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

Newsletter Archive
November 2013
October 2013
August 2013
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


Customer Comments
"I Love it's perfect you guys did a great job!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tyler S.



Works great so far. Good stitching, well made

Clay R.



Good quality and print.

Paul S.



There was amistake on the first shirt order. I made a call and the gentalman who answered found the problem and immediately sent me a new shirt. Being a former Ranger and still holding true to the belief that American industry and the people are the best in the world. Your company and personal are of the highest standards. Thank You Dave

Dave G.



One of my favorite shirts so far, awesome shirt representing Camp Commando with the ANA

Scott A



We have purchased in excess of 500 shirts already and have not had any mistakes or damaged shirts! We will definitely be ordering more in the future!

Ryan D



Dear SFG,

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

I thought a little constructive thoughts were in order.

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

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

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

Sincerely,
Ed Whiteside



Dear Special Forces

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

PARASCHOS



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

Rick



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

Jack And Melanie Edgar



Steve,

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

Thank you,

Amanda Van Every



Dave,

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

David



Hello,

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

Cheers Andrew and best wishes for the New Year.

Greetings!

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

 THE CHARGE AT GETTYSBURG

For the Lord 
On the whirlwind is abroad; 
In the earthquake he has spoken; 
He has smitten with his thunder 
The iron walls asunder, 
And the gates of brass are broken! 
-Whittier

With bray of the trumpet, 
And roll of the drum, 
And keen ring of bugle 
The cavalry come: 
Sharp clank the steel scabbards, 
The bridle-chains ring, 
And foam from red nostrils 
The wild chargers fling!

Tramp, tramp o'er the greensward 
That quivers below, 
Scarce held by the curb bit 
The fierce horses go! 
And the grim-visaged colonel, 
With ear-rending shout, 
Peals forth to the squadrons 
The order, "Trot Out"! 
-Francis A. Durivage.

The battle of Chancellorsville marked the zenith of Confederate good fortune. Immediately afterward, in June, 1863, Lee led the victorious army of Northern Virginia into Pennsylvania. The South was now the invader, not the invaded, and its heart beat proudly with hopes of success; but these hopes went down in bloody wreck on July 4, when word was sent to the world that the high valor of Virginia had failed at last on the field of Gettysburg, and that in the far West Vicksburg had been taken by the army of the "silent soldier."

At Gettysburg Lee had under him some seventy thousand men, and his opponent, Meade, about ninety thousand. Both armies were composed mainly of seasoned veterans, trained to the highest point by campaign after campaign and battle after battle; and there was nothing to choose between them as to the fighting power of the rank and file. The Union army was the larger, yet most of the time it stood on the defensive; for the difference between the generals, Lee and Meade, was greater than could be bridged by twenty thousand men. For three days the battle raged. No other battle of recent time has been so obstinate and so bloody. The victorious Union army lost a greater percentage in killed and wounded than the allied armies of England, Germany, and the Netherlands lost at Waterloo. Four of its seven corps suffered each a greater relative loss than befell the world-renowned British infantry on the day that saw the doom of the French emperor. The defeated Confederates at Gettysburg lost, relatively, as many men as the defeated French at Waterloo; but whereas the French army became a mere rabble, Lee withdrew his formidable soldiery with their courage unbroken, and their fighting power only diminished by their actual losses in the field.
 
The decisive moment of the battle, and perhaps of the whole war, was in the afternoon of the third day, when Lee sent forward his choicest troops in a last effort to break the middle of the Union line. The center of the attacking force was Pickett's division, the flower of the Virginia infantry; but many other brigades took part in the assault, and the column, all told, numbered over fifteen thousand men. At the same time, the Confederates attacked the Union left to create a diversion. The attack was preceded by a terrific cannonade, Lee gathering one hundred and fifteen guns, and opening a fire on the center of the Union line. In response, Hunt, the Union chief of artillery, and Tyler, of the artillery reserves, gathered eighty guns on the crest of the gently sloping hill, where attack was threatened. For two hours, from one till three, the cannonade lasted, and the batteries on both sides suffered severely. In both the Union and Confederate lines caissons were blown up by the fire, riderless horses dashed hither and thither, the dead lay in heaps, and throngs of wounded streamed to the rear. Every man lay down and sought what cover he could. It was evident that the Confederate cannonade was but a prelude to a great infantry attack, and at three o'clock Hunt ordered the fire to stop, that the guns might cool, to be ready for the coming assault. The Confederates thought that they had silenced the hostile artillery, and for a few minutes their firing continued; then, suddenly, it ceased, and there was a lull.
 
The men on the Union side who were not at the point directly menaced peered anxiously across the space between the lines to watch the next move, while the men in the divisions which it was certain were about to be assaulted, lay hugging the ground and gripping their muskets, excited, but confident and resolute. They saw the smoke clouds rise slowly from the opposite crest, where the Confederate army lay, and the sunlight glinted again on the long line of brass and iron guns which had been hidden from view during the cannonade. In another moment, out of the lifting smoke there appeared, beautiful and terrible, the picked thousands of the Southern army coming on to the assault. They advanced in three lines, each over a mile long, and in perfect order. Pickett's Virginians held the center, with on their left the North Carolinians of Pender and Pettigrew, and on their right the Alabama regiments of Wilcox; and there were also Georgian and Tennessee regiments in the attacking force. Pickett's division, however, was the only one able to press its charge home. After leaving the woods where they started, the Confederates had nearly a mile and a half to go in their charge. As the Virginians moved, they bent slightly to the left, so as to leave a gap between them and the Alabamians on the right.

The Confederate lines came on magnificently. As they crossed the Emmetsburg Pike the eighty guns on the Union crest, now cool and in good shape, opened upon them, first with shot and then with shell. Great gaps were made every second in the ranks, but the gray-clad soldiers closed up to the center, and the color-bearers leaped to the front, shaking and waving the flags. The Union infantry reserved their fire until the Confederates were within easy range, when the musketry crashed out with a roar, and the big guns began to fire grape and canister. On came the Confederates, the men falling by hundreds, the colors fluttering in front like a little forest; for as fast as a color-bearer was shot some one else seized the flag from his hand before it fell. The North Carolinians were more exposed to the fire than any other portion of the attacking force, and they were broken before they reached the line. There was a gap between the Virginians and the Alabama troops, and this was taken advantage of by Stannard's Vermont brigade and a demi-brigade under Gates, of the 20th New York, who were thrust forward into it. Stannard changed front with his regiments and fell on Pickett's forces in flank, and Gates continued the attack. When thus struck in the flank, the Virginians could not defend themselves, and they crowded off toward the center to avoid the pressure. Many of them were killed or captured; many were driven back; but two of the brigades, headed by General Armistead, forced their way forward to the stone wall on the crest, where the Pennsylvania regiments were posted under Gibbon and Webb.

The Union guns fired to the last moment, until of the two batteries immediately in front of the charging Virginians every officer but one had been struck. One of the mortally wounded officers was young Cushing, a brother of the hero of the Albemarle fight. He was almost cut in two, but holding his body together with one hand, with the other he fired his last gun, and fell dead, just as Armistead, pressing forward at the head of his men, leaped the wall, waving his hat on his sword. Immediately afterward the battle-flags of the foremost Confederate regiments crowned the crest; but their strength was spent. The Union troops moved forward with the bayonet, and the remnant of Pickett's division, attacked on all sides, either surrendered or retreated down the hill again. Armistead fell, dying, by the body of the dead Cushing. Both Gibbon and Webb were wounded. Of Pickett's command two thirds were killed, wounded or captured, and every brigade commander and every field officer, save one, fell. The Virginians tried to rally, but were broken and driven again by Gates, while Stannard repeated, at the expense of the Alabamians, the movement he had made against the Virginians, and, reversing his front, attacked them in flank. Their lines were torn by the batteries in front, and they fell back before the Vermonter's attack, and Stannard reaped a rich harvest of prisoners and of battle-flags.

The charge was over. It was the greatest charge in any battle of modern times, and it had failed. It would be impossible to surpass the gallantry of those that made it, or the gallantry of those that withstood it. Had there been in command of the Union army a general like Grant, it would have been followed by a counter-charge, and in all probability the war would have been shortened by nearly two years; but no counter-charge was made.

 

HOOAH,

 

Dave  

 

Click here to send Dave a private message. 

 

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



Special Operations Warrior Foundation

Special Operations Warrior 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

   311 iran ship  

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

 

All profits from these items are donated to

Warrior Brotherhood Veterans Motorcycle Club 

 

Learn More about the Warrior Brotherhood Veterans
Motorcycle Club >>



Caring for America's Quiet 311 iran shipProfessionals 

 

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

 

Learn more about Green Beret Foundation>> 


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

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


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



 

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

VIDEOS
CHAMP - lights out Video
CHAMP - lights out Video
VJ Day. The Bravest Generation Celebrates
VJ Day. The Bravest Generation Celebrates
homage to  the huey
homage to the huey
'Lone Survivor' Trailer
'Lone Survivor' Trailer


    
Word of Truth

Word of Truth    

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

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

 

The Night Before Christmas

By Robert B. Thieme Jr.

