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

Newsletter Archive
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
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.

Dear Dave,

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


     Like a servant of the Lord, with his bible and his sword,
       Our general rode along us, to form us for the fight.

The Civil War has left, as all wars of brother against brother must leave, terrible and heartrending memories; but there remains as an offset the glory which has accrued to the nation by the countless deeds of heroism performed by both sides in the struggle. The captains and the armies that, after long years of dreary campaigning and bloody, stubborn fighting, brought the war to a close, have left us more than a reunited realm. North and South, all Americans, now have a common fund of glorious memories. We are the richer for each grim campaign, for each hard-fought battle. We are the richer for valor displayed alike by those who fought so valiantly for the right, and by those who, no less valiantly, fought for what they deemed the right. We have in us nobler capacities for what is great and good because of the infinite woe and suffering, and because of the splendid ultimate triumph. We hold that it was vital to the welfare, not only of our people on this continent, but of the whole human race, that the Union should be preserved and slavery abolished; that one flag should fly from the Great Lakes to the Rio Grande; that we should all be free in fact as well as in name, and that the United States should stand as one nation--the greatest nation on the earth. But we recognize gladly that, South as well as North, when the fight was once on, the leaders of the armies, and the soldiers whom they led, displayed the same qualities of daring and steadfast courage, of disinterested loyalty and enthusiasm, and of high devotion to an ideal.

The greatest general of the South was Lee, and his greatest lieutenant was Jackson. Both were Virginians, and both were strongly opposed to disunion. Lee went so far as to deny the right of secession, while Jackson insisted that the South ought to try to get its rights inside the Union, and not outside. But when Virginia joined the Southern Confederacy, and the war had actually begun, both men cast their lot with the South.

It is often said that the Civil War was in one sense a repetition of the old struggle between the Puritan and the Cavalier; but Puritan and Cavalier types were common to the two armies. In dash and light-hearted daring, Custer and Kearney stood as conspicuous as Stuart and Morgan; and, on the other hand, no Northern general approached the Roundhead type--the type of the stern, religious warriors who fought under Cromwell--so closely as Stonewall Jackson. He was a man of intense religious conviction, who carried into every thought and deed of his daily life the precepts of the faith he cherished. He was a tender and loving husband and father, kindhearted and gentle to all with whom he was brought in contact; yet in the times that tried men's souls, he proved not only a commander of genius, but a fighter of iron will and temper, who joyed in the battle, and always showed at his best when the danger was greatest. The vein of fanaticism that ran through his character helped to render him a terrible opponent. He knew no such word as falter, and when he had once put his hand to a piece of work, he did it thoroughly and with all his heart. It was quite in keeping with his character that this gentle, high-minded, and religious man should, early in the contest, have proposed to hoist the black flag, neither take nor give quarter, and make the war one of extermination. No such policy was practical in the nineteenth century and in the American Republic; but it would have seemed quite natural and proper to Jackson's ancestors, the grim Scotch- Irish, who defended Londonderry against the forces of the Stuart king, or to their forefathers, the Covenanters of Scotland, and the Puritans who in England rejoiced at the beheading of King Charles I.

In the first battle in which Jackson took part, the confused struggle at Bull Run, he gained his name of Stonewall from the firmness with which
he kept his men to their work and repulsed the attack of the Union troops. From that time until his death, less than two years afterward, his career was one of brilliant and almost uninterrupted success; whether serving with an independent command in the Valley, or acting under Lee as his right arm in the pitched battles with McClellan, Pope, and Burnside. Few generals as great as Lee have ever had as great a lieutenant as Jackson. He was a master of strategy and tactics, fearless of responsibility, able to instil into his men his own intense ardor in battle, and so quick in his movements, so ready to march as well as fight, that his troops were known to the rest of the army as the "foot cavalry."

In the spring of 1863 Hooker had command of the Army of the Potomac. Like McClellan, he was able to perfect the discipline of his forces and to organize them, and as a division commander he was better than McClellan, but he failed even more signally when given a great independent command. He had under him 120,000 men when, toward the end of April, he prepared to attack Lee's army, which was but half as

The Union army lay opposite Fredericksburg, looking at the fortified
heights where they had received so bloody a repulse at the beginning of
the winter. Hooker decided to distract the attention of the Confederates
by letting a small portion of his force, under General Sedgwick, attack
Fredericksburg, while he himself took the bulk of the army across the
river to the right hand so as to crush Lee by an assault on his flank.
All went well at the beginning, and on the first of May Hooker found
himself at Chancellorsville, face-to-face with the bulk of Lee's
forces; and Sedgwick, crossing the river and charging with the utmost
determination, had driven out of Fredericksburg the Confederate division
of Early; but when Hooker found himself in front of Lee he hesitated,
faltered instead of pushing on, and allowed the consummate general to
whom he was opposed to take the initiative.

Lee fully realized his danger, and saw that his only chance was, first to beat back Hooker, and then to turn and overwhelm Sedgwick, who was in his rear. He consulted with Jackson, and Jackson begged to be allowed to make one of his favorite flank attacks upon the Union army; attacks which could have been successfully delivered only by a skilled and resolute general, and by troops equally able to march and to fight. Lee consented, and Jackson at once made off. The country was thickly covered with a forest of rather small growth, for it was a wild region, in which there was still plenty of game. Shielded by the forest, Jackson marched his gray columns rapidly to the left along the narrow country roads until he was square on the flank of the Union right wing, which was held by the Eleventh Corps, under Howard. The Union scouts got track of the movement and reported it at headquarters, but the Union generals thought the Confederates were retreating; and when finally the scouts brought word to Howard that he was menaced by a flank attack he paid no heed to the information, and actually let his whole corps be surprised in broad daylight. Yet all the while the battle was going on elsewhere, and Berdan's sharpshooters had surrounded and captured a Georgia regiment, from which information was received showing definitely that Jackson was not retreating, and must be preparing to strike a heavy blow.

The Eleventh Corps had not the slightest idea that it was about to be assailed. The men were not even in line. Many of them had stacked their muskets and were lounging about, some playing cards, others cooking supper, intermingled with the pack-mules and beef cattle. While they were thus utterly unprepared Jackson's gray-clad veterans pushed straight through the forest and rushed fiercely to the attack. The first notice the troops of the Eleventh Corps received did not come from the pickets, but from the deer, rabbits and foxes which, fleeing from their coverts at the approach of the Confederates, suddenly came running over and into the Union lines. In another minute the frightened pickets came tumbling back, and right behind them came the long files of charging, yelling Confederates; With one fierce rush Jackson's men swept over the Union lines, and at a blow the Eleventh Corps became a horde of panicstruck fugitives. Some of the regiments resisted for a few moments, and then they too were carried away in the flight.

For a while it seemed as if the whole army would be swept off; but Hooker and his subordinates exerted every effort to restore order. It was imperative to gain time so that the untouched portions of the army could form across the line of the Confederate advance.

Keenan's regiment of Pennsylvania cavalry, but four hundred sabers strong, was accordingly sent full against the front of the ten thousand victorious Confederates.

Keenan himself fell, pierced by bayonets, and the charge was repulsed at once; but a few priceless moments had been saved, and Pleasanton had been given time to post twenty-two guns, loaded with double canister, where they would bear upon the enemy.

The Confederates advanced in a dense mass, yelling and cheering, and the discharge of the guns fairly blew them back across the work's they had just taken. Again they charged, and again were driven back; and when the battle once more began the Union reinforcements had arrived.

It was about this time that Jackson himself was mortally wounded. He had been leading and urging on the advance of his men, cheering them with voice and gesture, his pale face flushed with joy and excitement,
while from time to time as he sat on his horse he took off his hat and, looking upward, thanked heaven for the victory it had vouchsafed him. As darkness drew near he was in the front, where friend and foe were mingled in almost inextricable confusion. He and his staff were fired at, at close range, by the Union troops, and, as they turned, were fired at again, through a mistake, by the Confederates behind them. Jackson fell, struck in several places. He was put in a litter and carried back; but he never lost consciousness, and when one of his generals complained of the terrible effect of the Union cannonade he answered:

"You must hold your ground."

