Special Forces Gear Logo
Monthly Newsletter
March 2013  
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
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012

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
American President
John Quincy Adams (1767-1848)

We rests with the immortals; his journey has been long: 

For him no wail of sorrow, but a paean full and strong!
So well and bravely has he done the work be found to do,
To justice, freedom, duty, God, and man forever true.

--Whittier                

 

 

The lot of ex-Presidents of the United States, as a rule, has been a life of extreme retirement, but to this rule there is one marked exception. When John Quincy Adams left the White House in March, 1829, it must have seemed as if public life could hold nothing more for him. He had had everything apparently that an American statesman could hope for. He had been Minister to Holland and Prussia, to Russia and England. He had been a Senator of the United States, Secretary of State for eight years, and finally President. Yet, notwithstanding all this, the greatest part of his career, and his noblest service to his country, were still before him when he gave up the Presidency.

 

 

In the following year (1830) he was told that he might be elected to the House of Representatives, and the gentleman who made the proposition ventured to say that he thought an ex-President, by taking such a position, "instead of degrading the individual would elevate the representative character." Mr. Adams replied that he had "in that respect no scruples whatever. No person can be degraded by serving the people as Representative in Congress, nor, in my opinion, would an ex-President of the United States be degraded by serving as a selectman of his town if elected thereto by the people." A few weeks later he was chosen to the House, and the district continued to send him every two years from that time until his death. He did much excellent work in the House, and was conspicuous in more than one memorable scene; but here it is possible to touch on only a single point, where he came forward as the champion of a great principle, and fought a battle for the right which will always be remembered among the great deeds of American public men.

 

Soon after Mr. Adams took his seat in Congress, the movement for the abolition of slavery was begun by a few obscure agitators. It did not at first attract much attention, but as it went on it gradually exasperated the overbearing temper of the Southern slaveholders. One fruit of this agitation was the appearance of petitions for the abolition of slavery in the House of Representatives. A few were presented by Mr. Adams without attracting much notice; but as the petitions multiplied, the Southern representatives became aroused. They assailed Mr. Adams for presenting them, and finally passed what was known as the gag rule, which prevented the reception of these petitions by the House. Against this rule Mr. Adams protested, in the midst of the loud shouts of the Southerners, as a violation of his constitutional rights. But the tyranny of slavery at that time was so complete that the rule was adopted and enforced, and the slaveholders, undertook in this way to suppress free speech in the House, just as they also undertook to prevent the transmission through the mails of any writings adverse to slavery. With the wisdom of a statesman and a man of affairs, Mr. Adams addressed himself to the one practical point of the contest. He did not enter upon a discussion of slavery or of its abolition, but turned his whole force toward the vindication of the right of petition. On every petition day he would offer, in constantly increasing numbers, petitions which came to him from all parts of the country for the abolition of slavery, in this way driving the Southern representatives almost to madness, despite their rule which prevented the reception of such documents when offered. Their hatred of Mr. Adams is something difficult to conceive, and they were burning to break him down, and, if possible, drive him from the House. On February 6, 1837, after presenting the usual petitions, Mr. Adams offered one upon which he said he should like the judgment of the Speaker as to its propriety, inasmuch as it was a petition from slaves. In a moment the House was in a tumult, and loud cries of "Expel him!" "Expel him!" rose in all directions. One resolution after another was offered looking toward his expulsion or censure, and it was not until February 9, three days later, that he was able to take the floor in his own defense. His speech was a masterpiece of argument, invective, and sarcasm. He showed, among other things, that he had not offered the petition, but had only asked the opinion of the Speaker upon it, and that the petition itself prayed that slavery should not be abolished. When he closed his speech, which was quite as savage as any made against him, and infinitely abler, no one desired to reply, and the idea of censuring him was dropped.

 

The greatest struggle, however, came five years later, when, on January 21, 1842, Mr. Adams presented the petition of certain citizens of Haverhill, Massachusetts, praying for the dissolution of the Union on account of slavery. His enemies felt that now, at last, he had delivered himself into their hands. Again arose the cry for his expulsion, and again vituperation was poured out upon him, and resolutions to expel him freely introduced. When he got the floor to speak in his own defense, he faced an excited House, almost unanimously hostile to him, and possessing, as he well knew, both the will and the power to drive him from its walls. But there was no wavering in Mr. Adams. "If they say they will try me," he said, "they must try me. If they say they will punish me, they must punish me. But if they say that in peace and mercy they will spare me expulsion, I disdain and cast away their mercy, and I ask if they will come to such a trial and expel me. I defy them. I have constituents to go to, and they will have something to say if this House expels me, nor will it be long before the gentlemen will see me here again." The fight went on for nearly a fortnight, and on February 7 the whole subject was finally laid on the table. The sturdy, dogged fighter, single-handed and alone, had beaten all the forces of the South and of slavery. No more memorable fight has ever been made by one man in a parliamentary body, and after this decisive struggle the tide began to turn. Every year Mr. Adams renewed his motion to strike out the gag rule, and forced it to a vote. Gradually the majority against it dwindled, until at last, on December 3, 1844, his motion prevailed. Freedom of speech had been vindicated in the American House of Representatives, the right of petition had been won, and the first great blow against the slave power had been struck.

 

Four years later Mr. Adams fell, stricken with paralysis, at his place in the House, and a few hours afterward, with the words, "This is the last of earth; I am content," upon his lips, he sank into unconsciousness and died. It was a fit end to a great public career. His fight for the right of petition is one to be studied and remembered, and Mr. Adams made it practically alone. The slaveholders of the South and the representatives of the North were alike against him. Against him, too, as his biographer, Mr. Morse, says, was the class in Boston to which he naturally belonged by birth and education. He had to encounter the bitter resistance in his own set of the "conscienceless respectability of wealth," but the great body of the New England people were with him, as were the voters of his own district. He was an old man, with the physical infirmities of age. His eyes were weak and streaming; his hands were trembling; his voice cracked in moments of excitement; yet in that age of oratory, in the days of Webster and Clay, he was known as the "old man eloquent." It was what he said, more than the way he said it, which told. His vigorous mind never worked more surely and clearly than when he stood alone in the midst of an angry House, the target of their hatred and abuse. His arguments were strong, and his large knowledge and wide experience supplied him with every weapon for defense and attack. Beneath the lash of his invective and his sarcasm the hottest of the slaveholders cowered away. He set his back against a great principle. He never retreated an inch, he never yielded, he never conciliated, he was always an assailant, and no man and no body of men had the power to turn him. He had his dark hours, he felt bitterly the isolation of his position, but he never swerved. He had good right to set down in his diary, when the gag rule was repealed, "Blessed, forever blessed, be the name of God." 

Story by Teddy Roosevelt

 

HOOAH

DAVE

 

 

John Quincy Adams - Facts at a Glance

Term
6th President of the United States (1825-1829)
Born
July 11, 1767, Braintree (now Quincy), Massachusetts
Nickname
"Old Man Eloquent"
Education
Harvard College (graduated 1787)
Religion
Unitarian
Marriage
July 26, 1797, to Louisa Catherine Johnson (1775-1852)
Children
George Washington (1801-1829),
John (1803-1834)
Charles Francis (1807-1886)
Louisa Catherine (1811-1812)
Career
Lawyer, Senator, Diplomat
Political Party
Federalist, Democratic-Republican, Whig
Writings
Memoirs (12 vols., 1874-1877); 
Writings of John Quincy Adams (7 vols., 1913-1917)
Died
February 23, 1848, Washington, D.C.
Buried
First Unitarian Church, Quincy, Massachusetts
A Life in Brief
Reared for public service, John Quincy Adams became one of the nation's preeminent secretaries of state, but he proved to be the wrong man for the presidency. Aloof, stiff-necked, and ferociously independent, he failed to develop the support he needed in Washington, even among his own party. 
First Lady
Louisa Adams
Vice President
John C. Calhoun (1825-1829)
Secretary of State
Henry Clay (1825-1829)
Secretary of War
James Barbour (1825-1828)
Peter B. Porter (1828-1829)
Postmaster General
John McLean (1825-1829)
Secretary of the Treasury
Richard Rush (1825-1829)
Attorney General
William Wirt (1825-1829)
Secretary of the Navy
Samuel L. Southard (1825-1829)

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>> 




 In 2011 a rebel Afghanistan airman attacked and killed a number of Airforce Airmen and one civilian. Airforce Major Henry Cecil in conjunction with Guilford Guitars and his favorite band, Lillian Axe, has had a guitar constructed in honor of those fallen heroes. A raffle is being held to raise money for the 32 children that were left without a parent as a result of that attack. Go to www.airforceguitar.com to check out the awesome guitar and all the details.
Air Force Guitar Makes Debut - 1 May - ATAF
Air Force Guitar Makes Debut - 1 May - ATAF



A Poem Worth Reading

He was getting old and paunchy
And his hair was falling fast,
And he sat around the Legion,
Telling stories of the past.

Of a war that he once fought in
And the deeds that he had done,
In his exploits with his buddies;
They were heroes, every one.

And 'tho sometimes to his neighbors
His tales became a joke,
All his buddies listened quietly
For they knew where of he spoke.

But we'll hear his tales no longer,
For ol' Joe has passed away,
And the world's a little poorer
For a Soldier died today.

He won't be mourned by many,
Just his children and his wife.
For he lived an ordinary,
Very quiet sort of life.


He held a job and raised a family,
Going quietly on his way;
And the world won't note his passing,
     'Tho a Soldier died today.

When politicians leave this earth,
Their bodies lie in state,
While thousands note their passing,
And proclaim that they were great.

Papers tell of their life stories
From the time that they were young
But the passing of a Soldier
Goes unnoticed, and unsung.

Is the greatest contribution
To the welfare of our land,
Some jerk who breaks his promise
And cons his fellow man?

Or the ordinary fellow
Who in times of war and strife,
Goes off to serve his country
And offers up his life?

The politician's stipend
And the style in which he lives,
Are often disproportionate,
To the service that he gives.

While the ordinary Soldier,
Who offered up his all,
Is paid off with a medal
And perhaps a pension, small.

It is not the politicians
With their compromise and ploys,
Who won for us the freedom
That our country now enjoys.

Should you find yourself in danger,
With your enemies at hand,
Would you really want some cop-out,
With his ever waffling stand?

Or would you want a Soldier
His home, his country, his kin,
Just a common Soldier,
Who would fight until the end.

He was just a common Soldier,
And his ranks are growing thin,
But his presence should remind us
We may need his likes again.
For when countries are in conflict,
We find the Soldier's part
Is to clean up all the troubles
That the politicians start.

If we cannot do him honor
While he's here to hear the praise,
Then at least let's give him homage
At the ending of his days.

Perhaps just a simple headline
In the paper that might say:
"OUR COUNTRY IS IN MOURNING,
A SOLDIER DIED TODAY."



          

 

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
USS Freedom Sports New Paint; Gears Up for Deployment
USS Freedom Sports New Paint; Gears Up for Deployment
Advanced Military Shooting In Kabul, Afghanistan By Joint Team Of Army, Navy, Air Force, And Marines
Advanced Military Shooting In Kabul, Afghanistan By Joint Team Of Army, Navy, Air Force, And Marines
Day 9: Cutter Dallas gunnery exercise
Day 9: Cutter Dallas gunnery exercise

Word of Truth
Deceiving the World    
The Word Of Truth - Alive and PowerfulBy Rev G.J. Rako
LTC (Ret)
IN USAR

Satan has a plan, policy, and system of deceiving the world.

 

Rev 12:9 Then the great dragon, the ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, who keeps on deceiving the entire world.