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

 

'Twas the night before Christmas,

And all through the world

A message was preached,

A challenge was hurled:

Believe on the Son

And thou shall be saved!

The road to heaven with His blood

Was paved.

Out of darkness of sin

And despair

God's salvation, the fairest of fair,

Was born in a manger;

No room in the inn.

God in the flesh, He died for our sin.

The angels sang;

The shepherds rejoiced,

Messiah has come!

The message was voiced

By joyous believers both far and near;

Christmas has come!

Immanuel is here!

 

Christmas celebrates the incomparable divine gift to all mankind; the birth of the Son of God, Jesus Christ. Two millennia ago the Savior appeared, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. The babe in the manger would demolish the barrier between depraved humanity and perfect God. He was born to die so that through Him we might have life everlasting.

 

Unfortunately, today Santa Claus and shopping for presents take priority over the true meaning of Christmas. Exchanging gifts has supplanted our focus from the greatest of all gifts. The eternal consequence of the season is obscured. Only the Bible, God's infallible Word and inerrant Truth, reveals the import of that first Christmas. The Scriptures disclose a meaning far more momentous than the notions and traditions of men, however clever or charming.  

 

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

 

A night of life and death

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

  

A night of good news

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

A night of heavenly worship

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

 

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

 

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

 

A night of potential peace

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

A night of reverent seeking

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

A night of witnessing

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

 

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

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

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

 

A night of quiet meditation

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

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

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

 

 

Doctrinal Bible Studies

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

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

http://www.rbthieme.org/


 


Survival and Disaster Preparedness

The Three B's of Preparedness 

 

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

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

The three B's are:

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

Leading Concepts
Key to Success
Ranger TLC - 
Teamwork, Leadership 
and Communication
 
Chapter 10    
The/ In Team

I will shoulder more than my share of the task, whatever it may be, one hundred percent and then some.

-Excerpt from The Rain

Ranger teams have a common goal. They are interdependent, and they know it and act like it. They prove that effective teams are composed of specialists, yet they have a practical ability to move into a teammate's area of responsibility. The Ranger team, then, is never just a collection of specialists; it is specialists who are cross-trained and expected to use their full range of skills to accomplish a mission.

 

             In terms of training, two things happen both formally and informally to achieve interdependence.PLs have a mandate, in accordance with the Ranger Handbook, to "Build the Team: Train and cross train your soldiers until they are confident in the team's technical/tactical abilities." Rangers learn the skills and cultivate the self-belief to perform with excellence as specialists, but they have field challenges that demand peripheral vision. If Rangers are focused on the mission, they see those challenges and know they demand a response. When those problems are outside their expertise, they adapt. They know that doing what it takes to accomplish the mission is more important than performing within the narrow confines of being a sniper or a machine gunner or a medic.

 

             Maryann saw this happen in the association where she worked when the meeting planner suddenly took off for graduate school-a month before the annual conference and board of directors meeting. She and her corporate communications staff absorbed the primary planning responsibilities, as well as the on-site tactical chores. The president's secretary jumped in and handled logistics. The meeting planner's assistant served as the point of contact for conference delegates. Executive staff attending the conference volunteered to fill in gaps, as needed. In short, the new team they formed in response to losing the meeting planner was actually a better model for staging a successful meeting than having the bulk of responsibilities rest with a single person.

 

             In the world of armed conflict, here is how Rangers handled that kind of "missing man" challenge in Panama. During the invasion in Panama, we formed lots of subteams on the fly. Where I jumped, which was the airstrip at Rio Hato, all of A, B, and C Companies of the Second Ranger Battalion jumped, as well and A and B companies of Third Battalion. First Battalion and C Company of Third Battalion jumped into Panama City. So about 700 Rangers penetrated Rio Hato within a couple of minutes.

 

             On the way to my objective, I had to go about a mile and a half to my rally point. Along the way, I ran into all kinds of Rangers. We identified each other through a unique pattern we made with our silhouettes. We made nets and put them over our hard helmets (K-pots). We called them Bob Marley hats (after the Reggae master) because it looked as though we had dreadlocks. At night, if you saw the "dreadlocks" bouncing, you knew just by the silhouette that the person was a friendly. If you wanted to verify that, you could use the "running password," Bulldog. When you heard "bulldog" back, you knew that guy was in the same Mission Brief as you were.

 

             Using these codes, I became part of four different fire teams in a distance of a mile and a half, and we all assumed whatever roles were needed to complement each other in a 360 as we moved along. If we were traveling one way and a Ranger's objective was a nearby bridge, we'd drop him off at his rally point and move on. At times, we were down to three men, but then we'd move a little farther to where another guy landed and pick him up, always shaping up so we had 360 security. We formed and disbanded teams along the entire route.

 

What Rank Means in the Team

After retiring from the Air Force, a senior officer took the chief executive position at a trade association in Washington, D.C. As one of his first orders of business, he had the human resources director bring the entire staff together to show them where each person was in the chain of command and how that corresponded to wages. She made a grand chart and presented it. Every single person was in a box on the chart. The vice presidents were in a straight row, the directors were in a row below them, the managers were in a row below them, and on and on. She then posted the corresponding pay scale to the side of each row of boxes. How do you think the guy in the copy room felt? His little box was at the bottom and his pay scale was the lowest by far.

 

             This is not an empowering model, and despite the fact that it reflected the thinking of a general, it is not an accurate representation of how the military conveys a sense of rank and responsibility in terms of operations. The military model is really an inverted pyramid. The team leaders are there to hold the privates up and make sure they have everything they need to be successful and add value. The squad leaders are there to support the team leaders. The platoon sergeant is there to hold the squad leaders up. The first sergeant is there to support the platoon sergeant. The relationships don't look like that on paper-they don't sort out that way in terms of rank-but that's how the relationships play out operationally and culturally. It's a functional arrangement that has more power and practical value than a graph on a piece of paper.

 

             When soldiers are in garrison, formations are made in a physical hierarchy on the parade field or in the company area. The captain (commanding officer) is up front. The platoon leaders are standing in front of their platoons. The squad leaders are on the side, filed down alongside, and so on. When soldiers are in garrison, they are there to do an administrative activity, so there is a distinct hierarchy.

 

             Experience, rank, and time in service-they all help establish that hierarchy. The people up front have the problem-solving experience and the decision-making authority that put them ahead of others. They are in charge at the macro level. The senior officers are the ones who decide how to overthrow a foreign government; they don't invite platoon sergeants into the planning sessions. They also expect that, when a problem can't be solved at the lowest level, it be bumped up the chain of command to take advantage of the experience at the top.

 

             The general in this example obviously had the garrison model in mind when he directed his HR director to create the organization chart. Unfortunately, the chart focused more on what each box was worth in terms of compensation rather than on the flow of decisions and interplay of responsibilities. The general, or his HR director, needed to explain that the garrison model is only half the picture.

 

             When it comes down to taking a military objective, the people on the front line are in charge. In a full operational mode, there is no rigid hierarchy. Rank still exists and there is a hierarchical system of disseminating information, but physically, the arrangement looks more like an amoeba than little boxes in neat rows. This depiction of relationships is every bit as important as the organizational chart that neatly highlights rank.

 

At any one time, any Ranger can be "the leader." A private doesn't have the authority to issue orders, but he does have the responsibility to take action personally-sometimes without orders-when a problem surfaces. For example, the guy next to the captain carries a shotgun. The reason he carries a shotgun is that if he shoots, he has determined there is an imminent threat to the captain. His action signals to everyone that the team 360 has broken, so everyone responds by taking action to rectify the problems.

 

             When I was a team leader walking through the woods rehearsing our live fires, I was up front-the Alpha Team Leader. From the "enemy" perspective, there were two points in front of their camp to serve as early warning, the lookout point and the observation point. When I was up front, at the head of the wedge, I would sometimes encounter these two- to three-person "nests." If I observed the enemy, my first tasks were to hit the deck, return fire, and get my guys into a line so they could suppress fire. My next immediate action was not shooting, it was assessing my new situation-get a new SITREP. I would turn back to my squad leader and yell "green" or "red." If I yelled green, it meant that I have determined that my Alpha Team and I can take out that position. Without waiting for any response, my team and I would then move on the position. If I yelled red, it meant that we should hold tight and continue to suppress while he had the Bravo Team Leader take Bravo Team and flank. Regardless of what I said, the squad leader and I both knew exactly what was going to happen next. I knew my role; he knew his. At that point in time, I was the leader. I decided what the squad would do.

 

             A fundamental problem with a rigid hierarchy is that it's common to push decisions up the chain of command to the point where the decision-maker is overloaded and often too far removed from the situation at hand. Companies that use this hierarchy as an operational model will find it paralyzes them time and again. The Ranger model of how an individual functions focuses on genuine empowerment. If you see something must be done that is within the scope of the mission, you better do it. People in the corporate world are usually afraid to make a definitive call because the culture doesn't encourage that kind of leadership at all levels. They send the responsibility back up the chain of command. By the time the boss can make a decision, it's often too late. Productivity goes down. Morale goes down. Quality goes down. The customer is dissatisfied.