For several days he lingered, hearing how Lee beat Hooker, in detail, and forced him back across the river. Then the old Puritan died. At the end his mind wandered, and he thought he was again commanding in battle, and his last words were.

"Let us cross over the river and rest in the shade."

Thus perished Stonewall Jackson, one of the ablest of soldiers and one
of the most upright of men, in the last of his many triumphs.



Click here to send Dave a private message. 


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

Special Operations Warrior Foundation

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

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

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


Learn More about the 

Special Operations Warrior Foundation (SOWF) >>   

Warrior Brotherhood Veterans Motorcycle Club

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


All profits from these items are donated to

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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>> 

I do recall, the President referring to the Benghazi Incident as "a bump in the road."


We're the battling boys of Benghazi 
No fame, no glory, no paparazzi. 
Just a fiery death in a blazing hell 
Defending our country we loved so well. 

It wasn't our job, but we answered the call, 
fought to the Consulate and scaled the wall. 
We pulled twenty Countrymen from the jaws of fate 
Led them to safety, and stood at the gate. 

Just the two of us, and foes by the score, 
But we stood fast to bar the door. 
Three calls for reinforcement, but all were denied, 
So we fought, and we fought, and we fought til we died. 

We gave our all for our Uncle Sam, 
But Barack Obama didn't give a damn. 
Just two dead seals who carried the load 
No thanks to us..........we were just "Bumps In The Road".
 Written by a Marine Corps Officer (anon)

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


Word of Truth

 Survivor Guilt   

The Word Of Truth - Alive and PowerfulBy Rev G.J. Rako
LTC (Ret)

It is heart wrenching for me to listen to combat veterans' talk about their deep expressions of guilt because they are alive and their buddies are dead, maimed, blind or have lost limbs. The reason this is heart wrenching for me is the fact that this pain is avoidable. This is friendly fire, a self-inflicted wound, and applies to police, and fire fighters as well as the military.


If you are a Christian than you must know that, there are no accidents in the Christian way of life. Everything happens for a reason. If God wanted you in a situation, where some injury would befall your friend, then He intended that test for you. This of course is adversity, but God expects us to grow from suffering and adversity in our lives.

Fear, worry, anxiety, guilt, shame, and self-pity are all sins. They are the worst kind of sins because they can fester and lead to continual sinning. They are sins of arrogance and self-absorption. The Apostle Paul tells us to forget the past and move on. God has a perfect plan for our lives however, the realization of that plan is impossible with all of its potential if we are living in past failures.

Philippians 3:13-14 forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

God's will for your life includes perfect happiness. Advancing in the unique spiritual life of the Church age will bring you knowledge, understanding, peace, joy, contentment and many other spiritual blessings. To attain these things you must make the Word of God a priority in your life.

Philippians 4:8-9 Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. 9 The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.

"Hey, preacher, you don't understand, it is my fault that my platoon was shot up and men better than me are dead. "How can I move on?" "I cannot live with myself." Do not put yourself above God. All things work together for good. Notice it says "all things", good and bad, successes and failures. Forget them and move forward.

Rom 8:28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.

There is no sin, no failure too great for the plan of God. This is a spiritual issue. God has provided all the spiritual assets you will ever need to deal with this and every problem you will ever face in this life.

Eph 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ

God wants the highest and best for you. You became the son of God the moment you believed in Jesus Christ. Nothing will keep you from what God has for you but your own volition. Either you do not believe His Word or you are stuck in self-pity, and self- absorption through the arrogance of a guilt complex.

Rom 8:31-32 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up [as a substitute] for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?

We begin by applying the procedure God designed for us in grace to deal with post salvation sins, confession.

I John 1:9 If we confess (name, cite, or acknowledge) our sins to Him(God the Father), He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

We must begin to focus on eternity and not the things of this world.

Heb 12:2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Eph 1:15-23 For this reason I too, having heard of the faith in the Lord Jesus which exists among you and your love for all the saints, 16 do not cease giving thanks for you, while making mention of you in my prayers; 17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him. 18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints,

what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might 20 which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. 22 And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church, 23 which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.

How encouraging is it to know what is "the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe."

After your silent confession to the Father start learning and knowing the Word of God, "I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened."

II Peter 1:2-4 Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord; 3 seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. 4 For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust.

II Peter 3:18 but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Ephesians 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.

Romans12:2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

There is no problem too big for the plan of God! He is there through His Word to allow us to move past any failure (real or imagined) we may ever face. Get over yourself and begin focusing on our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory for ever and ever.


Survival and Disaster Preparedness

Bugging Out Vs. Bugging In

Food Considerations  


One of the biggest issues many people struggle with when planning on a bug-out or bug-in scenario is deciding on how much food they will need to either take with them or have stocked up. First, let's address the issue of bugging-out.


The concept of a Bug-Out is to have with you at all times enough equipment needed to get you back to your Bug-In location in case of a crisis or disaster. Typically designed as some sort of carry bag full of food, ammo, clothing and tools to last you approximately three days (72 hours); for the theory is that most people are never more than three days away from home, even in hostile conditions where check points or borders must be crossed. Other more common uses for a bug-out bag to be deployed is during a black-out, tornado, hurricane or other natural disaster. Your bag should be designed according to your bio-region, which means people more prone to hurricanes should prepare differently than those more prone to wildland fires or earthquakes. Stress during a Bug-Out will increase your calorie consumption and adrenal response because of the urgency to get home to family or friends and this is all the more reason to plan ahead and include in your emergency kit some high quality foods only for bugging out.

According to the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) recommendations, the pounds per person per day (ppppd) for someone engaged in moderate activity such as hiking during hot days with warm nights to be around 1.5 lbs, which equals roughly 2,500-3,000 calories per day. Once again, these recommendations are based upon region, climate and what type of activity you'll be engaged in. If you have to hike through the mountains of Eastern Kentucky for two days before getting to the lowlands to your bug in location then your requirements would increase to 1.75-2 ppppd which provides 3,000-3,500 calories for warm days and cool mountain nights. Can you get home without any food at all? Of course, but not in optimal condition. You do not know what you're going home to nor do you know what circumstances you'll encounter as you approach (such as resistance or obstacles) that would sap whatever remaining energy levels you had in reserve.

You must take care of yourself when bugging-out, not only for your sake, but for those you love too. What type of food should you pack in your bug out kit? We're all familiar with MRE's and Freeze Dried foods and while they beat a stick in the eye, they're not your best choice for good nutrition. Dehydrated food, the type you can make at home either in a food dryer, your oven or in a hot car on a summers day are one of the most economical and tasty ways to go. Freeze dried foods often require twice the  recommended serving size to satisfy you and have way too much sodium which is not a good thing to have when enduring a stressful state (heart attacks anyone?). You can dry fruits, vegetables and meats at home which provide the best nutrition and taste for a fraction of the cost of freeze dried products. Plus, they're light weight and pack very well. Additionally, if you invest in a vacuum sealer and store your dehydrated foods at a roughly 70o F you can have an 8-10 year shelf life!

Bugging In is the reverse side of the coin. This is the concept of either sheltering-in-place or you successfully escaped the disaster zone and have reached your planned shelter location. This is where prepping comes into play on a larger scale. You will have to develop a bulk ration plan for you and those sheltering with you. And, once again, depending on your region and projected plan of stay, your caloric restrictions will vary. After about three days with little or without our favorite food, people get irritable and whine (I know I do) and caloric cravings and needs increase for a while due to our bodies adjusting to our current diet. With these things in mind bulk rationing for sheltering-in-place should take into consideration a more liberal approach to caloric usage as it's better to have too much than too little when it comes to prepping.

For the day to day, taking into consideration that you're probably not living in a bunker and you'll be able to get out and about within reason a good figure for daily calories would again be 2,500-3,000 which is equal to 1.5-1.75 ppppd. For the winter when heat may be hard to come by if you didn't plan ahead properly 2 - 2.5 ppppd which is roughly 3,500-4,500 calories may be in order as your body burns more calories when it's cold than when hot as it tries to warm itself.