 

Rev 20:8 and he will go out to deceive the nations in the four corners of the earth,

He is the ruler of this world (Lk 4:5-7; Jn 12:31, 14:30, 16:11; 2 Cor 4:4), and is opposed to God. Therefore, his plan is to deceive humanity with regard to the eternal truth of the living and written Word of God. His plan and policy can be entitled the "lie" for "he is a liar and the father of lies and there is no truth in him (John 8:44)." The Bible is the "truth"; Satan's system is the "lie". As the Word of Truth has many facets, so each must be countered by the lie.

 

Two aspects of this great lie are Satan's deceptions and counterfeits regarding first, salvation and then the Christian way of life.

 

1. The Bible states that there is one way to heaven and a relationship with the eternal God, that is, faith alone in Christ alone.

 

Acts 4:12 Salvation is found in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved.

 

John 14:6 Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father but, by Me"

Now, how many other names can you think of, all of which characterize the lie. Satan in his genius has developed a system to counterfeit God's plan of salvation. We call this insidious system "religion." Religion is man by man's own efforts attempting to gain the favor of God. It is a system of works and merit on man's part. God's plan of salvation is grace.

 

Eph 2:8-9 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not of yourselves, it is a gift from God, not of works, so that no man can boast .

 

2. Once we become believers in Jesus Christ, our purpose is to grow to spiritual maturity and execute the unique spiritual life of the church age. We are commanded to renew our thinking,

2 Cor 4:16 Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day .

 

Eph 4:23 ..and that you be renewed in the spirit of your thinking

Col 3:12 "...and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him

By fulfilling the command to "grow in grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ (II Peter 3:18)," we replace the doctrine of demons or human viewpoint with the absolute truth that God provided.

 

1 Tim 4:1 But, the Spirit explicitly communicates that in latter periods of time, some believers will fall away from doctrine, giving attention to deceitful spirits, even doctrines from demons.

 

We must counter Satan's deceptions with the truth of the Word of God, the thinking of our Lord,

Phil 2:5 Have this thinking in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.

 

Often we think ourselves too smart to be deceived. If Satan deceived the woman in the garden, (Gen 3:13) he can deceive any of us. God himself created her perfect in every sense of the word. She had a perfect body and a perfect mind. Yet, Satan in the garden was able to deceive this perfect person. If perfection could fall to deception then certainly all of us (imperfection) can be deceived, and yes, we are all being deceived. Only ignorance and arrogance thinks itself safe from deception. Satan's deadly deception permeates all systems of human thought and endeavor.

 

There is only one way in which we can combat this deception. We must make the Word
of God the priority in our lives.

 

2 Thes 2:9-10 That is, the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders, and with every deception of unrighteousness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love for the truth with the result that they might be  delivered

The love of the truth is God's answer for our deliverance. This is God's purpose, plan, and will for our lives. Fulfilling the command to grow in grace and the knowledge of our Lord and Savior. Jesus Christ is the only way we will even recognize the lie. We are bombarded with the doctrine of demons all day, everyday. It is on the lips of our family, friends and associates. It comes across the television and the radio.

 

We are continuously being brainwashed to believe the lie instead of the truth. Moreover, in so doing we have become combat ineffective, casualties in the spiritual conflict that rages around us. The Apostle Paul warns us,

Romans 12:2-3 Stop being conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renovation of your thought, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. For I say through the grace which has been given to me to every one who is among you stop thinking of self in terms of arrogance beyond what you ought to think; but think in terms of sanity for the purpose of being rational without illusion, as God has assigned to each one of us a standard of thinking from doctrine.

 

Eph 6:11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.

 

Prov 14:12 There is a way which seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death.

 

Isa 55:8-9 For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways And My thoughts than your thoughts.
 
Do not be deceived. Do not blame the government or others for the problems in this country.

 

Isa 5:13 Therefore, My people go into exile for their lack of knowledge...

 

Hosea 4:6 My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I also will reject you from being My priest nation. Since you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children.

 

As goes the believer, so goes the nation,

2 Chron 7:14 If My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

 

God will heal our land by the choices you make. You can make a difference. The choice is yours. Use your volition to execute the unique spiritual life of the church age, or become a casualty in spiritual combat by believing the lie. There are no accidents, coincidences or tragedies in the Christian way of life, everything happens for a reason. Everything happens for our benefit. Ignorance of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob will keep your thinking in the center of Satan's deadly deception. Knowledge of God will break the chains that enslave, Jesus said,

John 8:31-32 ...If you live in My Word than you are truly students of Mine, and you
shall know the truth, and the truth will make you free.

 

John 8:36 ...and if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.


Blue Warrior
Blue WarriorBlue Warrior
WOMEN IN COMBAT

Recently, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta lifted a ban on women in combat that is sure to have an effect on military operations. This change in policy made me think of women in law enforcement and what influence they have had.  

 

The Bureau of Justice Statistics reported in their June 2010 Crime data brief (NCJ 230521) that women in law enforcement make up around 12% of the police work force in the USA. In many large police agencies that percentage is much greater. The police departments in Detroit and Philadelphia for example, female officers account for 22% of their work force.  

 

Women are now a large part of law enforcement in contemporary police agencies. These women take the same calls for service as their male counterparts. Men and women police officers face combat on a daily basis across the country. (Webster defines "combat" as: a fight or contest between individuals or groups).

 

What can American law enforcement share with the military about our Women Warriors?

Feminists and Democrats are applauding this change in policy as a victory for equal rights. Has political agendas changed the military for the better? Will women in combat enhance the military's combat effectiveness? Only time will provide answers.

 

We in law enforcement have worked with female officers for many years now. We have worked with female officers that are just as tough as some of our male comrades and we have worked with female officers that are not prepared for combat just like some male police officers.

I haven't had the opportunity to evaluate a female officer in a SWAT environment. After many years in this business there haven't been any females that have applied for a position on any team that I have been associated with nor have I trained a female officer in any of the tactical courses that I have instructed. This is simply coincidental and I am sure one day that opportunity will arise. When it does I can assure you she will get a fair shake at her attempt to make any team I command. However, I will not lower the standards of my SWAT team or my tactical courses to accommodate any officer male or female. That would be an unsafe policy on my part and unfair to the officers that were held to a higher standard.  

 

The fact is, as a training supervisor I don't lower any standards for anybody regardless of what the instruction is. We don't lower standards for firearms qualifications for female officers so why should we for SWAT standards.  

 

Lowering the standards for women in combat will be the military's biggest hurdle. I have spoke with many veteran and current special operations soldiers who are very clear on their position, standards should not be lowered for anybody trying to make a special ops unit.

 

I have had the opportunity to work with several female officers over the years while working in uniform. I can think of a couple that surely would make the cut for any tactical team if they so desired and I can assure you, these women would not want the standards lowered just so that they can make the cut. That is the same tenacious mindset that I look for in male SWAT candidates.  

 

I have taken runs, been in chases and fought with dirt bags with female officers at my side. I have no concerns over gender in combat, at least from a law enforcement perspective. My concerns come from the ability of any male or female officer to handle whatever situation we find ourselves confronted with. They must be tactical, exhibit a sense of high situational awareness, and the ability to deliver a swift ass kicking when we are confronted with combat. I have worked with male officers whom would drive the other way or slow their response while I was in a foot pursuit and fighting a dirt bag. These male officers have no place in my circle of trust but a few female officers do.  

 

The military is confronted with other problems that we don't have to deal with in law enforcement. A brigade operating in Iraq in 2007 collected some interesting data. They found that women soldiers sustained more casualties and suffered more illnesses than male soldiers and of those women removed from their units for medical reasons 74% were pregnant. Another study recently revealed that female soldiers have a pregnancy rate 50% higher of those women in civilian life. These issues alone will become major problems for unit commanders already over burdened.  

 

Women police officers are confronted with combat daily in US law enforcement. We don't have the same issues as the military with long term soldier deployments. Should tactical teams confronted with female applicants be allowed to participate in the selection process? Should tactical teams lower their selection standards to accommodate female applicants?

I bet you have in mind a few dead beat male officers that a good replacement female officer would be a trade up.



Be prepared, train often & fight smart,

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

Fire

 

One of the challenges during a survival situation is making a sustainable fire. Factors such as personal energy, material dampness and humidity all come into play when you're forced to perform for the sake of creating a fire for survival. So, it makes sense that the skills to create fire should be practiced regularly so that should one be forced into a survival situation, fire building is not as stressful as it could be. Also, if you are pre-planning your daily outings or adventures, you'll be equipped with some basic tools via an EDC (Every Day Carry) that will enable you to make fire faster and more efficiently. Fire is typically the most important resources in a survival situation. It allows you to maintain core body temperature thereby preventing hypothermia; allows you to boil and thereby purify water, cook food, signal for rescue, harden or create tools and boost morale.

 

Fire requires three things to combust: heat, oxygen and fuel. If there is an interruption on the process of combining these three things, combustion cannot take place. Thus, if not enough heat is applied, not enough oxygen is present or fuel is too damp to accept applied heat- combustion or flames will elude you. Fire skills fall into two main categories- primitive, which would include techniques such as bow drill, fire plow and hand drill starting methods to modern which would include cigarette lighters and ferrocerium rods. For the purpose of this article, we're going to focus on modern usage with the ferrocerium rod combined with a sure fire device for use in a true survival situation.

 

The Ferrocerium Rod

The Ferro-Rod is a man-made metallic material that gives off a large number of hot sparks at temperatures up to or exceeding 3,000 F when scraped against another piece of steel. The standard ferro-rod will generally last the user hundreds upon hundreds of strikes, thereby increasing the chances of successful combustion via heat appliance. The ferro-rod works in any weather condition, soaking wet, cold and icy or hot and humid- regardless of the conditions it will always produce its 3,000 F showers of sparks. Due to this aspect, it should become a standard part of every survival kit- over that of a lighter or matches the latter of which will always fail in soaking wet, rainy or frozen conditions. However, this device in and of itself cannot provide continuous heat for seconds or minutes at a time such as a lighter or some matches. Thus, the need for a sure fire device is needed.

 

Sure Fire Device

A Sure Fire Device is some sort of tinder that works equally well in wet, cold or humid conditions. Products such as WetFire, Mini Inferno, Micro Inferno and others are comprised of various accelerant chemicals and wax based products that enable them to catch a spark and ignite quickly and burn for minutes at a time providing opportunity for damp tinder to dry out and combust or for other ignitable tinder and kindling to be introduced to prolong the start up process. For example, several weeks ago we had a few inches of snow on the ground and temperatures were below freezing. The tinder in the area was damp, but not wet or soaked. While my ferro-rod wouldn't ignite it the tinder by itself, I used a single mini-inferno and struck my ferro-rod once to shower it with sparks which immediately ignited the sure fire. The mini-inferno then provided 5 minutes of consistent flame which game me plenty of time to dry out the damp tinder and build up to a sustainable fire. A sustainable fire is a fire that is burning one inch diameter fuel, which means that you could safely walk away to get more fuel without fear of losing your fire right away.

 

So, practicing with ferro-rod and sure fire and having those items in your EDC and all your kits is a simple way to ensure that you will not be without a fire in a survival situation. While it would be cost prohibitive to practice with sure fire devices often, consider using cotton-balls dipped in Vaseline as a more cost effective practice device. They too burn for minutes at a time and will enable you to practice getting that fire started in less than five minutes. Once you get it under five minutes, start trying to achieve combustion in less than one minute and continue to move on by adding new elements such as shelter building with a survival blanket and water boiling all in less than 15 minutes. These are the sorts of skills we teach in our basic classes that have given many the encouragement they needed to feel more comfortable outside in the woods and more prepared to survive should they have to.