 

             Ted Collins, former head of the Internet Commerce Division for Platinum Technologies-purchased recently by Computer Associates and at the time the seventh largest software company in the world-had two revelations during his LC Ranger experience that highlighted why "privates" in corporate America often don't see the I in team. He had just staffed and launched the division when he brought his newly formed team to the LC four-day course. He was accustomed to his CEO "rank" and the fact that people around him responded to it. That's specifically why he told me, "Put me in the back during the missions. I have to know what it's like to work with these folks when I'm not the boss."

 

             One of his key revelations on the first mission, when everyone felt pushed to the edge and TLC hadn't taken shape, was "how disconcerting it was to have no information." He literally could not help and could not take initiative, because he didn't know what was going on.

 

             A second revelation was that clashing personalities made it tough for people to follow the plans and accomplish the first couple missions. They yelled. They told each other to "pound sand." And then, as the missions progressed, they got the message that gave them power individually and as a team: This isn't about personalities and it isn't about rank. It's about getting things done.

 

             My LC partner Shane, also a former Ranger, once walked up to a general in SOCOM (Special Operations Community) and said in an after-action review, "Sir, if your boys repeat the action they just took during a real battle, they're going to get shot up." The SOCOM groups had just completed a rehearsal. The general listened to Private Dozier, who did a good job of explaining the basis for his criticism and acknowledged the value of Shane's contribution by taking action in response to the input. The general's reaction affirmed what every Ranger has been trained to believe: You don't have to be a general to recognize logic.

 

             In short, the leader sets the plan in place, organizes resources, makes sure everybody understands what's going on and is pointed in the right direction. Then, the leader lets go. That is an extremely motivating model. I get to decide along that course how we get there-in my little world of private, specialist, squad leader, platoon sergeant-everyone gets to decide in their little world how to do best the things they know how to do without excessive permissions.

 

             This message is not, "Stay within your rank. Wait for orders." The message is, "Go for it. Figure it out. You can act like a private when you're standing in a parade formation."

 

             The hierarchy in garrison and the hierarchy in the field get mixed up in corporate America. Operationally, teams are set up as though they're on a patrol, but the company executives make decisions and solve problems as if everyone's back in garrison in formation. They want the garrison hierarchy all the time. They don't look at operations as the delivery of their product or service for a profit.

 

             When I hit the ground in Panama, I landed more than a mile from where my assembly point was. But I knew what the mission was and so did every other Ranger; we knew what the PL's intent was. How many corporate Americans can say that? Employees crave that internal structure, but cultures and norms often run counter to it. They are more likely to say, "The PL isn't here, let's wait." Meanwhile the competition gets an edge.

 

             When a company refuses to be cramped by that thinking, when they are willing to use the "Ranger model" involving initiative based on the PL's intent, they can create impressive results. A prime example is how a WatchGuard Technologies' team handled a threat from their main competitor in the network security appliance market-within forty-eight hours.

 

             In 1997 WatchGuard was first to market with a firewall device; the alternatives at the time were rather complicated and expensive software solutions to protect a network from intrusions and viruses. WatchGuard cultivated great press and did eye-catching advertisements related to its Firebox, a bright red "box" that simply plugged into the network to provide security. Naturally, it wasn't long before WatchGuard's dominance in its market space was challenged, and challenged hard, by SonicWall. Two days before SonicWall and WatchGuard representatives were set to arrive for a major network security seminar with a room full of potential customers for both of them, Sonic Wall rolled out its big attack on WatchGuard. The theme was "Tired of Seeing Red?" and the materials to be distributed at the seminar compared the Sonic Wall and Watch Guard appliances point-by-point. It was like corporate hand-to-hand combat.

 

             When WatchGuard's marketing vice president, Mike Martucci, saw the campaign materials, his team plunged into action without waiting for the CEO to set up a strategy session. They knew they had forty-eight hours to establish a fresh, powerful message that would overtake their competitor's assault. They were guided by what had been their mission from day one: Make high-end network security accessible to small and medium-size businesses-and by doing so, own market space.

 

             Pulling around-the-clock duty, the team wrote and produced the retaliatory campaign: "Don't be misled, the best is STILL red!" Their materials, reproduced in glossy four-color splendor at Kinko's, featured their own point-by-point comparison of the WatchGuard versus SonicWall product. The team then sent the materials via overnight service to their representative at the seminar who put them on every attendee's chair moments before the seminar began.

 

The I in Responsibility

While it may seem as though I'm trying to paint a rosy picture of individual Rangers calling the shots regardless of rank, there is a harsh reality. Certain actions are never consistent with our missions, and if they occur, the penalty is harsh. An individual takes personal responsibility for jeopardizing the team, and if you jeopardize the team, you're out.

             One such action is the accidental discharge of a weapon. It doesn't matter who you are or why it happens, it results in being booted out of the Rangers. The rule applies to everybody.

 

             At one point, we were training for a very sensitive mission and had just come back from a live-fire rehearsal. We were in a hangar putting our weapons away and one of the weapons discharged. The battalion commander walked over to the Ranger with the weapon and said to this guy-one of the elite eighty who had been selected for this mission, "You're out." His Ranger career was over. There was no trial and no debate. The Ranger violated weapons safety, and no one gets the chance to make that mistake twice.

             An error comparable to a weapon discharge in the corporate world might be contributing to a product defect through negligence or disclosing a company secret. Commonly, mistakes of this magnitude have a corrosive effect on the team and, for that reason alone, should result in termination or at least a shift in responsibilities. I have a friend who got a severe allergic reaction while she was in the hospital because the nurse gave her the wrong medication-despite the fact that she had my friend's chart with the medication caution in her hands at the time. The other nurses on the floor were horrified; it threw "the team" into a state of anxiety. How could that possibly help their productivity and morale? "Cooking the books," as in the case with Enron and other companies caught in the financial scandals of 2001-02, is another type of misstep that puts the team at risk.

 

             The important lesson is that, even if you are a member of a team, you are still an individual and the responsibility for certain consequences are yours and yours alone. I have experienced corporate cultures in which no one gets individual credit for an accomplishment, nor do they take individual responsibility for mistakes. The theory behind that modus operandi is that it emphasizes teamwork, team rewards, and team punishment. In fact, it lets people hide within the team when things go wrong and reduces the incentiveto take a risk thatcouldlead to a major victory. The strongest team is individuals with a sense of personal accountability.

 

Never shall I fail my comrades. I will always keep myself mentally alert, physically strong and morally straight and I will shoulder more than my share of the task whatever it may be. One hundred percent and then some.

-Excerpt from the Ranger Creed

 

   

Lead the way!

 

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

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

 

http://www.leadingconcepts.com 

 


Warrior's Wisdom

A Military Maxim of Napoleon 
    
When an army is inferior in number, inferior in cavalry; and in artillery, it is essential to avoid a general action.  .  .  .
 
     This maxim is also highly applicable to the waging of Guerrilla Warfare. For example the avoidance of major actions during the second stage of Mao Tse Tung's celebrated three-part guerrilla war doctrine, and conducting operations based upon surprise, rapid hit-and-run tactics designed to increase the morale of the partisans and correspondingly to erode that of their opponents  while impressing the general population with one's ability to attack a stronger enemy at will - these are all tenets of modern Guerrilla Warfare. Equally, they figure large in the manuals on counter-insurgency. (COIN)
 
 
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Quotes & Jokes

"The same prudence which in private life would forbid our paying our own money for unexplained projects, forbids it in the dispensation of the public moneys."
Thomas Jefferson

"Let us make a vow to our dead. Let us show them by our actions that we understand what they died for. ... Strengthened by their courage, heartened by their valor, and borne by their memory, let us continue to stand for the ideals for which they lived and died."
Ronald Regan

 "No party is as bad as its state and national leaders."
Will Rogers

"While we are zealously performing the duties of good citizens and soldiers, we certainly ought not to be inattentive to the higher duties of religion. To the distinguished character of Patriot, it should be our highest glory to add the more distinguished character of Christian." George Washington's General Orders (1775)

    "As Commander-in-Chief, I take pleasure in commending the reading of the Bible to all who serve in the armed forces of the United States. Throughout the centuries men of many faiths and diverse origins have found in the Sacred Book words of wisdom, counsel and inspiration. It is a fountain of strength and now, as always, an aid in attaining the highest aspirations of the human soul."
 Franklin D. Roosevelt

    "For my part, whatever anguish of spirit it might cost, I am willing to know the whole truth; to know the worst, and to provide for it."
Patrick Henry

    "Every government interference in the economy consists of giving an unearned benefit, extorted by force, to some men at the expense of others."
Ayn Rand

    "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 Paine

    "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

    "Sometimes it is said that man can not be trusted with government of himself. Can he, then, be trusted with the government of others?" Thomas Jefferson

A short lesson on authority for the leaders of our Country
Abuse of Authority
  • Authority should respect the freedom and rights of others.
  • Authority should always respect the Law.
  • Authority should respect our Constitution and Bill of Rights.
  • Authority should respect the property and privacy of others.
  • Authority should always be impartial, just and fair.
  • Authority should never be hypocritical.
  • Authority should never be above the Law
  • Authority should never be self-righteous.
  • Authority should always be objective never emotional or reactionary or empathetic.
  • Authority should always have respect for authority.
  Any violation of these points represents an abuse of authority.


