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Monthly Newsletter
May 2013  
In This Issue
Dave's Message
Voice of the Soldier
Word of Truth
The Blue Warrior
Combat Survival
Leading Concepts
Warrior's Wisdom
Aesop's Fables
Embroidered Items
Featured T-Shirts
Special Product Coupon
Quotes & Jokes
Featured Tactical Gear
Featured Items
Featured Watches
What Has Really Changed?

Newsletter Archive
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012

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

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

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

Thanks guys
kelly [omitted]

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

[name omitted]

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

Dear SF company.

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

Thanks again.

Another happy customer
Bob Miller

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

Most Sincerely,
Bryan P.

Thank you!!!

Your Shirts are the best.


Dear SFG,

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

I thought a little constructive thoughts were in order.

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

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

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

Ed Whiteside

Dear Special Forces

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


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


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

Jack And Melanie Edgar


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

Thank you,

Amanda Van Every


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



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

Cheers Andrew and best wishes for the New Year.

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

Dave's Message


By Colonel James E. Moschgat, Then Commander of the 12th Operations Group, 12th Flying Training Wing, Randolph Air Force Base, Texas 

William "Bill" Crawford certainly was an unimpressive figure, one you could easily overlook during a hectic day at the U.S. Air Force Academy. Mr. Crawford, as most of us referred to him back in the late 1970s, was our squadron janitor.

While we cadets busied ourselves preparing for academic exams, athletic events, Saturday morning parades and room inspections, or never-ending leadership classes, Bill quietly moved about the squadron mopping and buffing floors, emptying trash cans, cleaning toilets, or just tidying up the mess 100 college-age kids can leave in a dormitory. Sadly, and for many years, few of us gave him much notice, rendering little more than a passing nod or throwing a curt, "G'morning!" in his direction as we hurried off to our daily duties.

Why? Perhaps it was because of the way he did his job-he always kept the squadron area spotlessly clean, even the toilets and showers gleamed. Frankly, he did his job so well, none of us had to notice or get involved. After all, cleaning toilets was his job, not ours. Maybe it was is physical appearance that made him disappear into the background. Bill didn't move very quickly and, in fact, you could say he even shuffled a bit, as if he suffered from some sort of injury. His gray hair and wrinkled face made him appear ancient to a group of young cadets. And his crooked smile, well, it looked a little funny. Face it; Bill was an old man working in a young person's world. What did he have to offer us on a personal level?

Finally, maybe it was Mr. Crawford's personality that rendered him almost invisible to the young people around him. Bill was shy, almost painfully so. He seldom spoke to a cadet unless they addressed him first, and that didn't happen very often. Our janitor always buried himself in his work, moving about with stooped shoulders, a quiet gait, and an averted gaze. If he noticed the hustle and bustle of cadet life around him, it was hard to tell. So, for whatever reason, Bill blended into the woodwork and became just another fixture around the squadron. The Academy, one of our nation's premier leadership laboratories, kept us busy from dawn till dusk. And Mr. Crawford...well, he was just a janitor.

That changed one fall Saturday afternoon in 1976. I was reading a book about World War II and the tough Allied ground campaign in Italy, when I stumbled across an incredible story. On September 13, 1943, a Private William Crawford from Colorado, assigned to the 36th Infantry Division, had been involved in some bloody fighting on Hill 424 near Altavilla, Italy. The words on the page leapt out at me: "in the face of intense and overwhelming hostile fire ... with no regard for personal safety ... on his own initiative, Private Crawford single-handedly attacked fortified enemy positions." It continued, "for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at risk of life above and beyond the call of duty, the President of the United States..."

"Holy cow," I said to my roommate, "you're not going to believe this, but I think our janitor is a Medal of Honor winner." We all knew Mr. Crawford was a WWII Army vet, but that didn't keep my friend from looking at me as if I was some sort of alien being. Nonetheless, we couldn't wait to ask Bill about the story on Monday. We met Mr. Crawford bright and early Monday and showed him the page in question from the book, anticipation and doubt in our faces. He starred at it for a few silent moments and then quietly uttered something like, "Yep, that's me." Mouths agape, my roommate and I looked at one another, then at the book, and quickly back at our janitor. Almost at once we both stuttered, "Why didn't you ever tell us about it?" He slowly replied after some thought, "That was one day in my life and it happened a long time ago."

I guess we were all at a loss for words after that. We had to hurry off to class and Bill, well; he had chores to attend to. However, after that brief exchange, things were never again the same around our squadron. Word spread like wildfire among the cadets that we had a hero in our midst- Mr. Crawford, our janitor, had won the Medal! Cadets who had once passed by Bill with hardly a glance, now greeted him with a smile and a respectful, "Good morning, Mr. Crawford."

Those who had before left a mess for the "janitor" to clean up started taking it upon themselves to put things in order. Most cadets routinely stopped to talk to Bill throughout the day and we even began inviting him to our formal squadron functions. He'd show up dressed in a conservative dark suit and quietly talk to those who approached him, the only sign of his heroics being a simple blue, star-spangled lapel pin.

Almost overnight, Bill went from being a simple fixture in our squadron to one of our teammates. Mr. Crawford changed too, but you had to look closely to notice the difference. After that fall day in 1976, he seemed to move with more purpose, his shoulders didn't seem to be as stooped, he met our greetings with a direct gaze and a stronger "good morning" in return, and he flashed his crooked smile more often. The squadron gleamed as always, but everyone now seemed to notice it more. Bill even got to know most of us by our first names, something that didn't happen often at the Academy. While no one ever formally acknowledged the change, I think we became Bill's cadets and his squadron.

As often happens in life, events sweep us away from those in our past. The last time I saw Bill was on graduation day in June 1977. As I walked out of the squadron for the last time, he shook my hand and simply said, "Good luck, young man." With that, I embarked on a career that has been truly lucky and blessed. Mr. Crawford continued to work at the Academy and eventually retired in his native Colorado where he resides today, one of four Medal of Honor winners living in a small town.

A wise person once said, "It's not life that's important, but those you meet along the way that make the difference." Bill was one who made a difference for me. While I haven't seen Mr. Crawford in over twenty years, he'd probably be surprised to know I think of him often. Bill Crawford, our janitor, taught me many valuable, unforgettable leadership lessons. Here are ten I'd like to share with you.
  1. Be Cautious of Labels. Labels you place on people may define your relationship to them and bound their potential. Sadly, and for a long time, we labeled Bill as just a janitor, but he was so much more. Therefore, be cautious of a leader who callously says, "Hey, he's just an Airman." Likewise, don't tolerate the O-1, who says, "I can't do that, I'm just a lieutenant."
  2. Everyone Deserves Respect. Because we hung the "janitor" label on Mr. Crawford, we often wrongly treated him with less respect than others around us. He deserved much more, and not just because he was a Medal of Honor winner. Bill deserved respect because he was a janitor, walked among us, and was a part of our team.
  3. Courtesy Makes a Difference. Be courteous to all around you, regardless of rank or position. Military customs, as well as common courtesies, help bond a team. When our daily words to Mr. Crawford turned from perfunctory "hellos" to heartfelt greetings, his demeanor and personality outwardly changed. It made a difference for all of us.
  4. Take Time to Know Your People. Life in the military is hectic, but that's no excuse for not knowing the people you work for and with. For years a hero walked among us at the Academy and we never knew it. Who are the heroes that walk in your midst?
  5. Anyone Can Be a Hero. Mr. Crawford certainly didn't fit anyone's standard definition of a hero. Moreover, he was just a private on the day he won his Medal. Don't sell your people short, for any one of them may be the hero who rises to the occasion when duty calls. On the other hand, it's easy to turn to your proven performers when the chips are down, but don't ignore the rest of the team. Today's rookie could and should be tomorrow's superstar.
  6. Leaders Should Be Humble. Most modern day heroes and some leaders are anything but humble, especially if you calibrate your "hero meter" on today's athletic fields. End zone celebrations and self-aggrandizement are what we've come to expect from sports greats. Not Mr. Crawford-he was too busy working to celebrate his past heroics. Leaders would be well-served to do the same.
  7. Life Won't Always Hand You What You Think You Deserve. We in the military work hard and, dang it, we deserve recognition, right? However, sometimes you just have to persevere, even when accolades don't come your way. Perhaps you weren't nominated for junior officer or airman of the quarter as you thought you should - don't let that stop you.
  8. Don't pursue glory; pursue excellence. Private Bill Crawford didn't pursue glory; he did his duty and then swept floors for a living. No job is beneath a Leader. If Bill Crawford, a Medal of Honor winner, could clean latrines and smile, is there a job beneath your dignity? Think about it.
  9. Pursue Excellences. No matter what task life hands you, do it well. Dr. Martin Luther King said, "If life makes you a street sweeper, be the best street sweeper you can be." Mr. Crawford modelled that philosophy and helped make our dormitory area a home.
  10. Life is a Leadership Laboratory. All too often we look to some school or PME class to teach us about leadership when, in fact, life is a leadership laboratory. Those you meet everyday will teach you enduring lessons if you just take time to stop, look and listen. I spent four years at the Air Force Academy, took dozens of classes, read hundreds of books, and met thousands of great people. I gleaned leadership skills from all of them, but one of the people I remember most is Mr. Bill Crawford and the lessons he unknowingly taught. Don't miss your opportunity to learn.

Bill Crawford was a janitor. However, he was also a teacher, friend, role model and one great American hero. Thanks, Mr. Crawford, for some valuable leadership lessons.

Dale Pyeatt, Executive Director of the National Guard Association of Texas, comments: And now, for the "rest of the story": Pvt William John Crawford was a platoon scout for 3rd Platoon of Company L 1 42nd Regiment 36th Division (Texas National Guard) and won the Medal Of Honor for his actions on Hill 424, just 4 days after the invasion at Salerno. On Hill 424, Pvt Crawford took out 3 enemy machine guns before darkness fell, halting the platoon's advance. Pvt Crawford could not be found and was assumed dead. The request for his MOH was quickly approved. Major General Terry Allen presented the posthumous MOH to Bill Crawford's father, George, on 11 May 1944 in Camp (now Fort) Carson, near Pueblo. Nearly two months after that, it was learned that Pvt Crawford was alive in a POW camp in Germany. During his captivity, a German guard clubbed him with his rifle. Bill overpowered him, took the rifle away, and beat the guard unconscious. A German doctor's testimony saved him from severe punishment, perhaps death. To stay ahead of the advancing Russian army, the prisoners were marched 500 miles in 52 days in the middle of the German winter, subsisting on one potato a day. An allied tank column liberated the camp in the spring of 1945, and Pvt Crawford took his first hot shower in 18 months on VE Day. Pvt Crawford stayed in the army before retiring as a MSG and becoming a janitor. In 1984, President Ronald Reagan officially presented the MOH to Bill Crawford. William Crawford passed away in 2000. He is the only U.S. Army veteran and sole Medal of Honor winner to be buried in the cemetery of the U.S. Air Force Academy.

