killed and they were found in Yusufiya near an electricity plant," Major General Abdul Aziz Mohammed told a news conference in Baghdad, Reuters said.

Let's hope we get the bastards that did this.

And our prayers for these young men and their families.

ths UPDATE: Oh, God. You knew we were going to hear this, but I was hoping against hope we wouldn't. That they'd find them and get them out. Double your prayers to their families, for strength in bearing what they're going to learn.

Update and Bump: The bodies were booby trapped

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- The bodies of two U.S. soldiers found in Iraq Monday night were mutilated and booby-trapped, military sources said Tuesday.

...The bodies also had been desecrated, and a visual identification was impossible -- part of the reason DNA testing was being conducted to verify their identities, the sources said.

Not only were the bodies booby-trapped, but homemade bombs also lined the road leading to the victims, an apparent effort to complicate recovery efforts and target recovery teams, the sources said.

It took troops 12 hours to clear the area of roadside bombs. One of the bombs exploded, but there were no injuries.

I know this is the reaction they want to provoke, but I freely admit it's a good thing there are no weapons within my reach right now. Bastards.

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 03:22 PM | Comments (24)

It may seem like a small thing.....

but next time you contact you Congressman/Senators, tell them to vote yes on House Bill 4806, the Military Toy Replica Act, when it comes before them. I mostly build model cars these days, but do the occasional tank or aircraft. And the licensing has just about killed the model car hobby. Don't let it kill the rest of the model hobby.

Posted by Crusader at 12:57 PM | Comments (12)

In Knowing, There is Peace

And after 60 years, closure.

U.S. WWII Sub Appears to Have Been Found
For 60 years, Nancy Kenney wondered what happened to her father. The submarine that William T. Mabin was in disappeared while he and his crewmates were on a mission to attack a Japanese convoy in the last months of World War II.

Now, the Navy says a wreck found at the bottom of the Gulf of Thailand appears to be the sub, the USS Lagarto.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 10:24 AM | Comments (2)

June 16, 2006


...to the UCMJ.

More than two weeks ago, Sullivan said he expected murder and kidnapping charges would be brought soon, and a Pentagon official confirmed charges were imminent. But none has been filed and the delay has not been explained.

According to Marine spokesman Lt. Col. Sean Gibson, charges must be filed within 120 days of servicemembers being taken into custody. Gibson put that date at May 24, which would mean charges might not be filed until September.

Maybe now people will understand why ACTIVE DUTY members are reluctant to speak out. You sign your life and every right you ever had away when you swear that oath. 'Military justice' provides many safeguards, but 'timely manner' isn't one of them. Michele Malkin with more. ( Don't confuse the manner of the Marines' confinement with 'military justice'. That/shackles/etc. are at the discretion of the Commanding Officer. There is nothing that prevents him from doing the same to any service member in his command, except the counter order of a senior officer.) It's harsh and there are reasons for it, but don't ever think that there aren't abuses and those can be arbitrary and hateful. And whether you make it to a Court Martial, an NJP (Non-Judicial Punishment ~ stand in front of the Old Man's desk for a peepee whacking) or they drop everything, don't think for two seconds that you get a shot at addressing your treatment or the 'violations' of your rights. Remember? You signed those away.

They could have held those Marines and sailor in any brig on any station. But the pictures on TV and the articles in the papers and the Congressman on the floor of the House had them chained like animals. And WTFO? Even Saddam Hussein gets to swing his arms.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 11:07 PM | Comments (10)

June 14, 2006

A Note to Our U.K. Swillers

Come July?


Posted by tree hugging sister at 02:59 PM | Comments (2)

Never, EVER Fly This

...like THIS.

'This is not normal behavior,' says lead investigator
...According to the report, the crew came in too low and too slow, with incorrect flap settings while making a type of emergency landing regularly practiced by flying crews.

The plane also was underpowered, according to the report, after one of its four engines had been shut down because of erratic warnings from an alarm system. Pilots mistakenly tried to throttle up the engine they shut down instead of one of the remaining three working engines. That left two engines throttled up, one idling and one shut down.

“Clear and convincing evidence” showed that the pilot failed to use all of the available engines during a miscalculated landing approach that was hampered by incorrect settings on the big plane’s wing flaps, Torres said.

...or it winds up like THIS.

Pop quiz after lunch.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 02:06 PM | Comments (4)

June 12, 2006

Zarqawi Autopsy Results Released

The military coroner is through and the official cause of death is:

He Be All Blowed Up

May he rest in pieces.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 03:33 PM | Comments (9)

Hey Mike and JeffS!

Did you get your

...email from Uncle Sam yet? Major Dad did. We're both locked on and the first bureau contacted has to set you up with the other two. (Kcruella, Cullen, Robb and Beer Brains should probably call Equifax, too ~ 1-800-525-6285 ~ if they haven't already, to set up the fraud alerts, since it was 26.5 MILLION prior service social security numbers that went missing first. The 2.5 MILLION active duty types were a 'whoops, oh by the way...' they found later.)

Of course, Equifax is losing no time shilling their $129/yr 'monitoring' service. In chaos there is profit. Personally, I think the VA ought to be forking over the cash, since it apparently fosters a corporate climate where it's okay to head out the door with almost thirty million lives on a laptop and think nothing of it.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 10:27 AM | Comments (6)

The Sun Rises; Brings Calls For...

Gitmo to close:

Detainee suicides bring calls for Gitmo closure

"Guantanamo should be closed. This is an occasion to reiterate that statement," EU External Relations Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner said on Monday as he arrived for a meeting of the bloc's foreign ministers in Luxembourg.

I would like these guys to be tried and dealt with.

Or maybe we should just ship them all to Luxembourg.

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 09:55 AM | Comments (2)

June 09, 2006

Indiana Jones, He's Not

Because he's a Marine.

Thieves of Baghdad : One Marine's Passion for Ancient Civilizations and the Journey to Recover the World's Greatest Stolen Treasure
In April 2003, Matthew Bogdanos was a long way from the courtrooms of New York City where, as an assistant D.A., he prosecuted hundreds of cases. After September 11, 2001, this Marine Corps Reserve colonel, lawyer and student of ancient civilizations, returned to uniform full-time to head counterterrorism operations in Afghanistan and later in Iraq, where Bogdanos gave himself the mission of finding antiquities that had been stolen from the Iraq National Museum during the American invasion. Beginning with an Indiana Jones-like opening that finds him in the museum's bowels, Bogdanos chronicles a journey fueled by his passion for history and frustrated by erratic record-keeping and factionalism among Iraqis, not to mention the hazards of warfare. The son of Greek immigrants who went on to achieve advanced degrees in law and classical studies, Bogdanos weaves together a detective story, adventure yarn and history lesson, committing himself to the investigation of stolen artifacts and reflecting what he deems rumor and exaggeration among the media coverage and academics who claimed irrevocable archeological tragedy. Indeed, some pieces, he discovers, were moved and protected prior to the U.S. invasion, while others were housed by Iraqis for safekeeping until after the war. Bogdanos is a remarkable blend of warrior, academic and communicator, and he cuts through politics and hyperbole to tell an engrossing story abundant with history, colored by stories of brave Iraqis and Americans, and shaded with hope for the future.

Where's the Sixty Minutes story on this? Reading all the editorial reviews you'll notice only the Washington Post goes after 'warrior' values, strained tones and class divides, while still admitting it's a helluva story. I'd hafta guess it's probably a really good book.
A warm Swill Salute to the NPR broadcast, via Corps Stories.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 11:09 AM

June 08, 2006

Happy 10th Birthday, USS Cole!!

And she set sail from Norfolk today ~ back to the fleet. How great is that? But wait until you hear the story of the Marine behind the ship's name...

USS COLE (DDG 67) is the first warship named for Sergeant Darrell S. Cole, USMC (1920-1945). Sergeant Cole was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his conspicuous gallantry in the campaign at Iwo Jima .

On August 25, 1941 , Cole enlisted in the Marine Corps for the duration of the National Emergency. Following boot camp at Parris Island , South Carolina , he was appointed to the Field Music School for training as a Marine Corps Field Musician (a bugler). He was unhappy in his role of Field Musician, because he had joined a fighting outfit to fight. He had applied for a change in rating, but was refused due to the shortage of buglers. He completed instruction and was transferred to the First Marine Regiment, First Marine Division. On August 7, 1942 , he reached the shores of Guadalcanal for the first American offensive of World War II, where he had an opportunity to fill in as a Machine Gunner in the absence of the regular gunner.

Cole completed his first overseas tour of duty and returned to the United States in February 1943 where he joined the First Batallion, Twenty-Third Marines, a part of the Fourth Marine Division at Camp Lejune , North Carolina . When the unit moved to California he again asked for relief as a Field Musician and for permission to perform line duties. Due to the shortage of buglers in the Marine Corps, his request was disapproved.

During the first engagement of the Fourth Division at Roi-Namur in the Kwajalein Atoll, Cole, again forsaking his bugle, went in to action as a Machine Gunner. Later, during the battle for Saipan , Cole was actually assigned to a machine gun unit and was even designated as a machine gun section leader. During the battle his squad leader was killed and Cole, although wounded, assumed command of the entire squad. He was awarded the Bronze Star Medal for "…his resolute leadership, indomitable fighting spirit and tenacious determination in the face of terrific opposition." He was also awarded the Purple Heart for wounds received in action.

A few days after the battle of Saipan , Cole again led his squad ashore in the invasion of the neighboring islands of Tinian . He continued to build his reputation as "The Fighting Field Musician."

After the Marianas campaigns, he resubmitted his request for a change of rating. This time his request was approved. He was redesignated Corporal "line" and was subsequently promoted to Sergeant in November 1944.

On February 19, 1945 , Sergeant Cole led his machine gun section ashore in the D-Day assault of Iwo Jima . Moving forward with the initial assault wave, a hail of fire from two enemy emplacements halted his section's advance. Sergeant Cole personally destroyed them with hand grenades. His unit continued to advance until pinned down for a second time by enemy fire from three Japanese gun emplacements. One of these emplacements was silenced by Cole's machine guns. When his machine guns jammed, armed only with a pistol and one hand grenade, Sergeant Cole made a one-man attack against the two remaining gun emplacements. Twice he returned to his own lines for additional grenades and continued the attack under fierce enemy fire until he had succeeded in destroying the enemy strong points.

Upon returning to his own squad, he was instantly killed by an enemy grenade. By his one-man attack and heroic self-sacrifice, Sergeant Cole enabled his company to move forward against the fortifications and attain their ultimate objective.

Why do these incredible men always have those sweet, baby faces? Fair Winds and Following Seas, USS Cole.

And Semper Fi.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 07:09 PM | Comments (6)

June 07, 2006

On This Date in 1942

...the battle that had begun three days earlier...

...concluded in a most satisfying manner.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 04:16 PM | Comments (6)

Haditha Massacre Coverage


Haditha: Reasonable Doubt
Special from Hawaii Free Press By Andrew Walden, 6/5/2006 7:06:33 AM
...The liberal media is chiming in to make sure that Haditha is used to wear down support for our troops in Iraq—just as they did with abu-Ghraib. Peering through the media smokescreen few have noticed that all of the actual shooting eye-witnesses in the media’s kangaroo court are local Iraqis--witnesses who are under constant threat from terrorists and whose motivations may be suspect. All the US witnesses currently quoted in the media saw events before or after the alleged shootings—but not the shootings themselves.

Only now—two and a half months after the story broke in the March 19 issue of Time magazine-- are the voices of soldiers who question the charges beginning to be heard. Marine Captain James Kimber commanded Lima Company of the 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment. The troops involved in the incident were from Kilo Company. He tells interviewers that he first learned about the shootings in February when he heard that a Time magazine reporter was asking questions about civilian deaths. Notably, Kimber says he heard nothing about a civilian massacre during weekly meetings with the Haditha City Council and talks with local leaders. "It would have been huge, there would have been no question it would have filtered down to us," he said. "We reported no significant atmospheric change as a result of that day." Kimber who has been relieved of his command and is back in Camp Pendleton, CA says, “I believe I was a political casualty as a result of the Haditha incident.” Some media accounts indicate that some of the dead were relatives of a Haditha City Council member. The May 12, 2006 edition of Iraq Reconstruction Update carries a photo and short article about Marine officers holding weekly meetings with the Haditha City Council with no mention of the alleged shooting controversy.

And, as in our post below, MSM reporters avouch the care with which the Marines wage their urban war.
CNN reporter, Arwa Damon, writes:

“I know the Marines that were operating in western al Anbar, from Husayba all the way to Haditha. I went on countless operations in 2005 up and down the Euphrates River Valley. I was pinned on rooftops with them in Ubeydi for hours taking incoming fire, and I've seen them not fire a shot back because they did not have positive identification on a target. I saw their horror when they thought that they finally had identified their target, fired a tank round that went through a wall and into a house filled with civilians. They then rushed to help the wounded -- remarkably no one was killed.

“I was with them in Husayba as they went house to house in an area where insurgents would booby-trap doors, or lie in wait behind closed doors with an AK-47, basically on suicide missions, just waiting for the Marines to come through and open fire. There were civilians in the city as well, and the Marines were always keenly aware of that fact. How they didn't fire at shadows, not knowing what was waiting in each house, I don't know. But they didn't….”

Did the Marines perpetrate this horrible slaughter? DID they? That's to be determined and, if so, brought before Courts Martial for trial. But this hateful distortion of everything to do with the Marines and their conduct of this war is an abomination and a betrayal. WHY was not the video of the disembowling of the Marine reservist made known to us as it surfaced? The Marines in Haditha get to walk past it every day in the marketplace and that's okay? Not worthy of note? We see video after video of pleading hostages, rampaging Muslims avenging traffic accidents and toilet flushings, the Blackhawk Army Ranger body dragged in the streets of Mogadishu, contractors strung from a bridge and never miss a chance to broadcast the latest Osama Bin Laden, al-Zawahri or Al-Zarquari video rant. But the HORRORS our troops live with every day are moot as far as the 'press' is concerned ~ in their eyes there are no mitigating circumstances, no wretched, inhuman engagements, no bestial behaviour from the enemy that rates mention, condemnation, vilification or annhilation if executed against American troops. No outraged headlines...
"Have You SEEN What These ANIMALS Did to Our Boy?"
...unless, like Blackhawk Down, it works to the plan.

You'll never hear of it otherwise.

And no Marine will tell Billy's mom you could buy the video of his death in the market.

(Well worth reading and a warm Swill Salute to Mark in Mexico for finding it.) Michelle Malkin notes one apology.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 11:49 AM | Comments (1)

June 06, 2006


62 years ago, this morning.

Amerikanische Marineinfanteristen landen am 6. Juni 1944 in der Normandie. (c) BBC Worldwide / ProSieben / polyand 2004

UPDATE: Mr. Summers remembers and Blackfive has a masterful round-up.

It's been in my head all day, so bear with me. Or sing it with me. Or just hum. A little.

There'll be blue birds over
The white cliffs of Dover,
Tomorrow, just you wait and see.

There'll be love and laughter
And peace ever after
Tomorrow, when the world is free.

The shepherd will tend his sheep,
The valley will bloom again
And Jimmy will go to sleep,
In his own little room again.

There'll be blue birds over
The white cliffs of Dover,
Tomorrow, just you wait and see.

"Love and laughter and peace ever after" ~ makes me cry.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 11:01 AM | Comments (7)

June 05, 2006

If He Needs Legal Fund Contributions

...count me in.

Marine's Father Sues Funeral Protesters

The father of a Marine whose funeral was picketed by anti-gay protesters from a fundamentalist Kansas church filed an invasion-of-privacy suit against the demonstrators Monday.

It is believed to be the first lawsuit brought by a soldier's family against Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kan., whose members routinely demonstrate at military funerals around the country.

Albert Snyder of York, Pa., the father of Lance Cpl. Matthew A. Snyder, is seeking unspecified damages. The younger Snyder, 20, died March 3 after an accident in the Al Anbar province of Iraq. He was buried in Westminster, Md.

"We think it's a case we can win because anyone's funeral is private," Snyder lawyer Sean Summers said. "You don't have a right to interrupt someone's private funeral."

I hope some lawyers with a heart file a multitude of suits and bankrupt the hateful bastards. Wouldn't that be loverly.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 03:59 PM

"Crucible" ~ Getting Used to War as Hell

...from the Sunday NYT. It's a portrait of a culture clash*, but not the one you'd image.

Among the Marines, there is a tendency, an eagerness even, to see themselves as the stepchild of the American military effort, sent into much of the hardest fighting, undermanned for the task, equipped with Vietnam-era helicopters and amphibious armored vehicles that make lumbering targets in the desert — then criticized by Army commanders, sometimes severely, for a lack of proportionality in the way they fight.

Something of this sense was suggested when a senior Army commander involved in planning the Falluja offensive — and convinced of its necessity — visited the city afterward alongside Marine commanders. He expressed shock at the destruction, along with concern at the reaction of 200,000 residents whom the Americans had urged to flee beforehand.

"My God," the Army commander said, "what are the folks who live here going to say when they see this?"

Fallujah? Well, one would hope they would say "We're not pi$$ing those guys off again..."
*Try this link to read the whole thing. Or email me and I'll send it to you. Something I hadn't read about before:

Whatever emerges from the military investigations, the narrative of the Marines' experiences in Iraq will have a central place for the brutalities associated with Haditha. Last summer, in two separate attacks over three days, Taliban-like insurgents operating from bases at mosques in the city killed 20 Marine reservists, including an enlisted man who was shown disemboweled on rebel videos that were sold afterward in Haditha's central market.

That would be difficult to stomach on patrol every day.
UPDATE: Webloggin has the NYT's front page covered.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 09:43 AM | Comments (8)

May 31, 2006

Brakes Weren't the Only Things That Failed

Afghan Parliament Passes Motion to Prosecute U.S. Soldiers for Deadly Road Crash
Afghanistan's parliament has approved a motion calling for the government to prosecute the U.S. soldiers responsible for a deadly road crash that sparked the worst riot in Kabul in years, officials said Wednesday.

...Rioters stoned the U.S. convoy, then headed to the city center, ransacking offices of international aid groups and searching for foreigners while chanting "Death to America!" It was the deadliest unrest in Kabul since the fall of the Taliban in 2001, and hundreds of armed Afghan security forces were deployed to contain it.

Any excuse for a good stone chucking. No word yet on how the Afghan government plans to handle those who instigated and killed during the riot.

UPDATE: As for that very riot: Michelle Malkin has a report from Bill Roggio in Kabul.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 02:56 PM | Comments (1)

May 30, 2006

I Think the Last Sentence

...has a typo.

Five robbers picked the wrong victim in Midtown Atlanta last night and one of them paid with her life.

The victim, Thomas Autry, fought back; killing one robber and wounding another. Three other suspects are in jail.

...Thomas Autry, who is a former U.S. Marine, will not be charged since police say he was acting in self defense. Officials say Autry is extremely remorseful.

I'm sure they said Autry was "extremely resourceful".
Thanks to Florida Cracker* for posting the Miracle Whipping. OO-rah!!

Thanks to a heads up from Mike! The AJC has video of the local news report.

*Cracker, your trackback pingees aren't working for moi.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 01:53 PM | Comments (2)

May 28, 2006

On This Bittersweet Day, We Remember

...that you bravely gave your all for all of us.

And we thank you.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 06:37 PM | Comments (1)

May 26, 2006


...is beautiful. Amen.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 03:54 PM | Comments (5)

May 25, 2006

Fleet Week '06

A hearty welcome and Thank You to the service folks here in NY:

NEW YORK - Flying a huge American flag from its mast, the guided missile cruiser USS Anzio led nearly a dozen Navy ships and Coast Guard craft up New York Harbor on Wednesday to open the city's 19th annual Fleet Week observance. Some 4,000 sailors and Marines were expected to spend time — and money — taking in Gotham's sights and sounds over the next week.

Well, as always, they won't be spending any money if I'm around. I'll hit what bars I can and buy as many drinks as I can as a "thank you" to these wonderful Americans.

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 08:58 AM | Comments (12)

Possible Marine Court Martials

The system is working, and the investigation is going forward:

“If the allegations are substantiated, the Marine Corps will pursue appropriate legal and administrative actions against those responsible,” said Col. David Lapan, a spokesman at Marine Corps headquarters.

“The investigations are ongoing, therefore any comment at this time would be inappropriate and could undermine the investigatory and possible legal process,” he said. “As soon as the facts are known and decisions on future actions are made, we will make that information available to the public to the fullest extent allowable.” Murtha, an outspoken war critic and retired Marine colonel, has maintained for several weeks that the reality of the Hadithah incident was far more violent than the original reports suggested.

Maybe Murtha should just STFU and let the facts be researched?

Of course, since he's already made up his mind to score his political points, I doubt that will happen

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 07:48 AM | Comments (13)

May 17, 2006

She's Slipped Under the Waves

Even keel the whole way until the Gulf flooded the hangar bays. Then her bow shot up and she was gone.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 12:06 PM | Comments (2)

May 15, 2006

She's Out in the Open Gulf Waters, Now

Clear of Pensacola Pass and moving under crystal blue skies, with fair winds and following seas.

As it should be. A fitting day for a valiant lady's last sea voyage.

The fellow with his hands in his pockets was on Oriskany ~ as a ten year old. He said they were living in San Francisco when the ship came in. His uncle was a crew member and brought them all out to the boat for a tour. It was magical for a young boy, he said, climbing all over her.

"There's not much I remember from being ten, but I remember that day."

And now he was here for her day.
The fellow to his right will be watching from a boat Wednesday, as Oriskany goes down.

It was surreal on the beach. About a hundred or so folks, most staying in their cars, watching her progress. Quietly. Reverently. The light so bright it hurt your eyes, but it made the turquoise and emerald in the water pop. Oriskany under tow, moving imperceptively along. Sometimes the smoke from the tugs looked like it was rising from the carrier itself, while the base helo worked it's way back and forth. It was a snapshot moment of a vibrant past. A flash of memories, of had beens. Then the tug smoke would dissipate, the angle would change, the tow cable would reappear and her escort ships would move closer. I couldn't decide if it felt like a funeral procession or witnessing a dead man walking. To my right, the Blue Angels came overhead, lining up to land at Sherman Field ~ just getting home from a weekend airshow. The past and the present together there in that crystalline instant. As it should be.

I'm glad I went.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 03:10 PM | Comments (9)

The Mighty O

All good things come to an end. Today they're supposed to start nudging Oriskany away from Allegheny Pier at 10 a.m., tow her at 2 mph into Pensacola Bay and out to 22 miles offshore. I hope to get pictures in an hour or so of her last passage through Pensacola Pass. If the weather holds Wednesday, our Swilling special correspondant (the Squid Terrorist) will be on a boat nearby with his camera as they scuttle her.


Posted by tree hugging sister at 10:50 AM

May 11, 2006

That's Just Great

China and US may establish military hotline
Beijing and Washington are moving towards establishing a hotline between their defence ministries and have agreed to step up military exchanges, Chinese state media said on Thursday.
I can hear the conversation now...
Rumsfeld: "F*ck you and the rickshaw you rode in on!"

Gen Cao: "Oh yeah?! Well, fr*ck you, too!"

Rumsfeld: "Very good then. Same time?"

Gen Cao: "Same Peeper's Repubric Station!"

Rumsfeld: "Oh God, you kill me when you do that!"

Both: "Hah haha haha haha!"

Posted by tree hugging sister at 11:50 AM | Comments (2)

May 09, 2006

Well, It Was a NAVY Jet

A tail section from a U.S. Navy fighter jet that crashed 3 1/2 years ago off Key West, Fla., has turned up 4,900 miles away on a beach in Ireland.

A retired commercial airline captain, identified by the Irish Examiner newspaper as Charlie Coughlan, discovered the tail piece Friday. The Navy confirmed Tuesday that markings on the section, including squadron insignia and a serial number, pointed to the downed F-14 Tomcat.

