|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!!!!
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!!!
(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.
Another happy customer
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
Your Shirts are the best.
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.
Dear Special Forces
I received my order i have to say that is better than i expected! Thank you and you'll hear fom me soon.
They turned out GREAT!!!!!! Thanks. I will be back for other things.
Thanks Folks. As always you have been most polite and professional. Best wishes for a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
Jack And Melanie Edgar
OMG! That looks awesome! Is there any logo on the front? Can I buy these off the website? I'm sure a lot of SWCC guys are going to want these!
Amanda Van Every
We love the art work. They are awesome. I'll be ordering mine right after this. Thanks for all the work. I am recommending you guys to all the other battalions and ODA's.
Just to let you know all items have been recieved, fantastic quality as all ways.
Cheers Andrew and best wishes for the New Year.
Welcome to the new Special Forces Gear News Letter! Each month we send out a lot of information and great deals, and to make it easier to read, we've written a summary of the longer articles in this email.
"REMEMBER THE ALAMO"
The muffled drum's sad roll has beat
The soldier's last tattoo;
No more on life's parade shall meet
That brave and fallen few.
On fame's eternal camping-ground
Their silent tents are spread,
And glory guards with solemn round
The bivouac of the dead.
* * *
The neighing troop, the flashing blade,
The bugle's stirring blast,
The charge, the dreadful cannonade,
The din and shout are past;
Nor war's wild note, nor glory's peal
Shall thrill with fierce delight
Those breasts that never more may feel
The rapture of the fight.
"Thermopylae had its messengers of death, but the Alamo had none." These were the words with which a United States senator referred to one of the most resolute and effective fights ever waged by brave men against overwhelming odds in the face of certain death.
Soon after the close of the second war with Great Britain, parties of American settlers began to press forward into the rich, sparsely settled territory of Texas, then a portion of Mexico. At first these immigrants were well received, but the Mexicans speedily grew jealous of them, and oppressed them in various ways. In consequence, when the settlers felt themselves strong enough, they revolted against Mexican rule, and declared Texas to be an independent republic. Immediately Santa Anna, the Dictator of Mexico, gathered a large army, and invaded Texas. The slender forces of the settlers were unable to meet his hosts. They were pressed back by the Mexicans, and dreadful atrocities were committed by Santa Anna and his lieutenants. In the United States there was great enthusiasm for the struggling Texans, and many bold backwoodsmen and Indian-fighters swarmed to their help. Among them the two most famous were Sam Houston and David Crockett. Houston was the younger man, and had already led an extraordinary and varied career. When a mere lad he had run away from home and joined the Cherokees, living among them for some years; then he returned home. He had fought under Andrew Jackson in his campaigns against the Creeks, and had been severely wounded at the battle of the Horse-shoe Bend. He had risen to the highest political honors in his State, becoming governor of Tennessee; and then suddenly, in a fit of moody longing for the life of the wilderness, he gave up his governorship, left the State, and crossed the Mississippi, going to join his old comrades, the Cherokees, in their new home along the waters of the Arkansas. Here he dressed, lived, fought, hunted, and drank precisely like any Indian, becoming one of the chiefs.
David Crockett was born soon after the Revolutionary War. He, too, had taken part under Jackson in the campaigns against the Creeks, and had afterward become a man of mark in Tennessee, and gone to Congress as a Whig; but he had quarreled with Jackson, and been beaten for Congress, and in his disgust he left the State and decided to join the Texans. He was the most famous rifle-shot in all the United States, and the most successful hunter, so that his skill was a proverb all along the border. David Crockett journeyed south, by boat and horse, making his way steadily toward the distant plains where the Texans were waging their life-and-death fight. Texas was a wild place in those days, and the old hunter had more than one hairbreadth escape from Indians, desperadoes, and savage beasts, ere he got to the neighborhood of San Antonio, and joined another adventurer, a bee-hunter, bent on the same errand as himself. The two had been in ignorance of exactly what the situation in Texas was; but they soon found that the Mexican army was marching toward San Antonio, whither they were going. Near the town was an old Spanish fort, the Alamo, in which the hundred and fifty American defenders of the place had gathered. Santa Anna had four thousand troops with him. The Alamo was a mere shell, utterly unable to withstand either a bombardment or a regular assault. It was evident, therefore, that those within it would be in the utmost jeopardy if the place were seriously assaulted, but old Crockett and his companion never wavered. They were fearless and resolute, and masters of woodcraft, and they managed to slip through the Mexican lines and join the defenders within the walls. The bravest, the hardiest, the most reckless men of the border were there; among them were Colonel Travis, the commander of the fort, and Bowie, the inventor of the famous bowie-knife. They were a wild and ill-disciplined band, little used to restraint or control, but they were men of iron courage and great bodily powers, skilled in the use of their weapons, and ready to meet with stern and uncomplaining indifference whatever doom fate might have in store for them.
Soon Santa Anna approached with his army, took possession of the town, and besieged the fort. The defenders knew there was scarcely a chance of rescue, and that it was hopeless to expect that one hundred and fifty men, behind defenses so weak, could beat off four thousand trained soldiers, well armed and provided with heavy artillery; but they had no idea of flinching, and made a desperate defense. The days went by, and no help came, while Santa Anna got ready his lines, and began a furious cannonade. His gunners were unskilled, however, and he had to serve the guns from a distance; for when they were pushed nearer, the American riflemen crept forward under cover, and picked off the artillerymen. Old Crockett thus killed five men at one gun. But, by degrees, the bombardment told. The walls of the Alamo were battered and riddled; and when they had been breached so as to afford no obstacle to the rush of his soldiers, Santa Anna commanded that they be stormed.
The storm took place on March 6, 1836. The Mexican troops came on well and steadily, breaking through the outer defenses at every point, for the lines were too long to be manned by the few Americans. The frontiersmen then retreated to the inner building, and a desperate hand-to-hand conflict followed, the Mexicans thronging in, shooting the Americans with their muskets, and thrusting at them with lance and bayonet, while the Americans, after firing their long rifles, clubbed them, and fought desperately, one against many; and they also used their bowie-knives and revolvers with deadly effect. The fight reeled to and fro between the shattered walls, each American the center of a group of foes; but, for all their strength and their wild fighting courage, the defenders were too few, and the struggle could have but one end. One by one the tall riflemen succumbed, after repeated thrusts with bayonet and lance, until but three or four were left. Colonel Travis, the commander, was among them; and so was Bowie, who was sick and weak from a wasting disease, but who rallied all his strength to die fighting, and who, in the final struggle, slew several Mexicans with his revolver, and with his big knife of the kind to which he had given his name. Then these fell too, and the last man stood at bay. It was old Davy Crockett. Wounded in a dozen places, he faced his foes with his back to the wall, ringed around by the bodies of the men he had slain. So desperate was the fight he waged, that the Mexicans who thronged round about him were beaten back for the moment, and no one dared to run in upon him. Accordingly, while the lancers held him where he was, for, weakened by wounds and loss of blood, he could not break through them, the musketeers loaded their carbines and shot him down. Santa Anna declined to give him mercy. Some say that when Crockett fell from his wounds, he was taken alive, and was then shot by Santa Anna's order; but his fate cannot be told with certainty, for not a single American was left alive. At any rate, after Crockett fell the fight was over. Every one of the hardy men who had held the Alamo lay still in death. Yet they died well avenged, for four times their number fell at their hands in the battle.
Santa Anna had but a short while in which to exult over his bloody and hard-won victory. Already a rider from the rolling Texas plains, going north through the Indian Territory, had told Houston that the Texans were up and were striving for their liberty. At once in Houston's mind there kindled a longing to return to the men of his race at the time of their need. Mounting his horse, he rode south by night and day, and was hailed by the Texans as a heaven-sent leader. He took command of their forces, eleven hundred stark riflemen, and at the battle of San Jacinto, he and his men charged the Mexican hosts with the cry of "Remember the Alamo." Almost immediately, the Mexicans were overthrown with terrible slaughter; Santa Anna himself was captured, and the freedom of Texas was won at a blow.
Story By Theodore Roosevelt
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|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 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
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 Professionals
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>>
Never forget Rear Security
In Memory Our Fallen Hero and Teammate
BIG Fundraiser Car/Motorcycle Show
Date: Sunday, July 21st, 2013
9420 Activity Road,
San Diego,CA 92126
Click Here For More Info
|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|
|Operation PLUTO (Pipe-Lines Under The Ocean) (1944)|
|Obama Civilian Security|
|Breaking ice on the Penobscot River|
|Word of Truth|
The Resurrection and the Life
By Rev G.J. Rako
Last month we celebrated the life, death, burial, and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, each having great significance regarding our eternal destiny. Jesus Christ is eternal God. He is co-equal and co-eternal with God the Father and God the Holy Spirit.