Rank and organization: Private, U.S. Army, 36th Infantry Division. Place and date: Near Altavilla, Italy, 13 September 1943. Entered service at: Pueblo, Colo. Birth: Pueblo, Colo. G.O. No.: 57, 20 July 1944.

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at risk of life above and beyond the call of duty in action with the enemy near Altavilla, Italy, 13 September 1943. When Company I attacked an enemy-held position on Hill 424, the 3d Platoon, in which Pvt. Crawford was a squad scout, attacked as base platoon for the company. After reaching the crest of the hill, the platoon was pinned down by intense enemy machinegun and small-arms fire. Locating 1 of these guns, which was dug in on a terrace on his immediate front, Pvt. Crawford, without orders and on his own initiative, moved over the hill under enemy fire to a point within a few yards of the gun emplacement and single-handedly destroyed the machinegun and killed 3 of the crew with a hand grenade, thus enabling his platoon to continue its advance. When the platoon, after reaching the crest, was once more delayed by enemy fire, Pvt. Crawford again, in the face of intense fire, advanced directly to the front midway between 2 hostile machinegun nests located on a higher terrace and emplaced in a small ravine. Moving first to the left, with a hand grenade he destroyed 1 gun emplacement and killed the crew; he then worked his way, under continuous fire, to the other and with 1 grenade and the use of his rifle, killed 1 enemy and forced the remainder to flee. Seizing the enemy machinegun, he fired on the withdrawing Germans and facilitated his company's advance.

Read more about William "Bill" Crawford


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Voice of the Soldier
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Special Operations Warrior Foundation

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

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

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


Learn More about the 

Special Operations Warrior Foundation (SOWF) >>  

Warrior Brotherhood Veterans Motorcycle Club

  311 iran ship 

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


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Caring for America's Quiet 311 iran shipProfessionals 


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


Learn more about Green Beret Foundation>> 



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

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

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


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

RARE - LASD Pistol Team Exhibition, Historic, 1936, Color enhanced
LASD Pistol Team Exhibition,
Historic, 1936, Color enhanced

Vintage early color footage of the LASD Pistol Team at Biscailuz Range during a skilled shooting exhibition over 75 years ago in 1936. Legendary Marksman and LASD Aero Bureau aviation pioneer Sgt. Sewell Griggers featured. Also includes documentary footage demonstrating how the BC shooting range was used and maintained.
Cruise missile disables electronics using microwaves
Cruise missile disables electronics using microwaves
Gun Control Works
Gun Control Works
HK 121 - General Purpose Machine Gun
IV Cellular presents
IV Cellular presents "Freedom Isn't Free"

Word of Truth
Commemorating Those that Provide our Freedom 
The Word Of Truth - Alive and PowerfulBy Rev G.J. Rako
LTC (Ret)

As we celebrate Memorial Day commemorating those who sacrificed their wealth, their property, their families, and their lives to provide our freedom. Ordinary men accomplished extraordinary things on our behalf. This is our heritage. In every war "all sacrificed some, some sacrificed all" in securing the freedom and subsequent prosperity of the U.S.A. from 1776 down to the present. Freedom is not free, those brave souls who fought and sometimes died on battlefields in this country and all over the world purchased our freedom with their blood. The celebration of Memorial Day is the recognition of their sacrifice and the knowledge that their sacrifice is what has paid for our magnificent freedom. The symbols of our freedom are the uniforms of the soldier, sailor, airman, marine, and police officer. The various services provide freedom through military victory, and the police officer protects our privacy, property, and life from criminals.

Today many people are ignorant of these sacrifices and the fact that the military purchased our freedom on battlefields all over the world. These ignorant people are willing to trade their freedom for security. When a people trade freedom for security they will have neither. Those who rule will reward them with slavery. The reason our founding fathers added the second amendment to the constitution was to protect us from the government. The founding fathers did not trust the government because they knew the Biblical doctrine of the total depravity of man. Absolute power corrupts absolutely. The more power we give to government the more freedom we lose. The constant and continual erosion of our freedoms are the result of the peoples' desire to be secure instead of free.

We are becoming a fascist state. When industry colludes with government to take advantage of the people, tyranny rules, freedoms are lost, and those in government and industry become elitist and the people become subjects. Subjects are slaves. This is why we fought the first war for independence because we grew weary of being subjects. We may well have to fight another one. Each of you can cite many examples of this collusion and the successive loss of freedom. There is no longer a conservative party in this country. They have been swallowed up into big government and are consumed with power and money lust. Freedom is our heritage and freedom has become an annoyance to those who rule over us. Where are those like Patrick Henry who cried, "Give me liberty, or give me death"? You are being taxed out of existence. You are no longer free to accumulate wealth.
An elitist government is systematically confiscating your wealth from you to line their pockets and spend your tax dollars on programs, with which you disagree.

Many people think the answer is involvement in politics. They have become obsessed with electing this candidate or that one. Politics cannot save this country. The Word of God is always the answer. Patriotism is a wonderful thing. Gratitude to those who provided our freedom and recalling to mind their sacrifices is an expression of patriotism. True freedom comes from an understanding of the scripture. We are commanded as Christians to ...grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and savior Jesus Christ. (II Peter 3:18) The Lord Himself said, "If you live in my Word, then you are truly disciples (students) of Mine; and you shall know the truth and the truth will make you free." (John 8:31) Then in John 8:36; He says, "Therefore, if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed." Only God can give this supernatural freedom to you. It includes freedom from fear, guilt, worry, anxiety, and shame (all of which are sins). Can you imagine being free from these things? Everyone from time to time fears something, is worried, anxious, and succumbs to guilt or a guilt complex. However, it does not have to be this way. The Word of God circulating in your soul is your defense against these attacks.

What can we do to protect the freedoms we have left in this country and even reclaim those lost?
(Eph 4:13) Until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature, which belongs to the fullness of Christ. The most patriotic thing you can do, or be, is to attain maturity through the knowledge of the Son of God to the fullness of Christ. God will bless you and your nation because of your spiritual growth. You may not be the hero type or perhaps you are disabled or too old for military service. You are never too old or disabled to be an invisible hero and bring great blessing from God upon your nation. God is faithful and He will never suffer the righteous to be moved. It is for freedom that Christ has set us free; therefore keep standing fast and do not become entangled again in the yoke of slavery. (Gal 5:1) At the moment of faith alone in Christ alone, we were set free from sin and death (Acts 13:39, Rom 6:7, 18, 22, 8:2,). We were at that time also given the divine operating assets to be free from human good, and evil. Christians are now citizens of heaven. We remain on this earth after salvation to represent Jesus Christ, (eternal God) to a lost and dying world. One way we accomplish this mission is to tell others about Christ, and the free gift of eternal life that He has provided for all mankind.

This Memorial Day as you reflect upon our freedom, remember those that sacrificed by spilling their blood on battlefields. They are the ones that purchased the freedom of this great nation. Remember also the blood that was shed for you almost two thousand years ago by the creator of the universe. Jesus Christ purchased you out of the slave market of sin by His efficacious, substitutionary spiritual death on the cross. In this great selfless act, he provided a freedom for you above all others.

Blue Warrior
Blue WarriorBlue Warrior
Command & Control in Tactical Environments

Automatic weapons, armored vests, 148,000 rounds of ammunition, small squad military tactics and a plot to assault and kill Americans. What foreign terrorist organization could have this type of resolve to harm Americans? This terrorist cell is currently in Federal court in downtown Detroit facing charges of plotting to kill Michigan Law enforcement officers and their not a foreign terrorist organization. This group is from Michigan and they call themselves the "Hutaree" which they claim, means Christian warriors.

The plan was to murder a local police officer in an ambush. Then at the officers funeral they were to attack the police procession in a military style assault. This small force was well equipped with explosives, sniper ghillie suites, ballistic helmets and night vision. They planned on devastating the police with an ambush that included improvised explosive devices, small squad battle tactics with a well trained militia.

We can only speculate what would have occurred as the funeral procession proceeded into the Hutaree ambush. This type of assault isn't an active shooter response that a Diamond formation or Mactac style response will resolve. This assault is similar to the Mumbai attack which will require a coordinated tactical response from a dominating force.

Hutaree was preparing for what they believed would be an apocalyptic battle with forces of the Antichrist, whom they believed would be supported and defended by local law enforcement. The following statements were introduced into a Federal trial this week, "we are willing to go to war" and "welcome to the revolution".

Imagine your swat team responding to such an attack with an enemy equal to an Al-Qaeda force. Does your team have the capabilities to respond to a force with this type of training, equipment and motivation? The most important factor in responding to this type of assault is "command and control" of the responding tactical forces. Mumbai's lack of command and control is a classic example what can happen without a clear mission with objectives to achieve. When this occurs friendly forces will most likely suffer greater losses.

Mission Command
I have used the military model of "mission command" for command and control within my Special Response Team since its inception. What I have found is the team has a greater capability to function in the chaos of combat on its own. They can respond to tactical challenges as they arise on the battlefield without compromising the tactical advantage of time, speed, surprise, and violence of action or shock.

Successful mission command rests on the following elements: the tactical commander's intent, subordinates initiative, and tactical operation orders. Under mission command, tactical commanders provide team leaders with a mission, their commander's objectives, initiatives, concept of the task, and resources adequate to accomplish the mission. The tactical commander empowers team leaders such as the Entry Team Leaders, Assistant Entry Team Leaders, Sniper Team Leaders and Crisis Negotiator Team Leaders to make decisions within the commander's intent and objectives.

I commonly leave details of execution to the team leaders and require them to use initiative and judgment to accomplish the mission. I expect these team leaders to identify and act on unforeseen circumstances, whether opportunities or threats, while conducting their tactical operations. Seizing, retaining, and exploiting the operational initiative requires team leaders to exercise individual initiative and they have the authority to do so. Training team leaders under mission command develops disciplined initiative and skilled judgment. It also gives tactical commanders the confidence to delegate them the necessary authority during operations. Mission command enables tactical commanders to use the unprecedented agility and flexibility of the modular force to take advantage of the chaos of war. It allows swat teams to rapidly adapt to changes in the situation and exercise initiative within the tactical commander's intent to accomplish the mission.