Next, you will break the poundage and multiply that by the number of  people in your party multiplied by the number of days you plan on sheltering-in-place.

__________ X __________ X __________ = ____________
     (days)             (people)             (ppppd)           (total weight)

You can then further break down the poundage per person per day (ppppd) should you be feeling overly analytical. NOLS provides a great starting point for this breakdown as well in their book titled "Cookery", just check out page 8 the section entitle Category Multipliers.

So, let's say you plan on bugging-in for 3 months (90 days) with 5 people through the summer months which would put you at around 1.5-1.75 ppppd (we'll used 1.75) --- 90x5x1.75 = 787.5 total pounds of food rations. It sounds like a lot when you put it in those terms, but it's really not. If you are confident in your bug-in position you can opt for canned goods and grocery store type items which will give you more immediate gratification as you wean yourself off the systems resources. You can then supplement those items with wild game you hunt or trap and dehydrated food stuffs from your garden which will enable you to prolong your supplies. Lastly, consider some type of small livestock animal such as chickens, goats or rabbits as they're sustainable, provide food and can eat left-over food and garden refuse. Livestock animals of this type are the ultimate MRE (Meal Ready to Eat)!


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 7 
The Planning Sequence 

This chapter presents nine straightforward steps in the planning sequence I developed for my four-day Ranger-style program at Leading Concepts. When you read the explanations, your first inclination will probably be to skip points that don't seem relevant. Every step is relevant. When you go through the LC Planning Sequence once, you'll immediately see how the elements fall into place. From that moment on, you can rely on this simple tool to organize your thoughts and action. Remember: People don't plan to fail. They fail to plan.


On the battlefield, leaders can't be everywhere at once. They must rely on Rangers to know what to do in the absence of orders. That direction-that leadership-comes through thorough planning, explicit communication, and a solid culture. These elements should be reinforced throughout the organization. A resilient organization that aims straight for success rewards planning behavior. But look how many companies reward flashes of brilliance that are way outside of a plan but never even acknowledge good planning!


             I urge you to take on a real mission in learning to use the planning sequence, so you can experience how powerful good planning can be in your work environment. Put a team together; take anybody who will commit to the adventure, regardless of their department or background or rank in the company. Pinpoint a departmental or regional problem that provides a measurable outcome for your team. Establish at the outset what individual or group will benefit from the success of your mission and how you will measure and track ongoing progress and results.


             In the following scenario, I've suggested that the mission is to secure important information about a competitor and you only have until the close of business to do that. Of course, you can use any scenario you wish, as long as you make it SMART. SMART is an acronym you can use to organize your thoughts.


             Specific: "Collect information about ABC Manufacturing Company," not "Collect information about a competitor."


             Measurable: "Get all publicly available sales, marketing, product, and customer satisfaction data for the past three years," not "Get data that show how they're doing."


             Attainable: "We have computers, Internet access, a trade publications library, phones, and six people," not "We can do it."

             Realistic: "Two of our people have done in-depth studies of competitors before, and everyone knows how to use the resources available," not "We don't see any problem."


             Time-based: "We only have four hours available," not "We'll get it done before we go home today" or "by the next meeting."


             Regarding leadership roles for the mission, do not automatically link rank in the mission, such as Alpha Team Leader or PL, to rank in the company.

             After you go through the discussion of the planning sequence in the chapter, you can refer to the templates in Appendix B for future missions, or go to www.leadingconcepts.com and look for the LC Planning Process™.


The Scenario

             You are part of an elite team recently inserted behind enemy lines. Your team mission is to gather SALUTE (size, activity, location, uniform, time, and equipment) information in the patrol area and report all pertinent information to Higher Headquarters (HHQ).


             You will first be given a Mission Brief that contains information about recent friendly and MODD activities within the patrol area. The Mission Brief also states the mission (objectives) that your Team is to accomplish and a time to complete all objectives successfully. From the Mission Brief, your team is to build and communicate a plan. Successful planning is accomplished by following the Planning Sequence.

             Ready for your first Mission Brief, PL?


Mission Brief


             (Friendly) You have chosen to expose yourself to an efficient planning process and begin to use it.

             (Unfriendly) MODDs, internal and external, will distract you; some may even attack your judgment and undermine your attempt to fulfill the mission.



             You will use the planning sequence described in this chapter to help you in a real work challenge involving the collection of information on a competitor ("enemy," or external MODD) and complete this effort NLT (no later than) close of business today.

             Your mission, which is ideally tackled with six to ten coworkers who agree to be part of the team, is to start applying the information in this book to your work situation. Now that you've been given the Mission Brief, your first step is to build the plan.


The Planning Sequence


  1. Begin Planning Procedures


  1. Read the Mission Brief


  1. Document the positive and negative aspects of the situation






  • What about your situation is friendly or positive?
  • What about your situation is unfriendly or negative?

You will need to expand on the statements in the Mission Brief. Add to them as appropriate to build a complete picture of your situation. If your boss suggested you read this book-at work-then HHQ is behind your effort 100 percent. Put that in the "friendly" column. If you have to hide this book from your boss, because you think it will provoke fear and loathing, then you have an internal MODD to put in the "unfriendly" column. If you have the mandate at work to complete the book this week, but you're committed to working a trade show, then another MODD has surfaced.


  1. Identify your People, Equipment, and Time (PET)


  1. Identify who is on the Team
  2. Establish the chain of responsibility
  3. Verify the situation and gather as much detail as time will allow








Let's say you have 60 minutes to complete this section on planning procedures. That means that you will complete steps A. through F. of section I in 60 minutes. You could give yourself a different time period, but whatever that time period is, make it firm. From the time you begin the Planning Sequence, you have only that specified amount of preparation time no matter what.   If MODDs get in your way (e.g., you have to take time out to answer the phone), you do not get any additional time to prepare. You must drive on and move forward anyway.


C. Backwards plan your time schedule and begin managing your time


If you are beginning this project at 10:00 AM and you must complete the mission by close of business, then here is all you know so far:

5:00 PM - Mission ends

11:00 AM - Planning procedures end; Warning Order issued for Team

10:00 AM - Preparations begin; start formulating the Warning Order

As you move further through the Planning Sequence, fill in more of the details between 11:00 and 5:00.


  1. Identify what tasks need to be completed by each Team member


  1. Ensure the mission is SMART
  2. Identify the key/specific objectives






The mission brief states only that you will be gathering information on a competitor, but if you are on the sales force, you will want to narrow your focus to information that specifically pertains to sales. For example, you might want to know about the competitor's channels, what kind of commission they pay to their sales people, how large the sales force is, and so on. If you are a quality control inspector, you would want to know your competitors defect rate, common customer complaints, and what standards they use for quality control.


  1. Draft the Warning Order (See Warning Order below)



This will happen quickly as long as you've followed the procedures to this point. If you get stuck, answer these questions to develop your Warning Order:


  1. The Situation



  1. What are the positive aspects of the situation, in other words, what will help you get this job done? Some of the answers could be the composition of the team, the fact that this is your primary focus today, or that you are doing this with the full support of your leader/supervisor/PL.
  2. What are the negative aspects of the situation? What do you know about the MODD? What will work against you in getting this job done?


  1. The Mission



Exactly what are you trying to accomplish? Put it in one sentence, with bullet points if there are subparts to the mission.   For example, "Our team intends to find out what the public thinks of the competitor launching a radically redesigned product a year ago by doing the following:

(a)   Interviewing at least 20 potential customers

(b)   Reviewing media coverage over the past year

(c)   Acquiring sales/market share data since the product launch."