John 1:1 In the beginning (eternity past, prior to creation) was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was (is) God.
John 1:14 And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten [uniquely born] from the Father, full of grace and truth.
John 10:30 Jesus said, "I and the Father are one."
John 17:21 that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me.
Jesus Christ is the unique person of the universe, true humanity and undiminished deity in one person forever.
John 8:58 Jesus said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am."
Jesus Christ was born perfect, as Adam was created perfect. He lived a life without sin, thereby being the only one qualified to become our substitute and die for our sins.
His death on the cross provided the free gift of eternal life to all that accept it.
Philippians 2:8 Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
1 Timothy 2:5-6 For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself as a ransom for all...
Why do we need a mediator? Why do we need a savior? What do we need to be saved from? I am a good person. I am not as bad as that guy who lives down the street. SurelyGod will take into consideration all those good deeds I have accomplished in my life.
Romans 3:10 as it is written, "There is none righteous, not even one;
Romans5:12 Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned.
Isaiah 64:6 For all of us have become like one who is unclean, And all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment;
Romans 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Acts 4:12 "And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved."
Jesus Christ was sent to the cross. While He was there God the Father gathered up every sin ever committed by every man, women, and child who ever lived or ever would live and poured those sins out on Jesus Christ and then judged each and every one of them.
2 Corinthians 5:21 He made Him who knew no sin to become sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
After His work of salvation was complete Jesus Christ said, "finished". He was still alive, He had been judged for the sins of the world. Then He dismissed His spirit. His spirit went into the presence of the Father, His soul went to paradise, and His body went into the grave.
John 19:30 Therefore when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, "It is finished!" And He bowed His head and gave up His spirit.
Matthew 12:40 for just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the sea monster, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.
Jesus Christ died twice on the cross. He died spiritually providing our so great salvation, paying for the sins of the world so that we might have a relationship with the living God. After His work was complete, He died physically. Three days later He was resurrected His resurrection from the dead is our guarantee that we also will be resurrected.
John 21:14 This is now the third time that Jesus was manifested to the disciples, after He was raised from the dead.
Romans 8:34 who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us.
1 Corinthians 15:12 Now if Christ is preached, that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?
1 Thessalonians 1:10 and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, that is Jesus, who rescues us from the wrath to come.
Ephesians 1:20 which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places,
If you believe in Christ then you also will be raised.
1 Corinthians 15:35 But someone will say, "How are the dead raised? And with what kind of body do they come?"
1 Corinthians 15:42 So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown a perishable body, it is raised an imperishable body;
1 Corinthians 15:43 it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power;
1 Corinthians 15:44 it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.
1 Corinthians 15:52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.
2 Corinthians 4:14 knowing that He who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and will present us with you.
Jesus Christ is the resurrection and the life. He is the only way to a relationship with God.
John 11:25-26 Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?"
Do you believe that? If you do believe that Jesus is the Christ then...
John 20:31 but these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name.
Sgt. Glenn French
TACTICAL BREACHING OPERATIONS
Tactical teams across the country spend much time, money and effort preparing to battle future adversaries. Many teams have armored vehicles, modern weapon systems and train frequently. At first glance these teams look high speed and capable of handling any given tactical situation. However, have you ever witnessed a team on a call out or at a training event get bogged down because they can't effect an entry into their target location? This occurs more than it should and we can all avoid that embarrassing situation by placing an emphasis on breaching operations.
Breaching refers to making forced entry into an adversary's stronghold. Tactical teams may breach a door, wall or window to allow for a point of entry so they can achieve their tactical objectives.
Three common types of breaching in law enforcement include:
Mechanical Breaching: breaching tactics that include using various techniques such as lock picking, pry bars, halligan bars, rams, hydraulic and pneumatic wedge devices.Typically these tactics will force a door open by prying a door open or striking a door so that it fails and opens.
Ballistic Breaching: although there are several options for ballistic breaching techniques the most common in Law Enforcement is the use of a shotgun and a frangible round. The breaching shotgun is used to destroy a lock with its frangible round, providing a quick and safe entry in most cases.
Explosive Breaching: there are many and various types of explosive materials used for explosive breaching but explosives such as C-4, C-2 and Detonation cord to gain entry are common with highly skilled SWAT operators trained in their use.
KNOWLEDGE IS KEY
Gathering intelligence on your objective prior to deployment is critical for a successful breach. Your tactical leaders should always consider the barriers your team will face and calculate that problem into the operations plan prior to deployment. Intelligence can provide which way a door opens, what type of material a door is made of, the types of locks used, etc. This intel is vital for the breacher and team leaders to determine which breaching option they will utilize to gain entry.
Making breaching tools accessible to the uniformed officer is a great way to allow first responders to gain entry during an immediate crises such as an active shooter. Squad cars equipped with mechanical breaching tools such as rams and halligen bars that are quickly accessed may be very useful to the uniformed officer. Many agencies even have ballistic breaching shotguns available on the street for such a crisis.
The explosive breaching tactic in law enforcement gained its popularity in the mid 1990s and has increasingly become a part of many tactical teams breaching options. The basic concept is simple, apply explosives to your target objective and gain entry quickly. However, the tactic is very complex and requires an extensive amount of training.
There are many reasons for the need of rigorous training for the explosive breacher. Explosive breaching is a non-lethal force option, therefore explosive breachers tasked with the objective to effect an entry have to consider the safety of the innocent persons inside the stronghold, the safety of the suspect and the safety of the tactical officers conducting the operation.
The explosive breacher will need to put together a detailed and well-calculated plan using intelligence of the objective and target site. The swat counter snipers and swat scouts will be instrumental in providing the intelligence that the explosive breacher needs to develop a successful plan.
Once the intelligence is analyzed the explosive breaching will calculate the minimum amount of explosives needed to gain entry into a designated target without harming occupants inside the stronghold or the officers involved in the entry. This is done by a mathematical application requiring the explosive breacher to calculate the internal target and exterior target overpressures.
I have had the opportunity to explosive breach dozens of objectives in real world SWAT operations. What I have experienced is that many breaching operations require nothing more than defeating the doorknobs or door hinges from the target objective.
A successful door breach as mentioned should precisely cut the doorknob or hinges from the door and they should fall within a couple feet from the doorframe, therefore producing a non-lethal projectile inside the target.
KNOW YOUR TACTICS
Choosing the proper time for explosive breaching is critical. The explosive breach should only be utilized as the last option in your tactical planning. However, that doesn't mean you should attempt the other methods of breaching before using the explosive option. If your tactical team is conducting a search warrant operation and the suspect has a violent criminal past and is known to have an assault weapon in his home or apartment, then deploying a mechanical ram places your breaching in harm's way and telegraphs your presence as he strikes the door. The explosive breach is very quick, safe and provides disruption with your adversaries OODA loop causing a momentary response as he processes what is occurring. I like to deploy flash bangs, upon entry also to further disrupt the suspect's response, after the explosive breach if the situation warrants. This technique amounts to an "overwhelming amount of dominating force" inside the objective. Something I try to achieve on any tactical operation.
Hostage rescue operations can be a nasty challenge. The explosive breacher may be able to effect an entry through any concrete wall or dry wall inside the stronghold near the hostages. A distraction devise or ruse may be used to draw attention away from the targeted entry wall or door while the entry team makes an explosive entry into the objective. In this example the explosive breach will put the team inside the objective very quickly and on top of the hostage, even if it's a brick wall. The concussion from the explosives will buy your operators valuable seconds to gain control of the hostages and neutralize the suspects. Most importantly in my opinion is the safety of the swat officers conducting the entry. These officers will have the advantage of approaching the target in a stealth manner and place the charge undetected. This tactic is far superior to a mechanical breach given the circumstances.
Explosive breaching isn't just for hostage rescues. If your team is tasked to make a forced entry during a barricaded gunman incident then the same rules apply. A barricaded gunman waiting for officers to enter his stronghold has a serious advantage. If you want to take that advantage away from the suspect then conduct two or more explosive breaches simultaneously when effecting the entry. I will on occasion conduct an explosive breach on a door, wall or window, on a barricaded gunmen situation, providing it can be done safely, and then withdraw from the breached door, window or wall. The goal is to take away barriers from the barricaded suspect and provide a limited penetration in the suspect's stronghold. This tactic may come in handy if we have no choice later in the crisis and have to conduct a crisis entry. What often happens however, is a barricaded gunman or armed suicidal subjects will reevaluate their desire to combat our tactical team and surrender. A peaceful resolution is paramount and my first priority on all tactical calls for service.