Currents from the Gulf of Mexico near the tip of Florida might have floated the nearly 10-foot-long triangular piece of vertical stabilizer, one of two on the plane, to the beach in West Cork on Ireland's southern shore.

Shades of thousands of Nike sneakers blazing a path across the Pacific, huh?

Posted by tree hugging sister at 10:45 PM | Comments (2)

May 07, 2006

"River of Nettles"

Translated from the Oneida Indian word :


Posted by tree hugging sister at 10:17 AM

May 04, 2006

"For My Brown Brothers"

I glanced through Michelle Malkin's this afternoon and noticed her post on gang bangers in the military. I thought "dang, that's old news" because of something that happened in 1996 that shocked the sh*t out of us. It was even more appalling to major dad and Kcruella because they had served with ~ and very much liked ~ the victim, LtCol Dan Kidd.

A Marine officer was fatally shot and another was critically wounded this afternoon when a sergeant opened fire at Camp Pendleton, a Marine Corps base, the authorities said.

The sergeant, Jessie A. Quintanilla, was arrested in the shooting. Lieut. Col. Daniel W. Kidd, the executive officer of the unit, was pronounced dead at 3:28 P.M. A motive was not known.

We were pretty stunned, thinking "dang, the Sgt. go whacko or what?" It turned out to be far worse than that.
In March of 1996, the appellant was assigned to Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 39 at Camp Pendleton, California. He worked on the night crew at the squadron, meaning that he routinely reported for work in mid-afternoon. The squadron CO was Lieutenant Colonel (LtCol) Thomas A. Heffner, United States Marine Corps (USMC). The XO was LtCol Daniel W. Kidd, USMC.

On the morning of 5 March 1996, the appellant consumed an undetermined quantity of alcohol, then left his home to drive to work. When he left his car parked in the squadron parking lot, he had a .45 caliber pistol tucked into his clothing. The appellant entered the squadron spaces, walked upstairs to the command office suite, then waited outside the XO’s office until other Marines left.

A uniform inspection was scheduled for the night crew at 1500. In preparation for the inspection, LtCol Heffner was changing into his dress uniform, in a changing room located next to LtCol Kidd’s office, where LtCol Kidd was working at his desk.

The appellant walked into LtCol Kidd’s office, pulled out his pistol, asked him, “Remember me, f---er?” and then shot the XO as he tried to exit the office through the door into the changing room. The bullet entered the right side of his lower back, exited the right front side of his abdomen, and then amputated his right ring finger. LtCol Kidd managed to stagger into the changing room, with the appellant close behind him.

LtCol Heffner was changing uniforms when the door to the changing room burst open and LtCol Kidd rushed in. LtCol Heffner first glanced at his XO, and then noticed the appellant in the doorway. The appellant raised his pistol and shot LtCol Heffner in the chest, at which point LtCol Heffner ran out of the office suite. The appellant then shot LtCol Kidd again, the bullet entering his upper back. LtCol Kidd collapsed to the floor and bled to death within a matter of minutes.

After the third and fatal shot was fired, the appellant left the office suite and followed the bloody trail left by LtCol Heffner. As he moved down the passageway, he confronted Gunnery Sergeant (GySgt) W.J. Till and Staff Sergeant (SSgt) A.L. Karr. The appellant pointed the pistol at both Marines but did not fire.

By this time, LtCol Heffner was lying just outside one of the ground floor entrances to the building. Various Marines were providing first aid to their CO. GySgt W.E. Tiller was there and heard someone ask where the XO was. He then went up to the second floor to find the XO. As he proceeded down the passageway toward the command office suite, he saw the appellant a few feet away. GySgt Tiller stepped toward the appellant and reached for the gun. The appellant raised the gun toward GySgt Tiller and fired. GySgt Tiller avoided the shot and struggled with the appellant, eventually disarming him.

The appellant broke away from GySgt Tiller and went down the stairs to the ground floor to the Production Control Office. A number of senior enlisted Marines were in the office at the time. When the appellant entered the office, none of them knew what had just happened. The appellant said, “Gunnery Sergeant, apprehend me, I just shot the CO and XO,” or words to that effect. GySgt P.T. Sullivan asked the appellant to sit down, and he did so.

Soon other Marines entered the office. The appellant talked about why he shot the CO and XO, complaining that he wasn’t treated well in the squadron and that he did it for his “brown brothers,” or words to that effect. At one point, the appellant stood up, pulled down his coveralls, took off his undershirt, and displayed the tattoos that covered his upper body. One of the large tattoos read “Sureno,” which the Government argued was a reference to Southern California gangs. Shortly thereafter, a military policeman arrived and took the appellant into custody.

That dry dissertation of the events is from the U.S. NAVY-MARINE CORPS COURT OF CRIMINAL APPEALS decision concerning the death sentence Sgt. Quintanilla received at his 1996 court martial. In one of those odd, maddening twists of fate, a reserve Marine Corps Colonel who just happened to work for the ACLU got called up in 2003 and handed the case. The death sentence was set aside due to numerous errors of both judgement and protocol.
One argument for retrial: A military prosecutor kept the murder weapon after the trial and had it mounted on a plaque as a trophy. While that was not the specific legal claim that carried the day, the court set aside Quintanilla's death sentence.

The bastard deserves the death penalty and the prosecution f*cked their slam dunk case up badly. (It's not a shame there was an ACLU lawyer called to war around that day. It's a criminal shame the prosecution left holes a truck could drive through nine years before.)

But the gang bangers are, will be and have been in uniform for some time. What makes it different/worse now? Maybe they have a bigger agenda or a plan. I don't know ~ in chaos there is opportunity, they say. But it's not 'new'.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 03:52 PM | Comments (8)

May 01, 2006

When We Grow Up

...me 'n major dad want to build things on base. It pays pretty well, it would seem.

I'd knock a million off just for the red, white and blue, being the patriot I am. One can afford to be generous if this is the going rate.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 04:41 PM | Comments (8)

April 27, 2006

On the Morning of This Date in 1805

"...to the shores of Tripoli"
...hadn't made it to the Marines' Hymn...yet. Courtesy of Lt. Presley Neville O' Bannon and his galiant company, it did so by mid-afternoon.
...At long last, on April 25, they arrived at Derna. Surely by then, many in this small army must have been happy at the prospect of battle, as opposed to dying a miserable death in the desert. A message was sent to the governor of Derna to surrender. His defiant reply was, "My head or yours." Shortly after this, the attacking force was bolstered by the arrival of the USS Argus, USS Hornet, and USS Nautilus in the harbor.

It was decided that Hamet and his Mamelukes would attack the governor's castle, while O'Bannon, with his Americans, along with the Greeks and Turks, would lead an assault on the harbor fort. The naval guns would assist by bombarding the objectives.

As the attack began, the firing from the governor's castle proved too much for Hamet's force, and they held back. With enemy reinforcements known to be on the way, the attackers were in dire need of a quick victory. Eaton ordered O'Bannon to lead his men in a frontal assault on the harbor fort. Two hours of desperate fighting ensued, but finally O'Bannon and his men drove the Tripolitans from the fort and captured the guns there before they could be spiked. This would prove to be important.

O'Bannon had carried a U.S. flag with him, and now, for the first time in history, the Stars and Stripes was raised over foreign soil.

It's a great read.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 10:12 AM | Comments (5)

April 24, 2006

General Van Riper

...has added his voice to "the Generals". If you're lucky, you might remember what this retired Marine Corps Lt. General is most famous for ~ it was called "Millennium Challenge 02", a DOD war game where he played the dictator's part.

And he turned it on it's ear.

...What really happened is quite another story, one that has set alarm bells ringing throughout America's defence establishment and raised questions over the US military's readiness for an Iraqi invasion. In fact, this war game was won by Saddam Hussein, or at least by the retired marine playing the Iraqi dictator's part, Lieutenant General Paul Van Riper.

In the first few days of the exercise, using surprise and unorthodox tactics, the wily 64-year-old Vietnam veteran sank most of the US expeditionary fleet in the Persian Gulf, bringing the US assault to a halt. What happened next will be familiar to anyone who ever played soldiers in the playground. Faced with an abrupt and embarrassing end to the most expensive and sophisticated military exercise in US history, the Pentagon top brass simply pretended the whole thing had not happened. They ordered their dead troops back to life and "refloated" the sunken fleet. Then they instructed the enemy forces to look the other way as their marines performed amphibious landings. Eventually, Van Riper got so fed up with all this cheating that he refused to play any more. Instead, he sat on the sidelines making abrasive remarks until the three-week war game - grandiosely entitled Millennium Challenge - staggered to a star-spangled conclusion on August 15, with a US "victory".

If the Pentagon thought it could keep its mishap quiet, it underestimated Van Riper. A classic marine - straight-talking and fearless, with a purple heart from Vietnam to prove it - his retirement means he no longer has to put up with the bureaucratic niceties of the defence department. So he blew the whistle.

His driving concern, he tells the Guardian, is that when the real fighting starts, American troops will be sent into battle with a set of half-baked tactics that have not been put to the test.

"Nothing was learned from this," he says. "A culture not willing to think hard and test itself does not augur well for the future."

Posted by tree hugging sister at 06:34 PM | Comments (18)

Peachy. Like They Don't Have Enough to Do

U.S. troops aren't just training Iraqi forces, they're also keeping an eye on them, watching for signs they could be moonlighting in the Shiite death squads that target Sunnis.

Bound and tortured bodies - both Sunni and Shiite - turn up every day in the capital, dumped in the streets. Sunni Arabs say their people are the victims of Shiite militiamen who have infiltrated government forces, especially paramilitary commando units of the Shiite-led Interior Ministry.

Where are we supposed to get all these babysitters from?
...But mention of the commandos still invokes fear and hatred among many Sunni Arabs.

To allay those fears, American soldiers have handed out thousands of cards that encourage residents to call authorities if they see commandos, or fighters posing as commandos, on suspicious missions without U.S. troops.

The calls go directly to U.S. headquarters instead of the Interior Ministry.

So far, U.S. troops haven't caught any renegades, Butts said. They get a tip and "we'll be out there in 10 to 15 minutes, and no one will be there," he said. "There are a lot of rumors ... A lot of people are scared." U.S. troops in Dora have orders to halt unfamiliar patrols and confirm their identities.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 03:48 PM

April 18, 2006

I Hate to NitPick Semantics

UPDATE: I've actually been called a 'poophead' ('smug' even!?!) in public by my brother, St. Bingley Bastard. So I am taking my semantics ~ which I do truly love to argue, so there ~ to the extended section to sulk. A pox on it.

UPDATE REDUX: I have also sent a Clintonesque apology the the maligned pundits:

My brother says I was petulant and smug. (Or was it smog? Smaug?)
Regardless, I'm sorry if I appeared so.

...but since they (Jonah Goldberg's "Gotchya" and Prof. Reynolds with "Ouch ~ Zinni is fact checked") started it with this:

Former Clinton CENTCOM commander, Anthony Zinni — the most prominent of the retired generals attacking Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld — now says that, in the run-up to the war in Iraq, "What bothered me ... [was that] I was hearing a depiction of the intelligence that didn't fit what I knew. There was no solid proof, that I ever saw, that Saddam had WMD."

But in early 2000, Zinni told Congress "Iraq remains the most significant near-term threat to U.S. interests in the Arabian Gulf region," adding, "Iraq probably is continuing clandestine nuclear research, [and] retains stocks of chemical and biological munitions ... Even if Baghdad reversed its course and surrendered all WMD capabilities, it retains scientific, technical, and industrial infrastructure to replace agents and munitions within weeks or months."

...I wanted to share my take on this shocking revelation.
Dear Professor Reynolds (I'm asking Jonah Goldberg too, but he doesn't talk to me either.) ~

How does PROBABLY as in ( doubtless, likely, presumably, but WE'RE NOT SURE) ""Iraq PROBABLY is continuing clandestine nuclear research, [and] retains stocks of chemical and biological munitions ... "


NO, as in "...There was NO SOLID PROOF, that I ever saw, that Saddam had WMD." ?

The way I'm reading Zinni's Congressional testimony tells me probably means 'not sure', 'can't say definitively' and his later statements about 'no solid proof' are a continuence of (and entirely consistent with) that. If he'd said "Iraq HAS..." or "Iraq IS..." without a qualifier, then I'd agree with a 'gotcha'. But I sure don't see one worth crowing about here.

tree hugging sister

And don't hand me the 'and retains'. That's still part of the 'PROBABLY" sentence. (He didn't say "Probably blahblah, BUT retains...") I mean, dang. If you're trying to nail someone, you've got to do better than accuse him of being sure of what he wasn't sure of, when he already said he wasn't sure. Twice. I'm sure of it.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 01:41 PM | Comments (14)

"She attacked life,"

...Army guard Micky Mallette said.

Dixon only spent a half year of her life at West Point, and still the guardians of American power and might decided she should rest right next to Glenn Davis and Red Blaik, the Heisman winner and the legend who taught Vince Lombardi how to coach.

It was 12:25 p.m. when all family members and generals and cadets had cleared from the cemetery, when the trucks rolled up to the coffin and a grim circle of men started breaking the tribute down. The chairs and tarps were folded up, the canopy was removed. The wreaths and roses were placed to the side, and the casket was lowered into the earth, taking away a Catholic girl in the Good Friday rain.

They buried Maggie Dixon at West Point.
...The rain wouldn't fall on her burial day until the mourners had left her casket. Maggie Dixon died with an oversized heart, and the officers and gentlemen at West Point didn't need a coroner to tell them that.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 11:25 AM | Comments (3)

April 17, 2006

You're Doing a Heckuva Job


The Pentagon has intensified efforts to shore up the position of Donald Rumsfeld, issuing a memo to retired military leaders encouraging them to speak out on behalf of the defence secretary.

Anybody else wanna say so?

Posted by tree hugging sister at 10:54 AM | Comments (8)

A Bittersweet Note From Last Thursday

Last F-14 Tomcat fighter to fly a combat mission arrives at NAS Pensacola

The last F-14 Tomcat fighter to fly a combat mission arrived aboard Naval Air Station Pensacola Thursday, April 13 at 11:45 a.m. Lt.Cmdr. Mark Stufflebeem and Lt.(j.g.) James Cunningham, pilots from VF-213, had the honor of flying the aircraft to the air station. The F-14D aircraft, Bureau Number 161159, that served with the Navy's Fighter Squadron 213 (VF-213), the Black Lions, as part of Carrier Air Wing Eight, embarked in USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71), will become a display aircraft at the National Museum of Naval Aviation. The F-14 is being replaced by the latest version of the Boeing F/A-18, the F/A-18F Super Hornet.

At least it'll be safe and loved here. The museum is a fabulous, reverent last call for warbirds.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 09:17 AM | Comments (19)

April 14, 2006

We're Torn on This One

major dad and I have talked about it and all the opinions swirling around...

A retired Army general on Friday continued the volleys of criticism against Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and his handling of the Iraq war...

...is it right, is it wrong? Should they keep their mouths shut regardless, or do they have an obligation to speak up? One of the stupidest criticisms I've read is to the effect of "it's not helpful when the civilians feel they can't trust the military..." Hello. The reverse is also true, as the civilians have the final say and the military pays the consequences. I only wonder what would have happened in Vietnam, if the retired generals had spoken up. Maybe we could have cut out that cancer and saved some lives. Maybe the military could have come home proudly, instead of shambling and despised.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 10:51 AM | Comments (12)

Oh, Come On!

Everyone knows it's the safest place to hit a Marine.

Marine Unfazed by Sniper Shot to Head

The young Marine had just shot a suspected insurgent and was walking back across the villa's rooftop when he keeled over from a terrific thud to the back of his head.

A sniper had fired a single, well-aimed bullet that tore through the top of Lance Cpl. Richard Caseltine's helmet, traced a path along the edge of his skull and buried burning bullet fragments in the back of his neck.

Less than a minute later, the 20-year-old from Aurora, Ind., was up on his feet - crouching, shaking and miraculously, still alive.

We're glad you're still around, LCpl. This is gonna make one helluva sea story.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 08:22 AM | Comments (5)

April 11, 2006

Not Many U.S. Navy Ports O' Call in Poland

That should have been their first clue.

Eight sailors were charged Tuesday with fraudulently marrying Polish and Romanian women to obtain an increase in their basic housing allowance from the Navy and allow their brides to apply for citizenship.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 03:45 PM | Comments (7)

April 05, 2006

How Nice the Government Got More Than It Paid For

...if the thing really does take-off and land itself.

...Naval officials looking into last week's MV-22 Osprey mishap are considering whether recent maintenance work done on the aircraft may have somehow contributed to the incident, according to a Marine Corps general and Pentagon sources.

The cause of the mishap remains undetermined, but the aircraft suffered “major damage to its wing and right engine” March 27 at New River, NC, according to a statement issued by the service after the incident. The aircraft damage “resulted from an inadvertent takeoff followed by a hard landing” on the base's flight line during a post-maintenance functional check flight, according to the statement.

"Inadvertant" as in "WTF?!" Hahahaha! I didn't see this on 60 Minutes, or anywhere else for that matter. And how typical ~ blame the LCpl fixin' the thing when your multi-gazillion dollar trainwreck acts a little hinky.
Naval officials looking into last week's MV-22 Osprey mishap are considering whether recent maintenance work done on the aircraft may have somehow contributed to the incident...

The best little tidbit in the article?
Naval officials are also reviewing a particular incident in 2005 that is somewhat similar to the March 27 mishap, a service official told Inside the Navy . The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, did know the specifics.

Last year something(what) similar? It was doing this last year? In my best Jewish grandmother voice I ask, "Who knew?"
Marines exit the Osprey after being told their mothers were going to kill them if they caught them anywhere near that plane.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 10:34 PM | Comments (9)

I Sense a Disturbance in the Force

Cmdr. Jon Winters was startled last May to see his name on top of the short list to be deployed for seven months to Iraq.

It was unusual because he was on shore duty in Pensacola -- traditionally meant to give sailors a reprieve from deployment and a time to catch up with family or further their education.

But as the war in Iraq enters its third year, the Navy is sending more sailors to help out on the ground, Winters among them.

It was a different life for the 25-year veteran: reporting to an Army colonel; carrying an AK-47 even during chow; and learning a new lingo.

...The Navy has sent sailors, called individual augmentees, to Iraq since the war began. But in recent months, that number has spiked to an all-time high. Navy spokesman Lt. Trey Brown said the 4,000 sailors serving on the ground in Iraq will total 5,000 by the year's end.

"We are at our highest numbers since Iraqi Freedom, and we are continuing to grow," he said. "The Navy is looking at this from a total force structure to see who is available that has the right skill sets that is being asked by the military."

...Recently, more than a handful of instructors were sent to Iraq at one time. Some students who fail the flight program because of medical conditions, for example, are given the option of going to Iraq on ground missions instead of leaving the Navy.

Be all that you can be, huh? They sure need a lot of bodies to keep that well-oiled "Army of One" crap going. (Jeffs? Meet any squid conscripts in desert cammie while you were there?)

Posted by tree hugging sister at 01:29 PM | Comments (5)

April 04, 2006


The only conscientious objector to receive a Medal of Honor in World War II has been buried at a national cemetery with a 21-gun salute, although he refused to carry a weapon while serving as an Army medic.

...While under enemy fire on the island of Okinawa, Doss carried 75 wounded soldiers to the edge of a 400-foot cliff and lowered them to safety, according to his citation.

During a later attack, he was seriously wounded in the legs by a grenade. According to the citation, as he was being carried to safety, he saw a more critically injured man and crawled off his stretcher, directing the medics to help the other wounded man.

I'd never heard his story.
...By now, his fellow soldiers were used to his reading the Bible and praying, so it didnt seem unusual when, on that April 29th morning in 1945, he suggested that they might want to pray. They were facing a sheer 400-foot cliff that split the island of Okinawa known as the Maeda Escarpment. It would be necessary to attack and capture this area. The men of Company B bowed their heads as Doss offered a prayer for safety. Then they began to struggle up the sheer cliff face.

His unit captured the 400-foot Maeda Escarpment in an incredible sweep in which not one man was killed and only one minor injury was sustained. When a photographer arrived to capture the moment and asked how they pulled it off, Doss' company commander answered, "Doss prayed!"

Read it. You'll smile.

His Citation.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 02:52 PM | Comments (7)

March 25, 2006

Pensacola Lost a Legend Last Night

Admiral Jack Fetterman was a dynamic, incredible, wonderfully accessible individual. Bless his heart, Pensacola was so lucky to have him. All our sympathies to his precious, gracious wife Nancy and their family. We going to miss him terribly.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 11:30 AM | Comments (1)

March 23, 2006

Awwwww...She's Back

And I really do think for the last time. Gut feeling.

She breaks my heart.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 10:07 AM | Comments (4)

March 16, 2006

They Better Not Pause For Any BULLSHIT "NEGOTIATING"

...this time.

U.S., Iraq Launch Major Air Assault

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) -- The American military said Thursday that U.S. and Iraqi forces had launched the largest air assault since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003, attacking insurgents north of Baghdad.

Take them ALL out. There shouldn't be a cessation of hostilities until all the hostiles are deceased.
UPDATE: MSNBC has more.
A military statement said the operation involving more than 50 aircraft and 1,500 Iraqi and U.S. troops as well as 200 tactical vehicles targeted suspected insurgents operating in Salahuddin, a province that includes Samarra, a town located 60 miles north of Baghdad.

“Initial reports from the objective area indicate that a number of enemy weapons caches have been captured, containing artillery shells, explosives, IED-making materials, and military uniforms,” the military said in a statement. IEDs are improvised explosive devices.

UPDATE: I didn't see Helen Thomas do her thing like Mike did, but I DID see David Gregory ask if this operation had anything to do with Bush's slumping poll numbers.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 11:44 AM | Comments (11)

Now That's a Send-Off

HATTIESBURG, Miss. (AP) -- Before the nearly 4,100 soldiers in the 34th Brigade Combat Team leave for Iraq, family and friends wanted to make sure they were sent off in style - and with a little taste of home.

At Camp Shelby Wednesday, there were 8,000 home-cooked steaks, a band and plenty of kegs of beer. Lines of cars with out-of-state license plates snaked through the roads to the base to arrive at the party.

The soldiers hail from Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Nebraska and New Jersey, but about 2,600 are from Minnesota. Those soldiers are the largest contingent of Minnesota's National Guard to see combat since World War II.

A popular St. Paul restaurant, Mancini's, served up the same steaks that customers get back in Minnesota. Ted Marti, whose son is part of the brigade expected to be gone for a year, brought dozens of kegs of beer and root beer from his family's Minnesota brewery.

Like other National Guard units to deploy in recent years, the brigade represented a cross-section of people from soldiers in their 50s to those who were too young to drink the free beer.

"We've got a lot of emotions with our son going," he said. "So we wanted to throw them a party. This is New Ulm (Minn.) style."

God speed, ya'll.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 09:57 AM | Comments (3)

March 14, 2006

A Tidbit More on General Shinseki

...and the PhD's post. He was every bit the professional military officer and, for his honesty born of combat experience, treated abomidably by the 'civilians' he was sworn to protect. Whatever their disagreement, for the arrogant BASTARDS to do THIS was INEXCUSABLE.

There were a few empty chairs at General Eric Shinseki's June 2003 retirement ceremony. U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld didn't make it to the event, which honored Shinseki's 4 years as U.S. Army chief of staff and 38-year military career. Neither did Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, nor any of Rumsfeld's other close associates. For a four-star general concluding a brilliant career, it was a major breach of protocol.