  1. General Instructions




  1. Who are the people or sub-Teams that need to be involved in accomplishing the mission?
  2. What is the chain of responsibility - who is the Project Leader/Primary Leader (PL), the person ultimately responsible for the mission? What are the other key roles and who will fill them?
  3. What do the key people or sub-Teams need to be ready to contribute to the detailed plan of execution-the Operations Order?
  4. What equipment, material, or other resources do you have or need that are relevant to the mission?
  5. What is the time schedule for key events using backwards planning? You began this process before, but now that you have nearly completed the Warning Order, you have a better idea of what needs to happen between your start time and your NLT time for mission completion. At this point, you might fill in the schedule by adding the following:

5:00 PM - Mission ends

4:30 PM - Analysis ends; conclusions are listed

3:30 PM - Teams combine information; analysis begins

11:15 AM - Review and discussion of Warning Order complete

11:00 AM - Planning procedures end; Warning Order issued

10:00 AM - Preparations begin


  1. Specific Instructions


  1. What are the specific tasks that need to be accomplished by specific people or Teams? What is the NLT for each? For example, you may have two sub-Teams for this mission: Alpha Team will do the interviews with people and Bravo Team will search online and in print publications for product reviews and sales information. Alpha Team leader knows from experience that it takes 30 minutes to get set up to do such interviews and that the interviews take an average of 10 minutes each. Therefore, with three people on Alpha team, your Team should be able to complete all interviews in an hour. Add that to the 30-minute set-up time and Alpha Team should be able to complete its primary portion of the mission in 90 minutes. That information is plugged into the timeline:

5:00 PM - Mission ends

4:30 PM - Analysis ends; conclusions are reported

3:30 PM - Teams submit information to PL; analysis begins

3:00 - Alpha Team ends interviews; begins organizing information to give to PL

1:30 PM - Alpha Team begins interviews

11:15 AM - Review and discussion of Warning Order complete

11:00 AM - Planning procedures end; Warning Order issued

10:00 AM - Preparations begin


F. Assemble the entire Team



Warning Order

             The Warning Order is one of the two tools in the Planning Sequence. It serves as the heads-up for what is to come. It helps identify your available resources-your PET (people, equipment, and time). It establishes what the team will need for mission success including the tasks to be performed and a start and end time for each task. It is a task organization and delegation tool and is intended to provide enough guidance to prepare a detailed plan-that is, the Operations Order. The Warning Order consists of four sections:

  1. Situation-States the current friendly and MODD situations
  2. Mission-States specifically what is to be accomplished (who, what, when, where, why)
  3. General Instructions-Identifies all available resources (PET) and delegates specific tasks (along with the available resources and standards) to team members that must be completed in preparation of the Operations Order and/or mission
  4. Specific Instructions-Specific guidance/delegation provided to key individuals based on position of responsibility or subject expertise/value add



  1. Issue the Warning Order to the Team



  1. Coordinate
  2. Ensure the Team Leaders understand their sub-Team tasks per the Warning Order.
  3. Team Leaders get their Teams started on assigned tasks and then assist the Project Leader (PL) with Section 3 (Execution) of the Operations Order (See below).
  4. PL completes Section 3 of the Operations Order.
  5. Team Leaders supervise and ensure sub-Team tasks are completed per the Warning Order time schedule and to standard.



  1. Complete the Operations Order (See Operations Order below.)
  2. Sequentially organize the five Operations Order sections.

As in the case of the Warning Order, the elements should fall into place quickly, but the questions listed here may provide assistance in expressing them.

  1. Situation - Add detail such as these three points and any updated information to the Warning Order












  1. How will the culture of your organization affect the positive and negative aspects of the situation?
  2. What do you know or suspect will make accomplishing the task difficult? What are the known or suspected MODDs?
  3. What is the formal system of identifying MODD? How will you communicate problems that jeopardize the success of the mission?


  1. Mission


  1. Were any additional elements of the mission identified by the Team when the Warning Order was issued? Add any that are SMART.
  2. In light of any changes, how does the mission description read now?


iii. Execution - The PL should be personally involved in developing this section of the Operations Order. Sub-Teams or key Team members can develop the others sections using the information provided in the Warning Order as a starting point.


1.   What does the PL intend to accomplish?

2.   Precisely how will the project be carried out?

  1. Break the project into identifiable phases, or manageable chunks.
  2. For each phase, list every task that needs to be accomplished including:
  • A list of individuals or Teams responsible
  • The defining performance standards for completion (that is, exactly what is expected in terms of quality, costs, etc.)
  • The "no later than" time for completion of each sub-task
  • A list of the materials, equipment, or information needed to do the job
  • A definition of the output from the task, who needs the output, and how it will be used (for example, to meet customer requirements)

Consider a project management technique such as a flow chart or matrix to lay out the sequence of tasks visually. This will help to further clarify the interdependencies critical to the success of the Team.

  1. What (when) are your rally points along the way where progress can be assessed? What will you check at these rally points, and how?   Consider interim "Reflecting and Connecting" and "After Action Reviews." Avoid arriving at the end of the allowed time only to find that something has gone astray in the execution.
  2. When an obstacle, difficulty or MODD is identified, who will be notified, how, and what actions will be taken? Make sure a plan is developed under item b. for all known MODD.
  3. Upon completion of the mission, when and where will the Team assemble for Reflecting and Connecting and After Action Reviews?


iv. Service and Support


1.   In specific terms, what resources are available and what resources are needed?

2.   Who, what, where, when, and how will you acquire needed resources?


v. Communication


  1. How will members of the Team send, receive, and understand all the pertinent information involved?
  2. Ensure that individual contact information is available and that all understand any special communications.


  1. Review each section of the Operations Order to ensure a thorough plan has been developed and organize the sections sequentially



C. Assemble the entire Team




Operations Order

             The Operations Order is the second of two tools in the Planning Sequence. It follows the Warning Order and serves as the detailed plan of execution. It spells out in detail how the team plans to achieve mission success. It is intended to be a step-by-step plan that serves as a communications map for all team members. This allows the team to adjust fluidly to changing circumstances and adapt the plan to fit the new situation. Remember: No plan ever goes as planned.

The Operations Order consists of five sections:

  1. Situation-More detailed than the Warning Order, updated friendly and MODD situations
  2. Mission-Restate the mission given in the Mission Brief
  3. Execution-From start to finish, the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) that the team will follow to ensure mission success
  4. Service and Support-Resources (PET) the Team has to work with; and where, when, and how to order and acquire them
  5. Communication-Identifies individual contact information and the SOPs for communicating and disseminating information during and after the mission



  1. Issue the Operations Order to the Team



  1. Rehearse
  2. Set priorities for the various tasks involved in the mission
  3. If there are tasks involved that Team members haven't done before, make sure they know how to do them



  1. Issue Equipment



VIII.Execute the Operations Order


Work your plan


  1. Debrief
  2. Conduct Reflect and Connect
  3. Conduct After Action Reviews - Solicit from your Team members, in their own words, what they thought went well and what needed improvement in this mission



The debriefing skills get much closer attention in Chapter 15, but for purposes of this LC Planning Sequence exercise, apply just two concepts:  

(1)   Describe how you felt during the mission, from planning through completion, and

(2)   List one SMART goal that you will implement in the near future based on what you've learned post execution



Typical Planning Pitfalls

             Many people jeopardize their mission by falling short in four areas of the Planning Sequence:

  • rehearsal
  • identifying all known and suspected MODD
  • sticking to the timetable/managing their time
  • using the planning tools to organize all their information



Rock climbers rehearse tricky moves in a gym to mitigate their risk on a challenging peak. Actors rehearse lines to deliver their best performance. For hours, soldiers practice adjusting their formations to meet different circumstances, so that when a firefight comes, they fall into position automatically. In short, rehearsal sharpens skills and helps a plan take shape.

             Never underestimate the value of rehearsal in all forms. Restaurants rehearse by having new wait staff shadow seasoned employees. Companies preparing to roll out new technology rehearse through beta testing with real customers. In my training in the Rangers, we always shot live bullets, we always played in the dark, we always did long road marches-everything we were expected to do in combat, we did routinely in training. When I went into combat, the only difference from training was that the targets shot back. The difference seems incredible, but it wasn't. The chaos, the weight of my gear, the jump in, the darkness, the physical exhaustion-all of it was the same. In fundamental ways, combat seemed like just another day at the office because I had been properly prepared.


Identifying All Known and Suspected MODD

In identifying the MODD, make only one assumption: The situation is always in two parts-enemy and friendly. It's never just one or the other. The "friendly situation" section of the Mission Brief is designed to tell you, "Here's what's going on with the good guys." In other words, who is moving in the same direction as you and your team. The enemy situation is telling you, "Here's what we know about the bad guys"-that is, anyone or anything that could get in your way during the mission.Combined, the pieces of information give you as much of a 360 about your current situation as possible-pros and cons-prior to the mission so you can make sound decisions during the mission.