RESPONSIBILITY IS YOURS
With the explosive breaching capability comes responsibility at all levels involved with the program. Your agency must have comprehensive written policies and procedures. The management of the program is crucial to avoid civil litigation. Training your explosive breachers will include at a minimum a basic explosive handling course, basic explosive entry course and an advanced explosive breaching course. Also, your team must train using the explosive breaching tactics on a regular basis.
Developing a reputable explosive breaching program in your agency is one of the safest tactics you can provide your swat operators. This tactic can save lives including the innocents or criminals involved in the crises. However, your SWAT operators must be proficient in all areas of breaching including mechanical and ballistic.
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|
Knowing how to effectively gather, clean and purify drinking water is a skill that everyone must understand. As we mentioned previously, the days of simply drinking from the local creek are pretty much gone due to all the chemicals and waste being pumped or dumped into our ground water systems today. In the end-times the Bible tells us that all the waters will become bitter and as blood (Rev. 16:3-7), praise God for the provision that comes from He who is the living water!
There's a common misconception that you must ration water as you would food, this is not true. The effects of water deprivation come on too strong and fast and will affect you often before they are realized; it's best to sip your water methodically and normally. Guzzling, that is drinking a lot at one time will often upset your stomach if you have been without water for an extended period which can lead to vomiting and a greater loss of precious fluids from the body.Dangers in Drinking Water
Cholera - Cholera is the friendliest bacteria found in water as it typically only leads to diarrhea. It is treated by continually replacing the lost fluids by drinking clean water. Continuing to drink cholera infected water however can lead to increased infection which will include leg cramps, vomiting, dehydration and shock which would require fluids to be replaced intravenously. Without proper treatment at an advanced stage, death can occur.Hepatitis A
- Hep A is obviously not friendly as it's a disease of the liver caused by viral infection. Symptoms include loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, fever, dark urine, tiredness, and abdominal pains and jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes). While the disease is not life-threatening it can take months to overcome its effects with medication. Typically once overcome your body will create antibodies that will aid in the prevention of a recurrence of the disease.Giardiasis
- Giardia is a single celled parasite that lives in the intestines that is ingested by drinking water contaminated by sewage. This organism can survive outside the body for a long time and is one of the most common waterborne diseases. Symptoms include greasy stools that tend to float, diarrhea, cramps and nausea. Advanced symptoms can lead to weight loss and dehydration while others have no symptoms at all. The problem is typically alleviated by flushing the parasite from the body over a period of several weeks with clean fluids and medication if required.Chemical Pollutants
- The big issue with chemical pollution is that it won't boil out of your water. Most of the chemicals are heat resistant and must be filtered out through charcoal or another type of filter system. If you find water in the middle of a tobacco, soybean or corn field, you can bet that the water has been contaminated by some sort of chemical. Check for flora around the area and look at their condition, do they look healthy? Are they thriving in the area? Is there fish or frogs in the water? Frogs in the water are a good sign of as proper ecosystem but this again is no guarantee of a chemical free environment. When in doubt, filter and boil it out.Natural Sources of WaterSeasonal creeks and run offs
- These areas are typically only active during and shortly after a rain and should be treated like chemically polluted water as anything sitting atop the ground surface will be flushed into the stream thereby polluting the available water. These water sources should be filtered and boiled or chemically treated.Rainwater
- Your best source of clean water comes from heaven above, collecting it is simply a matter of taking advantage of the weather and utilizing whatever containers you have available. If you are in a heavily industrialized area however you can get some chemical taste and possible infection. You can also collect rain water in the way of dew by tying cloth around your ankles and trekking through some tall grass. The cloth will quickly become filled with water which can be wrung out into a bowl or container to be filtered of turbidity (solids in water).Rivers and Streams
- Like Creeks and run offs rivers and streams should be filtered whenever possible and boiled. Millions of people still rely on water from rivers and streams around the world for the daily water; drinking straight from the source however is not advised because bacteria and viruses can more easily reproduce in slow moving water and when the water is up these sources fill with run-off from the surrounding areas and serve as nature's toilet system flushing waste out of the area.Plant Water
- Here in the Eastern Woodlands and also in many jungles water can be harvested from vines by cutting a section approx. 3 feet long at an angle on both ends; water will drip from of the cut surface of the vine and provide some needed hydration. If the water you find in cloudy or bitter coming from a vine, it should be avoided as it's the wrong species. You can also tap trees such as the maple or birch which provides sap which can be drank as it is or boiled down to a sweet liquid much like syrup. In the desert Aloe and Agave plants survive extended period of drought and store liquids in their leaves which can be harvested for liquid.
Prickly pear cactus, while housing hundreds of tiny spikes and contain liquid in their fleshy pads. Coconuts also provide a wonderful source of fluids which aids in the replacement of electrolytes. Lastly, you can plastic tie bags over leafy boughs on live trees and allow the sun to heat and condense the air in the bag which will create water after several hours.Filtering and Purifying WaterBoiling
- Boiling remains the best method of killing off the majority of living organisms within water. Theories range from boiling 15-20 minutes to only bringing to a boil for a few moments. Again, boiling does not remove chemicals.Filtering
- Filtering by means of a modern filter such as a LifeStraw or Katadyn are excellent for removing turbidity and many viral and chemical agents, but boiling then using a filter such as these is your safest bet. When you know you have some chemically affected water you can also make a primitive filter from charcoal, grasses and sand. Filtering through these sediments within a container removes the majority of chemicals that could adversely affect your body. If you rely on a modern, commercial filter take time to read the instructions so you will know how to properly use it and under what conditions it will work most effectively.Purification Tablets
- If you use purification tablets of any type, read the instructions. They often make the water taste like bleach, but it's very safe to drink. When using these agents shake the water well to make sure the chemical tablets reaches all the water in your container and if you have an enclosed container, be sure to flip it over so that cap is hit by the chemically cleaned water to kill off any hidden bacteria lurking in
- If all you can find is salt water, you will have to desalinate it (remove the salt). The salt in saltwater overworks the renal glands quickly which leads to kidney failure, shock and a host of other issues. Distill the water hanging a can full of water over a fire and placing a clean cloth over the lid to collect all the steam. From time to time wring out the steam into a potable water container to drink once it cools. The salt that remains behind in the can should be utilized to season game meats as you harvest them.Solar Distillation
- When in a pinch you can distil water several different ways, one of which is by putting it into a clear bottle and allowing it to bake in direct sun light all day (8-10 hrs). This allows the water to condense inside the bottle and rain back down much like it would in a terrarium. The key is to not completely fill the bottle as you need that air space in there to allow the liquid to condensate along the top of the bottle while lying on its side.
Other methods are as simple as placing some plastic sheeting over a hole with a container in the middle to collect the water. Place some greenery in the hole around your container and allow the sun to heat the plastic which forces water from the plants creating condensation which drips back down into your container.
The main thing with water is that you must understand several ways of finding it and cleaning it so that it may be used to prolong your life in a survival situation. Looking back at those in Hurricane Katrina; many died of dehydration and exposure simply because they didn't know how to make a quick shelter or clean and purify water, despite having it all around them. Of course even if you understand how to do these things it will never do you a bit of good unless you practice these skills on a regular basis. I believe they are perishing skills that need continual refinement. By practicing on a regular basis in a variety of atmospheres and conditions you will be better prepared to manage an emergency should you be involved in one.
Of course, the scriptures are also filled with examples of how God provided potable water for the Israelites in their desert wanderings. In Exodus 15: 22-27 we read the account of the bitter waters found at the oasis called Marah (which means bitter). God instructed Moses to place a tree into the water which made it good to drink. The Hebrew word for tree in this passage is es which can mean any part or product produced by a tree from the roots and leaves to branches or planks cut from the same11. Whether or not this means God taught Moses how to construct a filter or not isn't made clear, but in any case God made the water drinkable and we should pray for the same results should we be faced with similar circumstances.
In Exodus 17:6 we read that again God provided water for the Israelites when Moses struck a specific rock. This rock in Hebrew is sur which has the meaning of flint, a title of God and a place of safety and security; this is very interesting as all of these meanings describe Jesus Christ.
His face was set as flint... Isaiah 50:7
He is the rock of our salvation... 1 Corinthians 10:4
He is our refuge in the day of tribulation... Jeremiah 16:19
From Him will flow rivers of living water... John 7:37-39
Like the greater purpose of shelter providing a means of our protection from the elements and serving as an eternal symbol of what our Messiah has done and a rehearsal for what he will do for us; water is also a symbol that points us to him as our source of refreshing and life- without water man cannot survive- just as man cannot live without being born again in Christ Jesus. (John 3)
|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.
Teamwork, Leadership, and Communication
THIS BOOK IS YOUR FIELD MANUAL FOR ACHIEVING corporate missions. I will help you prepare to tackle those missions by introducing you to Ranger-style high-performance training.