It was also no surprise, given Shinseki's simple answer to a simple question a few months earlier. On February 25, 2003, as the general testified before a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on the looming war in Iraq, Senator Carl Levin asked him what kind of manpower he believed it would take to keep the peace in postwar Iraq. "Something on the order of several hundred thousand soldiers are probably, you know, a figure that would be required," he said. It was the reasoned estimate of a lifelong military man who had lost most of a foot in Vietnam, had led NATO's Peace Stabilization Force in Bosnia, and had commanded both NATO's land forces and the U.S. Army in Europe.

But it was not the answer his civilian boss was looking for. Rumsfeld was then in the process of convincing Congress that the war would require relatively few ground forces. Shinseki could have parroted the party line, or hedged his answer to appear more neutral, but he didn't. As Bill Clinton recently put it, Shinseki committed candor. "He was a darn good military leader but not a very good politician," says Les Cotton, the sheriff of Navarro County, Texas, who served as a soldier with Shinseki in Vietnam.

Amen to that, Les. Where and how is the Neo-Cons' dismissive arrogance toward a general officer's intelligence and experience any less disgusting than the Clintonites' loathing of the uniform itself?

Posted by tree hugging sister at 10:20 AM | Comments (44)

March 13, 2006

Cobra II

The war was barely a week old when Gen. Tommy R. Franks threatened to fire the Army's field commander.

From the first days of the invasion in March 2003, American forces had tangled with fanatical Saddam Fedayeen paramilitary fighters. Lt. Gen. William S. Wallace, who was leading the Army's V Corps toward Baghdad, had told two reporters that his soldiers needed to delay their advance on the Iraqi capital to suppress the Fedayeen threat in the rear.

Soon after, General Franks phoned Lt. Gen. David D. McKiernan, the commander of allied land forces, to warn that he might relieve General Wallace.

The firing was averted after General McKiernan flew to meet General Franks. But the episode revealed the deep disagreements within the United States high command about the Iraqi military threat and what would be required to defeat it.

The dispute, related by military officers in interviews, had lasting consequences. The unexpected tenacity of the Fedayeen in the battles for Nasiriya, Samawa, Najaf and other towns on the road to Baghdad was an early indication that the adversary was not merely Saddam Hussein's vaunted Republican Guard.

The paramilitary Fedayeen were numerous, well-armed, dispersed throughout the country, and seemingly determined to fight to the death. But while many officers in the field assessed the Fedayeen as a dogged foe, General Franks and Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld saw them as little more than speed bumps on the way to Baghdad. Three years later, Iraq has yet to be subdued. Many of the issues that have haunted the Bush administration about the war — the failure to foresee a potential insurgency and to send sufficient troops to stabilize the country after Saddam Hussein's government was toppled — were foreshadowed early in the conflict. How some of the crucial decisions were made, the behind-the-scenes debate about them and early cautions about a sustained threat have not been previously known.

A United States Marines intelligence officer warned after the bloody battle at Nasiriya, the first major fight of the war, that the Fedayeen would continue to mount attacks after the fall of Baghdad since many of the enemy fighters were being bypassed in the race to the capital.

A NYT snippet from the new book by Michael Gordon and Lt. Gen Bernard Trainor, USMC(R), which promises to be a barn burner. Major Dad's copy should be in the mail. It sounds like it's going to dovetail nicely with "The Assassin's Gate" he's reading and thoroughly engrossed in now (about, he says, "a bunch of Phd's who think they're smarter than anybody else and who were incapable of digesting any point of view that was remotely different than anything they'd already decided upon" ~ he recommends it highly).

Posted by tree hugging sister at 06:35 PM | Comments (7)

March 10, 2006

Jarheads Are Real Pieces of Work

In late 2004, Cpl. Jason Watrous spent several weeks of his military hitch in a city west of Baghdad.

The work was hard. The hours were long. And that was only the start of it.

Watrous left the service in July to work in a mill in upstate New York. By Christmas, though, the square-jawed 24-year-old had re-enlisted in the Marine Corps.

"I like deployments," Watrous said he realized.

He wanted to get back to what he discovered in that teeming city, Fallujah.

...and thank goodness.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 12:43 AM | Comments (4)

March 09, 2006

On This Day in 1862, the Monitor and the Virginia (formerly the Merrimack)

...posed for this picture.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 09:59 AM | Comments (3)

March 08, 2006

Eatin' Good in the Neighborhood

The dynamo Dick Durban GITMO Gulag, that is.

Is America the only country in the world that could run a prison camp where prisoners gain weight? Between April 2002 and March 2003, the Joint Task Force returned to Afghanistan 19 of the approximately 664 men (from 42 countries) who have been held in the detention camps at the U.S. Naval Base in Guantanamo Bay. Upon leaving, it has been reported, each man received two parting gifts: a brand new copy of the Koran as well as a new pair of jeans. Not the act of generosity that it might first appear, the jeans, at least, turned out to be a necessity. During their stay (14-months on average), the detainees (nearly all of them) had gained an average of 13 pounds.

A warm Swill Salute to the the Gateway Pundit and his post about having a hard time getting some of the detainees to go home!

Posted by tree hugging sister at 09:01 AM

March 07, 2006

It's All Over

...except for the singing.

'Top Gun' Fighter Jets End Final Mission

The Navy's last two squadrons of F-14 Tomcats are heading home, ending the final combat deployment of the Cold War-era fighter jet that flew into the danger zone with Tom Cruise in "Top Gun."

Headin' into twilight

Spreadin' out her wings tonight

She got you jumpin' off the deck

And shovin' into overdrive

Highway to the Danger Zone
I'll take you

Right into the Danger Zone...

Posted by tree hugging sister at 10:25 AM | Comments (5)

March 06, 2006

Did The Valkyrie Have A Child?

An interesting story in Aviation Week & Space Technology:

U.S. intelligence agencies may have quietly mothballed a highly classified two-stage-to-orbit spaceplane system designed in the 1980s for reconnaissance, satellite-insertion and, possibly, weapons delivery. It could be a victim of shrinking federal budgets strained by war costs, or it may not have met performance or operational goals.

This two-vehicle "Blackstar" carrier/orbiter system may have been declared operational during the 1990s.

A large "mothership," closely resembling the U.S. Air Force's historic XB-70 supersonic bomber, carries the orbital component conformally under its fuselage, accelerating to supersonic speeds at high altitude before dropping the spaceplane. The orbiter's engines fire and boost the vehicle into space. If mission requirements dictate, the spaceplane can either reach low Earth orbit or remain suborbital.

Neat, neat stuff.

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 01:02 PM | Comments (7)

March 01, 2006

Chuckie Schumer is a Weasel

We all know that, but it's cleansing to come right out and say it ~ brings a Zen-like tranquility to the day.

Schumer and Reid, the guys who said my country needs me, had a change of heart. There was never any explanation given. Schumer, in particular, actively sought to undermine my insurgent campaign, in part by calling up my donors and telling them not to raise money for me, which is like a doctor cutting off oxygen to a patient. He also worked through others to get state and local politicians to publicly urge me to quit.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 08:56 AM | Comments (2)

February 27, 2006

15 Years Ago Last Night and Today

...they left stuff like this behind on the "Highway of Death"...

...for Major Dad to find.

Marine Aircraft Group-13 legend has it that our CO was in an F-18 heading north of Kuwait City, when he noticed a ton of traffic on the highway to Basra. He got a little closer, confirmed who was buggering out and called for some help.

Lots of it arrived.

Major Dad says there was tons of contraband ~ cars, trucks and military vehicles bulging with brand news TVs, unopened boxes of electronics, everything imaginable ~ the ground was littered with the contents of Kuwait City.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 05:24 PM | Comments (17)

Tilted Toward the Dark Side

The Marine Corps plans to send the troubled Osprey aircraft into combat zones within a year and is activating a squadron of the tilt-rotor planes this week.

"Obviously, due to operational concerns we don't want to tell exactly when they will deploy," said spokesman Master Sgt. Phil Mehringer at Marine Corps Air Station New River, where the squadron will be based. "But it's certainly going to happen in the near future. Definitely, within a year."

As major dad said ~ schmutzing a very cush job in the civilian sector, I'm sure ~ the program's a train wreck.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 04:50 PM | Comments (1)

February 24, 2006

15 Years Ago Today

...Bush the Senior had had enough of this sh*t...

(Photo courtesy Major Dad ~ on their way into Kuwait a few days later with HMH-466.)

...and launched the ground war.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 11:15 AM | Comments (2)

February 21, 2006

Much Gnashing of Teeth Ensued

...watching the Fox News report on Pappy Boyington and the U of Wimpington Wish Washington stu(pi)dent senate. Scroll down to "Only on Fox" box, top right hand corner.

"Black Sheep
Video: Monument to WWII hero creates controversy at his alma mater"

Reading what these morons said was bad enough. Hearing a couple more pretentious jacka$$es is downright painful.

But I defend their right to be braindead. Just glad I don't have to pay for it.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 11:30 AM | Comments (3)

Easy Riders

...bless their hearts.

Wearing vests covered in military patches, a band of motorcyclists rolls around the country from one soldier's funeral to another, cheering respectfully to overshadow jeers from church protesters.

They call themselves the Patriot Guard Riders, and they are more than 5,000 strong, forming to counter anti-gay protests held by the Rev. Fred Phelps at military funerals.

Phelps believes American deaths in Iraq are divine punishment for a country that he says harbors homosexuals. His protesters carry signs thanking God for so-called IEDs - explosives that are a major killer of soldiers in Iraq.

The bikers shield the families of dead soldiers from the protesters, and overshadow the jeers with patriotic chants and a sea of red, white and blue flags.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 09:46 AM | Comments (4)

February 08, 2006

Better Watch Where You Put That Thang

What's the world coming to?

Patronizing prostitutes just got more costly
New rule means those convicted face dishonorable discharge, jail

Service members now may pay dearly for hiring a prostitute.
Under a change in the Manual for Courts-Martial, troops who patronize prostitutes can receive a dishonorable discharge, forfeiture of all pay and allowances and up to a year in jail.

“Before now, there was no explicit prohibition on patronizing a prostitute,” said Eugene Fidell, president of the National Institute of Military Justice. “It’s clear they’re getting serious about this. I think it’s a sign of changing values in our society, including military society. Once upon a time, this kind of thing was rampant, like heavy drinking and smoking.”

The punishment for hiring a prostitute is now the same as the punishment for being a prostitute.

Hey! No ogling the merchandise!

Posted by tree hugging sister at 01:19 PM | Comments (5)

February 07, 2006

Not a Town You Often See in the News

...my birthplace, prior to my two WESTPACS there as a Marine. Usually when you see us wrangling with the Japanese, Okinawa is the setting.

Iwakuni to hold plebiscite on US aircraft relocation
The western Japanese city of Iwakuni will hold a plebiscite in March asking citizens if they are willing to accept the relocation of US carrier-borne aircraft to the Iwakuni Marine base.

Although the plebiscite, which was announced on Tuesday, is non-binding, rejection would come as a huge embarrassment to Japan's national government.

And they've agreed to a nuclear carrier in Yokosuka. That's a 'sea' change.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 10:00 AM | Comments (3)

February 06, 2006

Another Marine Reports In

Captain Rory Quinn for the Tampa Bay Times.

And now, as we head into the last two months, we see signs of real progress going on around us. Some of the progress is beginning to appear in the mainstream newspapers on the Internet, but only sparingly. There is significant infighting going on between the insurgents. The nationalist insurgents have had enough, it seems, of the foreign ones.

On Jan. 5, a suicide bomber blew himself up among a crowd of Sunni police recruits just a few hundred meters from where we live. This was a spectacularly stupid move by the al-Qaida in Iraq guys, for a couple of reasons: First, many locals are without work, so they'll show up for any job interview. And with so many terrorists around, the people have been clamoring for police, so offering jobs as police officers to local Sunnis was the perfect solution for both problems.

Then the suicide bomber killed over 30 of Ramadi's sons. Many more were injured. It was a gruesome scene. That's when the local Sunni citizens seemed to revolt.

Since then, there's been an increase in violence around the city, consisting mainly of Iraqis hunting down foreign terrorists (the al-Qaida in Iraq guys) and killing them. We hear about it on patrol from people on the street.

The local Iraqis want the same thing from the coalition forces as the coalition itself wants -- to train Iraqis to defend Iraq, and then to go home. We both want the Marines out of Ramadi, once conditions are right. It's a beautiful partnership.

Hopefully, we'll both soon get our wishes.

Amen to that, Marine.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 03:04 PM | Comments (1)

Mail Cut Off Update From Lt. Sarah

She just emailed me that the last date the Marines will be receiving mail will be 17 Feb. Since it takes 7-10 days for things to hit over there, if you haven't sent something by Monday, you'll be cutting it close to the hair on your chinny chin chin.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 02:00 AM

February 05, 2006

A Name to a Face

...and peace for his family.

Remains found in the California mountains last fall are those of an airman from Minnesota whose plane went missing during World War II, relatives said Saturday.

The U.S. Department of Defense determined the remains are those of Leo Mustonen, who was 22 when the plane he was in crashed 64 years ago in the Sierra Nevada mountains, the airman's nieces Leane Mustonen Ross and Ona Lea Mustonen told CNN.

This is a good end to this story.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 02:53 PM

February 01, 2006

Speaking of the Joint Chiefs

We actually watched the State of the Union last night. There was one, blazing example of the despicable Democratic disdain for the American military, regardless of the platitudes they mouth for the folks back home. President Bush was working his way through this paragraph...

Our work in Iraq is difficult, because our enemy is brutal. But that brutality has not stopped the dramatic progress of a new democracy. In less than three years, that nation has gone from dictatorship, to liberation, to sovereignty, to a constitution, to national elections. At the same time, our coalition has been relentless in shutting off terrorist infiltration, clearing out insurgent strongholds, and turning over territory to Iraqi security forces.

... finishing it with this thought.
I am confident in our plan for victory ... I am confident in the will of the Iraqi people ... I am confident in the skill and spirit of our military. Fellow citizens, we are in this fight to win, and we are winning.

The Republican side of the house roared to their feet. The only two standing on the Democratic side of the house? General Peter Pace and General Michael Hagee, USMC, down in the front. They turned and glanced behind them and then a couple Dems abashedly struggled to their feet during the sustained applause.

That picture pretty much said it all for me. Joe Lieberman seemed to be the only Democratic Senator clapping unashamedly ~ clapping at all ~ when the military was mentioned in terms of Iraq.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 07:55 PM | Comments (1)

Move Over, Ted Rall

...there's a new a$$hole in town.

The Joint Chiefs have a little note for him.

Acoording to the scuttlebutt making the military rounds:

With regard to the Washington Post's response: They are processing the letter, and anticipate it will be in Thursday's edition. That is not a guarantee, but a strong likelihood.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 07:11 PM | Comments (7)

January 20, 2006

Today's Gulf War I Photo

Honestly. It'll fit. We do this all the time.

As a matter of fact, they wrote the book on it.

Loading an HMH-466 CH53E Super Stallion into C-5.
You'll notice it's green. No spray cans yet.
MCAS El Toro.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 02:25 PM | Comments (6)

January 18, 2006

UPDATE: I'd Say That Makes It

...REALLY "good intelligence"...

U.S. Strike Killed Al Qaeda Bomb Maker
Jan. 18, 2006 — ABC News has learned that al Qaeda's master bomb maker and chemical weapons expert was one of the men killed in last week's U.S. missile attack in eastern Pakistan.

..."This is extraordinarily important," said former FBI agent Jack Cloonan, an ABC News consultant, who was the senior agent on the FBI's al Qaeda squad. "He's the man who trained the shoe bomber, Richard Reid and Zacharias Mousssaoui, as well as hundreds of others."

...and REALLY good news.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 04:09 PM | Comments (2)

January 17, 2006

Now That's a Loaded Question

HH: Frank Gaffney, if in fact we struck Iran, in sort of an Operation Desert Fox, like Bill Clinton unleashed on Iraq for 96 hours of pummeling in 1998, and we leveled their facilities like Clinton did to Iraq's facilities in 1998, what would follow in the world? We've got about a minute. Can you tell people what you think would happen?
Hugh Hewitt putting Frank Gaffney on the spot, courtesy of Radio Blogger.

Your answer, Swillers...? What would you do if you ran the zoo?

Posted by tree hugging sister at 02:07 PM | Comments (4)

15 Years Ago Today

...Desert Storm started.

I was in NS Norfolk and Major Dad was in Ras Al Gar, Saudi Arabia. His pictures to follow.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 08:23 AM | Comments (10)

January 15, 2006

Tradition is a Terrible Thing

...to lose, sometimes.

After 155 Years, Marine Sentries Removed

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) -- A Naval Academy tradition that lasted 155 years has come to an end: The Marine Corps sentries who guarded the gates and the crypt of Revolutionary War Capt. John Paul Jones have been withdrawn and sent to war.

The four dozen Marines were released from their security duties in a ceremony on Friday and are being replaced by Navy enlisted personnel.

"Pray for them, for many of them are going into harm's way," a chaplain said in an invocation for the departing members of the Naval Academy Company, Marine Barracks.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 10:13 AM | Comments (1)

January 12, 2006

A Bridge TOO Far

Navy Lt. Bryan D. Black, a U.S. Naval Academy faculty member, thought he was just shooting the breeze when he told a midshipman that getting on a battleship turned him on.

Such was the sentiment, at least, though the language was saltier than the Chesapeake Bay, where an inspired Black was serving as safety officer on an oceanographic cruise aboard a "yard patrol craft."

Unfortunately for Black, among the midshipmen was at least one sensitive female. He also made some other equally spicy comments about his ex-wife, of whom he apparently is no longer fond, that were overheard by, but not spoken in front of, female midshipmen.

Now he faces a special court-martial and three criminal charges.

I am SO SICK of this piss ant bullsh*t, I could puke. These 'service' women and their enablers demean and destroy everything Kcruella, I and our fellow WM's went through to claim our place as Marines.

UPDATE: Strange this should show up now, but Opinion Journal has a piece about a new book by Kate O'Beirne (who I personally can't stand) called (Ick ~ who thinks of this stuff?) "Women Who Make the World Worse". But how timely. There's this especially relevant quote:

Also from the Clinton era is Duke University law professor Marilyn Morris, who in her role as an adviser to the secretary of the Army urges the elimination of the "masculinist attitudes" of the military, such as "dominance, assertiveness, aggressiveness, independence, self-sufficiency, and willingness to take risks."

Posted by tree hugging sister at 09:54 AM | Comments (3)

January 05, 2006

Wife Murders Marine...

Because he wouldn't let her get a boob job:

Prosecutors are seeking the extradition of a woman in Florida accused of poisoning her husband — a Marine sergeant — and then using his life insurance to pay for breast enhancement and a libertine lifestyle.

Sommer's neighbor on the Miramar base told the investigators that after Todd Sommer's death, his wife threw a series of loud parties and showed the results of her breast augmentation, which had cost $5,400.

How horrible for him...arsenic ain't pretty.

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 08:09 AM | Comments (5)

January 04, 2006

A Big Time Reporter

...does the unthinkable.

"It was pathetic," he said, laughing.

Now, "I could probably knock out 20, but don't make me do it."

Initially, Pottinger was discouraged, but his decision was sealed when he covered the Asian tsunami and saw firsthand the marines leading the relief effort.

"Watching U.S. Marines and other military personnel on the ground helping people there amid that devastation … it's really indescribable what we saw there," he said.

He raises his right hand. Semper Fi, Lt. Pottinger.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 09:28 AM | Comments (2)

Tora Bora Bungle?

Gary Berntsen, a CIA veteran who headed a paramilitary team called "Jawbreaker" during the Afghan war, said in a book published last week that one of his Arabic-speaking operatives found a radio on a dead al-Qaeda fighter during the Tora Bora battle and heard the terrorist leader repeatedly try to rally his troops.
His book was "heavily edited by CIA censors" and I haven't heard anyone from the agency calling him a liar...yet. Curious to see how this shakes out.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 09:14 AM

December 20, 2005


Germany paroles terrorist after 19-year term
Hamadi was jailed for hijacking TWA jet, killing a U.S. Navy diver
If he'd killed a couple gutterally languaged tourists named Hans and Frieda, it would have been a different story. And he's left Germany ~ what a surprise. Any guesses where the bus ticket's to? Danke schön, unsere Freunden.
UPDATE: Watching FoxNews at this moment and there's speculation the Germans released this murderer as a quid-pro-quo to get Arab terrorists to release their own GERMAN hostages. I can't find anything on it right now, but a Google search brings up a poignant, prescient Victoria Toensing column.
When I was in Bonn in June, 1987, negotiating Hamadi's extradition, I warned the German delegation meeting with us that Hamadi would be a "hot potato." If they convicted him, they would always have to deal with threats for his release. It would be far better to send him to the United States, I argued, where we had the resolve to keep him because he was charged with the murder of an American serviceman, the hostage-taking of U.S. citizens and the hijacking of a U.S. carrier. West Germany had no victims whatsoever involved in TWA Flight 847; the sole jurisdiction for the trial was finding Hamadi on its soil. Therefore, the German government might not have the strong support of its people to continue to imprison a convicted terrorist when fellow Germans' lives are once again being threatened-as was the situation on the extradition decision.

So the case of Hamadi is not over and will not be until he actually serves life in prison. Since the terrorists succeeded in making Germany modify its behavior on the extradition, they will expect acquiescence again on lessening the life sentence. By caving in to the terrorists' demands in 1987, the Germans merely delayed making the tough call. We can only wish them well. Now they must display a strong national will and refuse to reduce Hamadi's sentence when the inevitable new demand from the terrorists arrives.

Well, they didn't.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 09:52 PM | Comments (4)

December 19, 2005

Nothing Like a Good Bedtime Story

...to help one sleep soundly. You know ~ like, where the fresh faced, true blue, all American kids get the bad guy? Florida Cracker found a doozy.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 10:56 PM | Comments (15)

December 12, 2005

Taking Care of Your Own

...can be a wonderful thing.

From the first day of boot camp, a Marine is part of a team, rarely serving or fighting alone. That ends when a Marine is severely injured in combat and rushed from the field for medical care. Those without family to care for them at home can find themselves alone with no place to go.

"They don't even have uniforms," said Lt. Gen. James Amos, commander of the II Marine Expeditionary Force. "A lot of their stuff was left in Iraq or lost."

To give recovering Marines daily support and companionship, the military created the Wounded Warrior Support Section, a renovated barracks at North Carolina's Camp Lejeune, the Corps' largest base on the East Coast.

There is nothing else like it in the Marine Corps, Amos said. Some battalion commanders were initially reluctant about the idea, he said, but the experience of wounded Marines living and recovering with each other has proven to aid their healing process.

"Some of these kids have seen things that few humans will see in life," said Amos, whose commands include more than 47,000 Marines and sailors. "When you're in a huge gun battle, you come away with thoughts and memories. Some may struggle with it. What we found is these kids need to talk to one another."

Posted by tree hugging sister at 10:02 AM

December 09, 2005

V-22: Flying Pork?

Here's a troubling article on this expensive program:

In September 2005, the V-22 Osprey tiltrotor failed its second Operational Evaluation (OPEVAL); it failed its first one in 2000. However, a friend of the V-22 program wrote the OPEVAL report to hide these failures. The OPEVAL report was withheld from release until Sept. 27, 2005 when a Defense Department panel met and rubberstamped it for full production after no analysis of the OPEVAL report. This article shows how the V-22 failed OPEVAL the second time as well. Note that a KPP is a Key Performance Parameter. If an aircraft is unable to meet it's KPPs, it is considered a failure. KPPs are not dreamed up by evil critics, but by Marine aviators who expect the aircraft to easily meet that minimal standard. The basic purpose of an OPEVAL is to verify that KPPs are demonstrated.

Not only is this troubling from a Porkbusting Budgeting standpoint, it is even more disturbing when one thinks of how many Marines are going to risk their lives in this thing.