Operational Concept
In this style of command seizing, retaining, and exploiting the initiative with speed, shock, surprise, depth, simultaneity, and endurance are key.

Initiative: in its operational sense, is setting or dictating the terms of action throughout an operation. The side with the initiative determines the nature, tempo, and sequence of actions. Initiative is decisive if retained and exploited. In any operation, a tactical force has the initiative when it is controlling the situation rather than reacting to circumstances. The counterpart to operational initiative is individual initiative, the willingness to act in the absence of orders or when existing orders no longer fit the situation.

Speed: the ability of tactical squads to act rapidly. Rapid maneuver dislocates the enemy force and exposes its elements before they are prepared or positioned. Rapid action preempts threats to security. It reduces suffering and loss of life among noncombatants or victims by restoring order. At the strategic level, speed gives tactical forces their expeditionary quality and allows tactical forces to keep the initiative. It contributes to their ability to achieve shock and surprise.
Shock: the application of violence of such magnitude that your adversary is stunned and helpless to reverse the situation. Shock entails the use of a "overwhelming dominating force" at the decisive time and place.

Surprise: involves the delivery of a powerful blow at a time and place for which your adversary is unprepared. When combined with shock, it reduces friendly casualties and ends opposition swiftly.

Depth: the ability to operate across the entire area of tactical operations. It includes the ability to act in the information environment of the tactical operation as well as the support elements. Simultaneity: a function of time, confronts opponents with multiple actions occurring at once, disrupting their cognitive function as they process through the OODA loop. Multiple actions overload adversaries' control systems and this provide a tactical advantage to the tactical forces.

Endurance: the ability to survive and persevere over time. Swift tactical response may be desirable; however a swift response is the exception for most call outs. To succeed, tactical forces must prepare to conduct operations for protracted periods.

Command & Control Development
The concept of mission command requires good policy, team structure, strong leadership and training.

Policy: tactical teams must operate under department policy which is the foundation for clear function and operations. These policies must be provided to each individual officer and they must be held accountable when they act outside of these policies. Overlooking a minor offense may bring you a larger problem in the future if left uncorrected. Act upon any recognized deficiencies your tactical officers demonstrate. Addressing your officer's deficiencies should be done in a positive manner, as your goal is to improve the officer's capabilities. Officers from your team will appreciate this approach since it is fair and keeps everybody safer.

Team Structure: it is very important to provide a foundation of structure to your team. This includes a clear chain of command. Teams should be designated into multiple squads. Many teams operate as one squad and I have seen this system fail more often than not when responding to terrorist attacks in large scale training exercises. The reason is a single tactical commander won't be able to deliver the same level of planning and execution as a team with a deep command structure. My tactical team for example has multiple layers of command in the structure of our team. It was designed to mirror the Army Platoon system.  



Here's how our 23 officer team is structured:

Executive Commander: administrative function.
Team Commander: responsible for all tactical planning, training & team functions.

Entry Team Leaders: (2) team leaders & (2) assistant team leaders, one team leader for each squad, two squads of ten officers. Each Entry Team has an Assistant Team Leader whom may be the Team Leader on any tactical operation. Responsible for tactical execution of their assigned squads. 

Sniper Team Leader (1) and Assistant Sniper Team Leader (1). Responsible for tactical execution of their 6 officer sniper/observer teams. 

Crisis Negotiator Team Leader (1) and Assistant Crisis Negotiator (1). Responsible for negotiations operations of their 8 officer team. 

Strong Leadership: some individuals appear to be "born leaders" while other individuals can be developed into leaders, but a solid foundation of "character" is essential in any successful leader. Some qualities in an individual's makeup, particularly those concerning his integrity and ethical foundation are absolutely essential in the potential leader, and which cannot be added through schooling or experience. Good judgement, and common sense, is an absolute requirement for successful combat leadership. The ability to perform well in formal training, while not a negative characteristic, is a less important factor for a combat leader. In particular, the leader must have a well-developed and practiced ability in making decisions under pressure.

"Leadership is intangible, and therefore no weapon ever designed can replace it."  

-General Omar Bradley

Training: develop your team leaders and officers by allowing them to do their jobs. When a subordinate is free to do his job, he perceives this as trust and confidence from his commanders and takes more pride in his job, himself, and the team's goals and objectives. Delegation of tactical authority, training development & implementation and the proper use of personnel develops future leaders. This should be the goal of every commander.

"I would caution you always to remember that an essential qualification of a good leader is the ability to recognize, select, and train junior leaders."  

-General Omar Bradley

When confronted with a tactical crisis such as the one the Hutaree planned on Michigan's law enforcement officers you must be prepared. We train in many different tactics, we have many different tools that provide numerous options that give us a tactical advantage, we train hard, but all of that won't make a difference if you don't have "command & control" of your team and the tactical crisis you are confronted with. The experience I gained in the Army and the lessons I have learned over the years as a swat commander taught me one thing, the United States Military knows how to fight an enemy. Consider doing what I did and apply the military's mission command to your team and watch them all grow as leaders.



Stay safe,
Sgt. Glenn French  

About the author

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


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

Surviving Reality

So often I hear about well meaning peoples plans to survive off the land when the SHTF. This sentiment is only growing in popularity and while it's great that people are interested in learning outdoor skills, they're not basing those skills in reality, especially a reality based in a SHTF scenario. Let's remember that only about 100 years ago there was a Great Depression. While those with farms didn't suffer as much as those in or near the cities we must understand that the majority even at that time relied on the system. In the 1920's food items were really just beginning to be mass produced and packaged like we're used to them today. Backyard Chicken coups and gardens were disappearing in favor of a more modern and abundant society. Yet within only a few years, food and jobs were hard to get and many people stood in line for government hand-outs, which is not unlike what we see today. In my state, the number of people on public assistance (food stamps) outnumbers those that are employed! Obviously, this is a not a sustainable situation and as more states find themselves falling into this category, the house of cards will fall at some point.


My great-grandmother passed away several years ago, but before she did she told us about the hardships she endured during the Great Depression. When she was a teenager living in rural Southern Indiana the Depression hit hard and fast. She said at one point her family was forced to eat salted leather just to fill their bellies and they felt lucky to have had it at the time! Her father and uncles always tried hunting and it was rare to even come back with a couple birds because everyone was out hunting all they could. Her father wasn't going to get that desperate again so he opened their home to travelers trying to barter with them for work or goods. But, this also meant that his teenage daughter and wife would be exposed to strangers coming in and out of their home. This poor planning and desperation early on led to prostitution in the home which eventually led to them being able to barter for seeds which led to a garden, which led to workers to tend the garden for a portion of the harvest and that led to them becoming something of a pillar in the community. This hardship endured by her so early on made her a tough woman and hard worker and by the time my great-grandma was in her mid twenties she was married and a tavern owner right out of the depression. She divorced soon after, but not until having two daughters of her own, one that died before age 10 and the other, my Father's mother.  


My grandmother's husband, my grandfather (step-grandpa), born in 1921 grew up in the midst of the Depression and lived in downtown Louisville, KY. He was from a family of eight children and they relied heavily on government provision. Everyone in the family did all the work they could and bartered all they could and their momma's resourcefulness in always insisting on canning everything in the family garden and having chickens in the yard bridged the gap between the government handouts. So his young life remained full of stickball, boy scouts and youthful adventure until he joined the Army in his late teens, while only 60 miles away in Indiana, my great-grandmother's family was barely getting by. In a History Channel documentary on the Great Depression, it noted that for approximately 5 miles on both sides of every main road throughout the Midwest, homes and farms were looted by the massive numbers of desperate men, women and children roving the roadways looking for sustenance. Deer were nearly extinct in the continental US.


Today, we have a larger population, less game, less woodlands, less clean natural water, fewer productive farms and more dependence upon grocers and processed foods that at any time in history. The sad reality we face today is that those currently milking the system will be the same to steal from everyone first when times really get difficult. They have no skills, no ability to self-sustain, they leach off others and that is their survival mechanism. On the flip side, you have those with all the survival book knowledge, but they haven't tried their skills in the field, thus they'll run amok until they get a handle on things. Then, there are those in the middle, those that practice their skills, are somewhat self-reliant and have the ability to hunt responsibly, not taking more than they actually require.


So, the groceries will be empty within 3-5 days. There are not enough wild edibles to support the lives of millions of people and wildlife. Livestock will be poached and stolen by marauders, houses will be looted, and again the game will disappear. The government will offer provision in return for compliance and those refusing their hand-outs will be labeled as extremists and terrorists. Those that did prepare with a year's supply of food, several months worth of water and other things on their little homestead will eventually be arrested or killed by those that are desperate. It's beginning now! Get ready... There are around 1,000 people living in the flood tunnels under Las Vegas, more were discovered living in hand dug tunnels under Kansas City, more in New York and even near me there are hundreds living in woodland camps along the Ohio River and those numbers are growing nationwide. Those looking at living in the woods out of a backpack as some sort of an exciting fairy tale before "the end" have no clue what it means to survive. It's not going to be an extended camping trip! Ask the soldier that ran his ass off trying to escape the torturous POW camp, ask the Jews that fled from the Warsaw Ghetto or those that did live in the Polish Wilderness during WWII, ask the homeless man outside your office building; ask them "What does it take to survive?" Research these stories, extract the nuggets of information that you can utilize within your own plans of survival and self-reliance and do what you can to prepare yourself for a realistic SHTF scenario. Take into account the psychological aspects as they apply for your family, children as they'll be impacted differently. Have a plan, work the plan. Prepare, prepare, prepare, if it happens in five years or ten, it's still too soon, so hone your skills while you have the time.



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


Leading Concepts
Key to Success

Ranger TLC-

Teamwork, Leadership, and Communication


Chapter 3 


Who's Your Enemy?


The term MODD, which refers to things or people that make our day difficult, captures action and function more than the word enemy. MODD are defined as whatever gets in the way of accomplishing your goal, and they come in two forms: internal and external.


This chapter focuses on identifying the internal and external MODD, with hints about how they might be defeated or neutralized. Later chapters guide you in determining exactly how to eliminate them.


Internal and external MODD are inextricably linked. Until you deal with the internal MODD, you can't effectively deal with the external MODD. Internal MODD may take the form of interpersonal conflicts, interdepartmental conflicts, workplace inefficiencies, or other problems that may be hard to define clearly and require an enormous amount of emotional energy to solve. Internal MODD may also be personal or mental; they may become a negative or self-deceiving message playing over and over inside your head: "It shouldn't be that way." "That's not fair." "It's not that bad." Personal MODD may be an obsession, a self-doubt, unbridled arrogance, a groundless fear of reprisal, or any other trait or thinking habit that robs you of balance and reason. External MODD may include aggressive competitors or a new technology that is transforming your market.