"The Constitution establishes the Congress, the Executive, and the Judiciary, and through a deliberate allocation of authority, it defines the limits of each upon the others. It particularizes the liberties which, as free men and women, we insist upon, and it constrains both Federal and State powers to ensure that those precious liberties are faithfully protected. It is our blueprint for freedom, our commitment to ourselves and to each other. It is by choice, not by imposition, that the Constitution is the supreme law of our Land. ... [E]ach of us has a personal obligation to acquaint ourselves with it and with its central role in guiding our Nation. While a constitution may set forth rights and liberties, only the citizens can maintain and guarantee those freedoms. Active and informed citizenship is not just a right; it is a duty."

"We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately." Benjamin Franklin (1776)

"We should never despair, our Situation before has been unpromising and has changed for the better, so I trust, it will again."
George Washington

The character that takes command in moments of crucial choices has already been determined by a thousand other choices made earlier in seemingly unimportant moments. It has been determined by all the 'little' choices of years past -- by all those times when the voice of conscience was at war with the voice of temptation, [which was] whispering the lie that 'it really doesn't matter.' It has been determined by all the day-to-day decisions made when life seemed easy and crises seemed far away -- the decision that, piece by piece, bit by bit, developed habits of discipline or of laziness; habits of self-sacrifice or self-indulgence; habits of duty and honor and integrity -- or dishonor and shame."
 
"It can not even be said that the State has ever shown any disposition to suppress crime, but only to safeguard its own monopoly of crime."- American author Albert Jay Nock (1870-1945)

 "Economic power is exercised by means of a positive, by offering men a reward, an incentive, a payment, a value; political power is exercised by means of a negative, by the threat of punishment, injury, imprisonment, destruction. The businessman's tool is values; the bureaucrat's tool is fear."
Ayn Rand

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What Has Really Changed?

What has really changed? 
1968
 
Don't let big corporation "profits" fool you
 
In practically every labor demand for higher wages these days is the statement, "You can still hold the price level steady by paying our wage increase out of profits." Let's see:
  For a company to stay alive and so provide jobs at all, it must keep its equipment modern. To do that, the company must earn two times as much profit as before the war. Here's why-
  'First, out of the profits made, taxes can now take 52.8%. Out of the less than half that's left, the company pays for new machinery it must have to stay alive-machinery at prices made higher by higher and higher wages over past years.
  Out of anything the company can keep, it must save for expansion (or else no new jobs can be created) and pay something to the owners, without which the company and its jobs would never have been in existence at all. (Average dividend payments to owners of U.S. companies, by the way, is 3╝% return...they could make more, with o risk, leaving their money in the bank.)
  So when big "profit" figures are displayed in headlines, read the facts in the fine print. Unless profit is 2 times pre-war, the company can't hope to live. And killing companies kills jobs.

 

Articles

Heroes of the Vietnam Generation

By James Webb

The rapidly disappearing cohort of Americans that endured the Great Depression and then fought World War II is receiving quite a send-off from the leading lights of the so-called 60s generation. Tom Brokaw has published two oral histories of "The Greatest Generation" that feature ordinary people doing their duty and suggest that such conduct was historically unique.Chris Matthews of "Hardball" is fond of writing columns praising the Navy service of his father while castigating his own baby boomer generation for its alleged softness and lack of struggle. William Bennett gave a startling condescending speech at the Naval Academy a few years ago comparing the heroism of the "D-Day Generation" to the drugs-and-sex nihilism of the "Woodstock Generation." And Steven Spielberg, in promoting his film "Saving Private Ryan," was careful to justify his portrayals of soldiers in action based on the supposedly unique nature of World War II.An irony is at work here. Lest we forget, the World War II generation now being lionized also brought us the Vietnam War, a conflict which today's most conspicuous voices by and large opposed, and in which few of them served. The "best and brightest" of the Vietnam age group once made headlines by castigating their parents for bringing about the war in which they would not fight, which has become the war they refuse to remember.Pundits back then invented a term for this animus: the "generation gap." Long, plaintive articles and even books were written examining its manifestations. Campus leaders, who claimed precocious wisdom through the magical process of reading a few controversial books, urged fellow baby boomers not to trust anyone over 30. Their elders who had survived the Depression and fought the largest war in history were looked down upon as shallow, materialistic, and out of touch.Those of us who grew up, on the other side of the picket line from that era's counter-culture can't help but feel a little leery of this sudden gush of appreciation for our elders from the leading lights of the old counter-culture. Then and now, the national conversation has proceeded from the dubious assumption that those who came of age during Vietnam are a unified generation in the same sense as their parents were, and thus are capable of being spoken for through these fickle elites.In truth, the "Vietnam generation" is a misnomer. Those who came of age during that war are permanently divided by different reactions to a whole range of counter-cultural agendas, and nothing divides them more deeply than the personal ramifications of the war itself. The sizable portion of the Vietnam age group who declined to support the counter-cultural agenda, and especially the men and women who opted to serve in the military during the Vietnam War, are quite different from their peers who for decades have claimed to speak for them. In fact, they are much like the World War II generation itself. For them, Woodstock was a side show, college protestors were spoiled brats who would have benefited from having to work a few jobs in order to pay their tuition, and Vietnam represented not an intellectual exercise in draft avoidance, or protest marches but a battlefield that was just as brutal as those their fathers faced in World War II and Korea.Few who served during Vietnam ever complained of a generation gap. The men who fought World War II were their heroes and role models. They honored their father's service by emulating it, and largely agreed with their father's wisdom in attempting to stop Communism's reach in Southeast Asia.The most accurate poll of their attitudes (Harris, 1980) showed that 91 percent were glad they'd served their country, 74 percent enjoyed their time in the service, and 89 percent agreed with the statement that "our troops were asked to fight in a war which our political leaders in Washington would not let them win." And most importantly, the castigation they received upon returning home was not from the World War II generation, but from the very elites in their age group who supposedly spoke for them.Nine million men served in the military during Vietnam War, three million of whom went to the Vietnam Theater. Contrary to popular mythology, two-thirds of these were volunteers, and 73 percent of those who died were volunteers. While some attention has been paid recently to the plight of our prisoners of war, most of whom were pilots; there has been little recognition of how brutal the war was for those who fought it on the ground.Dropped onto the enemy's terrain 12,000 miles away from home, America's citizen-soldiers performed with a tenacity and quality that may never be truly understood. Those who believe the war was fought incompletely on a tactical level should consider Hanoi's recent admission that 1.4 million of its soldiers died on the battlefield, compared to 58,000 total U.S. dead.Those who believe that it was a "dirty little war" where the bombs did all the work might contemplate that is was the most costly war the U.S. Marine Corps has ever fought-five times as many dead as World War I, three times as many dead as in Korea, and more total killed and wounded than in all of World War II.Significantly, these sacrifices were being made at a time the United States was deeply divided over our effort in Vietnam. The baby-boom generation had cracked apart along class lines as America's young men were making difficult, life-or-death choices about serving. The better academic institutions became focal points for vitriolic protest against the war, with few of their graduates going into the military. Harvard College, which had lost 691 alumni in World War II, lost a total of 12 men in Vietnam from the classes of 1962 through 1972 combined. Those classes at Princeton lost six, at MIT two. The media turned ever more hostile. And frequently the reward for a young man's having gone through the trauma of combat was to be greeted by his peers with studied indifference of outright hostility.What is a hero? My heroes are the young men who faced the issues of war and possible death, and then weighed those concerns against obligations to their country. Citizen-soldiers who interrupted their personal and professional lives at their most formative stage, in the timeless phrase of the Confederate Memorial in Arlington National Cemetery, "not for fame of reward, not for place of for rank, but in simple obedience to duty, as they understood it." Who suffered loneliness, disease, and wounds with an often-contagious elan. And who deserve a far better place in history than that now offered them by the so-called spokesman of our so-called generation.Mr. Brokaw, Mr. Matthews, Mr. Bennett, Mr. Spielberg, meet my Marines. 1969 was an odd year to be in Vietnam. Second only to 1968 in terms of American casualties, it was the year made famous by Hamburger Hill, as well as the gut-wrenching Life cover story showing pictures of 242 Americans who had been killed in one average week of fighting. Back home, it was the year of Woodstock, and of numerous anti-war rallies that culminated in the Moratorium march on Washington. The My Lai massacre hit the papers and was seized upon the anti-war movement as the emblematic moment of the war. Lyndon Johnson left Washington in utter humiliation.Richard Nixon entered the scene, destined for an even worse fate. In the An Hoa Basin southwest of Danang, the Fifth Marine Regiment was in its third year of continuous combat operations. Combat is an unpredictable and inexact environment, but we were well led. As a rifle platoon and company commander, I served under a succession of three regimental commanders who had cut their teeth in World War II, and four different battalion commanders, three of whom had seen combat in Korea. The company commanders were typically captains on their second combat tour in Vietnam, or young first lieutenants like myself who were given companies after many months of "bush time" as platoon commanders in he Basin's tough and unforgiving environs.The Basin was one of the most heavily contested areas in Vietnam, its torn, cratered earth offering every sort of wartime possibility. In the mountains just to the west, not far from the Ho Chi Minh Trail, the North Vietnamese Army operated an infantry division from an area called Base Area 112. In the valleys of the Basin, main-force Viet Cong battalions whose ranks were 80 percent North Vietnamese Army regulars moved against the Americans every day. Local Viet Cong units sniped and harassed. Ridgelines and paddy dikes were laced with sophisticated booby traps of every size, from a hand grenade to a 250-pound bomb. The villages sat in the rice paddies and tree lines like individual fortresses, crisscrossed with the trenches and spider holes, their homes sporting bunkers capable of surviving direct hits from large-caliber artillery shells. The Viet Cong infrastructure was intricate and permeating. Except for the old and the very young, villagers who did not side with the Communists had either been killed or driven out to the government controlled enclaves near Danang.In the rifle companies, we spent the endless months patrolling ridgelines and villages and mountains, far away from any notion of tents, barbed wire, hot food, or electricity. Luxuries were limited to what would fit inside one's pack, which after a few "humps" usually boiled down to letter-writing material, towel, soap, toothbrush, poncho liner, and a small transistor radio.We moved through the boiling heat with 60 pounds of weapons and gear, causing a typical Marine to drop 20 percent of his body weight while in the bush. When we stopped we dug chest-deep fighting holes and slit trenches for toilets. We slept on the ground under makeshift poncho hootches, and when it rained we usually took our hootches down because wet ponchos shined under illumination flares, making great targets. Sleep itself was fitful, never more than an hour or two at a stretch for months at a time as we mixed daytime patrolling with night-time ambushes, listening posts, foxhole duty, and radio watches. Ringworm, hookworm, malaria, and dysentery were common, as was trench foot when the monsoons came. Respite was rotating back to the mud-filled regimental combat base at An Hoa for four or five days, where rocket and mortar attacks were frequent and our troops manned defensive bunkers at night. Which makes it kind of hard to get excited about tales of Woodstock, or camping at the Vineyard during summer break.We had been told while training that Marine officers in the rifle companies had an 85 percent probability of being killed or wounded, and the experience of "Dying Delta," as our company was known, bore that out. Of the officers in the bush when I arrived, our company commander was wounded, the weapons platoon commander wounded, the first platoon commander was killed, the second platoon commander was wounded twice, and I, commanding the third platoons fared no better. Two of my original three-squad leaders were killed, and the third shot in the stomach. My platoon sergeant was severely wounded, as was my right guide. By the time I left, my platoon I had gone through six radio operators, five of them casualties.These figures were hardly unique; in fact, they were typical. Many other units; for instance, those who fought the hill battles around Khe Sanh, or were with the famed Walking Dead of the Ninth Marine Regiment, or were in the battle of Hue City or at Dai Do, had it far worse.When I remember those days and the very young men who spent them with me, I am continually amazed, for these were mostly recent civilians barely out of high school, called up from the cities and the farms to do their year in hell and he return. Visions haunt me every day, not of the nightmares of war but of the steady consistency with which my Marines faced their responsibilities, and of how uncomplaining most of them were in the face of constant danger. The salty, battle-hardened 20-year-olds teaching green 19-year-olds the intricate lessons of the hostile battlefield. The unerring skill of the young squad leaders as we moved through unfamiliar villages and weed-choked trails in the black of night. The quick certainty when a fellow Marine was wounded and needed help. Their willingness to risk their lives to save other Marines in peril. To this day it stuns me that their own countrymen have so completely missed the story of their service, lost in the bitter confusion of the war itself.Like every military unit throughout history we had occasional laggards, cowards, and complainers. But in the aggregate, these Marines were the finest people I have ever been around. It has been my privilege to keep up with many of them over the years since we all came home. One finds in them very little bitterness about the war in which they fought. The most common regret, almost to a man, is that they were not able to do more for each other and for the people they came to help.It would be redundant to say that I would trust my life to these men. Because I already have, in more ways than I can ever recount. I am alive today because of their quiet, unaffected heroism. Such valor epitomizes the conduct of Americans at war from the first days of our existence. That the boomer elites can canonize this sort of conduct in our fathers' generation while ignoring it in our own is more than simple oversight. It is a conscious, continuing travesty.