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 01:33 PM | Comments (3)

December 05, 2005

Fancy Pop Gun Cancelled

Via Bill.

I guess they realized it wasn't worth spending billions (more) on a gun that won't stop a bad guy with one round.

UPDATE: Here is a great article on the whole process, on pages 26-29

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 01:05 PM | Comments (3)

A Reading Assignment

...for the desk jockeys who came up with the new "Rules of Engagement".

It's all about how the Marines fared the last time someone had them fight a kinder, gentler, "what's the world gonna think?" war. And the Marine Corps gave him unfettered access to whoever and whatever he needed.

It's a magnificent book. And a heart breaker.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 09:14 AM | Comments (1)

December 04, 2005

What Are They Supposed to Use?

Harsh language? Let's just make it even tougher on the kids in Iraq, why don't we?

While American civilians and politicians debate when and whether to withdraw troops from Iraq, the buzz among some military lawyers has been a recent Pentagon rule change that they say potentially limits service members' ability to defend themselves.

In June, the Pentagon changed its Standing Rules of Engagement to allow commanders to limit individual self-defense by members of their unit. Interpreted for me by two Army judge advocate general officers (JAGs), this essentially means that soldiers and Marines may not have the individual prerogative to fire upon an enemy when they are faced with an imminent threat of death or serious injury. That belongs only to commanders, who may not be present to make a decision every time a soldier or Marine faces a deadly threat.

Whose side are we on anyway? And why, if this happened in June, are we just hearing about it?

Posted by tree hugging sister at 03:35 PM | Comments (4)

December 02, 2005

Operation Twelv Fourteen Marines of Christmas

UPDATE: DaveE asked me about it and I just filled out seven of them, soooo...to save you all time, THIS is the customs form you'll need for packages. And use those Flat Rate Priority Mail Boxes. They just saved me a fortune. Again.

You guys ROCK!! Thanks again to Susanna for the Flat Rate Priority Mail Box. $7.70 no matter what and for all you can stuff in it. In my case, that was 14 pounds at the Post Office a minute ago! Wowsahs! If you've adopted one (or two or THREE!!) of our Leathernecks, thank you so, SO much. I've really enjoyed hearing from you all ~ like GALA, Suzette, Wonderkraut, DaveE, on and on!! We can never express our gratitude in sufficient terms for your generosity of spirit and warmth of character. We have such deelightful Swillers, we really do.

If you find you have a couple extra minutes and a couple extra Christmas cards and need a couple names, well, send me an email, lol!

If you're wondering what the HECK I'm talking about, please read on. We can never have too much help or too much going to the unit. It will ALL get used by someone.
UPDATEand BUMP: Here's the link for the USPS postage calculations. That PriMail Flat Rate box I sent today for $7.70 would have cost me $26.95 regular Priority! In the words of the Monkeys ~ "I'm a believer!"

Posted by tree hugging sister at 03:28 PM | Comments (15)

Breaking News

Oh no.

Ten U.S. Marines killed in action Thursday by homemade bomb near Falluja, according to military news release.

UPDATE: More details just released.


Newsweek on patrol with the Marines.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 11:20 AM | Comments (3)

December 01, 2005

Note to Rep. Murtha

General Pace is talking to you.

"Their goal is to destroy our way of life," he said. "No equivocation on their part. They're not saying if you stay home we won't come after you."

Swill Salute to The Gateway Pundit.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 02:48 PM

Did I Miss Something?

The other day, when Rep. John Murtha of Johnstown, Pa., called for a withdrawal from Iraq, and obviously did so with half the Pentagon behind him...
Huh? I didn't see that part. What's he talking about ~ "half the P-gon behind him"?

Posted by tree hugging sister at 09:30 AM | Comments (2)

November 30, 2005


(You're dyin' to know, aren't ya?
First one to guess gets a Janeane Garafolo doll.)

An eagle eyed Army Captain points out the busy little Photo Shoppers to Michelle Malkin.

A uniform is a uniform is a uniform, right? Mark in Mexico says left nyet.

Michael Jackson, PETA and NOW MoveOn.org. It's not like a gift, it IS one. God, I LOVE the smell of Italian White Phosphorus in the morning!

Posted by tree hugging sister at 03:54 PM

November 27, 2005

Stories to Be Thankful For

We'd never hear about these guys otherwise.

As he approached the town, Ieva was looking into the backyards of the first row of duplexes. The two platoons on the left were coming in from the side. Those men had to sprint across 75 yards of open ground under fire to get to a protected building. "Aggressiveness and speed got them into the city," Ieva says.

From there, the marines began house-to-house fighting. They would blast holes in the walls and charge in - as Ieva joked, like Starsky and Hutch - or they would climb roof to roof, throwing explosive devices into houses before they entered. One building had insurgent snipers on the roof, but a bomb, timed to go off just above, killed them.

Ieva's men came across a fortified terrorist stronghold, where one of his men, Lawrence R. Philippon, was killed. At another stronghold in that town, according to a gripping piece by Ellen Knickmeyer of The Washington Post, insurgents had built a crawl space under the front door; they lay on their backs and shot upwards through the floor with armor-piercing bullets at marines who came through. The marines needed five assaults and 500-pound bombs from an F/A-18 attack plane to finally take and destroy that house.

I don't have space to describe how Ieva and the other marines fought on that hot spring day, but by the end, about 75 insurgents had been killed and 17 captured.

Two points are worth making. After the Marines took Ubaydi, they didn't have the troops to hold it, and it again became a terrorist safe haven. Over the past two weeks, the Marines have been back in Ubaydi for more bloody fighting. This time they have enough trained Iraqi forces to hold the area, but why weren't there enough troops last spring? Every time you delve into the situation in Iraq, you come away with the phrase "not enough troops" ringing in your head, and I hope someday we will find out how this travesty came about.

Second, why aren't there more stories about war heroes like Christopher Ieva? The casual courage he and his men displayed is awe-inspiring, but most Americans couldn't name a single hero from this war.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 07:38 PM | Comments (5)

November 23, 2005

Operation Twel FourTEEN Marines of Christmas Update

From Susanna, a sage HAPPY suggestion for the care-bear boxes!

If you get the pre-fab US PRIORITY Mail box (it's a nice large box), you can
cram as much stuff inside as it will hold and the shipping is a flat rate of
$7.70. Yippee! A flat rate!

So I have sent lots of auto magazines and paperbacks and so forth. At that
price, cans aren't too pricey to send either. I also picked up a stack of them
so I can keep them in the house and the car and fill them when I get things to

raddave9: I haven't gotten an email back and want to make sure you got my initial one ~ I tend to have fat happy mistake prone puddies when typing addresses! Thanks! {:^)

Posted by tree hugging sister at 10:30 AM | Comments (4)

November 22, 2005

Here is a rundown of how some of our weapons are viewed by the guys/gals using them...

from a Marine on the ground. Glad to see they are passing out the M-14s again. About time they woke up and ditched the 5.56mm, sad they are pulling out battle rifles older than the guys carrying them.

• The M-16 rifle: Thumbs down. Chronic jamming problems with the sand over there, which is like talcum powder. The sand is everywhere. You feel filthy two minutes after a shower. The M-4 carbine version is more popular because it's lighter and shorter, but it also has jamming problems. Marines like the ability to mount the various optical gunsights and weapons lights on the picatinny rails, but the weapon itself is not great in a desert environment. They all hate the 5.56mm (.223) round. Poor penetration on the cinderblock structure common over there and even torso hits cannot be reliably counted on to put the enemy down. Fun fact: Random autopsies on dead insurgents shows a high level of opiate use.
• The M-14: Thumbs up. It is being re-issued in bulk, mostly in a modified version to special-ops guys. Modifications include lightweight Kevlar stocks and low-power red dot or ACOG sights. Very reliable in the sandy environment, and people love the 7.62 round.

Wonder how the SpecOps guys like the 6.8mm they have been testing in the 2 current theatres? I still think we should just go back to the 7.62mm.

[ Note: I've put the entire article below the fold. It makes fascinating reading, and I don't want to lose it when the Times archives...]

Editor's note: There's nothing like word from the field to know what works, what doesn't and how the enemy's tactics are affecting our soldiers in battle. Below is one U.S. Marine's take on those questions, verified and relayed to us through his father, a retired Marine. We've withheld the Marine's name and his father's to spare them the inevitable political or institutional flap. Among the most interesting tidbits: Our Marine reports that servicemen are shocked at negative press coverage of the war, and they believe the United States is winning decisively -- but that the number of troops in the field should be bolstered. On equipment, our Marine thinks the older, battle-tested parts of the U.S. arsenal are the most useful equipment in the fight against insurgents. M-16s aren't much good, but "Ma Deuce" is, and the .45 pistol is highly coveted. Body armor has plusses and minuses. Hello to all my fellow gunners, military buffs, veterans and interested guys. A couple of weekends ago I got to spend time with my son... [He] spent seven months at "Camp Blue Diamond" in Ramadi, a.k.a. "Fort Apache." He saw and did a lot. The following is what he told me about weapons, equipment, tactics and other miscellaneous information which may be of interest to you. Nothing is by any means classified. No politics here, just a Marine with a bird's eye view's opinions. • The M-16 rifle: Thumbs down. Chronic jamming problems with the sand over there, which is like talcum powder. The sand is everywhere. You feel filthy two minutes after a shower. The M-4 carbine version is more popular because it's lighter and shorter, but it also has jamming problems. Marines like the ability to mount the various optical gunsights and weapons lights on the picatinny rails, but the weapon itself is not great in a desert environment. They all hate the 5.56mm (.223) round. Poor penetration on the cinderblock structure common over there and even torso hits cannot be reliably counted on to put the enemy down. Fun fact: Random autopsies on dead insurgents shows a high level of opiate use. • The M243 SAW (squad assault weapon) .223 cal: Big thumbs down. Drum-fed light machine gun. Universally considered a piece of s***. Chronic jamming problems, most of which require partial disassembly. That's fun in the middle of a firefight. • The M9 Beretta 9mm: mixed bag. Good gun, performs well in a desert environment, but everyone hates the 9mm cartridge. The use of handguns for self-defense is actually fairly common. Same old story on the 9mm: Bad guys get hit multiple times but are still in the fight. • Mossberg 12ga. Military shotgun: Works well and is used frequently for clearing houses, to good effect. • The M240 Machine Gun: 7.62 Nato (.308) cal belt-fed machine gun: Thumbs up. Developed to replace the old M-60 -- what a beautiful weapon that was -- it is accurate, reliable and the 7.62 round puts 'em down. Originally developed as a vehicle-mounted weapon, more and more are being dismounted and taken into the field by infantry. The 7.62 round chews up the structure over there. • The M2 .50 cal heavy machine gun: Thumbs way, way up. "Ma deuce" is still worth her considerable weight in gold. The ultimate fight-stopper, puts their d**** in the dirt every time. The most coveted weapon in-theater. • The .45 pistol: Thumbs up. Still the best pistol round out there. Everybody authorized to carry a sidearm is trying to get their hands on one. With few exceptions, it can reliably be expected to put 'em down with a torso hit. The special-ops guys -- who are doing most of the pistol work -- use the HK military model and supposedly love it. The old government model .45s are being re-issued en masse. • The M-14: Thumbs up. It is being re-issued in bulk, mostly in a modified version to special-ops guys. Modifications include lightweight Kevlar stocks and low-power red dot or ACOG sights. Very reliable in the sandy environment, and people love the 7.62 round. • The Barrett .50 cal sniper rifle: Thumbs way up. Spectacular range and accuracy and hits like a freight train. Used frequently to take out vehicle suicide bombers -- we actually stop a lot of them -- and barricaded enemies. Definitely here to stay.

• The M24 sniper rifle: Thumbs up. Mostly in 308 but some in 300 win mag. Heavily modified Remington 700s. Great performance. Snipers have been using them heavily to great effect. Rumor has it that a Marine sniper on his third tour in Anbar province has actually exceeded Carlos Hathcock's record for confirmed kills with over 100.
• The new body armor: Thumbs up. Relatively light at approximately six pounds and can reliably be expected to soak up small shrapnel and even stop an AK-47 round. The bad news: Hot as s*** to wear, almost unbearable in the summer heat, which averages over 120 degrees. Also, the enemy now goes for head shots whenever possible. All the bull**** about the "old" body armor making our guys vulnerable to improvised-explosive devices was a non-starter. The IED explosions are enormous and body armor doesn't make any difference at all in most cases.
• Night Vision and Infrared Equipment: Thumbs way up. Spectacular performance. Our guys see in the dark and own the night, period. Very little enemy action after evening prayers. More and more of the enemy are being whacked at night during movement by our hunter-killer teams. We've all seen the videos.
• Lights: Thumbs up. Most of the weapon-mounted and personal lights are Surefires, and the troops love 'em. Invaluable for night urban operations. [Name redacted] carried a $34 Surefire G2 on a neck lanyard and loved it.

I can't help but notice that most of the good fighting weapons and ordnance are 50 or more years old. With all our technology, it's the World War II- and Vietnam-era weapons that everybody wants. The infantry fighting is frequent, up close and brutal. No quarter is given or shown.
Bad guy weapons:
• Mostly AK47s. The entire country is an arsenal. Works better in the desert than the M16 and the .308 Russian round kills reliably. PKM belt-fed light machine guns are also common and effective. Luckily, the enemy mostly shoots like s***. Undisciplined "spray and pray"-type fire. However, precision weapons are more and more common, especially sniper rifles. Fun fact: Captured enemy have apparently marveled at the marksmanship of our guys and how hard they fight. They are apparently told in jihad school that the Americans rely solely on technology, and can be easily beaten in close quarters combat for their lack of toughness. Let's just say they know better now.
• The RPG: Probably the infantry weapon most feared by our guys. Simple, reliable and as common as dog****. The enemy responded to our up-armored Humvees by aiming at the windshields, often at point blank range. Still killing a lot of our guys.
• The improvised-explosive device: The biggest killer of all. Can be anything from old Soviet anti-armor mines to jerry-rigged artillery shells. A lot found in [name redacted]'s area were in abandoned cars. The enemy would take two or three 155mm artillery shells and wire them together. Most were detonated by cell phone, and the explosions are enormous. You're not safe in any vehicle, even an M1 tank.
Driving is by far the most dangerous thing our guys do over there. Lately, they are much more sophisticated "shape charges" (Iranian) specifically designed to penetrate armor. Fact: Most of the ready-made IEDs are supplied by Iran, the country which is also providing terrorists, Hezbollah types, to train the insurgents in their use and tactics. That's why the attacks have been so deadly lately. Their concealment methods are ingenious, the latest being shape charges in Styrofoam containers spray-painted to look like the cinderblocks that litter all Iraqi roads. We find about 40 percent before they detonate. The bomb-disposal guys are unsung heroes of this war.
• Mortars and rockets: Very prevalent. The Soviet-era 122mm rockets, with a range of 18 kilometers, are becoming more prevalent. One of [name redacted]'s NCOs lost a leg to one. These weapons cause a lot of damage "inside the wire." [Name redacted]'s base was hit almost daily his entire time there by mortar and rocket fire, often at night to disrupt sleep patterns and cause fatigue (it worked). More of a psychological weapon than anything else. The enemy mortar teams would jump out of vehicles, fire a few rounds and then haul *** in a matter of seconds.
Bad guy technology is simple yet effective. Most communication is by cell and satellite phones and also by email on laptops. They use handheld Global Positioning System units for navigation and "Google Earth" for overhead views of our positions. Their weapons are good, if not fancy, and prevalent. Their explosives and bomb technology is top of the line. Night vision is rare.
They are very careless with their equipment, however, and the captured GPS units and laptops are intelligence treasure troves when captured.
Who are the bad guys? Most of the carnage is caused by the Zarqawi al Qaeda group. They operate mostly in Anbar province -- Fallujah and Ramadi. These are mostly "foreigners," that is, non-Iraqi Sunni Arab jihadists from all over the Muslim world and Europe. Most enter Iraq through Syria -- with, of course, the knowledge and complicity of the Syrian government -- and then travel down the "rat line" which is the trail of towns along the Euphrates River that we've been hitting hard for the last few months. Some are virtually untrained young jihadists who end up as suicide bombers or are used in "sacrifice squads."
Most, however, are hard-core terrorists from all the usual suspects -- al Qaeda, Hezbollah and Hamas. These are the guys running around murdering civilians en masse and cutting heads off. The Chechens, many of whom are Caucasian, are supposedly the most ruthless and the best fighters. In the Baghdad area and south, most of the insurgents are Iranian inspired and led Iraqi Shi'ites. The Iranian Shia have been very adept at infiltrating the Iraqi local government, police and army. Since the early 1980s during the Iran-Iraq war, they have had a massive spy and agitator network there. Most of the Saddam loyalists were killed, captured or gave up long ago.
Bad guy tactics: When the enemy is engaged on an infantry level they get their a**** kicked every time. Brave, but stupid. Suicidal banzai-type charges were very common earlier in the war and still occur. They will literally sacrifice eight-to-10 man teams in suicide squads by sending them screaming and firing AKs and RPGs directly at our bases just to probe the defenses. They get mowed down like grass every time -- see the M2 and M240 above. [Name redacted]'s base was hit like this often. When engaged, the enemy has a tendency to flee to the same building, probably for what they think will be a glorious last stand. Instead, we call in air and that's the end of that, more often than not.
These hole-ups are referred to as "Alpha Whiskey Romeos" ("Allah's Waiting Room"). We have the laser-guided ground-air thing down to a science. The fast movers, mostly Marine F-18s, are taking an ever-increasing toll on the enemy. When caught out in the open, the helicopter gunships and AC-130 Spectre gunships cut them to ribbons with cannon and rocket fire, especially at night. Interestingly, artillery is hardly used at all. Fun fact: The enemy death toll is supposedly between 45,000 and 50,000. That is why we're seeing fewer and fewer infantry attacks and more improvised-explosive devices, suicide bomber s***. The new strategy is simple: attrition.
The insurgent tactic most frustrating is their use of civilian non-combatants as cover. They know we do all we can to avoid civilian casualties, so therefore schools, hospitals and especially mosques are locations where they meet, stage for attacks, cache weapons and ammo and flee to when engaged. They have absolutely no regard whatsoever for civilian casualties. They will terrorize locals and murder without hesitation anyone believed to be sympathetic to the Americans or the new Iraqi government. Kidnapping of family members, especially children, is common to influence people they are trying to influence but cannot otherwise reach, such as local government officials, clerics or tribal leaders, etc.
The first thing our guys are told is, "don't get captured." They know that if captured they will be tortured and beheaded on the Internet. Zarqawi openly offers bounties for anyone who brings him a live American serviceman.
This motivates the criminal element who otherwise don't give a s*** about the war. A lot of the beheading victims were actually kidnapped by common criminals and sold to Zarqawi. As such, for our guys, every fight is to the death. Surrender is not an option.
The Iraqis are a mixed bag. Some fight well, others aren't worth a s***.
Most do okay with American support. Finding leaders is hard, but they are getting better. It is widely viewed that Zarqawi's use of suicide bombers, en masse, against the civilian population was a serious tactical mistake.
Many Iraqis were galvanized and the caliber of recruits in the Army and the police forces went up, along with their motivation. It also led to an exponential increase in good intelligence because the Iraqis are sick of the insurgent attacks against civilians. The Kurds are solidly pro-American and fearless fighters.
According to [name redacted], morale among our guys is very high. They not only believe they are winning, but that they are winning decisively. They are stunned and dismayed by what they see in the American press, whom they almost universally view as against them. The embedded reporters are despised and distrusted. They are inflicting casualties at a rate of 20-1 and then see s*** like "Are we losing in Iraq?" on television and the print media.
For the most part, they are satisfied with their equipment, food and leadership. Bottom line, though, and they all say this: There are not enough guys there to drive the final stake through the heart of the insurgency, primarily because there aren't enough troops in-theater to shut down the borders with Iran and Syria. The Iranians and the Syrians just cannot stand the thought of Iraq being an American ally -- with, of course, permanent U.S. bases there.
That's it, hope you found it interesting, I sure did.

Posted by Crusader at 05:21 PM | Comments (12)

November 21, 2005

All Quiet on the Christmas Front

...in a different time and a different place.

Alfred Anderson, the last known survivor of the 1914 "Christmas Truce" that saw British and German soldiers exchanging gifts and handshakes in no-man's land, died early Monday, his parish priest said. He was 109. His death leaves fewer than 10 veterans of World War I alive in Britain.

...Born June 25, 1896, Anderson was an 18-year-old soldier in the Black Watch regiment when British and German troops cautiously emerged from their trenches on Dec. 25, 1914. The enemies swapped cigarettes and tunic buttons, sang carols and even played soccer amid the mud and shell-holes of no man's land.

The horror of that Great War is fading. And yes. The romance of a certain chivalry within that horrific time is dying away too.
In a place where bloodshed was nearly commonplace and mud and the enemy were fought with equal vigor, something surprising occurred on the front for Christmas in 1914. The men who lay shivering in the trenches embraced the Christmas spirit. In one of the truest acts of goodwill toward men, soldiers from both sides in the southern portion of the Ypres Salient set aside their weapons and hatred, if only temporarily, and met in No Man's Land.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 12:34 PM | Comments (15)

November 17, 2005


"Someone has to guard the wall to keep the demons out; that's what the Marines do. Marines own the wall."

Major General Ronald G. Richard
United States Marine Corps (Ret.)
Distinguished Marines Stamp Unveiling Ceremony
Oklahoma City National Memorial
November 10, 2005

A Swill Salute to Sgt. Grit.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 11:44 AM

November 16, 2005

Depends What Your Definition of Torture Is

From Newsweek, an eye-opener:

What was approved*
In December 2002, Rumsfeld tentatively approved 16 interrogation techniques for use with "uncooperative" detainees. In April 2003, he rejected much of the December list but noted that if officials wanted to use unapproved methods, they could ask his permission.

Approved Dec. 2002; ‘unapproved’ April 2003

Prolonged standing
Removal of detainees’ clothing
Sensory deprivation
Hooding during questioning
Prolonged interrogations
Using detainee phobias (e.g., dogs) to induce stress
Shaving of beards

Approved Dec. 2002 or April 2003

Good cop/bad cop
Rapid-fire questioning
Grabbing, poking or pushing
Sleep adjustment
Exposing detainee to an unpleasant smell

Never approved

Exposure to cold weather or water
Face slap or stomach slap
"Waterboarding": use of towel and dripping water to induce misperception of suffocation†
Threat of death to detainees or relatives
Sleep deprivation

*by Rumsfeld

So you can't shave their ratty-a$$ beards, but you CAN make them sniff Salmon Soda? I'd crack, too. And I love how no one in the MSM feels like they have to be polite and use Pres. or Sec. before an official's name ~ it's just Rumsfeld, et al.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 09:38 AM | Comments (7)

November 15, 2005

Top 25 Military Friendly Employers

Good stuff!

1. Omaha, NE. Union Pacific is one of America’s leading transportation companies. Its principle operating unit, Union Pacific Railroad, is the largest railroad in North America, covering 32,832 miles across 23 states.

2. Milwaukee, WI. Johnson Controls is a global market leader in automotive systems and facilities management and control. Revenue for fiscal 2004 totaled $25.4 billion - the 58th consecutive year of sales increases for the company.

3. Fairfield, CT. GE is a diversified technology and services company with operations that include aircraft engine manufacturing, power generation, financial services, medical imaging and television programming. GE operates in more than 100 countries with more than 300,000 employees. GE ranks first in Fortune’s 2005 list of “Global Most Admired Companies.”

4. Atlanta, GA. The Home Depot is the world’s largest home improvement retailer and second largest retailer in the U.S. Its subsidiaries specialize in such home improvement niches as flooring, lighting, interior decor and landscape supply.

