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January 2014 
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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 Frogman Who Was Known To Few":

America's First Frogman John Spence of O.S.S. MU



His Legend and the Facts of

John Pitts Spence Gunner's Mate Chief(Diver)(Ret.)USN/O.S.S.MU       and why he is America's First Frogman for all Spec Operatives & operators and SCUBA Adventurers World Wide-


(How Spence's story relates to the genesis of military and civilian SCUBA instruction within Los Angeles County & Southern California; nationally and world-wide by spawning military and civilian adventures in SCUBA diving for most every clandestine amphibious American and British influenced Frogmen, who has come since )



by Erick Simmel



The thought alone, is marvel in itself. Especially when America's First Frogman Chief Gunners-mate(Diver) John Pitts Spence, USN(Ret.)/O.S.S. -that is the first American, active or reserve combat man-o-war of any service, trained to be a combat swimmer or combat diver for offensive purposes, died this past 25 October, 2013 at 95 years old, seventy years after he lead a VERY classified three years, and outlived all those purported to be American first frogmen- Phillip Bucklew, Draper Kaufman, Douglas Francis Fane, Frank Kaine, Colonel John D. Craig and the fictional Mike Nelson portrayed by actor Lloyd Bridges of the long ago T.V. show Sea Hunt ; along with a Frenchman named Cousteau and a Austrian named Hass -- whose legends all somehow have got more press, than Spence; who as the first man taught to be a Frogman was, one of three American's who started it all. And whose contribution to America's and our Allies clandestine undersea commando capabilities and spawned most watermen civilian divers following him to use SCUBA, has gone, largely unnoticed.


Even one month later, on 23 November 2013, where an open-to-the public-military-themed celebration of life was held in Chief Spence's honor, put on by the Bend Oregon chapter of the Band of Brothers WW II veterans and the Elks' Lodge where Spence was a larger than life local hero -the audience with family and military dignitaries and honors in attendance. Command condolences to family and community from CIA, Army Special Forces, Naval Special Warfare(SEAL Teams)and Marine MARSOC remembering of Chief Spence was followed by his spirit being piped out and Taps trumpeting it away via naval traditions, into the eternal seas of heaven, yet it all received little fanfare from a U.S. Special operations community that can tell you what larger than life present day super hero Navy SEAL did this or that, but not be able to how and whom was the lineage for the to do so. What celebration did take place, was held in high esteem by those few who knew of him as a gracious yet audacious older gentleman sailor. His man-o-wars-man gunners mate, hard hat diver, whose just-shy-of-three-year clandestine life during World War II (WW II), was one of those amazing unsung compendiums of action from a man, who as "the tip of the most classified amphibious spear" of that time, which few knew of.


By the time Chief Spence retired from the Navy in 1961, he was just finishing a career whose wartime exploits were answering that dutiful "stand-up-and-be-counted-for" American volunteerism for which his greatest of American Generations (as our WW II vets are known as), did. Spence who at the tip of the spear, left a permanent legacy for all American's; along with our wartime and post war allies, to follow: That is John Spence and his very few remaining O.S.S. Maritime Unit Operational Swimmer peers who are still living and breathing are the men whose tactics and actions are the direct legacy to all who followed them that can be called Frogmen. Be that Frogman the Air Force PJ or Special tactics commando; the Army Combat Diver; a MSS TEAM Coast-Guardsman or Marine Corps MARSOC and RECON Combat Diver; the Navy's storied EOD Divers or the fabled amphibian warriors of them all - today's Navy SEAL - Chief Spence and was the first; his O.S.S. Swimmer peers the second to you all.  



Spence's three years as a most classified secret weapon ensured his contribution to America's and our Allies clandestine undersea commando and combat swimming/diving capabilities; let alone SCUBA diving on military and civilian level in general has, largely gone unnoticed.



Part of the reasons Chief Spence's tale has faded from our minds-or is somehow still unknown to you the many who today shared his remarkable skills to combat America's enemies, has much to do with the myths and legends; the politics and facts surrounding all the history of who, how, why, when and where America's Clandestine forces first officially decided to make the undersea environment a battle space from his point in time, until now.  



Sadly, the Spence tale to unveil here, (much of which became open source almost two decades ago long before many of the histories of the secret war fighting in Vietnam...) is not celebrated due to a historically curious and tasty "gumbo soup" rife with the wonderfully fishy ingredients of several large egos; several dash's of "how-dare-you-question[!]"-pride's; two or three large myths or legends; four accepted official histories and a large dollop of "it-makes-things-to- difficult-rewriting-what-has-been-historically-accepted" thrown in, to make this specially Navy Bean "soup" recipe known as the John Spence Legacy to be delivered today.  