             In business, many PLs tend to underestimate the MODD that people are naturally resistant to change-any change. This factor must be considered as something that contributes to an unfriendly situation.

             During the four-day Ranger TLC Experience, there are a lot of times, particularly on the first day, that people get distracted from the mission by MODDs like mosquitoes, sweat, and foggy masks. It's a lot like moving corporate offices to a new location and facing unfamiliar annoyances such as new office equipment or locations and needing a key for the restroom. The shift to focus on the real MODD usually occurs when they realize: "If I defeat these guys and capture the supplies, I get to eat, change my clothes, and go to bed." Mosquitoes become insignificant; in a heartbeat, team members one by one mentally defeat that MODD.


Sticking to the Timetable

Keep in mind that time is an integral part of the mission. On the last day of the LC program, we throw all kinds of MODD into the mission "We also tell them they have to take each rally point in a certain amount of time, but actively try to lead them away from rally points. Many times, because they can't make the next rally point on time, they fail. Keep everything in perspective: How much time do you have? What are you trying to accomplish? What are the real MODD?


  •  Rally Point: Don't fight the wrong MODD!


             One way to keep your team attuned to their rate of progress on the mission and the passing of time is to schedule interim times to reflect and connect. Spend a couple minutes doing a debriefing every hour or other designated intervals.

             During Ranger endurance marches, we might be out in the woods for four days at a time. More often than not, we ended the mission cold, wet, tired, and in the dark. By the end, it became more necessary than in the beginning of the mission for the PL to find ways to keepour pace up. Captain Thomas did two things to keep us motivated: He always led the way and, to mark every mile of the last few, he'd throw a small chemical light stick on the side of the road.

             Your team PL can take small actions like Captain Thomas's mile-markers that make sense in the context of your mission in order to help the entire team meet the "no-later-than" part of the mission and always be conscious of how far they are progressing.


Using the Planning Tools to Organize All Information

When time constraints on completing a project make you feel as though you have to do something-as if planning isn't doing something-the temptation may be strong to disregard certain elements of the Warning Order and Operations Order. A common urge is to "wing it" based on your experience. Resist that urge at all costs. When you use the Warning Order and Operations Order habitually, they save you time. I guarantee it. The Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) referenced in the Operations Order, for example, can address a multitude of how-to issues-eliminating internal MODD, making the interactions among team members much smoother. You might use standing office policies as part of your SOPs for the mission, such as "Avoid answering personal e-mail while you are using the network for business."

             On top of those, you may want to add a few that are mission-specific: "Always read an article about a competitor in its entirety so you're sure to get all the pros, cons, and key quotes." To help you in this process, and to amuse you, I've included as Appendix C the Standing Orders for Rogers Rangers, which Major Robert Rogers drafted in 1759.

             I practice what I preach about using the LC Planning Sequence, as does my staff. We use the process and the tools in preparing for a consulting session as well as a session in the woods. Here I've included a real (translated: raw, unedited) example of an Operations Order I developed for a project:


             OPERATION: Turn Over (T.O.) 5/11/01 Update

             PL's INTENT: To improve whom we hire and how we prepare them once they're hired (technically and culturally)


             Friendly-5 LC Rangers @ (company) have come together to aid with employee retention and help reduce the issues that steam from high T.O. Other departments w/in (company) are becoming aware of our efforts and are beginning to add real value to our efforts.

             MODD-We may not yet have fully tapped into the assistance and support that can be provided by other areas w/in (company). We need to ensure that we're not perceived as the MODD and keep people properly informed to prevent misinterpretation/ miscommunication regarding our efforts.

  • Current Stats: 220 people w/ less then 24 mos. left between 8/1/00 & 2/28/01
  • Currently losing an average of 32.4 people per month.
  • Average length of service is currently 3.4 mos.
  • Projected T.O. 110% or 387 people (based on 352 direct operators)
  • We don't know enough about why they left/are leaving.
  • 4/20/01-HR update <non-skilled>:
    • 28% leave w/in 1st 30 days
    • 30% leave between 30 and 90 day
    • 14% leave between 3 and 6 months!
    • 19% leave between 6 months and 1 year
    • 5% leave between 1 to 2 years
    • Less then 3 % leave after 2 years!



Reduce Projected T.O. to 82.5% No Later Than July 1st, 2001



By utilizing/implementing the following items we intend to positively impact T.O.


  • Informal Employee Interviews-PER 5/11/01 Meeting:
    • Department Managers will find 5 to 6 key individuals who are likely to provide candid information as to what we're doing well and what we need to address regarding how we attract, train, interact with, and retain employees. Information gathered will be similar to what we were seeking via the interview (now a thing of the past).


  • 2nd Interview Process-PER 5/11/01 Meeting:
    • Some Department Managers are doing more than others in this area.
    • More coordination and communications between Department Managers and HR would probably help improve the effectiveness of this approach.


  • New Hire Technical Training (how to do a quality job)-This issue still needs additional discussion and planning.
    • Department Managers will begin to spot check new hires to ensure that they're receiving proper training within the 1st few days of their career @ (company).
    • "Hip Pocket Training" will be conducted when there is a down cell/work area that can be used for training new hires and reinforcement training of current employees.


  • Be sure to work with and through your supervisors to assist them in understanding our needs and your expectations. Supervise and spot check to ensure they are training to "standard."
  • Supervisors will be encouraged to develop their own plan and utilize their available resources (down-time and off-time as needed).
  • New Hire Orientation <NHO>: Needs additional discussion and planning
    • Jill will work to broaden our NHO to included not only Administrative issues and Benefits; but also:
  • Culture-Who is (company)?
  • Expectations-Of them and of us
  • "Basic Training"-Job basics and people basics: how to do your job & how we work together as one team
  • Exit Interviews-PER 5/11/01 Meeting:
    • Using the Exit Interview questionnaire provided by Ken, Department Managers will rally w/ their supervisors and ensure that there is a completed form for every quit/term in each area/each shift done at the "local level."
    • We may want to have Jill apply her survey experience to this form once the 1st survey is distributed.
    • Encourage supervisors to use their "people skills" w/ those completing the exit interview to ensure meaningful data is collected.
    • Get creative in collecting the data (give them break time; buy them a pop/coffee; self- addressed stamped envelope; etc.).
    • HR will continue to do Exit Interviews so that we can compare those done at the "local level" and those done by HR to see if we're getting the same information.


             SUPPORT: LC Ranger T.O. Team (Robert, Edward, Steve, Sam, Carlos, Joe, Dave, Bryan) HR (Ken, John, Jill)

             Dean H.


             COMMUNICATION: We will rally on 5/25/01 @ 10:30 a.m.in the large conference room

  • Everyone
  • Full Review of Plan
  • HR to bring Exit Interviews
  • Department Managers to bring Exit Interviews done @ "local level"
  • Department Mangers to bring Informal Employee Interview information collected between 5/11/01 and 5/24/01
  • We need to address technical training and New Hire Orientation
  • NLT = (due date)
  • T.O. = Turn Over Team

             As you implement the complete LC Planning Sequence, keep in mind these words of wisdom from futurist Alvin Toffler, author of Future Shock and The Third Wave: "You've got to think about 'big things' while you're doing small things, so that all the small things go in the right direction."

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

Warrior's Wisdom
  A long time ago, Clausewitz noted that . . . the most important single judgment a political or military leader can make is to forecast correctly the nature of war upon which the nation is to embark. On this everything else depends."
Aesop's Fables
A boy put his hand into a pitcher full of filberts. He grasped as many as he could possibly hold, but when he tried to pull out his hand, he was prevented from doing so by the neck of the pitcher. Unwilling to lose his filberts, and yet unable to withdraw his hand, he burst into tears and bitterly lamented his disappointment. A bystander said to him, "Be satisfied with half the quantity, and you will readily draw out your hand."
Do not attempt too much at once.

