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Monthly NewsletterOctober 2012 
In This Issue
Dave's Message
Voice of the Soldier
Word of Truth
The Blue Warrior
Combat Survival
Leading Concepts
Warrior's Wisdom
Special Product Coupon
Aesop's Fables
Embroidered Items
Featured T-Shirts
Special Product Coupon
Quotes & Jokes
Featured Tactical Gear
Featured Items
Featured Watches
Clichs of Socialism
What Has Really Changed?

Newsletter Archive
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010

Customer Comments
I am a Cpl. in the Army and just returned from Iraq. I carried my shotgun all year on my back in your shotgun scabbard, and it worked great! I was glad to have it around several times, and it proved to be an easy way to keep the shotgun handy for the squad. Thanks for your great product, and for your support of our troops!!

Cpl. C.R. [omitted]
36th Infantry Div.

Got the T-shirt....IT ROCKS!!!!

Thanks guys
kelly [omitted]

Dear Sir, The Falcon Chest Harness finally arrived to me at Camp Taji, Iraq. Thank You! It is now set up for fitting over my IOTV and Battle Ready!!!

[name omitted]

(already the guys are asking who to order one from, so you might be getting a few more requests!!!).

Dear SF company.

Thank-you for sending another t-shirt it looks great the boys in the unit will want one when they see it. I'll be sending them right to you.

Thanks again.

Another happy customer
Bob Miller

When I was stationed at Camp Pendleton I was in Weapons Company 3/5. The unit made us t-shirts with the 3/5 logo/emblem/crest, "Consumate Professionals". I was honorable discharged in 1999 and the t-shirt has been long-gone. I searched a couple of web site to find a shirt with the logo/emblem/crest but there was no luck. It didn't take me long to search this site before I found what I was looking for. When the shirt arrived it was better than what I expected. I love the t-shirt and wear it with pride and often. Thank you SpecialForces.com

Most Sincerely,
Bryan P.

Thank you!!!

Your Shirts are the best.


Dear SFG,

Thank you for being so prompt with my order, and the refund as well.

I thought a little constructive thoughts were in order.

The "HRT" boot knife is well constructed. I had to "hone" the edge though, both sides,to get it up to spec.

As for the "GI USMC Combat Knife"......Well, it wasn't really a K-Bar, at least not one that I've ever seen. It read "US", and above that it read "Ontario". No worries though, after I used a ceramic sharpening stone on both the small back edge and the full length edge, I'm quite pleased with them both. Oh, I almost forgot, both were very pretty well balanced.

I'll be purchasing again from you in the near future.

Ed Whiteside

Dear Special Forces

I received my order i have to say that is better than i expected! Thank you and you'll hear fom me soon.


They turned out GREAT!!!!!! Thanks. I will be back for other things.


Thanks Folks. As always you have been most polite and professional. Best wishes for a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Jack And Melanie Edgar


OMG! That looks awesome! Is there any logo on the front? Can I buy these off the website? I'm sure a lot of SWCC guys are going to want these!

Thank you,

Amanda Van Every


We love the art work. They are awesome. I'll be ordering mine right after this. Thanks for all the work. I am recommending you guys to all the other battalions and ODA's.



Just to let you know all items have been recieved, fantastic quality as all ways.

Cheers Andrew and best wishes for the New Year.


Welcome to the new Special Forces Gear News Letter! Each month we send out a lot of information and great deals, and to make it easier to read, we've written a summary of the longer articles in this email.

Dave's Message


Gouverneur Morris. Paris, August 10, 1792.
Justum etntenacem propositi virum
Non civium ardor prava jubentium,
Non vultus instantis tyranny
Mente quatit neque Auster
Dux inquieti turbidus Hadriae,
Nec fulminantis magna manus Jovis:
Si fractus illabatur orbis,
Impavidum ferient ruinae.
--Hor., Lib. III. Carm. III.


The 10th of August, 1792, was one of the most memorable days of the French Revolution. It was the day on which the French monarchy received its death-blow, and was accompanied by fighting and bloodshed which filled Paris with Terror. In the morning before daybreak the tocsin had sounded, and not long after the the mob of Paris, headed by the Marseillais, "Six hundred men not afraid to die," who had been summoned there by Barbaroux, were marching upon the Tuileries. The king, or rather the queen, had at last determined to make a stand and to defend the throne. The Swiss Guards were there at the palace, well posted to protect the inner court; and there, too, were the National Guards, who were expected to uphold the government and guard the king. The tide of people poured on through the streets, gathering strength as they went the Marseillais, the armed bands, the Sections, and a vast floating mob. The crowd drew nearer and nearer, but the squadrons of the National Guards, who were to check the advance, did not stir. It is not apparent, indeed, that they made any resistance, and the king and his family at eight o'clock lost heart and deserted the Tuileries, to take refuge with the National Convention. The multitude then passed into the court of the Carrousel, unchecked by the National Guards, and were face to face with the Swiss. Deserted by their king, the Swiss knew not how to act, but still stood their ground. There was some parleying, and at last the Marseillais fired a cannon. Then the Swill fired. They were disciplined troops, and their fire was effective. There was a heavy slaughter and the mob recoiled, leaving their cannon, which the Swiss seized. The Revolutionists, however, returned to the charge, and the fight raged on both sides, the Swiss holding their ground firmly.

Suddenly, from the legislative hall, came an order from the king to the Swiss to cease firing. It was their death warrant. Paralyzed by the order, they knew not what to do. The mob poured in, and most of the gallant Swiss were slaughtered where they stood. Others escaped from the Tuileries only to meet their death in the street. The palace was sacked and the raging mob was in possession of the city. No man's life was safe, least of all those who were known to be friends of the king, who were nobles, or who had any connection with the court. Some of these people whose lives were thus in peril at the hands of the bloodstained and furious mob had been the allies of the United States, and had fought under Washington in the war for American independence. In their anguish and distress their thoughts recurred to the country which they had served in its hour of trial, three thousand miles away. They sought the legation of the United States and turned to the American minister for protection.

Such an exercise of humanity at that moment was not a duty that any man craved. In those terrible days in Paris, the representatives of foreign governments were hardly safer than any one else. Many of the ambassadors and ministers had already left the country, and others were even then abandoning their posts, which it seemed impossible to hold at such a time. But the American minister stood his ground. Gouverneur Morris was not a man to shrink from what he knew to be his duty. He had been a leading patriot in our revolution; he had served in the Continental Congress, and with Robert Morris in the difficult work of the Treasury, when all our resources seemed to be at their lowest ebb. In 1788 he had gone abroad on private business, and had been much in Paris, where he had witnessed the beginning of the French Revolution and had been consulted by men on both sides. In 1790, by Washington's direction, he had gone to London and had consulted the ministry there as to whether they would receive an American minister. Thence he had returned to Paris, and at the beginning Of 1792 Washington appointed him minister of the United States to France.

As an American, Morris's sympathies had run strongly in favor of the movement to relieve France from the despotism under which she was sinking, and to give her a better and more liberal government. But, as the Revolution progressed, he became outraged and disgusted by the methods employed. He felt a profound contempt for both sides. The inability of those who were conducting the Revolution to carry out intelligent plans or maintain order, and the feebleness of the king and his advisers, were alike odious to the man with American conceptions of ordered liberty. He was especially revolted by the bloodshed and cruelty, constantly gathering in strength, which were displayed by the revolutionists, and he had gone to the very verge of diplomatic propriety in advising the ministers of the king in regard to the policies to be pursued, and, as he foresaw what was coming, in urging the king himself to leave France. All his efforts and all his advice, like those of other intelligent men who kept their heads during the whirl of the Revolution, were alike vain.

On August 10 the gathering storm broke with full force, and the populace rose in arms to sweep away the tottering throne. Then it was that these people, fleeing for their lives, came to the representative of the country for which many of them had fought, and on both public and private grounds besought the protection of the American minister. Let me tell what happened in the words of an eye-witness, an American gentleman who was in Paris at that time, and who published the following account of his experiences:
On the ever memorable 10the of August, after viewing the destruction of the Royal Swiss Guards and the dispersion of the Paris militia by a band of foreign and native incendiaries, the writer thought it his duty to visit the Minister, who had not been out of his hotel since the insurrection began, and, as was to be expected, would be anxious to learn what was passing without doors. He was surrounded by the old Count d'Estaing, and about a dozen other persons of distinction, of different sexes, who had, from their connection with the United States, been his most intimate acquaintances at Paris, and who had taken refuge with him for protection from the bloodhounds which, in the forms of men and women, were prowling in the streets at the time. All was silence here, except that silence was occasionally interrupted by the crying of the women and children. As I retired, the Minister took me aside, and observed: "I have no doubt, sir, but there are persons on the watch who would find fault with my conduct as Minister in receiving and protecting these people, but I call on you to witness the declaration which I now make, and that is that they were not invited to my house, but came of their own accord. Whether my house will be a protection to them or to me, God only knows, but I will not turn them out of it, let what will happen to me to which he added, "You see, sir, they are all persons to whom our country is more or less indebted, and it would be inhuman to force them into the hands of the assasins, had they no such claim upon me."

Nothing can be added to this simple account, and no American can read it or repeat the words of Mr. Morris without feeling even now, a hundred years after the event, a glow of pride that such words were uttered at such a time by the man who represented the United States.

After August 10, when matters in Paris became still worse, Mr. Morris still stayed at his post. Let me give, in his own words, what he did and his reasons for it:

The different ambassadors and ministers are all taking their flight, and if I stay I shall be alone. I mean, however, to stay, unless circumstances should command me away, because, in the admitted case that my letters of credence are to the monarchy, and not to the Republic of France, it becomes a matter of indifference whether I remain in this country or go to England during the time which may be needful to obtain your orders, or to produce a settlement of affairs here. Going hence, however, would look like taking part against the late Revolution, and I am not only unauthorized in this respect, but I am bound to suppose that if the great majority of the nation adhere to the new form, the United States will approve thereof; because, in the first place, we have no right to prescribe to this country the government they shall adopt, and next, because the basis of our own Constitution is the indefeasible right of the people to establish it.