5. San Antonio, TX. USAA is a diversified financial services company known for financial strength, outstanding service and competitive products. Founded in 1922 to serve members of the military and their families, USAA provides its 5 million members with financial planning, insurance, investments and banking. USAA maintains offices throughout the United States and Europe.

6. Reston, VA. Sprint Nextel offers a comprehensive range of wireless and wire line communications services to consumer, business and government customers. The company is well-known for its development and deployment of two robust wireless networks offering data services, instant national and international walkie-talkie capabilities and a global Tier 1 Internet backbone.

7. Bethesda, MD. Lockheed Martin employs about 130,000 people worldwide and is engaged principally in the research, design, development, manufacture and integration of advanced technology systems, products and services. The corporation reported 2004 sales of $35.5 billion.

8. Atlanta, GA. BellSouth serves 6.8 million long-distance customers and more than 2.4 million DSL subscribers. The company employs approximately 62,500 people and generated roughly $28 billion in 2004 revenue. BellSouth has joint control and 40 percent ownership of Cingular Wireless, the nation’s largest wireless voice and data provider with 51.6 million customers.

9. Columbus, OH. AEP is the largest electricity generator in the U.S., owning and operating more than 36,000 megawatts of generating capacity in the U.S. It’s also among the largest electric utilities domestically, with nearly 5 million customers linked to its 11-state transmission and distribution grid. Its service territory covers 197,500 square miles.

10. Atlanta, GA. Coca-Cola Enterprises is the world’s largest marketer, producer and distributor of the products of the Coca-Cola Company, accounting for 2 billion cases annually. That represents about 21 percent of Coca-Cola’s worldwide volume. The company employs approximately 74,000 people who operate 431 facilities, 54,000 vehicles and 2.4 million vending machines, beverage dispensers and coolers.

11. Richmond, VA. This unit of Brink’s Inc., itself part of The Brink’s Company group, is prominent for providing armored truck services. But it’s also active in cash logistics, including cash counting and vaulting; in-store cash management, and ATM deposit collections, maintenance and replenishment. Internationally, the parent company specializes in transport of such precious cargo as diamonds, jewelry and securities.

12. Atlanta, GA. Georgia Pacific founded in 1927 in an Augusta lumber yard, today is one of the world’s leading manufacturers and distributors of tissue, pulp, paper, packaging and building products and chemicals. Its well-known brands range from Quilted Northern to NITAMIN© fertilizer.

13. Plano, TX. EDS provides a broad variety of business and technology solutions to a global roster of clients. Its core portfolio includes information-technology, applications and business process services as well as IT transformation services. Its A.T. Kearney subsidiary is a prominent management consultant.

14. Milwaukee, WI. Manpower is a world leader in employment services. Manpower specializes in permanent, temporary and contract recruitment; employee assessment; training; career transition; organizational consulting and professional financial services. Its worldwide network of 4,300 offices in 72 countries and territories serves 400,000 customers annually.

15. Irving, TX. ExxonMobil is an industry leader in almost every aspect of the energy and petrochemical business. ExxonMobil operates in almost 200 countries and territories. It was formed by the combination of two high-powered companies, Exxon and Mobil.

16. San Antonio,TX. The companies of SBC provide voice and data telecommunications products and services for consumers and businesses. SBC’s broad range of offerings includes local, long distance, wireless and DSL services; data networks and satellite television. SBC operates primarily in 13 states.

17. Morristown, NJ. Honeywell is a $26 billion diversified technology and services leader, serving customers worldwide with aerospace products and services; control technologies for buildings, home and industry; automotive products; turbochargers and specialty materials. Honeywell is included in the Dow Jones Industrial Average.

18. Bloomington, IL. Farmer George Mecherle founded State Farm in Bloomington because he believed that farmers, who drove less than city folks, should pay less for automobile insurance. Some 83 years later, State Farm has grown to include more than 79,000 employees, more than 16,700 agents and 71.6 million policies in the U.S. and Canada.

19. New York, NY. Morgan Stanley is a global financial services firm and a market leader in securities, investment management and credit services. With more than 600 offices in 28 countries, Morgan Stanley connects people, ideas and capitalto help clients achieve their financial aspirations.

20. Cincinnati, OH. Cintas is known as the uniform people - and much more. Cintas also provides first aid and safety products, fire protection services, document management services, restroom supplies, entrance mats and promotional products for its roughly 700,000 customers. Cintas operates 351 facilities in the U.S. and Canada with more than 30,000 employees.

21. McLean, VA. Capital One has risen to the top rungs of the financial services sector in only a decade as an independent company. It manages loans totaling approximately $83 billion for a global customer base of 48.9 million. Capital One has made the Fortune lists of “America’s Most Admired Companies” and the “Best Big Companies in America.”

22. White Plains, NY. ITT Industries is a world leader in engineering and manufacturing, providing equipment for water and waste water treatment and industrial processes, defense electronics and services, electronic components such as connectors and switches and a wide range of other industrial products. The company employs approximately 44,000 people around the world.

23. Forth Worth, TX. BNSF Railway was formed by the merger of the Burlington Northern and Santa Fe railways, 150 years ago. Today, BNSF covers 30,000 miles and can deploy 5,000 locomotives and 190,000 freight cars. The company boasts the shortest, most direct rail route between Chicago and Los Angeles.

24. New York, NY. Merrill Lynch is one of the world’s leading financial management and advisory companies, Merrill Lynch operates offices in 36 countries and manages private client assets of approximately $1.6 trillion. As an investment bank, it underwrites debt and equity securities for corporations, governments, institutions and individuals worldwide.

25. Dallas, TX. Southwest Airlines operates more than 3,000 flights daily, carrying more than 70 million passengers annually to 60 cities. In May 1988, Southwest was the first airline to win the monthly “Triple Crown” - Best On-time Record, Best Baggage Handling, Fewest Customer Complaints. It’s since captured more than 30 monthly Triple Crowns and five annual Triple Crowns.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 12:10 PM

It's All a Question of Leverage

...and how badly we need it.

Kyrgyzstan has accused the US of reneging on a promise to review past payments made by the Pentagon for use of its Manas air base and is threatening to limit access to the facility, which is crucial to US operations in Afghanistan.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 09:33 AM | Comments (2)

November 12, 2005

Welcome Back to the U S of A, the_real_jeffS!!!!

We're so GLAD you're home from Kuwait, safe and sound...
...we could KISS YOU!!!

Well, Bingley wants to anyway. I can wait.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 03:45 PM | Comments (12)

Operation Twelve Marines of Christmas


For many Marines in this unit, including several of my Marines, this is their third deployment in 3 years and at least the second Christmas in a row they’ve missed. I can definitely give you some suggestions for things we’d like/need/want out here: RedBull, beef jerky, hard candy, movies, music, packs of tuna, oatmeal, healthy snacks, magazines, and good books. Honestly, they said don’t send a ton of cookies, because around Christmas-time we get inundated with those sort of things from groups and they are trying to be healthy! (from my Marines! {:^) ). It is cold here already and the rainy season will start soon. We are supposed to be here until early/mid March. Um… let’s see, I’m trying to think of other stuff that might be relevant or helpful. I think that’s about it for now. Honestly, though, ANYthing you guys send will be AWESOME. And, yes, letters and cards from people, even though they don’t know them, are always great, too.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Wise words from Cullen...
I read one to two books a day over there because of the availability.

Hard candy and beef jerkey is great. Do they have access to microwaves? Microwave Mac and cheese was a great thing. The things my wife sent me most were coffee, Mac and cheese and magazines. Cookies and such are nice, but like Sarah said, it's hard to stay in shape there esp. 'cause you can't keep a regular PT program going a lot of the time.
and a really good question about hand held games from Faith (which jeffS says they love, but adds "Don't forget to send along extra batteries!") got me thinking I needed to email Sarah again...
Yes, hot cocoa is great. Also, tea and coffee are consumed in large amounts here. We do have microwaves, or, at a minimum, the ability to make hot water in a coffee pot and pour it on oatmeal, mac n’ cheese, tea, etc. Oh and as far as movies go, if people want to send those, tell them to send DVD’s not VHS. Everyone out here has either a laptop or DVD player to watch movies on.

I guess I need to actually write up a suggestions list, since there are so many different things one could send that would help out.
(A THS P.S.: Add corn nuts and sunflower seeds to the list, too)
This is a list I asked Sarah to work up, for all of those other things they might need/like that you all have been asking me about ~ and I don't have a clue! Now, don't think you can't send cookies if you'd planned to! We've got a great diversity of folks all doing different things, so there's not going to be millions from us and it's gonna work out fabulously, I just know it. If you all could let me know what you decide to send your Marine(s), I'll do a running ledger and try to keep things even-steven. Don't worry about letting me know if you're sending cards/notes ~ that's icing on the cake and we so appreciate everything you all do.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 12:24 AM | Comments (1)

November 11, 2005

Operation Twelve Marines of Christmas

UPDATE: Okay, I have bloodied my puddies typing them to the bone to get emails out with your Marine's name and address on them. I did ask for a reply, so I have an idea of who actually got what I sent out, but PLEASE to let me know if your email didn't arrive. Or, if this is the first you've heard of our grand plan and would like to, are foaming at the mouth to, help make Thanksgiving and Christmas a little cheerier for a small group of our Marines in Iraq.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 04:13 PM

Here's Hopin'

"We will never back down. We will never give in. We will never accept anything less than complete victory,"
...he means it and that the American people stay the course. More from Don Surber.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 12:48 PM | Comments (3)

Raptor in the Pattern

Things should really get rockin' pretty soon. Why? Oh, man! Did I neglect to mention this weekend is...

The Blue Angels Homecoming Show?

And I've got a ring side seat.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 12:20 PM | Comments (2)

GySgt R. Lee Ermey, USMC

...goes back, tonight on Mail Call at 8 p.m. EST, 7 p.m. CST.

For the first time since leaving on a Freedom Bird back in 1969, R. Lee Ermey travels back to Vietnam. In this two-hour special Lee visits his old stomping grounds, Da Nang, where he served 13 months as Staff Sergeant assigned to the Marine Air Support Group. Lee also pays tribute to our fighting men and women at such historic locations as Hue, Khe Sanh, Hanoi and the US Embassy in Saigon. And, of course, Lee answers viewers' questions about what it was like to fight during the long, bloody conflict. Features interviews with veterans spanning the entire history of the war--from the Commanding Officer of the first combat troops to arrive in 1965 through the last Marine to step off the Embassy roof ten years later.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 11:40 AM

November 10, 2005

Christmas is Coming, the Goose is Getting Fat and


We have some brave Devil Dogs (twelve to be exact ~ more on that later) keeping UAV's in the air on the Syrian border right now, with one of Major Dad's favoritest First Lieutenants in charge. She says most of her kids get hardly any mail at all and, being LCpl's and Cpl's, that means not much internet time for them either. The Swilling immediately adopted the whole bunch and this is where you guys come in. We'd love to have ya'lls help getting cookies, treats, paper turkeys, magazines ~ whatEVER you feel you can do ~ to the Marines of VMU-1 Forward's S-2 shop, so Thanksgiving and Christmas are a tad more tolerable. Time's getting short for Thanksgiving and the Christmas mailing recommendations are out (APO addresses by Dec5!), so we need to get crackin'. For example, I sent Sara a box of cookies prior to Halloween and tucked in a bag of individually wrapped candy corns. Now, they've been in the field for a couple weeks, so no packages, but it'll be waiting on her to get back. Stuff like that. I'm going to try to get a T-Giving box together with little turkey party thingers. We'd love to have you all on board, for cookies or for postcards ~ WHAT doesn't matter, but the THOUGHT does. I know there're quite a few worthy and wonderful (like Valor-IT) fundraisers going on around the blogosphere now, too. But those are big picture and impersonal. We're doing little picture, up close and personal. Like what hearing your name at mail-call does for a young Marine's heart. Drop me or Bingster a note (our contact info at right) if you'd like to join us. We'd love to have you. I mean, we'd LOVE to have you.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 09:29 AM | Comments (31)

230 Years Young. OO-RAH!

On November 10, 1775, the Continental Congress meeting in Philadelphia passed a resolution stating that "two Battalions of Marines be raised" for service as landing forces with the fleet. This resolution established the Continental Marines and marked the birth date of the United States Marine Corps.
Four legendary Marines who served with bravery and distinction during the 20th century will be immortalized by the U.S. Postal Service when it issues the Distinguished Marines Commemorative Postage Stamps November 10th at 1:00pm, during a ceremony at Marine Barracks Washington,DC. The event is in conjunction with celebration of the 230th Birthday of the United States Marine Corps.
Great faces, shitty places.
Bless their brave hearts. Happy Birthday, Marines.
Semper Fi.

From me and Major Dad.

(Loading up for DESERT SHIELD, MCAS El Toro, 1990)
Please consider joining us in sending cheer to one of our in-country Marines.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 07:57 AM | Comments (24)

November 02, 2005

We Are So Proud of Him, Our Marine

We had to let him know. Had to make sure his family knew what his life and their God awful sacrifice meant. Little knots of us ~ five, ten, fifteen strong ~ lined the miles from the funeral home to the gates of NAS Pensacola. So many strangers, all with the same aching heart. The strangers with red eyed, tear streaked faces who nodded at us through car windows, tissues pressed to their mouths, as the miles long procession rolled quietly on by.

Strangers on street corners and sidewalks. I met Frances, who helped me hold my ratty flag. She was there on her birthday with her very gentlemanly husband. Their son Gary, a Vietnam Marine, rode the one motorcycle in the unending line of cars; the Marine Corps flag flying proudly from his handlebars. There was the dad who made sure his son was with him, complete with red, white and blue bandana flags. "It's hard to find little flags this time of year", he said. "We had these bandanas..." I thought they were perfect.

And then the escort appeared. Flags went up, backs stood tall and straight, hats came off and hands went on hearts. On all those aching hearts. By God, we're proud of you, son. All of us just wanted you to know.
On eagle's wings, sweet boy. Semper Fi, Marine.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 04:00 PM | Comments (7)

November 01, 2005

Plan Away, Boys

Why does this particular headline aggrevate my acid reflux?

US steps up planning for a Cuba without Castro

Because this particular bunch of knot-head neo-cons couldn't plan a Bar Mitzvah, that's why. And when someone has a plan that tries to cover all the bases, it's "too negative". Like who? Anthony Zinni, for one.

"But how to square away this attitude with invading Iraq? Assume away the need for nation building. Again, White explains: "We had this mind-set that it would be a relatively straightforward, managable task, because this would be a war of liberation, and therefore reconstruction would be short-lived." Rumsfeld's spokesman, Larry Di Rita, went to Kuwait in 2003 and told the American offcials there that the State department had messed up Bosnia and Kosovo and that the Bush administration intended to hand over power to the Iraqis and leave within three months.

So the Army's original battle plan for 500,000 troops got whittled down to 160,000. If General Tommy Franks "hadn't offered some resistance, the number would have dropped well below 100,000," Packer says. At one point, Franks' predecessor, Anthony Zinni, inquired into the status of "DESERT CROSSING*", his elaborate postwar plan that covered the sealing of borders, securing of weapons sites, provision of order and so on. He was told that it had been discarded because its assumptions were "too negative." - Fareed Zakaria reviewing The Assassins' Gate by George Packer, Sunday NYT Book Review.

*More on Desert Crossing below

General Zinni asked himself what would happen if Iraq suddenly collapsed. Who would pick up the pieces and help rebuild the country? To examine these questions, Zinni sponsored a war game called “Desert Crossing” in late 1999, with a wide range of government agencies and representatives. In his words, “The scenarios looked closely at humanitarian, security, political, economic, and other reconstruction issues. We looked at food, clean water, electricity, refugees, Shia versus Sunnis, Kurds versus other Iraqis, Turks versus Kurds, and the power vacuum that would surely follow the collapse of the regime (since Saddam had pretty successfully eliminated any local opposition). We looked at all the problems the United States faces in 2003 trying to rebuild Iraq. And when it was over, I was starting to get a good sense of their enormous scope and to recognize how massive the reconstruction would be.”


So at Central Command before I left -- I retired in 2000 -- I started a plan called Desert Crossing for the reconstruction of Iraq because I was convinced nobody in Washington was going to plan for it, and we, the military, would get stuck with it. So when I left in 2000, we were in the process of that planning. When it looked like we were going in, I called back down to Centcom and said, "You need to dust off Desert Crossing."

They said, "What's that? Never heard of it." So in a matter of just a few years, it was gone. The institutional memory had lapsed completely.

In February [2003], the month before the war, I was called before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to testify on this, and the panel before me was the planner for the State Department and the planner for the Pentagon. And they were briefing their so-called plan. It was clear to me that there was no plan. The current government was way underestimating what they were getting into. That they had done virtually no planning.

Why didn't they do it? They naively misjudged the scope and the complexity of the problems they were going to have. They thought they could do it seat of the pants.

He was right about the military getting stuck with it and getting it stuck to them.
Forget the Bar Mitzvah. At this point I think they couldn't plan themselves out of a paper bag.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 09:36 AM | Comments (1)

October 30, 2005

Semper Fi, Sweet Boy

Jonathon came home yesterday.

Officially, he is the 2,000th U.S. military death in Iraq and the first killed from Escambia or Santa Rosa counties, according to a Department of Defense casualty listing.

They'll bury him Wednesday at Barrancas National Cemetary.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 10:26 AM | Comments (2)

October 27, 2005

Not Much has Changed, These 90 Years

I have only two men out of my company and 20 out of some other company. We need support, but it is almost suicide to try to get it here as we are swept by machine gun fire and a constant barrage is on us. I have no one on my left and only a few on my right. I will hold.
1stLt. Clifton B. Cates, USMC
in Belleau Wood, 19 July 1918

Posted by tree hugging sister at 01:35 PM | Comments (3)

October 26, 2005

God Bless His Brave, Jarhead Heart

We've lost our first local kid. His name was Jonathon. LCpl Spears, to the Marines. He'd had to work awful hard to lose 60 pounds of high school offensive lineman's bulk so he could be a Marine. He was seven weeks into his second tour.

All our deepest, heartfelt sympathies and most sincere gratitude to his family. Thank you for your son.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 08:58 AM | Comments (6)

October 13, 2005

"I Think They Didn't Want Anything to Go Wrong, Perhaps,

... So They Only Did the Easy Parts"
A bold, plain spoken, widely admired Marine of my aquaintance, who was instrumental in the introduction and stand-up phase of the Osprey, was once queried at a party by exhuberant Bell executives about how he liked their 'program'. He told them...
"It's a train wreck."
...which blew every chance we had of EVER living in a Dallas McMansion when he retired, BUT I was SO proud of him (::My Hero::). The look on their corporate faces was PRICELESS. In shock. To this day, Bell and the hierarchy aren't trying very hard to prove him wrong.
By almost every objective measurement, the aircraft -- a Marine Corps MV-22 Block A model -- performed significantly better than in the last round of operational testing in 1999-2000.

But the report notes that little realistic testing was done at night and in severely dusty environments, and it expressed continued concern about the aircraft's ability to conduct aggressive defensive maneuvers. Critics argue that the aircraft can become unstable if pilots have to maneuver sharply out of certain situations.

In tests against simulated enemy defenses, the report states, "pilots noted that the current flight restrictions on aircraft maneuvering in airplane mode...restricted the aircraft's ability to perform defensive maneuvers." More testing is needed "in realistic tactical approaches to landing zones in high threat areas," the report added.

Not being able to get the hell out of Dodge when they're shooting at you could be considered a BAD thing, given what Marines do for a living. There's more. The article, in it's entirety, is in the extended section.

October 12, 2005

Is V-22 Ready For Takeoff?

Questions on combat readiness remain despite Pentagon approval

By Bob Cox, Star-Telegram Staff Writer

When senior Pentagon officials approved plans to increase production of Bell Helicopter's V-22 Osprey two weeks ago, the decision was based in part on the final report of operational testing.

But the 44-page report was not an unqualified endorsement. In careful language, it acknowledges that some key questions about the V-22's capability to perform in combat and real-world military situations weren't adequately answered during the tests.

A Marine Corps version of the aircraft was effective in "assault support missions in low and medium-threat environments," the report states. Marine test crews "accomplished all required missions within the test limitations encountered."

Bob Leder, a Bell spokesman, said that the report shows the V-22 performed well and that Marine pilots and ground crews "were very enthusiastic about the aircraft." Military officials also said they will continue to work with Bell and its partner, Boeing, to expand the V-22's capabilities.

By almost every objective measurement, the aircraft -- a Marine Corps MV-22 Block A model -- performed significantly better than in the last round of operational testing in 1999-2000.

But the report notes that little realistic testing was done at night and in severely dusty environments, and it expressed continued concern about the aircraft's ability to conduct aggressive defensive maneuvers. Critics argue that the aircraft can become unstable if pilots have to maneuver sharply out of certain situations.

In tests against simulated enemy defenses, the report states, "pilots noted that the current flight restrictions on aircraft maneuvering in airplane mode...restricted the aircraft's ability to perform defensive maneuvers." More testing is needed "in realistic tactical approaches to landing zones in high threat areas," the report added.

Philip Coyle, former chief weapons tester at the Pentagon, said the new report indicates
"the V-22 still hasn't been proven for combat."

The report language indicates that the Marine test squadron couldn't perform numerous missions or carefully worked around some requirements, Coyle said.

"I think they didn't want anything to go wrong, perhaps, so they only did the easy parts," he said.

In September 2004, the Star-Telegram reported that officials overseeing the V-22 program had previously refused to perform some specific hard maneuvers requested by the testing office for fear of severely damaging the aircraft's rotors.

Leder, the Bell spokesman said the company continues to work on improving the aircraft.

"There are always issues," he said. "It's an enormously complex system. There's always something we can do to make it better, and we're doing that."

One defense industry analyst said defense officials viewed the report, which wasn't released to the public until after the decision to approve increased production, as the final link in an unbroken chain of successful tests since the program was grounded in December 2000 after two fatal crashes.

"All of the concerns about the technology have pretty well been resolved," said Loren Thompson of the Lexington Institute, a consultant to defense contractors.

Although Thompson says the price of the aircraft, about $72 million each, is still too high, he expects the V-22 will be widely adopted by the U.S. and foreign military services, and that would bring down the price.

"The Marine Corps' determination to field the aircraft will lead to it being used for other things," Thompson said, adding that he expects the Navy, the Air Force and even the National Guard to end up flying the V-22.

Bell and the Boeing Co.'s helicopter division in Ridley Park, Pa., jointly developed and produce the V-22. Bell builds components for the aircraft in Fort Worth and assembles the aircraft in Amarillo.

The testing report contains data on how far, how fast and how well the Osprey flew in performing various missions. All comparisons are made with the Marines' Vietnam-era CH-46 helicopters, rather than more modern helicopters, which critics say can perform most of the same missions as well as the Osprey at a far lower cost.

The MV-22 is the Marines' version of the Osprey. The Block A model consists of about 35 aircraft built, or rebuilt, since 2001 and contains many safety and performance improvements mandated by the Pentagon after the aircraft's poor showing in earlier tests.

A Block B version, containing more improvements, will be built for active-duty Marine squadrons. Bell will deliver the first Block B aircraft by the end of the year.

An Air Force version, the CV-22, is being developed and tested for special-operations forces. It won't be put through operational testing until 2007.

The report indicates that the Block B version, which is supposed to have a machine gun installed and other weight-adding improvements, might not be able to fly as far with a full load of troops and fuel as the test aircraft but should still exceed the minimum performance requirements.

Coyle said the report's language reflects the tension between the testing office and the military, and sometimes among members of the test team itself. The testing office and the military contract with a quasi-independent agency, the Institute for Defense Analysis, for technical analysis and guidance. There have historically been strong disagreements between the weapons testing experts and the military over the conduct and outcomes of tests.

A spokesman with the Navy's V-22 program office, which supervises development of the aircraft, said the operational testing is designed to measure specific performance requirements, not to answer every question.