 

 

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

Ranger TLC-

Teamwork, Leadership, and Communication

 

Chapter 1

   

Leading in the midst of chaos means leading in the midst of random change. Regardless of whether your title is CEO or supervisor, you can emerge as a leader in your dynamic business environment when you use active listening, plan consistently, and take other specific steps to engage the talents of people around you in accomplishing a clear mission.

 

             United States Army Rangers are elite soldiers who train to behave as a team of leaders. Through daily challenges and drills involving many unknowns, Rangers put verbal, analytic, emotional, and a range of related skills to the test. This is why the Ranger approach to teamwork, leadership, and communication-Ranger TLC-is a valuable model for corporations facing ongoing change and fierce competition.

 

             In the movies, we often see leaders spouting critical orders that save lives.   It's the surgeon orchestrating a team to save the gunshot victim or a police officer (like Bruce Willis or Mel Gibson) telling hostages how to escape. Since the movie experience is only about two hours long, the director mercifully spares us from observing how, over the years, the leader had to pay attention to experts, learn to weigh odds, practice carrying out a planning sequence, and construct scenarios requiring creative problem-solving and tough decision-making. We get to go straight to the courageous behavior. If kids are inculcated with this depiction of a leader, no wonder many adults ultimately conclude they can't be leaders. They equate "leader" with "hero." Hero is only a subset of leader, and great leaders are often not heroes in a Hollywood sense.

 

             Like leaders,good followers also must listen to experts, learn to weigh odds, and so on. A key difference is that the leader provides the purpose, direction, and motivation for the follower to do those things.

 

             Let's say you want to be a follower, not a leader. What does this book offer you? The guidance and exercises are the same.

 

             Traditionally, good followers responded to orders, took directions, and did what they were told. In the midst of the chaos that characterizes modern American business, good followers must modify the traditional model. Passive acceptance and response to orders create drag on a company. With their eyes on the mission and guided by the leader's intent, good followers use initiative to get the job done better, faster, and smarter.

 

             Given the common misconceptions about how elite soldiers train and behave-mind-numbing, body-building exercises produce robots with patriotic zeal-it's no wonder that you may assume I am about to lead you down a path of Spartan discipline. Not so. Combining my background as a U.S. Army Ranger who was part of the invasion force in Panama with my experience as an entrepreneur, I will give you the process and tools that help you to be both efficient and flexible in accomplishing goals. The more of my Ranger stories you read, the more you will realize that Rangers are elite soldiers who train to behave as a team of leaders.Fundamental to that is communication-top to bottom and bottom to top-without misunderstandings.

 

             Leadership, therefore, is only one-third of the formula for a high-performance organization. The other components, which have equal weight, are teamwork and communication.

 

TLC: The Formula for Success

 

A company can sort its assets into two kinds: the tangible assets it can purchase and produce, and its people. This book is not about tangible assets. It's about the people-how to improve and leverage the value of the human side of the business. Corporations shy away from putting a lot of capital into that part of the equation because it's so hard to quantify the return on investment. That's ironic, because the work force sustains the company's competitive advantage.

 

             Every company has technology-tools of the trade-and can acquire upgraded and new technology similar to its competitors. Every company also has a continuous improvement program, or at least a mindset and mantra, that says, "We can do it better, faster, cheaper." So what distinguishes one company from its competition? The people. The factor that sets one company above another is the performance of the work force. It's teamwork, leadership, and communication thriving within a pervasive and positive corporate culture. If your tangible assets are roughly equal to that of your competitors, it's your teamwork, your leadership, your communication, and your corporate culture that give you the advantage. You win!

 

             As the movie Black Hawk Down depicts, Rangers have a well-deserved reputation for displaying unflinching loyalty to each other, stepping into a leadership role when needed, and keeping comrades informed for the safety of all and achievement of the mission. This portrayal of the 1993 Battle of Mogadishu shows how Rangers live the Ranger Creed, which is a guide to putting teamwork, leadership, and communication into action to achieve a common goal. In the Creed, which gets a closer look in Chapter 6, phrases such as "Never shall I fail my comrades" and "Gallantly will I show the world that I am specially selected" are elements of a firm pledge to "complete the mission" as members of an elite team, leaders of men, and men of honor. The Creed is about people creating advantages through their behavior. There's no reference to better guns, bigger bombs, or faster planes.

 

Sustainable Competitive Advantage

 

             Many companies spend enormous resources on continuous improvement of their tangible assets because they can point to the result. Many do it just to keep pace with their competition. In many cases, the net competitive advantage gained at the end of the year is zero. With the pace of technological advancement, the upgrades that you and your competition make today may need to be upgraded again in a matter of months. Both of you keep ratcheting up the investments in those tangible assets and look to them to give you an edge. The other guys improve on what you've done; you see that and improve on what they've done.

 

             Winning is not just about trying to beat your competition technically. Your best competitors will always challenge you. They will always be at your heels. If you really want to blast ahead in terms of profitability and performance, you have to tweak your TLC. The investments you make in doing that tweaking will pay off over and over again, year after year. And it is possible for one company to approach the improvements to TLC much better than the competition. In that case, the sustainable competitive advantage grows even larger.

 

             You obviously can't measure the improvement in TLC in the same way you can account for technical upgrades, but you can notice it in a big way. How do you measure the impact of a hundred people who resent coming to work every day because they hate the corporate culture? How much do those hundred people who just show up for the paycheck affect your ability to compete? You could try to measure it in terms of output, turnover rates, and job satisfaction, but the measurement is elusive. You can't put a price tag on it with any accuracy; you just know it hurts you. You know intellectually and on a gut level that your company is not as strong as it could be every time you run into one of these people! Multiply that sick feeling 100 times.

 

             Southwest Airlines seems to be getting it right. They want their employees to take care of the customer and have a good time doing it. They have the same airplanes, work at the same gates, and have the same coffee on board, but they left their competition behind in many areas. They figured out what they needed to do to satisfy their customers-partly because they listened to their customers-and then created a pleasant environment for them. A culture of two-way communication pervades the organization, from CEO through the front-line employee.

             Here is what constitutes good Ranger TLC:teamwork, leadership, and communication.

 

Teamwork

             Common goal

             Interdependencies

             Act accordingly

 

             The three elements of teamwork are these: a common goal, interdependence, and acting accordingly.

 

             Teamwork reflects a shared vision of a desired outcome. Every member of a highly functional team knows that he or she can't achieve the goal alone." Team members have common behaviors that allow them to achieve the goal together. For example, they try to make deadlines, are open to a good idea, and give each other room to vent when the pressure is intense.

 

             I've observed that most top people in companies assume their employees share an understanding of the common goal. They don't. It takes diligent communication to get that across. Employees need meaningful reminders of what the mission is.

 

             To achieve interdependencies, employees have to be able to put workplace politics aside and acutely understand that they need each other to achieve the common goal. The point is not to establish friendships that carry over after hours, although that sometimes happens. The point is to appreciate and act on the belief that synergy gets the job done. "It's not about who you like; it's about who you need."

 

             A company that is really committed to teamwork invests in developing the human interaction skill sets that enable people to work interdependently. These skill sets are explored throughout the book.

 

Leadership

             Purpose

             Direction

             Motivation

 

             The three elements of leadership are purpose, direction, and, motivation. These elements are also known as the why, the how, and what's in it for you.

 

             People in a leadership role often don't behave like leaders because they don't deliver the "why." Why are we doing what we're doing? Why are we changing course? What is our purpose? Those managers, supervisors, or chief executives often do not communicate the purpose to their team. Although these leaders might understand the "why" at their level of the organizational chart, they don't realize that people who report to them need to understand it, too. From the CEO to the front-line operator, there must be a synchronous understanding of "why."

 

             The current pace of change and technological innovation has dramatically altered the "how" of the successful business plan. The de rigueur five-year plan of the mid-1990s that was supposed to keep everyone going in the same direction has become a thing of the past because the "how" changes so fast. Corporate executives still have to try to explain how they will do things over the coming years, but unless human factors play a big part in shaping that long-range plan, it isn't believable. It isn't about putting a stake in the ground and saying, "I'm going to do it my way." It's about asking questions like "How do we take the enemy camp, because we'll all get shot if we don't figure that out!"

 

             The last element of leadership is what most leaders seem to get wrong. Leaders forget that individuals motivate themselves. I can't motivate you to do anything, but I can inspire you to do something. Leaders must do a good job of finding out what makes their team members tick-on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. So many leaders show clearly in their behavior that their concern is "what's in it for me." If it's your job to get people together to launch a new product or come up with a new program, the fact that you, the leader, might get a bonus out of the team's success is an intent that will corrupt your ability to lead. Your team will physically do the job you ask them to do, but if you want to capture the extra intellectual and emotional commitment, you must give them a better reason to perform. Ask the questions that help you get to know the people who are doing the job: What turns them on? What turns them off?

 

             Knowing that your leader cares about you makes a world of difference in the quality of your output. A motivated member of a team is open to the leader's purpose and direction.

 

Communication

             We talk

             We listen

             We understand

 

             Communication is simple: We talk. We listen. We understand. You have to foster an environment that allows all of these things to happen-with an emphasis on "we," not "I."

 

             Many companies like to preach a corporate policy about managers having an "open door" so employees and their leaders can communicate. But often there are informal norms within an organization that say, "That's not how we really do it here. The door is closed."

 

             United Parcel Service (UPS) conducted a yearly survey from 1994 to 1997 with carriers. The primary feedback they got was "We need better communication." The company invested heavily during those years in communication programs and the top item that surfaced again and again was "communication." The reason I know about this from the inside is that a UPS hub manager who was part of the study told me about it as he expressed his own  frustration over the disconnect between the company's good intentions and the end result.

 

             The UPS effort is one of many corporate attempts to solve communication problems that point to the following conclusion: It is useful to draw a distinction between efficient (streamlined, fast, sharp) communication and effective (meaningful, expressive) communication. E-mail is fast. A two-word command-"Fax this" or "Fix that"-is fast. Both are efficient means of communication that have a role in day-to-day corporate experience, and that role is to convey specific information. On the other hand, e-mail, faxes, and terse remarks are no way to say, "Thank you for a job well done," or "Your report is weak," or to inspire someone to perform with excellence. For these and other points to be conveyed clearly, different action must be taken.Visit the person at her desk. Pick up the phone and say what's on your mind so the person hears your tone of voice. Every time two people interact, there is the potential for conflict and confusion.

 

             In the field, Rangers rely on clear hand signals or quick phrases for communication that's up, down, or sideways in the chain of command. It's the Ranger equivalent of "fax this." But you can't communicate emotion and sincerity through direct orders and one-liners. That isn't how a platoon leader tells someone, "Ranger, that's a job well done" or "Congratulations on your marriage, Private." It's done face-to-face in complete sentences. And when it comes time to bestow a meritorious service award, for example, the communication changes again. There's a ceremony that broadcasts to everyone, "This person set a high standard. This is the behavior we should all emulate."

 

             Choosing the form of communication that is appropriate for the message mitigates the potential for conflict and confusion that can erode teamwork, undermine leadership, and complicate your mission. The bridge between "talk" and "understand" is the all-important element "listen." If you want to know where the pain is or where the joy is, you have to listen. If you want to know what to improve, you have to listen. If you want to know whether or not your message was understood, you have to listen.

 

             Too often, especially as people move up the corporate food chain, they expend more thought and time on outbound communication than on inbound. Even when they invite contributions, they may often leave people wondering whether or not the meaning in the message got through. Employees who do not feel as though the boss is listening will find it difficult or impossible to buy into the company mission. Active listening avoids mutual mystification and lays the foundation for understanding.

