Wednesday, February 24, 2010

RIP, COL Bob Howard

COL Bob Howard, one of our country's most highly decorated warriors, was laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery last Monday. Rest in peace, sir.

Monday, February 22, 2010

I'm Sorry But...

...Am I really supposed to give a F@*# about curling? Really? This is a sport? Actually, one would think that this is THE sport given the amount of coverage. I must be missing something.

Criticism Where Criticism is Due

Fuck. Sackcloth. Ashes. Hairshirt. Scourge. This report on the "Quiet Professionals" serving in Afghanistan is comprehensively damning. Recommend that you go to the link, watch the video provided there, and then read the article in full, to include the comments.
There are plenty of arguments I could bring up in extenuation or mitigation of the condemnations provided in the link. But still.
The only comment I will make, to all those who condemn USASOC for "allowing" this video to be published is this: The military has no control, no vetting, no screening, no censorship over the press once the press has gained access an event, unless there is something classified in the report. In other words, the only control the military has is the binary option of whether to admit access. After that, the press can slice and dice it however they want. Punto.
So, the silver lining is that DoD had enough confidence in its SF troopers to allow 60 Minutes three months of embedded access. The downside is that it was this particular team.
Without seeing the other four thousand hours of video taken, all I can say is: Epic Fail

So What You're Saying Is, "Basically, I'm a Parasite"

Got wind of this article from Blackfive: How To Leave A Soldier.
Although the authoress is well-written and expunges any internal venom or vitriol from her narrative, the article, to me, as a committed military professional, is simply stunning. I may well be taking the whole thing too personally, as her former husband's career timeline pretty much parallels my own, except (not denigrating the ex's) mine--and my family's--was/is tougher.
The article is the most ego-centric screed I've read in a while, to the point that it almost seems like parody. Every deployment, every friction point, is examined and articulated strictly in the terms that it affects the authoress.
In fact, when I review the authoress' timeline, she had a pretty fucking easy ride. The deployments that caused her relationship--or, her commitment to her relationship--to dissolve were often years apart. This passage, in particular, leads me to thinking that I'm reading the musings of an ego-centric bitch
Then came 9/11. My husband, like so many others, saw the attacks as a call to action. He went back on active duty and volunteered for a tour in Egypt. Our children were old enough to miss their father now. I put a calendar up in the kitchen so we could check off the days, took them both for cupcakes to cheer them up as we walked home from kindergarten. A part of me was proud of how brave we were all being. The other part was weary with being brave. I took a job at an independent bookstore and started spending time with the young, funny, book-reading guys I met there. When John came back things were awkward. I couldn't stop myself from being angry, couldn't help feeling abandoned.

So, you resent the fact that your husband couldn't refuse the sweet siren song of duty after your country was attacked and he figured that he had the training and experience that might just help preserve our country and our way of life. But hey, at least you got to spend time with young, funny, book-reading guys at the bookstore in which you worked. I mean, what better foil against which to compare your manly, balls-to-wall husband than a bunch of snarky, wise-cracking, haven't-done-shit-in-the-real-world post-adolescents who are still probably living off of Mom and Dad--mostly Mom.
What makes me foam at the mouth is the total moral vacuity of the authoress. When I look at the sacrifices that I've seen a multitude of Army wives go through--not to mention my own wife, and our kids--I pretty much want to vomit. There is no awareness at all of serving a greater good. Of any sort of cognizance at all of sacrificing for something above and beyond one's own self. Instead, it's all about her.
Hey, Toots, I've seen Army wives suck it up to a degree you can't even imagine. I've seen women that have put up with circumstances that would drive a Valkyrie to her knees. I've seen a snowed-in housing block where the sole husband not deployed (with a four-wheel vehicle) stomped house to house asking "Okay, so what do you need above and beyond diapers, milk, and bread?" I've known Army wives who have seen their husbands deployed two of every three years since 911 because of the husbands' particular skills and training. I've seen wives who've had to follow behind the Chaplain and Notification Officer again and again, because their husband was the Commander, and try to help a new widow pick up the pieces of her shattered life, while still scared spitless over her own husband's fate. I've seen a street marked in chalk, where all the wives could gather of an evening, with the chalk marks delineating where all could get reception on their baby-monitors.
This woman is a disgrace because she doesn't once acknowledge the impact of her (former) husband's service beyond how it impacts her. She doesn't acknowledge that the service and sacrifice of an Army wife is as great and significant as that of the Soldier himself. She can see no further than how it affects her.
The great irony is that she now lives in Manhattan with her avowed Marxist husband, cuddling over hot cocoa at night over some book or other, without realizing that the fact that she doesn't cringe every time a jet flies over is because of her ex.
Yeah, leaving a Soldier on deployment is easy, bitch.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

CDR Salamander's Epic Win, And...

As far as I know, CDR Salamander was the instrumental guy in bringing to justice this douche-nozzle buttscab: a guy who figured that he could go out in public representing himself as the ultimate warrior.
The guy was wearing US Army dress mess, with rank declaring him a Brigadier General. Because, you know, there are so many twenty-somethings that attain the rank of BG; I'm sure the little soul-patch facial hair was what swayed the promotion board. Take a look at the mess jacket: this cat had awards that even Han Solo didn't have.
Okay, so, dude misrepresents and steals valor, dude gets prosecuted under the Stolen Valor Act, and all is right with the world.
Watch the video at the link. My only addition to the conversation on this nifty rad hepcat is this:
Note how on the video, the intrepid investigative news team bangs on the door, and confronts a Military Age Male who states that that guy doesn't live at that address. Now look at his hat: it's the official CIA ball cap that you can buy at the gift shop at Langley.
"No, Mr. Reporter, I'm not the guy misrepresenting himself as Super Trooper. Nope, I'm Mr. Super Spy Guy. James Bond, Jack Bauer, they've got nothing on me, man." Too bad the news crew wasn't quick enough off the mark to pick up on that.

Heaven, Thy Name Is Scotch Whiskey

I'm looking for something in particular, so this is turning into a CDR Salamander type of day. Any way, throwing this post out there just to let Pops Mongo know that yes, Timmy, dreams really do come true*.

Of course, now he's going to make me do an RFF and come up with a whole CONOP on how to 'jack the crates. Man, it's tough being a mongo...

Beat :Navy, Oh Yeah, and Go Army Too....

Some day, I gotta get tech savvy enough to do this whole Hitler thing...

h/t CDR Salamander

Sunday, February 7, 2010

The Most Important Manual Of All

Starbuck looks at a random selection of Army Field Manuals, and explodes the myth that they are written at an eighth grade level.
He misses the most important Field Manual of all (and my personal favorite) though: FM 22-102, Wall-to-Wall Counseling. While there are some people you just can't reach, there is a vast demographic that can be re-calibrated through a mutually enriching ballistic dialogue.

You should wall-to-wall counsel a soldier when he needs it And all soldiers occasionally need wall-to-wall counseling.

Determining when this most severe of leadership techniques is warranted requires the leader to intimately know his soldiers and be aware of when a soldier is far enough gone that a swat in the head is the only thing that will adjust his behavior.

Scenes From Down South; No Narrative