 


MRAP giveaway
Low miles, driven in only one war, you haul

A Mine Resistant Ambush Protected All-Terrain Vehicle is craned onto a flatbed truck as part of Provincial Reconstruction Team Farah's retrograde efforts on FOB Farah, on May 6, 2013.

Matthew Stroup/U.S. Navy

Free to a good home in a bad neighborhood: pre-owned, carefully maintained, never-blown-to-smithereens Mine Resistant Ambush Protected truck.

 

As the Pentagon withdraws from Afghanistan and vows never to get involved in any long, deadly wars of occupation, it has a few thousand armored vehicles to spare. So it's been giving them away to local police departments - 75 of them since August, according to the Defense Logistics Agency.

 

MRAPs did their job saving the lives of thousands of troops from roadside bombs in Iraq and Afghanistan. Now, they'll be hitting the mean streets of Columbus, Ohio, where campus police at The Ohio State University can presumably bust beer bashes with the behemoths. Cops in Madison, Wis., another Big Ten party town, can presumably do the same with theirs.

They're free. Mostly. Which is a pretty good deal considering a fully tricked-out MRAP with bomb-signal jammers, radios and a .50-caliber machine gun in the turret can run about $1 million.

 

But like buying a new car, there's a destination charge involved, according to Mimi Schirmacher, a spokeswoman for the Defense Logistics Agency. If local police or state government pay shipping costs and justify the need, DLA is happy to put them behind the wheel of a 37,000-pound MaxxPro from Navistar.

 

Those needs include "active-shooter incidents, SWAT, and drug interdiction," according to Schirmacher.

 

A second life for the trucks is justified. Some are being cut up and sold for scrap in Afghanistan because they're deemed surplus and too costly to ship home. All told, the Pentagon spent $45 billion in a crash program to field them to troops in Iraq and Afghanistan where troops were dying daily when improvised explosive devices tore into thinly armored Humvees.

Former Defense secretary Robert Gates, who made their production the Pentagon's top priority in 2007, told USA TODAY the cost was well worth it.

 

"There is absolutely no question in my mind that thousands of troops are still alive today because they were riding in MRAPs when attacked by IEDs," Gates said. "I have heard that firsthand from countless troops on the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan. Quite simply, MRAPs have saved thousands of lives and limbs."

 


Article from http://www.stripes.com 



The Battle of Tarawa | Photos



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To commemorate the 70th anniversary of the start of the 76-hour Battle of Tarawa, the U.S. Marine Corps Archives and Special Collections has released several photos of the battle. Fought from Nov. 20-23, 1943, Tarawa was the first U.S. amphibious operation that was seriously opposed by the Japanese. The price was steep for the Marines of the 2nd Marine Division, who were given the task to seize Tarawa atoll, primarily the main island of Betio, with its airfield. Out of the assault force of 18,000 Marines, nearly 1,000 Marines were killed seizing the atoll. Of the Japanese garrison of around 4,000, only one Japanese officer, 16 enlisted men, and 129 Korean laborers survived to be captured. Tarawa provided the U.S. Marines Corps some hard-earned lessons that they applied to future amphibious operations.



Congress Proposes the Office of Strategic Services Congressional Gold Medal Act

 

 

Maj. Gen. William J. Donovan poses with members of the OSS Operational Groups, forerunners of today's U.S special operations forces, at the Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Md., which served as the primary OSS training facility. Under a bill introduced by Rep. Bob Latta and Sen. Mark Kirk, the members of the OSS may be awarded the Congressional Gold Medal. OSS Society photo

In an age where Congress has earned a reputation for inaction, some issues still shake it out of its inertia. One of those issues is the Office of Strategic Services Congressional Gold Medal Act, which has been introduced in the House by Rep. Bob Latta (R-Ohio) and in the Senate by Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.).

"To award the Congressional Gold Medal, collectively to the members of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) in recognition of their superior service and major contributions during World War II."

If passed, the legislation will honor the contributions during World War II of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) - a forerunner of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM). The text of the bill proposes, "To award the Congressional Gold Medal, collectively to the members of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) in recognition of their superior service and major contributions during World War II."