 

Losing TLC

 

When Daimler-Benz bought Chrysler Corporation, some analysts thought it was a merger made in automotive heaven. Ostensibly, it was a merger of the best of the best. Daimler brought superior quality and engineering. Chrysler had extraordinary responsiveness and flexibility. Prior to the merger, no competitor could launch new cars faster than Chrysler.The failure came from not giving the human factors sufficient weight. They tried to mesh a German philosophy, culture, and mindset with an American philosophy, culture, and mindset. The effort undermined Chrysler's TLC.

 

             The Rangers avoided an analogous failure in the early 1990s. During Operation Desert Storm, General Norman Schwarzkopf wanted to have the twenty-seven Ranger platoons come over and then split them up to line up along the Iraqi-Saudi border. The intent was to attach them to the different units that were massed at that location. The historical underpinning for the move was the Vietnam War, in which Rangers had been successfully deployed in this manner. By the time of Desert Storm, though, Rangers didn't train for that kind of deployment any longer. The Rangers' regimental commander explained to General Schwarzkopf that merging the Rangers with other forces wouldn't work, because so much time and energy had been invested in developing a new operational model.

 

             Mergers and acquisitions commonly fail-not because they aren't good ideas, but because the impact of contrasting cultures is not properly considered up-front and planned into the equation. The pie charts showing that the two companies have complementary technology that will lead to huge market share are enticing to shareholders and boards of directors. Unfortunately, the analyses of pros and cons rarely delve into the human factors. The merger takes place, and shortly thereafter as revenue projections fall short, the company feels the acidic effects of widespread discontent, confusion, and unhappiness. During the discussion of the pending merger of Hewlett-Packard Company and Compaq Corporation, it was refreshing that the heirs of HP's founders actually spotlighted the welfare of HP's employees as a main concern.

 

             It's also encouraging that a new position-integration manager-has been introduced to corporate America in recent years. The integration manager is responsible for the balancing act that involves both the tangible and the human assets of the merging companies.

 

             Although this new position is a sign that some leaders in corporate America are waking up to the role of TLC, there is still a widespread, destructive obsession with quarterly returns. When companies become too focused on the quarterly numbers, they cannot pay enough attention to the TLC, and that causes a downward spiral in the human side of the business and makes the long-term outlook shaky, even unattainable.     

 

Steps to TLC

 

Throughout this book, I give you steps to building teamwork, leadership, and communication. Try to stick with the sequence and complete the exercises, but don't try to master everything overnight. Go through all the material, and then try doing one exercise a week, or giving yourself a set period-maybe a month-to integrate the guidance in a chapter.

             In order to assess the TLC within your company, you must ask these questions:

 

  1. How well do the people within your organization utilize their technical resources? How well do they work together to solve problems and make decisions?
  2. How well do they implement the business plan that is going to lead to a greater market share?
  3. Is the intent of the leadership clear to the team, or are people often confused about "what the boss wants"?
  4. To what extent does your job motivate you to jump out of bed in the morning?

 

             When you read the cover of the U.S. Army Ranger Handbook, which every Ranger keeps in his rucksack, this is what you see: "Not for the weak or fainthearted." Are you still with me?

 

Lead the way!

 

 


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

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

 

http://www.leadingconcepts.com 

 


Warrior's Wisdom
Sun Tzu, 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 HORSE AND GROOM

A groom used to spend whole days in currycombing and rubbing down his Horse, but at the same time stole his oats and sold them for his own profit. "Alas!" said the Horse, "if you really wish me to be in good condition, you should groom me less, and feed me more.

 

  

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Quotes & Jokes
I went fishing one morning, but after a short time I ran out of worms. Then I saw a cottonmouth with a frog in his mouth. Frogs are good bass bait.

Knowing the snake couldn't bite me with the frog in his mouth I grabbed him right behind the head, took the frog, and put it in my bait bucket.

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I released him into the lake without incident and carried on fishing using the frog.

A little later, I felt a nudge on my foot. It was that damn snake, with two more frogs.



WHAT CAUSES ARTHRITIS?

A drunk man who smelled of beer sat down on a subway next to a priest. The man's tie was stained, his face was plastered with red lipstick, and a half-empty bottle of gin was sticking out of his torn coat pocket. He opened his newspaper and began reading.

After a few minutes the man turned to the priest and asked, "Say Father, what causes arthritis?"

The priest replies, "My Son, it's caused by loose living, being with cheap, wicked women, too much alcohol, contempt for your fellow man, sleeping around with prostitutes and lack of a bath."

The drunk muttered in response, "Well, I'll be damned", Then returned to his paper.

The priest, thinking about what he had said, nudged the man and apologized. "I'm very sorry. I didn't mean to come on so strong. How long have you had arthritis?"

The drunk answered, "I don't have it, Father. I was just reading here that the Pope does."

MORAL: Make sure you understand the question before offering the answer.



The First Step In Conquering A Nation

"To conquer a nation, first disarm its citizens."

The Origin of this quote is a hotly debated topic, but who actually said it is of little consequence. What matters is that the second amendment is on the verge of being torn apart. To disarm a capable citizen of their right to keep and bear arms only serves to open the door to tyranny and leave us defenseless.


No morn ever dawned more favorable than ours did; and no day was every more clouded than the present! Wisdom, and good examples are necessary at this time to rescue the political machine from the impending storm.
--George Washington (1786)

In my many years I have come to a conclusion that one useless man is
a shame, two is a law firm and three or more is a congress.
-- John Adams

If you don't read the newspaper you are uninformed, if you do read
the newspaper you are misinformed.
-- Mark Twain

Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress.
But then I repeat myself.
-- Mark Twain

I contend that for a nation to try to tax itself into prosperity is
like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the
handle
-- Winston Churchill

A government which robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the
support of Paul.
-- George Bernard Shaw

A liberal is someone who feels a great debt to his fellow man, which
debt he proposes to pay off with your money.
-- G. Gordon Liddy

Democracy must be something more than two wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for dinner.
-- James Bovard, Civil Libertarian (1994)

Foreign aid might be defined as a transfer of money from poor people
in rich countries to rich people in poor countries.
-- Douglas Casey, Georgetown University

Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys.
-- P.J. O'Rourke, Civil Libertarian

Government is the great fiction, through which everybody endeavors
to live at the expense of everybody else.
-- Frederic Bastiat, French Economist (1801-1850)

Government's view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.
-- Ronald Reagan (1986)

I don't make jokes. I just watch the government and report the facts.
-- Will Rogers

If you think health care is expensive now, wait until you see what it costs when it's free!
-- P.J. O'Rourke

In general, the art of government consists of taking as much money
as possible from one party of the citizens to give to the other.
-- Voltaire (1764)

15. Just because you do not take an interest in politics doesn't mean
politics won't take an interest in you!
-- Pericles (430 B.C.)

No man's life, liberty, or property is safe while the legislature is
in session.
-- Mark Twain (1866)

Talk is cheap... except when Congress does it.
-- Anonymous

The government is like a baby's alimentary canal, with a happy appetite at one end and no responsibility at the other.
-- Ronald Reagan

The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of the blessings. The inherent blessing of socialism is the equal sharing of misery.
-- Winston Churchill

The only difference between a tax man and a taxidermist is that the
taxidermist leaves the skin.
-- Mark Twain

The ultimate result of shielding men from the effects of folly is to
fill the world with fools.
-- Herbert Spencer, English Philosopher (1820-1903)

There is no distinctly native American criminal class...save
Congress.
-- Mark Twain

What this country needs are more unemployed politicians.
-- Edward Langley, Artist (1928-1995)

A government big enough to give you everything you want, is strong enough to take everything you have.
-- Thomas Jefferson

"The further a society drifts from truth, the more it will hate those that speak it."
 --English novelist and journalist George Orwell (1903-1950)

"The more rules and regulations, the more thieves and robbers there will
be."
 --Father of Taoism Lao-Tzu (570-490 BC)

"All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their mind wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they act out ."

--Unknown


 

 

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  • Whistle
  • Sewing kit
  • Safety pins
  • Wire saw (basic)
  • Survival instructions
  • Accident evaluation form

Product Specifications: 

  • Weight: 170g (6oz)
  • Size: 11 x 8 x 2.8cm (4.5" x 3 x 1")

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Survival Tabs

Product #RF-Survival Tabs

 

$29.95 
$27.00   

A New Concept in Long Term Storable Foods   
Evolved From the Early Space Program

 

The Survival Tabs have a long history. Back in the 1960's the Federal Government was searching for a food source that could be used in specialty situations. The objective was to find a product that would provide...

The Best Possible Nutrition in the Smallest Possible Volume

The resulting research was extremely involved and intense, and the product that evolved was used in the early space program. Eventually, a tablet was perfected and used widely as a emergency food. It came to be known as The Survival Tabs.

12 Tabs Per Day Is All You'll Need

The Survival Tabs will keep you alive and moving for months at a time, on the amount you can carry in your backpack. Our recommended consumption of 12 tabs per day may be decreased when other foods are available in adequate amounts and quality. Or it may be increased in times of complete starvation or extreme physical exertion. 12 Tabs provide...   
100% of the U.S. RDA of 15 Essential Vitamins & Minerals

 

And that's not all. The reason The Survival Tabs are so effective, is that they are literally jam-packed with concentrated nutrition. The protein we use is only of the highest quality. Thats important because protein can be of varied quality. If it is poor quality, your body will not be able to assimilate it properly. With most food products, 30%-60% of the calorie content leaves the body unused. Survival Tabs are so completely digestible that 99% of their calorie content can be actually utilized for energy. 97% of the protein content is available for repair or replacement of essential body substances, such as blood, muscle and nerves.

10+ Year Shelf Life

The Tabs have been produced and packaged to last at least 10 years. Weve accomplished this in several ways. Number one, we have compressed the tablets with thousands of pounds of pressure with our specialized tablet presses. Oxygen and moisture, the arch-enemies of food, cannot penetrate the tablets to destroy the ingredients. Number two, we use a heavy-duty, opaque bottle to pack the Tabs. The bottle does not allow either light or outside oxygen to penetrate and deteriorate the product. Number three, the closure is a specially designed screw- type lid which, along with being screwed tight on the bottle, is sealed with tamper resistant tape. 180 per container.

Bottom Line: The Survival Tabs are a convenient, compact, lightweight, lifesaving food ration for any emergency. They are completely nutritious, have a 10+ year shelf life and are absolutely delicious. Just let them melt in your mouth...you'll probably chew them up...they are so irresistibly good-tasting!

 


 

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Raider II Boot Knife
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  • 6 1/2" overall
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Econ 101

Special Product Coupon
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Get 5% Off on orders over $100, during the month of March. Maximum one per order and one per customer.
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Offer not valid with any other discounts.  

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What Has Really Changed?

What Has Really Changed
1967
 
When a business makes no profit, it can no longer afford modern equipment, so its costs and prices increase, its customers refuse to pay needlessly high prices - and the business dies.
 
When a company makes a small profit, it only just gets by, but gradually loses business to the company which makes a large profit and so can afford to keep its equipment modern, its costs low, and its prices reasonable, its jobs high. But when a company makes a healthy profit, it can afford the most modern equipment which, wisely used by good workmen, means its costs and prices can be lower and lower. Then more and more people can afford the product, more and more taxes will be contributed to run the government, and more dividends will reward the investors who make it all possible.
 
So profit-a good healthy profit - is more desirable...it's an obligation.