Among those who are leaving Paris is the Venetian ambassador. He was furnished with passports from the Office of Foreign Affairs, but he was, nevertheless, stopped at the barrier, was conducted to the Hotel de Ville, was there questioned for hours, and his carriages examined and searched. This violation of the rights of ambassadors could not fail, as you may suppose, to make an impression. It has been broadly hinted to me that the honor of my country and my own require that I should go away. But I am of a different opinion, and rather think that those who give such hints are somewhat influenced by fear. It is true that the position is not without danger, but I presume that when the President did me the honor of naming me to this embassy, it was not for my personal pleasure or safety, but to promote the interests of my country. These, therefore, I shall continue to pursue to the best of my judgment, and as to consequences, they are in the hand of God.

He remained there until his successor arrived. When all others fled, he was faithful, and such conduct should never be forgotten. Mr. Morris not only risked his life, but he took a heavy responsibility, and laid himself open to severe attack for having protected defenseless people against the assaults of the mob. But his courageous humanity is something which would ever be remembered, and ought always to be characteristic of the men who represent the United States in foreign countries. When we recall the French Revolution, it is cheering to think of that fearless figure of the American minister, standing firm and calm in the midst of those awful scenes, with sacked palaces, slaughtered soldiers, and a bloodstained mob about him, regardless of danger to himself, determined to do his duty to his country, and to those to whom his country was indebted.  







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Voice of the Soldier
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Jim Kennedy wrote:

Enjoyed the article on the 10th SFG and Col. Aaron Bank along with the bit about the 10th sending a team to the Belgian Congo.  Lt. Sully de Fontaine and his team included one Charles Ernest "Snake" Hosking (note the spelling Hosking rather than Hoskins). Snake was my weapons sergeant at Minh Thanh on my A team.  A couple of years ago I wrote a self published autobiography and Snake played a prominent role in it. I have provided a slightly modified extract as follows (in Times New Roman typeface):   


Every other Green Beret I ever knew held Snake in the very highest of esteem. At Minh Thanh I usually tried to arrange for him to accompany me on patrols so we could cover each other's back although I obviously couldn't play favorites so it didn't happen all the time. On operations together, I could look at him and almost without speaking know what he was thinking or going to do. But there is a bit more to this story than Snake's heroic action. It involves Snake and an almost certain Courts-Martial. The story goes like this:


Snake had gone into Saigon for five days R&R. While there, and in a bar, a group of White Mice were giving Snake a hard time and a fight broke out. Vietnamese National Police were dressed in white uniforms. And they mostly came from families whose fathers' had money and connections. So their sons got into the National Police avoiding military and combat duty, hence their name of White Mice. During the fight and being greatly outnumbered and with some weapons already drawn, Snake got his "Grease Gun" from his kit bag, screwed the barrel in, loaded it and started shooting up the place.


The Grease Gun is a small sub-machine gun where the barrel can be unscrewed and the long, 30 round magazine removed. It has a collapsible stock. It was a cheap WWII weapon designed for supply to resistance movements in Europe along with some US tank units. It had largely disappeared from the US Army but some were furnished Special Forces. Anyway, during the melee some whiskey and other liquor bottles along with the large mirror behind the bar got shattered by Snake who also put a couple of rounds through the ceiling. At that point the White Mice got out real quick and the girls upstairs and their customers started jumping out of windows. It was almost like a Hollywood western saloon shoot-up. The police - both Vietnamese and American MPs - finally arrived and arrested Snake. They immediately sent him back to camp by helicopter.


I knew that a message from Col. "Mike" de la Pena, our C team CO in Saigon would be coming informing me of the situation and strongly recommending, probably demanding, Courts Martial charges be filed. In my opinion Snake was far too good a soldier to lose. He was a "one in a hundred" soldier. No, he was a "one in ten thousand" soldier. A Courts Martial would probably have busted him down to private, kicked him out of Special Forces and maybe, even probably, dismissed him from the Army with less than honorable service.  So he accepted my offer of Article 15, Non-Judicial punishment. The whole thing took maybe 10 minutes. I fined him about $200 and restricted him to camp and our operational area for 60 days - he wasn't going anywhere else anyway. But for $200 he kept his stripes and had no judicial record.


As expected, Col. Mike got on the secure radio about an hour after Snake returned. He talked to me about the situation and asked when I'd be submitting charges. I could tell by his voice that he had someone standing over his shoulder, probably a senior general from HQ in Saigon, and that he had delayed his call to me as long as he could probably talking to the general and discussing the "finer details" of the case. I told Col. Mike that I'd already given Snake an Article 15 which is a practical, if not a 100%, bar to a Courts-Martial. Col. Mike said that everyone there thought the offense was very serious and deserved Courts-Martial charges. I replied that justice should be swift, hence the Article 15. Col. Mike again said something about everyone back there thought an Article 15 not very appropriate but he left it at that. From his tone and words I could tell that that whoever was looking over his shoulder was not a happy camper but could do nothing about it. Col. Mike never said anything else to me about it after that. He knew Snake very well from previous assignments and I believe he was happy about my Article 15 for Snake.


Snake and I both rotated back to the States shortly thereafter.  I was assigned to the Naval Postgraduate School for my Masters degree and Snake re-upped and returned to Vietnam where he earned a posthumous Medal of Honor. Following my decision to save Snake from a Courts Martial and his earning the Medal of Honor, I felt that my instincts and ability to judge people were probably better than the average paper pusher in some higher HQ. It certainly gave me more self confidence about my personnel decision making. There are probably not a lot of officers that can say they stopped someone from having a Courts-Marshal and then have that person go on to earn the Medal of Honor. Hence my philosophy in personnel decisions and where they should be made is like Harry Truman's, "The buck stops here." However the posthumous part of Snake's Medal of Honor will always weigh on my mind and conscience.  That along with other Vietnam memories kept me awake many a night.  


And here may be the appropriate time to recall George Orwell's (also spoken by Winston Churchill) famous truism, "We sleep safe in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm."  People like Snake defined the paradigm.



Snake's daughter, Gail Hosking Gilberg, has written a book titled "Snake's Daughter" published in 1997 by University Iowa Press, ISBN 0-87745-586-4.  I recommend the book highly.  



De Oppresso Liber


Jim Kennedy

Lt. Col. Retired

5th and 7th Special Forces Groups,

and other assignments 1958-1980


Snake's Medal of Honor reads as follows:


"For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. M/Sergeant Hosking (then Sergeant 1st Class), Detachment A-302, Company A, 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne), 1st Special Forces greatly distinguished himself while serving as company advisor in the III Corps Civilian Irregular Defense Group Reaction Battalion during combat operations in Don Luan District. A Viet Cong suspect was apprehended and subsequently identified as a Viet Cong sniper. While M/Sergeant Hosking was preparing the enemy for movement back to the base camp, the prisoner suddenly grabbed a hand grenade from M/Sergeant Hosking's belt, armed the grenade, and started running towards the company command group which consisted of 2 Americans and 2 Vietnamese who were standing a few feet away. Instantly realizing that the enemy intended to kill the other men, M/Sergeant Hosking immediately leaped upon the Viet Cong's back. With utter disregard for his personal safety, he grasped the Viet Cong in a "Bear Hug" forcing the grenade against the enemy soldier's chest. He then wrestled the Viet Cong to the ground and covered the enemy's body with his body until the grenade detonated. The blast instantly killed both M/Sergeant Hosking and the Viet Cong. By absorbing the full force of the exploding grenade with his body and that of the enemy, he saved the other members of his command group from death or serious injury. M/Sergeant Hosking's risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty are in the highest tradition of the U.S. Army and reflect great credit upon himself and the Armed Forces of his country."


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Test for CC
One Mans True Story of Vietnam
DARPA Cheetah Sets Speed Record for Legged Robots
DARPA Cheetah Sets Speed Record for Legged Robots
Saving Hallowed Ground
Saving Hallowed Ground

Word of Truth
Peaceful Coexistence
The Word Of Truth - Alive and Powerful

By Rev G.J. Rako



Can Christianity coexist with Islam?  Biblical Christianity has always, and will always coexist with any religion, non-religion or anti-religion.  Unfortunately the converse is not true.  Islam will not peacefully coexist with any of the aforementioned categories.  All peoples (infidels) of the earth must convert to the slavery of Islam.  This conversion to their only true god is, has, and will be brought about by the sword.  This is the attitude of the Islamo-fascist.  We see the results of their thinking everyday on the news; homicide bombers, snipers, flying airplanes into tall buildings...  Islam is the religion of peace.  There will be peace on earth when all of its inhabitants have bowed a knee to Islam.  Only then will there be peace and this peace may be brought about by tyranny, brutality, murder, and intimidation.  Convert to Islam or die!  


Biblical Christianity, on the other hand, holds the freedom of the individual to do and believe as he wishes to be a mandate from God, as long as that expression of freedom does not interfere with the freedom, privacy, or property of others.  God does not force us to accept His great plan of salvation.  However, He uses us to spread the good news of our so great salvation to the world.  At the moment we become believers in Jesus Christ, God gives us forty things.  One of these forty things is our unique position as ambassadors for Christ.  As ambassadors for Christ we represent Jesus Christ to a lost and dying world.  We are commanded by the living God to tell others about this free gift of eternal salvation that God has provided to all mankind.  Whether they accept the gift or not is their business.  It is a matter between them and God.


One must ask who is Jesus Christ.  Is He a liar, a lunatic, or was He who He said He was?  To answer this question you have to know what the Scripture says about Him and what He said about Himself.  He is the great "I am"!  When Moses came face to face with the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, God commanded him to tell Pharaoh to let His people go.  Moses said "they will ask me your name, what shall I say to them"?  God answered, "tell them that I am, that I am" (Ex 3:13-14).

The Jews, for thousands of year's referred to God as "I am".  Jesus Himself also said He was the great "I am" (John 8:24, 58).  Indeed Jesus Christ is eternal God, co-equal and co-eternal with God the Father and with God the Holy Spirit.  He became a man, perfect humanity, born without sin as Adam was created without sin, so He could fulfill the Fathers plan of salvation (Heb 10:5-7).  He is the perfect Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world (John 1:29).  He accomplished this when He became our substitute and died spiritually on the cross for every sin that was, or ever would be committed (Rom 5:8, I Pet 2:24).  That is why the scripture says, "And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men, whereby we must be saved, (Acts 4:12).   Jesus said "I am the way, the truth, and the life, no one comes to the Father, but by me" (John 14:6).  Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved (Acts16:31).  There are so many verses that describe to us who and what Jesus Christ is, and how through Him we can have a relationship with the living God.  Know the Scripture and you will know Him.