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Quotes & Jokes
"Justice is the end of government. It is the end of civil society. It ever has been and ever will be pursued until it be obtained, or until liberty be lost in the pursuit."
James Madison

"Can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are the gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with his wrath?"

Thomas Jefferson (1781) In 1776, after having the new Declaration of Independence read to his troops, Washington ordered that chaplains for every regiment affirm that "every officer and man, endeavor so to live, and act, as becomes a Christian Soldier, defending the dearest Rights and Liberties of his country."


"A Constitution is not the act of a Government, but of a people constituting a government, and a government without a constitution is a power without right."

Thomas Paine, Rights of Man, 1791 

"One of the penalties of not participating in politics is that you will be governed by your inferiors."


Political correctness is a cancer that is destroying our country!  

"To compel a man to subsidize with his taxes the propagation of ideas which he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical".
Thomas Jefferson
"A word to the wise ain't necessary - it's the stupid ones that need the advice."
Bill Cosby


"If we can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people, under the pretence of taking care of them, they must become happy." Thomas Jefferson

Minister Jonathan Mayhew (1720-1766): "Civil tyranny is usually small in its beginning, like 'the drop in a bucket,' till at length, like a mighty torrent of raging waves of the sea, it bears down all before it and deluges whole countries and empires."

"A Constitution is not the act of a Government, but of a people constituting a government, and a government without a constitution is a power without right."

Thomas Paine, Rights of Man, 1791 


"In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place, oblige it to control itself." James Madison 


"A universal peace ... is in the catalog of events, which will never exist but in the imaginations of visionary philosophers, or in the breasts of benevolent enthusiasts." 

James Madison (1792) 


"There are more instances of the abridgment of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations."  

James Madison

President Herbert Hoover: "If our youth is rightly instructed in the faith of our fathers; in the traditions of our country; in the dignity of each individual man, then our power will be stronger than any weapon of destruction that man can devise. ... The great documents of [our] heritage ... are from the Bible, the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States. Within them alone can the safeguards of freedom survive." 

"If you get caught up in things over which you have no control, it will adversely affect the things  over which you have control."


"The solution is to focus on what you can control"

"Talent is God given be humble
Fame is man given be thankful
Conceit is self given be careful"

"Dwelling on the past prevents doing something in the future"

"In War do unto others before they do unto you"

"Vigor in pursuit equals intrepidity in Attack"

"Battlefield Instinct is knowing how to dodge a bullet"

"Energy and Resolution can win"

"In Irregular Warfare Boldness is often the Wisest"

"Half measures in war are fatal"

" Long Live Death" Viva Muerte  The Spanish Legion

Economist Thomas Sowell: "It is hard to read a newspaper, or watch a television newscast, without encountering someone who has come up with a new 'solution' to society's 'problems.' Sometimes it seems as if there are more solutions than there are problems. On closer scrutiny, it turns out that many of today's problems are a result of yesterday's solutions."

"Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph." Thomas

"You can break the rules and get away with it, but eventually the rules will break you for not respecting them"

" Ability can carry you to the top but arrogance will bring you down."



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What Has Really Changed?
I Think I have some rights, too
The right to walk the streets of my home town in safety. But courts and parole boards have so hampered police that crime is skyrocketing into anarchy.
I have the right to expect my taxes to be prudently used for my country-not squandered on buying votes of pressure groups nor perpetuating useless bureaus.
I have the right to save my own money by doing without-save for a secure future; not to have it stolen by inflation created by wasteful government.
I have the right to start my own legitimate business and if I have ability, see it prosper; not succumb to greedy union bosses who, for their own power and profit, can close me out with an unreasonable, even illegal, strike.
I have the right and desire as a decent American to be sure no honest man goes hungry, but I also have the right to insist he do everything he can to earn his own living.
    This nation was founded by men who rose up in anger against the bossism of Taxation without Representation, and established a country where the majority rules (not pressure groups) - the majority of law-abiding, hardworking, tax-paying citizens.
This great nation has come dangerously close to mob rule. Any official who supports or tolerates it is untrue to his country and should be treated accordingly.

Operation Creek: SOE Enlists an "Over the Hill Gang" for a Mission
Officers of the Calcutta Light Horse approximately a year after their highly successful clandestine attack on German ships in Marmagoa, Goa harbor in March 1943. Photo via Arnhemjim

For decades the Calcutta Light Horse, a 186-year-old British auxiliary regiment, was more a social club than territorial regiment. The unit's last military action had taken place in the Boer War almost 50 years earlier. Now its members, veterans who had separately seen service in World War I, with thickening waists and thinning hair, were resigned to watching from the sidelines as a new war was being waged around them. Then the Special Operations Executive (SOE) gave these old warhorses an opportunity for some covert derring-do that seemed more in keeping with Hollywood. On the night of March 9-10, 1943, volunteers from Calcutta Light Horse, assisted by some volunteers from Calcutta Scottish, another auxiliary regiment, conducted Operation Creek - arguably the most improbable SOE mission of the war. Their mission: Capture or sink the German merchantman Ehrenfels.

"To drink to deeds of daring - and the men who'll have to do 'em."

- Alastair "Red Mac" MacFarlane, Calcutta Light Horse

The Ehrenfels was one of four Axis merchantmen (three German, one Italian) in the region when war broke out in 1939. All immediately sought refuge in the nearest neutral port, in this case Mormugao, Goa. Located on India's western coast about 300 miles south of Bombay (Mumbai), Goa was at the time a Portuguese territory. British authorities were aware of the ships' presence in Goa, but as these were merchantmen, not warships, they were not seen as a threat. That perception began to change when 46 Allied merchantmen were sunk by U-boats in the Indian Ocean over a six-week period in the fall of 1942. The toll continued to climb. Twelve ships were sunk in the first week of March. At this rate, the U-boats would be able to completely blockade India. Eventually SOE India determined that the U-boats were getting detailed intelligence about merchant ship schedules, routes, even cargo, through a network of pro-Axis Indian agents providing information to the Ehrenfels which, in violation of neutrality laws, was passing the information to the U-boats via a secret radio transmitter.


The three German merchantmen who took refuge in Mormugao, Goa, after the outbreak of World War II. The Ehrenfels was the target of the raid. Photo courtesy of Arnhemjim


Because Goa was neutral, a military operation was a non-starter. But a group of British civilians, using the cover story of a sea-going vacation-cum-drunken-dare boarding party gone awry (together with some well-placed bribes to Portuguese territorial government officials), could get away with an attack on the Ehrenfels.



Such was the basic idea behind Operation Creek. That such a mad scheme was not only considered, but also approved, is a testament as to how desperate the maritime situation had become. Lt. Col. Lewis Pugh was SOE India's Director of Country Sections, part of Force 136 that conducted covert missions. In the latter half of February, he contacted his friend Bill Grice, the colonel of the Calcutta Light Horse, and after swearing him to secrecy laid out the basic facts. Pugh needed 15 to 20 men. Their target was the Ehrenfels, which they would either capture or sink. The mission would last about two weeks. The volunteers would be given some crash commando training. Because it was a top-secret mission, they'd get no credit, no pay, nor pensions should anything go wrong, and no medals. Grice wryly observed, "How attractive you make the conditions sound, Lewis." But Grice agreed to call a special meeting to ask for volunteers.


The following evening, Grice addressed an assemblage of about 30 members, stating that he needed 18 volunteers for a secret mission against the Germans. "I can tell you nothing about it except that the operation should take about a fortnight and will involve a short sea voyage. There it is, gentlemen. I leave it to you. Is anyone willing to volunteer?" To a man, everyone raised his hand.



Col. William H. Grice, ADC, ED, Commanding Officer, Calcutta Light Horse, who directly participated in the attack. Photo courtesy of Arnhemjim

The culling commenced. Those clearly too old or in poor health were dismissed. Among the accepted was the unit's corporal, Bill Manners, who asked, "What about me? You know I've only got one eye." He had lost an eye in a school accident.


"It was good enough for Nelson," replied Grice, referring to Adm. Horatio Nelson, the hero of Trafalgar. "Why shouldn't it be all right for you?" Insufficient men remained after the culling, and four members from Calcutta Scottish, another auxiliary, completed the roster.