 
Articles

An Open Letter to the American People by Johnathan W. Jenks...
1400 / 01-11-13

 

This is an open letter to all Americans, but especially to all the elected officials, appointed or hired individuals in the Federal, State and local governments.

Good citizens of the United States of America, I am writing this letter to all of you in the hopes that you will take a step or two back and think about what I am about to say. As a Loyal and Patriotic American citizen just like the majority of you are, I work hard to take care of my family, pay my bills and look toward a better and brighter future as you do. But, I have reservations as to the direction of all the squandering governments within our great country are headed.

I served my country; in the United States Army, as a great deal of other Loyal and Patriotic Americans have done throughout the two-hundred and thirty-seven (237) years that the United States has existed as a nation. And, in so doing I took an oath when I joined the United States Army. An oath I have never given up, nor can anyone take away from me. This is the land of the free and the home of the brave, and all service members; Active, Reserve, National Guard and Retired, know that they are required as well as duty bound to uphold and follow their oath.

"I, (Name), do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God."

Fellow citizens, we are at a crossroads in the history of our great democratic republic. There has been a cancer growing in our great nation for quite some time. A cancer that is eroding and removing the rights of the people which have placed all of us in great peril; from what I can see. You may differ, but when our Founding Fathers were at a similar crossroad, they decried their grievances in the Declaration of Independence.

We have governments at all levels that have grown beyond their means; fatten themselves, at the expense of the citizens. This encroachment of governments at all levels upon all of us by our elected and unelected public servants; and the agencies they represent, invading our affairs is not only treacherous, but criminal. Their continued violations of our Constitutional and civil rights, the ever intrusive and restrictive laws and regulations instituted by these public servants; and agencies they represent, as well as individual citizens, whether covertly, overtly or just blatantly out in our faces is TREASONOUS if not tantamount to TREASON against the Constitution of the United States of America, and We the American People. All you have to do is stop, take a look around and research, and you will find appalling Constitutional and civil rights violations happening to everyday people just like you and me in our great country.

Our Founding Fathers vigorously debated all the aspects of the Constitution in 1787. They knew that in order to establish a national federal government that represents the will of all the people of the United States of America, the Constitution of the United States of America had to come from the will of the people; not some group of elitist, king, queen, dictator or tyrants.
"We the Peopleof the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."

Once the Constitution was ratified, it came to light that further natural inalienable rights had to be expressed and guaranteed. Thus, the Bill of Rights (the first ten amendments) were ratified in 1791, and these rights amended the whole Constitution. So what does that mean?
First, we have to understand one thing. The Constitution of the United States of America is the SUPREME LAW OF THE LAND, and NO Presidential Executive Orders, Federal laws or regulations, any treaty, State laws or regulations, court decisions, county/city ordinances, businesses, or individuals, etc. can supersede, amend or change the Constitution or Amendments in any way shape or form.

Article VI, Clause 2 of the Constitution states:
"This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding."

Article V, Amendment process to the Constitution states:
"The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution, or, on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, which, in either Case, shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as Part of this Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States, or by Conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other Mode of Ratification may be proposed by the Congress; Provided that no Amendment which may be made prior to the Year One thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any Manner affect the first and fourth Clauses in the Ninth Section of the first Article; and that no State, without its Consent, shall be deprived of its equal Suffrage in the Senate."

You will see, that Article VI, Clause 2 states all three make up the supreme body of the Laws of the United States. But, now I must ask you, which is stated first? The CONSTITUTION, and there is a very good reason for it. The Founding Fathers meant for the Constitution of the United States of America to stand above all other Laws, period.

Now with this understanding, let's break down and examine one of our Natural Inalienable

Rights, the Second Amendment.
"A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

The first part, "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State..." is meant that each State has the right to establish a Militia based in the military set-up by either volunteers or soldiers employed by and for each State for its own security and freedom if the federal government should go rogue or conducts treasonous actions against the people and the States,as well as to fight foreign invasion.

The second part, "...the right of the people to keep and bear Arms..." is meant for the people to have the means to protect themselves, and if necessary to fight back against a government that has gone rogue or conducts treasonous actions against the people,as well as to be called up to fight foreign invasion.

The last part, "...shall not be infringed." applies to both the first and second parts of the Second Amendment. This means that NO Presidential Executive Orders, Federal laws or regulations, any treaty, State laws or regulations, court decisions, county/city ordinances, businesses, or individuals, etc. can violate the right of any State to set-up a well regulated Militia separate from the active federal military, nor "...the right of the people to keep and bear Arms..." for themselves with weapons of their choosing.

But wait you say. The government is not taking away our rights; they're just regulating the type of weapons we can have, and were you can bear them. Let me remind you that the Bill of Rights amended the whole Constitution of the United States of America; which means the Commerce Claus.

Article I, Section 8, Claus 3 of the Constitution states:
"To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes;"

This means that the federal government is to regulate business across the United States to ensure that any and all businesses will not have their products discriminated against. Now, with the Second Amendment; "...the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed" amending the Commerce Claus, you will see that attempting to establish or establishing Presidential Executive Orders, Federal laws or regulations, any treaty, State laws or regulations, court decisions, county/city ordinances, businesses, or individuals, etc. to deny "...the right of the people to keep and bear Arms..." in any way or anywhere (NO gun free zones) is completely and totally illegal, and committing TREASON against the Constitution of the United States of America and theAmerican People; who are the government.

Last, it is every Legal Adult's Duty and Responsibilityto arm themselves; with a weapon (gun or other device) of their choosing, to properly and safely learn how to use their weapon (gun or other device) for the defense of themselves, their families, friends/neighbors, their State, the nation and the Constitution of the United States of America. For the people of a Free Democratic Republic are the last line of defense against foreign invasion and the tyranny of any TREACHEROUS and TREASONOUSindividuals and/orgovernments.

So in closing, we need to remind all American citizens, and tell all our public servants; elected, appointed or hired, to comply with and obey the Constitution of the United States of America as the SUPREME LAW OF THE LAND covering all of the United States, its territories and possessions because TREASON by all those individuals against the Constitution of the United States of America and theAmerican People; who are the government, will be remembered and eventually dealt with in accordance to the laws of this great nation. God Bless America, the Constitution of the United States of America and theAmerican People.

Johnathan W. Jenks
Major, Retired
United States Army Reserve
(1982 - 2002)

 


M50 Ontos: The Forgotten Tank-killer
Frontal view of the M50 Ontos and its Marine crew during Operation Franklin in the Quang Ngai province of Vietnam, {C}June of 1966. U.S. Marine Corps Archives & Special Collections photo


It is the tradition in the U.S. Army to name its tanks after great generals. Over the years there has been the Stuart, the Grant and Lee, the Sherman, the Patton, the Pershing, the Abrams, the Sheridan, the Chaffee, and the Bradley. But there was one armored vehicle that was so singularly odd and strange looking, it didn't get named after anyone, lest perhaps, some insult might be taken. Instead, the name it got handed was Ontos, the Greek word for "thing." It was an apt name. With its tiny chassis, tinier turret and six, massive, externally mounted recoilless rifles, Ontos had to have been the strangest armored vehicle ever to make it into the American military inventory.

An M50 Ontos during a training exercise at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va., Dec. 19, 1955. U.S. Marine Corps Archives & Special Collections photo
Except for some Marine Vietnam veterans, the Ontos is, today, almost wholly unremembered. The reason has less to do with the Ontos' battlefield performance, which at times was stellar, than it did with the fact that only about 300 were ever built, a little more than half of which survived up to the time of the Vietnam War. It meant there weren't enough Ontos to engage the tactician's imagination and so it never featured in tactics problems in the basic schools. There was never a military occupational specialty for Ontos crews. Officers might serve in an Ontos unit for a tour, but then they'd move on to something else and whatever they'd learned from it never really entered into the institutional memory. Another reason was that Ontos was designed as a tank killer, but since the North Vietnamese Army (NVA) only rarely used tanks, Ontos was used mainly as an ad hoc weapon.

But fight it did, distinguishing itself at Hue, Khe Sanh, and countless other battles. For all its out-and-out eccentricity, Marines found it handy to have around because it was nimble and fast. Thanks to its relatively light weight, Ontos fairly glided through swamps and rice paddies, where heavier vehicles wisely feared to tread. And Ontos packed a punch that was way beyond its weight class. For this reason, the NVA feared it and avoided the Ontos wherever possible.

If there was a general after whom the Ontos should have been named, it probably would have been Lt. Gen. James Gavin, wartime commander of the 82nd Airborne Division. After the war he wrote a book called Airborne Warfare, outlining his vision for using airborne forces in future wars. Part of it involved using air-transportable mechanized forces as a kind of light cavalry, capable of doing reconnaissance, and when necessary, laying extremely deadly ambushes against enemy armor. In the spirit of cavalry, such vehicles would have to sacrifice protection in favor of speed, agility, and ability to deliver serious firepower.

The Ontos program began in November 1950 as a joint Army-Marine Corps program. The development contract went to Allis Chalmers' Farm Machinery Division, with the work being carried out at the company's Agricultural Assembly Plant in LaPort, Ind. According to legend, the spec sheet they developed it from was only one-page long. Among the few things that it specified was that its running gear would be based on the M56 Light Anti-Tank Vehicle and that it would utilize the same six-cylinder, inline gas engine common to all the military's 2-ton GMC trucks.

Two M50 Ontos from the 1st Anti-Tank Battalion move up to support a 2nd Battalion, 4th Marines patrol in the Quang Tin Province of Vietnam during Operation Iowa. U.S. Marine Corps Archives & Special Collections photo
In 1953, the prototype was presented to the U.S. Army, and they immediately hated what they saw. They hated that it was so small and too tall and that there was not enough room inside it, either for the three-man crew or for ammunition for the recoilless rifles, of which only 18 rounds could be carried. They didn't like that the turret was so shallow, really little more than a cast steel turntable and hatch in the middle. They hated that the six recoilless rifles that made up its armament were externally mounted and had to be reloaded from the outside. They didn't like that the half-inch armor plating on the sides wouldn't protect the crew members from anything larger than .50 caliber machine gun rounds, and that the underside's armor plate was not even half that thick, making it totally vulnerable to mines or anything that might explode underneath it. The Army backed out of the project, canceling their share of the 1,000 vehicle order.

The Marines, on the other hand, were not nearly so fussy. They liked that Ontos was so fast and agile and seemed capable of going anywhere they went, which was more than could be said about most tanks. They accepted that instead of being able to fight it out with enemy tanks, the Ontos would have to "shoot-and-scoot" to a place where it could safely reload. As for its pronounced lack of protection, they shrugged. For Marines, being shot at was nothing new. They placed an order for 297 Ontos. The production contract went to Allis Chalmers, which started building them in 1955 and finished in 1957, with the first vehicle accepted by the Marine Corps on Oct. 31, 1956.

The Ontos' official name was: "Rifle, Multiple 106 mm self-propelled M50." At its heart was the M40 106 mm recoilless rifle, a weapon which had been developed after World War II as a tank killer, based on the earlier M27, 105 mm recoilless rifle, which turned out to have a number of key deficiencies. The rounds the M40 fired were not, in fact, 106 mm, but 105 mm, but were designated as 106 mm to keep from being confused with the M27's round, which was not compatible with the M40. The M40 had the accuracy, the range, a serious punch forward and a serious kick aft. During the Ontos' testing at the Army's Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland, all six guns were fired at once and the backblast was so great that it knocked bricks out of nearby buildings and shattered numerous car windows.