Ambassadors for Christ present this glorious information to those who are without hope,   and without eternal life.  This is a privilege given to us by God.  God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:9).  No where in Scripture are we told to force our faith on others.  God has provided volition (free will), to all members of the human race.  This means that each of us is free to choose for or against Christ, never under compulsion or fear of reprisal.  The decision must come from a position of freedom, and privacy (please click on my friend's web-site and take the test yourself, www.eph289.com).  

We have enjoyed personal freedom in this nation since its inception. The converts of Islam know nothing of freedom.  To them the freedom itself is evil and sinful and must be destroyed.  This is why they hate us and the west.  The only hope for the Muslim is faith alone in Christ alone.  But we can never force this faith by the sword.  It is simply not God's way of grace.

The question is not can Christianity coexist with Islam but, can Islam coexist with Christianity?  I think not.


Contact Reverend Rako >>  

Blue Warrior
Blue WarriorBlue Warrior


Stop The Violence 


Sgt. French is currently on vacation. Please enjoy this rerun from The Blue Warrior, February 2011.


The clichs are abundant "Cluster Cop" killing, "Active shooters", the "Lone Wolf", "Suicide by Cop" and all the others. These clichs are catchy and they all attract various authors, articles and training opinions. I for one am tired of the clichs. I am tired of so many officers getting shot and brutally assaulted as others try and make sense of the violence.



The Bitter Truth:
Here is what 20 years of police work has taught me, "evil men do evil things". I appreciate the call for research to identify the reasons why the increase in violence against cops is occurring. The problem is it will take some time if not years to develop and implement. The stone cold truth of what it will take, if we want this violence to stop starts in City Hall. The man in the suit running the city will need to start making those unpopular decisions, a strong back bone, an unwavering commitment to support the concept of law enforcement, support his officers and their police departments against the trend of cutting budgets, layoffs, staffing shortages, and ignoring training & equipment problems.

When the "Suites" in this country make this transition then our police agencies can get the unpopular bullet proof glass in the station lobby, issue the unpopular "assault" rifle (as they refer to them) with every handgun, purchase level III ballistic vests & helmets for every officer, issue a Taser with every badge, and stop cutting the training budgets so every officer can get the proper training.  If these starch collars can pull their heads out of the sand then we can make a serious attempt to reduce the violence against our uniformed men and women.

An Over Glamorized Profession:Another concerning observation is that the latest generation grew up watching the popular television series "COPS" and other police shows. It seemed like the 90's glamorized police work. That isn't necessarily bad however; a generation of kids grew up watching these cops always winning their battles. This generation may have volunteered for this job with a clouded perception of an over glamorized profession. In the 70's and 80's men and woman took the oath when pay was horrible and it was cool to hate the cops. These men and woman volunteered because they truly wanted to fight evil. Today we have a mix of the two wearing the badge. Some do it for the glamour and some do it to fight the good fight. The glamour cop; you know who you are, you don't wear your vest, you avoid training like the plague, you post yourself all over the social networks in uniform, you never volunteer for any specialty assignment because its more work, you drive slow to calls were you might get hurt as other cops go flying past you to watch your partners six. You are doing yourself a disservice and most importantly you are endangering other cops. Do us a favor, remove yourself from the Warrior ranks and find a more suitable profession.

Situational Awareness:
Whether you're responding to patrol runs or simply speaking to a citizen, a heightened state of situational awareness can greatly maximize your chances for survival. This alone won't stop active aggression however; your reaction to an attack plays a key role in the outcome. When an officer loses the heightened state of situational awareness they are more vulnerable to attack. Simply because making correct tactical decisions when confronted with an assault requires you to process through the OODA Loop. That may only take a fraction of a second however, that may be all your adversary needs to strike first. At a minimum, that state of mind can contribute to factors, which could lead to a violent attack. Let's face it; an officer that appears unsure of himself and timid most likely has a greater chance of being assaulted.    When you respond to a domestic situation you gather as much information as possible before you arrive, you wait for back up, you grab your baton, check your Taser and enter the home with your hand on your gun. When you speak to the involved parties, you stand in a combat stance, speak with authority, watch your partner with your peripheral vision, and your hand grips the pistol grip and readies to unlock the retention strap in a split second. If you don't do these things, you are whom I was speaking of earlier.We have programmed ourselves through training to react this way at a domestic call. This type of response is a heightened state of "situational awareness". When you leave that domestic call you may drive down the street and park in a parking lot to type your report and you then let your heightened state of situational awareness dissipate. Just about that time some dude approaches your cruiser and it appears he needs directions. You roll down the window and ask the guy "how can I help you"?

Almost every time it's a non-confrontational conversation. However, you grew up watching those television shows and you never saw a guy pull a gun out of his pocket to murder the unsuspecting, willing to help cop, so you just sit there unprepared for a possible attack and answer the mans questions. That could be your last conversation. You must maintain a heighten state of situational awareness in all you do when wearing that uniform. When somebody approaches my cruiser to speak with me my first instinct is to jump out of the car as quickly as possible, if I have enough time. If that's possible then I will speak to the individual as a professional. What that individual doesn't know is that I am in a combat stance, my hand is on my gun and holster ready to draw, I am watching his hands and eyes. I am in a heightened state of situational awareness. If you don't have time to get out of the cruiser place the car in drive and put your foot on the brake, draw your handgun and place it in your lap, and watch the hands and eyes of the person talking with you constantly because it's the hands that will harm you. Not a perfect situation that you're facing but so often these predators are ambushing us when we least expect it. That's what makes them so hard to prevent. These are only two examples of many possible scenarios that could occur on the street. Don't get me wrong this idea of a constant heightened state of situational awareness won't stop a person from attacking you but they may think twice about striking if they feel they may lose the fight. Even if they do strike, there's no doubt in my mind that you're in a better position to respond and that will increase your chances to survive the battle. No matter if you're in a coffee shop or taking a suspicious person report, this state of heightened situational awareness needs to embody your every move. The military has done extensive research on situational awareness and they train our soldiers to great lengths. It's pretty obvious if you're a combat soldier in a war zone you better be dialed in with a great sense of heightened situational awareness or your dead. How does that differ from the everyday duties of the uniformed cop? The recent past has taught us that evil men will attack us in coffee shops, at the front desk of the police lobby, sitting in your cruiser typing a report and every other non threatening task we do an a daily basis.  Accountability:For the past several years the suits have cut the training and equipment budgets to the point of laughable proportions from a cop's perspective. The problem is they haven't walked a day in our shoes and beans are beans to them. Mayors, City Managers and City Councils all talk the talk but behind closed political doors policing in America is run like a business. That may be one of the greatest contributing factors in this equation and I hope these studies include these factors into their million-dollar research. If you agree that we must conduct ourselves tactically like a combat soldier but with a professional response and a courteous smile then the policy makers need to stop running police departments like a commercial business and run it for what it is. The military runs their branches of service like the war machines that they are. They are well equipped, well trained and have great resources.  Leave it to us to walk that Thin Blue line of violence and professional police service.  We are peacekeepers that are willing to combat evil men at the expense of our own lives. We don't do this for glamour or money. It's hard to verbalize to a sheep the inner calling we feel when we chose this profession. This is why they will grieve with us when an officer is murdered but behind closed doors they are so willing to neglect their duties to provide us with money, equipment, training and other resources.


No matter how much money or training you throw at this problem of increasing cop violence the reality is if an evil man wants to ambush you he will. He has the greatest advantage at his disposal. He has the element of surprise. Evil men know police are reactive to confrontations. The way to minimize this advantage is a heightened state of awareness and preparation. Assuming that everybody you come into contact with may be a potential threat can help you recognize an ambush before it occurs.  

The Future:

As time passes and theses studies draw their conclusions more cops will be assaulted and murdered. The Suits will sympathize with our cause as they offer support but behind closed doors they will continue to think of schemes to save money at our expense. The great articles of fact-finding will be published and the officer's tactics and decisions will be scrutinized at great lengths. We will be required to be even greater super heroes than that which is already expected of us. Once I sought a legal opinion from an attorney regarding an officer involved shooting. After months of being delayed he finally responded with "It's taken me a long time to research this so I could get this correct. I want the officers to have the correct answer". Although his intentions were noble my reply was laughter, and then I said "funny, you got months to get this right and my officers had seconds". This is the super hero world we work in and when it costs us our life the clichs, finger pointing and studies are abundant. Here is the simple truth "evil men roam this earth and evil men do evil things". In the end, when time has passed nothing will have changed except, that the Peace Keepers will be ready to battle evil on our own terms.

Stay safe,

Sgt. Glenn French  


About the author

Glenn French, a Sergeant with the Sterling Heights (Mich.) Police Department, has 22 years police experience and currently serves as the Team Commander for the Special Response Team, and Sergeant of the Sterling Heights Police Department Training Bureau. He has 14 years SWAT experience and served as a Sniper Team Leader, REACT Team Leader, and Explosive Breacher.



He is the author of the award-winning book "Police Tactical Life Saver" which has been named the 2012 Public Safety Writers Association Technical Manual of the year. Glenn is also the President ofwww.tacticallifesaver.org.



Glenn has instructed basic and advanced SWAT / Tactical officer courses, basic and advanced Sniper courses, Cold Weather / Winter Sniper  Operations and Active Shooter Response courses, Tactical Lifesaver Course and others. Sgt French served in the U.S. Army. During his military tenure Sgt French gained valuable experience in C.Q.B., infantry tactics and explosive breaching operations.



Survival and Disaster Preparedness
Getting Dirt Time

One of the greatest tools those with a desire to become more self-reliant is the internet. It's allowed information and ideas to be shared like never before but it's also led many to become more addicted to gaining or hording knowledge than applying the knowledge they gain. Thus, we've seen an army of armchair survivalist rise up in the virtual sense that have the book smarts but lack the real world
experience that would sharpen their skills base. Dirt Time is a phrase used to describe getting out in the field to hone your craft. By putting in dirt time you'll be able to sift through the knowledge base you've amassed in your online studies to find what works for you, in your situation, location and what your budget would allow. There have been so many grabbing up the tools for survival or self-reliance and just putting them away thinking that they'll pull them out when needed only to continue their online study and brag in their groups about the cool new toys they have.