 

Members of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) attend a demolition class at Milton Hall, England, ca. 1944. The OSS is considered a forerunner of the U.S. intelligence and special operations communities. National Archives photo
 

In a press release, Latta explained why he introduced the Office of Strategic Services Congressional Gold Medal Act. "The heroic actions and innovative inventions by members of the OSS played a crucial role in the allied victory in World War II. It is time to for these ladies and gentlemen of the Greatest Generation to be collectively recognized and honored for their efforts."

"The heroic actions and innovative inventions by members of the OSS played a crucial role in the allied victory in World War II. It is time to for these ladies and gentlemen of the Greatest Generation to be collectively recognized and honored for their efforts."

The OSS Society, which works to honor the legacy of Maj. Gen. William J. Donovan and the OSS, is asking people to contact their representatives and senators to ask them to serve as cosponsors for this legislation at this link: https://www.popvox.com/orgs/osssociety/

 



Women With Guns: The Red Army Female Snipers of World War II
A Red Army woman sniper on the Baltic Front, ca. 1944. Although not given the publicity of their women aviator counterparts, Red Army women snipers served on all fronts during the Great Patriotic War. RIA Novosti photo

"Warfare is...the one human activity from which women, with the most insignificant exceptions, have always and everywhere stood apart..."

- John Keegan, A History of Warfare  

 

One of those "insignificant exceptions" that Keegan dismisses so readily was a little scrape that Russians call the Great Patriotic War (Velikaya Otchestvennaya Voina). We call it the "Eastern Front."

 

In truth, women have always participated in war: Often as victims, as cheerleaders or as trophies. But sometimes, they appear on the battlefield as combatants. Until very recently, men have written all the military history. So warrior women who don't fit conventional gender roles have been marginalized, delegitimized, or, like Joan of Arc, sanctified after martyrdom.

In a desperate fight for survival, even Stalin was willing to modify traditional patriarchal attitudes about the role of women.

The 1917 Russian Revolution gave Russian women legal equality. In Soviet practice, this meant the right to work as hard as men, with the additional burdens of housekeeping and child care. After Operation Barbarossa, the Nazi invasion on June 22, 1941, many young women seeking enlistment to fight the Germans were turned away, told to work in the factories, or enrolled for nursing training to serve as field medics.

 

In the first months of World War II, the Red Army suffered massive losses of manpower and equipment. In a desperate fight for survival, even Stalin was willing to modify traditional patriarchal attitudes about the role of women. As early as 1931, anticipating a global war, the Communist Party had mandated universal military training for boys and girls beginning in elementary school. Thousands of young women learned to handle rifles in a nationwide network of shooting clubs. Some achieved top scores in marksmanship. A 1934 Soviet film about the Russian Civil War, Chapaev, starred Varvara Myasnikova as Anka, the machine gunner, who became a role model for a generation of girls.

 

The head of the Central Women's School of Sniper Training's political department talks to women snipers before they leave for the front. The school graduated 1,885 snipers and instructors during the war. RIA Novosti photo

 

By one estimate, 800,000 served in the Red Army during World War II. Many filled "traditional" non-combatant roles - as nurses, cooks, or clerks, but thousands fought with weapons in their hands and a few rank with history's deadliest snipers. As soldiers who kill deliberately with cold precision, snipers are a powerful test case for the capability of women in combat.

"Warfare is...the one human activity from which women, with the most insignificant exceptions, have always and everywhere stood apart..."

John Keegan, A History of Warfare

For most Soviet women snipers, the weapon was the 1932 model Mosin-Nagant, a .30 caliber (7.62mm) bolt-action rifle, with a 5-round internal magazine originally adopted by the Tsar's army in 1891. Sniper versions of the Nagant were selected for accuracy, and fitted with a 3.5-power fixed-focus scope copied from German Zeiss optics. Some elite snipers received new semi-automatic Tokarev SVT-40 rifles, which fired the same 7.62 x 54mm cartridge as the Nagant, but had a detachable 10-round box magazine.

As soldiers who kill deliberately with cold precision, snipers are a powerful test case for the capability of women in combat.

In March, 1942 a Central Women's School of Sniper Training was established in Vishniaki, a village 8.7 miles outside Moscow. The school recruited women aged 18-26, physically fit, with at least seven years of education. School Director was Nora P. Chegodayeva, a graduate of the famous Frunze Military Academy who had fought as a communist volunteer in the Spanish Civil War. By the end of the war, the school graduated 1,885 snipers and instructors.

 

Women were thought to make good snipers, because they could endure stress and cold better than men, and they had "more patience" to wait for the perfect shot. A special few achieved recognition and fame.

Supreme Court Justice Robert Jackson, Hero of the Soviet Union Maj. Lyudmila Pavlichenko, and Eleanor Roosevelt during Pavlichenko's visit to Washington, D.C., ca. 1942. Pavlichenko was the top woman sniper of all time, with 309 confirmed kills, and the first Soviet citizen welcomed to the White House. Library of Congress photo

For service in the Great Patriotic War some 11,635 people were eventually awarded the gold star of Hero of the Soviet Union (equivalent to the U.S. Medal of Honor, or the U.K. Victoria Cross). Of this total, only 92 (0.08%) were women, and of these, only 6 (6.5%) were rated as snipers. Five of those six were killed in action. Women aviators, with a glamorous combat role that made for better propaganda, tended to collect more medals.

 

Hero of the Soviet Union Maj. Lyudmila M. Pavlichenko was the top-scoring woman sniper of all time, with 309 confirmed kills, of which 36 were enemy snipers. A rifle club sharpshooter before the war, she had worked as a grinder at the Kiev Arsenal and earned a Master's degree in history. Wounded in June 1942, she was pulled out of combat and sent on a propaganda tour of the U.S., Canada, and Great Britain, becoming the first Soviet citizen welcomed at the White House by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Woody Guthrie even wrote her a song.

Hero of the Soviet Union Maj. Lyudmila M. Pavlichenko was the top-scoring woman sniper of all time, with 309 confirmed kills, of which 36 were enemy snipers.

More typical was the experience of Privates Mariya S. Polivanova and Natalya V. Kovshova, a spotter and sniper team killed in action together near Novgorod on August 14, 1943. Wounded and out of ammunition, they waited until German troops approached their trench, then detonated their grenades.

 

Tanya M. Baramzina had been a kindergarten teacher before the war. After the German invasion, she trained to become a sharpshooter while attending nursing school. After scoring 16 kills on the Belorussian Front, she was selected for a parachute raid behind German lines. She killed another 20 Germans before taking charge of caring for the wounded when her unit was surrounded. Captured by the enemy, she was tortured and executed.

Well-decorated Red Army women snipers celebrate victory in 1945. During the war, six women snipers were awarded the gold star of Hero of the Soviet Union. RIA Novosti photo
About 500 women snipers survived the war. Their interviews and memoirs consistently report that while women serving as non-combatants were considered fair game for sexual harassment and worse, women combatants were off limits, and the men they served with strictly enforced this rule. After the war, the combat role of women (except for those glamorous aviators) was gradually written out of Soviet history as the Communist Party promoted more traditional gender roles, emphasizing the sisterly and motherly qualities of female field medics, for example. Research by a new generation of Russian historians, like Anna Krylova, offers some valuable insights for the ongoing debate over "women in combat," which is too often long on emotion and short on facts.



Unwanted Air Force C-27J Spartans' Future Will Be Decided Soon
The U.S. Air Force is trying to determine how to dispose of its C-27J Spartan fleet. Alenia photo by Katsuhiko Tokunga
The U.S. Air Force is making progress toward disposing of its fleet of C-27J Spartan tactical airlifters. The service once fought hard to get the C-27J - a twin-engined, turboprop transport that resembles a scaled-down C-130J Hercules - but now says it doesn't need or want them. The divestiture is having an impact on Air National Guard (ANG) squadrons that had been tapped for the C-27J mission.

 

At issue are 21 airframes, including several still on the assembly line of Italian planemaker Alenia in Turin, all of which have been paid for. L-3 Communications is the prime contractor for U.S. sales of the C-27J in partnership with Alenia.

Finding a new home for the planes - which are being delivered from the factory at cost, without technical flaws, only a little behind schedule - is proving to be as much a challenge as acquiring them was.

Finding a new home for the planes - which are being delivered from the factory at cost, without technical flaws, only a little behind schedule - is proving to be as much a challenge as acquiring them was. On Jan. 26, 2012, the Department of Defense (DoD) announced its intent to remove the C-27J from inventory. This was an economy move that occurred before the budget-cutting process known as sequestration took effect nine months later. If this "divestiture" truly is economical, it is taking a long time to show results.

 

It now appears that seven C-27Js each will go to U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM), the U.S. Coast Guard, and the U.S. Forest Service (USFS), although only the USSOCOM part of the arrangement has been decided and announced. To transfer the aircraft outside DoD the department must declare them "excess materiel" and under existing law will then be able to make the transfers "without reimbursement." Almost two years after the decision was made to dispose of the planes, this statutory declaration hasn't been made yet.