 Internal and External MODD


How to Identify the MODD

To rapidly and accurately assess the who, what, where, when, why, and how of the MODD, you must begin with a common goal, or mission.


Next, you must understand your place in the "360." In Ranger lingo, 360 refers to the 360-degree view that the security team provides on a mission.


When Rangers are on patrol, they know their task is to gather information and exchange it at the rally points. Periodically they come to a complete stop, or halt, and examine every inch of their quadrant. Then when the team leader asks, "What did you see?" Rangers report; anything that prevents them from observing and reporting is a MODD.


Take that image of the 360 into a manufacturing plant. If you stopped in a halt and each of you was responsible for watching an area, it's the same as putting sales, production, quality, accounting, engineering, and information systems in the halt.


You find the MODD in your sector and tell your leader. Then the leader can determine: Is that MODD a threat right now? What part of the 360 is it threatening?


In the field, the organizing principle for gathering information on the MODD is SALUTE-size, activity, location, uniform, time, and equipment. These same terms are applicable in any business setting.

Imagine you are a sales executive for a computer hardware company. Your mission is to sell computers and keep customers happy. However, you've been butting heads with a systems engineer because she has not delivered reliable service to your biggest customer. Based on her performance, the systems engineer seems unconcerned about your mission. Is she the MODD? You can use SALUTE to determine her status.


  1. Size: Is she just a lone thorn, or is the entire department hurting the sales staff?
  2. Activity: What exactly is she doing, or not doing, that does not support your relationship with your key customer? Are other systems engineers doing the same thing?
  3. Location: Where is she in the operational scheme? Are you located in the same department or different departments? Are you physically located in the same place, theoretically allowing a casual conversation? Do you visit customers together?
  4. Uniform: Is there a discrepancy between how she presents herself and the demeanor or style of employees at the customer company? Is there something about the way the two of you present yourselves that belies the notion that you are on the same team?
  5. Time: When did you first notice a problem? When did the customer mention a problem? Is the information you're collecting at this point in time different from the information you collected a month ago?
  6. Equipment: Does she appear to have the resources needed to do her job? Does she appear to know how to use them?


In order to SALUTE into action, think of a quantifiable example of your company or department failing to meet an objective, that is, failing on a mission. It could be financial, such as sales or fundraising, or it could be market share or the number of subscribers or patrons. It could also relate to missing a deadline or going over budget on a project. From your perspective, who and what were the internal MODD; that is, who or what created a gridlock or drove the project in the wrong direction?  


State the mission. List the interdependencies necessary to achieve the mission. Look back on failure by using the SALUTE system. Are the MODD still the same factors or people you first mentioned as "the enemy"?


Before using a 360 and a SALUTE process, organizations should think about another scenario: What would it be like if department heads collected information from the front line-the people who sell, build the product, talk with customers, and so on-and came back to a rally point with their senior executives and said, "Here's what I saw; here's what my staff saw. Here's our evaluation." Executives often see what they assume is a MODD, and they want to take action without front-line information. They want to attack the MODD-internal or external-and can end up shunting primary resources to solve secondary problems. I know of two dot-coms that died because they thought their MODD were competitors in the same market space. In fact, they were bringing to market technology "solutions" that were clever but not necessarily the best tool for the job at hand. They sunk millions of dollars from venture capitalists into solving a secondary problem: differentiating themselves from competitors in the marketplace through promotional efforts. They should have asked their sales staff, "What do potential customers say when you ask them to buy this product?"


Here's a related thought: The enemy one person sees clearly in her quadrant of the 360 may not be as critical as one on the other side of the 360. Which one is more threatening? You can get the answer by rallying and using SALUTE.


In the program, I've seen the 360 and SALUTE lead to quick, effective action against the MODD. One class that was composed of seven people from different companies had already gone through four successful and two unsuccessful missions. They faced a threatening and unfamiliar situation on their seventh mission: Short on ammo (paintballs), they spotted a MODD encampment in their path. They knew if they could take it, they could capture the ammo they needed and proceed on a direct route back to HQ. The security teams collectively reported in the SALUTE format and both Alpha and Bravo team leaders concluded instantly that crossfire was the only way to take the encampment. Good information pointed directly to the best strategy.



Internal MODD #1: The Bad PL


An executive named Bob sent ten of his managers to evaluate the four-day, outdoor Leading Concepts program and ascertain whether it would help others in the large manufacturing company. Every one of the managers experienced practical value and went back and conveyed the same message: "You need this, Bob."


He quickly realized that, with the frequent shifts in the chain of command, he had no automatic authority. Individuals are only PLs because we make them PLs. The PL's status in the corporate world doesn't allow him or her to fire anybody in the woods. The power to intimidate based on title is gone. In the program, a superior PL draws on genuine leadership ability, and those who try to micromanage invariably fail. Bob applied the same stuff he did at work to this group of people who were not his employees and they shut down.


The morale was terrible. The body language of people on the team projected their unhappiness. I said, "Bob, you're out," and I chose a replacement. As soon as that happened, you could see the transition in the group. They breathed an audible sigh of relief. Participation and commitment went up.


Bob saw the change and knew it was no coincidence. His employees' reaction undoubtedly fueled a fear he regularly felt at the office: His own staff thought of him as "the enemy." Right then and there, he could have tried to change, but he didn't. The outcome was something his employees found predictable: He turned around and blamed us, the Leading Concepts staff, for what happened. He was so unhappy about what he'd seen in himself that he was desperate to blame someone.


This kind of scapegoat behavior invariably characterizes an executive who drives good employees away from the company or at least drives them so crazy they can't remember what the mission is. The ten managers who worked for Bob had one option if they wanted to keep their jobs and accomplish their mission. It was the same situation our Ranger squad encountered when we served under Sergeant Doughboy. He was the kind of guy who blamed us if the machine guns didn't fire. If the team did great on a mission, it was because he prepared us.


The senior gunners in the team had a meeting about Sergeant Doughboy. We agreed that we were never going to win with him. We were always going to be his crutch or his excuse. We pondered our options and concluded we could either under-perform-by doing really poorly, some guys thought we could highlight the squad leader's rotten performance-or we could be heroes to ourselves. We chose the latter. We excelled, and our performance as a team was superior throughout the miserable months of Sergeant Doughboy's "leadership."


This kind of bonding almost never happens in the first few days of an experiential training program like the one we offer at Leading Concepts, nor is it likely to happen with managers who aren't accustomed to working closely together. Usually people go into a cover-your-assets mode. It's common to question, "Why should I allocate more energy than I have to?" It isn't until relationships form that people start to respond to the mission as a team and rise above a bad PL. The change begins with a personal aversion to failure: "I don't want to fail and I don't want the team to fail, so I'll make this work." An experiential program can provoke this conclusion a lot faster than regular daily life if the consequences related to failure are uncomfortable, such as not getting chow. Keep this in mind as you structure your own exercises. Go ahead and build in consequences about getting the mission done on time so people can eat or go home on time.

If you have a bad PL, try the following:


  • Make a list of the outcomes if he drags you into failure.
  • Describe what happens if you, and your team, succeed in spite of the PL.
  • Ask yourself: Is either set of consequences compelling enough to invest the energy you'll need to succeed in spite of the PL?

Rally Point: Don't fix blame. Fix problems  


Internal MODD #2: Institutionalized Conflict

In many cases, companies actually institutionalize the internal MODD by establishing natural conflicts between people and departments that need to work together. That's hard to handle productively, even if you happen to like coworkers in those other departments. Accounting might be measured by one set of criteria related to cost controls, but engineering is measured by a conflicting set of criteria that puts innovation above all else. Human resources follows a corporate program to keep morale high that includes counseling low performers, while sales has a mandate to sell aggressively and ax low performers. Under circumstances like these, employees of the same company can end up working against each other rather than against the competition or for the customer. This situation is financially, as well as emotionally, unprofitable.


People get bogged down trying to explain why they made a certain decision or took an action rather than fix the underlying internal problem. The conflict creates a lot of mental MODDS: tension, frustration, misdirected anger. It also can cause physical MODDS because people can actively get in each other's way. For example, the quality inspector doesn't get the timely cooperation she wants from production, so to show her irritation, she waits to do a quality audit.


If the institutionalized conflicts have persisted over time, it's very hard to cultivate trust among departments and department managers. A common way this problem manifests itself is in coworkers withholding information from each other, often a subtle sort of sabotage. They don't trust each other, so they become unreasonably territorial, finding myriad ways to protect their turf.


A manufacturing company faced a crisis because of this conflict. The production manager needed approval on a purchase order for a new robot. His priority was installing the robot before a new program went into the production phase, which would mean adding extra and unnecessary labor to make the customer's additional parts. Accounting got involved. The purchasing manager wanted to scrutinize suppliers to ensure high quality at the best price. The production manager said his department had already done that homework and they knew what they wanted. Purchasing said, "That's our job." Soon, it was "program launch." Without the intervention of the CEO, purchasing would have sat on the requisition waiting for the best price while the labor costs were eroding profit margins and the clock to launch was still ticking. In an environment such as this, everybody loses-including the customer! As a first step to solving an institutionalized problem, organize your thoughts about the conflicts. As the following table suggests, consider how colleagues from different departments have opposing or dissonant points of view and objectives regarding the very same set of circumstances. An employee who worked in the federal government sales office of a major technology company created this table; it expresses the internal MODD problems from her perspective:


 The Internal MODD

As seen through the eyes of the Public Relations Manager




Ironically, several of the people she thought about while creating this chart participated in a very "successful" team-building workshop. They spent a day tackling all kinds of challenges together, including one that the workshop leader labeled, "Nearly impossible to figure out. You really have to think like a team to get this one!" The tough challenge involved getting all the people in the group of six across a creek. There were only five stones to walk on and each person in the group of six had to be on a stone before the whole group could cross. One of the guys in the group had done the exercise before at a regional meeting, and he passed around the secret so the workshop leader wouldn't hear. When they succeeded, the leader heaped praise on them. "That kind of teamwork will help you go far!" In fact, they'd learned nothing about working together. Instead of combining their mental energy in a process of problem-solving, and listening to each other's ideas, they'd accepted the shortcut to victory that had been handed to them. The following Monday, they went back to work to the same old conflicts.


MODDs not only show up in antagonistic departmental relations but also in individualized jobs.