If you have cool toys and don't know how to use them and are not practiced with them, you're destined to fail. If you plan on pulling them out when the SHTF- you'll be too late. The time to use them is now!
Get proficient with all the tools you have, put the knowledge you have gained to work for you NOW, before you need it and his will allow you to begin pulling back from the system. If you have a wood burning stove and are still running electric heat because you're too lazy to collect or cut wood- what will you do when the SHTF and everyone begins hording wood at the same time? You'll have less to collect
and cutting will more than likely be by hand instead of chainsaw. Get out there, put in some dirt time and save that money on the power bill and put it to use in other areas you need to bolster your preps, training or gear. Begin looking over your monthly bills to see where you can really cut back- NO, REALLY LOOK... Do you really need that smart phone for $100+/ month or can you get by with a semi-smart Tracfone that provides triple minutes with each purchase? Tracfones win in my books because they're burners- you can upgrade anytime with minimal costs, you can take advantage of the best local carrier by selecting a certain phone and the triple minutes on many phones mean you're not spending money every month on a cell bill. Do you really need that Sports Package on Cable or Satellite? I promise you do not- watch online and spend that extra money or your preps while you still can. Perhaps you're one that has some alternative energy equipment you're saving back for when the SHTF- waiting, really? Test it now and get used to the system, learn to repair it and take the money savings to buy extra parts or additional models. Dirt Time applies to everything in survival, defense, preparedness, hunting, trapping, etc. You MUST put in the time to test your knowledge and skill so that you're not fumbling through it when it's needed most.

Invest in classes that promote hands on or experience based education and involve your family whenever possible. Our school KY River Bushcraft and our partner The Pathfinder School both offer such
classes at affordable rates. Such classes also enable you to network with other like-minded people face to face instead of through the veil of online usernames which never let us truly know with whom we're
sharing our knowledge or personal information. It's time to stop putting your preps, training and dirt time on the back burner or perhaps more literally, the shelf. Time is running out!


About the author:
Jason Hunt is the President of Frontier Christian University a school that equips people in Biblical survival and preparedness ministries and he's the Chief Instructor at Hunt Survival, Inc. a survival & preparedness training company. He's also the author of The Tribulation Survival Guide.


Leading Concepts

Performance Coaching, Counseling and Leadership Principles


Counseling is a basic responsibility of every leader and an important part of supporting individual team members. A person-to-person relationship recognizes and encourages good performance. Its principle objectives are improving well being, resolving problems, and developing the counselee.


Responsibilities for Counseling


Leaders at all levels have a responsibility to assist and develop team members through coaching and guidance. All leaders must be coaches, trainers and teachers. If leaders do not counsel their own team members, they are not doing what is necessary to grow individuals and teams.


If a leader fails to counsel, he has failed to fulfill a major leadership responsibility. When evaluating the performance of junior leaders, a leader must consider how often and how well the junior leader counsels his team members. People expect to be told how they are performing and have a right to seek assistance and guidance from their leaders, which, in turn, enables individuals to learn from the experience and knowledge of their leader. These one-on-one relationships foster individual growth and improved organization and team performance.

It is an absolute requirement that leaders regularly counsel the people they are responsible for leading.


Leader Actions


Counseling requires that your actions demonstrate knowledge, understanding, judgment and ability. It involves learning and applying techniques for more effective counseling skills which show a caring attitude of sincere concern-the most effective characteristic for effective counseling. Moreover, your conduct must be consistent with that if you are to be an effective coach. Leaders must not just say they are concerned; they must do things to show concern for their people's well-being.


To be an effective counselor, you must set a proper example and be ethical in all personal and professional actions. You must know your own duties, your team members job requirements, and your individual team members capabilities and limitations. You must understand what methods of counseling they are most comfortable with. Above all, you must demonstrate the standards of personal conduct and the performance expected of your team members.


In developing proper attitudes and behaviors, you should be aware of the particular aspects of effective counseling. These include:

  • Flexibility-Fitting the counseling style to the unique character of each team member and to the relationship desired.
  • Respect-Respecting individuals as unique compelling people with their own sets of beliefs, values, and norms.
  • Communication-Establishing an open, two-way communication with team members, using both spoken language and non-verbal actions, gestures and body language. Effective counselors listen more than they talk.
  • Support-Supporting and encouraging team members through actions and interest while guiding them through their problems.
  • Motivation-Getting every team member to actively participate in coaching/counseling and teaching team members the value of counseling. Team members will respond differently. Those who need and want counseling are more likely to profit from it, but your concern must also extend to those who need, but do not want, counseling.
  • Purpose-Seeking to develop responsible and self-reliant team members who can solve their own problems.

You must be aware that much of the information an individual gives during a coaching session is given in confidence. As a rule, this information should not be passed on without the individual's consent. This may be overridden, however, by your responsibility to keep the others informed, especially with regard to ethics and safety.


There are as many approaches to counseling as there are counselors and counselees. Effective leaders approach each individual as an individual and probably never use the same approach with other team members. The broad approaches used in counseling are:

  • Directive
  • Non-Directive
  • Combined

During counseling sessions, you must be flexible in selecting your approach. The personality of the individual physical surroundings and the amount of time available will influence the approach you choose.




The directive approach to counseling is counselor-centered. It is a simple, quick approach to problem solving that provides short-term solutions. This approach assumes the leader has all the skills and knowledge to asses the situation and offer courses of action. It uses clear thinking and reason and combines suggesting, persuading, confronting and directing specific actions to obtain the results desired by the leader.


The leader does most of the talking - states the problem, identifies the causes, offers explanations, gives advice and offers a list of solution options available.


This approach may be appropriate if an individual's problem solving skills are limited or if the team member is immature or insecure and needs guidance. Often, a team member prefers guidance and seeks this kind of counsel.


Sometimes, the directive approach is the only method that can be used, especially with an unresponsive team member or individuals who will not make a connection between their behavior and its' consequences. This approach may also be the best way to correct a simple problem quickly. The final decision regarding a problem rests with the individual. When the counselor has selected a course of action, rather than assisting the individual to select one, the individual's only decision is to accept or reject the solution.




The non-directive approach to counseling is individual-centered. The counselor influences the individual to take responsibility for solving the problem and helps the team member become self-reliant. This approach is usually more relaxed and focuses on self-discovery, so it takes longer than the directive approach. In the non-directive approach, the counselee has the opportunity to work out solutions to the problem through personal insight, judgment and realization of facts. However, counselees must understand and fully accept two basic rules. First, defensive attitudes must not prevent discussing the problems openly and honestly. Second, individuals must understand that they will be responsible for the problem-solving process and for the resulting decisions.


This type of counseling session is partially structured by the counselor. It is necessary that the individual understands and accepts responsibility for selecting the topic of discussion, defining the problem and making all decisions. Structuring includes informing the counselee about the counseling process, what is expected, and allotting a certain amount of time for each session.


The non-directive approach provides sheltered situations in which team members can look inside themselves. They can realize a freedom to be what they want to be, feel as they want to feel and think as they want to think. The result is individuals who better understand themselves. This self-understanding usually comes gradually from their personal insight into problems and their attempts to solve these problems. For this reason, non-directive counseling is far more time consuming and can involve many counseling sessions.


The leader communicates to the individual that someone is interested in listening to his problem. The leader is not the decision maker or advice giver but rather a listener. He tries to clarify statements, cause the individual to bring out important points, understand the situation and summarize what was said. The leader should avoid giving solutions or opinions. He may, however, provide certain facts when the individual requests or needs them to continue.




In the combined approach to counseling, the leader uses part of the directive and non-directive approaches. This allows the leader to adjust the technique to emphasize what is best for the team member. There isn't one single-best approach for all situations. The combined approach, which blends the leader's ability and personality to fit the situation, is the most frequent choice.


The combined approach assumes that the individual must eventually be responsible for planning and decision-making. The individual will take charge of solving the problem but may need some help along the way. This approach allows both the leader and the team member to participate in defining, analyzing and solving the problem. Still, the purpose is to develop self-reliant team members who can solve their own problems. The leader can be directive, however, when a team member seems unable to make decisions or to solve a particular problem. In counseling an individual for poor performance, it may be best to switch to a non-directive approach.


The technique involved in the combined approach often follows the problem-solving process. While the individual is talking, the counselor should listen for information to define the problem. This will help form a basis for suggesting solutions. He may suggest all the possible courses of action, or he may suggest just a few and then encourage the individual to suggest the others. The counselor helps analyze each possible solution to determine its' good and bad points and its' possible side effects. The counselor then helps the individual decide which solution is best for him and the particular situation. The team member is enabled and encouraged to assume as much responsibility as possible. The decision whether or not to implement a solution is the individuals.


Basic Skills


The most difficult part of counseling is applying the proper techniques to specific situations. To be effective the technique must fit the situation, your capabilities, and the individual's expectations. In some cases, a problem may call for a brief word of praise. In other situations, structured counseling followed by definite action may be appropriate.

A leader may learn one or two techniques but still may lack the skills necessary to be an effective counselor.


All leaders should seek to develop and improve their counseling skills. Counseling skills are developed by studying human behavior, knowing the kinds of problems that affect individuals, and becoming good at dealing with people. These skills, acquired through study and through practical application of counseling techniques, vary with each session. They can generally be grouped as:

  • Listening and Watching
  • Responding
  • Guiding

Listening and Watching


Listening and watching skills involve the counselor concentrating on what the individual says and does. Thus, the counselor can tell whether or not the individual accepts what is said, understands what is important and understands what the counselor is trying to communicate.


Spoken words by themselves are only part of the message. For example, the leader must recognize the amount and type of emotion used by an individual when describing his concerns or problems. The emotion provides a clue to determine whether the individual is a symptom or the problem itself. The tone of voice, the inflection, the pauses, the speed, the look on the individual's face, are all parts of the total message.


One important skill is active listening. Part of active listening is concentrating on what the individual is saying. Another part is letting the individual know the counselor is understanding what is said. Elements of active listening that the counselor should consider include:

  • eye contact
  • posture / attentive silence
  • head nod / one-word responses
  • facial expressions
  • verbal behavior
  • paraphrasing
  • in / out note taking

Active listening also means listening thoughtfully and deliberately to the way an individual says things and being alert for common themes of discussion. Opening and closing statements, as well as recurring references, may indicate the ranking of his or her priorities. 


Inconsistencies and gaps may indicate that the individual is not discussing the real problem or is hiding something. Often, an individual who comes to the leader with a problem is not seeking help for that problem; rather he is looking for a way to get help with another, more threatening problem. Confusion and uncertainty may indicate where questions need to be asked.