While most of this "soup's 'ingredients' listed above, will be self evident as you read on here, the one, of two, we will address -- the "it makes things to difficult rewriting what has been historically accepted" -- was addressed back first in the late 1980's by a group of historians including this writer. It was then first officially followed in March 1998 by the U.S. Army Special Forces Historians; and followed three years later in March of 2001 by U.S. Navy Special warfare Historians and six years later, in 2007 By the U.S. Coastguard. This has followed in subsequent years By U.S. Marine Corps and U.S Air force Special operations historians.


In March of 1998 at a ceremony at Fort Bragg, then Special Forces General Bowra, inducted Spence and fellow OSS swimmers as the heritage all Green Beret combat divers evolved from. Later, the Coastguard acknowledged Spence as the first instructor to their OSS Guardsmen. Yet it was the U.S. Naval Academy holding a symposium called "Naval Forces Under the Sea - A Look forward, A look back." Which officially acknowledged Spence as America's first frogman spearheaded by retired SEAL flag officers along with Commander Thomas Hawkins (USN Ret.) a key Navy SEAL historian who has clearly pointed out how John Spence and fellow O.S.S. MU swimmer officer Jack Taylor were the first of what Navy SEALs who followed them some 20 years later were to be? Such celebration should have insured Spence's story to be solidified by history. But it did not.


Yet three years later a bestselling book with a presidential endorsement comes out called Americas First Frogman having nothing to do with Spence; but rather continues the legends built upon a noble, if late to the game, UDT pioneer who did not put on a faceplate or pair of fins, until late 1943 - and that was after Spence and O.S.S. MU swimmers company introducing him to them. This was another continuation to water down the O.S.S. MU- Spence truths; by propping up old legends as history did when the Spence saga was classified, even though U.S. Naval Academy had by the publishing of the Book published their own symposium transcripts supporting John's story as historical fact pre UDT fact!


Those reading who may understand and know of the significance of John Spence and his fellow O.S.S. Maritime Unit Operational Swimmers to all frogmen are as of this day in late 2013, a minority.  


Spence was the first of the tip of that spear of the Men who gave all America Frogmen, the pioneering skills and capabilities to all missions and units -- no matter their branch of service. This was a legacy which is not just myth, but truth of who the first were and how and why any U.S. amphibious operator can go to war underwater with a faceplate, a pair of fins on his feet and a SCUBA rebreather on his chest; a limpet mine on his back perhaps sitting in a SDV, with a variety of waterproofed undersea personal weapons at his disposal. That legacy is O.S.S. / M.U. and America's first frogman - John Spence.


To understand this simple as it is complex, yet not to frequently discussed American Warrior's history to which its key historical facts have only occasionally surface for all to see, one must look at its 'legends versus facts'. This saga shows that sometimes 'facts' are held in contrast to each other for no other reason than timing and war records having little or no strategic significance and thus, remain sadly classified, for far longer than they should have. Thus'legends' get generated to supplement facts which remained classified and known only to a very select few.  


Take for instance the case of arguably America's greatest Director of Motion pictures and his unsung classified national duty which in many ways parallels the John Spence OSS fact.  


In his very fine and legendary 1962 John Wayne, Lee Marvin and Jimmy Stewart Western film "The Man who Shot Liberty Valence", America's arguably greatest motion picture film director John Ford, eloquently created a brilliant fable of the old west's murderous mayhem and illustrated the colorful cussedness during a battle between homesteaders and ranchers with the title of the movie becoming a legend accepted by all but actually not the truth. In an allegorical scene dealing with the historical portrayal of the facts, the character of Maxwell Scott who as the publisher of the fictional paper 'Shinbone Star' (portrayed with great poise by actor Carellton Young), upon learning from Jimmy Stewart's character Senator Ranson Stoddard's truth of the "legend" of who really shot Liberty Valence, Scott, replies to Stoddard: "This is the West, Sir. When the legend becomes fact, print the legend."


As legends go... The late great film Director John Ford - who is regarded by many as the finest American motion picture Director of all time lived an additional legend to which the facts surfaced only months before his passing, 40 years ago in 1973. Ford whose over 100 films he directed such as: Stage Coach,   How Green was my Valley, and The Searchers are considered part of the top 100 most important American films of all time -- if you did not know it, was also a proud Naval Officer who rose to, and retired as a Rear Admiral at the end of the Korean War. I am sure, many of you have no idea that he was for four years during World War II, Ford was a Navy Commander providing clandestine services to America's first wartime espionage agency, the Office of Strategic Services (O.S.S.). As the Officer in Charge, Field Photographic Division, O.S.S. Ford oversaw all O.S.S. training propaganda and additionally duty as as Director of many Motion Pictures shot secretly for O.S.S. Some of that footage would rival anything of importance he ever did for the motion picture industry.