In the mid-1990s, a prestigious resort hotel came under new management, which decided to impose the same processes they had used to improve other hotels. The big change was certification programs for all employees. A special HR director came on board to issue the study booklets and schedule the exams for employees in housekeeping, security, front desk, and so on. The employees ridiculed the process and resisted the tests. Behind her back, the new HR director was the butt of jokes. But who could really blame the employees? She had never held one of the jobs affected by the new program. On a day-to-day, real-time basis, she had no idea what the employees had to know and do-and the rules they had to bend-in order to make hotel guests happy and comfortable and ensure the smooth running of the hotel.


After about a year of dealing with her test booklets and number two pencils, one of the security supervisors took the HR director aside and said, "The reason we think this is stupid is that we aren't learning anything. In security, we instituted the improvements you're telling us we have to have four years before you got here." It was a pathetic situation. The employees continued to do their jobs well, even though their routine was occasionally interrupted by test taking and "training." Without realizing it, the HR director was the MODD. Management felt it was necessary that she stay and continue to certify new employees, and she didn't want to lose her job, even though she began to see how superfluous it was to the operation. The MODD had been institutionalized.



Internal MODD #3: Personal Demons

Fear of failure, fear of success, incompetence, addiction-any number of personal issues can undercut your ability to contribute fully to achieving the mission. If you want to do your job, though, you must ask for help in both identifying and addressing those problems. The most serious of these issues are situations in which you don't want to do your job or you feel stuck in a role or a company with a mission that leaves you cold. In these situations, the mission itself has become the MODD.


For example, Kelly left a job at a major food and beverage company that offered great pay and benefits to start her own consulting firm. Though leaving the company was a large risk, Kelly explained, "Every day I'd walk through the front door and see the current stock price. I knew my overall mission was to do my part to push it higher and higher and I didn't care. I just didn't care."


No matter how much she enjoyed her work at the big company, Kelly's soul wasn't stirred by the overarching goal of boosting stock prices. She beat the MODD in the most straightforward way-she quit and set out to do the same work in support of a different mission.


I once had a client faced with two self-centered senior managers in key roles. Both managers' decisions had an effect on dozens of their staff. The mangers' egos and other behaviors made them the MODD. If I had added up the money wasted because of the conflicting egos of these senior managers who refused to row the boat in the same direction, it would have been astronomical. Justice for the company would involve shareholder lawsuits and the emergence of a line item in the budget for psychological counseling for executives. Your aim is to deliver a product or service for a profit, not to prove that you're smarter or better educated that your colleague.


External MODD

Count on the unpredictability of external MODD. Enemies rarely act as we expect them to act, so it's important to discard assumptions and use all your senses to collect information.


During my time with the Rangers, we jumped into Panama to capture an airfield. I looked down while under canopy less than 500 hundred feet off the ground. Red streaks crisscrossed the landing area. From the Mission Brief, I knew that Rangers had red tracers and the Panamanian Defense Force was supposed to have green. My first thought was "I'm on the number two airplane out of fifteen that are dropping our guys. How did so many of our guys get on the ground so fast?" My second thought was "Bad intelligence. The enemy isn't using green tracers. They had red, just like us." The enemy didn't play by the rules!


Rally Point: Adapt or die!  


In this example, I used my senses to determine the problem. Be cautious. Assumptions can also drive you to identify someone on your side as the MODD, and those assumptions can be crippling. Many times, companies will make alliances with direct competitors because they have a common mission, and the participating employees who once viewed one another as MODD have to reorient their thinking and behave as a team. For example, IBM and Apple Computer, polar opposites in the personal computer world, did that in 1992 when they formed Taligent to develop a new microcomputer operating system. Putting clashing cultures and styles aside, the technology team earned 120 U.S. patents over the next five years.


The mission drives everything. Don't get distracted by who you think the enemy is. The enemy is clear when you keep the mission in mind and you're keenly aware of what is getting in the way. For example, your own customers can become MODD due to their changing expectations or inadequate communication about their requirements. Similarly, your partners in a venture can transform into MODD by not following through with their part of the business plan. I know two marketing consultants who decided to collaborate with the goal of improving customer service to clients of both firms. One of the consultants diligently pursued the goal, working substantial overtime most days. On the other hand, her partner relaxed because he now had someone to share the workload. She recognized him as the MODD and, by staying true to the mission, defeated him. His clients grew to depend solely on her; her business grew while he went out of business.


Another type of external MODD, over which you have far less personal control, is a sagging economy or a tainted public perception of your industry. Effectively combating those enemies generally involves teaming up with direct competitors through a trade association that can apply joint resources and talent to mitigate the problem.


As soon as you're certain of the mission, you'll need to ascertain the strengths, weaknesses, and level of threat of your corporate external MODD. Use SALUTE to structure your competitive analysis as suggested in the following table.


Sample Competitive Analysis Using SALUTE


Company XYZ


  • Annual revenue
  • Customer base
  • Number of employees
  • Market share



  • Performance in the market-R&D, manufacturing, services, etc. (Should be expressed in the mission statement, annual report, and marketing collateral)



  • Physical market presence in terms of number of territories, states, countries
  • Market presence in terms of target customers (government market, education market, small-medium enterprise market, etc.)



  • The appearance it projects (such as inventive, customer-oriented, perfectionist employees; what the company wants to project is often captured in a tagline, such as Apple Computer's "Think Different")


  • Founding date
  • Product/service launch or releases
  • IPO filing



  • Physical, legal, and intellectual resources, including "weapons" such as strategic partnerships with other companies.

Be careful that you don't unintentionally present yourself as the MODD. This happens a lot when people are new to an environment, whether it's an office or an experiential learning program in which participants are so sidetracked by the lack of amenities that they lose sight of the mission.


 Gino made a classic blunder during his first night mission in the LC Ranger program. He started out on the security and search team. Suddenly, there was a change in leadership and Gino was no longer on the security and search team. After an ambush at a MODD rally point, he was supposed to retrieve useful supplies. But he heard the PL say, "Security and search move out." Gino still had it stuck in his mind that he was on security and search, so he headed out. It was dark and he didn't know the current password, so his teammates shot him-good thing it was only "training."


Finally, consider how interaction among the MODD can make the enemy grow stronger. By knowing how and when that interaction occurs you can try to stop it. For example, your competition had time to gain greater visibility at a major trade show because your company's publicity department missed their deadlines for promoting the company's presence at the show as a result of poor departmental communication. One of the team members forgot to ask about the due dates for the key publications and the team's new administrative coordinator lacked the self-confidence to question her about the due dates. The result: The competition gets great coverage from the media at the show, makes a few high-dollar deals, and gains a greater foothold in the market. That is, your external MODD grows stronger because internal MODD-both operational and personal-undermined your success.


If the company had opened its lines of communication, eliminating the internal MODD, it could have resulted in an entirely different outcome: The administrative coordinator suggests to the publicist that due dates for placement of articles and ads are approaching. The publicist gratefully jumps on the opportunities, securing prime space and valuable media coverage for the company. The company draws more crowd and media attention at the trade show and closes the big deals that boost its market presence. (And everyone on the team gets a big bonus and a raise!) This is the power of teamwork, leadership, and communication.


Lead the way!



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

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




Warrior's Wisdom

Marshall Villars observes, that in war everything depends upon being able to deceive the enemy, and, having once gained this point, in never allowing him time to recover himself.

It was the opinion of Frederick that all wars should be short and rapid because a long war insensibly relaxes discipline, depopulates the state, an exhausts its resources.   
Aesop's Fables
A controversy prevailed among the beasts of the field as to which of the animals deserved the most credit for producing the greatest number of whelps at a birth? They rushed clamorously into the presence of the Lioness and demanded of her the settlement of the dispute. "And you," they said, "how many sons have you at birth?" The Lioness laughed at them, and said: "Why I have only one, but that one is altogether a thoroughbred Lion."
The value is in the worth, not in the number.


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Quotes & Jokes


I once saw a movie where people were told to register their guns, and the guns were later confiscated. It was called Schindler's List.   


"We the people are the rightful masters of both Congress and the courts, not to overthrow the Constitution but to overthrow the men who pervert the Constitution." 

--Abraham Lincoln

"Very many and very meritorious were the worthy patriots who assisted in bringing back our government to its republican tack. To preserve it in that, will require unremitting vigilance."

--Thomas Jefferson (1822)

 "An unlimited power to tax involves, necessarily, a power to destroy; because there is a limit beyond which no institution and no property can bear taxation."  

--Justice John Marshall (1819)


"In general, the art of government consists in taking as much money as possible from one party of the citizens to give to the other."  

--Voltaire, 1770


"Hatred follows those who stand for the truth. It does take courage to stand for what you believe, for what is right. It's a lesson that many politicians need to learn. It's easy when the media and public opinion support you, but what to do when the hard choices need to be made for the greater good that short-sighted spectacles cannot focus on. The lessons of Thatcherism stand the test of time. ... Above all, we must learn to, as Mrs. Thatcher so ably put it, 'stand on principle or not stand at all.'"  

--columnist David C. Jennings


"I love the man that can smile in trouble, that can gather strength from distress, and grow brave by reflection. 'Tis the business of little minds to shrink; but he whose heart is firm, and whose conscience approves his conduct, will pursue his principles unto death."  

--Thomas Paine    


"The difference between the path toward greater freedom or bigger government is the difference between success and failure; between opportunity and coercion; between faith in a glorious future and fear of mediocrity and despair; between respecting people as adults, each with a spark of greatness, and treating them as helpless children to be forever dependent; between a drab, materialistic world where Big Brother rules by promises to special interest groups, and a world of adventure where everyday people set their sights on impossible dreams, distant stars, and the Kingdom of God."  



"The reason this country continues its drift toward socialism and big nanny government is because too many people vote in the expectation of getting something for nothing, not because they have a concern for what is good for the country. A better educated electorate might change the reason many persons vote."  

--American political consultant Lyn Nofziger



"We may be assured by past experience, that such a practice [as some states charging high taxes on goods from other states] would be introduced by future contrivances..."
--James Madison (1788)


"Would it not be better to simplify the system of taxation rather than to spread it over such a variety of subjects and pass through so many new hands."  

--Thomas Jefferson

"I know too that many of you seriously believe that a nuclear freeze would further the cause of peace. But a freeze now would make us less, not more, secure and would raise, not reduce, the risks of war. It would be largely unverifiable and would seriously undercut our negotiations on arms reduction. It would reward the Soviets for their massive military buildup while preventing us from modernizing our aging and increasingly vulnerable forces. With their present margin of superiority, why should they agree to arms reductions knowing that we were prohibited from catching up?"