Many popular techniques to build leadership skills and teamwork fit the corporate needs of a bygone era. These are more hectic times. In this new, fast-paced environment, product development cycles are short, competition for even small companies is global because of the Internet, and corporate teams might comprise experts from all over the world. It's chaos, and in order to be relevant, corporate training must prepare people for that business climate.
United States Army Rangers train with chaos in mind. They don't expect to encounter orderly, predictable events. By necessity, they condition their minds and bodies to perform well in highly dynamic situations with a diverse group of people.
Ranger training is shaped by several fundamental questions regarding personality type:
- What are your innate abilities?
- What are your strongest senses?
- How do you perform under pressure?
These are followed closely by key questions regarding circumstances:
- What physical resources are available to you?
- How much time do you have?
- Who's on your side?
- Who wants you to fail?
The answers to both sets of questions help you determine what actions you can take to get your job done with excellence-and what steps you must take that will improve teamwork, leadership, and communication in your environment.
This book will guide you in implementing relevant, practical "training for chaos" in your workplace. Even if you undertake the exercises on your own, you will still see measurable growth in your performance and an effect on the way other people work with you to achieve common goals.The Roots of the Exercises in This Book
The type of corporate training we do at the Leading Concepts (LC) Ranger program focuses on the primal. It mimics the very real and acute challenges of wartime battles and, by doing so, provokes answers to the earlier questions very quickly. The purpose of this book is to help you recreate the spirit of that kind of training through workplace high-urgency training exercises. Training that simulates a workplace "survival situation" evokes answers to questions like these: What are your innate abilities? What are your strongest senses? How do you act under pressure?
In a physical sense, the experiences in something like the LC Ranger program bear no resemblance to workplace situations. The parallel is the mutual experience of limited resources, a common objective, and a lot of pressure to get a job done. I'm going to tell you a little about the LC program as a way of preparing you for the exercises in the book. I want to shift your thinking away from the more traditional approaches to corporate training so you come into the exercises with a combat mentality-aware of your friends and enemies, committed to the mission, and vigilant about your timetable.
In brief, I take people into the woods of Kentucky. I provide camouflage outfits to wear, prepackaged military meals to eat, an uncomfortable place to rest, and a paintball gun to protect food, shelter, and body.
Four days of missions involve some compelling objectives, for example, if you don't take the supply tent, you don't capture your food for the day. The point is to send people back to their workplace with a new perspective. I get people to look at their coworkers and realize: "I know you the way I didn't know you before. It's not that we bonded or had a good time together, because at different points, we were miserable or happy separately. It's that I know how to work with you. I might not like you any better, but when it comes to work, I know how to work with you to get something done."
The experience can engender the opposite feeling, too. Many times, I've seen people discover traits about a coworker in this venue that they find appalling. They see negative behaviors or attitudes they didn't even associate with the person because they thought it was "his job to be like that." It's highly likely that a supervisor who doesn't listen to other people at work would be a "private" who doesn't listen to other people in the training.
This brings up an important point: In the field training, your job could be the top leader during one mission, a team leader in the next, and a regular soldier in another. There is no correlation between your rank at work and your rank in the woods.
When you launch into the exercises suggested in later chapters, be sure to keep this in mind: Do not automatically adopt the same rank that you have on the job. Choose your rank randomly. The ranks are as follows:
- Project Leader (PL)-The person held accountable. Reports directly to HHQ, or Higher Headquarters
- Bravo Team Leader-Second in command; leader of Bravo Sub-Team
- Alpha Team Leader-Third in command; the navigator; leader of Alpha Sub-Team
- Medic-The one who can revive you if you're shot and return you to action (If the medic is down, then the responsibility falls to the PL. After that, it goes through the chain of command.)
- Security/Surveillance (S-S)-Someone who covers your back and helps you look out for the MODD (make our day difficult, that is, "the enemy")
Why is it important to shake up the chain of command? Learning to lead in the midst of chaos often means being ready to assume a leadership role regardless of rank at a moment's notice.
Rangers must be ready to step up and lead at any moment. At any time, a superior officer could get shot. Each Ranger is expected to move up immediately, to start making decisions and solving problems. If he doesn't, he'll get other people killed and probably himself, too. How many organizations today have people who can instantly move up when the leader gets delayed at a conference, is injured or sick, or is called away to handle a crisis? How many can say that their Bravo Team Leader-their bench strength-is able to function fully? It's rare! Most organizations suffer from "executive separation" trauma. When key executives can't be found to make a decision, no decision is made.Lessons from the Field
To animate the benefits of the exercises, I often use examples from field training that has put real people from real companies into these roles. More than any other story, this following one hints at the kind of crucial discoveries you can make about your coworkers when you're dealing with the basics.
A group of ten managers from a manufacturing company were on one of their first missions with the objective of capturing food supplies. They were successful, but the supplies fell short of their expectations: There were only half as many meals as there were team members. The PL told the Alpha Team Leader to take two meals to accommodate his group of four and the Bravo Team Leader to take three for her group of five. He said, "I just want the matches so I can smoke my cigarette. I'm not hungry."
Bravo Team Leader went to her group, opened the thick brown plastic packages that house the Meals Ready to Eat (MRE) and dumped the contents out for everyone to take what they wanted. Each MRE contains an entre in an envelope like beef and noodles or spaghetti plus some kind of dessert, which is usually crackers and jelly or a hunk of pound cake. By sharing, everyone on Bravo Team had enough to eat.
Back at Alpha Team, the leader said, "Here, this one's for you three." He kept one intact MRE for himself. How could he not understand that everyone needed nutrition? What a demoralizing thing to have your boss get the whole meal and you have to split it with three other people!
This is precisely the type of character who hogs information so you can't do your job effectively. It's also the guy who guards the departmental funds like Scrooge. In the workplace, you may attribute his behavior to pressing business concerns or policies to which you aren't privy. But in the woods, when he's taken your food, the nature of the act and the character of the man cannot be disguised.
As you are probably starting to see, the only difference between what goes on in this kind of training program and what goes on everyday at work is the output. What you do is different, but the dynamics are the same. At the workplace, you confront limited resources, specific objectives, and stress and pressure.
While you will not be in the woods for your exercises, this field manual will provide you with tools and concepts that will guide you in the following ways:
From the Field to the Workplace
- Raise your awareness of threats to success
- Clean up your communication-verbal, written, and nonverbal
- Lead to improved productivity through organized thinking andmaterials
- Fine-tune your sense of priorities in a project
- Transfer information at the right time
- Match your decision-making process to the challenge at hand
- Define what each individual brings to the mission
- Know when to jump into someone else's role
- Stay mission-focused
This book will help you strip down to the basics in workplace training exercises as much as possible. It will help you get in touch with the essentials of your character, your innate skills, and the patterns of your behavior as they relate to the dynamics of your workplace. Further, the stories and exercises will spotlight certain ways that your company may be inadvertently setting you up for failure.
Some of these flaws come from companies rushing to create teams and empower workers. Managers suddenly declare that Department 287 is now Team 287 and expect productivity to skyrocket. But they never set up the interdependencies that are integral to team behavior. Efforts to empower employees are often just as ill conceived. The intention is to empower everyone, to make them feel valuable. But in practice, employees who make bold moves may be shut down. After hearing, "No, not like that!" even once, the inclination is to stay within a behavioral comfort zone.
In the context of the exercises I try to help you construct here, you can experience the visceral thrill of true empowerment and real teamwork without judgment.
Corporate Training PitfallsThree reasons that companies fall short in their training:
- 1. HR has jurisdiction. Many companies make training a function of the human resources department, perhaps because senior executives lump training in with "benefits." Training is not a "benefit" to be trimmed when finances are strained; it is a workplace necessity. Training enables an organization to be lean and responsive. The Army equivalent of HR is the personnel administration center. [ED-the caps are appropriate here. This is the name of an Army department.] PAC personnel don't schedule practice on the rifle A HIGH-PERFORMANCE TRAINING MODEL range; the operational unit does that type of training. Domino's former CEO Tom Monaghan, a Marine Corps veteran, established a system of in-house training, with employees passing on their skills to coworkers.
- Training is a purely intellectual exercise. Corporate training is typically conducted in static, comfortable environments that don't have the visceral aspect needed to affect behavior. You cannot change human behavior in a classroom strictly through auditory and visual import channels. You can't read or see an action and then know how to do it; the model should be reversed. Although classroom tools are useful in enhancing the transfer of information, they shouldn't be the primary method of training.
- Role-playing is also not experiential in a productive sense, because you are just assuming a character. Trainees learn how to be actors more than students!
- Training does not respond to immediate performance needs. Companies often leave their employees almost clueless about their job performance throughout the year, resulting in annual reviews that are filled with negative surprises. If a company provides timely feedback, both employee and supervisor can identify the need for training more quickly.
