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

Newsletter Archive
November 2012
October 2012
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!!!

Thanks!!!
[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.

Andreas



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.

Sincerely,
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.

PARASCHOS



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

Rick



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



Steve,

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



Dave,

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.

David



Hello,

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



A crash as when some swollen cloud

Cracks o'er the tangled trees!
With side to side, and spar to spar,
Whose smoking decks are these?
I know St. George's blood-red cross,
Thou mistress of the seas,
But what is she whose streaming bars
Roll out before the breeze?

Ah, well her iron ribs are knit, 
Whose thunders strive to quell 
The bellowing throats, the blazing lips, 
That pealed the Armada's knell! 
The mist was cleared,--a wreath of stars 
Rose o'er the crimsoned swell, 
And, wavering from its haughty peak, 
The cross of England fell!
-Holmes.


THE CRUISE OF THE "WASP"

In the war of 1812 the little American navy, including only a dozen frigates and sloops of war, won a series of victories against the English, the hitherto undoubted masters of the sea, that attracted an attention altogether out of proportion to the force of the combatants or the actual damage done. For one hundred and fifty years the English ships of war had failed to find fit rivals in those of any other European power, although they had been matched against each in turn; and when the unknown navy of the new nation growing up across the Atlantic did what no European navy had ever been able to do, not only the English and Americans, but the people of Continental Europe as well, regarded the feat as important out of all proportion to the material aspects of the case. The Americans first proved that the English could be beaten at their own game on the sea. They did what the huge fleets of France, Spain, and Holland had failed to do, and the great modern writers on naval warfare in Continental Europe- men like Jurien de la Graviere-have paid the same attention to these contests of frigates and sloops that they give to whole fleet actions of other wars.

Among the famous ships of the Americans in this war were two named the Wasp. The first was an eighteen--gun ship- sloop, which at the very outset of the war captured a British brig- sloop of twenty guns, after an engagement in which the British fought with great gallantry, but were knocked to Pieces, while the Americans escaped comparatively unscathed. Immediately afterward a British seventy-four captured the victor. In memory of her the Americans gave the same name to one of the new sloops they were building. These sloops were stoutly made, speedy vessels which in strength and swiftness compared favorably with any ships of their class in any other navy of the the day, for the American shipwrights were already as famous as the American gunners and seamen. The new Wasp, like her sister ships, carried twenty-two guns and crew of one hundred and seventy men, and was ship-rigged. Twenty of her guns were 32-pound carronades, while for bow-chasers she had two "long Toms." It was in the year 1814 that the Wasp saile from the United States to prey on the navy and commerce of Great Britain. Her commander was a gallant South Carolinian named Captain Johnson Blakely. Her crews were nearly all Native Americans, and were an exceptionally fine set of men. Instead of staying near the American coasts or of sailing the high seas, the Wasp at once headed boldly for the English Channel, to carry the war to the very doors of the enemy.

At that time the English fleets had destroyed the navies of every other power of Europe, and had obtained such complete supremacy over the French that the French fleets were kept in port. Off these ports lay the great squadrons of the English ships of the line, never, in gale or in calm, relaxing their watch upon the rival war-ships of the French emperor. So close was the blockade of the French ports, and so hopeless were the French of making headway in battle with their antagonists, that not only the great French three-deckers and two-deckers, but their frigates and sloops as well, lay harmless in their harbors, and the English ships patrolled the seas unchecked in every direction. A few French privateers still slipped out now and then, ant the far bolder and more formidable American privateersmen drove hither and thither across the ocean in their swift schooners and brigantines, and harried the English commerce without mercy.

The Wasp proceeded at once to cruise in the English Channel and off the coasts of England, France, and Spain. Here the water was traversed continually by English fleets and squadrons and single ships of war, which were sometimes convoying detachments of troops for Wellington's Peninsular army, sometimes guarding fleets of merchant vessels bound homeward, and sometimes merely cruising for foes. It was this spot, right in the teeth of the British naval power that the Wasp chose for her cruising ground. Hither and thither she sailed through the narrow seas, capturing and destroying the merchantmen, and by the seamanship of her crew and the skill and vigilance of her commander, escaping the pursuit of frigate and ship of the line. Before she had been long on the ground, one June morning, while in chase of a couple of merchant ships, she spied a sloop of war, the British brig Reindeer was a weaker ship than the Wasp, her guns were lighter, and her men fewer; but her commander, Captain Manners, was one of the most gallant men in the splendid British navy, and he promptly took up the gage of battle which the Wasp threw down.

The day was calm and nearly still; only a light wind stirred across the sea. At one o'clock the Wasp's drum beat to quarters, and the sailors and marines gathered at their appointed posts. The drum of the Reindeer responded to the challenge, and with her sails reduced to fighting trim, her guns run out, and every man ready, she came down upon the Yankee ship. On her forecastle she had rigged a light carronade, and coming up from behind, she five times discharged this pointblank into the American sloop; then in the light air the latter luffed round, firing her guns as they bore, and the two ships engaged yard-arm to yard-arm. The guns leaped and thundered as the grimy gunners hurled them out to fire and back again to load, working like demons. For a few minutes the cannonade was tremendous, and the men in the tops could hardly see the decks for the wreck of flying splinters. Then the vessels ground together, and through the open ports the rival gunners hewed, hacked, and thrust at one another, while the black smoke curled up from between the hulls. The English were suffering terribly. Captain Manners himself was wounded, and realizing that he was doomed to defeat unless by some desperate effort he could avert it, he gave the signal to board. At the call the boarders gathered, naked to the waist, black with powder and spattered with blood, cutlass and pistol in hand. But the Americans were ready. Their marines were drawn up on deck, the pikemen stood behind the bulwarks, and the officers watched, cool and alert, every movement of the foe. Then the British sea-dogs tumbled aboard, only to perish by shot or steel. The combatants slashed and stabbed with savage fury, and the assailants were driven back. Manners sprang to their head to lead them again himself, when a ball fired by one of the sailors in the American tops crashed through his skull, and he fell, sword in hand, with his face to the foe, dying as honorable a death as ever a brave man died in fighting against odds for the flag of his country. As he fell the American officers passed the word to board. With wild cheers the fighting sailormen sprang forward, sweeping the wreck of the British force before them, and in a minute the Reindeer was in their possession. All of her officers, and nearly two thirds of the crew, were killed or wounded; but they had proved themselves as skillful as they were brave, and twenty-six of the Americans had been killed or wounded.

The Wasp set fire to her prize, and after retiring to a French port to refit, came out again to cruise. For some time she met no antagonist of her own size with which to wage war, and she had to exercise the sharpest vigilance to escape capture. Late one September afternoon, when she could see ships of war all around her, she selected one which was isolated from the others, and decided to run alongside her and try to sink her after nightfall. Accordingly she set her sails in pursuit, and drew steadily toward her antagonist, a big eighteen-gun brig, the Avon, a ship more powerful than the Reindeer. The Avon kept signaling to two other British war vessels which were in sight-one an eighteen-gun brig, the Avon, a ship more powerful than the Reindeer. The Avon kept signaling to two other British war vessels which were in sight-one an eighteen-gun brig and the other a twenty-gun ship; they were so close that the Wasp was afraid they would interfere before the combat could be ended. Nevertheless, Blakeley persevered, and made his attack with equal skill and daring. It was after dark when he ran alongside his opponent, and they began forthwith to exchange furious broadsides. As the ships plunged and wallowed in the seas, the Americans could see the clusters of topmen in the rigging of their opponent, but they knew nothing of the vessel's name of her force, save only so far as they felt it. The firing was fast and furious, but the British shot with bad aim, while the skilled American gunners hulled their opponent at almost every discharge. In a very few minutes the Avon was in a sinking condition, and she struck her flag and cried for quarter, having lost forty of fifty men, while but three of the Americans had fallen. Before the Wasp could take possession of her opponent, however, the two war vessels to which the Avon had been signaling came up. One of them fired at the Wasp, and as the latter could not fight two new foes, she ran off easily before the wind. Neither of her new antagonists followed her, devoting themselves to picking up the crew of the sinking Avon.
It would be hard to find a braver feat more skillfully performed than this; for Captain Blakeley, with hostile foes all round him, had closed with and sunk one antagonist not greatly his inferior in force, suffering hardly and loss himself, while two of her friends were coming to her help.

Both before and after this the Wasp cruised hither and thither making prizes. Once she came across a convoy of ships bearing arms and munitions to Wellington's army, under the care of a great two-decker. Hovering about, the swift sloop evaded the two- decker's movements, and actually cut out and captured one of the transports she was guarding, making her escape unharmed. Then she sailed for the high seas. She made several other prizes, and on October 9 spoke a Swedish brig.

This was the last that was ever heard of the gallant Wasp. She never again appeared, and no trace of any of those aboard her was ever found. Whether she was wrecked on some desert coast, whether she foundered in some furious gale, or what befell her none ever knew. All that is certain is that she perished, and that all on board her met death in some one of the myriad forms in which it must always be faced by those who do down to the sea in ships; and when she sank there sank one of the most gallant ships of the American navy, with, as brave a captain and crew as ever sailed from any port of the New World.

USS Wasp vs HMS Avon
Engraving of the battle by Abel Bowen

Story by Teddy Rosevelt 

 

HOOAH
DAVE

                                             

Click here to send Dave a private message. 

 

Voice of the Soldier
This section is designed to give you a voice where you can express opinions or give messages. We encourage you to speak out! Send us your commentary, stories, articles, etc...


Special Operations Warrior Foundation

Special Operations Warrior FoundationSpecial Forces Gear is now hosting
a special section for the Special Operations Warrior Foundation.

The Special Operations Warrior Foundation (SOWF) provides college scholarship grants, along with financial aid and educational counseling, to the children of Special Operations personnel who were killed in an operational mission or training accident.

All profits from these items go to the
Special Operations Warrior Foundation

Learn More about the

Special Operations Warrior Foundation (SOWF) >> 



Warrior Brotherhood Veterans Motorcycle Club

  311 iran ship 

The Warrior Brotherhood Veterans Motorcycle Club is a not-for-profit (501c3) fraternal organization. It was formed to provide a fraternal organization for qualified military veterans who have served, or are currently serving, in the Armed Forces of the United States or US Allied Nations.  They support Veterans and Active Duty Members in many different ways.  A few of the many causes projects they support are: mailing over 900lbs of care packages to Active Duty Service Members Monthly to Visiting Veterans Homes to put a smile on a Veterans Face.  Please visit them at  www.warriorbrotherhood.com. 

 

All profits from these items are donated to

Warrior Brotherhood Veterans Motorcycle Club 

 

Learn More about the Warrior Brotherhood Veterans
Motorcycle Club >>


Caring for America's Quiet 311 iran shipProfessionals 

 

The Green Beret Foundation provides unconventional resources to facilitate the special needs of our wounded, ill and injured and imparts unique support to the Special Forces community in order to strengthen readiness and uphold Green Beret traditions and values.

 

Learn more about Green Beret Foundation>> 

 









New! Direct to Garment Printing.
 
DTG Printing on Performance Apparel

We are excited to announce our newest advance in Direct to Garment printing on Performance Apparel. We are now able to print direct to moisture-wicking Polyester Garments. You can now personalize and print your favorite design to Athletic Apparel, running shorts, under armor and dry release apparel.

The quality of this printing is unmatched able to hold fine details and shading screen printing can't.

 

Direct to Garment Printing - SpecialForces.com
Direct to Garment Printing - SpecialForces.com

VIDEOS

X-47B Arrives Aboard USS Harry S Truman
X-47B Arrives Aboard USS Harry S Truman
Larry Eckhardt 'The Flagman' - CBS Sunday Morning -- 5-27-12
Larry Eckhardt 'The Flagman' - CBS Sunday Morning -- 5-27-12
F-35B First Aerial Weapons Release
F-35B First Aerial Weapons Release

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

By Rev G.J. Rako

LTC IN USAR (Ret)  

 

 

The true meaning of Christmas is described in the following poem and booklet written by Pastor Robert B. Thieme Jr. Bob was my Pastor for over thirty years. He was my friend, my mentor, and my source for understanding the Christian way of life. He made the Bible come alive and because of the grace of God and his dedication and unwavering love of the Scripture, the Word lives in me. A gift for which I will always be grateful and one I could never repay. Bob is now with the Lord, and his son, R.B. Thieme III has picked up the guidon and is leading his congregation to the high ground.