An M50 Ontos fires at snipers in the streets of Hue during the Battle of Hue City, 1968. The Ontos proved its value during the Tet Offensive. U.S. Marine Corps Archives & Special Collections photo
The powerful recoilless rifles' accuracy was greatly aided by attaching .50 caliber spotting rifles to four of the Ontos' six M40s. The rifle fired a tracer round whose trajectory, at least for the first 1,100 yards, was nearly identical to the M40s, and it marked the spot it hit with a visible puff of smoke. The spotting rifle's own range was only 1,500 yards, and hitting targets beyond that required burst-on target and bracketing techniques of fire adjustment.

The first time Ontos was deployed was during the Lebanon Crisis of 1958. Since it was a peaceful intervention, it saw no action. Six years later it did go into combat during the American intervention in the Dominican Republic of 1964. There it encountered and promptly destroyed several enemy tanks, including a French-built AMX-13 and an old Swedish L-60. It was the only time the Ontos ever performed the mission it was built for.

Then came Vietnam. In 1965, during the initial American buildup, the Marines sent over two anti-tank battalions equipped with Ontos. With no enemy tanks to fight, the Ontos companies were quickly spread out and attached to other units. The problem was, with no doctrine in place for them other than for fighting tanks, the Ontos were used or not used largely according to the whim of the commander of whatever units they were attached to.

Though they quickly proved themselves as highly capable infantry support weapons, providing excellent frontal fire and flank protection, the Ontos had some serious shortcomings. After one or two would get destroyed by mines or rocket-propelled grenades, their unit commander often found his enthusiasm for them considerably dampened and relegated them to static defense duties. Another problem that plagued the Ontos was repeated accidental firings of its recoilless rifles because of too-tightly adjusted firing cables.

Even so, the Ontos continued
An M50 Ontos leads commandeered vehicles during the Battle for Hue City, 1968. The Ontos was spearheading the effort to MedEvac and resupply Marines in Hue during the Tet Offensive. U.S. Marine Corps Archives & Special Collections photo
to be deployed supporting infantry. Using HEAT rounds, the Ontos was an excellent bunker-buster. But where it truly excelled was as an anti-personnel weapon. A "beehive" round was developed for the M40 that, upon exploding, unleashed a massive whirlwind cloud of nearly 10,000 steel flechettes. As a result, the VC and NVA were terrified of the Ontos and avoided it wherever possible.

In December 1967, the Marines reorganized their anti-tank battalions and as a result, the Ontos units were all attached to tank battalions. By this point, the Ontos was becoming worn out. Treads and other replacement parts were becoming difficult to obtain. Increasingly, Ontos were being cannibalized to keep others operating. It was already obvious its days were numbered. Then, on Jan. 30, 1968, the NVA launched the Tet Offensive. It was one of the longest and bloodiest battles of the entire Vietnam War, nowhere as hard fought as in Hue City.

For the Ontos, the battle was its shining moment of glory. After the American and South Vietnamese forces cleared the south bank of the Perfume river, the 1st Battalion of the 6th Marine Regiment reached the Citadel. A number of Ontos were brought up and one by one, began taking out the buildings where the enemy were holed up. One of the Marine officers leading the siege of the Citadel later identified the Ontos as "the most effective of all Marine supporting arms," in the Battle of Hue. At the same time, the NVA siege of Khe Sahn was also under way. With the threat of NVA armor anticipated, 10 Ontos were airlifted into Khe Sanh by MH-53 helicopter, and incorporated into its defense. There, the Ontos also performed with distinction.

A year later, the Marines deactivated their Ontos units and the vehicles were handed over to the Army's light infantry brigade. The Army used them until their parts ran out and then employed them as bunkers. What happened to them after that is largely unknown.

After Vietnam, some were handed over to civilian agencies and used as forestry vehicles. A tiny number made it into collectors' hands. Some are in museums. According to Mike Scudder, a former Marine who owns several, there are more World War I tanks in circulation than there are Ontos. This may not actually be true, since there are believed to be more than 60 Ontos sitting discarded in the desert on a Marine Corps reservation near China Lake, Calif. If they are still there, no one is saying.



Navy Forced to Reschedule Carrier Strike Group Rotation
Fiscal crisis begins to deliver first shocks to national security
 
The aircraft carriers USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69), USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77), USS Enterprise (CVN 65), USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75), and USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) are in port at Naval Station Norfolk, Va., the world's largest naval station. The inability of Congress and the administration to resolve various budget and fiscal issues have upset U.S. Navy carrier strike group deployment scheduling. U.S. Navy photo by Chief Mass Communication Specialist Ryan J. Courtade

America's looming fiscal crisis delivered real-world consequences last week with a pair of blows to one of the U.S. Navy's (USN) cornerstones: aircraft carriers.

[q]On Wednesday, Feb. 6, Pentagon Press Secretary George Little announced that the rotation schedule for USN carrier strike groups (CSGs) had been reevaluated, and all future deployments rescheduled. Previously, U.S. military policy had been to keep a pair of CSGs in the Persian Gulf at any given moment, mainly to provide deterrence against the Iranians and their growing nuclear weapons and guided missile programs. The reason given was the ongoing fiscal confusion generated by the continuing resolution (CR) that is currently funding the Department of Defense (DoD) in lieu of a finished national defense appropriations act.

The first such CSG affected is Carrier Strike Group 10, built around the USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75), Carrier Air Wing 3 (CVW 3), the USS Gettysburg (CG 64), the German frigate Hamburg (F220), and the 1st Combined Destroyer Squadron, all which were to have deployed just two days hence. The CSG had just conducted its final pre-deployment certification exercise, COMPTUEX, and already had embarked CVW-3.

The effects of this stunning announcement are already rebounding throughout the U.S. Navy, and especially in Tidewater Virginia, where the Truman CSG is homeported. Presently, there are no plans to deploy the Truman CSG any time in the near future, but to instead use her CSG as a ready reserve in the event of a crisis somewhere around the globe. Until needed, the Truman and the rest of her group will conduct short underway training evolutions to help maintain their combat proficiency. And while keeping the Truman and her group home will save the Navy approximately $300 million in operations and maintenance costs (food, fuel, spare parts, and forward deployment/combat pay), much of that savings is coming straight out of the paychecks of sailors and Marines who had planned on this deployment, and now will be staying home in Norfolk drawing just their standard service pay.

Rear Adm. Kevin Sweeney, commander of the Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group, addresses the media on the pier at Naval Station Norfolk shortly after the Secretary of Defense announced that the strike group's deployment will be delayed. The strike group recently completed a composite unit training exercise, which certified it as ready to deploy. Behind Sweeney is the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72). U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Tyler Caswell
Already, weddings, vacations, the buying of homes, plans of starting college, and all variety of other things personally important to Navy and Marine Corps personnel, are being rescheduled, delayed, or just cancelled. Even worse, the thousands of personnel assigned to the Truman CSG are hardly the only ones being affected. The personnel assigned to the USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) CSG were also notified that their planned deployment would be delayed at least a year, while CSGs on the West Coast are awaiting new dates for their 2013/14 deployments. It is this uncertainty, especially having no real idea if and when personnel are going to deploy overseas, that is putting an increased strain on sailors, Marines, and their families and loved ones. Already overstretched by a mission set that is worldwide in nature, the USN is having to "make do" with a force that is a little more than half the size of the "600-ship Navy," that existed less than 25 years ago.

As if this news was not bad enough, on Friday, Feb. 8, the USN announced that the long-planned Refueling Complex Overhaul (RCOH) of the nuclear aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) was also being delayed indefinitely, again due to budget uncertainties of the CR. RCOH is a midlife rebuild for the Nimitz-class (CVN 68) aircraft carriers, which takes upwards of 3 years to complete and costs several billion dollars. It had been long planned that this week, the Lincoln would be moved from her birth at Naval Station Norfolk, Va., across the river to the Huntington-Ingalls Industries, Inc. (HII) Shipyard, in Newport News. Now, however, this vital maintenance and refueling program has been delayed, until some sort of budget deal is struck between the Obama administration and the Congress. Already, the following consequences are beginning to take hold:
  • Lincoln RCOH duration/cost - The timeframe previously scheduled for the RCOH will have to be lengthened since the overhaul won't commence when planned, and result in a delayed redelivery of the Lincoln to the fleet. In addition, the overall cost of the RCOH will rise, as previously ordered long-lead equipment and supplies arrive at HII and need to be warehoused.
  • Industry impacts - The delay in the start of the Lincoln RCOH is already causing significant impacts to industry, especially in the Virginia Tidewater region. It is likely that local shipyard workers at HII will have to be furloughed, along with many more at the various subcontractors supporting the RCOH. In addition, the very limited warship maintenance infrastructure presently available to the U.S. Navy may need to contract, or be unable to deal with a backlog of contracts when the present budget problem is finally resolved.
  • Collateral effects - in addition to the short-term impacts of delaying the Lincoln RCOH, work on other warships will necessarily be affected. There will be day-to-day impacts on the de-fueling/decommissioning of the USS Enterprise (CVN 65). In addition, the planned RCOH maintenance cycle for USS George Washington (CVN 73) will now need to be delayed to later in the decade.

These are just the first of what are likely to be many other significant cuts laid out by the Department of Defense in case sequestration does become a reality after March 1 and automatic cuts go into effect. Already, there are discussions about grounding the U.S. Navy's Blue Angels flight demonstration team and deferring maintenance on amphibious ships and escorts. In addition, on March 27 the current CR runs out, and with a completed appropriations bill looking unlikely, the chaos caused by living in a budget environment dictated by CRs looks to continue.



U.S. Navy Missile Defense: Continuing Evolution
Part 8: The global ballistic missile threat

A Standard Missile Three (SM-3) is launched from the guided missile cruiser USS Shiloh (CG 67) during a joint Missile Defense Agency, U.S. Navy ballistic missile flight test, June 22, 2006. Two minutes later, the SM-3 intercepted a separating ballistic missile threat target, launched from the Pacific Missile Range Facility, Barking Sands, Kauai, Hawaii. The test was the seventh intercept, in eight program flight tests, by the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense. The maritime capability is designed to intercept short to medium-range ballistic missile threats in the midcourse phase of flight. U.S. Navy photo

How the Threat has Evolved

In an earlier post, we described how the worldwide ballistic missile threat has evolved.  We described the numerous reports and commissions that identified this growing threat early on.  By the end of the last decade, this threat had grown to such an extent that as a companion document to the Congressionally-mandated Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR), the first-ever Ballistic Missile Defense Review (BMDR) was published in 2010 to underscore the compelling nature of this threat.  More on the BMDR in a moment.
USS Benfold (DDG 65) fires an SM-2 missile, March 26, 2009, during training exercise Stellar Daggers in the Pacific Ocean. Benfold engaged multiple targets with Standard Missile-2 (SM-2) Block IIIA and modified SM-2 BLK IV missiles. The overall objective of Stellar Daggers was to test the Aegis system's sea-based ability to simultaneously detect, track, engage and destroy multiple incoming air and ballistic missile threats during terminal or final phase of flight. The Benfold's Aegis Weapons System successfully detected and intercepted a cruise missile target with an SM-2 BLK IIIA, while simultaneously detecting and intercepting an incoming SRBM target with a modified SM-2 BLK IV. This is the first time the fleet had successfully tested the Aegis system's ability to intercept both an SRBM in terminal phase and a low-altitude cruise missile target at the same time. U.S. Navy photo.

The 2010 National Security Strategy underscored the most important functions of the national government:

This administration has no greater responsibility than the safety and security of the American people.  And there is no greater threat to the American people then weapons of mass destruction, particularly the danger posed by the pursuit of nuclear weapons by violent extremists and their proliferation to additional states.