Providing the proper training not only upgrades the skills of people who are already valuable, it helps to weed out the people who don't have the acumen or commitment to perform with excellence.
When employees get objective feedback promptly, they start to see training as something that solves a problem instead of an activity that takes them away from work. Ideally training must be ongoing, rather than an event. Inherent in the model for this kind of continual operational training are two facts:
- Employees with more seniority who can do the job better, faster, and cheaper should be passing that information along.
- Outside trainers must have experience that makes them credible to their trainees.
A theoretical knowledge of selling or a degree in marketing is not adequate background for someone training people in the sales and marketing trenches.
In terms of style and environment, the exercises you will undertake with the guidance in this book will not replicate what we do in the LC Ranger program. Nevertheless, they rely on the same basic model of limited resources, specific objectives, and stress and will demand the same thoroughness in creating and executing a plan.
As you prepare to move forward, plant this guidance firmly in your thinking:
Into the Woods: A Story about the LC Ranger Program
- Immerse yourself in the process. Use the tools, rely on the prescribed vocabulary, and follow the rules.
- Do not allow petty interruptions to take you off course. No, you can't answer your cellular phone when you're collaborating on a Warning Order.
- Push yourself beyond what's comfortable.
- Make your deadline.
- Achieve your mission. Your ultimate mission objective is leading in the midst of chaos. The first phase of your mission is to open your mind to stories and exercises to help you focus on who you are at the core-what kind of person you are when survival is at stake.
The morning we reported for "duty," we showed up at the Louisville Holiday Inn in civilian clothes and received our stiff, oversized camouflage outfits. We changed in the bathroom at the hotel and ate the last normal meal we would see for four days. As Dean briefed us over breakfast, one of the women in our group made it damn clear she thought this whole program just needed to be "figured out." We'll figure out the tricks, she drawled, and we'll figure out what Dean wants us to learn, and we will be one smart bunch that won't need four days of mud and chiggers.
In an hour, we piled into a van and headed for the Kentucky hills. When we arrived, we began integrating acronyms like FLOT (Front Line of Our Team) and HQ (Headquarters). Practically speaking, HQ meant home. The centerpiece was the big tent with benches and a floor covered in wood chips where we planned our missions and ate meals. A tank with our water supply sat between the tent and sleeping quarters, a hut with a dirt floor, cots, a dim bulb, and shelves lined with paintball guns and ammo. Our two outhouses lay across the field, roughly 50 paces from the sleeping quarters. Ropes bordered HQ to make it clear precisely what territory we would fight to regain after an invasion of enemy forces.
Another important word we quickly learned was the name for enemy forces-MODD. An acronym that stands for Make Our Day Difficult, during the training it's embodied by an indeterminate number of people with paintball guns. As you swiftly link what's happening in the Kentucky woods with the crap at your office back home, you recognize MODD as competitors, coworkers, circumstances, policies, corrupted computer files, and a host of other corporate realities.
After the shakedown to make sure we had no contraband like food and booze, we rallied in the tent where we learned the chain of command. At the top was the PL, the person in charge who was held accountable for the team's actions. Next, there was the Bravo Team Leader and after that, the Alpha Team Leader. Another very important role was Medic, who could revive you if you were shot. Then there were the key security people on each team and finally, anyone who was left over.
A description of an evening mission plagued with problems will give you a sense of what it was like out there. We had to do reconnaissance, observing the MODD and collecting all the information we could about them and their equipment, as well as resupply with food and ammo. The resupply objective involved taking control of a large tent in an open field- making anyone who crossed the field without proper cover a clean target. On this mission, like most others, we spent much of the time dashing behind trees and kneeling in mud, where we'd remain perfectly still. The mosquitoes and ticks thought that was great.
Everyone had a new job on this mission. It was almost as if we had the same problems as on the very first mission in which our honest attempts at teamwork were hampered by uncertainty about what to do. We screwed up at almost every turn, and part of the problem was the PL, a professional counselor. His natural inclination and professional expertise were to influence people-to get them to make discoveries about themselves and make decisions for themselves. He did a great job of that, but we were a bunch of confused folks who didn't know our jobs well and most of the time needed a leader who could make decisions and issue orders fast. Bravo Team Leader asserted himself in a clutch moment and urged the PL to stage a frontal assault on the MODD, who had taken HQ. Off we went, and soon we all "died."
When we debriefed, the PL nearly cried about his failure during the mission. But the mission wasn't a failure in the big-picture sense. We saw what happens to communication in the face of confusion. We experienced how a lack of confidence about doing your job well distracts you from the focus of the mission. We understood how the PL's natural ability to support others and push them to exercise their own power could have worked really well.
We ate cold spaghetti, drank some water, and went to sleep feeling pretty good about ourselves.
In the corporate world, there's often a huge reliance on technical skills. You're the code guru or the financial analyst, and you hide behind that strength. You feel valuable in that area. To get the most out of this book, you can't hide behind a strength. You have to practice isolating and using your soft skills to find out what's holding you back as a leader. If your entire team is relying on this book for ideas, then all of you need to do the same thing to find out what's holding you back as a team. You can begin to apply the principles in this book at your workplace in day-to-day situations, but you might also want to rehearse them the way we do in the program by going to a completely different environment. If you decide to rehearse the principles-the way Army Rangers practice for combat by simulating nearly every aspect of combat- make sure your experience feels real in terms of limited resources, specific objectives, and high pressure. Make your missions compelling, and go into them without any titles or privileges associated with the hierarchy at work.
Rally Point: Do what's right, not what's easy!
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.
The Art of War
by Sun Tzu
The Tartars resumed their raids into the border provinces. The Chinese were discouraged and feared to meet the Tartars in battle. Nevertheless, Chintsong collected a large army and in the year 1004 A.D. led it across the Hwang-Ho to attack the Tartars. The two armies came face to face, but the battle was never fought. Peace was concluded instead. The Tartars gave up a few captured towns and promised not to raid Chinese territory, in return for which the Chinese promised them an annual allowance of silk and money. Thus the Chinese obtained by purchase the peace which they had been unable to win by recourse to arms. Later, these Tartars conquered all of China, and founded the Manchu Dynasty. A real peace cannot be obtained by purpose.
THE ASS AND THE LAPDOGAnd had an Ass, and a Maltese Lapdog, a very great beauty. The Ass was left in a stable and had plenty of oats and hay to eat, just as any other Ass would. The Lapdog knew many tricks and was a great favorite with his master, who often fondles him and seldom went out to dine without bringing him home some tidbit to eat.
The Ass, on the contrary, had much work to do in grinding the corn-mill and in carrying wood from the forest or burdens from the farm. He often lamented his own hard fate and contrasted it with the luxury and idleness of the Lapdog, till at last one day he broke his cords and halter, and galloped into his mater's house kicking up his heels without measure and frisking and fawning a well a he could. He nest tried to jump about his mater as he had as he had seen the Lapdog do, but broke the table and smashed all the dishes upon it to atoms. He then attempted to lick his master, and jumped upon his back.
The servants, hearing the strange hubbub and perceiving the danger of their master, quickly relieved him, and drove out the Ass to his stable with kicks and clubs and cuffs. The Ass, as he returned to his stall beaten nearly to death, thus lamented "I have brought it all on myself! Why could I not have been contented to labor with my companions, and not wish to be idle all the day like that useless little Lapdog!"
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|Quotes & Jokes|
"To judge from the history of mankind, we shall be compelled to conclude that the fiery and destructive passions of war reign in the human breast with much more powerful sway than the mild and beneficent sentiments of peace; and that to model our political systems upon speculations of lasting tranquillity would be to calculate on the weaker springs of human character."
--Alexander Hamilton"The essential characteristic of Western civilization that distinguishes
it from the arrested and petrified civilizations of the East was and is
its concern for freedom from the state."
--economist Ludwig Von Mises
(1881-1973)"The bigger the information media, the less courage and information they
allow. Bigness means weakness."
--American newsman Eric Sevareid
(1912-1992)"A hero is an ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere
and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles."
'The urge to save humanity is almost always a false front for the urge to rule.'""In the first place, it is to be remembered, that the general government is not to be charged with the whole power of making and administering laws: its jurisdiction is limited to certain enumerated objects, which concern all the members of the republic, but which are not to be attained by the separate provisions of any."
--James Madison"Laws that forbid the carrying of arms ... disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes. ... Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man."
--Cesare Beccaria"Since the dawn of the atomic age, we've sought to reduce the risk of war by maintaining a strong deterrent and by seeking genuine arms control. 'Deterrence' means simply this: making sure any adversary who thinks about attacking the United States, or our allies, or our vital interests, concludes that the risks to him outweigh any potential gains. Once he understands that, he won't attack. We maintain the peace through our strength; weakness only invites aggression."