 

 

 

 

 

The Night Before Christmas

By Robert B. Thieme Jr.

Copyright 1994 All rights reserved First Edition published 1965. Reprinted in its entirety with permission from R.B. Thieme
Jr. Bible Ministries

'Twas the night before Christmas,

And all through the world

A message was preached,

A challenge was hurled:

Believe on the Son

And thou shall be saved!

The road to heaven with His blood

Out of darkness of sin

God's salvation, the fairest of fair,

Was born in a manger;

No room in the inn.

God in the flesh, He died for our sin.

The angels sang;

The shepherds rejoiced,

Messiah has come!

The message was voiced

By joyous believers both far and near;

Christmas has come!

Immanuel is here!

Was paved.

And despair 

 

Christmas celebrates the incomparable divine gift to all mankind; the birth of the Son of God, Jesus Christ. Two millennia ago the Savior appeared, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. The babe in the manger would demolish the barrier between depraved humanity and perfect God. He was born to die so that through Him we might have life everlasting. Unfortunately, today Santa Claus and shopping for presents take priority over the true meaning of Christmas. Exchanging gifts has supplanted our focus from the greatest of all gifts. The eternal consequence of the season is obscured. Only the Bible, God's infallible Word and inerrant Truth, reveals the important of that first Christmas. The Scriptures disclose a meaning far more momentous than the notions and traditions of men, however clever or charming.

 


Seven truths recounted in Luke 2:7-20 illuminate the magnificent message of that first Christmas.

A night of life and death

 

And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes. (Luke 2;7a)

 


The same [Jesus Christ] was in the beginning with God...And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us. (John 1:2, 14a)

Jesus Christ is the God-Man, undiminished deity and true humanity united in one Person forever (Colossians 2:9; Hebrews 1:3). Although Christ is eternal God, His incarnation began with His physical birth, as all human life begins. At birth Jesus was wrapped in swaddling clothes, the garments used to shroud the dead. From the beginning of His earthly life, He was identified with death. The shadow of the cross loomed over Him. In that moment, God proclaimed to the world that Christ's death is more significant than His life.

For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans 6:23)

Thirty-three years later the Lord Jesus Christ bore all our sins, past, present and future, when He died on the cross.

Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness. (I Peter 2:24a)

Christmas is not Santa and his sleigh. Christmas is Christ and His cross!

A night of good news

 

And the angel said unto them [certain shepherds], Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. (Luke 2:10-11)

 


The supernatural appearance of the angel rendered these shepherds speechless with fear and awe. But the good news announcing that salvation from God was brought down to man promptly transformed their fear to joy.

For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men. (Titus 2:11)

A wish for a "merry Christmas" should be a wish for all to know the joy of salvation through faith in Christ.

The good news concerned the savior, Christ the Lord. All humanity is under the penalty of death; separation from God, because "all have sinned" (Romans 3:23). The proclamation made on that first Christmas announced the solution to sin. The advent of Christ was for the express purpose of saving mankind from the penalty of sin.

Not only did the angel bring the good news to the shepherds, but to all people. There is no exception. Salvation was provided for all. Christ's substitutionary death is an unlimited atonement.

Who gave Himself a ransom for all. (I Timothy 2:6a)

That He by the grace of God should taste death for every man. (Hebrews 2:9b)

And He is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. (I John 2:2)

A night of heavenly worship

 

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God. (Luke 2:13a)

 


On the first Christmas, the angels in heaven set the precedent for worshiping and praising God. Most people have long since ignored that precedent. True worship is based on a relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. Christmas, above all, should elicit a personal response to Christ and adoration of Him. No one can enter into the true spirit of Christmas apart from personal faith in the God-Man Savior.

And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved. (Acts 16:31)

A night of potential peace

 

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. (Luke 2:14)

 


But without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him. (Hebrews 11:6)

Whether or not you have peace with God depends on your attitude toward Jesus Christ. God is well pleased only with those who believe in Jesus Christ. Only they are the ones who have peace that cannot be purchased.

Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. (Romans 5:1)

A night of reverent seeking

 

The shepherds said one to another, let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. And they came with haste. (Luke 2:15b-16a)

 


These shepherds were not ordinary shepherds, nor were the sheep ordinary sheep. These men were carefully chosen to watch over the flocks from which lambs without blemish were selected for Temple sacrifice. The sacrifices foreshadowed Jesus Christ, the true Lamb of God.

For as much as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; but with the precious blood of Christ, as a lamb without blemish and without spot [His saving work on the cross]. (I Peter 1:18-19)

The shepherds were well informed concerning the Old Testament prophecy of the coming Messiah (Micah 5:2). While the angel referred only to the "city of David," the shepherds went immediately to Bethlehem, the predicted birthplace of the Messiah. Their prompt response exhibited not only a knowledge of the Scripture but also faith in God's promise. In contrast, the pious religious leaders of Israel who attended Temple worship three times a day also knew where the Messiah would be born (Matthew 2:4-6), but they lacked the faith to act on their knowledge.

The shepherds who tended the flocks night and day could not attend Temple worship. Yet the angel revealed the good news to them, not to the religious leaders. Although faithful in keeping the sheep, the shepherds now left those sacrificial lambs to witness an event of the greatest magnitude, the newborn Lamb of God, the Savior of all mankind. They went to Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. (John 1:29b)

Is Christ more important to you than anything you possess? The shepherds made haste to seek the Savior. Oh, that men would make haste to seek the Savior today!

Seek ye the Lord while He may be found, call ye upon Him while He is near. (Isaiah 55:6)

Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation. (II Corinthians 6:2b)

And Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. (John 6:37b)

A night of witnessing

 

And when they had seen it [Jesus in the manger}, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds. (Luke2:17-18)

 


People were amazed and astonished when they heard that the Messiah had come. The shepherds made the salvation issue clear.

He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him. (John 3:36)

No greater joy or experience can come to the believer than to evangelize for Jesus Christ by presenting the Gospel to others.

A night of quiet meditation

 

But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart. (Luke 2:19)

 


Few people today sit quietly and think intently about the Lord Jesus Christ and His Word. Mary set the precedent that first Christmas. Will you give a thought to the Savior this Christmas? Or will your Christmas simply be a time of festivity, gift-giving, and excitement? From His birth day came His death day, and through His death day comes our A night of quiet meditation eternal life day.

For God so loved the world, that He gave his only begotten [uniquely born] Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:16)


Doctrinal Bible Studies

 

Bible doctrine is the body of teaching drawn from a literal interpretation of the Scriptures. Doctrine serves as the standard for truth. Doctrine is the Christian's spiritual nourishment (Matt. 4:4).

For many years, doctrinal Bible classes taught by R. B. Thieme Jr., have provided daily spiritual food for his congregation. Doctrinal books like the one above and tape recordings of his classes are available without charge or obligation. A Doctrinal Bible Studies catalog will be provided upon request

http://www.rbthieme.org/

 

Contact Reverend Rako >>  


Blue Warrior
Blue WarriorBlue Warrior

 

COMBAT STRESS IN LAW ENFORCEMENT?

Combat in law enforcement can be sudden, intense and life threatening however, does "combat stress" exist in Law Enforcement? The stresses of combat experienced by officers can be substantial. Commanding officers of an officer exposed to a traumatic incident are duty bound to anticipate, recognize and evaluate an officer's ability to perform his job when exposed to combat stress. Command officers must first understand this human dimension and anticipate an officer's reactions to stressful conditions for the welfare of their officers.

Law enforcement must first recognize the possibility that "combat stress" even exists in our profession. Combat stress usually is a term associated with military veterans fighting a war. Here is a classic definition of combat stress as provided from the Department of defense.

~Combat Stress: The expected and predictable emotional, intellectual, physical, and/or behavioral reactions of service members who have been exposed to stressful events in war or military operations other than war. Combat stress reactions vary in quality and severity as a function of operational conditions, such as intensity, duration, rules of engagement, leadership, effective communication, unit morale, unit cohesion, and perceived importance of the mission.

(Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms, U.S. Department of Defense 2005.)

Police officers are exposed to dangerous situations on various levels and duration dependent on assignment, and working conditions however, at some point most police officers are exposed to some type of traumatic incident. I think we can all agree that responding to a domestic call is stressful. We have been conditioned to respond to these runs in the highest state of situational awareness our minds will allow. It's not a far reach that big city & suburban officers respond to unpredictable and dangerous domestic calls every day. When we effect arrests and resolve these situations our emotions fluctuate from a stressful peak, which keeps our situational awareness in its clearest form, to a less stressful and more relaxed tempo. This type of exposure to stress moving through your emotional, intellectual, physical, and behavioral reactions, is in my opinion, similar to the military's "combat stress" the difference being, law enforcements exposure to combat stress isn't on a military battlefield it can come from the many and various types of police calls for service we deal with on a daily basis.

I am not a medical professional nor do I profess to be an expert in any form on this subject. However, I have spent enough time on this job, and seen everything under the sun that cops deal with on a regular basis to recognize the parallels that exist in how the military prepares for and treats combat stress. This is where we as police trainers, commanding officers and even partners can learn from our military comrades to possibly prevent an officer from falling victim to combat stress, which can ultimately lead to Depression and/or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

As we all know cops are reluctant to admit they have fell victim to stress. Men and women of law enforcement sometimes will hide and suppress their fears, anxiety and stress which can lead to a dangerous mindset while working the streets.

Police trainers and command officers must thoroughly condition their officers to deal with combat stress before incidents occur, during these stressful incidents and after any traumatic event that your men and women respond too. Traumatic incidents don't just apply to domestic calls that I mentioned previously. Law enforcement responds to and deals with traumatic calls every day. A traumatic event may include responding to a child that drowned in a swimming pool, an infant that died in a crib while sleeping, a CPR run on a young father as his family watches you give CPR expecting the Super Man cop to save the man and even though you did all you could he still dies. How many fatal accidents have you been to where teenage girls are mangled beyond recognition? Have you ever been assaulted on a patrol run or traffic stop? How many homicides have you responded to or investigated? Have you ever been shot at or ambushed? How many autopsies have you attended of not just adults but children also? I think you get my point now, how do cops not suffer from combat stress, if you we do this day in and day out? Why does the military have a system in place for preventing, recognizing, and treating combat stress and many law enforcement agencies don't?

We have all gone home after our shifts after dealing with the previously mentioned traumatic incidents, only to act is if nothing even happened on our tour that day. We are expected as fathers, husbands, wife's, and citizens to go to Johnny's soccer practice, to see a movie with a girlfriend, attend a family BBQ and every other daily function without any emotion or reaction to what we have just dealt with on the previous tour of duty. The fact is many police agencies only send officers to see a counselor or therapist only after an "officer involved shooting" or an officer's death. Somehow we are expected to navigate through all the other traumatic incidents as a matter of routine. That philosophy is where we fall short in law enforcement in keeping the welfare of our officers.

SIGNS OF COMBAT STRESS IN YOURSELF & OTHERS

There are some obvious signs of stress that may help you recognize in yourself and others so that an early detection is made in hopes of minimizing the effects of stress.

Physical signs of stress:

  • Dry mouth
  • Fatigue
  • Inability to move muscles
  • Forgetfulness
  • Inability to concentrate
Emotional signs of stress: 
  • AnxietyFrustration
  • Guilt
  • Irritability
  • Moodiness
  • Nervousness
  • Pessimism
  • Tension
Signs of stress in others:
  • Alcohol abuseDrug abuse
  • Emotional outbursts
  • Excitability
  • Negativism
  • Restlessness
  • Speech disorder
  • Trembling
  • Apathy
SIGNS OF STRESS IN POLICE UNITS

Command officer should be mindful that stress can affect your entire unit, shift or precinct. That doesn't mean that your unit or officers have a major problem it simply means that you are duty bound to attempt to minimize the stress to ensure a productive and safe working environment.