John Ford, the man who had earlier perfected the western motion picture and to whom John Wayne credited for making him a film star, was also a navy commander on a secret O.S.S. mission on the beach at Normandy, D-Day, the 6th of June, 1944 with a camera in hand filming and directing crews filming the carnage and providing the historical fact the world has seen in countless motion picture documentaries.  


He directed camera crews who were among the first waves landing on the beach. Ford with a team of US Navy and Coast Guard combat camera-men -all under fire - directed the filming of the battle from behind the beach obstacles. That footage shot in color has never been viewed publically and it has been said, that if the footage was ever to be seen by a wide audience it would have been to brutal to support any notion that amphibious beach invasions against machine-gun defending pill boxes are a tactical cake walk.  


But ironies like these find themselves into tales of fact and legend in everything including D-Day. While a Navy clad Oscar winning, patriotic Hollywood Filmmaker was rolling film with blood and sand coating his face and lenses, the sand had been sampled months earlier by a legendary Navy Lt., Phil Bucklew, of the Navy Scouts and Raiders. Most movies depict the beach obstacles to be the Army's problem getting through them it was mostly the Navy's nightmare. Those "Belgian Gates" - iron and concrete obstacles - Ford and crew crouched behind were taken out with high casualty rate by Navy Combat Demolitioneers (NCDU's). These men were not yet frogmen in the classic and traditional sense of the word but fatigue clad sailors looking like every other determined helmet wearing grunt who hung on for dear life. These men knew that to blow the seeming safety of the beach obstacles was the only way their guys were going to get the supporting armor to punch through the beachhead.  



It is in speaking of these origins of what became the U.S. Navy "Frogman", America's first, much like John Ford, was not only a volunteer active duty U.S. Navy sailor prior to Pearl Harbor, but like Ford he too was a very secret clandestine O.S.S. operative.


A footnote in history to his story is due to both innocent and not so innocent reasons. The innocent reason is that sworn-to-secrecy oaths were taken by the World War II generation seriously. It is one of the many reasons they are so often referred to as "the greatest generation our nation has ever produced". -- Do the job, never tell your wife or kids because that is your duty and no book or movie deal is worth the shame upon you if you were ever to do so. Not so innocent because the victors mostly control history's facts specially - when political inconveniences arise from revealed truths -- even after the facts counterman the legend, many if not all writers/historians do like the publisher of the "Shin Bone Star" said -- continue to "print the legend".  


When,"The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence" motion picture was produced in 1962, much of Ford's wartime duties with O.S.S.; and it's ways and history of how it waged secret warfare and secret weapons to defeat the enemy, was then still very much classified. Thus this author suggests the movie is an allegorical personal statement from John Ford to all Americans -- almost as if John Ford was voicing his private thoughts- by illustrating through his films characters, how his beloved O.S.S. was in contrast to the traditional military story of how and who did what behind the scenes and behind the lines to win World War II.  



Ford in a silent way, shows the viewer through the mild mannered and dutiful character Stoddard - representing the traditional military GI -- gets the credit for winning the fight of his life against the evil bully who goes to war Stoddard, Lee Marvin's Valence. However, because groups and people like John "the Duke" Wayne's character "Doniphon" (a play on words to Ford's respected General William 'Donovan'?) - representing O.S.S. - brusque way of doing things that have to be done, which seem to be a rescue Stoddard are often swift silent and known to a very few; if not noble yet never meant to be made public.  


So like John Ford the O.S.S. operative, his films on the beach during the Normandy landings and his silent tribute to how the O.S.S. worked alongside the traditional military during WW II and how history has treated these truths as illustrated in the plot of his western film "Liberty Valence"; one can see how this becomes a parable to the unsung little known case of this yarn's focus, America's First Frogman: John Pitts Spence, Chief Gunner's Mate (Diver) United States Navy... O.S.S Operative.


Spence the last of the original pioneering American Swimmer Frogman commandos, the men who trained him and the men he trained and fought alongside, with were at the tip of the most clandestine and classified maritime spear. They were often swift, silent and are still known to a Very few. Their enterprise was to take the fight the USA was bringing to the Axis Powers across the globe during something called World War II.


Again, before you read, on John Spence was "America's First Frogman" despite any other claims to the contrary.  


John Spence was the first trained SCUBA instructor in America for the then very secret Office of Strategic Services (O.S.S) Maritime Unit (MU). There were many and various sub components that would be fielded world-wide including: the O.S.S. MU Special Operations Diving Unit (SODU) and its, O.S.S. MU L-Unit and all the (Special Maritime Group A) who later became U.S. Navy Underwater demolition Team Ten - (U.D.T.10), Operational Swimmer Groups (OSG) I, II and III and all other O.S.S. Special Operations (SO) Detachment 101 and SINO-AMERICAN-COOPERATIVE (SACO). All these operatives were trained in underwater combat and swimming for any theater of warfare. While Spence did not train them all, his important input as the only navy qualified hard hat diver education and training for the first underwater combat swimmer - frogman - in America and become the Navy Diver element. This program included a complement of: skin-divers/lifeguard/Watermen/ Coastguard/Army/Navy and Marine Corps it became the world's first scientist lead SCUBA instruction program for either civilians or Armed forces personnel. This is ...quite a heady claim considering Spence did not spend much time near the ocean until he joined the U.S. Navy as a gunners mate in 1936.