The Navy and Marines will continue to work with Bell and Boeing to improve the V-22, said James Darcy, the Navy spokesman. "A lot of the follow-on testing for this aircraft you will see will be aimed at expanding the capabilities," Darcy said.

Findings of V-22 operational tests

The V-22 demonstrated significant speed and range advantage over the 1960s-era helicopters it will replace.

Flight crews were able to perform all missions while remaining outside the danger zone posed by vortex ring state, an aerodynamic condition that can cause pilots to lose control.

The redesigned hydraulics system is safe.

There was limited testing at night and in "severe brownout" conditions.

Flight limitations in airplane mode limit the aircraft's ability to perform defensive maneuvers.

Further testing is needed to expand the flight envelope in helicopter mode to allow more extreme helicopter-style maneuvering in a high-threat environment.

The flight deck of an amphibious ship temporarily buckled when V-22 was idling on deck for 20 minutes.

Emergency landings after loss of both engines are "not likely to be survivable."

SOURCE: Director, Operational Test and Evaluation report on V-22 Osprey Program

Posted by tree hugging sister at 11:07 AM | Comments (3)

October 11, 2005

Apocalypse Now?

Schmaybe. In any event, Ebola's not allowed to fly one.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 01:19 PM | Comments (28)

October 04, 2005

I Can't Answer That

What about the media's portrayal of the enemy? Why do these ruthless murderers, kidnappers and thieves get a pass when it comes to their actions? What did the the media show or tell us about Margaret Hassoon, the director of C.A.R.E. in Iraq and an Iraqi citizen, who was kidnapped, brutally tortured and left disemboweled on a street in Fallujah? Did anyone in the press show these images over and over to emphasize the moral failings of the enemy as they did with the soldiers at Abu Ghuraib?
I wish I could. I hope there are more people like the good LTC, who write about the good things they see all around them.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 06:04 PM

October 03, 2005


Lt. Smash has the Code Pink protestors cornered.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 08:56 AM | Comments (6)

"When Last We Saw Our Heroine"

...or "Sink Her Already, Part IV". I'm referring to (of course) the Oriskany. Again.

Why is she in the news again? Check your wallets, people.

This time last year, Navy officials had hoped to scuttle the aircraft carrier Oriskany 22½ miles southeast of Pensacola Pass as the world's largest artificial reef project.

Congress had committed $2.8 million to turn the 888-foot flattop used in the Korean and Vietnam wars into an international fishing and diving destination, the pilot project for a new program to cheaply dispose of decommissioned vessels to the benefit of coastal communities throughout the country.

Twelve months later, the Navy has spent $12.73 million, more than 4½ times the original budget. The bill is growing, and there still are no guarantees the costly efforts will come to fruition.

As one sage local points out:
"With all the money we've sunk into this thing, we probably could have built three replicas out of clean steel. It might be funny if there weren't so much money involved."

While Admiral Fetterman, the mover and shaker behind all things Bangla-cola...
said he has pleaded with officials for months to "just sink the thing and be done with it."

A beautiful sentiment. If they can't manage that, let's go with an adjustment of Bingley's original suggestion. Retro-fit this floating city for low cost housing ~ for Katrina evacuees. They've got docks in New Orleans, so you only have to tow it a third as far. The folks get a safe, temporary roof over their heads, a deck for community dances/parties but they're home. FEMA's spent all that money on ice, the Navy's dumped all that cash into this scow ~ let's make it work for everyone's benefit. I mean, dang, that's no wackier than "a complex theoretical computer simulation called a prospective risk assessment model that would gauge the impact of PCBs and other toxins on the environment...So far, the model has cost $3.25 million and has yet to be approved." I mean, is it? Whatever. We're sick of the damn thing.

Locally, enthusiasm for what promises to be a world-class addition to Pensacola's tourist attractions has soured.

"I really don't have any clue why this group of environmentalists working for the government went completely nuts," said Edwin Roberts Jr., a Pensacola chiropractor and past president of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, who helped Florida win the bid for the Oriskany.

"I'm completely at a loss. There have been big ships sunk all over the world and there's never been a recorded problem. It is good to be sure that we're not doing any harm to the environment with a program like this, but I think we've gone way beyond that.

"We've overdone the due diligence. I think we've stomped on a dead horse too many times."

What the man said.

"The Road to Hell is Paved With Good Intentions, So SINK HER Already!" archive.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 08:22 AM | Comments (7)

September 26, 2005

A Marine's Message To The "Minute Men"

Swill Salute to the wondrous Florida Cracker, who doesn't like ragout.

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 09:06 AM | Comments (4)

September 12, 2005

Major Dad Sends

The French Have Landed
In Pensacola,
with a C-130 crew and have been flying their derrieres off in the relief effort.
Merci beaucoups, mon freres!

Posted by tree hugging sister at 11:40 AM | Comments (4)

September 09, 2005

A BRAC Smack

I realize there are painful decisions to be made and that copious caterwauling will ensue when the fickle finger of fate points at your base. For instance; when they closed MCAS El Toro and MCAS Tustin. Beyond the historic significance of the bases, we'd spent so much combined time there (Lt. Grinch mid 50's, Major Dad/SSgt THS '80-'92), it seemed the orange grove perfume smothering a hot, pre-dawn flightline would forever coat our lungs. Sadly not. In a masterful bit of offensive maneuvering, the Marine Corps offered up it's two jewels of the West. They knew a sacrifice somewhere would be called for and chose to name the poison themselves, rather than let the commission pick them to pieces. We ~ all Aviation Marines far and wide ~ were outraged, spewing venom and threats and tears. But, once the noise died down, we were philosophic and resigned. (Also, to be honest, secretly delighted.*) We've watched BRACs come and go since, sometimes thinking 'yeah, I always wondered why they needed 8 of those' or scratching our head in bemusement at the commission of the day's reasoning. NAS Pensacola has been targeted for one of those head scratchers this go 'round. Remember Navy OCS in 'Officer and a Gentleman'? That's been in balmy Pensacola for some years now. I mean, the candidates are outside marching, running, formations, inspections; you know, you all saw the movie. They spend a good part of their day outside. In their wisdom, this year's BRAC has seen a need to move OCS out of Pensacola. WHICH we could handle under normal circumstances. But they've chosen to move it to:

Rhode Island.


*Nobody told me there was an AIRPORT here!
For years the encroachment around the base had rendered flight ops more and more difficult. There had to be weeks worth of notices in the paper if night carrier practices were to be held. God help the pilot who touched down 2 seconds after the posted 1 a.m. ( or whatever) landing time. Even during the day "ACK! He was SO LOW he took my expensive custom terra cotta roof tiles off!" The phones on base would light up, invective would take over the airwaves and letters to the editor pages...gads. Ridiculous stuff. Blahblahblah. (So BAD, in fact, that I once had to keep Major Dad from questioning/crushing the manhood of a fellow diner whose wife, noting the distinctive Jarhead coif, proceeded to hold forth in a LOUD MANNER about the nasty helicopters and who needed them and why were Marines in ritzy Orange County anyway and, anyway, who needed THEM...you get it. Her husband spent the evening ineffectually asking her to lower the tone, trying to distract her with breadsticks. She would just keep glancing over to make sure Major Dad was getting the whole thing. He was. A lovely shade of purple told me so.)

Anyway, that was the general state of affairs as the Marine Corps said hasta la vista to Orange County. The same Orange County who desperately needed another international airport to lessen the impact on overwhelmed John Wayne International. It struck us that the most wonderful outcome possible ~ the most fitting payback for years of harrassment ~ from the crushing blow of losing our home ~ would be for that very thing to come about. El Toro International. A fervent wish for all the pissy anti-Marine-Corps-and-their-3-jets-at-night-once-every-6- weeks yuppie monkeys, with all their pretensions, to have to deal with the Continental 3 a.m. from Bangkok, the AirLanka 1:30 a.m. from Columbo, the Delta 2:35 from Paris, etc and so forth, and 10 minutes apart. On approach.





If there's a God, that'll happen. And how sweet it will be.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 10:51 AM | Comments (9)

September 08, 2005

Note: to Sh$thole Iraqi Border Towns

Major Dad says you're fixin' to get whacked.

Pity, that.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 10:21 PM

September 01, 2005

Pensacola is Set to Get Humming

Helicopters from both coasts, helo carriers and support/hospital ships, support personnel, evacuated military families from Pascagoula and the smaller installations scattered all along the Gulf and air ops commence 24/7 0700 tomorrow. I wish the folks down the road could know what's coming together for them. They could hang on and hang in, knowing we're coming. Because we ARE. It will be an amazing, motivating, awe-inspiring display of American can-do and we here are privileged to be ground zero for the Navy/Marine Corps relief effort.

DAMN! It's great to be able to do something.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 05:32 PM | Comments (10)

August 21, 2005



San Francisco Shuns Retired USS Iowa

The USS Iowa joined in battles from World War II to Korea to the Persian Gulf. It carried President Franklin Roosevelt home from the Teheran conference of allied leaders, and four decades later, suffered one of the nation's most deadly military accidents.

Veterans groups and history buffs had hoped that tourists in San Francisco could walk the same teak decks where sailors dodged Japanese machine-gun fire and fired 16-inch guns that helped win battles across the South Pacific...

...Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., a former San Francisco mayor, helped secure $3 million to tow the Iowa from Rhode Island to the Bay Area in 2001 in hopes of making touristy Fisherman's Wharf its new home.

But city supervisors voted 8-3 last month to oppose taking in the ship, citing local opposition to the Iraq war and the military's stance on gays, among other things...

If I remember correctly, the Iowa is a big part of the reason San Franciscans still speak English (Or whatever language that is they speak on the Planet SF.), instead of Japanese.

...Officials in Stockton couldn't be happier. They've offered a dock on the river, a 90,000-square-foot waterfront building and a parking area, and hope to attract at least 125,000 annual visitors...

...San Francisco's rejection of such a storied battleship is a slap in the nation's face, said Douglass Wilhoit, head of Stockton's Chamber of Commerce.

"We're lucky our men and women have sacrificed their lives ... to protect our freedom," Wilhoit said. "Wherever you stand on the war in Iraq ... you shouldn't make a decision based on philosophy."

What he said.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 10:47 AM | Comments (9)

August 19, 2005

"Who Speaks For Casey Sheehan?"

Casey Sheehan's deeds were heroic. By laying down his life for this nation, he delivered the kind of message that is written in blood, that lives forever. Why on Earth would a loving mother choose to refocus the nation's attention onto her words and away from his deeds?

And what was Casey Sheehan's message? It had nothing to do with President Bush. It didn't even have to do with the war, necessarily. It said something much simpler: "I love my country."

Please read the whole thing.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 02:50 PM | Comments (4)

August 18, 2005

Sometimes Winning Hearts and Minds...

...can ask the impossible of our troops. And they get the job done.

BAGHDAD, Iraq - Alpha Company's motto is "Speed. Shock. Power. Violence. Attack." But it also might read "People skills" or "Interpersonal relations."

Those are the tactics that the company's commander, Capt. Ike Sallee, uses to keep the peace in the southern Baghdad neighborhoods that Alpha Company patrols...

...Then Sallee's men took a photo of Hussain. And they took some photos of themselves posing with the Iraqi commandos. One of the commandos offered to hold the hand of Sallee's driver, a custom among Iraqi men.

"I'm not holding his hand," the soldier said.

"C'mon," Sallee said. "He's hot. He's hot."

Posted by tree hugging sister at 08:46 AM

August 15, 2005


We're all family.

Father of fallen Marine attends homecoming
CAMP LEJEUNE, North Carolina (AP) -- John Prazynski stood in the sea of welcome home signs and wondered why he was there.

Prazynski's son, Lance Cpl. Taylor Prazynski, wasn't going to be among the 900 Marines from the 3rd Battalion who arrived home Sunday. Taylor Prazynski, 20, was killed May 9 from an insurgent mortar shell...

...As late as last week, Prazynski was thinking about staying home so as not to turn a happy occasion somber for the other Marines and their families. But Taylor Prazynski's company commander had called and told him that he should be there...

...A woman whose son is in Lima Company ran up to him.

"They're here," she said. "They're here."

He followed her into the middle of the crowd where a half-dozen Marines were hugging family members. He waited, and then someone told the Marines who he was. One after another, they stepped forward to embrace him.

"Your son lifted us," said Taylor Prazynski's squad leader, Sgt. Craig Corsi. "He was an awesome, awesome Marine."

Prazynski's soft voice faded with emotion.

"I appreciate you guys, and what you did."

But who are we going to see on the news tonight?

Posted by tree hugging sister at 01:29 PM | Comments (5)

August 14, 2005

There Have been An Awful Lot of Tears...

...comforting others since 9/11, bless his heart. He's made time to meet more people privately, give more hugs and heartfelt wishes, than any President ever I'm sure, wartime or not. To a one ~ even in Cindy Sheehan's original version ~ they come away speaking of his compassion and amazing focus on them and their loved one. "Tell me about them", he asks. And they do.

'I'm So Sorry'
In emotional private meetings with the families of soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, President Bush offers solace—and seeks some of his own.
Aug. 22, 2005 issue - The grieving room was arranged like a doctor's office. The families and loved ones of 33 soldiers killed in Iraq or Afghanistan were summoned to a large waiting area at Fort Bragg, N.C. For three hours, they were rotated through five private rooms, where they met with President George W. Bush, accompanied by two Secret Service men and a photographer. Because the walls were thin, the families awaiting their turn could hear the crying inside.

President Bush was wearing "a huge smile," but his eyes were red and he looked drained by the time he got to the last widow, Crystal Owen, a third-grade schoolteacher who had lost her husband in Iraq. "Tell me about Mike," he said immediately. "I don't want my husband's death to be in vain," she told him. The president apologized repeatedly for her husband's death. When Owen began to cry, Bush grabbed her hands. "Don't worry, don't worry," he said, though his choking voice suggested that he had worries of his own. The president and the widow hugged. "It felt like he could have been my dad," Owen recalled to NEWSWEEK. "It was like we were old friends. It almost makes me sad. In a way, I wish he weren't the president, just so I could talk to him all the time."...

...Before Bush left the meeting, he paused in the middle of the room and said to the families, "I will never feel the same level of pain and loss you do. I didn't lose anyone close to me, a member of my family or someone that I love. But I want you to know that I didn't go into this lightly. This was a decision that I struggle with every day."

As he spoke, Ascione could see the grief rising through the president's body. His shoulder slumped and his face turned ashen. He began to cry and his voice choked. He paused, tried to regain his composure and looked around the room. "I am sorry, I'm so sorry," he said.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 06:04 PM | Comments (2)

August 12, 2005

This Is Getting Revolting

"Cindy Sheehan has become the Rosa Parks of the anti-war movement," said Rev. Lennox Yearwood, leader of the Hip Hop Caucus, an activist group. "She's tired, fed up and she's not going to take it anymore, and so now we stand with her."
Um, or NOT. And when she explained away the dust-up with her in-laws concerning her camp out and 15 minutes of fame thusly...
"When they voted for the man who my husband and I consider killed our son, that was the thing that was the last straw,"...
...I wondered if that was really what her husband thought, since...
Casey's father, Patrick, of Vacaville, was not mentioned. He has acknowledged that he and his wife are separated, but he has avoided the spotlight that surrounds his wife's high-profile protest.
Regardless of his feelings for her, I think he owes it to his son's memory to say where he stands. He didn't ask for this three ring circus, but it's in his lap now with her using his name. Speak your piece either way, Dad.

At least the article mentions that "demonstrators there are facing increased antagonism from locals and opposition from some military families." I guess that makes it more well-balanced than most. Via Tim Blair, a difference of opinion from someone who met the President at the same time Mrs. Sheehan did.

As for me personally, I think she's a grief stricken mother whose anguish has taken on a life of it own. She has a right to speak and believe whatever she wishes. (As I also know mine well might, God forbid anything ever happened to my son.) What I can't abide are comments like the first one above, hitching their wagons to tragedy for face time on TV.
UPDATE: Mohammed at Iraq The Model attempts to answer Cindy Sheehan's questions. I think he succeeds brilliantly, but I'm afraid such a poignant message is wasted on the media creature her grief has become. These are the last few paragraphs. Click through and read the whole, beautiful tribute.

But I am not leaving this land because the bad guys are not going to leave us or you to live in peace. They are the same ones who flew the planes to kill your people in New York.
I ask you in the name of God or whatever you believe in; do not waste your son's blood.
We here have decided to avenge humanity, you and all the women who lost their loved ones.
Take a look at our enemy Cindy, look closely at the hooded man holding the sword and if you think he's right then I will back off and support your call.

We live in pain and grief everyday, every hour, every minute; all the horrors of the powers of darkness have been directed at us and I don't know exactly when am I going to feel safe again, maybe in a year, maybe two or even ten; I frankly don't know but I don't want to lose hope and faith.

We are in need for every hand that can offer some help. Please pray for us, I know that God listens to mothers' prayers and I call all the women on earth to pray with you for peace in this world.

Your son sacrificed his life for a very noble cause…No, he sacrificed himself for the most precious value in this existence; that is freedom.

His blood didn't go in vain; your son and our brethren are drawing a great example of selflessness.
God bless his free soul and God bless the souls of his comrades who are fighting evil.
God bless the souls of Iraqis who suffered and died for the sake of freedom.
God bless all the freedom lovers on earth.

A Swill Salute to Mike's America.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 02:47 PM | Comments (5)

This Is Awful...

...and it hits little towns hard.

Death toll for part-time troops in Iraq soars

Summer months prove deadly for Reserves and National Guard
The National Guard and Reserve suffered more combat deaths in Iraq during the first 10 days of August — at least 32, according to a Pentagon count — than in any full month of the entire war.

Stupid suggestions, even as you discount them, don't help.
There is little evidence to suggest that part-time troops are being specifically targeted by the insurgents, since the Guard and Reserve troops are mostly indistinguishable from — and interchangeable with — regular active-duty troops.

The reason that reserve units are kept together (and hometowns pay a heavy price when terrible things happen) is hard lessons learned during conflicts where reserve units were called up, but their personnel used as individual replacements in units already in country. Both units' cohesion and combat readiness suffered horribly. And people died because of it. Then there's Korea, where the toll on reservists makes Iraq pale in comparison.

Korea was the first example of reservists paying the price for an extreme military drawdown. The parallels to the 90's are inescapable. But if today's drilling reservists are 'shortchanged', as the article quotes:

Some see it differently. Michael O’Hanlon, a military analyst with the Brookings Institution think tank, said Thursday that while the performance of reservists has been generally excellent, some are shortchanged on training prior to arriving in Iraq.

“If we really believe that military personnel need months of intensive training before being at their best — as logic suggests and other evidence would seem to prove — it is hard to believe that most reservists in Iraq are really as strong as active-duty troops, especially when they first arrive in country,” O’Hanlon said.

...imagine how the Army INACTIVE reserves felt when they got bundled off to Korea...first.
Unlike World War II, the Army did not strip men from organized units as replacements or fillers for other units. They needed time to build up to a wartime footing, as did the active Army. There was also a hesitancy to commit them to Korea when the Korean conflict might only be the start of a global communist attack. This meant that the Inactive Reserves, those who had neither been drilling nor been given drill pay, were sent to Korea first.

There was considerable bitterness among the Inactive Reserves about the inequity of this situation. These were the same men who had won World War II, who had somehow managed to survive Kasserine Pass, Anzio, Peleliu, the Huertgen Forest, Guam and Okinawa, and who had come home to start new lives and new families. They had already saved the world once, now they were being asked to go save a part of the world most had never heard about before June 25, 1950. Not only were they being sent to war before their fellow soldiers in ORC units, there were still millions of men available for military service going about their normal lives.

The National Guard found it's way there, too, but without as much emphasis on unit integrity.

The mobilization of the Army National Guard for Korean War service occurred in 19 separate increments, with units reporting for active duty between Aug. 14, 1950, and Feb. 15, 1952. It included eight infantry divisions, three regimental combat teams, and 714 company-sized units.

The 138,600 personnel federalized with their units represented about one third of the Army National Guard's total strength. Many guardsmen went to Korea not with their units, but as individual replacements for units already in theater.

The worst part is, they got to stick around...
The sweeping back-and-forth drama of the first year's fighting in Korea was over, and the two National Guard divisions found themselves in a different kind of combat environment. As formal peace talks began in November 1951, U.N. and communist forces had settled themselves on either side of the 38th parallel. The National Guard divisions joined in a static warfare of entrenched positions and frequent combat patrols, punctuated by small-unit actions initiated by both sides.

Combat operations intensified once again in the spring of 1953, as both sides jockeyed for territory before a final border settlement. Both the 40th and 45th Infantry Divisions were still occupying their positions when the signing of an armistice at Panmunjon finally ended the fighting on July 27, 1953.

By this time, Army guardsmen who had arrived in South Korea during 1951 and early 1952 had returned home, their term of active federal service completed. But most National Guard units, now filled with draftees and enlistees, remained on active duty. Some stayed in Korea for several years, helping to monitor the fragile peace, but by 1955 almost all of the units federalized for the Korean War had been returned to state control.

In 1990, the Marine Corps addressed the importance of keeping reserve units intact:
Since the Korean Conflict the readiness of the Selected Marine Corps Reserve units has greatly improved. They have been formed into a division, wing, and force service support team; their equipment has been modernized; and they frequently train with their active duty counterparts. These improvements have increased the capability of both components to fight side by side in combat. Mobilization plans bring Reserve units to their station of initial assignment intact, but leave the decision of maintaining unit integrity up to the gaining commander in order to allow for flexibility.

The human dimension of war must always be a central concern to those
who plan the employment of any unit, as war is a clash between opposing human wills. The will to prevail is fostered by cohesive, well-led units. An important characteristic of most Reserve units is their cohesiveness. Continuity and shared regional origin encourage strong personal relation-ships amongst Reserve unit members which helps them develop the trust and confidence needed to fight effectively and deal with the psychological stress of combat.

RECOMMENDATION: The Marine Corps should provide guidance in its
mobilization plans which encourages commanders to weigh the combat
payoff of cohesiveness when making decisions on whether to maintain the unit integrity of Reserve units.

CONCLUSION: As the Marine Corps faces a reduction of its Active forces, the role of Reserve units as a partner in the defense of our national security becomes even more important. The most effective use of these units should be sought.


Thesis statement: The Marine Corps should incorporate guidance into its mobilization plans which emphasizes the importance of employing Selected Marine Corps Reserve forces as units in order to gain their most effective use in future wars.

Your heart bleeds at the pictures of the funerals and can't fathom the anguish the families have to endure. But on the other hand, they endure it together. They were all their boys and girls. They belonged to the community. And if they hadn't all known each other so well, known what the guy next to them would do and fight like a madman for their brother, there might well be more dead. That's why they keep them together. A terrorist bomb doesn't discriminate between children at a birthday party, men at a mosque or ask whether a truckload of Marines are reservists or active duty. It's on the news every night. Someone sets it off and it just kills.

Daniel Henniger wrote about the service for the Ohio Marines today. He begins with...

BROOK PARK, Ohio--Over the weekend of Aug. 6, a steady line of cars and motorcycles pulled off Smith Road here to visit the fence that stands in front of the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Center. The small brick building beyond the fence is the headquarters for Third Battalion, 25th Regiment--"the 325th." The fence had become a spontaneous memorial tribute to 19 Marines from the 325th, most of them from Ohio, who were killed near the Euphrates River in western Iraq last week. Across the weekend, planes were landing with the returning bodies at Hopkins Airport in Cleveland.

The politics of the Iraq war wasn't much on view amid the memorial fence's American flags, flowers, football jerseys, photographs, poems and Marine memorabilia. But someone had decided to put down on the ground an article published just three weeks ago in the News-Herald, a nearby newspaper. "All I can ask," wrote Marine Cpl. Jacob Arnett, who is still on duty in Iraq, "is that the American people be given more than the bombings and daily death toll, because we are giving much more than that for Iraq."