Signs of stress in your unit: 
  • Excessive sick callsBickering amongst the unit or shift
  • Dissatisfaction
  • Lack of cohesion
  • Failure to follow orders
  • Insubordination
  • Lack of productivity
  • Sensitivity
"Combat stress causes battle fatigue. Battle fatigue is the broad umbrella label for the physical, mental and emotional signs that result naturally from facing danger or from performing dangerous missions under difficult conditions."

(Army Field Manual 6-22 and FM 6-22.5)

Battle fatigue is a simple condition which is not medical or a psychiatric illness.

(Army Field Manual 6-22 and FM 6-22.5)

REPUTATION PRESERVATION

We all know that stress in officers can lead to withdrawal from society, drug and alcohol abuse, marital problems and disciplinary issues on the job. However, a factor that isn't often addressed among the command staff is the fact that a stressed cop can have a negative and adverse reaction on a dangerous call for service, which can endanger the officer and/or his or her coworkers.

When an officer knows he or she is being watched by peers and command officers from a high stress incident in which they were involved, these fears and anxieties can play like a looped film reel over and over in the officer's mind, creating fear, anxiety and a complex. When this occurs an officer can feel as if he or she needs to prove themselves to anybody they fear are judging them. That's when real problems for that officer can begin.

Police officers have a tendency to value their peer's opinions and may overcompensate to save their reputation. These officers under this spell of "reputation preservation" may become heavy handed, quick to anger and lose trust in their peers. That becomes a danger to the effected officer, fellow cops and the general public. This stage requires immediate attention from command officers. Supervisors must take quick action once they observe this behavior; as a matter of fact you are duty bound to do so and if you don't, it may be you in a civil trial defending your lack of actions when that stressed officer does something wrong.

PEER SUPPORT

Cops are very similar to soldiers in the sense that peer acceptance is vital to the officers reputation as a good street cop. Recognize this factor and use it to your advantage when dealing with combat stress in your officers.

~ ideology, patriotism, or fighting for the cause were not major factors in combat motivation for World War II soldiers. Cohesion, or the emotional bonds between soldiers, appeared to be the primary factor in combat motivation.

(Samuel A. Stouffer, et al., The American Soldier: Combat and Its Aftermath, Volume II, Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1949, p. 107)

Sometimes the best medicine for a stressed cop is "Peer support" from fellow officers and the officers command staff. This concept is proven through military research, dating back to World War II, as to be very effective in managing a soldier's combat stress and motivating him to stay in combat.

~ when the individual's immediate group, and its supporting formations, met his basic organic needs, offered him affection and esteem from both officers and comrades, supplied him with a sense of power and adequately regulated his relations with authority, the element of self-concern in battle, which would lead to disruption of the effective functioning of his primary group, was minimized.

(Edward A. Shils and Morris Janowitz, "Cohesion and Disintegration in the Wehrmacht in World War II," Public Opinion Quarterly, Vol. 12, Summer 1948, p. 28)

PREVENTION IS KEY

The military has some effect countermeasures to confront combat stress and to reduce psychological breakdown in combat which can be very useful in law enforcement. These countermeasures that apply to law enforcement are:

Admit that fear exists when in combat.

Ensure communication lines are open between leaders and subordinates.

Do not assume unnecessary risks.

Provide good, caring leadership.

(Army Field Manual 6-22 and FM 6-22.5)

Police command officers can reduce stress by leading by inspiration and not intimidation, recognize and initiate stress management programs, provide positive feedback that is real and not hot air.

During my career it has been taboo to speak with an officer that is under stress from a traumatic incident. I have no idea how or where this concept started but the trend in law enforcement has been for some time now to have officers participate in critical stress debriefs with their fellow comrades that were involved in a traumatic incident, under the watchful eye of a licensed practioner. That is a great practice but most often departments only do that for officer involved shootings and the death of an officer. This is where good trainers and great commanders can separate themselves from the rest. Combat stress, in my military and law enforcement experience applies to the many stressful situations that I mentioned previously. The Army requires their field commanders to participate in the soldiers stress management and we in law enforcement need to do the same and stop the mind set of looking the other way and not engaging the officer. We can only stand to improve our profession if we adapt the military command priority of "the troops come first" philosophy instead of a operating as a civilian style of management.

When training rookie swat cops I can at times see the fear in some officers. This is a critical point for that officers swat career. I will pull that officer to the side and look him straight in the eye, and tell him that the fear he is feeling is normal, and we all have it, and what makes a great swat cop is his ability to harness that fear and use its energy to dial in his situational awareness, placing him on top of the tactical bubble. Most often that little speech will reduce the anxiety and stress and the officers confidence will soar.

Here are some tips to help manage combat stress in situations that are "routine" (hate that term), less critical or where department policies normally require a visit to the department's mental health physician:

Concern yourself with your officers welfare Instill confidence in your officers abilities and work performance Ensure your officer is getting plenty of sleep and rest Learn the signs of stress in yourself and your officers Be mindful of external factors such as marital problems Train your officers to cope with combat stress Teach your officers to recognize combat stress Ensure that your officers face combat stress and not to fear it.

HAVE NO FEAR

Providing realistic stressful training will help your officer's inner strength to face fear during combat situations with the will to persevere. Be mindful that training can't totally prepare your officers for combat stress so be prepared to take official action when needed as your department policy mandates.

As a police commander try not to look at yourself as a civilian supervisor whom is always looking at performance but as a "leader of men and women". Develop the attitude that "the troops come first".

Great commanders and police trainers recognize that fear is overcome by understanding the situation and acting with foresight and purpose to overcome it. Strong leaders will gain their officers trust and loyalty when it's obvious to the officers that their commander is truly concerned for their welfare. Once the commander gains this trust and loyalty then he or she will be successful in reducing fears and ultimately reducing combat stress.

Merry Christmas,

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 of www.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
 
The Three B's of Preparedness

Well, the election is over and it's become apparent that our Nation is continuing down a slippery slope. With all of the legislation and rhetoric being espoused from D.C. regarding gun control, ammo taxes, healthcare and the much vaunted secession debate which is continually spun and re-spun by the media; Mr. John Public is fed a steady stream of ilk which cements him in apathy. Mr. Public doesn't know what to do or believe because he's not a doer, nor is he self-motivated, but one that believes everything will pan out as long as he continues to rely on the institutions which made this Nation what it is today. If he encounters difficulty in life, he simply reports to the local welfare office for his monthly ration. Should he become ill, he simply needs to report to the local Medicaid office where he will be assigned a doctor and cared for. And, when he is one day unable to find stable employment, he simply reports to the FEMA Camp where work will be assigned and his basic needs met and his protection assured by the armed FEMA Youth Corp from the civil uprising that is outside the gates.

However I and I pray you dear reader, am a doer. We have seen the writing on the proverbial wall for some years now and daily things escalate- A super storm in the North East, an earthquake in Eastern Kentucky and in the Middle East Israel has decided to start assassinating its enemies without "international" approval. If you have not been prepping for a while now, YOU'RE ALREADY BEHIND! Preparedness isn't something that is a passing fad or an idea that can be thrown together on a whim. True preparedness isn't having enough on hand for a few days during a storm; true preparedness is a lifestyle... Something you live and DO daily. With that in mind, I have broken down this lifestyle into three categories called the "3 B's"- they're easy to remember and should you prep these items alone in abundance and in redundancy you will not only have the very core of your long term survival needs, but trade items which can be utilized as currency when there's none to be had.

The three B's are:

BEANS: Beans doesn't only stand for the wonderful things that make chili extra filling and our rear ends extra noisy, but food in general. Obviously you will want to eat should you be forced into a long term situation of self-reliance. If you believe that you will be able to live on wild edibles and wild game; you're incredibly misinformed. You will not be able to harvest enough from the wild to be completely self- reliant and in all likelihood not enough to survive just one harsh winter. Thus, you MUST supplement your wild edibles and gardening and canning with store bought canned foods, MRE's, Freeze Dried and Dehydrated food stuffs. Taking into consideration your shelter and mobility options, you may be able to have one large cache of food or several within a specified area. Regardless of the scenario, compile primarily foods, drinks mixes and yes, even liquor such as whiskey or vodka, which you consume on a regular basis NOW so that your palate is not forced to greatly adjust to "survival food". If you hate Spam- don't stock it in abundance! Use it for trade... Liquors like Vodka can be used as trade, antiseptic, poison ivy relief, a laundry freshener, insect repellant, mold killer, and to treat ear aches to name only a few!

BULLETS: Bullets obviously means ammo but I also lump knives and other tool items in this category. Stock up on common ammunition NOW. We all hear the rhetoric and it's only a matter of time before they tax the ammo so much we cannot afford it. Look at the Cook County Illinois (Chicago) with their proposed "violence tax" of $0.25 per bullet sold! So that box of 50 .22 rounds will now cost you a whopping $22.50 instead of the current $10.00 (approx. for Federal ammo at Sportsman's Guide). What is common ammunition? Well, it's not .223... Think 12 gauge, 22 long and 9mm- these are the guns you need on hand for your family and the ammo you need to stock FIRST in abundance because it's cheaper, easier to obtain now and it will be the most common you'll find should your neighborhood be taken to a FEMA camp... Some will argue that they need to grab up their .223 or 7.63x39 or 54 because the others are more common and while that rings true, the others build up faster. I mean how many .22 do you really need? You can get a box of 500 Blazer rounds for $17- stock up 5000 rounds and you're probably set for your .22 supply for some years to come. Do the same with your 12 gauge which is $23 for 100 rounds of target or bird shot at Wal-Mart. Remember; the common ammo is for small game hunting and bandit protection. You need the other goodies for the occasional big game, holding off marauders, zombies, Blue Hats, etc. Another thought to consider is picking up some barrel adapter for a 12 gauge single shot such as a New England Arms Pardner or H& R single shot. You can pick these weapons up for around $50-$60 at most pawn stores, they last forever, you can clean them easily in the field and with a small investment of $110 you could shoot 410/45LC, 9mm and .22 through your shotgun! See www.gunadapters.com for other options...

Knives as I mentioned are also lumped here because everyone needs a good knife for skinning game, doing chores or self-defense. Choose a solid fixed blade and select one that you can stake your life on. Too often people believe they can enter a survival situation with a cheap China made knife from a flea market only to have it break the first time the baton a branch with it. For me, my knife is one of the most expensive items I carry, often costing as much or more than my guns! I go for carbon steel, fixed blade that can just as easily be used for self-defense as they can for common woods chores. I like the Becker BK2 and Habilis Bushtool. But there are many other fine knives that can accomplish the same things. Shop around for the best deal, check eBay, find a trading site such as Bushcraft Trading Post on Facebook- I have upgraded most of my equipment by trading within this group and have a back up knife such as a folder or smaller fixed blade for carving or skinning tasks. Mora Knives are great little knives that can easily be re-handled when the plastic handle breaks, and they're cheap. Condor Knives also offer good quality products for a fair price. Cold Steel used to be nice and their high end models still are, but they're priced out of the common mans market. There's no reason to have to spend over $200 on a good knife... That said, cheap knives have their place in your barter bin. Keep lots around as beaters and for trade with other like-minded folks along the trail.

Band-Aids: Band-Aids stands for all your medical & hygiene supplies. You need bandages, gauze rollers, 4x4 pads, tampons, soap, and toilet tissue, sutures, anti septic ointments, antibiotics galore and whatever prescriptions you rely on. If you wear glasses, have several pairs available in hard cases. Stock up on common antibiotics and refill whatever prescriptions you're given as often as you can and just keep the meds stocked back because they most likely don't expire. There are over 122 types of commonly prescribed medicines that don't go bad, some even after 40 years of storage according to a recent FDA press release. Things that do expire are Aspirin and Tylenol, but they will still go at least 5 years according to the same FDA study! And you can get 140 tablets of 325mg Aspirin at your local Dollar Tree for yes, $1 that is made in the USA!

Additionally, get some basic medical training. A class in Wilderness First Aid will greatly enhance your ability to field treat common problems and learn to improvise when you lack proper medical equipment. Get books- REAL BOOKS, not ebooks on field medicine. When and if the power grid fails, ebooks are worthless. If you're near Kentucky and want to get some training in Wilderness/Disaster Medicine, check out my website as we offer classes on a regular basis.