While listening, the counselor must also be aware of the individual's non-verbal behavior. These actions are part of the total message being sent. Many situations involve strong personal feelings. The individual's actions can demonstrate the feelings behind the words. Not all actions are proof of an individual's feelings, but they must be watched. It is important to note differences between what the individual is saying and doing.




Responding skills are a follow-up to listening and watching skills. From time to time the leader needs to check his understanding of what the individual is saying. The counselor's response to the individual should clarify what has been said. Responses should also encourage the individual to continue. As part of active listening, responding skills allow a leader to react to nonverbal clues that the individual is giving. Responding can be done by questioning, paraphrasing, interpreting and informing.


Questioning - this is the key to the counseling process. The what, when, who, where and how questions fit most counseling situations. When used properly, well-thought-out questions can actively involve the individual in his own problem. But a leader who asks a constant stream of questions is saying, "I'll ask the questions, you give the information, then I'll tell you what to do."


Paraphrasing - this pulls together all the information that an individual has given. It is also a way for the counselor to check his understanding of what the individual has said. Paraphrasing is done by restating the message in the counselor's own words and watching the individual's reaction. This prevents the individual from rambling on once a topic has been thoroughly discussed. It clarifies what has been said and stimulates further discussion.


Interpreting - this is giving information that may help or change the individual's views. The information may have come from what the individual has just said. The individual can also be confronted with information provided by the counselor. The information may be needed by the individual to continue or may be in answer to something he has asked the leader. Informing can also be used to show the individual how his behavior may lead to further conflicts, trouble and confusion.

Guiding - Guiding skills can add structure and organization to counseling. A leader uses problem-solving and decision-making skills to help the individual reach a solution. It is relatively simple to use these skills when using the directive approach. It is not so simple to guide the individual throughout the process of examining the situation, setting the goal, and then, determining how to reach it. The individual should be led through the steps in such a way that he determines what needs to be done.


The Counseling Process


Preparation is the key to a successful coaching session. Sometimes, however, planning is not possible. This is the case when an individual asks for immediate help or when you give a pat on the back or make an on-the-spot correction. In such situations, however, knowing the individuals and their roles/responsibilities mentally prepares you to respond to their needs. This allows you to always provide effective and timely guidance.


In preparation for scheduled counseling sessions, you should consider the following points:

  • Notify the individual
  • Schedule the best time
  • Choose a suitable place
  • Decide the right atmosphere
  • Plan the discussion



Performance counseling informs the individuals about their jobs and the expected performance standards and provides feedback on actual performance. Individual performance includes appearance, conduct, goal accomplishment and the way responsibilities are carried out. The purpose of counseling may be to help an individual maintain or improve a satisfactory level of performance or improve performance that is below standards. Good leaders issue clear guidance and then give honest feedback to let individuals know how they have performed.

Honest feedback is essential for motivating individuals and controlling a team's performance. You must first observe the individuals performance of duty, his ability to complete an assignment and his approach to accomplishing a task/goal. Those things that have been done well or that show improvement must be praised. The contribution that the individual's performance has made to the Team should also be noted. This reinforces the importance of his duties and helps to foster team cohesion. Feedback should also include ways to improve performance.


Performance counseling needs to be done continuously as part of your roles as teacher and coach.


Note to the Leader:

Counseling is what will help you develop cohesive teams and cultivate mature team members. Performance counseling is all about growing others around you. It should be done on a consistent basis;monthly, bi-monthly or quarterly at a minimum. Problem-solving counseling should be done as often as needed. Counseling is especially helpful with driving and leading change. Additionally, counseling should be used to reinforce desired behavior and redirect non-desired behavior of individuals and Teams. On the business battlefield people are the only competitive advantage, so use coaching/counseling to grow your team members, one by one and lead your team to success.

Lead the way!



About the author:
Dean Hohl has been leading teams and coaching individuals professionally since 1993. From '88 - '92 Dean served with 3rd Ranger Battalion during which he helped in the removal of Manuel Noriega in 1989 when he parachuted onto a hostile Panamanian airstrip.

He graduated Ranger School with honors earning one of two distinguished "Merrill's Marauders" awards; an award earned only by two each class and chosen by his peer group for demonstrating exceptional teamwork, leadership, and communication under long periods of stress and pressure - often the result of days without food or sleep - throughout the entire 72 day course. Dean completed his Ranger service with honor at the rank of Sergeant.




Warrior's Wisdom

Warriors Wisdom 
One of the most interesting treatises ever written on warfare dates from this period. Sun Tau's The Art of War, written probably around the mid-fourth century B.C. In thirteen relatively short chapters, this brilliant philosopher-general displayed a strategic and tactical insight as unorthodox as it was astute, and the work undoubtedly caused neighboring rulers much uneasiness. Often standing at odds with Greco-Roman military doctrines (as we believe we know them), it is essentially a demand for an indirect approach to war at political, strategic, and tactical levels.         By Sun Tzu's time, war had become" . . . a matter of vital importance to the State; the province of life or death, the road to survival or ruin." Such are disadvantages of war to the state that it should be avoided whenever possible clever diplomacy (which should utilize high-level espionage). Able statesmanship, by isolating and demoralizing the potential enemy, should defeat him before the combat stage is reached. In Sun Tzu's mind" . . . to win one hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the acme of skill. To subdue the enemy without fighting is the acme of skill"  Sun Tzu recommended that a state go to war only if the diplomatic offensive failed. But a state should do this only after making a carful estimate of the situation to determine if human, physical, and doctrinal factors favored rapid victory," . . . for there has never been a protracted war from which a country has benefited."
        If a state decided on battle, the able general must pay closest attention to such factors as terrain, weather, and enemy plans, ". . . for the crux of military operations lies in the pretence of accommodating one's self to the designs of the enemy."  Therefore: ". . . Know the enemy, know yourself; your victory will then be total. "         Sun Tzu insisted that both strategy and tactics be fashioned with the knowledge that ". . . all warfare is based on deception":
 " . . . Therefore, when capable, feign incapacity; when active, inactivity. When near, make it appear that you are far away; when far away, that you are near." The able general must maneuver his army in such away as ". . . to make the devious route the most direct and to turn misfortune to advantage." The commander who understands the strategy of the indirect approach "will be victorious."  
        Having "shaped" his enemy by his own foresight, by careful terrain appreciation, the general next deployed two tactical elements: the cheng, or unorthodox force, normally used to hold the enemy, and the ch'i, or unorthodox force, normally used to attack the enemy's flanks and rear. These two forces ". . . are mutually reproductive; their interaction as endless as that of interlocked rings. Who can determine where one ends and the other begins?" The one complements the other, his potential is that of a fully drawn crossbow; his timing, the release of the trigger."       
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Aesop's Fables

A pigeon, oppressed by excessive thirst, saw a goblet of water painted on a signboard. Not supposing it to be only a picture, she flew towards it with a loud whir and unwittingly dashed against the signboard, jarring herself terribly. Having broken her wings by the blow, she fell to the ground, and was caught by one of the bystanders.
Zeal should not outrun discretion.

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Quotes & Jokes



"A Mighty Fortress is Our God"

 And though this world, with devils filled,
Should threaten to undo us;
We will not fear, for God has willed
His truth to triumph through us.
The prince of darkness grim----
We tremble not for him;
His rage we can endure,
For lo!  his doom is sure,
One little word shall fell him.

"Orthodox generals of antiquity on occasion produced victory, sometimes against great odds, by introducing unorthodox tactics to the battlefield."  
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  • 50M Water Resistant
  • Analog Digital Watch
  • Illuminating Light
  • Day and Date  
  • Stopwatch
  • Chime
  • 3 Alarms
  • Countdown Timer
  • 2 Time Zones
  • PU Strap


Clichs of Socialism
"If government doesn't relieve distress, who will?"
President Grover Cleveland, vetoing a congressional appropriation of $10,000 to buy seed grain for drought-stricken Texans, may have given us all the answer we need to this clich:
        "The friendliness and charity of our countrymen can always be relied upon to relieve their fellow-citizens in misfortune...Federal aid in such cases encourages the expectation of paternal care on the part of the government and weakens the sturdiness of our national character, while it prevents the indulgence among our people of that kindly sentiment and conduct which strengthens the bonds of a common brotherhood."
         No doubt many of the congressmen who voted this appropriation were sincerely asking, "If the federal government does not save these poor Texans, who will?" President Cleveland had only to veto the measure and write an explanation. But we private citizens have no power beyond reason and suasion. What, then, might we have said? This would be one honest answer: "I am not clairvoyant and, thus, do not know who willrelieve these people. However, I do know that Texans acting on their own initiative and with their own resources will take care of themselves better than they will be taken care of by any number of politicians imitating Robin Hood and applying the theories of Karl Marx."
        The question, "If government does not relieve distress, who will?" is illogical. No one can ever answer, who will? Thus, the clich-maker wins his implied point without a struggle-unless one lays claim to clairvoyance or exposes the fakery of the question.
        Every reader of these lines can prove to himself, by reflecting on personal experiences, that the relief of distress is an unpredictable event. Time after time, each of us with no preconception, has observed distress and then taken steps to relieve it-with his own income!
        Prior to the nineteen thirties, before the federal government assumed responsibility for "relief," no one could have foretold who would come to whose rescue; yet, since 1623, there is no record of famine or starvation in this country. Among a people where the principles of freedom were more widely practiced and government more limited than elsewhere, there has been less distress and more general well-being than history had ever recorded. Societies saddled with bureaucracy have no record of coming to the aid of free societies; it has always been the other way round.
        Charity is a personal virtue. When government does not undertake police grants-in-aid-"relief"-millions of adults stand as guardians against distress. Their available charitable energy is totally at work observing distress in its neighborly detail, judging and coming to the rescue with the fruits of the labor of each charitable person. And on occasions of major disaster, there has been a voluntary pooling of individual resources, often extravagant.
        What happens when government takes over? Charity gives way to politics. Funds coercively collected are dispensed to individual according to group, class, or occupational category. This has no semblance of charity; it is the robbery of Peter to pay Paul. Further, when government constructs a feeding trough and fills it with fruits forcible extorted from the citizenry, it creates new claimants and aggravates the problem it set out to solve.
        It is not only the so-called "relief" projects that are based on this same tired clich, but most other cases of government intervention in our society: "If the government doesn't level mountains and fill valleys, drain swamps and water deserts, build highways over waters and seaways over land, subsidize failure and penalize productivity and thrift, send men to the moon and promise the moon to mankind, and a thousand and one other projects-if the government doesn't do these things, that is, force taxpayers to do them, who will? And more often than not the answer is that probably no one in his right mind would ever think of doing such things-at his own risk, with his own money. Eventually, a time might come when some ingenious person would see a way to do one or more of these jobs, in hope of profit, and would take the chance. But there is no way to determine in advance who that pioneer might be. The most that can be done is to leave men free, for only among free men do pioneers emerge. Freedom affords every opportunity, in charitable enterprises or on the market, for the best-not the worst-to rise topside. 
L. E. R. 
What Has Really Changed?