" I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations"
"In any situation, the best thing you can do is the right thing; the next best thing you can do is the wrong thing; the worst thing you can do is nothing"
"I think all of us are agreed that war is probably man's greatest stupidity and I think peace is the dream that lives in the heart of everyone wherever he may be in the world, but unfortunately, unlike a family quarrel, it doesn't take two to make a war. It only takes one, unless the other one is prepared to surrender at the first hint of force."
"All propaganda must be popular and its intellectual level must be adjusted to the most limited intelligence among those it is addressed to. Consequently, the greater the mass it is intended to reach, the lower its purely intellectual level will have to be."
--Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf
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Robbing St. Petersburg to pay Paul
Why should I expect you to pay my bills? Yes that is what "Federal" funds mean.
It may be all very well for Florida, for example, in its generosity to give St. Paul a new Auditorium or some shiny transit system. But don't call it Federal and New York and California - and St. Paul which sends its taxes to Washington where 2 million Federal employees must take their "handling charges", and send back what's left, cluttered and hamstrung with Federal restrictions.
If St. Paul (and every city and state) would meet its own needs by paying its own bills under its own management, those bills would be far lower, and the money would be better spent.
A-29 Super Tucano Wins
Light Air Support Contract
An A-29 Super Tucano lands on an austere field. The Sierra Nevada/Embraer team won the $427 million Light Air Support contract to supply the Afghan Air Force with 20 Super Tucano aircraft. Sierra Nevada Corp. photo.
The U.S. Air Force announced February 27 that the turboprop Embraer EMB-314B Super Tucano won the $427 million Light Air Support, or LAS, contract to supply 20 aircraft to the Afghan Air Force. Earlier, the Pentagon assigned the military designation A-29 to the Super Tucano, the same term used in Brazil. The U.S.-purchased Super Tucanos for Afghanistan will be designated A-29B models.
The A-29 Super Tucano will provide the Afghan Air Force with light air support. NATO Training Mission photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Chris Fahey
Sierra Nevada Corp., or SNC, of Sparks, Nev., is prime contractor for the LAS project, partnered with Brazil's Embraer, which designed the aircraft and builds it for other countries. The LAS Super Tucanos will be assembled at a plant in Jacksonville, Fla.
"It is a great honor to serve our country by providing the aircraft, training, and support for this program," said Taco Gilbert, Sierra Nevada's vice president of integrated tactical solutions, in a company news release. Defense Media Network was unable to reach anyone at SNC for comment.
Afghan air force pilot candidates stand at attention during an official ceremony recognizing their efforts in the AAF Conference Center, Kabul, Afghanistan, Nov. 17, 2011. The resolution of the Light Air Support contract means the fledgling Afghan Air Force can start to remedy a capabilities gap. U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Matthew Smith
The contract includes not only aircraft but associated maintenance and training support. The "win" for the Sierra Nevada/Embraer industry team was a setback for Beechcraft Corporation (formerly Hawker Beechcraft), which competed with its turboprop AT-6 Texan II. Beechcraft announced its emergence from Chapter 11 bankruptcy on February 19 and still hopes to sell the AT-6 elsewhere.
Under the terms of the LAS contract, deliveries of the A-29B to Afghan bases at Shindand and Kandahar will begin in summer 2014 at a rate of two aircraft per month. The Afghans will use the A-29B for advanced flight training, surveillance, close air support, and air interdiction.
The Air Force initially awarded SNC the LAS contract in December 2011, but subsequently terminated it following a protest by then-Hawker Beechcraft and an internal Air Force investigation that turned up deficiencies in the service's source-selection paperwork. In a statement, Lt. Gen. Charles R. Davis, military deputy for acquisition in the Air Force at the Pentagon, said, "I am confident that the source selection process was disciplined and meticulous" this time.
Asked whether it would appeal the selection, Beechcraft said, "We are disappointed that our proposal was not chosen. We will meet with the [Air Force] for a full debrief of the award and determine our next steps forward at that time."
A Failure That Became a Triumph
Soldiers from the 77th Indian Infantry Division "Chindits" cross the border of India to enter Burma in support of Operation Longcloth, Feb. 8, 1943. Imperial War Museum photo
On Feb. 8, 1943, 3,000 British, Gurkha, and Burmese troops - organized into seven columns of approximately 400 men each - crossed the border of India and entered the rugged jungle terrain of Burma in Operation Longcloth. Longcloth was more than an offensive against Japanese troops. It was also the debut of a new way of waging war, the Long Range Penetration (LRP) in which the attacking force operating deep inside enemy-held territory would be supplied and supported entirely by air. The leader of the operation and innovator of the LRP tactic was one of the more colorful, charismatic and controversial military commanders in the war, Brig. Gen. Orde Wingate.
Originally, Longcloth was to be in support of a major offensive into Japanese-held Burma. But in December 1942, a combination of clashing strategic goals among the Allies, inadequate logistics, a fragmented command structure, bad weather, and other deficiencies caused Commander in Chief India Field Marshal Archibald Wavell to cancel the offensive. Wingate, however, was convinced that a scaled-down offensive using his force that had been trained in jungle guerrilla warfare was still viable. On Feb. 7, 1943, he successfully prevailed upon Wavell and U.S. Army supply chief Lt. Gen. Brehon Somervell, who was visiting at the time, to allow him to launch Operation Longcloth with the 77th Indian Infantry Division, better known to history by its nickname "Chindits" a corruption of the word Chinth, the Burmese mythical animal guardian of Buddhist temples.
Field Marshal Sir Archibald Wavell (left) and Lt. Gen. Brehon Somervell. During World War II, Somervell was the commander of the Army Service Forces and as such responsible for logistics for all the military theaters. Library of Congress photo
"Wingate was a strange, excitable, moody creature, but he had fire in him." - Field Marshal Sir William Slim
To some, Wingate was a brilliant, eccentric leader of unconventional operations. To others, he was a dangerous maverick. Short, wiry and full-bearded, he looked and regularly acted like an Old Testament prophet - an image reinforced by his evangelical Plymouth Brethren upbringing. His arrogance bordered on the delusional. In 1941, while leading the irregular Gideon Force, a forerunner of the Chindits, in Ethiopia against the Italian army, after he had delivered a typically impassioned jeremiad, his assistant Capt. Douglas Dodds-Parker punctured Wingate's posturing by saying, "Come on, Orde, you are not Napoleon yet, nor even T.E. Lawrence." Despite flaws that included the flouting of the principle of chain of command, Wingate's restless imagination and innovative tactics helped him make friends in high places, none more important than Wavell and Prime Minister Winston Churchill.
Wingate's vision of Longcloth was that his columns, spread throughout northern Burma and at times acting independently and occasionally in support of each other, would break and disrupt the Japanese Army's vital Mandalay-Myitkyina north-south rail artery, raid Japanese troop bases and harass patrols, and in general prove to the Japanese Army in Burma, and by extension the world, that a new master of jungle fighting had arrived and could beat the enemy at its own jungle warfare game.
Longcloth lasted three months. When Wingate returned to India in late April, it was with 818 fewer men and with the survivors so debilitated by disease, wounds, and malnutrition that all but 600 had to be discharged for medical reasons. Though the Chindits had blown up bridges and cut in dozens of places the Mandalay-Myitkyina rail line, it was fully repaired within a week. Despite numerous battles with the enemy, the Chindits inflicted relatively few casualties. It was also not Wingate's finest hour. In his report on the mission, failings that were his he attributed to subordinates, and he took the lion's share of credit for successes earned by them.
William Slim, then lieutenant general and commander XV Corps in India, noted in his postwar autobiography, Defeat into Victory, "As a military operation the raid had been an expensive failure." Though Longcloth proved that large-scale operations deep behind enemy lines could be supported by air supply, Slim noted, "[I]t was a costly schooling." Yet, Slim acknowledged the operation "was justified, not on military, but on psychological grounds." It was "a triumph of British jungle fighting over the Japanese." Morale of allied troops in the region dramatically improved once word of the Chindits' exploits was circulated. Slim wrote, "For this reason alone Wingate's raid was worth all the hardship and sacrifice his men endured, and by every means in our power we exploited its propaganda value to the full."
Maj. Gen. Orde Wingate after his return from the first 'Chindit' expedition into Burma. Imperial War Museum photo
Wingate received a second bar to his Distinguished Service Order medal for Longcloth. Churchill was so impressed that he ordered Wingate to accompany him to the Quadrant conference in Quebec where Wingate gave a presentation on the LRP tactics to the Combined Chiefs of Staff. Promoted to major general, he was placed in command of a larger Special Force and led a second expedition into Burma in February 1944. On March 24, 1944, his B-25 crashed behind enemy lines, killing everyone on board. Churchill mourned the loss of a "man of genius who might have become a man of destiny."