I realize that it's difficult to store everything you need for 1, 2 or more years and in reality, you can't do it due to variables that cannot be foreseen or taken into account. However, you can at least prepare enough essentials to greatly affect your survivability over a long period by simply prepping the 3 B's.
And always remember- Hope for the best, prep for the worst...

 

 

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
Key to Success
Effective Delegation Saves Time, yet Initially it Requires Time
  • Delegation is the process of entrusting a task or a part of a task to others.
  • Know what cannot be delegated - make sure you properly assess the task and the level of competency, confidentiality, and commitment required to complete the given task SUCCESSFULLY. Do not put yourself or any of your Team in a position where they cannot succeed. Remember: Failure can be successful if learning occurs.
  • Granting Authority: you can delegate authority, however you cannot delegate responsibility. When you delegate a task, it is important to remember this: in the eyes of YOUR Manager, ultimately you are still responsible for the successful completion of all tasks delegated to you, INCLUDING the tasks that you delegate to others.
  • Creates an Obligation: delegation creates an obligation for both of you-to each other. This mutual obligation, granting authority and entrusting a task are like a three-legged stool. Each depends on the others to support the whole. No one can stand alone.

Deterrents to Delegation

1. Why don't I delegate better ?

  • "I can do it better myself." -Yes, AND you can't do it ALL better yourself. For most of us, there is too much to do and too little time to do it. Take the time to develop others. Someday they may be sitting in your seat.
  • "I can't trust others to do it as well." -Trust is reciprocal. You get what you give. As a leader you may have to take the first step towards building trust with your team. Delegating a task to someone shows that you trust them to handle the responsibility and you believe in their abilities.
  • "I am reluctant to take the risk they'll fail." -Taking risk is a part of a leader's job. If you're not taking risks and making mistakes you're probably not leading much. Remember, leaders operate where things are being done for the first time, where there is no road map. You're bound to take a wrong turn. We all make mistakes - recover and move on.
  • "I don't have time to involve others." -Then make time. It may cost you time upfront, however, the long term investment ensures a solid foundation of informed, trained, and competent team members/associates.
  • "I feel my team members resent when I follow up on their work." -Following up is done out of RESPECT for them and their work. Because you RESPECT and APPRECIATE your team members and the contributions they make, it is your job as a leader to confirm how much value they add. Additionally, follow up will help you and your team members decide where the learning opportunities are simply by conducting brief After Action Review (AAR) or "lessons learned."
  • "I can't bring myself to delegate 'busy work'." - Busy work is a part of any organization and any job function. If they are going to be standing in your shoes eventually, let's make sure they understand up front just how they fit and what comes with the fancy laces.
  • "I can't delegate to my friends." - It's hard to separate work from fun, family from friends, and team members from friends. Oh, well. That's just part of being a leader. Get used to it. There is no easy way out for a leader. Keep the communication open and treat others with dignity and respect. FRIENDS will understand.
  • "Everyone is already busy." - THAT'S AN EXCUSE! So are you! Try to identify areas where consolidation may be appropriate. We're all busy all the time. It's like the weather: Accept it or move.

2. Why team members resist delegation ?

  • They don't know how to do the task. -Based on the priorities you set and the "NLT" (No Later Than) completion time of the task you or your Customers establish, make time to train others how to complete tasks essential to your organization's success. The more value they add, the more valuable they are to you, the team, and the organization. Remember, people make the difference, they are you only true, long-term competitive advantage.
  • They have a fear of failure, of criticism of mistakes. - Coach them through the learning curve. Reassure them that mistakes are learning opportunities and that criticism (feedback) is a gift when presented properly.
  • They lack confidence in their abilities. - I can't think of a better way to build their confidence than to delegate to them and give them the opportunity to succeed and add value. Enough said.
  • They don't understand what is expected. - Remember we all have different "input" channels and "sorting" styles. Remember, everyone interprets things differently. To some a BOW adorns a package, to others it is a part of a ship. Be Clear. Don't make assumptions. Ask them to paraphrase until you're certain the expectations are mutually understood.
  • They don't have time. - Neither do you! You don't have time to waste getting team members up the learning curve either. Task organization and time management are essential to mission success. Delegation provides a learning opportunity for everyone. Problems will always exist and can be found everywhere. At any time anyone on your team may need to assume the leadership role and complete the task. Delegation helps prepare others so no time is lost when roles must change quickly.
  • They don't like doing it. - SO! We all must do things we don't like to do. It's a part of life, get used to it.
  • They feel inadequate. - WHY ? This sounds like an opportunity to practice good listening skills. Sit down with them and find out "why", then develop a plan to coach them through their insecurities.
  • They already feel overworked. - I know, so do I, empathize don't sympathize.
  • They've done it before. - Great! Then maybe they can do it better again, OR, maybe they can teach someone else how they do it and hone their 'delegation' skills.
  • They find it easier to ask than to decide. - At some point they need to learn how to make decisions. Easy isn't a good enough reason to resist. A path with no obstacles would probably lead nowhere and is well traveled. Each of us has a personal responsibility to learn and grow as much as we can. To choose not to do something because it is difficult or challenging is simple laziness and you are depriving yourself of a learning opportunity.
  • They don't possess the proper attitude. - WHY ? As a leader you need to go find out. It's your job. Don't keep stragglers on the team. Be sure you are doing everything possible to redirect their attitude through feedback and coaching. If you have confidently expended all means then you must trust that they are in control of their own behavior. You may correct the attitude through communication and you may not and you may have to cut your losses at some point and move on. It's a part of being a leader.

How can I Delegate Better ?

  • Trust the abilities of your team members. -By working with your team, practicing the Four Factors of Leadership, and through experience your ability to assess others will improve. Listen to your gut. Often it is the only choice you have.
  • Respect your team members as people. - That's right. PEOPLE not machines. They have feelings, emotions, and problems; Beliefs, Values, and Norms just like you. Don't forget that.
  • Keep an "Open Mind!" - The ability to remain "open" about others' ideas and contributions is essential for leadership. It is extremely hard to do as we tend to view the world through our eyes and our experiences. Remember leadership exists in the unknown. Keep an open mind and keep learning.
  • Understand that mistakes will be made. - Cool! First time mistakes are learning opportunities. Be sure to debrief with subordinates when mistakes occur. A mistake the second time is your learning opportunity: You didn't prepare / train them enough after the first mistake occurred.

Summary:

  • Effective delegation saves time AND initially requires time: YOUR TIME! It's a long term investment for you, your team, your Customers, and your organization.
  • Delegation is not a shortcut to avoiding responsibility. You can delegate authority but you can't delegate responsibility. Delegation saves time through task organization/distribution and by teaming up problem solvers with the appropriate skills to solve them efficiently.
  • Don't waste valuable time. You can never regain lost time. NEVER!
  • Set the right "Climate." The right climate is one that promotes successful behaviors and stimulates growth. Be approachable and be sure to approach your team members with the intent of helping them be successful. If you help others succeed, in turn, you too will be successful.
  • Follow the basic steps of delegating.
  • Assess the task.
  • Consider the Four Factors of Leadership: The Led, The Leader, The Situation, Communications.
  • Consider the confidentiality, competency, and commitment required of the individual or team.
  • Provide leadership essentials: Purpose, Direction, and Motivation.
  • Clearly state the Task, Conditions (resources), and Standards (outcomes).
  • Be accessible for help.
  • Follow up and give feedback: Reinforce what you want more of and redirect what you want less of.
  • If you do the whole thing yourself, you are ensuring that the next time you will have no choice but to do it again since no one else learned how.

Select a Task for Delegation and use this Outline:

  • Identify the task and asses it. Evaluate the skills required.
  • Consider the Four Factors of Leadership. How do they apply to this task ?
  • Consider the competence and commitment of team members. - select a person or persons to complete the task.
  • Identify and provide:
  • Purpose - Why are we doing it ?
  • Direction - Where to begin; orientation of tasks.
  • Motivation - Fuel for the fire.
  • Identify and clearly state:
  • Task - What is to be completed or accomplished.
  • Conditions-resources available for this task.
  • Standards-Minimum results expected.
  • Be accessible for help. Inquire about progress. Spot-check along the way.

Follow up:

  • Was the task completed successfully according to criteria ?
  • If no, identify reasons why-conduct AAR.
  • How can you turn failure into a successful learning experience for both of you ?
  • What feedback will you provide from this process ?
  • Reinforce ?
  • Redirection ?

 

 

 


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.

 

http://www.leadingconcepts.com 

 


Warrior's Wisdom
Sun Tzu's The Art of War
Decision Releases Force
 
 
Energy may be likened to the bending of a cross-bow; decision, to the releasing of the trigger.
 
Amid the turmoil and tumult of battle, there may be seeming disorder and yet no real disorder at all. Amid confusion and chaos, your array may be without apparent head or tail, yet it will be proof against defeat.

Simulated disorder postulates perfect discipline; simulated fear postulates courage; simulated weakness postulates strength.

Hiding order beneath the cloak of disorder is simply a question of subdivision; concealing courage under a show of timidity presupposes a fund of latent energy; masking strength with weakness is to be effected by tactical dispositions.

Thus one who is skillful at keeping the enemy on the move maintains deceitful appearances, according to which the enemy will act.

By holding out baits, he keeps him on the march; then with a body of picked men he lies in wait for him.

The clever combatant looks to the effect of combined energy, and does not require too much from individuals. Hence, his ability to pick out the right men and to utilize combined energy.

When he utilizes combined energy, his fighting men become as it were like unto rolling logs or stones. For it is the nature of a log or stone to remain motionless on level ground, and to move when on a slope; if four cornered, to come to a standstill, but if round-shaped to go rolling down.

Thus the energy developed by good fighting men is as the momentum of a round stone rolled down a mountain thousands of feet in height. So much on the subject of energy.

Aesop's Fables
 
THE GOAT AND THE GOATHERD
 
A Goatherd had sought to bring back a stray goat to his flock. He whistled and sounded his horn in vain; the straggler paid no attention to the summons. At last the Goatherd threw a stone, and breaking its horn, begged the Goat not to tell his master. The Goat replied, "Why, you silly fellow, the horn will speak though I be silent."
 
Do not attempt to hide things which cannot be hid.
 
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Quotes & Jokes
Noah Webster
  • BornOctober 16, 1758
  • DiedMay 28, 1843
  • NationalityAmerican
  • OccupationWriter
We must all choose a side from which we will defend or destroy what this nation was set out to achieve. The Constitution and the Bill of Rights was not written to harm us, nor was it written to be double-minded. It was written to bring us all a freedom of spirit and a life of integrity within that freedom. I share with you just three quotes from Noah Webster, one of the lesser-known of the freedom fighters. There was strength of character in this man, which shows forth in his writings. Let this strength of character bring out a thoughtfulness and wakefulness of the dangers we are facing today, and I urge you to stay strong and steadfast in your fight against the tyranny we are fighting now. When history is buried and ignored it is repeated: Stand firm and let that not be said of our generation!

Noah Webster: When a citizen gives his suffrage to a man of known immorality he abuses his trust; he sacrifices not only his own interest, but that of his neighbor; he betrays the interest of his country.

Remembering where they came from, Noah Webster has this to say: The ecclesiastical establishments of Europe which serve to support
tyrannical governments are not the Christian religion but abuses and
corruptions of it.

Concerning where our liberties came from: It is the sincere desire of the writer that our citizens should early understand that the genuine source of correct republican principles is the bible, particularly the New Testament or the Christian religion.

Remember these things when people call you names and seek to refute your righteous stand for our Republic. There has been no greater nation upon this earth that was ever set forth with the integrity and foresight that America was founded and built upon.

Our fight is not over until the last lie is defeated. Stand strong citizens of America against all tyranny. Our forefathers fought and died for our freedom: Many have fathers, brothers, loved ones and friends who have done the same. Let not the powers that be tread on and destroy our freedom now. Fight the good fight of faith, justice and righteousness that our children might also live in peace under FREEDOM, which comes from God alone.