 

The U.S. Air Force fought hard to acquire the C-27J Spartan, and it now says it has no need for the aircraft. The aircraft may be reassigned to USSOCOM, the U.S. Coast Guard, or the U.S. Forest Service. Alenia photo

To understand the ongoing saga of the little airlifter that's so difficult to dispose of, it's necessary to look back at the history of the U.S. armed forces and the C-27J.

 

Evolving Program

The C-27J was already on offer to the U.S. market when the U.S. Army in 2005 began looking for a Future Combat Aircraft (FCA) to replace its C-23 Sherpa fleet to provide "direct support" (meaning closer to the front lines than a C-130J would operate) to soldiers on the ground.

The first C-27J slated for U.S. military use made its maiden flight on June 17, 2008.

Lockheed Martin initially was the prime contractor, teamed with Alenia. The C-27J, an improved version of the Alenia G.222 which had been operated by the U.S. Air Force as the C-27A, received its "J" letter suffix to put it in parallel with Lockheed's C-130J. The "J" remained after the partnership dissolved and L-3 Communications replaced Lockheed.

 

The U.S. Air Force entered the picture in 2006 and joined with the Army to transform FCA to a Joint Cargo Aircraft (JCA). On June 13, 2007, the Pentagon announced selection of the C-27J to fill the FCA requirement. The plan was for the Army to acquire 75 aircraft to go to Army National Guard units while the Air Force would get 70 for Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC) and the ANG. The first C-27J slated for U.S. military use made its maiden flight on June 17, 2008.

All four C-27J Spartans belonging to the 179th Airlift Wing sit on the flight line in Mansfield, Ohio, Feb. 13, 2013, shortly before their permanent departure from the base. The forthcoming disposal of the C-27J fleet has left dozens of Guardsmen jobless or reassigned to other duties. U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Joseph Harwood

For a time that year, the Army and Air Force operated a joint training center at the ARNG facility at Warner Robins, Ga. In May 2009, Defense Secretary Robert Gates transferred the C-27J program from the Army to the Air Force, ending hopes that the Spartan would directly replace the Army's 42 C-23B/C Sherpas. The planned purchase for the Air Force rose to 78 but, by early 2010 dropped to 38. When the 179th Airlift Wing of the Ohio ANG in Mansfield welcomed its first C-27J on Sept. 17, 2010, the plane had "U.S. ARMY" painted on both sides of the rear fuselage, but the Army was no longer participating in flight operations.

 

The 179th wing's 164th Airlift Squadron sent two C-27Js to Afghanistan in 2011. It was a four-month-plus deployment, fully successful, and the only time Americans took the C-27J into harm's way. While the aircraft and airmen were overseas, the decision was made to scuttle the fleet.

When the 179th Airlift Wing of the Ohio ANG in Mansfield welcomed its first C-27J on Sept. 17, 2010, the plane had "U.S. ARMY" painted on both sides of the rear fuselage, but the Army was no longer participating in flight operations.

The C-27Js are gone, now, from Mansfield and from Baltimore, Md., where the other ANG C-27J airlift squadron has disbanded. Except for three planes at Pope Field, Fort Bragg, N.C., all U.S. C-27s are in "Type 1000" in storage in near-airworthy condition at the Air Force's Arizona "bone yard" or still in Turin. Dozens of Guardsmen who trained to fly the C-27J are jobless or have been shifted to other duties.

 

What Happens to the C-27Js Now

Here's a look at the three likely users of surplus C-27Js:

The proposed MC-27J Spartan gunship for USSOCOM would employ a GAU-23 roll-on/roll-off 30mm gun system on a pallet. Alenia photo

USSOCOM: Two successive leaders at SOCOM, current boss Adm. William H. McRaven and his predecessor Adm. Eric T. Olson, have argued for an MC-27J gunship to introduce flexibility into the air-to-ground mission now performed by the AC-130U Spooky and AC-130J Ghostrider. Alenia, in partnership with ATK, has proposed an MC-27J Stinger version that employs the GAU-23 roll-on/roll-off 30mm gun system on a pallet, and, last June, demonstrated this configuration to SOCOM officials at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. The demonstrator airframe (which is actually an earlier C-27A model, serial no. 90-0170) is expected to conduct the first firings of the cannon while slaved to an electro-optical/infrared sensor early next year. Officials haven't confirmed that the USSOCOM Spartans will become gunships; they have said USSOCOM will receive the three aircraft now at Pope plus four coming from Turin.

 

USSOCOM has not confirmed that it will convert its C-27Js into gunships. The command has also considered using the C-27Js to replace its fleet of C-41As (CASA 212-200 Aviocars) that support training at the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School. The C-27J may be significantly larger than is needed for this mission.

Officials haven't confirmed that the USSOCOM Spartans will become gunships; they have said USSOCOM will receive the three aircraft now at Pope plus four coming from Turin.

U.S. Coast Guard: If it can acquire C-27Js at no cost, the Coast Guard says it can save up to $800 million by cutting its planned purchase of 36 HC-144A Ocean Sentry rescue/patrol aircraft (its version of the EADS/Airbus Military CN-235) while retaining the 18 already paid for (of which, 15 have been delivered). Before leaving office in June, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, at the urging of Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alaska), approved the transfer of 14 C-27Js to the Coast Guard. Subsequently, the Coast Guard requested all 21 planes. It's unclear whether this action amounted to anything more than expressing willingness to be a recipient. Planemaker EADS claims its HC-144A can be maintained for half the operating cost of a C-27J. It's unclear whether the C-27J can accommodate the Missions Systems Pallet (MSP) that enables the HC-144A to carry and use equipment like the IDS Command and Control (C2) System - yet the MSP is essential to the HC-144A's mission. The C-27J is not equipped with the search radar, electro-optical and infrared cameras that are integral aboard the HC-144A.

USFS: The C-27J is seen as suitable for the service's aerial needs, including fire-fighting, dropping smoke jumpers, and hauling passengers and cargo. 

 

The service paid $54,000 for a report that concluded the C-27J could carry 1,850 gallons of retardant if 3,200 pounds of unneeded equipment, including flight deck armor, were removed. The report suggested the C-27J could be quickly converted from one USFS mission to another. Legislation to turn over C-27Js to the service is currently dormant; it appears doubtful whether, in the fire-fighting role, the C-27J can meet the USFS preferred target of 3,000 gallons of fire retardant. A larger issue is whether the Forest Service should continue to rely on contractor-owned, contractor-operated aircraft to fight fires. Supporters of the USFS who would like to see a change to a government-owned arrangement see the C-27J as a way to make the change happen.

The proposed MC-27J Spartan would add flexibilty to the gunship fleet, a capability USSOCOM says it needs. Alenia rendering

Since the easiest solution from a bureaucratic point of view would be to keep the C-27Js in DoD, other possibilities could materialize before the Coast Guard or USFS receive any airplanes. The U.S. Army's Golden Knights parachute demonstration team, for example, needs to replace its two C-31As (Fokker F-27s) but has no money for new aircraft.

 

C-27J Spartan Specifications

Type: Three-crew tactical airlifter (two pilots, one loadmaster)

 

Powerplant: Two 4,640-hp (3,.46 kN) Rolls-Royce AE2100-D2A turboprop engines

 

Performance: Maximum speed 374 mph (602 km/h); cruising speed 362 mph (583 km/h); service ceiling 30,000 feet (9144 m); range 2,650 miles (4260 km)

 

Weights: Empty weight 37,479 lb (17000 kg); maximum takeoff weight 67,241 lb (30500 kg)

 

Dimensions: Wingspan 94 feet 2 inches (28.70 m); length 74 feet 6 inches (22.70 m); height 31 feet 8 inches (9.64 m); wing area 880 sq ft (82 sq m)

 

First flight: June 17, 2008

 

Article from http://www.defensemedianetwork.com  



NSA Eavesdropping:
 We've Always Spied on Friends, and Always Will

Document with data purportedly used by the NSA to spy on German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Wikimedia Commons

In the spring of 1929, the new Secretary of State under President Herbert Hoover learned that tucked away in New York City, his department was operating one of the world's foremost code breaking operations. Led by legendary code breaker Herbert O. Yardley, the "Black Chamber" had been operating for almost 10 years. And despite a minuscule budget (less than $350,000 in a decade) and staff, the Black Chamber delivered more than 45,000 decrypted messages to American leaders. Perhaps their most important work came during the Washington Naval Conference in 1921/22. The Black Chamber's delivery of decrypted negotiating instructions from foreign capitals to their delegates gave U.S. negotiators a decisive edge in crafting the eventual 5:5:3 naval force ratio that resulted. America's supposed allies of the time, Great Britain, Italy, France, and Japan, among others, had no idea that U.S. negotiators effectively knew the parameters of their negotiating strategies.