His beautiful piece finishes with...

In recent years, the outward expression of tragic sorrow in America has manifest itself as tears and inconsolable grief. We have become a people of extreme sentiment. But not that night in Brook Park. The grief at this too localized loss for Ohio was real enough, especially for the families, but the theme at the IX Center, and at the Marines' memorial fence, had two parts: pride and, most of all, gratitude. Both the memorial-fence poets and some of the speakers in the big hall drew a straight line between the Marines' service and sacrifice in Iraq and the way we are able to live back home. "For more than 200 years," said Brook Park Mayor Mark J. Elliott, "Americans have put their lives on the line to protect our freedom." Someone said the Pledge of Allegiance, which in this version was "under God." They listened to some other speeches by public figures, played "Taps" and walked out.

I don't think what I saw in Brook Park adds up to a people who are for or against this war. But I do think it reflects a deeper understanding at home than is evident in our politics, of what those 19 Marines were doing in Iraq.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 12:35 PM

August 11, 2005

Hello MOTO

Jason's post on Wolf Blitzer/Clueless News Network (at IraqNow) has given Major Dad and myself a good deal of merriment since we found it. A slice to savor:

That's right. The explosion flipped a 31-ton APC.

And what is Wolf Blitzer's argument? That the military didn't provide good vehicles in the Al Anbar Province. And that -- and I quote verbatim, -- "an up-armored Humvee would have stood a better chance."

Do the math. If the explosion flipped vehicle weight 31 tons (plus another ton and a half or so of marines and gear), then what are the survivability chances of a 4-ton uparmored Humvee?

I'll tell you:

Anything left of the Humvee would have been parked in Syria, dumbass.

Aw, Jesus, ya gotta love it! Anyway, being the Jarhead he is, Major Dad's been reading me pithy selections from the comments section. Last night, one in particular caught our fancy, especially since I spend the day listening to my GSM Motorola buzzing the 'puter speakers as signals come in. A regular Chatty Frickin' Cathy at all hours of the day. Now I see Michael Totten at The Blogfaddah has a cell phone thing going, so I thought I'd share the little gem we'd read. (I'd give him a link, but he commented annonymously):

For warfare against cellphone based threats, we have 3 choices. The first, is to do nothing, and let our men die. The second, fly over with the EA6B Prowler and radiate enough electromagnetic energy that the all civilian radios will be burned out. The third, do something similar with a microwave radiation source on a vehicle. The third, use the cell phone technology to our advantage: Improvise, Adapt, Overcome as Gunny Highway would say. Cell phones and the towers communicate to know which cell phone is in which cell. Put your cell phone next to your AM radio and every minute or so, you'll hear "clicka clicka clicka" and that is the phone and the cell tower exchanging communications and ID numbers. So, if the enemy is using cell phones, our forces should put up a "spoof" cell phone tower, and send out the message "all cell phones register now". This is done by your cell phone company anyway. Hackers do it also to steal phone numbers in the US. Then, have an automated dialer call every number that is there, at 3am. If you hear a boom, the bomb went off. And it might have gone off on the enemy's workbench. heh heh heh.....

Being neither rocket scientist nor engineer, I have no idea if this is feasible, but damn! it sounds like a good idea. I love the sound of BOOM !! in the morning!

Posted by tree hugging sister at 01:12 PM | Comments (1)

Well, I Guess We Know Bill Clinton Doesn't Work At Los Alamos

At least that's what I got from this headline:

Two Los Alamos Lab Workers Inhale Fumes

Seriously, Does Homer work there?

The nuclear weapons lab also is investigating a case in which an employee failed to follow procedures and allowed low levels of a radioactive material to contaminate locations he visited in two other states.


Posted by Mr. Bingley at 08:54 AM

August 08, 2005

Hmmm, 15 Years Ago Today?

I was an active duty Marine Corps Staff Sergeant, the NCOIC of COM/NAV in VMA(AW)242, and we were on a Marine Aircraft Group-70 det. to Fallon, NV. MAG-70 was a huge innovation at the time ~ Marine Aviation's component of the RDF (Rapid Deployment Force). The concept was simple ~ have certain elements of both ground and air tagged to be able to move a complete Marine Expeditionary Force into any situation anywhere as rapidly as possible, should the flag go up. We'd be first on the beach, the tip of the spear, as it were. Our squadron of A-6's was the attack element of the MAG and we were in Fallon to test how all the Marine Air parts ~ aircraft, supply, maintenance, support ~ came together. Everyone'd been out in the ville 'til the wee hours of the morning, so it was a bleary-eyed bunch wandering in at 0730. We woke up real fast.

At the maintenance meeting all the shop heads were there, but also quite a few of the big dogs. That was unusual. The XO spoke with deadly earnestness and we were riveted. Kuwait had been invaded and our 'war game' was now for real. Everyone was to be sent to the barracks, gear completely packed up and then back to the flightline by 0815 to get the planes launched and the squadron packed up. The aircraft would be leaving by 1000 for the return to El Toro and the maintenance troops would be on their heels with the first C-141's inbound. Myself and a small crew were remaining behind to repair a bird that had had an engine fire days before. It had to be in the air and on it's way home before twilight, since it wouldn't have been checked out in time for a safe night launch. All the assets had to get home to El Toro.

From 0900 on, it was the most amazing, magnificent, impressive and memorable day of my Marine Corps career. The second the word was passed that the flag had gone up, men and machinery fell into an otherworldly synch that defies description. The no-nonsense beauty of C-130's landing every 15 minutes like clockwork, picking up embark boxes or getting gassed up on their way to somewhere else to pick up somebody else. I had no idea there were that many C-130's in the whole Marine Corps! The F-18's taking off for home in glittering sections. Our Intruders lumbering down the long runway in the late Nevada morning, their wing tips almost brushing the ground with the weight of fuel and ordnance, wheels in the well delayed by the lack of lift in the shimmering heat. The Airforce KC-10's and C-141's touching down, only to turn around and take off again on their own priorities. An amazing symphony of confidence and competence. And I've never been so proud to be a part of something in my life.

Like the song says, "Ah, yes, I remember it well."
Thank you Trey.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 04:11 PM | Comments (5)

August 07, 2005

Video BY Marines, FOR Marines...

...and those who enjoy watching our magnificent troops. Okay, okay, so that's ALL our awesome Swillers, lucky us!!
So speakers up and oooo-RAH!!

Presenting India 3/1, in action in Fallujah.

A Swill Salute to our bud the Gateway Pundit and to Open Fire for hosting it.

(F@*k yeah!!)

Posted by tree hugging sister at 05:36 PM | Comments (1)

August 05, 2005

Once Hidden in Shame, Vietnam Medals Shine

As they should!

Four decades after divisive war, veterans reclaim honors — and pride

PROVIDENCE, R.I. - Still in his Army greens, William Tallerdy barely had both feet back on American soil when a man came up to him, demanding to know if he was returning from Vietnam. Then, right there in the airport, the heckler punched the veteran in the face.

Tallerdy exploded. The police and his relatives had to restrain him.

Soon after, he threw out his war ribbons. That was 1967.

“I was always proud of my military service,” said Tallerdy, who is now 57 and lives in Cheyenne, Wyo. “It was just that people made me feel like scum.”

Bless his heart! I would be hard pressed to name the greater injustice; the way their Government waged war or the way their fellow countrymen treated them on their return. John Kerry/Jane Fonda and their wannabes of the world have alot to answer for. And be ashamed of.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 11:48 AM

August 03, 2005

Semper Fi, My Brothers

14 Marines, interpreter killed in western Iraq
Deadly incident comes after Marine sniper teams ambushed in same town
21 gallant souls in a little more than 24 hours.
Bless you and thank you. May God hold your families close to Him and comfort their breaking hearts.
Now. We need to turn them loose to level that dunghole.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 10:15 AM | Comments (3)

July 26, 2005

Better Late Than Never, I Guess

MSNBC has just heard about PA's Lt. Gov. practising consolation therapy.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 11:44 AM

July 24, 2005

It's In The PA Paper, So It MUST Be True...Right?

Lord, I hope not. I don't see how anyone could be that offensive. And if it is, there are no words to describe the outrage.

Lt. gov. crashed Marine's funeral, kin say
The family of a Marine who was killed in Iraq is furious with Lt. Gov. Catherine Baker Knoll for showing up uninvited at his funeral this week, handing out her business card and then saying "our government" is against the war.

GTFO. I still can't believe it.
Swill Salute to Michelle Malkin.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 12:15 AM | Comments (7)

July 22, 2005

Oh Please, Buy Yourself a Ticket

'Raging Grannies' want to enlist, go to Iraq
Um, sure they do.
TUCSON, Arizona (AP) -- A group of anti-war senior citizens calling themselves the "Tucson Raging Grannies" say they want to enlist in the U.S. Army and go to Iraq so that their children and grandchildren can come home.

Five members of the group -- which is associated with the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom -- are due in court Monday to face trespassing charges after trying to enlist at a military recruitment center last week.

The group has protested every week for the last three years outside the recruitment center.

EVERY WEEK for three years?? Morons. The spokewoman for Tucson area Army recruiters had some sound advice...
...people who disagree with the war should be contacting their legislators instead of bothering recruiters.

"They need to direct their frustrations at people who have the power to change things*," Hutchinson said. "Recruiters don't make policy and they can't change policy. They have a job to do and they are following orders."

*Well, yes that's true. But you don't get to be in the paper or on CNN that way, either.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 04:59 PM | Comments (6)

July 21, 2005

The Devil's Foyer

Unbelieveable reporting by Michael Yon in Mosul. Go read it; all of it.

As the Blogfaddah says: "Really, this is war reporting of a caliber not often seen these days."

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 09:32 AM

July 20, 2005

More On China

They bear watching.

Pentagon warns of military threat from China
China could pose a future military threat to other Asian countries but its current ability to project power beyond its periphery was "limited", the Pentagon said on Tuesday.

In its long-awaited annual report on the Chinese military, the Pentagon concluded that China was increasing its efforts to prepare for a conflict over Taiwan, including taking longer-term measures to defend itself from other countries who could get involved in a conflict over Taiwan, which Beijing regards as a renegade province.

Of course, the report has been subject to some 'PC' tweaking...

The report has been the subject of intense bureaucratic infighting as anti-China concerns mount on Capitol Hill. The State Department and National Security Council opposed an initial Pentagon draft, which they believed painted an overly antagonistic picture by signalling that China could emerge as a "strategic rival" to the US.

The 'well, duh' quote?
The report also criticised China for the level of secrecy it maintains about its military strategy and expenditures.

"The outside world has little knowledge of Chinese motivations and decision-making and of key capabilities supporting PLA modernisation."

As for our going to bat for Taiwan...
Raising alarms for the US navy, the report concluded that China was developing the capability to slow, or even deter, US efforts to defend Taiwan in the case of a conflict.

"The US intelligence community also believes China will consider a sea-denial strategy to attempt to hold at risk US naval forces, including aircraft carriers and logistic forces, approaching the Taiwan Strait," it said.

Oh go ahead, what the hell. Sell them an oil company.
UPDATE: The Chinese have answered and they're pissed.
The assessment was a flagrant mischaracterisation of China's peaceful defence policy and reasonable military development, the ministry said in a statement. "This report ignores fact in order to do everything it can to disseminate the 'China threat theory'. It crudely interferes in China's internal affairs and is a provocation against China's relations with other countries."

Blah blah blah. Right.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 01:05 AM | Comments (3)

July 19, 2005

Oh God...

...have your speakers on at their bestest settings and hanky ready. I'm blubbering like a baby, bless their hearts.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 08:48 PM | Comments (2)

July 03, 2005

Not So Fast

Wise words from a subordinate at the Second Battle of Trenton.

That he would “bag the old fox” in the morning was the confident forecast of Cornwallis.

“If Washington is the General I take him to be, his army will not be found there in the morning,”was the cautious rejoinder of Sir William Erskine, Baronet, Colonel and aide-de-camp to the King.

It wasn't.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 11:33 PM | Comments (5)

142 Years Ago Today

Pickett's Charge.

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 05:10 PM

230 Years Ago Today

This guy
took command of the Continental Army.
Lucky stroke for us, huh?

Posted by tree hugging sister at 02:04 PM

June 23, 2005

Brilliance in Editorial Cartooning


Posted by tree hugging sister at 08:58 AM | Comments (9)

June 17, 2005

I'm Sorry Your Life Sucks There

But so does everyone else's, you piece of shit. At least you'll know what's coming at you. And I hope it makes you cry like a little girl.

The U.S. military charged a staff sergeant from the New York National Guard with murdering his two commanders at a base outside Baghdad, in what is believed to be the first case of an American soldier in Iraq accused of killing his superiors.

The military initially concluded that the June 7 deaths of Capt. Phillip T. Esposito, of Suffern, N.Y., and 1st Lt. Louis E. Allen, of Milford, Pa., were caused by a mortar round.

But this week the military charged Staff Sgt. Alberto B. Martinez of Troy, N.Y., with two counts of premeditated murder, according to a statement issued in Baghdad on Thursday.

Martinez, 37, is a supply specialist with the Headquarters Company of the 42nd Infantry Division, New York Army National Guard. Esposito, 30 and the father of a 1-year-old girl, was company commander and Allen, 34 and a father of four, was a company operations officer.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 11:39 AM | Comments (12)

June 15, 2005

'The Family Business'

In Newsweek this week and please read it, for the incredible families profiled. But Newsweek f*cks it up again, in all their sloppy magnificence. To wit:
There are wonderful sidebars in the print edition that aren't available online. One very un-Newsweek like example:

It's Just a Different Culture
CONTRARY TO THE IMPRESSION MADE BY MOVIEMAKER MICHAEL MOORE IN "Fahrenheit 9/11", congressmen do sometimes send their children to war. Three senators and six members of the House have children in uniform, and four of them have served in Iraq or Afghanistan. Maj. John Daniel Kline, son of Minnesota rep. John Kline, is slated to fly his attack helicopter in Iraq later this year with the 101st Airborne..."

Of course, the Moore-ons writing the sidebar, being Newsweek and all, don't fact check JACK. How can I hurl such an accusation? They speak of Maj. Kline's growing up an 'Army' brat and his dad's service in the ARMY from '69 to '94, Vietnam to Somalia. The problem? There's a picture of Maj. Kline and his dad, both in uniform and...Rep. Kline is a Colonel in the United States Marine Corps. Whoa Nelly!! What's this?? So I rocket my puddies to Google, find the good Rep.'s webpage to verify what my lyin' eyes have told me and...
Although this marks his first elected office, Congressman Kline is familiar with Washington, where he served as a military aide to Presidents Carter and Reagan for part of his twenty-five years in the United States Marine Corps. Mr. Kline’s responsibilities during this period included carrying the nuclear “football” – the package containing launch codes for a nuclear attack. He also advised our country’s senior civilian and military leadership, including the President. Throughout a military career from which he retired at the rank of Colonel, Mr. Kline served as a helicopter pilot in Vietnam, commanded all Marine aviation forces in Operation Restore Hope in Somalia, flew “Marine One,” the Presidential helicopter, and served as Program Development Officer at Headquarters Marine Corps.

JACKasses. I mean, how hard was that? Doesn't it click with one of the hundredandtwentysevenpairsofeyeballs associated with this article that one of 'these (uniform) things is not like the other'? (Especially since Marine Corps LtGen Conway has the same damn outfit on in his photo.) For God's sake, he even flew the President's helicopter! Pffft.

I'm so pissed, I could flush something.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 12:07 PM | Comments (7)

June 14, 2005

Today Was Flag Day

Goodnight. Sleep tight.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 11:24 PM | Comments (1)

Eight Months With The Marines

A beautiful, bittersweet Picture Story from MSNBC.com.

Swill Salute: Sgt. Grit's Marine BS for a wonderful message board full of all things Leatherneck!

Posted by tree hugging sister at 11:04 AM

June 06, 2005

Homeless Vets

The Watchful Babbler has a post up about the emergence of homeless GWOT vets. I certainly agree that we owe these folks a lot and should do all we can to help all of our veterans, but I can't help but wonder about the veracity of some of these claims. Given what we know about manpower shortages and how tours of duty are being extended, it just doesn't make sense that there would be too many folks in this state quite yet (the article does state that national advocates have seen only "about 70" homeless so far). Unfortunately, with our laws being what they are, if someone is mentally ill enough that they 'want' to be homeless there's nothing that can be done about it, so any furor about the government "not doing enough" to help these poor folks is 90% posturing. While I certainly will donate to the charities Babs highlights, the fascist theocrat humanitarian in me wishes more there was a way to ensure that the people who needed mental help got it.

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 10:51 AM | Comments (5)

June 05, 2005

Hey! Nice Pants!

Rory Sabbatini is a god.

DUBLIN, Ohio, June 4 - Rory Sabbatini can hear the muffled chatter that follows him through 18 holes of golf. "Nice pants," someone will say from the gallery, nodding at Sabbatini's camouflage pants dotted black, brown and green. "Be all you can be," another will say.

Sometimes, Sabbatini says thank you. Sometimes, he says nothing. But every Thursday of every PGA Tour event that he plays in, he wears the pants to promote awareness of the families of men and women in the United States military killed in Afghanistan and in Iraq.

For every birdie Sabbatini makes this season, he is donating $250 to a charity called the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund, to raise money for families in need. For every eagle, he donates $1,000.

Later this year, he will auction off the pants and donate that money to the charity...

...One of the Tour's longest hitters, Sabbatini is starting to crack the leader board this season after missing the cut in 7 of 11 starts to open the year.

Dude, you're already on the leaderboard for good, in my book. Thanks.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 07:33 PM | Comments (4)

June 03, 2005

Stands Alone, No Explanations Needed

When possessing India’s entire war plans didn’t help
Pakistan lost the 1965 war despite knowing India’s war plans

Mr Gohar Ayub Khan has lobbed a ‘bombshell’ across the border. He has revealed that his father, Pakistan’s first military dictator Field Marshal Ayub Khan, pulled off an intelligence coup in before the 1965 war with India, when he purchased the Indian Army’s war plans for a mere Rs 20,000.

He alleges that an Indian brigadier sold away India’s military secrets in order to indulge his wife’s expensive hobby of ‘canning fruits and vegetables’.

See what happens when you let women drive? Then they wanna start canning vegetables, ruin the country, perpetuating a cycle of despair.

Swill Salute to Rob at Crab Apple Lane.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 02:58 PM | Comments (4)

June 02, 2005

A Melancholy Juxtaposition

I watched the groundskeepers lifting the 27,000 odd American flags from the graves at Barrancas National Cemetary today. Solitary fellows moving through the white headstones, some heartbreakingly white...new...this war. Their carts were left parked on the driveway as they bent and plucked among the rows, tucking rolled up red, white and blue under an arm then moving to the next, dronelike. Passed over the Bayou Grande Bridge a minute or two later and watched as a fatigue clad Saudi Royal Air Force flight student gassed up at the BP out the front gate.
Ebb and flow.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 11:59 PM

Excuse Me...

...as I GOUGE MY EYEBALLS OUT OF THEIR SOCKETS. In their rush to impart solemnity and gravitas to their part in the GWOT, the United States Navy has seen fit to rename the cryptological schools command at Corry Station, Pensacola, FL. Gird your loins, 'cause they are now the:

Center For Information Dominance

If I can get over my abject shame, I will get a picture of the retarded sign at their front gate. F%@kin' squids.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 01:16 PM | Comments (14)

May 31, 2005

Ashcroft Turned Me Into A Newt!

...I got better.

I'm supposed to care that the bounties, in effect, worked?

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 02:36 PM | Comments (2)

Sink Her, Already ! Part Trois

When last we left our heroine, she was moored at the Port Of Pensacola, waiting a move back to Texass. She's not gone yet, you ask? Sigh. Nothing but nothing is as simple as it seems.

But, in the latest twist, it turns out that it's going to take extra time to prepare the vessel for the trek to Texas.

The wooden flight deck, various hatches and doors were removed to ensure diver safety once the boat is sunk. But that work must be temporarily undone so the Mighty O does not become bogged down with rain on the way to Beaumont and during its stay there

And your tax dollars? Still hard at work.

Meanwhile, the Navy is paying $90,000 per month in docking fees to the Port of Pensacola. It's also paying $221,000 per month to Resolve Marine Group to ready the Oriskany for its trek to Beaumont.

Walker said the port will miss the docking fees paid since the Oriskany's arrival from Corpus Christi, Texas, last December.

Dolan said the cost of the tow has not been settled.

As of early May, the Navy had spent $12.3 million on the Oriskany reef project, the first of its kind and expected to be a model for disposing of decommissioned Navy ships in the future. By contrast, Dolan said, one estimate to dismantle and scrap the ship was $24 million.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 12:35 PM | Comments (3)

May 30, 2005

Friday at the Museum...

A gimpy veteran in a motorcyle vest with his wife on his arm strolled by, circled around one of the airplanes on display and came back towards Major Dad, Grinch and myself. They returned our smiles and nods as they passed, but I was too stunned by the blue ribbon around his neck to do more than that. None of us had ever seen a real Medal of Honor, less mind a recipient wearing one. What an incredible moment and I'll never forget it, ever. The power of something so small and at once so indescribably beautiful and so terribly sad.
I saw that face again in the local fish wrap this morning, playing Shenandoah on his harmonica at The Wall South. I had a name now, so I looked for his story.
What a story it is. Sammy Davis, Private First Class.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 11:54 AM | Comments (8)

We Can Never Say "Thanks" Enough

"Fourscore and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation or any nation so conceived and so dedicated can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field as a final resting-place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we cannot hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead who struggled here have consecrated it far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living rather to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us--that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion--that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain, that this nation under God shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth."

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 08:36 AM | Comments (2)

May 27, 2005

In the ranks of death you'll find him...

The Minstrel fell! But the foeman's steel
Could not bring that proud soul under;
The harp he lov'd ne'er spoke again,
For he tore its chords asunder;
And said "No chains shall sully thee,
Thou soul of love and brav'ry!
Thy songs were made for the pure and free
They shall never sound in slavery!

Posted by tree hugging sister at 09:25 AM | Comments (1)

May 26, 2005

'Every Step With Caution Feeling'

We need a pet rock out front when Ebola comes skulking home at zero-dark-thirty.

The US military is developing miniature electronic sensors disguised as rocks that can be dropped from an aircraft and used to help detect the sound of approaching enemy combatants.

The devices, which would be no larger than a golf ball, could be ready for use in about 18 months. They use tiny silicon chips and radio frequency identification (RFID) technology that is so sensitive that it can detect the sound of a human footfall at 20ft to 30ft.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 05:00 PM | Comments (8)

Lt. Pantano Cleared of All Charges

Marine cleared in deaths of two Iraqis
'Best interests' served, Corps says of Wall Street trader turned soldier
CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. - A former Wall Street trader who rejoined the Marines after the Sept. 11 attacks will not be tried on murder charges for killing two suspected Iraqi insurgents, a Marine general decided Thursday.

“The best interests of 2nd Lt. Pantano and the government have been served by this process,” the Marine Corps said in a statement.

Read the rest.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 12:53 PM | Comments (7)

May 25, 2005

I Am Also in Love...

...with the idea of a leatherneck who goes by 'Lt. Col. Lionel Urquhart', commander of the 3rd Battalion, 25th Marine Regiment'.
Jeez, with a name like that how Braveheart can you get? The MSNBC story about the Marines is quite good ~ lots of Jarheads interviewed. Pravda's story, on the other hand, is headlined 'Marines Mount 2nd Drive on Insurgents in West Iraq' and, of course, it's all Army brass and some Shiite Iraqi Army quotes. Not one young Marine spoken of or to. And they don't capitalize 'Marines'. That pisses me off like a big dog, the loser liberal SFB's.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 10:23 AM

May 24, 2005

Received A Package Today...