Another source of power in government is a military force. But this, to be efficient, must be superior to any force that exists among the people, or which they can command; for otherwise this force would be annihilated, on the first exercise of acts of oppression. Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed; as they are in almost every kingdom in Europe. The supreme power in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword; because the whole body of the people are armed, and constitute a force superior to any band of regular troops that can be, on any pretense, raised in the United States. A military force, at the command of Congress, can execute no laws, but such as the people perceive to be just and constitutional; for they will possess the power, and jealousy will instantly inspire the inclination, to resist the execution of a law which appears to them unjust and oppressive.
-Noah Webster

In selecting men for office, let principle be your guide. Regard not the particular sect or denomination of the candidate -- look at his character. It is alleged by men of loose principles, or defective views of the subject, that religion and morality are not necessary or important qualifications for political stations. But the scriptures teach a different doctrine. They direct that rulers should be men who rule in the fear of God, men of truth, hating covetousness. It is to the neglect of this rule that we must ascribe the multiplied frauds, breaches of trust, speculations and embezzlements of public property which astonish even ourselves; which tarnish the character of our country and which disgrace our government. When a citizen gives his vote to a man of known immorality, he abuses his civic responsibility; he not only sacrifices his own responsibility; he sacrifices not only his own interest, but that of his neighbor; he betrays the interest of his country.
-Noah Webster

But what is tyranny? Or how can a free people be deprived of their liberties? Tyranny is the exercise of some power over a man, which is not warranted by law, or necessary for the public safety. A people can never be deprived of their liberties, while they retain in their own hands, a power sufficient to any other power in the state.
-Noah Webster

When you become entitled to exercise the right of voting for public officers, let it be impressed on your mind that God commands you to choose for rulers, 'just men who will rule in the fear of God.' The preservation of [our] government depends on the faithful discharge of this Duty; if the citizens neglect their Duty and place unprincipled men in office, the government will soon be corrupted; laws will be made, not for the public good so much as for selfish or local purposes; corrupt or incompetent men will be appointed to execute the Laws; the public revenues will be squandered on unworthy men; and the rights of the citizen will be violated or disregarded. If [our] government fails to secure public prosperity and happiness, it must be because the citizens neglect the Divine Commands, and elect bad men to make and administer the Laws.
-Noah Webster

Why not include a provision that everybody shall, in good weather, hunt on his own land and catch fish in rivers that are public property and that Congress shall never restrain any inhabitant of America from eating and drinking, at seasonable times, or prevent his lying on his left side, in a long winter's night, or even on his back, when he is fatigued by lying on his right.
-Noah Webster

Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed as they are in almost every kingdom in Europe. The supreme power in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword because the whole body of the people are armed, and constitute a force superior to any band of regular troops that can be, on any pretense, raised in the United States.
-Noah Webster

The moral principles and precepts contained in the Scripture ought to form the basis of all our civil constitutions and laws. All the miseries and evil men suffer from vice, crime, ambition, injustice, oppression, slavery, and war, proceed from their despising or neglecting the precepts contained in the Bible.
-Noah Webster


Featured Tactical Gear
Advanced Tactical Seat Caddy

Product #KR58601

   

$129.95

$117.00

 

  • 20" H x 12" W x 7" D
  • Water-resistant 1050-denier nylon
  • Flexible main storage compartments
  • Internal dividers
  • Compression straps
  • Hydration pocket
  • Fleece lined eye wear pocket
  • Sternum straps
  • Molle-compatible webbing on front and sides
  • Elastic keeper for strap ends
  • Name tape and flag holder
  • YKK zippers
  • Three colors; Black, Flat Dark Earth and Tac OD

Functionality
Sized for a twenty-four hour excursion, the RUSH 24™ Backpacks are loaded with the features operators need and want. Designed by special operations combat veteran, Kyle Lamb of VTAC™, these backpacks come with two large compartments and a compression strap system that allows expandability depending upon how much gear you carry. The front section of the pack includes an organizer; a separate zippered compartment, a key fob and radio/magazine pockets with hook and loop straps. The main compartment has three mesh zippered pockets and a separate large cinch pocket. There are two full-length side pockets that can handle a variety of different items including water bottles. The top of the backpacks has a separate fleece lined eyeglass pocket and 2 smaller external zippered gear pocket. We've added molle-compatible webbing to the front and side of the pack, allowing you to attach a host of different 5.11's SlickStick™ accessory. We've also included a reinforced hydration pocket that allows you to add a hydration bladder for immediate access to water. We finished the pack off with a heavy-duty, nylon carry handle at the top.

 

Hardware
Constructed of water-resistant 1050-denier nylon, the RUSH 24™Backpacks are built to last. We use quality YKK zippers throughout and our high-impact plastic clips remain stable in all temperatures. We've added elastic keepers to secure the ends of all straps. Once you've got the pack adjusted to your size, you'll be able to secure the ends of all straps with these elastic keepers.

 

VTAC™
5.11 Tactical has joined forces with Special Operations Combat Veteran (RET) Kyle E. Lamb. He served his country for 21 years, 17 of which were with the most elite elements of the U.S. Army Special Operations Command. He has been decorated for valor in Mogadishu, Somalia, during the battle that was made famous by the movie Blackhawk Down. He was also decorated for valor during Operation Iraqi Freedom. SGM Lamb is one of the most credible and sought-after shooting and tactics instructors in the country. The owner of Viking Tactic, Inc. (VTAC™), and the inventor of the Viking Tactics Sling, his master-level expertise comes directly from real-world experience.

 

SlickStick™
This carrier features our SlickStick™ molle-attachment system. Slickstick™ pouches are compatible with standard molle attachment systems, yet functions like none other. The Slickstick™ slides through a UV-resistant ring making it easier to arrange and attach your pouches and other gear. Slickstick attaches like a normal molle attachment, but it slides to make it easier. To remove an item, just pop the snap and pull the stick out.

 

Value
The RUSH 24 Backpacks are high-end backpacks with a low-end price. The variety of features along with the practical design makes this a superior value. We are proud to have partnered with Kyle Lamb to provide such a full-featured pack at such a great price.

 

Click Here to View Item >>    


Tactical Backpack Kit

Product #BHDE-TBK

 

$569.95
$512.96

  

The standard for most breaching operations, the Tactical Backpack Kit

features the following:

  • BOLTMASTER BOLT CUTTER™
  • THUNDERMAUL™
  • SPECIAL OPERATIONS HALLAGAN TOOL™
  • MANUAL ENTRY TOOL PACK™



Click Here to View Item and Full Specifications >> 

 


OSC

Product #SPOSC

 

$59.95
$53.96
 

 

Our Tactical Mask is designed to fit 96% of the world's population and can be used for Paintball, AirSoft, Law Enforcement and Military training. Some people use it for Jet Ski's, ATV's, UTV's, Snow Boarding and Snow Skiing. Some people use it under their helmets or Skid Lids while riding motorcycles (they take the forehead protector off and it fits under most 1/2 helmets and Skid Lids). Whatever your use is, U R gonna LUV IT!

  • Comes with Clear Thermal Lens
  • Protective high gloss clear coat
  • Tough, durable plastic
  • Interchangeable polycarbonate lens with military grade AF+AS+UV coatings
  • Open Cell foam
  • Adjustable strap with Sure Grip Technology
  • Does NOT include stuff sack (sold separately)
  • 30 day limited manufacturer's warranty

 

 

Click Here to View Item and Full Specifications >> 


OLIVE DRAB 7 X 50 BINOCULARS

Product #R20272

 

$59.95
$53.96
 

 

  • WATERPROOF & FOGPROOF
  • FLOATS
  • BUILT IN COMPASS
  • O-RING SEALED & NITROGEN FILLED
  • RANGE FINDING RETICLE
  • ILLUMINATION READING
  • SPEEDY RANGE FINDING DIAL
  • MULTI -COATED LENS
  • POWER - 7X
  • OBJ. DIA: 50MM
  • EXIT PUPIL: 6.8MM
  • EYE RELIEF: 22MM
  • FIELD OF VIEW: 132M/1000M
  • NEAR FOCUS: 8.6MM
  • DIMENSION: 210 X 170 X 80MM
  • INCLUDES CASE MADE OF 320D BLACK NYLON POUCH, INSTRUCTIONS, CLEANING CLOTH AND YELLOW FLOATING CLOTH


 

 

Featured Items
Shoulder Holster

Product #SO1010601


$
95.95
SERPA CQC Holster w/Matte Finish  
$86.36
Description:
  • Universal Design: Fits most common military and L.E. service pistols includ ing; Beretta M9, Sig M11, 1911, & Glock.
  • Low Profile: The four point harness effectively distributes the weight of pistol and spare mags without adding unnecessary bulk.
  • Easy On & Off: The specially designed "yoke" and easily adjustable four-point harness system keeps the holster from twisting and speeds donning. The double release on the front allows the holster to be quickly removed.
  • Ambidextrous: The SPEC.-OPS. Brand Shoulder Holster can be set-up for a right or left handed shooter in a matter of seconds. No special adapters or hardware are required.
  • Safe: The "Tanker" style orientation of the holster body leaves the pistol pointed in a safe direction and makes drawing fast and smooth. No more worries about "flagging" the folks standing behind you.


Nomad 27 Solar Panel
Product #GZ12201

$349.95
$314.96

  • Collect 27 watts of power from the sun
  • Store power with the Sherpa 120 power pack for use anytime
  • Charges the Sherpa 120 power pack in 6 - 10 hours from the sun.
  • Small, lightweight, foldable soft case for convenient carrying
  • Built in pocket to store connector cord
  • Weather resistant
Features
Powerfully compact.
When space is tight and every ounce counts, the Nomad 27M packs the perfect power source. Using 27-watts of highly efficient mono-crystalline solar technology, its eight small panels provide plenty of power and conveniently fold into a small, lightweight portable case.
So whether you're backpacking, hiking, biking, snowshoeing or more, you can easily pack and carry your solar energy - compatible with all of your Elite gear.
What's in the Box
1 x Nomad 27 watt solar array
3 x aluminum stiffening rods

 
Short Black on Black Ka-Bar
Product #SDSKBAR1256

$95.95
$86.36

Black on Black K-BAR with black sheath. This has risen to the best seller list at KA-BAR so we decided it should be available to our clients. The blade is crafted from rigid 1095 tool steel, making it one of the toughest knife blades out there.

Blade Length: 5 - 1/4"
Overall Length: 9 - 1/4"
 
Featured Watch
AquaForce LED Light AQUAFORCE DIGITAL - DUAL TIME

Product #F23-0027

 

$30.00  

$27.00    

 

  • Stainless Steel Metal Back
  • Luminous Hour Markers
  • 50M Water Resistant
  • Two Year Warranty
  • 24Hr Military Time
  • Nylon Strap
  • Luminous Hands
  • Analog Watch
  • LED Light

  •  

    Econ 101

    What Has Really Changed?

    What Has Really Changed?
    Dec. 1965
      
    "Yankees go home!"    
    But these Yankees, who saved the very nations now screaming this contemptible demand-these Yankees whose country's gold rebuilt those nations...these Yankees can't go home.
    Articles
    World's most sophisticated and powerful nuclear submarine 
    • Carries dozens of cruise missiles capable of hitting targets 1,200 miles away
    • Her sonar can detect vessels moving on the other side of the ocean
    • Powerful nuclear reactor allows her to cruise non-stop for 25 years
    • HMS Ambush is so hi-tech the giant submarine doesn't even need a periscope
    By Sam Adams
    PUBLISHED: 08:59 GMT, 14 September 2012 | UPDATED: 12:59 GMT, 14 September 201

    She cost around 1billion to build, has sonar so sensitive it can hear other vessels 3,000 miles away and carries a giant payload of 38 deadly Tomahawk cruise missiles. HMS Ambush, the Royal Navy's newest nuclear attack submarine, is one of the most sophisticated and powerful vessels of her type ever built. The giant Astute-class sub, which was launched today, is so hi-tech she doesn't even need a periscope.
    Scroll down to watch the submarine's weapons being tested...