Instead, to their astonishment they found themselves boarding what was indisputably the most unlikely warship ever used in World War II.

Commando training was basic and brief. In addition, the men studied blueprints of the Ehrenfels obtained by SOE and practiced boarding procedures. When the time came to carry out Operation Creek, to avoid arousing suspicion, they traveled separately in small groups by train to Cochin (Kochi) on the southwest tip of India where they rendezvoused with the ship that would take them to Goa.


The raiders of Operation Creek expected to find in the harbor a destroyer, or a landing craft. At worst a trawler. Instead, to their astonishment they found themselves boarding what was indisputably the most unlikely warship ever used in World War II.


Inaugural Flight for Production AT-6

Beechcraft's third AT-6 airframe, and the first production-standard one, during its first flight. Beechcraft photo

Beechcraft Corporation carried out what it called the first flight of the first production AT-6 light attack aircraft on Aug. 20, 2013. The shark-toothed aircraft, which is the third AT-6 airframe built, took to the air for 15 minutes with Dr. Lionel "Alf" Alford, Beechcraft lead test pilot, in the front seat and J. D. O'Malley, chief pilot for Beechcraft Defense, in the back. Introduction of a third AT-6 airframe highlights the planemaker's strong commitment to supplying its light attack aircraft to the world market.


Russ Bartlett, president of Beechcraft Defense Company, told Defense Media Network in an Aug. 21 telephone interview that the event was the airframe's "celebratory first flight" - one for which, "we had the whole company shut down for an hour so everyone could watch." Although a first-flight date is a key component in the history of an aircraft - like horsepower or wingspan - Bartlett wouldn't say whether this airframe had gotten into the air on an earlier date.

Although a first-flight date is a key component in the history of an aircraft - like horsepower or wingspan - Bartlett wouldn't say whether this airframe had gotten into the air on an earlier date.

The AT-6 lost to the A-29B Super Tucano in the U.S. Air Force's Light Air Support (LAS) competition. The LAS program, to provide 20 aircraft to equip the Afghan air force, is currently in legislative limbo after a Senate subcommittee voted to withhold funding. What happens to LAS will depend on what happens with the budget process in Washington. The two aircraft are among light attack planes being considered by numerous air forces around the world.


Bartlett said Beechcraft hopes to be able to announce a launch customer for the AT-6 by the end of the calendar year. He also said that as of now, "We're not sure who it's going to be."




Of the third AT-6 Bartlett said, "It's a company-owned asset, but it's a normal production aircraft. We have an actual production aircraft. It will be available to conduct training for our launch customer."


Beechcraft earlier said it was making a fourth AT-6 airframe as well. Bartlett said, "We are ready to produce the number four aircraft but will wait" for the production order the planemaker anticipates.

The Immaculate Mission:
ODA 551 in the Karbala Gap

A Special Forces Ground Mobility Vehicle (GMV) of the type used by ODA 551 in the Karbala Gap. Photo courtesy of AM General

On the fourth day of Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF), a small blue symbol appeared on Blue Force Tracking (BFT) system screens around the world. It showed an Army Special Forces (SF) Operational Detachment Alpha (ODA or "A" Team) had somehow been inserted into the chokepoint of Baghdad. For the few who knew the overall OIF war plan, that small blue symbol represented one of the most amazing Special Operations Forces (SOF) missions ever attempted.

5th SFG, along with other SOF units, would become the force multiplier that Gen. Tommy Franks, the CENTCOM commander, would use to overcome the many limitations imposed upon him for liberating Iraq.

The origins of the mission went back over a year, during the early planning for OIF at CENTCOM Headquarters at MacDill AFB at Tampa, Fla. Given the troop and diplomatic restrictions that would eventually be placed on War Plan 1005V, the one real option for focusing CENTCOM's limited combat power would be the widespread use of SOF units across Iraq. Key among the tasks given to SOF would be a series of deep-penetration missions, including Special Reconnaissance (SR) tasks.


ODA 551: The Team

By the time the planners of OIF were considering their options in early 2002, the SF soldiers of the 5th Special Forces Group (SFG) were already living legends in the small world of American SOF. Led by Col. John Mulholland, the 5th SFG had liberated Afghanistan in just seven weeks during late 2001. 5th SFG, along with other SOF units, would become the force multiplier that Gen. Tommy Franks, the CENTCOM commander, would use to overcome the many limitations imposed upon him for liberating Iraq.


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Brad Hoelscher May Have Bagged A German Jet, Fought In Three Wars
In one of the last air-to-air engagements of the war, 1st Lt. William B. "Brad" Hoelscher shot up a Messerschmitt Me 262 near Prague, Czechoslovakia on April 25, 1945. Hoelscher and his wingman were certain he shot down the Me 262 but he did not receive credit for an aerial victory. Photo courtesy of Hollis Barnhart


William B. "Brad" Hoelscher became one of the last U.S. airmen to be shot down in Europe during World War II. He went on to fight in two more wars. He accomplished just about everything an Air Force officer and fighter pilot could - yet he never received credit for the German jet fighter he destroyed before his own plane was blasted out of the sky. If he'd received that aerial victory credit, he would be considered an ace today.


Brad Hoelscher as a fighter pilot in World War II. Photo courtesy of the Robert F. Dorr Collection


Hoelscher was a P-51 Mustang pilot with the 334th Fighter Group, part of the 4th Fighter Group, flying missions from England.


"He was a top-notch pilot," said retired Lt. Gen. William E. "Earl" Brown, who was a young lieutenant when Hoelscher was a major in Korea. "He had a great sense of humor behind a gruff, crusty exterior, and he was a great warrior."


Born in 1921 in Indiana, Hoelscher was a high school football star before attending the University of Michigan. He entered the Army Air Forces, the AAF, in 1943.

Hoelscher racked up many achievements, but none meant more to him than the events of April 25, 1945, less than two weeks before the end of the war in Europe.

Hoelscher was credited with 2.5 aerial victories, according to the Air Force's official list. The half-kill is the result of sharing a shootdown with another pilot.


But since the Eighth Air Force also credited aircraft destroyed on the ground, Hoelscher was considered an air ace when his air-to-ground victories are counted. Hoelscher racked up many achievements, but none meant more to him than the events of April 25, 1945, less than two weeks before the end of the war in Europe.


Jet Threat

That day, Hoelscher found himself after 8:00 a.m. not far from Prague, Czechoslovakia, where the German unit known as Kampfgeschwader 51, or KG 51 (Bomber Group 51) "Edelweiss" had stationed a handful of Messerschmitt Me 262 jet fighters. The jet-propelled Me 262 was now a threat to Eighth and Fifteenth Air Force airmen attacking targets in the region around the Czech capital.

Fully aware that he was seriously damaged and in jeopardy, he kept after the Me 262 and continued firing short bursts.

Hoelscher's aircraft was the P-51D Mustang, with its Merlin engine, six .50-caliber guns, and the long range needed to operate at great distances over the Third Reich. Many historians believe the Mustang was pivotal to the success of the Allied air campaign over Europe. But it did not have the speed or the cannon armament of the German jet.


That morning, a mere five Me 262 pilots were credited with aerial victories over six B-17 Flying Fortresses. This mismatch was evidence of how much harm the jets could inflict, and of how much more impact they might have had, had they been introduced earlier.


334th Fighter Squadron pilots pose for a photo in January 1945. U.S. Army Air Forces photo

Hoelscher was "Cobweb Blue Three," an element leader in his 334th squadron P-51D Mustang. He and his fellow Mustang men were near Prague when black puffs of anti-aircraft fire - flak - began to swirl around them. Hoelscher wrote:


"I broke to get out of a flak barrage, and saw an Me 262 that apparently had just taken off from an aerodrome. I broke onto his tail, missed with my first burst, and then started getting hits all over him. I kept firing three-second bursts at a range of about 500 yards, getting hits. I chased him all around the aerodrome. My indicated air speed was 375 miles per hour and altitude around 1,000 feet."