Today, as described earlier, the global ballistic missile threat has morphed from massed numbers of ICBMs unleashed by a peer competitor to the threat of accidental release of a ballistic missile or the threat of one fired by a so-called rogue nation or a national or international terrorist group.  And the threat of what these ballistic missiles could carry - from solely nuclear WMD to chemical and biological WMD - has multiplied the number of nations that can combine these capabilities to threaten the United States, forward-deployed forces, allies, and friends.

These themes where reinforced by then-Program Director of Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense Rear Adm. Alan B. Hicks in a Naval Institute Proceedings article which framed the current and future BMD/WMD threat:

Today, the United States faces a greater danger from an expanding number of hostile regimes and terrorist groups that seek to acquire and use ballistic missiles and weapons of mass destruction (WMDs).  These adversaries may not respond to traditional tools and concepts of deterrence.  More than 25 countries - some friendly to the United States and some not so - have ballistic missiles and WMD programs in various stages of development.  Our intelligence estimates indicate that a small number of countries could acquire ICBM capabilities by 2020, either through indigenous development or technology transfer, thus posing a direct threat to the nation.

China's large store of ballistic missiles, especially the "carrier-killer" DF-21D, is an essential ingredient undergirding its anti-access/area denial (A2/AD) efforts in the Asia Pacific region. While some downplay China's increasingly bellicose statements - especially toward the United States - regarding its maritime interests, and believe that China's growing military arsenal is not a threat, a September 2011 Center for Naval Analysis report described the reasons for China's military buildup, noting:

China continues to have vital interests that touch on questions of sovereignty and territorial integrity in maritime areas near the mainland. Until these issues are resolved, a key component of how Chinese policy-makers think about maritime power is their need to develop the means necessary to prevent de jure independence for Taiwan, prevent an attack on the Chinese mainland from the sea, and defend China's territorial and exclusive economic zone (EEZ) claims.  The United States is perceived as the single most important potential security threat and the one actor that could prevent China from attaining its goals with regard to Taiwan and other disputes in regional seas.

But China is not the only country that presents a compelling threat of ballistic missiles armed with WMD.  In his third State of the Union address, President Obama said, "Let there be no doubt: America is determined to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon, and I will take no options off the table to achieve that goal."  In a sentence, this summarizes the grave concerns regarding Iran's ability to arm its increasingly-robust ballistic missile arsenal with WMD.  Iran has embarked on an aggressive program of ballistic missile development, producing missiles capable of longer range.  Coupled with inflammatory rhetoric by Iran's leaders, including recent threats to close the Strait of Hormuz, Iran's ballistic missile development presents a clear and present danger.

An SM-3 launched from the USS O'Kane (DDG 77) successfully intercepts a target missile launched from the Reagan Test Site, located on Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands, April 15, 2011. Missile Defense Agency photo
While considerable ink has been spilled - specifically focused on Iran's enrichment of uranium for other-than-peaceful development - it is the combination of this nascent WMD capability with its ballistic capability that presents an increasingly dangerous threat.  A recent CSIS study captured the growing threat presented by Iran:

The most threatening form of U.S. and Iranian competition takes place in the military and security arena. The areas where this competition now gets primary attention are the nuclear and missile arena, and Iranian threats to "close the Gulf." U.S. and Iranian tensions over Iran's nuclear program have grown steadily over the years. They now threaten to reach the crisis point as Iran produces highly enriched uranium and develops all of the technology necessary to produce nuclear weapons, and as US, European, and UN sanctions become steadily stronger.

The United States Response

The National Strategic Narrative, the highest level statement of U.S. strategic interests - and the one that undergirds all other national, intelligence community and defense community documents - notes that, "In the 21st century we want to become the strongest competitor and most influential player in a deeply inter-connected global system, which requires that we invest less in defense and more in sustainable prosperity and the tools of effective global engagement."

This narrative goes on to show how National policy decisions regarding investment, security, economic development, the environment, and engagement well into this century are built upon the premise that the United States must sustain our enduring national interests - prosperity and security - within a "strategic ecosystem," at home and abroad; that in complexity and uncertainty, there are opportunities and hope, as well as challenges, risks, and threats.

While achieving the goals outlined in National Strategic Narrative clearly requires a whole-of-government approach, it falls to the Department of Defense to be a primary agent for ensuring the nation's security.  And since ballistic missiles armed with WMD remain the singular existential threat to the United States, ballistic missile defense is a mission that involves all the services, and regional BMD is a mission that increasingly supports the U.S. geographical Combatant Commanders (COCOMs).

Adm. Mark Ferguson, vice chief of naval operations (center), meets with Spanish Rear Adm. Juan Rodriguez-Garat, chief of high readiness naval headquarters and naval action, (left), and Spanish Rear Adm. Juan Ruiz-Casas, commander-in-chief Rota Naval Base, (right), on Naval Station Rota, Nov. 21, 2011. Ferguson was in Rota to examine plans and requirements to homeport four U.S. Navy Aegis-capable destroyers here by 2015. U.S. Navy photo by Chief Mass Communication Specialist Mikel Bookwalter
The Intense Focus on BMD

The 2010 Ballistic Missile Defense Review (BMDR) revealed a strategic pivot in the way the United States and its allies and friends would deal with the growing ballistic missile threat.  As the BMDR noted:

The United States will defend U.S. deployed forces from regional missile threats while also protecting our allies and partners and enabling them to defend themselves.  This policy has guided the development of U.S. capabilities since the emergence of the ballistic missile proliferation problem in the 1980s and the development of initial terminal defense capabilities in the early 1990.  As regional protection capabilities begin to take shape, it is important to ensure effective operational and political cooperation with allies and partners.

The United States will seek to lead expanded international efforts for missile defense.  It will work more closely with allies and partners to provide pragmatic and cost-effective capacity...The United States, with the support of allies and partners, seeks to create an environment in which the acquisition, deployment, and use of ballistic missiles by regional adversaries can be deterred, principally by eliminating their confidence in the effectiveness of such attacks, and thereby devaluing their ballistic missile arsenals.

The 2012 Defense Strategic Guidance went further regarding the ballistic missile threat, tying these missiles more closely with WMD.  It notes, "Of particular concern are the proliferation of ballistic missiles and weapons of mass destruction (WMD)." Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta gave additional emphasis to the BMD threat and the Navy's crucial role in this mission in a press briefing in January 2012 following the release of Defense Strategic Guidance and Defense Budget Priorities and Choices.  The Secretary's statement, noted, in part:

The Navy is protecting our highest priority and most flexible ships, such as Arleigh Burke destroyers.  It plans to retire lower priority cruisers that have not been upgraded with ballistic missile defense capability or that require significant maintenance, as well as combat logistics and fleet support ships.

But to fully understand the nature of the ballistic missile threat to the United States, our forces forward, our allies and our friends, we need to look more deeply into the growing threat posed by China and Iran, as well as by various terrorist groups.



Knife on a Stick: The Rise and Fall of the Bayonet
A U.S. Army soldier conducts bayonet training, Fort Bliss, Texas, Jan. 1, 1917. DoD photo.

Three hundred and eighty five men of Col. Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain's 20th Maine Regiment held the Union Army's left flank on July 2, 1863. Posted on a hill called Little Round Top they were repeatedly attacked by Confederates of the 15th and 47th Alabama. Ammunition was running short. The next Rebel assault might overrun the position. Chamberlain's order rang out, "Bayonets!" In a downhill charge depicted in the 1993 film Gettysburg, the Yankees routed the Rebels, capturing 400 prisoners. Probably the most famous bayonet charge of the war, it was one of the few that succeeded.

Union soldiers from the 6th Maine Regiment stand in formation with socket bayonets fixed after the Battle of Fredericksburg. The socket bayonet allowed the user to fire his rifle through the collar of the bayonet, which fit around the rifle's muzzle like a ring around a finger. National Archives photo
The origin of the bayonet lies 200 years earlier in France. Bayonne, in the Basque country, produced a hunting knife called a bayonette. According to legend, in 1647, German cavalry charged a regiment from Bayonne. The musketeers jammed their tapered knife handles into the muzzles of their weapons, making improvised pikes to fend off the attacking horsemen. Jean Martinet (died 1672) whose name became an epithet for harsh drillmasters, is credited with issuing bayonets throughout the French Army. By the 1660s most European armies carried "plug bayonets."

At Killiecrankie in 1689, a wild charge of Scottish highlanders fighting for James II routed a larger force of Royalists fighting for King William III because the Royalists delayed fixing their bayonets. The plug bayonet was a short-lived innovation; it had to be pounded out of the barrel to fire the weapon, and it is surprising so many survive in pristine condition in museums and arms collections.

The bullet is a fool; the bayonet is a clever fellow.
    - Marshal Aleksandr Suvorov (1729-1800)

Invention of the socket bayonet in 1678 is credited to Marquis de Puysgur (1656-1743) Marshal of France under King Louis XV. The blade had a collar that fitted over the muzzle, and was offset, to allow loading and firing. Early socket bayonets had an unfortunate tendency to fall off the weapon at inconvenient times. By the early 18th century, spring-loaded locking lugs allowed bayonets to be securely fixed and quickly unfixed.

A Harper's Weekly print of a Civil War bayonet charge. Despite the depictions of fierce battles involving bayonets these kind of fights were relatively rare. Print courtesy of the Boston Public Library
In the 19th century, the bayonet design diverged down two paths: spikes and swords. Spike bayonets were pure thrusting weapons; sword bayonets could thrust or slash. The British "Brown Bess" musket (in service 1722-1838) had a 17-inch (43 centimeter) spike. The "Baker" rifle of the same era, with a shorter barrel, carried a 24-inch (61 centimeter) sword bayonet, allowing a mixed square of riflemen and musketeers to present a more uniform line of points.

Rifled muskets of the American Civil War mostly carried spike bayonets. Raised on a steady diet of Napoleonic doctrine, officers on both sides believed the bayonet was "the weapon of the brave," and massed charges by dense columns were the key to victory. In 1852, as a captain of engineers, George B. McClellan (1826 -1885) translated and published a French Army bayonet drill manual. It taught a system of bayonet "fencing" utterly impractical for battlefields that had been transformed into killing grounds by the increased lethality of the rifled musket. In his preface, McClellan wrote:

An actual bayonet charge by French soldiers, circa 1914. Such tactics against machine guns and massed artillery, led to tens of thousands of casualties. Wikimedia
There is an instance on record of a French grenadier, who, in the battle of Polotsk, [1812] defended himself, with his bayonet, against the simultaneous attack of eleven Russian grenadiers, eight of whom he killed. In the battle of Sanguessa, [1813] two soldiers of Abb's division defended themselves, with their bayonets, against twenty-five Spanish cavalry, and, after having inflicted several severe wounds, rejoined their regiment without a scratch."

In reality, the bayonet was a psychological weapon. Fighting rarely came down to "cold steel" versus warm flesh. Either charging attackers would be shot to pieces before they could close, or defenders would break and flee.

U.S. military rifle bayonets from the 19th century. The top two are socket bayonets for the Springfield Model 1861 Rifle Musket and Remington Rolling Block Rifle. Below them is a ram rod bayonet for the Springfield Trapdoor Rifle, and a knife bayonet for the Krag Rifle. Knife bayonets endure to this day. Photo courtesy of Curiosandrelics
The evidence was in the medical reports. Few bayonet wounds were inflicted in the Civil War. Of those reported, many were men already felled by gunfire, bayonetted in the field. Between May and July 1864, a period that saw the brutal battles of the Wilderness,

Spotsylvania, Cold Harbor, and the Crater, surgeons of the Army of the Potomac treated exactly 37 bayonet wounds. In his memoirs, Gen. William T. Sherman (1820-1891) recalled that in close fighting, men fought with clubbed muskets, not bayonets.