    Awesome: HMS Ambush, which was built by BAE Systems, is believed to be the world's most powerful nuclear attack submarine. Her huge weapons payload includes super-accurate Tomahawk cruise missiles and Spearfish torpedoes for fighting other vessels




    Success: The super hi-tech vessel has undergone rigorous testing ahead of today's launch. Despite her size the sub's 103 crew will be tightly packed, with some sleeping up to eight to a room in bunk beds.




    Her crew instead using a digital camera system to see above the surface when she is submerged. Built by BAE Systems, she has enough nuclear fuel to carry on cruising for up to 25 years non-stop - giving her huge tactical flexibility. Her nuclear reactor is so powerful her range is only really limited by the need for maintenance and resupply. Astute-class submarines are the largest, most advanced and most powerful in the history of the Navy, boasting world-class design, weaponry and versatility. HMS Ambush can travel over 500 miles in a day, allowing them to be deployed anywhere in the world within two weeks.  
    The vessel is also one of the quietest sea-going vessels built, capable of sneaking along an enemy coastline to drop off special forces or tracking a boat for weeks.



    Detailed: HMS Ambush was fitted out with her sophisticated technology at Devonshire dock hall in Barrow-in-Furness Cumbria. She contains some of the most hi-tech weapons and sonar systems ever created



    HMS Ambush: Her powerful nuclear reactor allows her to travel around the world without stopping. She can cruise for up to 500 miles in a day Foreign forces will find it almost impossible to sneak up undetected by her incredibly powerful sonar equipment that can hear halfway around the world. Her Tomahawk missiles are capable of hitting targets up to 1,200 miles away - making her a vital weapon for Britain's armed forces. The sub's commander Peter Green, 47, said the vessel's capabilities are 'unparalleled.''This sub is a huge step forward in underwater operations,' he told the Daily Mirror
    . Her listening ability is quite awesome. She has a sonar system with the processing power of 2,000 laptop computers.

     
    Inside: The weapons room of the 1billion sub. Many details of her weapons system remain top secret



    Feeding the crew: The submarine's kitchen will be staffed by five chefs providing food 24-hours a day for her officers and crew



    Technology: Leading engineering technician Andrew Gee tests out the sub's steering system in the control room
    'It is possible this class of submarine is the most advanced in the world.'
    Another Astute Class sub is currently undergoing sea trials €" and could be operational within a year. Many details of HMS Ambush's weapons systems cannot be revealed for security reasons. Most of her 103-strong crew live in bunk-beds measuring two metres by one metre, with up to 18 submariners sharing one room. After today's launch HMS Ambush will begin sea trials before eventually beginning operations.




     

    Marine Air: Modernizing Before the Storm

     

    JSF F-35B test aircraft BF-02 during a low speed tower flyby with its gear up, Jan. 31, 2012, piloted by Peter Wilson. Lockheed Martin photo

    The Marines are getting new strike fighters, medium-lift tilt-rotors, attack and utility helicopters, and turboprop tanker-transports in advance of sequestered budget cuts or more measured economies across the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD). Some of those new aircraft have already changed the way Marines fly and fight in Operation Enduring Freedom and elsewhere. In sharp contrast to the CH-46E retiring from medium helicopter squadrons, the MV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor can haul Marines anywhere in Afghanistan from one main operating base. Unlike the unarmed KC-130T that still hauls cargo and refuels jets, helicopters, and tilt-rotors, the Harvest Hawk-modified KC-130J can also give precision fire support to Marines on the ground. Though yet to fly, the CH-53K Heavy Lift Replacement helicopter promises to fit the same deck footprint as today's CH-53E yet carry nearly three times the payload to high-and-hot landing zones.

     

    Withdrawal from Iraq, pending withdrawal from Afghanistan, and national debt pressures are driving cuts in U.S. force structure. The Marine Corps, 202,000 strong last year, will shrink to 182,000 by 2017 and has already trimmed the AH-1Z program of record from 226 to 189 attack helicopters. The MV-22 and CH-53K programs are, for the present, unchanged, and whatever the ultimate size and schedule of re-equipment plans, Marine aviation will remain a highly integrated part of a uniquely expeditionary fighting force.

     

    F-35 Joint Strike Fighter

    In January this year, Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron (VMFAT) 501 at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., received the first production Lockheed Martin F-35B. The fleet replacement squadron is part of the Integrated Training Center preparing Marine, Air Force, and Navy pilots and maintainers for the new Joint Strike Fighter (JSF). The Marine Corps JSF program of record now includes the F-35B and F-35C, both stealthy, multisensor strike aircraft designed to be survivable amid integrated air defenses and digitally connected in a networked battlespace. The short takeoff/vertical landing (STOVL) F-35B promises the Marine Corps a fighter compatible with large-deck amphibious assault ships (LHAs and LHDs). The carrier-based, catapult-launched F-35C offers identical systems with greater range and payload. Marine plans now call for a total of 420 aircraft to replace AV-8B Advanced Harriers on LHAs/LHDs and F/A-18A/C/D Hornets and EA-6B Prowlers aboard Navy carriers and at shore bases.

    CLICK HERE TO READ MORE>>

    Enterprise Returns Home from Final Deployment
    The Navy's largest, oldest ship and its first nuclear carrier prepares for decommissioning

    Sailors, Marines and family members aboard the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CVN 65) observe the aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) as the ships pass in the Atlantic Ocean. Enterprise was completing her final deployment to the U.S. 5th and 6th Fleet areas of responsibility in support of maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts. Her unique island structure made her readily identifiable among U.S. Navy supercarriers. U.S. Navy photo by Lt. Ryan de Vera

    The USS Enterprise (CVN 65), the world's first nuclear powered aircraft carrier, has come home for good after her 22nd overseas deployment, this time to the U.S. Navy's 5th and 6th Fleet areas of operation - the Middle East and Mediterranean. She returned to her homeport Nov. 4, 2012, after completing her 25th and final deployment.

    At 51 years of age, she is the longest currently serving ship in the fleet. Her decommissioning and Inactivation ceremony is planned for Dec. 1, 2012. The Inactivation Ceremony will be the last official and public event for the "Big E." After the ceremony, her eight nuclear reactors will be removed and the ship dismantled.


    The aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CVN 65) underway as flagship of the Enterprise Carrier Strike Group (CSG) to support maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of responsibility. This was the last deployment for the Navy's first nuclear-powered supercarrier. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Scott Pittman

    She steamed 80,968 miles during her 238-day deployment. Carrier Air Wing 1 (CVW-1) flew more than 8,000 sorties in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and exercises in the 5th and 6th Fleet AORs.

     

    "This has not been a victory lap for Enterprise by any means," said Rear Adm. Ted Carter, Enterprise Carrier Strike Group commander. "This has been a full-on combat operation. We've seen the full spectrum of Navy operations on this deployment. It's been a business as usual kind of deployment."

     

    The Enterprise Carrier Strike Group included Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 2, the Mayport, Fla.-based guided missile cruiser USS Vicksburg (CG 69) and three Norfolk-based guided missile destroyers: USS Porter, (DDG 78) USS Nitze (DDG 94) and USS James E. Williams (DDG 95). Also returning were the aviation squadrons of her air wing, Carrier Air Wing 1 (CVW 1), which includes of F/A-18 Hornets and Super Hornets from Oceana Naval Air Station (VFA-211 "Checkmates," VFA-11 "Red Rippers," and VMFA-251 "Thunderbolts") ; the electronic attack squadron VAQ-137 "Rooks," flying the EA-6B Prowler; the carrier airborne early warning squadron VAW-123 "Screwtops," Helicopter Antisubmarine Squadron 11(HS-11), the "Dragonslayers;" and a detachment of C-2A Greyhound carrier onboard delivery (COD) aircraft from the VRC-40 "Rawhides."

     

    CLICK HERE TO READ MORE>>


    Army Exploring M110 Semi Automatic Sniper System (SASS) Improvements

    The M110 Semi-Automatic Sniper System (SASS) is one of the U.S. Army's more recently procured medium caliber sniper rifles. The Army is seeking to shrink the weapon's size and lower its weight. PEO Soldier photo

    In much the same way that the U.S. Marine Corps is exploring potential enhancements to its current 7.62 x 51 mm M40A5 Sniper Rifle, the U.S. Army is also exploring a number of similar enhancements to its own 7.62 x 51 mm M110 Semi Automatic Sniper System (SASS). 

     

    The M110 Semi-Automatic Sniper System (SASS) is an anti-personnel and light antimateriel weapon that fires 7.62 mm ammunition out to a maximum effective range of 800 meters. It incorporates a rapid fire/rapid reload design, variable-power day optic sight, and 10- or 20-round detachable box magazines. The weapon system exceeds the rate-of-fire and lethality of the M24 Sniper Weapon System. The M110 weapon system (combat ready with suppressor and loaded 20-round magazine) weighs 17.3 pounds. PEO Soldier photo

    First fielded [first unit equipped] in the 1st quarter of FY 08, the M110 SASS is a lightweight, direct gas operated, semi - automatic, box magazine fed, 7.62 x 51 mm rifle intended to engage and defeat personnel targets out to 800 meters. The weapon is manufactured by Knight's Armament Company, based in Titusville, Fla. The weapon's associated Leupold Mark IV 3.5-10X scope provides field of view options to suit the specific tactical range applications. Using 10-round or 20-round detachable magazines, the semi-automatic M110 SASS greatly exceeds the rate of fire and lethality of the previous M24 Sniper Weapon System.

     

    Army representatives outlined their interest in enhanced characteristics through a recent "sources sought" announcement. The announcement, dubbed Compact Semi - Automatic Sniper System (CSASS), was released by the U.S. Army's Army Contracting Command on behalf of the Project Manager Soldier Weapons (PMSW).

     

    CSASS interest focuses on manufacturing a complete system or reconfiguring some or all of the existing M110 SASS currently available in Army inventory.

    Specific criteria outlined for the notional CSASS focus on size and weight improvements. Specifically, the announcement calls for the overall length of the weapon to be reduced using a shorter barrel and/or collapsible buttstock. Maximum overall assembled length of the rifle would be no greater than 36 inches with the stock at its shortest position and no sound suppressor mounted. This compares with a 40.5-inch length for the current SASS with buttstock fully compressed and without suppressor.

    At "no more than 9.0 lbs. for the unloaded rifle without optics and accessories," the CSASS would also be lighter than the current SASS design.

    Other noted CSASS criteria include:

    • semi-automatic operation;
    • compatibility with 7.62 x 51mm NATO cartridges;
    • modular, adjustable pistol grip;
    • non-adjustable match style trigger;
    • fore-end hand guard that includes a fixed 12 o' clock rail with configurable 3, 6, and 9 o' clock rails;
    • muzzle mounted, detachable compensator/muzzle brake compatible with the sound suppressor;
    • bipod with tool-less detachment featuring cant and pan/track capability;
    • Army specified variable power day optic and compatible rings;
    • back-up iron sights offset 45 degrees from the day optic scope;
    • flush cup, quick detach sling attachment points; and,
    • "Significant improvement from M110 requirements while enduring higher rates of fire."

    The announcement identified a CSASS production requirement "at an estimated range of 125 per month with a capability to ramp up to 325 per month."

     

     


    Operation Harling: British Special Operations Executive Team Blows Bridges In Greece

    Greek Andartes (resistance fighters) in Greece, ca. 1944. The Greek Andartes overcame division between the two main resistance groups in order to help the Special Operations Executive carry out Operation Harling. National Archives photo
     

    "Get the sheep away from the bridge, the British are going to blow it up tonight!"