What Has Really Changed?
The greatest War on Poverty
 is a successful corporation 

Hundreds-often thousands-of people did without things they wanted, saved their money, bought machines with it, hired men to run the machines, sold the products at a profit so they could buy more machines and hire more men and sell more products and make more profit.

That is what every well managed corporation does, and the bigger it is the, more anti-poverty war it can wage. And the corporation doesn't take taxes, it pays them-as well as providing jobs. So anyone or anything that interferes with profit and savings (slow-down, featherbedding, excessive taxes, unearned wage increases, government hostility) -helps kill the only thing which can provide jobs and decrease poverty.


Government cannot create prosperity. Profit invested in better machines so efficiently operated they create more profit is the one and only way to win the war everyone wants to win-the war on poverty and unemployment.

Obamacare Summed Up in One Sentence
Obamacare Summed Up in One Sentence


The Basics of War and How
the U.S. Went Wrong

Monday, 24 September 2012 05:32 Col. Thomas Snodgrass

In view of the public frustration with a decade of largely unsuccessful U.S. war in Iraq and Afghanistan and the impending cuts to the U.S. military budget, there is an active debate at present as to what military strategy and force structure should be fashioned for the future. Unfortunately, many taxpayers and most politicians are totally illiterate when it comes to the subject of warfare. (Judging from the dismal results in the last ten years, a similar conclusion might to drawn concerning the U.S. officer corps.) In an attempt to fill this critical knowledge void and perhaps raise the level of the on-going national defense dialogue, this essay is offered to provide the lay reader with an awareness of the basics of warfare.

One qualifying note is that this essay will not deal with the morality of war or justification for going to war. While understanding "just war theory" is integral to the study of warfare, it is beyond the scope of this essay, which is intended to focus on the "how of war," rather than the "why of war."
The appropriate place to begin a discussion of war is with the purpose of war as defined by Carl von Clausewitz in his masterwork, On War:

WAR THEREFORE IS AN ACT OF VIOLENCE INTENDED TO COMPEL OUR OPPONENT TO FULFIL OUR WILL . . . Violence, that is to say, physical force (for there is no moral force without the conception of States and Law), is therefore the MEANS; the compulsory submission of the enemy to our will is the ultimate object. In order to attain this object fully, the enemy must be disarmed, and disarmament becomes therefore the immediate OBJECT of hostilities in theory, ~ Carl von Clausewitz, On War, p. 87, Princeton University Press, 1989. (Capitalization emphasis in original text)
Elsewhere in the document, Clausewitz delineates the specific conditions that must be attained in order to compel the enemy to fulfill the victor's will:

. . . victory consists not only in the occupation of the battlefield, but in the destruction of the enemy's physical and psychic forces, which is usually not attained until the enemy is pursued after a victorious battle . . . ~ On War, p. 71

So, with appropriate deference to Clausewitz, war reduced to the most fundamental equation is WAR = MOTIVATION (psychic forces) + CAPABILITY (physical forces).  Historical war motivations have been religious, politico-nationalist, geo-strategic, economic, and revanchism, while capability is composed of firepower and re-supplying that firepower (logistics).  Remove one or both of these motivation and capability factors in war, and the war is over in short order. It should be noted that in war a combatant must not only attempt to destroy the opponent's motivation and capability, it is also imperative to safeguard one's own motivation and capability.


EXCLUSIVE: Parents of SEAL Team Six member say unit endangered by Obama administration statements


Identifying the Special Operations Force behind the Usama bin Laden raid amounted to placing a target on the back of the team members as well as their families, according to the parents of Aaron Vaughn, a member of SEAL Team Six who was killed in Afghanistan in 2011.

The Vaughns spoke with Fox News as part of an ongoing report on the war in Afghanistan for an upcoming episode of the "Fox Files." While the Vaughns do not believe their son was part of the bin Laden mission, they said the entire team shared the victory, and eventually the shock, of being named.


"Aaron called me and said, 'Mom, you need to wipe your social media clean of any reference to me or any of my buddies. Just disconnect completely,'" Karen Vaughn said her son warned after Vice President Biden publicly identified the SEALs on May 3, 2011 -- two days after the raid.  "He [Aaron] actually said to me, 'Mom, there's chatter, and all of our lives could be in danger, including yours' ... then I realized all of those families, you know, you're talking about a community of around three hundred families who were all of a sudden made targets by this administration."


With Tuesday marking 11 years since the Sept. 11 attacks, the Vaughns said that the terror strike gave their son the drive to join the elite Navy SEALs, adding that a "passion stirred in his heart."


But Aaron's father Billy Vaughn said it was a betrayal to identify these selfless young men who put their country before everything else.

"We expect better out, out of the, the high-up's in our government. We, as American citizens, look to our government.  We elect them, we look to them to take care of the best interests of the American citizen, and especially the warrior. And I believe what the administration did, then I believe it was criminal."


Karen Vaughn stressed that SEAL Team Six members want to stay private.


"I can tell you one thing, SEAL Team Six did not want to be identified," Karen Vaughn said. "So it wasn't that they were trying to be proud of them, because those men do not need a pat on the back. They don't work for that. They spend their entire lives in this code of secrecy and privacy, and [...] they do not want attention."


She said members of the Navy SEALs may be "the most humble men you will ever meet on this earth, because they accomplish great things," but that does not mean they seek recognition for their efforts.

Three months after bin Laden was killed, on August 6, 2011, Aaron Vaughn died when his helicopter was shot down in Afghanistan. He was among 17 SEALs killed in the incident. A total of 30 service members lost their lives that day serving their nation.


The Vaughns are now speaking publicly about their son, what it meant to lose him in Afghanistan, and they are sharing their experience with other military families. One day they hope to extend their support of the U.S. Military by setting up a foundation called "Operation Three Hundred."  Their goal is a yearly camp for the kids who have lost a parent, like Aaron's two children.


Asked whether they could accept that the administration identified the SEALS because they were so grateful, Billy Vaughn flatly rejected the suggestion.  "No matter how proud they were of it, it was very unprofessional. The fact, they could have, the administration could have said special operators."


Fox News asked the White House National Security spokesman and the vice president's office for a response, but none was immediately available.  


The Return of the M1911 .45 ACP?
Marine Corps purchase of 12,000 M45 Close Quarter Battle Pistols could mean the iconic .45 ACP is the shape of things to come
The Colt M45 Close Quarters Battle Pistol in .45 ACP, an M1911 by any other name, is being purchased by the Marine Corps in large numbers. Colt Defense photo

When the Marine Corps' Systems Command in Quantico announced in late July it was awarding a five-year, $22.5 million contract to Colt for roughly 12,000 new M45 Close Quarter Battle Pistols, speculation immediately erupted that it might actually be the first indication that the tenure of the U.S. military's current standard service sidearm, the much-detested, 9mm Beretta, might finally be ending.

Quantico, of course, insists this is not the case at all, that the M45s are merely destined for MARSOC, Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command, whose elite troops use a wide variety of non-standard weapons, including an earlier MEUSOC M45 version of the M1911, in their deployments. Perhaps if the M45 were any other weapon, their explanation might be more readily accepted. But since the M45 is the latest name for the M1911 .45-caliber ACP automatic pistol, it's hard not to attach deeper meaning into it.

Probably nothing in the Pentagon's long history ever stirred quite as much controversy and anger as its 1985 decision to replace the M1911 with the 9mm M9 Beretta. The M1911 had been in continuous use since before World War I and had reputation as a tough, reliable, hard hitting weapon. In its nearly eighty years in the American military inventory, it had undergone only a few, extremely minor, modifications during the 1920s, stemming from experience gained using it in the trenches.

The M1911 had its origin in the 1890s, when the Army first began looking into what were then called self-loading pistols to replace the many different types of revolvers it was then using. With the Indian Wars behind them, the Army turned to smaller caliber revolvers, including the M1892 .38 Long Colt. While it worked well enough against Spaniards and Cubans during the short, Spanish American War, its performance against highly-motivated, fanatical, often drug-crazed Moro tribesmen during the Philippine Pacification was a much different story. Even when shot multiple times at close range with the .38, the Moros wouldn't go down. It was enough to make the Army decide to develop a much larger caliber automatic pistol.

Sgt. Jude Calin, with 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit's Maritime Interception Operations (MIO) assault force, practices quick magazine change drills on a M1911A1 .45 pistol during training at the NATO Maritime Interception Operations Training Center (NMIOTC) in Souda Bay, Crete, Nov. 9, 2010. USMC Photo by Master Sgt. Christopher Matt
Beginning in 1904, the Army ran competitive tests that continued through 1911. The competition boiled down to two designs; one from Savage, the other from Colt. The Colt pistol was the brainchild of John Browning, the great American firearms designer. His design operated on the short recoil principle, in which the locked barrel and slide recoil only a short distance, then unlock and separate. It also utilized the gas energy from a fired cartridge to eject the empty casing and then reload the next round into the chamber.

Both the Colt and Savage designs underwent numerous modifications as they progressed through the testing. In the final phase of the tests, each pistol had six thousand rounds fired from it over a two-day period. Whenever the guns got hot, they were cooled by being dunked into water. While the Colt continued to operate flawlessly, the Savage reported thirty-seven malfunctions. In the end the Colt was picked, being given the designation M1911, for the year of its adoption by the armed forces.

Besides being tough and reliable, the M1911's great virtue as a weapon was its incredible stopping power. Simply put, whatever it hit, went down. It served surpassingly well throughout both world wars, Korea, Vietnam, and all the little conflicts in between.


Not that the M1911 didn't have its share of detractors. It was heavy, had excessive kick and was notoriously inaccurate at anything beyond close quarters. This has been found to be due to two factors: one mechanical, the other the shooter.

Most experts agree that mechanical accuracy of the M1911 is dependent on several things: maintaining a good vertical lockup and a snug hood-to-slide fit between the barrel and the bushing as well as between the bushing and the slide. This is a problem that can be fixed with a few dollars worth of parts. In a sense, the real problem is that proficiency using an M1911 pistol requires constant practice and .45 ACP rounds are not cheap.