Inside was a letter:

Mr. Bingley!

Here is your genuine, official, personalized, U.S. Army desert camouflage boonie hat, presented in recognition of your valuable but unspecified services to your nation. Of course, I would like to detail how your support of the Global War on Terrorism greatly assissted the Armed Forces in their fight against the terrorists, and how it seriously impacted the operations of scumbag terrorists around the world, but then I would have to kill anyone who read this letter...so we'll just have to settle for this vague but sincere unofficial letter that no one at the Pentagon will ever acknowledge as genuine.

Agent XYZ, Kuwait

And beneath the letter was...


Posted by Mr. Bingley at 06:44 PM | Comments (16)

May 23, 2005

Launch the Alert Five Fighter...

...turn up your speakers and DUCK !!

Posted by tree hugging sister at 10:44 AM | Comments (2)

May 18, 2005

The MOST Compelling Reason...

...for not allowing military recruiters anywhere near a high school??

"They're spending $4 billion a month in Iraq, but we have to cut our race relations class, which costs $12,500," Ms. Hagopian pointed out. "That's an important class for our kids."

Posted by tree hugging sister at 12:07 PM | Comments (7)

May 12, 2005

Oo-RAH !!

Nothing like a good, old fashioned, MOtivational video!!

Posted by tree hugging sister at 11:08 AM | Comments (2)

May 10, 2005

You Get What You Pay For

Here's a fun little factoid: In April, insurgents launched 135 car bombings in Iraq, with half of them being suicide attacks, the U.S. military said.

How many of these were funded by Sgrena's ransom?

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 03:42 PM | Comments (3)

The Airspace Over the Front Yard...

...will shortly be smokin'.

FrontYard Picture UPDATE:

Don't anybody bother me. I'll be out front.

Residents will be treated to a rare aerial spectacle today and Wednesday.

The Blue Angels will have some special high-flying company during their practice shows at Pensacola Naval Air Station: the Air Force's Thunderbirds precision flight team, the Army's Golden Knights parachute team, the Navy's Leap Frogs parachute team and Canadian Armed Forces Snowbirds precision flight team.

UPDATE: Okay, I know it's a grainy pixelated mess, but they're just warming up and so am I. Thunderbirds and the neighbor's Blue Roof. Welcome to Pensacola.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 09:48 AM | Comments (9)

May 07, 2005

On Colonel Hackworth

He also seemed to relish stepping on toes. Sometimes, admirals and generals got hurt. But that never stopped Hackworth from telling leaders what he really thought about their operation.

General Eisenhower learned that first hand when he was traveling across Italy to check up on the U.S. troops. While chatting with the grunts, Hack decided to speak up.

"The chow stinks!"

There went a fellow who spoke his heart and acted on it, with the props to back it up. What a life he lived.

He became more and more independent, even rebellious, once threatening to take his troops to Canada if commanders persisted in talking about the use of nuclear weapons in Vietnam. He ran a bordello and a massage parlor to keep his men happy and relatively protected from a virulent strain of syphilis.

May 6, 2005
Col. David Hackworth, Hero of Vietnam War, Dies at 74
David H. Hackworth, a much-decorated and highly unconventional former career Army officer who became a combat legend in Vietnam, and later enraged his superiors by lambasting the war on national television, died on Wednesday at a hospital in Tijuana, Mexico. He was 74.

The cause was bladder cancer, his wife, Eilhys England, said.

Colonel Hackworth lied to enlist in the Army at 15 and won a battlefield commission at 20 to become the Korean War's youngest captain. He was America's youngest full colonel in Vietnam, and won a total of 91 medals, including two Distinguished Service Crosses, 10 Silver Stars, 8 Bronze Stars and 8 Purple Hearts.

Later, he was an author, a military affairs correspondent for Newsweek, a syndicated newspaper columnist and a campaigner for military reform.

In Vietnam, he became an almost mythical figure, arriving in 1965 with the first group of American paratroopers and going on to command the helicopter unit that was later immortalized in the movie "Apocalypse Now." He drove his men so hard, he later wrote, that they put a $3,500 bounty on his head. Early in the war he wrote a primer on how best to fight the Vietcong.

His combat successes included wiping out 2,500 North Vietnamese soldiers while his troops suffered just 25 casualties.

In a 1971 interview with Nick Proffit of Newsweek, Gen. Creighton Abrams, a top commander in Vietnam, called Colonel Hackworth "the best battalion commander I ever saw in the United States Army."

General Abrams spoke shortly after Colonel Hackworth appeared on the ABC television program "Issues and Answers" and harshly criticized the conduct of the Vietnam War, saying it could not be won. He called the training inadequate and accused fellow officers of not understanding guerrilla warfare.

A report by the inspector general of the Army responded that Colonel Hackworth was derelict in his duties and had "acted without honor." General Abrams and other top officers moved to court-martial him, but eventually allowed him to resign with an honorable discharge.

Colonel Hackworth went to Australia, where he eventually bought some gas stations and later owned and ran an upscale restaurant. He also became a peace movement advocate. He later moved to Greenwich, Conn.

David Haskell Hackworth was born in 1931 in Venice, Calif., and grew up in nearby Santa Monica. His parents died when he was 5 months old, and he was raised by a grandmother who related tales of fighting ancestors.

At 14, he joined the merchant marine and served in the South Pacific. At 15, he paid someone to pose as his father and certify that he was old enough to join the Army.

He credited his later combat success to lessons learned from the hard-bitten, hard-drinking sergeants with whom he served in his first assignment, the post-World War II border dispute between Italy and Yugoslavia over the port of Trieste.

After the war he volunteered for Korea, where he commanded an all-volunteer regiment known as the Wolfhound Raiders. In one battle he was shot in the head but refused to stop fighting. He received three Purple Hearts in Korea.

Long before the United States was visibly involved in Vietnam, he served there with the Special Forces. By April 1965 he was a confirmed career soldier and went back with the paratroopers, ready to fight a new kind of war. He commanded a Blackhawk "Air Cavalry" brigade in which pilots wore Civil War campaign hats and flew in helicopters with crossed swords painted on them.

"We were a wild bunch," he said in an interview with The Los Angeles Times in 1989.

He became more and more independent, even rebellious, once threatening to take his troops to Canada if commanders persisted in talking about the use of nuclear weapons in Vietnam. He ran a bordello and a massage parlor to keep his men happy and relatively protected from a virulent strain of syphilis.

After his television appearance on June 27, 1971, in which he said that as many as 20 percent of American combat deaths resulted from accidental American bullets, Colonel Hackworth's well-known indiscretions were used against him.

He admitted them in a book he wrote with Tom Matthews, "Hazardous Duty: America's Most Decorated Living Soldier Reports from the Front and Tells It the Way It Is" (Morrow, 1996). But he said the regulations were wrong.

Ward Just, in his introduction to Colonel Hackworth's "About Face: The Odyssey of an American Warrior" (Simon & Schuster, 1989), said, "This was the simple truth, but in the pusillanimous atmosphere of 1971, Hackworth was seen as insubordinate and treacherous. But not easily dismissed."

The colonel also wrote a novel, "The Price of Honor" (Doubleday, 1999).

From 1990 to 1996, he was a contributing editor of Newsweek. His column, "Defending America," was syndicated by King.

Colonel Hackworth's first two marriages, to Patricia Leonard and Peter Margaret Cox, ended in divorce. He is survived, in addition to his wife, by two daughters and a son from his first marriage, Leslie, of Danbury, Conn.; Laura, of Los Angeles; and David, of Tampa, Fla.; a son, Ben, from his second marriage; a stepdaughter, Elizabeth England Scott; and four grandchildren.

Copyright 2005 The New York Times Company

Posted by tree hugging sister at 10:48 AM

May 06, 2005

On a Lighter Note...

...justice has prevailed as far as the senior troglodyte* at Abu Ghraib. Yes, you guessed it.

Army Demotes General in Abu Ghraib Scandal

The Army has offered its last word on holding its generals accountable in the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse scandal, but Congress is going to have the final say.

The Army announced that it demoted Brig. Gen. Janis Karpinski, whose Army Reserve unit was in charge of the prison compound during the period of abuse. Dropping her in rank to colonel required approval from President Bush, and officials said that he granted it on Thursday.

You go, George!

*troglodyte \TRAHG-luh-dyte\ noun

1 : a member of any of various peoples (as in antiquity) who lived or were reputed to live chiefly in caves
2 : a person characterized by reclusive habits or outmoded or reactionary attitudes

Posted by tree hugging sister at 01:22 PM | Comments (6)

May 05, 2005

For the aviation geeks among us...

neat movies you can watch online here.

Posted by Crusader at 12:47 PM

May 04, 2005


A Marine corporal who was videotaped shooting an apparently injured and unarmed Iraqi in a Fallujah mosque last year will not face a court-martial, the Marine Corps announced Wednesday.

A review of the evidence showed the Marine's actions were "consistent with the established rules of engagement and the law of armed conflict," Maj. Gen. Richard F. Natonski, commanding general of the 1st Marine Division, said in a statement.

Good. I'm glad the evidence proved this, and he was cleared.

Thanks to Gunslinger for the heads up.

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 09:50 PM | Comments (5)

May 03, 2005

'Trust Us' Redux

The USS Oriskany will be towed back to Beaumont, Texass for the foreseeable future. The money quotes (and man, am I looking like the Amazing Kreskin or what...)?

Safely mooring the 888-foot "Mighty O" at the Port of Pensacola would be costly, and preparations could not be completed by June 1, the beginning of the hurricane season, said Pat Dolan, deputy director of the Navy Sea System Command's office of congressional and public affairs.....

Port of Pensacola Interim Director Leon Walker said the port will miss the monthly $90,000 docking fees the Navy has paid since the Oriskany's arrival in December.....

Outfitting the port with a mooring that would be rated for a Category 3 hurricane, as recommended by the U.S. Coast Guard, would cost about $6 million and could not be completed this month, Dolan said.

Dolan estimates the round-trip trek to Beaumont, which is equipped with a hurricane mooring, will cost about $1.8 million.

The Navy has spent $12.3 million on the Oriskany reefing project so far, including environmental assessments, PCB remediation, towing and berthing, Dolan said. To dismantle and scrap the ship would cost an estimated $24 million.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 08:01 PM | Comments (3)

April 27, 2005

200 Years Ago Today...

...Lt. Presley O'Bannon added the 'Shores of Tripoli' to the Marines' Hymn. It's a great story. Semper Fi.

There, on 27 April 1805, with bombardment support provided by Hornet, Nautilus, and Argus, Lt. O’Bannon led his force through a hail of musketry and stormed the principal edifices. The enemy was routed in such haste that they left their guns loaded and primed. Lt. O’Bannon planted the United States flag upon the ramparts, then turned the guns upon the enemy. The stronghold was occupied after some two hours of hand-to-hand fighting, and for the first time in history the flag of the United States flew on foreign soil.

*UPDATE: I think we have a cosmic connection with Prof. Reynolds again. (Or at least great minds think alike...bwwahahahah!!) He's recommending what looks to be a dynamite book on this very adventure.

Presley Neville O’Bannon was born in Farquier County, Virginia in 1776.
Appointed a second lieutenant in the US Marine Corps on 18 January 1801, he

Source: Naval Historical Center

served in various stations in the United States prior to assignment aboard USS Adams. Following a deployment to the Mediterranean in Adams, now-First Lieutenant O’Bannon returned to the United States in November 1803, and was assigned to duty at Marine Barracks, Washington DC.
In 1804, Lt. O’Bannon was again called to sea duty, this time aboard frigate USS President. Setting sail for the Mediterranean in May 1804, the President arrived at Gibraltar in August. Following several months in the Mediterranean, Lt. O’Bannon was transferred to frigate Constitution, and then to USS Argus. While there, he was selected for a mission that later was commemorated in the colors of the Marine Corps and recorded in the Marine Hymn in the words “to the shores of Tripoli.”
For many years the United States had maintained peace with the Barbary States by “buying” treaties and paying tributes to the Pasha. The states of Algiers, Morocco, and Tunis remained reasonably complacent under this system, though Tripoli continued to demand larger payments and make threats against the United States.
Finally, on 14 May 1801, the Pasha of Tripoli, Yousuf, demonstrated his dissatisfaction by cutting down the flagstaff in front of the US consulate. This led to a declaration of war by the United States and more warships being dispatched to the Mediterranean. During a storm, one of these, frigate Philadelphia, went on the rocks off Tripoli, with her crew being captured and imprisoned at Derne.
This event and the inability of US agents to ransom the crew of Philadelphia led to the formation of a bold rescue plan, which included Lt. O’Bannon. The plan, conceived by naval agent William Eaton, proposed the formation of an alliance with Hamet, elder brother of Yousuf.
In January 1805, Lt. O’Bannon, in command of a marine detachment consisting of one sergeant and six privates, joined Eaton’s allied force at Alexandria, Egypt. This motley hoarde of 500 mercenaries and soldiers of fortune then began an overland expedition against Derne. There, on 27 April 1805, with bombardment support provided by Hornet, Nautilus, and Argus, Lt. O’Bannon led his force through a hail of musketry and stormed the principal edifices. The enemy was routed in such haste that they left their guns loaded and primed. Lt. O’Bannon planted the United States flag upon the ramparts, then turned the guns upon the enemy. The stronghold was occupied after some two hours of hand-to-hand fighting, and for the first time in history the flag of the United States flew on foreign soil.
The Tripolitans counterattacked the fortress a number of times, but were repelled with heavy losses. Finally, through a spirited bayonet charge, the enemy was driven from the vicinity of Derne. This stubbornness and pugnacity by the Americans led to an almost mythical belief in their fighting ability.
On the occasion of his departure, Hamet honored Lt. O’Bannon by presenting him his jeweled sword with a Mameluke hilt. This sword was the model for the dress sword used by Marine Corps officers today, making it the oldest continuously used weapon in the US military arsenal. Upon his return to the United States, the state of Virginia presented O’Bannon a sword modeled after the original Mameluke blade given him by Hamet.
Hailed as the “hero of Derne,” Lt. O’Bannon resigned from the Marine Corps on 6 March 1807. He retired to Logan County, Kentucky and served in the state legislature. He died on 12 September 1850 at the age of 74. In 1919, his remains were removed to the State Cemetery in Frankfort, Kentucky, where a monument is erected in his memory.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 09:38 AM | Comments (4)

April 21, 2005

SINK Her Redux

Remember in the Oriskany post below, where I was cranky about slide rule types saying 'trust us' with John providing the Greek Chorus in the background? No warm fuzzies left, since the goobs with the slide rulers are these guys:

A section of Lee Roy Selmon Expressway collapsed near 50th Street.

Still at issue is whether URS probed deep enough under the piers to design the supports for different soil types. The authority and URS will attempt to resolve the issue during mediation in August.

That was only a year ago. Your tax dollars at work.
Swill Salute to: Mr. Bill

Posted by tree hugging sister at 12:51 AM | Comments (6)

April 20, 2005

Rest in Peace, LtCmdr Lipes

Major Dad found this obituary in Pravda today. Holy moly, what a story! (A Pulitzer Prize winning one, to be exact.)

Lt. Cmdr. Wheeler B. Lipes, who performed a storied appendectomy while a pharmacist's mate aboard a submarine in the Pacific during World War II, died on Sunday in New Bern, N.C. He was 84.

The cause was pancreatic cancer, said his daughter-in-law, Berniece Lipes.

On Sept. 11, 1942, Pharmacist's Mate Lipes become a surgeon aboard the submarine Seadragon, on patrol at a depth of 120 feet in the South China Sea.

A 19-year-old seaman from Kansas, Darrell Dean Rector, had suffered appendicitis. With the Seadragon about a week's journey from the nearest Allied port, in Australia, the skipper, Lt. Cmdr. William Ferrall, obtained Seaman Rector's permission for surgery by a team of sailors, not one of them a doctor.

Pharmacist's Mate Lipes had observed several appendectomies as a laboratory technician at a naval hospital in Philadelphia, so he was designated to lead the surgical team, amid much trepidation.

We've got the whole thing here. Read it.

Gary Thompson/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Wheeler B. Lipes, center, with former shipmates in Las Vegas in 1997.

In a 1999 interview with the Naval Historical Center, he recalled the moment when the commanding officer approached him after the diagnosis of appendicitis was made.

"The C.O. and I had a long talk and he asked me what I was going to do. 'Nothing,' I replied. He lectured me about the fact that we were there to do the best we could. 'I fire torpedoes every day and some of them miss,' he reminded me. I told him that I could not fire this torpedo and miss. He asked me if I could do the surgery, and I said yes. He then ordered me to do it."

Seaman Rector was placed on a mess table. A tea strainer covered with gauze became an ether mask, and the anesthesia was monitored by the communications officer, Lt. Franz P. Hoskins.

Metal spoons bent at right angles became muscle retractors, holding the wound open after Pharmacist's Mate Lipes made a three-inch incision with a scalpel. Sulfa pills were ground into powder to use as an antiseptic. Boiled water and alcohol milked from the torpedo mechanism sterilized the instruments and operating "gowns," actually the crew's pajamas.

Pharmacist's Mate Lipes removed the appendix in about two and a half hours in the first appendectomy ever performed on board a submerged submarine. His patient was soon back on duty.

When the Seadragon returned to Australia, its report told of the Japanese ships it had sunk and it related another eventful moment, headlined "One Merchant Ship, One Oil Tanker and One Successful Appendectomy."

George Weller, a correspondent for The Chicago Daily News, received a Pulitzer Prize for his article in December 1942 about the surgery. The operation was recounted in the 1950's television series "The Silent Service" and dramatized in the Hollywood movies "Destination Tokyo" and "Run Silent, Run Deep."

But Seaman Rector did not survive the war. He was among 78 crewmen lost aboard the submarine Tang when it sank off Formosa in October 1944, having been struck by a torpedo that veered back at the submarine after being fired.

Wheeler Bryson Lipes, a native of New Castle, Va., joined the Navy in 1936 and served on several submarines during the war.

Upon returning to the United States in 1943, he spoke at war-bond rallies, representing the Navy, although he did not receive a commendation for his surgical feat.

He retired from the Navy medical corps in 1962 as a lieutenant commander and later served as a hospital executive. He is survived by his second wife, Audrey, of New Bern; his son, Bruce, of Corpus Christi, Tex.; four grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren. His first wife, Myrtle, died in 1997.

In his interview with Navy historians, Commander Lipes said that many doctors in the Navy's wartime Bureau of Medicine and Surgery were unhappy with his achievement.

"I guess they were afraid that because I had performed an appendectomy everyone in the fleet would be running around looking for the first opportunity to do one," he said.

Two appendectomies were performed by corpsmen aboard submarines later in World War II, the Navy said.

In February, Commander Lipes was presented with the Navy Commendation Medal, as a result of a belated study of the surgery by the Navy Medical Department.

"I just didn't think it was that big a deal," he said of the surgery in an interview with The Roanoke Times, in Virginia, after receiving the medal. "I was just proud to save a guy's life."

Posted by tree hugging sister at 01:30 PM | Comments (2)

April 19, 2005

unHook the Line and SINK Her, Already!

Astounding myself yet again with my prescient talents, I have forseen disaster...

" And where that historic eyesore is parked happens to be my downtown in Pensacola. They farted around getting her towed here and now it's too late to get her out to sea before hurricanes start rolling in again. She's not due to move out until November now. They swear it's a hurricane-proof mooring and we're all betting, come another big blow, that she'll be six blocks up the street where all the other dock trash wound up after Ivan. On a lighter note, they do have former crew members standing next to those street lamps by the hulk every Saturday for lectures, if anyone's in the neighborhood."

...in comments posted on one of Bill's world famous Name That Ship challenges.

With their typical farsightedness, the local pond scum are just getting around to wondering, like...what if...

With hurricane season fast approaching, Navy officials are determining how to prevent the retired aircraft carrier Oriskany, now moored at the Port of Pensacola, from becoming a dangerous wrecking ball on the surging tide of a major storm.

The USS Oriskany...is scheduled to be sunk 22.5 miles south of Pensacola in the Gulf.
News Journal file photoPort Director Chuck Porter expects to learn about plans to secure the 888-foot-long ship after Navy engineers consider the issue at a meeting set for the last week of April.

And with their typical sense of urgency, they'll get around to an "updated plan for the Oriskany would be made public in May." Thank God they'll have it all figured out before hurricane season starts...1 JUNE.

How'd we come to be in such a state, when it'd all been planned so beautifully? The usual way. The only guy with the plan...died.

A recent unfortunate development has occurred that will delay completion of this simulation model, and therefore delay the sinking of ORISKANY. The lead model developer, a subcontractor to URS Corp., the company developing the simulation model for the Navy, tragically and unexpectedly died on January 7, 2005. Although numerous Navy, EPA and URS Corp. scientists were working on the simulation model, the deceased was the only integrator of the model. Several scientific and technical issues that had been agreed to between Navy and EPA had not been accomplished and require this integration. URS Corp. has established a recovery team that is being overseen by scientists from the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center San Diego.

This unfortunate disruption is expected to cause a two-month delay in completion of the simulation model, thus delaying the sinking of ORISKANY until at least September 2005.

(Man, are they using unfortunate alot or what?) It's also unfortunately a hurricane proof slip; "the Navy will secure the ship in a hurricane mooring arrangement approved by the U.S. Coast Guard" and "assess the chains needed to hold vessels in place in rough surf". (Kinda like one a them 'squirrel proof' bird feeders.) Then they're thinking that filling her up with water to settle her into the slip would work. Oriskany keel depth? 27 feet. Slip depth? 33 feet. Yeah, lots of room to work with there. Warm fuzzies abound. The money quote from a guy in an office who doesn't live here?

"What if a hurricane comes, and the Oriskany ends up on Garden Street? I think the chances of that are zip to none," Porter said.

Sigh. As soon as some slide ruler type says you're okay, just bend over and kiss yOriskany good-bye.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 02:32 PM | Comments (7)

April 14, 2005

God Bless and Semper Fi

An amazing Marine has died.

F.C. Branch, 82, Pioneering Black Marine, Dies

PHILADELPHIA, April 13 (AP) - Frederick Clinton Branch, the first black commissioned officer in the Marine Corps, died Sunday in Philadelphia. He was 82.

His death was announced by his family and Roxborough Memorial Hospital.

Mr. Branch was drafted into the Marines in 1942 while a student at Temple University and scored well on a test for Officer Candidate School, but he lacked a recommendation and was rejected.

His wartime service in the Pacific, however, led to a recommendation and admission to O.C.S. He received his commission as a Marine lieutenant on Nov. 10, 1945, the 170th anniversary of the founding of the corps in Philadelphia, and was the only black graduate in a class of 250.

Posted by tree hugging sister at 11:16 PM | Comments (2)

March 26, 2005

Some More Good News From Iraq (sorry Arthur)

MPs and Medics make us all proud during and ambush on a convoy. It's all about training and discipline in a firefight. Well done guys!

(Thanks to Real JeffS for the link)

Posted by Mr. Bingley at 07:32 AM | Comments (1)

March 24, 2005

And you thought that USS Enterprise on Ebat was impressive...

This is a work of art. Oh, if I only had the room...

This is also a cool bit of work, and I may have to attempt one to go with my OV-10 and the F-8U that is a work in progress...

Posted by Crusader at 09:36 PM | Comments (2)

USS San Francisco

Hitting a rock at 35 mph can certainly ruin your day.

And your career.

Strategy Page has some interesting thoughts on this; I particularly like the custom of naming these undersea objects after the ships that "discover" them...


Posted by Mr. Bingley at 12:41 PM | Comments (4)