    -Elderly villager warning sheepherders at the base of the Gorgopotamus viaduct

      

    Supplies for Axis troops in North Africa arrived from Europe one of two ways: in the west through Italy and Sicily and then to Tunis or Benghazi, and in the east through Greece and Crete and then to Benghazi or Tobruk. During the summer of 1942, Lt. Gen. Bernard Montgomery and his Eighth Army were preparing for what would become the Second Battle of El Alamein. Disrupting the Axis supply line in Greece now became a priority. The main supply route there was a single-track railroad line, part of the famous Oriental Express route, that ran down the middle of Greece, terminating at the port of Piraeus. Because the road network in Greece was all but nonexistent and there were so few railways, even a partial destruction of that line would compromise supply efforts. Planners determined that the best choke point was about 75 miles northwest of Priaeus in the rugged Brallos Pass. Three railroad viaducts were located there: Gorgopotamus, Aspops, and Papadice. Commander in Chief Middle East army headquarters assigned Special Operations Executive (SOE) the task of wrecking them. It was SOE's largest and most complex mission to date. Led by Lt. Col. Edmund "Eddy" Myers, twelve SOE soldiers prepared to launch Operation Harling.

      

    The Gorgonpotamos viaduct blown up in 1942 by the Special Operations Executive as part of Operation Harling and subsequently rebuilt. Crown copyright. IWM

    Myers divided the team into three groups of   

     

    four. Each group contained a leader, an interpreter, a sapper, and a radio operator. The first attempt to insert the teams on Sept. 28, 1942, failed as the three modified B-24 Liberators couldn't find the prearranged landing zone signal fires. Another attempt was made two days later. This time signal fires were located near Mount Giona in Central Greece. Though the fires' arrangement was not what everyone had been told to expect, the decision was made to parachute in.

      

    Instead of landing close to each other, the groups and their supplies wound up scattered. The group led by Maj. Christopher Woodhouse landed near the signal fires. Woodhouse, who spoke fluent Greek, soon discovered why the signal fires were odd. They had been set by three villagers who, having heard the bombers two nights ago, hoped that by doing so they'd be rewarded with an aerial drop of supplies and ammunition - not soldiers!

      

    The second group landed some distance away. Because of the rugged terrain and the need to avoid detection, a week would pass before it rendezvoused with Woodhouse's.

    The most harrowing experience occurred with Maj. Cooke's group. Three members landed near the Italian fortified town of Karpenissi, with one of them landing in the town itself. Friendly villagers managed to help all four evade the Italian troops. Ultimately it took Cooke's group two weeks to join the others.

    During this period the SOE groups encountered Greek andartes (guerrillas) from the two main Resistance groups, the Communist-backed Greek People's Liberation Army (ELAS) and the right-wing National Republican Greek Leagues. After being briefed on the mission, for the first and only time the two rival groups agreed to work together to help make Operation Harling a success.

      

    Maj. C.M. Woodhouse (left), who in September 1943 succeeded Brig. Gen. E. Myers as commander of the British Military Mission in Greece. Maj. "Jerry" Wines, U.S. Army, co-commander of what became the Allied Military Mission, is at right. Crown copyright.
    Reconnaissance of the three viaducts determined that the Gorgopotamos viaduct was the most vulnerable. The andartes would attack the garrisons stationed at both of the approaches. Once the garrisons had been neutralized, the SOE team hidden in the valley would attach explosives to the base of the pier supporting the middle of the viaduct.

      

    The attack began at 11:00 p.m. on Nov. 25. The assault on the garrisons was supposed to last a few minutes. Instead it continued for more than an hour. Worried about enemy reinforcements, Myers ordered his men to start laying their charges. At 1:30 a.m. on Nov. 26, the first explosions detonated, collapsing two spans. About an hour later the remaining span was destroyed. By 4:30 a.m., with the andartes suffering only four wounded, the attackers departed.

    SOE's success set the stage for similar major operations throughout Europe. It took seven weeks for the Axis to repair the viaduct. Hitler also reassigned six divisions from the Eastern Front to Greece. Woodhouse and a couple other senior members of Harling were ordered to remain in Greece and form the British Military Mission to Greece.

      

    Years later Woodhouse, a retired colonel and the 5th Baron Terrington, recalled that security was a constant problem in Greece. "If one Greek knew, then all knew," he said. "So we became resigned to the fact there was no real secrecy, whatsoever. However, since nobody told the enemy, our plans were not generally compromised!"

      

    A video clip about Operation Harling can be seen on YouTube at:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4agppakDL6Y. 

     

      



    The SAS Originals: Daring to Win

    A close-up of a heavily armed patrol of 'L' Detachment SAS in their Jeeps, just back from a three month patrol. The crews of the jeeps are all wearing 'Arab-style' headdress, as copied from the Long Range Desert Group, Jan. 18, 1943. Imperial War Museum photo

    "... I have always felt uneasy in being known as the founder of the [SAS] Regiment. ..."

    -Sir David Stirling,  June 30, 1984

      

    The Time: The night of Nov. 16-17, 1941.

    The Place: The Western Desert of North Africa in World War II.

    The Force: 65 picked and trained men.

      

    The Mission: Parachute behind German lines and destroy enemy aircraft on airfields, which will threaten an Allied counteroffensive, code-named Operation Crusader, due to launch in just two days.

      

    The Facts: It's their first mission. The unit, the Special Air Service (SAS), is revolutionary and brand new. Their leader, then-Capt. David Stirling, is considered by his own superiors to be a maverick. And to top it all off, the military bureaucracy of Middle East Headquarters (ME HQ) wants them to fail. Before the SAS can take off, a massive storm blows up and the 65 men are given the option of pulling out. They face a difficult dilemma: Cancel the drop and their own high command will kill off the unit before it has run its first mission. Or jump into the storm, and chances are that many of them won't survive.

    They decide to go and jump. In the storm, the men are separated from their gear and explosives, and don't even reach the targeted enemy airfields. Of the 65, just 21 make it out, across the desert, to the rendezvous (RV) point for the trip back to their base camp.

    This should be the end of the story. In fact, it's the beginning of the story of a modern military revolution: The birth of modern special operations forces. And to understand what happens next, it's necessary to know what has gone before. Because the 21 men who jumped into that storm, and somehow survived to fight on, are the founding members of the British SAS. Within their small, insular community they are today known as "The Originals," and this is their story.

      

    Foundations

    History records that a young Scots Guards officer, David Stirling, founded the SAS in late 1941. Stirling was born into the Scottish aristocracy (his father was a general) in 1915. The indications from his early life weren't promising. Stirling was sent down from Cambridge University for drinking and gambling. He then spent two years in Paris studying art, then trained in the Alps and American Rockies as a mountain climber. His aim - to be first man to climb Mount Everest.

    When war with Germany broke out in 1939, Stirling joined the Scots Guards. In 1941, he went to the Middle East with "Layforce," a commando force led by Robert Laycock. By late that year, Rommel's Afrika Korps had driven the British back to the Egyptian border and were threatening the Suez Canal and Arabian oil fields. And in the eyes of aggressive young men like Stirling, the vast potential of British commando units to disrupt the Afrika Korps was being squandered by their own leaders.

    In a 1985 interview, Stirling remembered what it was like. "They didn't want to risk having casualties and therefore unless the weather, or all the other requirements for any operation or undertaking, was absolutely right, they wouldn't let us go," he said. "So we were involved in a series of postponements and cancellations." Nevertheless, the experience of commando operations was already sowing an idea in Stirling's head.

    "It got around thinking regarding how one could carry out the role at a hundredth of the cost," he said. "In fact, it made it inevitable to come up with a proposition along the lines of SAS."

      

      

    "Gentleman" Jim Almonds. Photo courtesy of Special Air Service Regimental Association
     

      

    The idea became a hard proposal as a result of a near-fatal parachute-training jump. Stirling's chute caught on the tail of the aircraft and was torn open before he could cut loose. He landed badly. His legs were temporarily paralyzed and he was hospitalized. Stirling used the time to develop and write a paper on the proposal born from his own commando experience, which he referred to as "Hard Principles." Others would refine them, but today they are the essence of modern SOF doctrine, what the military now calls unconventional warfare. As Stirling explained, "One entire commando, 600 men or so, probably couldn't succeed in tackling more than perhaps two landing grounds on the same night, and more than three-quarters of the force would be taken up with defending those who were actually operating. We preferred for every sub unit of four to five men to tackle a full target area on their own, and if they failed, it was more than compensated by the fact that with 60 men we could attack, theoretically, probably up to 20 targets on the same night."

    Stirling's targets would also be different. His new unit would be small and capable, operating deep behind the lines. Their missions, strategic in nature, would involve attacking key points such as enemy airfields, supply dumps, and ports - what Col. John Warden, (USAF, Ret.) would later refer to as "centers of gravity."

    Politically astute, Stirling linked his proposal to create his new unit to an actual Allied plan: Operation Crusader, which would attempt to relieve the besieged port of Tobruk. His concept was that his new unit, broken into small teams, would parachute behind Axis lines and destroy enemy aircraft on their airfields to keep them from influencing the coming battle. Still in his hospital bed, Stirling even found a name for his revolutionary new unit: The Special Air Service. Stirling recalled, "It came mainly from the fact that I was anxious to get full cooperation of a very ingenious individual called Dudley Clarke."

    Clarke, one of the masters of World War II deception, had been conspicuously dropping dummy parachutists, mimicking training exercises, so that word would get back to Rommel that the Allies had a sizable parachute force. The name of his decoy force was the Special Air Service, which Stirling promptly appropriated, probably to confuse enemies on both sides. Sadly, Stirling already had an excess of opponents on the Allied side.


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    The Battle of Roberts Ridge
       
    "The Battle of Takur Ghar" by Keith Rocco. Operation Enduring Freedom, the military action against Taliban and al Qaeda forces in Afghanistan, was the catalyst for the largest mobilization of Air National Guard personnel since the Korean War. It also marked the first time that Air National Guard ground units, particularly pararescue personnel and air combat controllers, were used to support joint ground combat operations. As part of Enduring Freedom, in March 2002 a joint military operation named "Anaconda" was mounted in Paktia province to surround and defeat Taliban forces hiding in the area. National Guard painting by Keith Rocco

    On March 2, 2002, Operation Anaconda, the largest set piece battle in Operation Enduring Freedom-Afghanistan (OEF-A), was launched. Its objective was the destruction of the Taliban and al Qaeda terrorist bands that had taken refuge in the Shah-i-Kot Valley in Paktia province, Afghanistan, near the Pakistan border. Though it ended successfully, Gen. Tommy Franks, the commander of CENTCOM in 2002, later wrote in his autobiography, American Soldier, that the operation's plan "didn't survive first contact with the enemy."

    When Maj. Gen. Franklin Hagenbeck, commander of Task Force Mountain, who oversaw the operation, realized that battlefield conditions threatened to tip the initiative in the enemy's favor, he ordered two SEAL teams inserted - one on a high ridge on the north side of the valley and another at Takur Ghar (High Mountain), a mountain on the valley's southeast border, where they would set up observation posts, identify enemy positions and movement, and direct air strikes. The mission inserting the SEAL team at Takur Ghar resulted in the bloodiest action of the operation: the Battle of Roberts Ridge.

    The Shah-i-Kot (Place of the King) has historically been a guerrilla haven and bastion. A small valley with a base elevation of 7,500 feet and limited access, the mountain ridges that border it contain countless caves, crevasses, and other natural features that make it a defender's dream and an attacker's nightmare. Twice in the Soviet-Afghan War of the 1980s, the Red Army launched major offensives against the mujahedeen hiding there. Both times Soviet troops were driven out in defeat. Would American forces, equipped with the latest technology and advanced weapon systems, succeed where the Red Army had failed?

    So far, it had. The unprecedented use of U.S. special operations forces (SOF), assisted by special operations troops from other nations, U.S. Air Force and Navy air assets, and anti-Taliban Northern Alliance Afghan militia, had successfully overthrown the Taliban rulers of Afghanistan within weeks of the launch of OEF-A in October 2001. The focus had since shifted to the more difficult and demanding hunt-down of the surviving Taliban remnants and al Qaeda terrorists.

     

    Strategic map for U.S. Army Operation Anaconda. The area outlined in blue is the Shah-i-Kot Valley, about 100 hundred miles south of Kabul, Afghanistan, near the Pakistani border. U.S. Army map

    In January 2002, intelligence reports indicated that the two groups were marshaling forces in the Shah-i-Kot. Attempts to gather hard information about the terrorists were hampered by the valley's inaccessibility, rugged terrain, and the enemy's skill in camouflaging its sites. This resulted in a paucity of facts that led to an intelligence estimate overly dependent on guesswork and recent past experience. The estimate determined that the valley contained 200 to 300 lightly armed, demoralized terrorists living among the 800 to 1,000 Afghan civilians in the valley's four villages. The belief was that after a brief battle, the terrorists would cut and run, or surrender.