SOE's Sabotage of Germany's Atomic Bomb Program
"We didn't think about whether it was dangerous or not. . . . You concentrated on the job and not on the risks."
The Vemork Hydroelectric Plant ca. 1935 showing its isolated location and forbidding terrain surrounding it. Norwegian Museum of Cultural History photo by Anders Beer Wilse
-Lt. Joachim Rnneberg, leader of Operation Gunnerside
At the end of November 1943, high command at Britain's Special Operations Executive (SOE) confronted a sobering situation. Operation Freshman had failed. Forty-one British commandos were either dead or soon to be executed under Adolf Hitler's notorious Commando Order. Also, now the Nazis were alert to the fact that the Allies had targeted the Vemork hydroelectric power plant in Norway, the only source of heavy water for Germany's atomic bomb program.
Vemork, located in the beautiful but rugged Hardanger Plateau in south-central Norway, was built to produce fertilizer. A byproduct of the process was deuterium oxide, better known as heavy water, one of two substances (graphite being the other) necessary for moderating neutron energy emissions in a nuclear chain reaction. The task of keeping heavy water out of the German nuclear scientists' hands was assigned to SOE.
SOE now determined that the best chance of success lay in the insertion of a squad of operatives hand-picked from Kompani Linge. Originally named the Norwegian Independent Company, Kompani Linge was a group of SOE-trained Norwegian patriots led by Capt. Martin Linge. The unit changed its name in honor of their commander following his death in an earlier mission.
Lt. Joachim Rnneberg, described by SOE as having "steadiness and inspiration in a high degree," was selected to lead the mission - codenamed Operation Gunnerside - and was instructed to handpick five men for it. Training for the raid, which included a scale model replica of the Vemork plant, was so thorough that Rnneberg later said, "none of us had been to the plant in our lives, but by the time we left Britain we knew the layout of it as well as anyone."
The Gunnerside team parachuted into Norway on the night of Feb. 16, 1943. Delayed by a sudden snowstorm, it took a week for the Gunnerside team to rendezvous with an SOE team of Norwegian scouts, codenamed Swallow, who had been conducting reconnaissance of power plant defenses and environs.
After Freshman, the Germans mined and booby-trapped the hill above Vemork and increased guards on the single-lane suspension bridge, the main route to the plant. The weak point in the defenses was the steep, 660-foot ravine the bridge spanned, which the Germans judged impassable. But Claus Helberg of Swallow had discovered a way to safely descend the ravine, cross the frozen river, ascend the other side and reach the plant by following a little-used and surprisingly unguarded railway line. Once at the facility, they would split into two teams, one to provide cover and the other to conduct the sabotage. Rnneberg would lead the sabotage team.
On the night of February 28, the teams successfully crossed the ravine just before midnight, when the guards were scheduled to change. At midnight, with the guards' attention probably more focused on how to stay warm in the windy, below zero winter night than on a raid, Rnneberg and the sabotage team slipped unseen into the building.
King Haakon VII of Norway at the premiere of the film Kampen om tungtvannet (Operation Swallow: The Battle for Heavy Water), Oslo, Norway, Feb. 5, 1948. Soldiers in uniform, from the left: Joachim Rnneberg, Jens Anton Poulsson shaking hands with the king, Kasper Idland. Oslo Museum photo by Leif rnelund
Some details vary in accounts of what happened next. But all agree that Rnneberg's team reached the electrolysis chamber where the heavy water was processed and stored, surprising a Norwegian night watchman there. With others guarding the watchman and keeping a lookout, Rnneberg and his fellow explosives expert Birger Strmsheim placed their charges. Possibly influenced by the presence of the night watchman and of a foreman captured as he was making his rounds, Rnneberg cut the fuses to 30 seconds. After everyone hustled out of the room, Rnneberg lit the fuse.
Though the noise of the blast was loud inside the building, outside the explosion attracted little notice. Guards initially thought the muffled sound was from the plant's combustion equipment, which was known to periodically make similar-sounding explosions.
The raid was a success. Everyone in the team escaped. Though the plant itself was only slightly damaged, more than 1,000 pounds of heavy water had been destroyed, along with the equipment needed to make it. Two additional raids, a bombing raid in November that severely damaged the facility, and the SOE raid that sank the ferry Hydro, carrying a shipment of heavy water, put an end to this source of supply.
Operation Gunnerside was regarded as SOE's greatest mission, and all members of the team were decorated, with Rnneberg receiving one of three Distinguished Service Orders awarded. Media coverage of the Vemork missions (a total of six) was extensive. In addition to books and articles, in 1948 a Norwegian movie about the missions was released, starring some members of the team. In 1965, Columbia Pictures released the movie The Heroes of Telemark starring Kirk Douglas and Richard Harris, a highly fictionalized version of the action.
YouTube has a three-part video of Operation Gunnerside. Part One can be viewed at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y7evE8m9QCw
The Virtues of Stubbornness: Mules at War
Lance Cpl. Tyler Langford, anti-tank missileman, 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, leads his pack mule during a hike at Marine Corps Mountain Warfare Training Center Bridgeport, Calif., Oct. 13, 2012. Langford used skills he learned in the Animal Packers Course, taught four times a year at MCMWTC. The 16-day course teaches Marines how to use animals in the region they find themselves in as a logistical tool to transport weapons, ammunition, food, supplies or wounded Marines through terrain that tactical vehicles cannot reach. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Ali Azimi
Mules don't exist in nature. They are an artificial product of human ingenuity, and like many such products, it didn't take long before they found a place in the grim business of war.
A mule is the offspring of a male donkey and a female horse. The genetic mismatch of these species causes sterility, but the hybrid creates a pack animal that combines a horse's strength and intelligence with a donkey's sure-footedness and endurance. In addition, a mule's hide and hooves are tougher than a horse's, and endure heat better. They carry heavier loads for longer distances, and eat a third less than horses doing the same work. On the downside, mules are temperamental: The phrases "stubborn as a mule" and "kicks like a mule" reflect the experiences of generations of "mule skinners."
A coin depicting mule cart racing in ancient Greece. British Museum photo
Mules were first bred as early as the 4th millennium B.C., in Anatolia, or possibly Central Asia, where wild horses and wild donkeys lived near settled humans. Sumerian clay tablets from about 3000 B.C. price mules at 20 to 30 shekels of silver (220 to 330 grams, or 7 to 10.5 troy ounces): seven times the cost of donkeys. The Hebrew Bible has 17 references to mules, and the ancient Greek Olympics featured mule cart races. In 107 B.C. the Roman general Marius (uncle of Julius Caesar) streamlined the legions, drastically reducing the number of pack animals and baggage carts. Legionaries nicknamed their heavy backpacks "Marius' mules."
Like so many American stories, American mule breeding starts with George Washington.
He wanted to breed stronger mules for plantation work, but Spain banned the export of its excellent Andalusia donkeys. In 1785, King Carlos III sent Washington a diplomatic gift: two females and a male. The following year, the Marquis de Lafayette added some fine Maltese donkeys to Mount Vernon's breeding stock. By 1808, these animals and their kin had an estimated 855,000 descendants working on farms, mostly in the South.
A mule team crossing a brook in Virginia during the Civil War, ca. 1862-1865. Library of Congress photo
During the Civil War, the Union Army used about one million mules to pull supply wagons. In 1864 alone, Army quartermasters purchased 87,791 mules. However, with their sensitive ears and strong sense of self-preservation, mules tended to panic at the sound of the guns. Although Kentucky, Missouri, and Tennessee bred the best animals, the Confederacy used half as many, often requisitioned from farmers. Mule drivers were often slaves; when they escaped to Union lines, they brought hard-earned skills and experience in handling and caring for the ornery beasts. Contemporaries joked that Lincoln worried more about the comfort of Army mules than of his officers. Jefferson Davis had no such qualms, and at the siege of Vicksburg in 1863, the starving garrison was reduced to eating their mules. The mule was ridiculed for being the son of a donkey; he replied, "The horse is my uncle."
- Arab proverb
In 1869, Sir Garnet Wolseley (1833-1913), the British officer mocked by Gilbert & Sullivan as "the very model of a modern major-general," published The Soldier's Pocket-book for Field Service, compiling decades of practical war experience. Here are Wolseley's logistics planning figures for a global empire:
Animal Speed (Miles per Hour)
Pack Load (Pounds)
Draught Load (Pounds)
Work Day (Distance in Miles)
50-100 by sleigh
"Draught load" presumably includes the weight of a cart or sled, plus its payload.
Many 19th century armies organized mountain units, equipped with "pack howitzers" - light cannon (typically 65 mm to 75 mm) that broke down into several mule loads for travel over roadless rough terrain.