Cpl. Aaron Cardenas (left), a security element team leader of the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit's Battalion Landing Team, 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, fires the MEUSOC .45-caliber pistol as Cpl. Aaron Hyman (right), a Deep Reconnaissance Platoon team leader with the MEU, coaches at the range in Guam, during a close quarters battle firing drill. Marine armorers custom-built almost 800 MEUSOC M45s with specially selected parts. The new purchase of M45s will be built by Colt. DoD photo by Lance Cpl. Kamran Sadaghiani.
By the later 1970s, there was pressure both within and outside the services to replace the M1911 with something lighter, cheaper and of smaller caliber. By this point there were, for the first time, significant numbers of women in the ranks as well as soldiers of smaller physical stature. Many complained that the .45-caliber pistol, with its weight and kick, constituted overkill. At the same time, there was pressure from NATO to standardize to the same 9 mm caliber as the other members.

A competition was held, which stretched out for several years and caused a certain amount of controversy. In the end, what was picked was the Beretta 92F 9mm, which was then designated the M9. On the face of it, the 9mm Beretta has a lot going for it. The 115-grain or 124-grain full metal jacket 9 mm round is faster and more accurate then a similar .45 caliber round. The M9 magazine carries fifteen rounds, compared to M1911's seven. It is also cheaper and requires a lot less frequent practice to maintain proficiency.

The 9 mm round also has better penetration than the .45 round, but this is also its shortcoming. Better penetration also means that much of the round's kinetic energy never gets transmitted to the body it is hitting and is lost upon exit. As a result, it lacks the M1911's legendary stopping power. While the Beretta might be fine in normal use, against highly motivated, some might say fanatical enemies, such as our military has been increasingly encountering in recent years, it could be considered less effective. In a way, it's the Philippine pacification all over again.

Currently the M9 is slated to be replaced by an as-yet undetermined future sidearm. During the last decade there have been several initiatives, for example the Future Handgun System, which merged with the SOF Combat Pistol program to become the Joint Combat Pistol. At one point reverting to a .45-caliber weapon with Picatinny rails for attaching lasers or night vision or other scopes was considered. In 2006 the program was suspended after the Army dropped out. A new initiative is underway for a Modular Handgun System, calling for a non-caliber-specific weapon with a variety of handgrips, magazine options and fire control devices as well as Picatinny rails. It has yet to be funded.

It's difficult not to view the Marine Corps purchase of 12,000 M45 pistols as anything less than the beginning of a larger move back to the M1911. Even if it isn't, it has to be the single largest purchase of Colt .45s since World War II.  It is entirely possible the Marines really intend them only for MARSOC. But then, they might just be quietly taking the lead while everyone else continues to argue requirements.

Skjold-class Surface Effect Ship HNoMS Steil 
Hard-hitting Norwegian Navy combatant is hard to detect, harder to catch
Three ships of the Skjold class fast missile boat in port at Frederikshavn, Denmark for Exercise DANEX/NOCO 2012. Photo by Edward Lundquist

The small, stealthy, Skjold-class "coastal corvettes" such as HNoMS Steil can quickly sneak into the fjords along the Norweigian coast.  But when they strike, they pack a lethal punch, and an enemy might never know what hit them.

HNoMS Steil is one of six fast attack craft of the Skjold class of all-composite, gas turbine with waterjet propulsion surface effect ships that ride on a cushion of air.  How fast?  Sixty-knots fast!  That makes Steil and her sister ships the fastest combatants afloat.
"We can go from engines at full idle to full speed in less than one minute," says Lt. Cmdr. Johan Reinboth, Steil's commanding officer.

The Pratt & Whitney Canada engines - the same as found in commercial turbo-prop aircraft - provide the push, while diesel-powered lift fans maintain the air cushion that the ship rides upon.
Skjold-class missile craft are surface effect ships, which ride on a cushion of air bounded by the two catamaran hulls and skirts at bow and stern. Photo by Edward Lundquist

Steil was built at Umoe Mandal shipyard, and launched in 2008.  She and her sisters are homeported at Bergen.
While the Skjold class are essentially what would be known as fast attack craft, or missile boats, the Norwegian navy considers their seaworthiness to be in the corvette class, and therefore calls them kystkorvett (coastal corvettes), built for littoral operations among Norway's many rocky  fjords and expanses of shallow water.  "This ship was made to hide," says Lt. Cmdr. Tor Loddengaard, chief engineer of Steil.  "We hide anywhere we can, and move between our hideouts."

Steil is very heavily armed for such a small ship.  She has the Oto Melara 76 mm gun, which can engage air, surface and land targets and has a burst-firing rate of 120 rounds per minute.  Steil also carries the Kongsberg Naval Strike Missile (NSM for Nye Sjoemaals Missiler, or Norwegian strike missile), carried on launch ramps that elevate in the aft end of the ship for firing.
NSM can be launched based on targeting from a different source, and fly based on GPS, inertial navigation, or a terrain reference system for contour following.  The missile can attack in sea-skimming mode, or fly up, over and around landmasses.

It can also independently detect and recognize hostile targets at sea or ashore with its onboard target database. The IR seeker is used in terminal phase. The random terminal-phase maneuvers make it very hard to defeat.  "This missile is very sophisticated," Reinboth says.
The NDM anti-ship missiles are kept in containers mounted on racks aft, which can be raised into firing position. Photo by Edward Lundquist

>Steil can be hiding in one fjord, receive targeting from a different source, fire its missile and hit the target, which may be in another fjord, oblivious to what's about to happen to it.  "We can hit targets at up to 150 kilometers with third party targeting," he says.  "We can plan the trajectory so the enemy has a very short reaction time.  If they are anywhere close to our coastline they should be nervous.  Our missile could pop out of anywhere."
Steil carries the MBDA Simbad portable system incorporating infrared-guided Mistral short-range surface-to-air missiles for air defense.

For sensors, Steil has the multirole Thales 3D radar and the Saab Ceros 200 fire control radar - which includes a Ku-band radar target tracker, optical video camera and tracker, thermal imager and laser rangefinder - along with the Rheinmetall MASS decoy system.  The sensors and weapons are integrated with the Senit 2000 combat management system, a product of DCNS and Kongsberg Defense and Aerospace.

Reinboth says Steil is extremely maneuverable - even at high speed and in shallow water - because of the steerable waterjets.  As both a catamaran and an SES, he says it's also very seaworthy.

The vessel displaces just 275 tons.  To reduce weight, corrosion and magnetic signature, virtually all piping is made of titanium or glass reinforced fiberglass.
"It's noisy, and it rides hard.  That's the price of being fast and lethal," Reinboth says.

Edward Lundquist is a retired U.S. Navy captain and a principal science writer for MCR in Arlington, Va.


U.S. Army Airborne Badges Developed Over Time
'Jump wings' were first authorized in 1941



Lt. Col. William P. Yarborough (left) in 1944, commanding the 509th Parachute Infantry Battalion, wearing the parachutist badge he conceived of and designed in 1941. Photo courtesy of the Carlos Alden Photograph Collection


The basic parachutist badge worn in the Army today originated in 1941, when America's soldiers first began qualifying as "airborne" troopers. Since that time, four new badges, commonly known as "jump wings," have been created for Army parachutists, as well as a special "combat star" to indicate that the recipient participated in an airborne drop as part of combat operations.


Although the famous World War I airman, Brig. Gen. William "Billy" Mitchell, proposed parachuting behind enemy lines during World War I, the war was over in Europe before an airdrop could be tried.


In the 1920s, the Army experimented with airborne operations - in a demonstration, it dropped a machine gun and its crew by parachute - but it was not until 1940 that a parachute test platoon was organized at Fort Benning, Ga.

The basic U.S. Army airborne parachutist badge is unchanged since its creation in 1941. U.S. Army photo
According to William K. Emerson, a retired Army lieutenant colonel and expert on badges and insignia, the idea for the parachutist badge came from then-Capt. William P. Yarborough. He "sketched a design that was formally approved by the War Department on March 10, 1941," Emerson said. Yarborough "then went to Bailey, Banks, and Biddle, the Philadelphia jeweler, which made the first 350 parachutist badges." The badges were then produced in record time:  the commander of the 501st Parachute Battalion had them in hand less than a week later. To prevent unauthorized copying of the badge, Yarborough also obtained a patent for the design of the badge, number 134,963, on Feb. 2, 1943. In later years, Yarborough (1912-2005) reached three-star rank and was a key figure in the Army's Special Forces, or Green Berets.


The parachutist badge first appears in Army regulations as authorized for wear in November 1941.


Wartime Experience


During World War II, airborne-qualified officers received $100 per month and enlisted paratroopers $50 in incentive pay. This was a significant amount of money, since a private (E-1) made $21 a month in 1942. Even in 1943, when pay went up to $50 a month for a private, receiving an extra $50 jump pay meant double pay.


In 1946, the Army began asking for volunteers for airborne units. As the Army was still racially segregated, white soldiers went to jump school at Fort Benning, while African-American soldiers went to the 555th Airborne Infantry Battalion, the "triple nickel" unit, at Fort Bragg, N.C.


Members of the 555th Parachute Infantry Battalion "triple nickel" are briefed before takeoff from Fort Dix, N.J. in 1947. When the U.S. Army first began asking for volunteers for airborne units, African-American soldiers were sent to the racially segregated 555th. National Archives photo
When not enough soldiers volunteered for airborne training, the Army forcibly assigned men to airborne units and made these units operate their own airborne schools. In the late 1940s, for example, the 11th Airborne Division, then in occupied Japan, conducted its own parachute and glider training.


In 1949, the Army created two new badges in response to the increase in airborne operations. The Senior Parachutist Badge, first announced in regulations in January 1950, is identical to the basic badge except for a five-pointed star atop the parachute canopy. This badge requires 30 jumps, 15 of which must be with combat equipment. At the same time, the Army created the Master Parachutist Badge, which was identical to the Basic and Senior badges except that a wreath surrounds the five-pointed star atop the canopy. A soldier who wanted this skill badge needed 65 jumps, including four night jumps and 25 descents with combat equipment.

New Badges


Starting in 1950, the Army announced additional requirements for the Senior and Master badges, including satisfactory completion of the jumpmaster course and a specified number of months on jump status (24 months for senior and 36 months for master status.)