"If justice, good faith, honor, gratitude and all the other qualities which enoble the character of a nation, and fulfill the ends of Government be the fruits of our establishments, the cause of Liberty will acquire a dignity and lustre, which it has never yet enjoyed, and an example will be set, which can not but have the most favorable influence on the rights of Mankind."  

--James Madison (1783)

"My policies are based not on some economics theory, but on things I and millions like me were brought up with: an honest day's work for an honest day's pay; live within your means; put by a nest egg for a rainy day; pay your bills on time..."  

--Margaret Thatcher (1981) 


"The natural cure for an ill-administration ... is a change of men."  

--Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 21  




Insight From Margaret Thatcher

"You don't win by just being against things, you only win by being for things and making your message perfectly clear."


"There is no week, nor day, nor hour, when tyranny may not enter upon this country, if the people lose their supreme confidence in themselves, and lose their roughness and spirit of defiance. Tyranny may always enter -- there is no charm or bar against it."


"If you just set out to be liked, you would be prepared to compromise on anything at any time and you would achieve nothing."


"That nations that have gone for equality, like Communism, have neither freedom nor justice nor equality, they've the greatest inequalities of all, the privileges of the politicians are far greater compared with the ordinary folk than in any other country. The nations that have gone for freedom, justice and independence of people have still freedom and justice, and they have far more equality between their people, far more respect for each individual than the other nations. Go my way. You will get freedom and justice and much less difference between people than you do in the Soviet Union."

"Socialist governments traditionally do make a financial mess. They always run out of other people's money. It's quite a characteristic of them. They then start to nationalize everything, and people just do not like more and more nationalization, and they're now trying to control everything by other means."


Asked about why private insurance should replace Britain's socialized health care service, Mrs. Thatcher replied, "I insure to enable me to go into hospital on the day I want; at the time I want, and with a doctor I want."

In 1984, as the USSR began to implode, Mrs. Thatcher said of the moderate incoming General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, "I like Mr. Gorbachev. We can do business together." Reagan followed that lead.

That same year, she would, as Reagan had before her, survive an assassination attempt: An IRA bomb detonated at 0300 in her hotel, which was hosting the Conservative Party conference. Hours later she would deliver a speech, as scheduled.

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Econ 101

Clichs of Socialism

A Simple Lesson In Economics And Obama Socialism

Author Not Known
An economics professor at a local college made a statement that he had never failed a single student before, but had recently failed an entire class. That class had insisted that Obama's socialism worked and that no one would be poor and no one would be rich, a great equalizer.

The professor then said, "OK, we will have an experiment in this class on Obama's plan". All grades will be averaged and everyone will receive the same grade so no one will fail and no one will receive an A.... (substituting grades for dollars - something closer to home and more readily understood by all).

After the first test, the grades were averaged and everyone got a B. The students who studied hard were upset and the students who studied little were happy. As the second test rolled around, the students who studied little had studied even less and the ones who studied hard decided they wanted a free ride too so they studied little.

The second test average was a D! No one was happy.

When the 3rd test rolled around, the average was an F.

As the tests proceeded, the scores never increased as bickering, blame and name-calling all resulted in hard feelings and no one would study for the benefit of anyone else.

To their great surprise, ALL FAILED and the professor told them that socialism would also ultimately fail because when the reward is great, the effort to succeed is great, but when government takes all the reward away, no one will try or want to succeed.

These are possibly the 5 best sentences you'll ever read and all applicable to this experiment:
  1. You cannot legislate the poor into prosperity by legislating the wealthy out of prosperity.
  2. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving.
  3. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else.
  4. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it!
  5. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that is the beginning of the end of any nation.
Can you think of a reason for not sharing this? Neither could I.

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What Has Really Changed?

What has really changed?

The most successful Freedom March was the one in covered wagons
That, too, was made by Americans - looking for work. No demands, no subsidies, no claim anyone owed them anything. They traveled mostly on foot and through deadly danger, to where there was work to do (they didn't ask it be brought to them nor created for them).
Many had never been prosperous - their little farms were worked out, or their skills weren't very good. But their self-respect was real enough to drive them through thousands of miles of unspeakable hardship, and there create their own jobs and their own futures.
And that courage and self-respect and hard work were what made America's splendid West.



 A Military Doctor

This should be required reading in every school and college in our country. This Captain, an Army doctor, wrote this after much reflection.
        I am a doctor specializing in the Emergency Departments of the only two military Level One-Trauma Centers, both in San Antonio, TX and they care for civilian Emergencies as well as military personnel. San Antonio has the largest military retiree population in the world living here. As a military doctor, I work long hours and the pay is less than glamorous. One tends to become jaded by the long hours, lack of sleep, food, family contact and the endless parade of human suffering passing before you. The arrival of another ambulance does not mean more pay, only more work. Most often, it is a victim from a motor vehicle crash.

        Often it is a person of dubious character who has been shot or stabbed. With our large military retiree population, it is often a nursing home patient. Even with my enlisted service and minimal combat experience in Panama , I have caught myself groaning when the ambulance brought in yet another sick, elderly person from one of the local retirement centers that cater to military retirees. I had not stopped to think of what citizens of this age group represented.    

       I saw 'Saving Private Ryan.' I was touched deeply. Not so much by the carnage, but by the sacrifices of so many. I was touched most by the scene of the elderly survivor at the graveside, asking his wife if he'd been a good man. I realized that I had seen these same men and women coming through my Emergency Dept.. and had not realized what magnificent sacrifices they had made. The things they did for me and everyone else that has lived on this planet since the end of that conflict are priceless.     

       Situation permitting, I now try to ask my patients about their experiences. They would never bring up the subject without the inquiry I have been privileged to an amazing array of experiences, recounted in the brief minutes allowed in an Emergency Dept. encounter. These experiences have revealed the incredible individuals I have had the honor of serving in a medical capacity, many on their last admission to the hospital.    

       There was a frail, elderly woman who reassured my young enlisted medic, trying to start an IV line in her arm. She remained calm and poised, despite her illness and the multiple needle-sticks into her fragile veins. She was what we call a 'hard stick.' As the medic made another attempt, I noticed a number tattooed across her forearm. I touched it with one finger and looked into her eyes. She simply said, ' Auschwitz ..' Many of later generations would have loudly and openly berated the young medic in his many attempts. How different was the response from this person who'd seen unspeakable suffering.    

       Also, there was this long retired Colonel, who as a young officer had parachuted from his burning plane over a Pacific Island held by the Japanese. Now an octogenarian, he had a minor cut on his head from a fall at his home where he lived alone. His CT scan and suturing had been delayed until after midnight by the usual parade of high priority ambulance patients.. Still spry for his age, he asked to use the phone to call a taxi, to take him home, then he realized his ambulance had brought him without his wallet. He asked if he could use the phone to make a long distance call to his daughter who lived 7 miles away. With great pride we told him that he could not, as he'd done enough for his country and the least we could do was get him a taxi home, even if we had to pay for it ourselves. My only regret was that my shift wouldn't end for several hours, and I couldn't drive him myself. 

       I was there the night M/Sgt Roy Benavidez came through the Emergency Dept. for the last time. He was very sick. I was not the doctor taking care of him, but I walked to his bedside and took his hand. I said nothing. He was so sick, he didn't know I was there. I'd read his Congressional Medal of Honor citation and wanted to shake his hand. He died a few days later.    


The gentleman who served with Merrill's Marauders,
the survivor of the Bataan Death March,
the survivor of Omaha Beach ,
the 101 year old World War I veteran.
The former POW held in frozen North Korea
The former Special Forces medic - now with non-operable liver cancer
the former Viet Nam Corps Commander.. 


I may still groan when yet another ambulance comes in, but now I am much more aware of what an honor it is to serve these particular men and women.    

       I have seen a Congress who would turn their back on these individuals who've sacrificed so much to protect our liberty. I see later generations that seem to be totally engrossed in abusing these same liberties, won with such sacrifice.    

       It has become my personal endeavor to make the nurses and young enlisted medics aware of these amazing individuals when I encounter them in our Emergency Dept. Their response to these particular citizens has made me think that perhaps all is not lost in the next generation.    

       My experiences have solidified my belief that we are losing an incredible generation, and this nation knows not what it is losing. Our uncaring government and ungrateful civilian populace should all take note. We should all remember that we must 'Earn this.'    


Written By CAPT. Steven R. Ellison, M.D. US Army      


If it weren't for the United States Military, there'd be NO United States of America!    



Pearl Harbor
Very interesting what God did that day

Tour boats ferry people out to the USS Arizona Memorial in Hawaii every thirty minutes. We just missed a ferry and had to wait thirty minutes. I went into a small gift shop to kill time. In the gift shop, I purchased a small book entitled, "Reflections on Pearl Harbor " by Admiral Chester Nimitz.

Sunday, December 7th, 1941--Admiral Chester Nimitz was attending a concert in Washington D.C. He was paged and told there was a phone call for him. When he answered the phone, it was President Franklin Delano Roosevelt on the phone. He told Admiral Nimitz that he (Nimitz) would now be the Commander of the Pacific Fleet.

Admiral Nimitz flew to Hawaii to assume command of the Pacific Fleet. He landed at Pearl Harbor on Christmas Eve, 1941. There was such a spirit of despair, dejection and defeat--you would have thought the Japanese had already won the war. On Christmas Day, 1941, Adm. Nimitz was given a boat tour of the destruction wrought on Pearl Harbor by the Japanese. Big sunken battleships and navy vessels cluttered the waters every where you looked.

As the tour boat returned to dock, the young helmsman of the boat asked, "Well Admiral, what do you think after seeing all this destruction?" Admiral Nimitz's reply shocked everyone within the sound of his voice.

Admiral Nimitz said, "The Japanese made three of the biggest mistakes an attack force could ever make, or God was taking care of America. Which do you think it was?"

Shocked and surprised, the young helmsman asked, "What do mean by saying the Japanese made the three biggest mistakes an attack force ever made?" Nimitz explained:

Mistake number one: the Japanese attacked on Sunday morning. Nine out of every ten crewmen of those ships were ashore on leave. If those same ships had been lured to sea and been sunk--we would have lost 38,000 men instead of 3,800.

Mistake number two: when the Japanese saw all those battleships lined in a row, they got so carried away sinking those battleships, they never once bombed our dry docks opposite those ships. If they had destroyed our dry docks, we would have had to tow every one of those ships to America to be repaired. As it is now, the ships are in shallow water and can be raised. One tug can pull them over to the dry docks, and we can have them repaired and at sea by the time we could have towed them to America . And I already have crews ashore anxious to man those ships.