Ironically, the Washington, D.C., bureaucrat that eventually authorized the funding and personnel to create MAGIC was the same idealistic gentleman who, in 1929, had shut down the Black Chamber: Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson.

However, Hoover's new Secretary of State did not view the achievements of the Black Chamber in the 1920s with respect or admiration. On the contrary, the idealistic young cabinet secretary immediately withdrew funding for the Black Chamber, and terminated the entire staff, including Herbert Yardley, unfortunately not demanding security or confidentiality agreements from them on their way out the door. Of his handling of the Black Chamber and its staff, the secretary was supposed to have famously said, "Gentlemen do not read each other's mail." However, the story of the Black Chamber did not stop there.

 

Nearly destitute, Yardley proceeded to write his memoirs of the affair, The American Black Chamber. The book was serialized in the pages of The Saturday Evening Post, and rapidly became a runaway international bestseller, chronicling in devastating detail the operations and achievements of the Black Chamber during their decade of operations. Across the globe, governments immediately tightened up their diplomatic protocols and began to systematically improve communications security. This included the development of cipher machines utilizing telephone rotary switches based upon large number theory protocols, such as the German Enigma and Japanese PURPLE. By the outbreak of World War II, virtually every nation in the world was using such machines to protect their diplomatic and military communications, resulting in huge new intelligence enterprises like ULTRA and MAGIC.

The National Security Operations Center floor, NSA headquarters in 2012. National Security Agency photo

That lesson should be recalled in the context of recent public disclosures about worldwide monitoring activities by the National Security Agency (NSA). The continuing exposure of NSA programs, which apparently has included surveillance of the wireless telecommunications of allied leaders like Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel, has proven to be a genuine problem for America's intelligence community and the Obama Administration. The protests from top leaders of allied governments have become front-page news across the globe. Daily, new accusations are reported, thanks to the seemingly unlimited supply of classified material possessed by former NSA analyst and contractor Edward Snowden. Snowden is making sure that no day goes by without a new story about apparent NSA excesses, or the outraged debate that follows.

The reality, however, is a bit more nuanced than the headlines would have us believe.

In fact, the only break with international norms with the present NSA monitoring program is that they got caught. And not getting caught is the first and biggest rule of intelligence gathering.

We often hear politicians talk about "intelligence failures" following a surprise attack like those that took place at Pearl Harbor or on 9/11. Individuals within the intelligence community are then grilled, additional layers of management installed, with none of the underlying reasons for the so-called "intelligence failure" dealt with. And in the case of the present-day troubles NSA is experiencing, the only real failure appears to have been one of personnel selection and clearance. In fact, the only break with international norms with the present NSA monitoring program is that they got caught. And not getting caught is the first and biggest rule of intelligence gathering. At the same time, if Chancellor Merkel and the rest of her European colleagues thought they were not the targets of American surveillance efforts, then they were sadly ignorant and optimistic.

President Barack Obama and Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany listen to a question during a joint press conference in the East Room of the White House, June 7, 2011. Merkel has expressed outrage over the NSA allegedly tapping her phone. Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson

Let's make this clear. The United States, out of necessity, spies on everyone. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger is said to have once stated, "America has no permanent friends or enemies, only interests." Never, in modern history, has that statement been truer than in the present context. One need only remember back in the 1980s, when the Israelis recruited a mole within the Office of Naval Intelligence, Jonathan Pollard, who supplied them with a huge "take" of classified documents and other information. Yet, few would question that the United States and Israel have generally enjoyed a "special" relationship, which few other nations enjoy. And they still probably spy on us, and we likely spy on them. It is a situation unlikely to change at any time in the near term. Our 21st century world is a very dangerous place, and constant vigilance in every corner of the globe is the price of security and stability.

So what should American leaders like President Obama and his "inner circle" do about the present NSA crisis? Well, in a word: nothing.

So what should American leaders like President Obama and his "inner circle" do about the present NSA crisis? Well, in a word: nothing. The stream of leaks from Snowden is going to continue. Also, throwing away our present lead in communications surveillance worldwide would be to commit public suicide in a world that just gets more dangerous every day. The reality is, that if the German intelligence services could monitor the mobile phones of every senior U.S. administration, intelligence, or military leader, they would. In fact, every nation would, because to not do so would be reckless and irresponsible. No intelligence is more valuable to any nation than situational awareness of the important issues that face it. So to expect the United States to change its intelligence policy regarding monitoring of anyone's communications, including our allies, is simply unrealistic. As for Chancellor Merkel and her  "outraged" counterparts, they need to be quiet and acknowledge the fact that this is how nations do business.

 

One need not look at a calendar to know that we are generations away from the utopian social ideas of science fiction visionaries like Gene Roddenberry. And even in Roddenberry's 23rd century, greed, avarice, and battles for power, resources and territory were far from eliminated. The simple reality is that spying is older than the Bible, and unlikely to disappear should human beings roam the galaxy far in the future. It would be dangerously ignorant and blatantly irresponsible not to keep a wary eye on both friends and enemies across the globe. Any other action, by any American government, whatever their party, would be criminally negligent. And besides, it's not like our best friends will not be spying on us...




DDG 1000 Zumwalt Launched Without Fanfare At Bath Iron Works
The guided-missile destroyer Zumwalt (DDG 1000) is floated out of dry dock at the General Dynamics Bath Iron Works shipyard, Bath, Maine, Oct. 28, 2013. The ship, the first of three Zumwalt-class destroyers, will provide independent forward presence and deterrence, support special operations forces and operate as part of joint and combined expeditionary forces. The lead ship and class are named in honor of former Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Elmo R. "Bud" Zumwalt Jr., who served as chief of naval operations from 1970-1974. U.S. Navy photo courtesy of General Dynamics

After many years in design and development, a pioneering but controversial new U.S. Navy ship has entered the water without fanfare. The first ship of the Navy's newest class of guided missile destroyers, the future USS Zumwalt (DDG 1000), completed the journey from keel laying to construction to launching at General Dynamics Bath Iron Works in Maine.

The future USS Zumwalt (DDG 1000), completed the journey from keel laying to construction to launching at General Dynamics Bath Iron Works in Maine.

Instead of the more traditional way of launching ships by sliding them down the ways into the river stern first, Zumwalt was moved from Bath Iron Works' land-level construction facility onto a floating dry dock on Friday. From there, the dock was flooded and repositioned so the ship could be taken from its cradle. By the end of the day on Monday, Oct. 28, the dock had flooded and Zumwalt floated. She is now pier side next to the shipyard in the Kennebec River.

The guided-missile destroyer Zumwalt (DDG 1000) is floated out of dry dock at the General Dynamics Bath Iron Works shipyard, Bath, Maine, Oct. 28, 2013. The Zumwalt utilizes a unique tumbledown hull design that has not been employed on a warship for a century. U.S. Navy photo courtesy of General Dynamics

Construction of Zumwalt began in 2009 and is already more than 87 percent complete. Delivery to the Navy is scheduled for late next year. A formal christening ceremony was scheduled for Oct. 19, but was cancelled due to the government shutdown.

 

"This is the largest ship Bath Iron Works has ever constructed and the Navy's largest destroyer. The launch was unprecedented in both its size and complexity," said Capt. Jim Downey, the Zumwalt-class program manager for the Navy's Program Executive Office, Ships. "Due to meticulous planning and execution, the operation went very smoothly."

Everything about this ship is new, from the dramatically different tumblehome hull form, which hasn't been seen on a warship in a century, to the integrated electric propulsion systems, to the advanced gun system (AGS) and long range land attack projectile (LRLAP), to the total ship computing environment (TSCE).

Everything about this ship is new, from the dramatically different tumblehome hull form, which hasn't been seen on a warship in a century,  to the integrated electric propulsion systems, to the advanced gun system (AGS) and long range land attack projectile (LRLAP), to the total ship computing environment (TSCE).

 

According to Wade Knudson, Raytheon's DDG 1000 program manager, building this complex warship has been a rewarding challenge. "It's a tremendously complicated process, but the successes achieved have been made possible by the close collaboration and coordination by the Navy, Bath Iron Works, BAE Systems, Huntington Ingalls Industries and all of the other companies who have contributed.

The guided-missile destroyer Zumwalt (DDG 1000), the first of the Zumwalt-class guided-missile destroyers, is floated out of dry dock at the General Dynamics Bath Iron Works shipyard, Bath, Maine, Oct. 28, 2013. A formal christening ceremony was planned, but was canceled due to the since ended government shutdown. U.S. Navy photo courtesy of General Dynamics

Thanks to the TSCE, all systems are connected and provide an unprecedented amount of automation. Knudson says Raytheon created 6.7 million lines of code to date for the integrated system that controls everything from ship and machinery control to combat management, weapons control and automated fire suppression.

Raytheon created 6.7 million lines of code to date for the integrated system that controls everything from ship and machinery control to combat management, weapons control and automated fire suppression.

The ship is named for former Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Elmo R. "Bud" Zumwalt Jr., who served as CNO from 1970-1974.

 

Article from http://www.defensemedianetwork.com

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