European armies uniformly ignored the lessons of the Civil War and retained their mystical faith in the cult of the bayonet. Against machine guns and barbed wire, the result was a predictable bloodbath when the world went to war in 1914.

"Well, governor, we also have fewer horses and bayonets, because the nature of our military's changed."
- President Barack Obama to Gov. Mitt Romney, Presidential Debate, Oct. 22, 2012

U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Jonathan Shue prepares to bayonet a target, Puckapunyal, Australia, May 15, 2012. "There is nothing that a Marine wants to hear more than 'fix bayonets' and nothing that the enemy fears more," said Shue. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Mark W. Stroud
The last American bayonet charge was in Korea in 1951. The Army has largely abandoned bayonet training. Marines however, consider this an important infantry skill, noting that bayonets never run out of ammunition.

In September 1943, the Army's bayonet manual, defined the "Spirit of the Bayonet" for the Greatest Generation:

"The will to meet and destroy the enemy in hand-to-hand combat is the spirit of the bayonet. It springs from the fighter's confidence, courage, and grim determination, and is the result of vigorous training."



Staff Sgt. Clinton L. Romesha and the Battle of Kamdesh 
A Medal of Honor Story

President Barack Obama presents the Medal of Honor to former Army Staff Sgt. Clinton L. Romesha during a ceremony in the East Room at the White House in Washington, D.C., Feb. 11, 2013. Romesha received the Medal of Honor for his actions during a daylong firefight in Afghanistan in October 2009. U.S. Army photo by Leroy Council 


"It was one of the most intense battles in Afghanistan."
-President Barack Obama, Feb. 11, 2013, of the Battle of Kamdesh

Pictured is a view of Combat Outpost Keating on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border in a remote pocket of Afghanistan known as Nuristan. According to soldiers who called the outpost home, being at Keating was like being in a fishbowl or fighting from the bottom of a paper cup. It was there, surrounded by mountains and insurgents, that former Staff Sgt. Clinton L. Romesha and his fellow soldiers fought off the enemy in a fierce 12-hour battle, Oct. 3, 2009. U.S. Army photo by 1st Lt. Brad Larson
In 2006, the remote and isolated Nuristan Province in northeast Afghanistan along the Pakistan border had become the focus of a counter-insurgency campaign. But despite some success in finding and killing insurgents, within two years, the combined military operations and infrastructure-building effort had failed to achieve its goals. Combat Outpost (COP) Keating, named after 1st Lt. Benjamin Keating, was one of several outposts established in Nuristan as part of that campaign. Remote even by Afghan standards, poorly situated at the bottom of a valley and surrounded by steep mountains, undermanned and difficult to supply, in December 2008 it was slated for closing. Assorted delays kept pushing that date back. Finally, in late September 2009 the troops at COP Keating were told it would be shut down on October 10. But security regarding this news was so poor that insurgents in Nuristan were aware of that decision within hours of it being made. Hundreds of Taliban living in the mountains surrounding the village of Urmul, where COP Keating was located, watched and waited for their leader, Abdul Rahman, to give them the word. They soon received their orders. The attack on COP Keating would begin just before dawn on Saturday, Oct. 3.

At 5:58 a.m., the Taliban opened fire with heavy machine guns, B10 recoilless rifles, RPGs, mortars, and AK-47s. Staff Sgt. Clinton L. Romesha was in the 1st Platoon barracks, located roughly in the middle of the compound. He immediately took Spc. Josh Dannelley and Pvt. Chris Jones with him to the Long Range Advanced Scout Surveillance vehicle battle position 1 (LRAS 1) on the north side of the compound, where Spc. Zachary Koppes was on duty. There he made sure they were well positioned to return suppressive fire with their small arms and Mk 19 automatic grenade launcher.

Members of Red Platoon, 3-61 Cavalry Regiment, including Staff Sgt. Clint Romesha (front row, second from right), pose for a picture just after arriving at Combat Outpost Keating, Nuristan Province, Afghanistan, 2009. U.S. Army photo by 1st Lt. Brad Larson
Romesha returned to the barracks and then, with Cpl. Justin Gregory and carrying an Mk 48 light machine gun and extra ammunition, headed west to LRAS 2 to provide cover fire for the soldiers trapped there.

Romesha and Gregory took up position near a generator on the southern side of the compound where they had a clear field of fire to the south and west. Romesha began returning fire with the Mk 48, quickly running through a two hundred round belt. He had just started with his second belt when an RPG round struck the generator, spraying him with shrapnel.

Unable to deliver sufficient cover fire to allow the soldiers at LRAS 2 to withdraw, after handing the Mk 48 to Gregory, Romesha, ignoring his wounds and the intense enemy fire, returned to the barracks to get reinforcements. There he ordered two men to head to the generator and support Gregory.

After being treated for his wounds, Romesha grabbed an Afghan National Army Dragunov sniper rifle, the only available precision fire weapon, and returned to LRAS 1. There he neutralized a number of enemy positions, including an enemy machine gun nest and a sniper position.

Less than an hour into the battle, the outer western perimeter was breached. Romesha managed to kill three Taliban inside the compound. After giving Lt. Andrew L. Bundermann a situation report in the tactical operations center (TOC) just east of the barracks, Romesha decided to lead a team of five men to the ammunition supply point located on the other side of the barracks, as ammunition was running low for everyone. Despite intense enemy fire and little cover to protect them, everyone reached the ammunition supply point unharmed. There they secured the site and began returning fire with grenades, small arms, and M240 machine gun fire.

Colin Romesha, son of former Army Staff Sgt. Clinton L. Romesha, stands briefly at the podium during the Medal of Honor ceremony for his father at the White House in Washington, D.C., Feb. 11, 2013. Romesha received the Medal of Honor for his actions during a daylong firefight in Afghanistan in October 2009. U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Teddy Wade
Romesha then led a small team forward to retake the shura (meeting) building and entry control point on the northwest side of the compound. Upon reaching it, they came under intense fire from a large group of Taliban in the village of Urmul and the Afghan National Police checkpoint directly opposite their position. By this time friendly helicopters and fixed winged aircraft had arrived and were attacking enemy positions. Romesha was able to call in 120 mm mortar fire and air support munitions on the Taliban in the village and the checkpoint, neutralizing that threat.

Romesha then turned his attention to the western side of the compound and LRAS 2. He directed covering fire heavy enough to enable three soldiers, one seriously wounded, to withdraw. When those men were clear, and again ignoring enemy fire, Romesha led a team to recover the bodies of three soldiers who had fallen in that sector.

The battle had lasted all day. Ultimately eight American soldiers were killed and 22 wounded. The Taliban suffered 150 killed and an unknown number of wounded.

On Feb. 11, 2013, in a ceremony at the White House, retired Staff Sgt. Clinton Romesha received the Medal of Honor from President Barack Obama for his actions "above and beyond the call of duty" in the Battle of Kamdesh.

What Does the Army Want From a Small Automotive Company? Crowdsourcing

A Minotaur prototype sits on display in the Pentagon center courtyard, July 26, 2012, as part of a presentation by the Army Rapid Equipping Force. The Minotaur is a modified T110 Bobcat designed to detect improvised explosive devices before soldiers come into contact with them. Photo courtesy of Katie E. Nelson

The Washington, D.C., Auto Show isn't where you'd expect to find the director of the Army's Rapid Equipping Force (REF). But Col. Peter Newell wasn't there to kick tires and look at shiny sheetmetal. Instead, he was officially on hand to announce the REF's partnership with Local Motors, an Arizona-based "disruptive" automotive company specializing in open-source design and micro-manufacturing.

Local Motors won DARPA's XC2V private "crowd-sourced" competition, securing the right to build a prototype that could eventually serve as a next-gen military vehicle for U.S. armed forces. Local Motors image
Thus far, Local Motors' best known creation is an off-road racer called the Rally Fighter. The company has also worked with DARPA on a combat reconnaissance/evacuation vehicle called the XC2V. The Army's Rapid Equipping Force is a Field Operating Agency, established in 2002 to address the service's "systemic deficiency in providing immediate technology solutions to deployed and pre-deploying forces" - in other words, to get innovative gear to the warfighter quickly.

Ironically, it's not Local Motors' products that are Newell's main interest. It's the way the company creates them using crowdsourcing.

"I'm after their business model," Newell affirms. "First and foremost, [Local Motors] has built a community of interest that is 30,000 engineers and designers. Imagine what I could do with 30,000 like-minded soldiers in a community of interest."

The REF could identify problems faced by warfighters much more quickly and field solutions rapidly. The 160-strong agency does a pretty good job at present, averaging 132 days from receiving a requirement to providing the first article to the field. In 2012, the REF fulfilled 295 urgent requirements for seven Army Service Component Commands.

The most significant of these, Newell (a combat veteran and Silver Star recipient for actions in Fallujah, Iraq) believes, is the Minotaur Dismounted IED-defeat combat engineer vehicle. Essentially a robotic Bobcat, it's the only piece of gear capable of disrupting pressure-plated IEDs for dismounted forces.

"Minotaur is the first time we've handed big counter-IED-like capability in a small package to the soldier," Newell says.

The partnership with Local Motors and the adoption of its crowdsourcing platform will help bring more such lifesaving capabilities to the field quickly and at lower cost. The potential lies in the capacity of a community of interest of thousands of soldiers/engineers to quickly identify problems and generate requirements.

"I can devise a creative solution to just about any problem fairly quickly," Newell maintains. "It's a question of how long the problem has existed before someone [identifies] it and creates the requirement document that it takes to get started."

Local Motors has successfully used crowdsourcing to create the off-road racer Rally Fighter and other vehicles without an in-house designer. Local Motors image

Crowdsourcing accelerates the process. Local Motors CEO Jay Rogers has successfully used it to create the Rally Fighter and other vehicles without an in-house designer. A former Marine and fellow Iraq war vet, Rogers was contacted by Newell after a professor at MIT suggested the REF director take a look at what Local Motors was doing.

By leveraging the company's crowdsourcing platform and combining it with localized  micro-manufacturing techniques, Local Motors can produce small volumes of cars at one-hundredth the cost and five times faster than a traditional manufacturer, Rogers claims.

"The military [equipment] we produce will have the same metrics," Rogers contends.  "We're organized to get problems identified faster, and when you do that you're more focused on the solution from the beginning."

Local Motors hopes to benefit from the relationship by eventually producing vehicles or as likely, components for the REF to address whatever challenges crop up.

"If you give the people in the military an opportunity to speak up in a place where they're heard, you tear down this divide we have between the users of the equipment and the 'smarty pants' makers of the equipment," Rogers explains.

Newell agrees. The process, which will start with building a community of interest, may evolve into something like a "hackathon" or the Army's Rodeo at Fort Benning.

"We'd also like to find McGyver-like soldiers across the Army and give them a place to go work out their ideas," Newell says. "Honestly, I'd love to turn it into an intramural sport."

Structured crowdsourcing could also generate positive morale benefits, Newell adds, leveraging the "soldier for life" concept and connecting soldiers to STEM careers after military service. And it can lead them to identify meaningful requirements that an engineer might miss, Rogers asserts.

"Soldiers will say, 'Listen to me when I tell you that I throw up every time I ride inside this vehicle and I'm combat-ineffective when I get out. I need to face forward when I ride in it. Listen to me when I tell you I'm lying on a stretcher, my gear doesn't fit and I'm getting slapped on the arm while I've got an IV in it which doesn't work.' Our soldiers know the problems. They need to be part of the solution."
 


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