Mistake number three: Every drop of fuel in the Pacific theater of war is in top of the ground storage tanks five miles away over that hill. One attack plane could have strafed those tanks and destroyed our fuel supply. That's why I say the Japanese made three of the biggest mistakes an attack force could make or God was taking care of America.

I've never forgotten what I read in that little book. It is still an inspiration as I reflect upon it. In jest, I might suggest that because Admiral Nimitz was a Texan, born and raised in Fredricksburg, Texas --he was a born optimist. But anyway you look at it--Admiral Nimitz was able to see a silver lining in a situation and circumstance where everyone else saw only despair and defeatism.

President Roosevelt had chosen the right man for the right job. We desperately needed a leader that could see silver linings in the midst of the clouds of dejection, despair and defeat.

There is a reason that our national motto is,

The following letter was written by the mother of a SEAL compatriot of Chris Kyle's and was included in a military newsletter I regularly receive. The sentiments encapsulated in it are the reason why the Left will NEVER triumph in America; they simply don't understand the principles of duty and honor, nor do they comprehend the power and determination of those among us who DO understand and subscribe to such principles.

I just wanted to share with you all that out of a horrible tragedy we were blessed by so many people. Chris was Derek's teammate through 10 years of training and battle. They both suffer/suffered from PTSD to some extent and took great care of each other because of it. 2006 in Ramadi was horrible for young men that never had any more aggressive physical contact with another human than on a Texas football field. They lost many friends.
Chris became the armed services number #1 sniper of all time. Not something he was happy about, other than the fact that in so doing, he saved a lot of American lives. Three years ago, his wife Taya asked him to leave the SEAL teams as he had a huge bounty on his head by Al Qaeda. He did and wrote the book The American Sniper. 100% of the proceeds from the > book went to two of the SEAL families who had lost their sons in Iraq. That was the guy Chris was. He formed a company in Dallas to train military, police and I think firemen as far as protecting themselves in difficult situations. He also formed a foundation to work with military people suffering from PTSD. Chris was a giver not a taker. He along with a friend and neighbor, Chad Littlefield, were murdered trying to help a young man that had served 6 months in Iraq and claiming to have PTSD.

Now I need to tell you about all of the blessings. Southwest Airlines flew in any SEAL and their family from any airport they flew into free of charge. The employees donated buddy passes and one lady worked for 4 days without much of a break to see that it happened. Volunteers were at both airports in Dallas to drive them to the hotel. The Marriott Hotel reduced their rates to $45 a night and cleared the hotel for only SEALs and family.  The Midlothian, Tx. Police Department paid the $45 a night for each room. I would guess there were about 200 people staying at the hotel. 100 of them SEALs. Two large buses were chartered (unknown donor paid the bill) to transport people to the different events and they also had a few rent cars (donated). The police and secret service were on duty 24 hours during the stay at our hotel.


At the house the Texas DPS parked a large motor home in front to block the view from reporters. It remained there the entire 5 days for the SEALs to congregate in and all to use the restroom so as not to have to go in the house. Taya, their two small children and both sets of parents were staying in the home. Only a hand full of SEALs went into the home as they had different duties and meetings were held sometimes on a hourly basis. It was a huge coordination of many different events and security.  Derek was assigned to be a pall bearer, to escort Chris' body when it was transferred from Midlothian Funeral Home to Arlington Funeral Home and to be with Taya. Tough job. Taya seldom came out of her bedroom. The home was full with people from the church and other family members that would come each day to help. I spent one morning in a bedroom with Chris' mom and the next morning with Chad Littlefield's parents (the other man murdered with Chris). Tough job.

Nolan Ryan sent his cooking team, a huge grill and lots of steaks, chicken and hamburgers. They set up in the front yard and fed people all day long.  The 200 SEALs and their family. The next day a local BBQ restaurant set up a buffet in front of the house and fed all once again. Food was plentiful and all were taken care of. The family's church kept those inside the house well fed.


Jerry Jones, the man everyone loves to hate, was a rock star. He donated use of Cowboy Stadium for the services as it was determined that so many wanted to attend. The charter buses transported us to the stadium on Monday at 10:30. Every car, bus, motorcycle was searched with bomb dogs and police. I am not sure if kooks were making threats trying to make a name for themselves or if so many SEALs in one place was a security risk...I don't know. We willing obliged. No purses ino the stadium! We were taken to The Legends room high up and a large buffet was available.  That was about 300 people. We were growing. A Medal of Honor recipient was there, lots of secret service and police and Sarah Palin and her husband. She looked nice, this was a very formal military service.  The service started at 1:00 and when we were escorted onto the field I was shocked. We heard that about 10,000 people had come to attend also. They were seated in the stadium seats behind us. It was a beautiful and emotional service. Bagpipe and drum corps were wonderful and the A&M men's choir stood through the entire service and sang right at the end. We were all in tears.


The next day was the 200 mile procession from Midlothian, Tx. to Austin for burial. It was a cold, drizzly, windy day, but the people were out. We had dozens of police motorcycles riders, freedom riders 5 chartered buses and lots of cars. You had to have a pass to be in the procession and still it was huge. Two helicopters circled the procession with snipers sitting out the side door for protection. It was the longest funeral procession ever in the state of Texas. People were everywhere. The entire route was shut down ahead of us, the people were lined up on the side of the road the entire way. Firemen down on one knee, police officers holding their hats over their hearts, children waving flags, veterans saluting as we went by.  Every bridge had fire trucks with large flags displayed from their tall ladders....people all along the entire 200 miles standing in the cold weather. It was so heartwarming. Taya rode in the hearse with Chris' body so Derek rode the route with us. I was so grateful to have that time with him.


The services were at Texas National Cemetery. Very few are buried there and you have to apply to get in. It is like people from Civil War, Medal of Honor winners a few from the Alamo and all the historical people of Texas. It was a nice service and the Freedom Riders surrounded the outside of the entire cemetery to keep the crazy church people from Kansas that protests at military funerals away from us. Each SEAL put his Trident (metal SEAL badge) on the top of Chris' casket one at a time. A lot hit it in with one blow, Derek was the only one to take 4 taps to put his in and it was almost like he was caressing it as he did it.  Another tearful moment.


After the service the governor's wife, Anita Perry, invited us to the governor's mansion. She stood at the door and greeted each of us individually and gave each of the SEALs a coin of Texas (she was a sincere, compassionate, and gracious hostess). We were able to tour the ground floor and then went into the garden for beverages and BBQ. So many of the team guys said that after they get out they are moving to Texas. They remarked that they had never felt so much love and hospitality. The charter buses then took the guys to the airport to catch their returning flights. Derek just now called and after a 20 hours flight he is back in his spot, in a dangerous land on the other side of the world, protecting America.


I just wanted to share with the events of a quite an emotional, but blessed week.

SOCOM Seeks Lighter Carl Gustaf

A civilian instructor coaches two paratroopers with the 82nd Airborne Division's 1st Brigade Combat Team on how to use a Carl Gustav 84mm recoilless rifle during a certification class Dec. 6, 2011, at Fort Bragg, N.C. The multi-role weapon can be used against armor, fortifications and personnel. USSOCOM is seeking to reduce the weight and size of the weapon system. U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Michael J. MacLeod


Release of a recent "sources sought" announcement has highlighted U.S. interest in obtaining a "lighter" version of the 84mm Carl Gustaf weapon system from Saab Dynamics. Employed for many years by the U.S. Army's 75th Ranger Regiment and other elements within United States Special Operations Command as the M3 Multi-Role Anti-Armor Anti- Personnel Weapon System (MAAWS), the weapon system began entering broader U.S. Army inventories at the end of 2011.

In late November of that year the company announced the first U.S. Army order for the weapon system, with an initial Army requirement for 126 weapons and 3,000 rounds of ammunition. The 126 weapon total was sufficient to field approximately two brigades' worth of systems.

In terms of enhanced combat capabilities, Saab representatives noted at the time that U.S. forces were employing shoulder-fired weapons and light machine guns with 500-600 meter capability, but were being engaged by RPGs at ranges out to 900 meters. They pointed to the fact that the Carl Gustaf provided an organic weapon that could immediately return fire at those ranges and beyond, with a high explosive round that will go out to 1300 meters or 1250 meters for airburst capability - the latter capability allowing for the engagement of troops in defilade.


The new tactical capabilities, however, came with at a weight of just over 21 pounds for the weapon, and Saab representatives acknowledged that the company was funding internal weight reduction developments in an effort to decrease that weight burden.


As a U.S. Special Forces soldier with Special Operations Task Force - Central fires a Carl Gustav recoilless rifle during a training exercise conducted in Basrah, Iraq, May 2, 2009.
U.S. Army photo by Spc. William Hatton
In apparent recognition of those efforts, U.S. Army Contracting Command, on behalf of USSOCOM, released a March 28, 2013 announcement calling for information "to identify potential sources for immediate procurement or rapid development of a kit to lighten the U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) Multi-Role Anti-Armor Anti-Personnel Weapon System (MAAWS) M3 Carl Gustaf Rifle," adding, "The current MAAWS program is the Non-Developmental Item (NDI) acquisition of the Saab Dynamics Carl Gustaf 84mm recoilless rifle system."


"USSOCOM is considering a weight reduction of the M3 Carl Gustaf System," it stated. "The overall weight reduction of the M3 would be a minimum of 3 lbs. with a desired weight reduction of 5 lbs. The weight reduction would need to be accomplished without affecting the overall Center of Gravity (CG) of the rifle. In addition, an overall length reduction of approximately 3 inches is sought. The lightening of the M3 shall not affect its safety or ruggedness when exposed to the rigors normally associated with military operations, including air delivery and salt water submersion. A fully developed kit with production configuration would be delivered no later than 16 months from the onset of performing the desired tasks."



Carl Gustav Recoilless Rifle - Afghanistan
Carl Gustav Recoilless Rifle - Afghanistan


Asked about the current status of their weight reduction efforts, company representatives emphasized their ongoing support of USSOCOM as well as the U.S. Army's Armament Research Development and Engineering Center (ARDEC), which serves as the "user representative" for all U.S. military users. They add that ARDEC provides the guidance as to desired capabilities for the lightweight system and both threshold and objective requirements for materials, dimensions and weight.

They explained that current solutions weigh "about 15 lbs." and are approximately two inches shorter than the current design. Early live firing tests conducted to date have demonstrated no decrease in performance, no increase in recoil, and nearly equivalent barrel life.

"The system will be ready for developmental testing at the government level in [FY]'14," added one person familiar with the effort.