The famous Marine Corps Small Wars Manual (1940) noted that:
"The mule is the ideal pack animal for supply trains, pack trains with foot patrols, and pack trains with detachments mounted on mules. The mule has certain advantages over the horse, which fit him for this work, namely:
- The mule withstands hot weather better, and is less susceptible to colic and founder than the horse. ["Colic" describes various digestive disorders that can be fatal to horses; "founder" is a crippling inflammation of the hooves typically caused by overeating].
- A mule takes better care of himself, in the hands of an incompetent driver, than the horse.
- The foot of the mule is less subject to disorders.
- The mule is invariably a good walker.
- Age and infirmity count less against a mule than a horse."
Sgt. Maj. Daniel Joseph Daly, a double recipient of the Medal of Honor. U.S. Marine Corps Archives & Special Collections photo
"The average Marine can be trained in a fairly short time to pack mules more securely and more rapidly than the average native mule driver, and in regions where pack transportation is used, every Marine should be taught to pack. The use of Marines as packers ... has many advantages ... it may be undesirable or impracticable to include native packers in a combat patrol. The hiring of native packers always gives the populace warning that the column is about to move out."
In 1915, Gunnery Sgt. Daniel Daly (1873-1937), one of only 19 men awarded the Medal of Honor twice, led a mounted patrol of 38 Marines against a large force of Haitian insurgents. Ambushed crossing a stream, they lost 12 horses and the pack mule carrying their only machine gun. In darkness, under fire, Daly dove repeatedly to locate the dead mule, recovering the weapon and ammunition, which weighed almost twice as much as he did, and carried the load through the jungle to rejoin his men. By daylight he had assembled and emplaced the gun. At dawn the Marines attacked, scattering the enemy.
Mountain troops test the relative merits of the mule as they plod - slowly but surely - up a mountain, ca. 1942. Mules are more surefooted than the horse and follow the lead animal willingly. Library of Congress photo
One lesson of World War II was that mules are not good fliers. In 1944, an Indian division was airlifted with its pack mules into the remote town of Imphal, under Japanese attack. The rough flight on board C-47s upset the animals so much they lost bowel and bladder control. Urine leaking through the cabin floors caused electrical shorts, and a few fires - luckily, none fatal. Liberty ships proved much more mule-friendly: as many as 320 could be carried across the Atlantic in one shipload.
In 1957, the U.S. Army sold off its last 136 mules as an anachronism, unsuitable for the nuclear age. But in the 1980s, when Afghan Mujahedeen took on the occupying Soviet Army, there was an urgent need for pack animals. When Egypt got a CIA contract to provide 2,500 mules at $1,300 each, Pakistan raised objections about equine disease risks, and the Egyptians provided each animal with an ID card and a vaccination certificate! The Pakistanis became so cranky they wouldn't let CIA transports leave mule manure in-country, and made cargo planes carry it back to Europe. A decade later, mules were a key component in the U.S.-led effort in Afghanistan, where they were used by the famous Special Forces "Horse Soldiers," in Fall 2001. Mules continue to be a critical logistics/transport resource today.
A U.S. Marine leads his ammunition bearing mule during the Korean War, May 28, 1951. U.S. Marine Corps Archives & Special Collections photo
Today, the Marine Corps Mountain Training Center (MWTC) in the Sierra Nevada, 21 miles (33.8 kilometers) north of Bridgeport, Calif., is responsible for all U.S. military pack animal training. The two-week course covers the care, feeding, loading, packing, and safe handling of animals on narrow mountain trails. Today's city and suburban-bred troops are usually apprehensive and unfamiliar with animals other than dogs and cats. One useful tip: Be alert when the ears flare out - mules can often sense an ambush before troops can. A Mountain Medicine course teaches use of mules for casualty evacuation (along with first aid for injured beasts). The center maintains a stable of up to a few dozen donkeys, horses and mules to support training.
In military history, thoroughbred stallions may get the statues and the glory, but we should remember that humble mules did much of the heavy hauling.
SOE's Dangerous White Mouse: Nancy Wake
Nancy Wake was the most decorated servicewoman in World War II, and her exploits as an SOE operative were only half of the story. Australian War Memorial photo
"Nancy Wake is the most feminine woman I've ever known, at least until the fighting starts. Then, she is like five men."
-Capt. Henri Tardivat, French Resistance fighterCapt. Nancy Wake of Britain's Special Operations Executive was a remarkable woman. The wife of a wealthy French industrialist, she worked for the French Resistance, helping more than six hundred British troops and airmen escape to Spain. She became No. 1 on the Gestapo's Most Wanted List, with a five million franc price on her head, before leaving France for England and the SOE in 1943. She returned to France in 1944 and organized Resistance fighters in the Auvergne so well that they were able to fight three times their numbers in SS troops. She became the most decorated servicewoman of World War II, receiving the George Medal, three French Croix de Guerre, the Lgion d'Honneur, the French Resistance Medal, the Companion of the Order of Australia, and the United States' Medal of Freedom, among other decorations.
Born in New Zealand in 1912, the youngest of six children, at age two her family moved to Australia, where her father abandoned them. Goaded by an unhappy childhood and a 200 inheritance from an aunt, the strong-willed, independent, and beautiful young woman left for a new life, with stops in America, London, and Paris. She became a journalist, working for the Hearst newspaper syndicate in the 1930s as a European correspondent, where she developed her hatred of Nazis.
In 1939 she married French industrialist Henri Fiocca and moved to Marseille. Her life as a socialite changed when Germany invaded France in 1940. With an ambulance purchased by her husband, she became a driver in a volunteer ambulance unit. Upon France's defeat, she joined the nascent French Resistance movement. This led her and her husband to join an escape network for British officers and airmen in unoccupied Vichy France run by Capt. Ian Garrow and later by Patrick O'Leary (the Belgian Resistance fighter Albert Guerisse).
Once the dreaded pro-Nazi Milice (Vichy police force) arrested her. Despite four days of torture, she didn't break. O'Leary entered the police commissioner's office, presented false papers that showed he, also, was a member of the Milice, and claimed that Mme. Fiocca was his mistress. O'Leary told the police commissioner that her refusal to disclose any information under interrogation was to protect him. He also said that, because he was a personal friend of Vichy premier Pierre Laval, (a lie), Laval would be enraged if Fiocca wasn't released immediately. Incredibly, the ruse worked and she was released.
A studio portrait of Nancy Wake who was a highly decorated member of the Special Operation Executive during World War II. Australian War Memorial photo
The danger in her already dangerous double-life dramatically increased following the German occupation of Vichy France in November 1942 in response to the Allied amphibious landings in French North Africa.
Despite a five million franc price on her head, the "White Mouse" as the Gestapo called her, continually eluded capture. Finally, in early 1943, thanks to a traitor in the escape network, the Gestapo dragnet was getting close. It took Wake six tries before she managed to escape to Spain, with the last attempt being a leap out of a moving train, dodging gunfire.
By June 1943, she was in England where she became one of 39 SOE-trained women tasked to work with the Resistance in France. Though petite, beautiful, and flirtatious, she possessed the profane vocabulary of a sailor, was a hard drinker, brilliant, iron-willed, and ruthless. Parachuted into central France in April 1944, Resistance fighter Capt. Henri Tardival found her dangling in a tree, her parachute tangled in its branches. He said, "I hope that all the trees in France bear such beautiful fruit this year." She replied, "Don't give me that French shit."
She helped organize and supply roughly 7,500 resistance fighters, turning them into such a formidable force that they were able to hold their own against an SS force of 22,000 men, inflicting 1,400 casualties while suffering only about 100. Though she didn't like killing, she didn't shy away from it. In one raid she killed an SS sentry with her bare hands, using a judo-chop blow to the throat she had learned during SOE training. In a post-war interview she said it "was the only time I used it . . . and it killed him all right. I was really surprised."
Just before D-day, a German counter-attack on their positions forced Wake's radio operator to burn their code books. To restore communications, Wake bicycled more than 500 km in 72 hours through German held territory from Auvergne to Chteauroux where another Resistance cell was located. In a post-war interview she said, "When I got off that damned bike I felt as if I had a fire between my legs. I couldn't stand up. I couldn't sit down, I couldn't walk. When I'm asked what I'm most proud of doing during the war, I say: 'The bike ride.' "
Upon the liberation of France, she learned that her husband had been arrested, tortured, and killed. She was heartbroken. Wake served in the SOE until 1960. Her life was later recounted in articles, books, and documentaries. Her adventures were the inspiration for Sebastian Faulks' novel Charlotte Gray, the film version of which starred Cate Blanchett. Nancy Wake died in London in August 2011 at age 98.
An interview of Nancy Wake, taken shortly before her death can be heard at: http://www.rte.ie/radio1/doconone/curious-ear-doconone-nancy-wake.html
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