As for combat jumps, soldiers began wearing bronze stars on their "wings" in World War II to reflect that they had descended by parachute during combat. The Army, however, did not officially authorize the placing of these stars on the badge until December 1983 when, in the aftermath of the airborne assault on Grenada, the Army announced that a 3/16th inch bronze "combat assault star" was authorized for wear for each combat jump. Today, stars for combat jumps are authorized for World War II operations in North Africa (1942), Sicily (1943), Italy (1944), France (1944), Holland (1944), Germany (1945) and the Philippines (1945). Combat assault stars also are authorized for Korea (1950 and 1951), Vietnam (1967), Grenada (1983), Panama (1989) and Iraq (2003).


The Military Free Fall Parachutist Badge, Jumpmaster badge was created in 1994. Soldiers who wear this badge are qualified to control free fall jumps. U.S. Army photo
In the 1990s, the Army authorized two more badges for paratroopers:  the basic "Military Free Fall Parachutist Badge" and the "Military Free Fall Parachutist Badge, Jumpmaster." These badges initially were announced by a Special Operations Command (SOCOM) directive on Oct. 1, 1994, and were authorized for wear only while assigned to a SOCOM unit. In July 1997, however, the Army announced that the two badges were authorized for permanent wear.


The requirements for the basic badge are to have completed a military free fall combat jump or have completed the military free fall course at the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare School at Fort Bragg, N.C. The badge was retroactively awarded (to Oct. 1994) to soldiers who satisfied the training or combat jump requirement.

As for the jumpmaster free fall badge, this badge is distinguished from the basic badge in only in that it has a five-pointed star with wreath surrounding it at the top of the parachute canopy. It is awarded to soldiers who qualify to control free fall soldier jumps.



Lethal Miniature Aerial Munition System (LMAMS)
The U.S. Army explores miniature aerial precision munitions at the small unit level

AeroVironment's Switchblade is considered a top candidate for the U.S. Army's Lethal Miniature Aerial Munition System (LMAMS) program. The backpackable, tube-launched, battery-powered Switchblade sends back streaming video from an EO sensor, and when the operator designates a target, Switchblade becomes a weapon - guiding itself onto the target and detonating a small warhead. AeroVironment photo

The U.S. Army is requesting industry input for a conceptual loitering precision guided munition, organic at the small unit level, that would allow "unprecedented engagement of enemy combatants without exposing the warfighter to direct enemy fires."

Dubbed the Lethal Miniature Aerial Munition System (LMAMS), the possible system would include three major elements:

  1. Operator control unit (providing hardware and/or function such as data link, associated cables, operator interface, and mission preparation and execution functions);
  2. All-up-round munition (including airframe, sensors, integrated guidance warhead, data link, and launcher), and;
  3. Training simulator.
As described in a recently released request for information (RFI), "A notional LMAMS operator control unit is day/night readable, providing the user real time video and control of the munition. The system has the ability to operate autonomously, semi-autonomously, or manually. The operator can select predetermined targets using geo location reference, visually select and identify targets of opportunity, loiter, abort, abort and redirect, arm/disarm, and manually command warhead detonation."

Switchblade on display at a recent defense exposition. The UAS carries an organic warhead weighing .7 pounds and has reportedly been used successfully in combat. Photo by Scott R. Gourley
During the initial mission preparation phase, targeting information would be provided to or by the operator in the form of headings, geo location reference, or landmark information. The information would be provided by direct observers, the operator himself, or sensors in the operator's network separate from LMAMS.

Once positive identification of the target is obtained, the operator would perform mission preparation with the operator control unit, allowing autonomous flight to the area of interest. LMAMS would be capable of loitering once the fly out phase was accomplished. In the terminal engagement phase, LMAMS would have the ability to automatically track a target designated by the operator or allow the operator to manually control the system as needed to focus on a specific area or point of interest.
The notional LMAMS flight endurance envelope includes a 15-30 minute flight time and 5-10 kilometer range.

The RFI notes that the system "must have lethal effects against personnel and personnel in moving light-duty vehicles, while minimizing collateral damage."
Envisioned terminal effects include "high probability of lethal effects at 4 meters with extremely low probability of lethal effects at 10 meters against unprotected enemy personnel in the open and in light-duty commercial vehicles both stationary and moving targets."

"LMAMS must have the ability to automatically lock on and track a stationary or moving target," the RFI adds. "Once a target is selected by the operator in the terminal phase of an engagement no further operator input shall be required."

In parallel with the Army's interest in LMAMS, the Aviation and Missile Research, Development, and Engineering Center (AMRDEC) is also developing supporting component technologies under the Small Organic Precision Munition (SOPM) Program.

Examples of the component technologies under development include:
  • Image Stabilization and Autotracker;
  • Secure Digital Data Link; Power Systems;
  • Small warheads;
  • Laser Height of Burst Sensor, and;
  • Electronic Safe and Arm Device (ESAD). 
According to the RFI, the notional LMAMS acquisition approach "will respond to a Capabilities Production Document formal requirement employing a competitive prototype down select decision," with a competitive down select decision "made in conjunction with a milestone decision review based upon proposal evaluation and fly-off results."

A technology readiness level of 7 or higher is desired in the FY14-16 timeframe.

Attack on Camp Bastion:
The Destruction of VMA-211
U.S. Marine Corps Capt. Kevin T. Smalley, AV-8B Harrier pilot, Marine Attack Squadron 211, Marine Aircraft Group 13, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing (Forward), launches at Camp Bastion, Helmand province, Afghanistan Sept. 1, 2012. VMA-211 lost six of its Harriers destroyed and two damaged in a Taliban attack on Camp Bastion. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Keonaona C. Paulo

Late on Friday, Sept. 14, 2012, a Taliban insurgent force of sappers attacked the NATO ISAF base, Camp Bastion, in Afghanistan, resulting in the worst loss of U.S. airpower in a single incident since the Vietnam War. Two Marines, including VMA-211's commanding officer, were killed in the attack, and nine other personnel (eight military and one contractor, reportedly) were wounded. By the time the base was secured roughly five hours later, six U.S. Marine Corps (USMC) AV-8B+ Harrier "jump jets" had been destroyed, and two more "significantly" damaged. In addition, three refueling points were destroyed, and six "soft-skinned" aircraft hangers were damaged to some degree. As a result of this attack, the air strength of Marine Attack Squadron 211 (VMA-211 - "The Avengers") presumably 10  aircraft, was almost completely destroyed.

Camp Bastion is a British-run ISAF base in Helmand Providence northwest of Lashkar Gah, built adjacent to Camp Leatherneck (the primary USMC base in the area) and Camp Shorabak (run by the Afghan National Army). Equipped with a 3,500-meter (11,482 foot) runway and servicing up to 28,000 personnel, it is the largest British base in Afghanistan. One of them, on Sept. 14, was an AH-64 Apache crewman named Capt."Wales," otherwise known as Harry, Prince of Wales. Along with the British Apaches and other U.K. aircraft, Camp Bastion also provides basing for USMC aviation units, including VMA-211, the only Harrier squadron then in Afghanistan.

The attack on Camp Bastion began at around 10:00 PM local time, when about 20 Taliban fighters approached the perimeter, disguised in U.S. battle dress uniforms. One of the Taliban used his explosive suicide vest to blow a hole in the perimeter fence, which reportedly allowed three five-man sapper squads into the secured areas of the base. Armed with AK-47s, RPG-7s and explosive suicide vests, the Taliban fighters flooded into the U.S. area known as Camp Barber. 

As they began to attack the flightline areas, however, the RAF security force began to react within just 12 minutes, when they established an MQ-9 Reaper UAV orbit over the camp. This was followed by the launch of a British Apache helicopter that immediately engaged the insurgents, killing several. In addition, the British ground security force began to fight its way toward Camp Barber over the main runway, reportedly expending around 10,000 rounds of ammunition in the process. It took five hours to secure the base and police up the insurgents.
U.S. Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Ryan P. Eggemeyer, a plane captain with Marine Attack Squadron 211 (VMA-211), Marine Aircraft Group 13, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing (Forward), inspects an AV-8B Harrier within a soft-skinned aircraft shelter before flight at Camp Bastion, Helmand province, Afghanistan Sept. 1, 2012. Eggemeyer was conducting pre-flight checks before launching the aircraft. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Keonaona C. Paulo

When the sun rose the next day, the deadly cost of the Taliban raid began to be seen. Fourteen of the 15 insurgent sappers were killed, along with two of their support force outside the fence. One insurgent was wounded and captured, and is providing useful information on this latest "Green on Blue" Taliban attack. The Allied casualties, however, are proving heartbreaking. Killed during the attack were Lt. Col. Christopher "Otis" K. Raible, USMC (the commander of VMA-211) and Sgt. Bradley W. Atwell (from Marine Air Logistics Squadron 13), both based at Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Yuma, Ariz.

Maj. Gen. Gregg Sturdevant, USMC, commander of Marine Aircraft Wing Three (Forward), has announced that replacements for the lost aircraft and personnel will be "brought forward," suggesting VMA-211 will be reconstituted in place. While VMA-211's executive officer, Maj. John "Strut" Havener, USMC, has been named the interim squadron commander, it is possible another Harrier squadron will be deployed and the Avengers returned to their home base at MCAS Yuma. The only "good" news about the attack was that Prince Harry was unharmed. He appears to have been one of the targets of the Taliban attack (his birthday was Sept. 15), and was taken to a "safe area" of the base and given extra security.

Whatever the organizational outcome, the Sept. 14, 2012 attack on Camp Bastion is arguably the worst day in USMC aviation history since the Tet Offensive of 1968. The last time VMA-211 was combat ineffective was in December 1941, when the squadron was wiped out during the 13-day defense of Wake Island against the Japanese. Eight irreplaceable aircraft (the AV-8B has been out of production since 1999) have been destroyed or put out of action - approximately 7 percent of the total flying USMC Harrier fleet. Worse yet, the aircraft involved were the AV-B+ variant equipped with the APG-65 radar and AAQ-28 Litening II targeting pods - the most capable in the force. Given the current funding situation, it's likely that the two damaged AV-8Bs will become spare parts "hangar queens" and never fly again. A Harrier squadron commander is dead, along with another Marine. Another nine personnel have been wounded, and the nearby Marines at Camp Freedom are now without effective fixed-wing air support. The USMC's response to this disaster will be a telling report card on its leadership and organizational agility.

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Dave Thomas

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