      

    The plan to eliminate the enemy in Shah-i-Kot was called Operation Anaconda, a deliberate reference to the constrictor that coils its body around its victim before crushing it. As originally drafted, Anaconda was to have several concentric outer rings composed of U.S. SOF, friendly Afghan militia, and special operations personnel - from Australia, England, and other nations - who would surround the valley. Once Shah-i-Kot had been isolated, the Afghan militia would advance into the valley as a "hammer" that would drive the Taliban and al Qaeda into the "anvil" composed of entrenched American forces. The plan anticipated the operation would take three days, with the heaviest fighting occurring on the first day. As it turned out, Anaconda lasted 17 days.

      

    The plan began falling apart when the inadequately trained and inexperienced local Afghan militia, demoralized by a friendly fire incident, inadequate bombing of al Qaeda positions, and stiffer-than-expected opposition, stopped fighting and returned to its base within hours after the battle had started. It was now up to the American troops to be both hammer and anvil against an enemy that they had discovered was stronger, better armed than predicted, and determined to fight it out.

      

    In the early morning hours of March 4, 2002, Chief Warrant Officer Al Mack, piloting Razor 03, an MH-47E Chinook of the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne) - the Night Stalkers - lifted off from his forward base at Gardez. In the cabin behind him were members of Mako 30 - a team of six Navy SEALs - and Air Force Combat Controller Tech. Sgt. John Chapman.

     

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    96th Civil Affairs Battalion (Airborne):
    Advise, Maintain, Create


    A soldier with Team 621, Bravo Company, 96th Civil Affairs Battalion, pictured while on patrol in Iraq, 2010. U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Mike Meares

    Historically peace operations have been overshadowed by combat operations. That has changed under the "new normal" of irregular warfare and military operations other than war. Though combat operations that "win the war" continue to get their share of the public spotlight, more and more attention is now being focused on the troops tasked with the follow-up "winning the peace"-the troops of Civil Affairs. Winning that war in the Central Command area of operations is the mission of the 96th Civil Affairs Battalion (Airborne), a component of the 95th Civil Affairs Brigade (Airborne).

    A U.S. soldier from Company E, 96th Civil Affairs Battalion, talks with an operator from the Mushahidah Water Treatment Plant. Echo Company was attached to the 4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, and conducted town assessments to gauge the needs and level of leadership north of Baghdad in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. U.S. Navy photo by MC2 (AW/SW) Summer M. Anderson

    The 95th Civil Affairs Brigade (Airborne) is a U.S. Army brigade within U.S. Army Special Operations Command whose units support military commanders in the field by working with host nation government and non-governmental organizations as well as indigenous populations on a wide variety of missions during peacetime and in war.

      

    When supporting special operations forces (SOF), these missions include foreign internal defense operations carried out by SOF, support unconventional warfare and direct action missions, conduct civil reconnaissance, terrain analysis, locating civilian resources to support military operations, work to minimize civilian interference with operations, support counterdrug operations, and provide medical assistance to civilian populations. Civil Affairs (CA) teams also identify critical requirements needed by indigenous populations in war or disaster situations and work to rebuild and restore infrastructure and institutions for long-term stability.

    "Civil Affairs elements are an essential SOF instrument of force that project small teams to areas of interest and achieve disproportionately large results."

    -Capt. Lucas Overstreet, Mobile Fusion Team 644, 96th Civil Affairs Battalion (Airborne)

    The 95th Civil Affairs Brigade also contains the 91st Civil Affairs Battalion (Airborne) responsible for operations in European Command and Africa Command, 97th Civil Affairs Battalion (Airborne) responsible for operations in Pacific Command, and 98th Civil Affairs Battalion (Airborne) responsible for operations in Southern Command.

      

    Originally activated in 1945 as the 96th Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, Military Government Group, it was deployed to South Korea to assist with post-war occupation until it was deactivated in January 1949. In 1967 it was reactivated and redesignated the 96th Civil Affairs Group and allotted to the U.S. Army. In 1971 it was reorganized and redesignated the 96th Civil Affairs Battalion. It officially became an airborne unit in 1986.

      

    The 96th Civil Affairs Battalion has participated in a wide variety of military and humanitarian operations beginning with Operation Urgent Fury in Grenada and continuing to present day. It has campaign streamers for Operation Urgent Fury, Operation Just Cause (Panama), Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm. The unit has received the Meritorius Unit Commendation (Army) for Southwest Asia 1990-1991 and the Army Superior Unit Award for 1998-1999.

     

    A U.S. soldier with the 96th Civil Affairs Battalion, part of the 95th Civil Affairs Brigade, mans an M60 machine gun mounted atop an up-armored HMMWV. U.S. Army photo

    One example among many of how the unit's troops "roll with the punches" was demonstrated during Operation Just Cause. Company B, 96th Civil Affairs Battalion was notified that it would be participating in the operation whose mission was to oust the Panamanian dictator Gen. Manuel Noriega.

    Unlike the combat troops, who anticipated leaving Panama shortly after combat operations concluded, the company expected to remain in country for six months. In a post-operation interview of the company for the U.S. Army Center of Military History, the company's commander, Maj. John D. Knox, said that initially the company's missions were ". . . running a displaced civilian camp . . . establishing the new police force . . . [and] nation building with the new government." Then, a new mission dropped into their lap: weapons exchange. The obvious concern was to get as many weapons off the street as quickly as possible.

    Company B team leader Capt. Daniel Jacobs said, "Initially a whole lot wasn't known about the program. . . . So I did some checking around to find out exactly who's in charge of this thing. . . . somehow or other it fell through the crack . . . and the plan was never approved - formally."

    Working with 4th PSYOPS, who printed pamphlets and arranged television and radio broadcasts that explained how the program worked and locations of the official exchange sites, the men of Company B went to work to expedite it. Basically, people got an escalating amount of money depending on the type of weapon they brought to one of three collection points: fifty dollars for a handgun, a couple of hundred dollars for an automatic weapon, etc.

    In one noteworthy case, Capt. Jacobs recalled a fifteen-year-old kid who heard about the program and after being told the rates "came back with a cache of weapons and received $5,000 for it."

    Originally the 96th Civil Affairs Battalion had a global focus, but with the addition of the other Civil Affairs battalions beginning in 2006, 96th CAB was assigned to the CENTCOM area of operations. In the aftermath of the Arab spring, the crisis in Syria, and challenges throughout the area of operations, 96th CAB is going to be busy.


    Corporal Dan Keighran - the soldier, his courage and the mates he saved

     

        

    THE valley was descending into madness.

    Machine gun fire was raking the air above them. Radios were crackling, men yelling above the static and gunfire.

    The Australian soldiers, about 20 of them with another 20 Afghan army, were bunkered down. Sergeant Sean Lanigan was at the front of the patrol with Private Paul Langer in what his Commander, Lieutenant Colonel Mark Jennings, would later call a knife fight.

    In other words, they were so close they may as well have been using knives, not machine guns.

    "We were getting hit from a couple of positions," Sgt Lanigan said. "From thick marijuana crops."

    Corn and wheat also grew. All taller than a man, it made it perfect for evil men to hide in.

    This was on the morning of August 24, 2010, the day Lance-Corporal Jared MacKinney would be shot dead. And if not for the actions of another, Corporal Dan Keighran, there might have been many more.

    Cpl Keighran was awarded the Victoria Cross last week for what happened this day, just the third VC winner since fighting began in Afghanistan.

    The battle is more than two years gone now, but this week Cpl Keighran, with Lt Col Jennings, Sgt Lanigan, Corporal Lukas Woolley and Sapper Joel Toms, recalled what happened that day. He wouldn't do it without them.

    The air was full of machine gun fire and shouts, Afghani soldiers missing and then found, gunfire coming from crops you cannot see into, an enemy of unknown size, but of considerable firepower.

    The Afghani insurgents that planned the ambush had done a wonderful job. The Australians were vulnerable, on the low side with only open ground behind them, or a high, naked hill. It was so bare any attempt at gaining higher ground was not worth considering.

    "Get some eyes on the target," came the radio call.

    At this, Sgt Lanigan saw Cpl Keighran running up the hill. In truth, he was already going before the instructions came.

    "Oh shit!" Sgt Lanigan thought. Spr Toms saw him go, too. "Oh no!" he thought.

    Cpl Keighran went up the hill with Private Sean Parker and two Afghanis.

    He got up the hill so fast he went too far. "I knew I went too far because I nearly got shot in the first couple of seconds," he said.

    The bullets came in hard, punching the ground. "The closer it gets the crisper it sounds. It's like a crack," he said. Cpl Woolley added, "Like a stockwhip."

    Cpl Keighran was in a bad spot. There wasn't enough cover. He was too exposed. The cracks were crisp. "But I knew I had to be there, essentially to support my mates in the trench," he said.

    Such environments are not the place for hard luck stories. Actions here are always final, and sometimes fatal.

    But the Australians were under siege and, with the moment at hand, a man with a bad haircut and an intelligent eye, who now commits his full time work to time in the mines, was about to do something extraordinary.

    Cpl Woolley sent about half a dozen Afghans to help Cpl Keighran. They carried rocket-propelled grenades and heavy machineguns, and Cpl Keighran began positioning them 10-15m apart, attracting fire every time he moved to the next.

    From there he called positions in and, on a ridge about 1.5km west, four light-armored trucks carrying a .50 caliber machine gun, two 25mm Bushmaster chain guns, a 7.62mm machine gun and an 84mm recoilless rifle fired.

    For Cpl Keighran the relief was brief. Realising he was calling in positions, the insurgents turned their guns on the exposed hillside.

    "That's when Dan and Sean Parker started really getting a massive amount of fire from long range," Sgt Lanigan said.

    "It was perfect machine gun range. That's when we realized there was a lot of fire going above our heads hitting Dan and Sean."

    The insurgents brought reinforcements. Fire started coming from farther away.

    When the reinforcements arrived Cpl Keighran knew exactly where they needed to be, but they had to be told.

    "We need to get fire support," Cpl Keighran thought, to engage the targets further out. "I made the decision at this point to come off this hill," he said.

    More machine gun fire rained down as he descended.

    He ran in some places, crawled in others. Puffs of dirt spat up around him.

    He grabbed Captain Brendan Perkins: "We're getting engaged further out than what's still going on close quarter. We need to get rounds on these boys to help us out."

    Back up the hill they went, crawling all the way. On top, the machine gun fire picked up, so heavily they couldn't stick their heads up to identify enemy positions.

    Then, if he hadn't already by now, Cpl Keighran did something that would earn his Victoria Cross.

    "Put down 50 rounds rapid fire, I'm gonna stand up," he said. "I'm gonna draw fire."

    Most of us would think this is crazy. For most of us it would be. But Cpl Keighran is uncommon.

    "There's a point where you make a decision and there's a point beyond that," Cpl Woolley said, "and I watched him go beyond that a couple of times." By example, each time he watched Cpl Keighran go through his processes before he acted. This was no ill-considered action.

    "Essentially," Keighran said, he knew he had to "expose myself on top of this hill. I made the call to run across it."

    Amid all that gunfire, Cpl Keighran ran 20-30m to draw fire. He did this, across a naked ridge, the bullets coming in crisp and clear.

    Then he did it again.

    The third time he ran even further. "I went way too far," he said.

    He ran 45-50m, bullets zinging around him.

    "The second time was pushing it, the third time - I'm lucky, to say the least."

    Spotting muzzle fire, they identified three enemy positions that were soon taken out, turning the battle.

    Cpl Woolley saw enough to be alarmed and jump on the radio. "Dan, jump on Channel 2," he said. "What do you need?" said Cpl Keighran.

    "You're taking rounds real close," he said. "Watch out."

    "Yeah," Cpl Keighran said. "No dramas."

    Soon after, he was running again. Lance-Cpl MacKinney had just been shot.
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