In addition to lightening the weapon, other company activities have led to the company advertising maximum engagement ranges out to 1500 meters with a new high explosive round with impressive direct fire accuracy when coupled with a Fire Control System (FCS).

Asked if the company was working with any specific FCS design, program representatives declined to discuss "a particular vendor," adding, "There are three systems out there that we know of, that different user groups are fielding for their own weapon systems. We assume that USSOCOM is going to ultimately field an FCS that they prefer, but we don't know which one that is going to be."


POW Escape from Davao, Part 1
The Pacific Theater's "Great Escape"

U.S. POWs at Camp O'Donnell.carry two of their dead to be buried. U.S. Air Force photo
April 1943 would become a landmark month in the history of prisoners of war (POWs). In Stalag Luft III, a Luftwaffe-run POW camp in Lower Silesia, Germany, Squadron Leader Roger Bushell of the RAF began formulating plans for what would be called "the Great Escape" in March 1944 - a tunnel breakout of 76 POWs in which three succeeded in reaching freedom and 50 were executed by the Gestapo. Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, at Davao Penal Colony on the Philippine island of Mindanao, after months of meticulous planning, 10 American POWs conducted their own Great Escape on April 4 by openly walking out of the front gate of the Japanese-run POW camp. The War Department would call their action the "greatest story of the war in the Pacific."

The men knew that, if caught, they faced a death sentence. But it was a risk all were willing to take because they wanted to tell the world about Japanese Army atrocities being committed against POWs.


The tragic story of Japanese mistreatment and murder began in early April 1942, following the surrender of as many as 80,000 American and Filipino servicemen (estimates vary) on the Bataan Peninsula. The Japanese 14th Army was unprepared for such a large number of POWs. Worse, the Bushido (Way of the Warrior) code that dominated Japanese military thinking equated surrender with treason and effectively rendered prisoners as something subhuman. And, having been indoctrinated by a system of institutionalized and hierarchical corporal punishment unique to the Japanese military, Japanese junior officers and enlisted men believed they had free rein to brutalize their charges during the journey to Camp O'Donnell, where most would be incarcerated.

"We must tell the world what the Japanese are doing in the Philippines. We must make the horrors of O'Donnell, Cabanatuan, and Davao a matter of record."

- Maj. Stephen Mellnik


The POWs were forced to walk in the sweltering heat without rest and little or no water or food. Those who collapsed along the way were run over by trucks, shot, bayoneted, beheaded, or buried alive by fellow prisoners forcibly impressed to do so under pain of execution. Those who managed to remain upright endured arbitrary beatings and bayoneting. It's estimated that up to 10,000 Filipino and 650 American POWs died in the 80-mile trek to Camp O'Donnell,  called the Bataan Death March. At O'Donnell and at another POW camp on Luzon, Cabantuan, the horrific treatment continued.


This aerial, retouched photograph provides a bird's-eye view of the Davao Penal Colony. Photo courtesy of Kyle Richards
Lt. Cmdr. Melvyn H. McCoy of the U.S. Navy; Maj. Mike Dobervich, Capt. Austin Shofner, and 1st Lt. Jack Hawkins of the Marine Corps; Maj. Stephen Mellnik, Lt. Leo Boelens, and Sgts. Paul Marshall and Robert Spielman of the U.S. Army; and Capts. William "Ed" Dyess and Sam Grashio of the Army Air Corps were among the men who witnessed and survived the atrocities of the Bataan Death March, O'Donnell, and Cabanatuan. While at Cabanatuan, Japanese authorities issued a call for 1,000 healthy men to work at a new camp. Deciding that any place was better than Cabanatuan, they signed the list. On Nov. 7, 1942, they were among the 1,000 POWs who arrived at Davao Penal Colony - Dapecol - tucked in a remote section of Mindanao.


Originally part of the Philippine prison system, Dapecol was a maximum-security prison along the lines of France's Devil's Island and America's Alcatraz. But instead of water, Dapecol's barrier was an impenetrable malaria-infested swamp containing headhunters, poisonous snakes, crocodiles, and other menaces. Containing about 140 square miles, Dapecol possessed fruit and nut orchards, vegetable and grain fields, and a mahogany forest worked by the prisoners. Upon conquering the Philippines, the Japanese Army took over operations, to the benefit of their war effort.


The Japanese had every reason to believe escape was impossible. In the 10 years of Dapecol's existence, no prisoner had escaped. In addition, roughly 1,300 miles of ocean separated the POWs from Australia. But escape is exactly what these 10 men planned. Initially there were two independent escape teams, one led by McCoy and the other by the Marines. They learned of each other and joined forces when the Marines approached McCoy seeking his help in piloting a boat once they reached the coast.

From the middle of February to the end of March 1943, and with the help of a couple of sympathetic locals, the men secretly smuggled out the items they'd need and buried them at the agreed jump-off site. No one else in the camp knew of their plan.


On Sunday morning, April 4, with musette bags filled with last-minute items slung over their shoulders, the men assembled into their work details. As a guard checked them off on a chalkboard, the men marched through the gate, ostensibly on their way to their assigned fields.

As they did so, Frank Carpenter, an officer friend of Mellnik's shouted out jokingly, "Hey, Steve! Your toothbrush is sticking out of the back of your musette bag. Are you planning to escape?"


To be continued

POW Escape from Davao, Part 2
The Pacific Theater's "Great Escape"

Davao escapee Lt. Col. William E. Dyess (left) reporting to Gen. MacArthur (second from right). Also pictured are two of his fellow escapees, Lt. Cmdr. M.H. McCoy (second from left) and Maj. S.M. Mellnik. U.S. Air Force photo

 On the morning of April 4, 1943, two POW work details made up of Lt. Cmdr. Melvyn H. McCoy, U.S. Navy; Maj. Mike Dobervich, Capt. Austin Shofner, and 1st Lt. Jack Hawkins, U.S. Marine Corps; Maj. Stephen Mellnik, Lt. Leo Boelens, Sgt. Paul Marshall and Sgt. Robert Spielman, U.S. Army; and Capt. William Edwin Dyess and Capt. Sam Grashio, U.S. Army Air Corps, began their trek through the compound of Davao Penal Colony. To the Japanese guards it was just another morning watching two groups of POWs on their way to tend the fields and orchards that supplied Dapecol, as it was called, with its food and income. From inside the fence, POW Frank Carpenter, an officer friend of Mellnik's shouted out jokingly, "Hey, Steve! Your toothbrush is sticking out of the back of your musette bag. Are you planning to escape?" Mellnik pretended not to hear. Though Carpenter didn't know it, that's exactly what the men were doing.



The Davao escapees from left to right, Maj. Steve Mellnik, Lt. Cmdr. "Chick" Parsons, Lt. Cmdr. Melvyn McCoy, Capt. Ed Dyess and Capt. Charley Smith pose for a photo before commencing their trek to rendezvous with the USS Trout. National Archives photo
Thirty minutes later they rendezvoused at a plower's shack where they had secretly hidden supplies. At 10:30, they rendezvoused with two local Filipinos who had agreed to guide them through the impenetrable swamp around Dapecol. The men began cutting through the thick vegetation with their bolos. After months of secret preparation, the Great Escape of the Pacific Theater was on.


At 6:00 p.m. the POWs assembled for the evening roll call. The guards began counting. Then they did a recount - then a third counting. Bafflement gave way to a stunning realization. The unthinkable had happened - ten American POWs had escaped!


The furious Japanese commander threatened the POWs, whom he accused of aiding the escapees, with death. The guards beat the POW commander, barracks leaders, and POWs who had bunked beside the escapees in a vain attempt to extract information.

Don't you think Sam ought to lead us in a little prayer?"

-Capt. Edwin Dyess to Capt. Austin Shofner


The first two days in the swamp were hell for the weakened escapees. Despite having a compass, initially they got lost and found themselves going in circles. Better progress was made when they worked out a relay system where two men would hack away at the underbrush with bolos before being relieved. Compass readings taken at regular intervals ensured they maintained a northeasterly course.


Davaos escapees. From left to right: Lt. Cmdr. Melvyn McCoy, Maj. Stephen Mellnik and Maj. William Edwin Dyess in Gen. Douglas MacArthur's office in the A.M.P. Building in Brisbane, Australia, July 30, 1943. MacArthur Memorial photo

But, on their second day of freedom, as evening approached, the morale of some of the exhausted men, some sick and delirious, collapsed. Dyess, as one of the original instigators, knew he should say something to restore the situation, but felt the better person for that was the most religious member of the group, Sam Grashio. Dyess asked Grashio to lead them in prayer. Grashio, a Catholic, went to his knees and began reciting the "Memorare," a prayer to the Virgin Mary, pausing after each sentence, allowing the others to repeat it:

Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, never was it known that anyone who fled to your protection or sought your intercession was left unaided. Inspired by this confidence I fly unto you O Virgin of virgins, my Mother; to you I come, before you I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in your mercy and kindness, hear and answer me. Amen."


In his book, Escape from Davao, John D. Lukacs wrote, "To a man, the effect of Grashio's words was instantaneous, calming and curative. None of them would ever be able to explain just what had happened that night. . . . But Grashio knew.


"'I thought a miracle had occurred,' he would say. 'I felt now that God would save us.'"


U.S. Army and Filipino soldiers at the outset of the Bataan Death March. Allied forces were forced to surrender to the Japanese on April 9, 1942, the largest surrender in U.S. history. The Davao escapee were the first to reveal the extent of the horrors inflicted by Japanese soldiers on POWs. U.S. Army photo
Four days later, they arrived at the village of Lungaog and met friendly Filipino guerrillas who agreed to help them get to Australia. From that point on in their roughly 300-mile journey on Mindanao and until they were taken by submarine to Australia (Leo Boelens remained to help the guerrillas), at each village along the way the Americans were feted like celebrities. Years later, Grashio would recall, "After twelve months of brutality, starvation, and degradation, an abrupt change to such hospitality left us midway between tears of gratitude and utter bewilderment."


At Australia, Dyess, McCoy, and Mellnik met theater commander Gen. Douglas MacArthur, who pinned Distinguished Service Crosses on them. After hearing their story, he said, "The Japanese will pay for that humiliation and suffering."


The first story of the POWs' ordeal was released on Jan. 28, 1944, followed by accounts in other publications. They aroused such fury in the American public that the government's Europe First policy was imperiled. On January 29 at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, Margaret Truman, Missouri senator Harry Truman's daughter, expressed the feelings of her fellow Americans when she said as she christened the battleship USS Missouri, "May this great ship be an avenger to the barbarians who wantonly slaughtered the heroes of Bataan." 



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