While Hoelscher was pursuing the Me 262, shrapnel from flak bursts damaged his wing root and tore part of his tail away. Fully aware that he was seriously damaged and in jeopardy, he kept after the Me 262 and continued firing short bursts. He saw the Me-262 go out of control and begin to burn and smoke. The jet rolled over on its back."


2nd Lt. Gordon A. Denson, who was behind Hoelscher in a P-51 named Priscilla, wrote: "I saw a large explosion near the edge of the aerodrome under us, where the Me 262 went down out of control on his back."


Bailout and Escape

Hoelscher would believe all his life that he had scored an aerial victory near Prague that morning. German records reflect the loss of an Me 262 and its pilot, Leutnant (2nd Lt.) Sepp Huber.


According to a Czech publication (not available in English) one Oberleutenant (1st Lt.) Stürm set forth to KG 51's deployed location at Prague airfield on a motorcycle to attempt to rescue the pilot of the Me 262. The jet fighter exploded. The blast badly wounded Stürm and killed Huber.

He returned to the 334th squadron and flew the F-86 Sabre. On Oct. 11, 1952, Hoelscher shot down a MiG-15 near the Yalu River to bring his air-to-air victory total to 3.5. He was later credited with an additional one-half victory.

Hoelscher fought to save his Mustang, couldn't, and bailed out. He may not have known it, but he had plenty to worry about. The situation for captured U.S. flyers in the Sudetenland was not good. One week earlier, on April 17, 1945, fellow U.S. fighter pilot 2nd Lt. John H. Banks III, was shot down near Prague, taken prisoner, and executed. One source reports that local police tied Banks to a tree, and refused to allow the local citizens to bring him food or water. Banks died of exposure days later. He'd been on his first mission.



Brad Hoelscher with an F-86 Sabre in the 4th Fighter-Interceptor Wing at Kimpo Air Base, Korea, in 1952. Photo courtesy of the Robert F. Dorr Collection

In Hoelscher's case, local citizens helped him evade capture. Missing in action for almost two weeks, he reported to the 14th Armored Division in Pilsen on May 7, 1945. In a 1945 interview with the Indianapolis News, he said, "I 'swiped' a motorcycle and rode through the German lines the day before the war was over." He said he didn't see a single German while making his escape.


Hoelscher commanded a fighter squadron as an Indiana Air National Guardsman before being recalled to active duty when the Korean War began in 1950.


He returned to the 334th squadron and flew the F-86 Sabre. On Oct. 11, 1952, Hoelscher shot down a MiG-15 near the Yalu River to bring his air-to-air victory total to 3.5. He was later credited with an additional one-half victory.

"That Skyraider was one tough bird," said retired Col. Charles Vasiliadis, who flew the A-1E in the same squadron. "But when you were down low, you could get hit by almost anything. There was a lot of metal flying around over the battle lines in Vietnam."

A seasoned veteran of two wars now, Hoelscher had not yet flown "his most difficult or dangerous missions," according to his son, retired Lt. Col. Brad Hoelscher, Jr. That came during the Vietnam conflict, when Hoelscher was stationed in Thailand and flew the propeller-driven A-1E Skyraider on low-level close air support missions.


"That Skyraider was one tough bird," said retired Col. Charles Vasiliadis, who flew the A-1E in the same squadron. "But when you were down low, you could get hit by almost anything. There was a lot of metal flying around over the battle lines in Vietnam."


Hoelscher held key assignments in the fighter community until his retirement from the Air Force in 1970. After retirement as a lieutenant colonel, he was active in veterans' affairs.


Hoelscher married Jane Marie Bertuleit in 1945. They left behind three children. Hoelscher died in 1984, his wife in 1992.

Ranger vs Special Forces Organizations


The Chief of Staff of the Army asked his Sergeant Major, who was both Ranger and Special Forces qualified, which organization he would recommend to form a new anti-terrorist unit.  The Sergeant Major responded to the General's question with this parable:


If there were an hijacked DELTA 747 being held by terrorists along with its passengers and crew and an anti-terrorist unit formed either by the Rangers or the Special Forces was given the Rescue/Recovery Mission:  What would you expect to happen?


Ranger Option-


Forces/Equipment Committed:  If the Rangers went in, they would send a Ranger Company of 120 men with standard Army issued equipment.


Mission Preparation:  The Ranger Company First Sergeant would conduct a Hair Cut and boots inspection.


Infiltration Technique:  They would insist on double timing, in company formation, wearing their combat equipment, and singing jody cadence all the way to the site of the hijacked aircraft.


Actions in the Objective Area:  Once they arrived, the Ranger Company would establish their ORP, put out security elements, conduct a leaders reconnaissance, reapply their face camouflage, conduct a final preparations for Actions on the OBJ.


Results of the Operation:  The Rescue/Recovery Operation would be completed within the hour, all of the terrorists and most of the passengers would have been killed, the Rangers would have sustained light casualties and the DELTA 747 probably would be worthless to anyone except a scrap dealer.


Special Forces Option-


Forces/Equipment Committed: If Special Forces went in, they would send only a 12 man team (all SF units are divisible by 12 for some arcane historical reason) however, due to the exotic nature of their equipment, the SF Team would cost the same amount to deploy as the Ranger Company.


Mission Preparation:  The SF Team Sergeant would request relaxed grooming standards for the Team.


Infiltration Technique:  The Team would insist on separate travel orders with "Max Per Diem", and each would get to the site of the hijacking by his own means.  At least one third of the team would insist on "jumping in".


Actions in the Objective Area: Once they arrived, the SF Team would cache their military uniforms, establish a Team Room, use their illegal Team Fund to stock the unauthorized Team Room Bar, check out the situation by talking to the locals, and have a Team Meeting to discus the merits of the terrorist's cause.



Results of the Operation:  The Rescue/Recovery Operation would take two weeks to complete and by that time all of the terrorists would have been killed,(and would have left signed confessions); most of the passengers would be ruined psychologically for the remainder of their lives; and all of the women passengers would be pregnant.  The DELTA 747 would be essentially unharmed, the Team would have taken no casualties, but would have used up, lost or stolen all the "high speed" equipment issued to them.


Aristotle On Tyrants


The ancient Greeks used the word 'turannos', which referred to an illegitimate ruler who governs without regard for the law or interests of the people, often through violent and coercive means.


Aristotle attacks tyrants mercilessly in his book, and clearly spells out the criteria which make a leader tyrannical. You may recognize a few of them:


1) Artistotle suggests that a tyrant rises to power by first demonstrating that he is a man of the people:


"He ought to show himself to his subjects in the light, not of a tyrant, but of a steward and a king."




"He should be moderate, not extravagant in his way of life; he should win the notables by companionship, and the multitude by flattery. "

2) But once in power, a tyrant uses all available means to hold on to power, including spying on his people:


"A tyrant should also endeavor to know what each of his subjects says or does, and should employ spies . . . and . . . eavesdroppers . . . [T]he fear of informers prevents people from speaking their minds, and if they do, they are more easily found out."


3) Furthermore, Aristotle tells us that a tyrant thrives by creating division and conflict-- "to sow quarrels among the citizens; friends should be embroiled with friends, the people with the notables [the rich]. . ."


4) Controlling the economy and stealing the citizens' wealth is also another mark of a tyrant:


"Another practice of tyrants is to multiply taxes. . . [and] impoverish his subjects; he thus provides against the maintenance of a guard by the citizen and the people, having to keep hard at work, are prevented from conspiring."


5) And as Aristotle points out, a tyrant also attempts to disarm the people such that "his subjects shall be incapable of action" because "they will not attempt to overthrow a tyranny, if they are powerless."


6) Naturally, a tyrant "is also fond of making war in order that his subjects may have something to do and be always in want of a leader."


7) Aristotle also tells us that tyrants hunt down those who oppose their power:


"It is characteristic of a tyrant to dislike everyone who has dignity or independence; he wants to be alone in his glory, but anyone who claims a like dignity or asserts his independence encroaches upon his prerogative, and is hated by him as an enemy to his power."


8) Ultimately, though, Aristotle concludes that "No freeman, if he can escape from [tyranny], will endure such a government."


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