So how did a proud Tennessean who grew up around moonshiners become America's First Frogman?  


The John Pits Spence USN / OSS America's First Frogman saga goes like this:


  1. John Pitts Spence was born in Tennessee June 14, 1918
    to a father who was Sheriff and killed by moonshiners when he was 9 years old.   
  2. "I John Pitts Spence, in the year of 1936 enlisted in the U.S. Navy from the state of Tennessee. I was sent to Norfolk, Virginia for recruit training. I was assigned to the battle ship USS Idaho." Spence Joined the US Navy first in 1936 where he was trained as a Gunners Mate and alternatively became qualified as a Hard Hat Diver using Brass heavy diving equipment - free swimming light shallow water equipment was not standardized at that time in the Navy.

    PIC 12 - USS Idaho 1940 HERE
  3. He would later advance to Petty Officer, and be stationed at Los Angeles, San Pedro bay where he was a Gunner on board battleship USS Idaho (BB-42) and took place in various gunnery operations and Diving duties between Central America's Pacific coast up to San Francisco and Puget Sound; the Channel Islands and San Clemente Island for various gunnery bombardment exercises/practice. He separated from the Navy in 1940.  
  4. While in the Navy and as a Lockheed civilian employee, Spence would spend his weekends in Avalon, Catalina Island during the late 1930's enjoying Big-Band dances at the famed Casino Ballroom. He would hunt in the San Gabriel Mountains and enjoy the region.   
  5. From early 1940 until 7 December, 1941 he worked for Lockheed Aircraft.   
  6. Enter William Donovan and Jack Hedrich Taylor:                                    


Jack Taylor was a adventurer and well to do son of a Kansas dentist who had immigrated to Los Angeles with his family right after WW I. Taylor embraced this far west frontier including Catalina island as if it were part of some magical hybrid Tom Sawyer and Treasure island of all the wants and dreams boys relished of that era. Taylor Was a Boy Scout and avid sailor before graduating from USC with a dental degree in the early 1930's. By the late 1930's,

Dr. Jack Taylor was a 33-year old dentist with a well-established practice in Santa Monica, California. The benefits of his professional success let him enjoy his passion for the sea. As part of Los Angeles Yacht Club (then in the Terminal Island section of Los Angeles Harbor) he navigated in five California-to-Honolulu Trans-Pac yacht races and two from New York to Bermuda. He was a licensed airplane pilot as well. During an expedition to the Yukon, he had been trapped for two days in a gold mine after an earthquake struck.  


 Taylor was a strikingly dashing husband, married into LA Society and sported an Orthodontist office servicing screen stars such as Humphrey Bogart and Loretta Young in Santa Monica, but Taylor was bored buy it all. Taylor was keener on his relationship with the Sea and serious daring adventures. His being very well known as west coast sailor from Los Angles yacht club, were skills more importantly "book-ending" his other recreational pursuits which happened very regularly and often 500 yards from his office: That was practicing his affection for skin diving-hunting , surfing and watermanship with his friends in the Santa Monica and LA County Lifeguard Service .  


   During a couple social events surrounding New York to Bermuda races in the 1930's Taylor met Colonel William "Wild Bill" Donovan, then a prominent New York Attorney and former WW I Medal of Honor winner of the famed "Fighting 69th Infantry"; who was prominent in elite U.S. Social Circles. Hollywood Director John Ford an avid sailor and great friend to Donovan (and eventually serving under him) kept his yacht at Santa Monica Yacht Harbor and shared friends in the same sailing circles as Taylor. They shared friends Johnny Weismuller (Tarzan), Buster Crabbe (Flash Gordon), Humphrey Bogart and the Santa Monica Lifeguards... All who had boats in Santa Monica and would crew up together and make Catalina for weekend jaunts between film projects.  


   When Donovan's daughter Patricia came out to Hollywood briefly in to try her hand at acting ,she and Donovan stayed at the Hotel Shangri-la apartments or at the Hearst Davies beach house which were both close to Taylors office on 2nd Street in Santa Monica. Great location for Taylor to work his magic for Pat's smile.  



, why precisely other than his daughters teeth work Donovan met Taylor, is lost with time. However it is known both Donovan and Taylor shared similar adventure for outdoorsman ship, living life and a mutual interest in how the U.S.A. would become embroiled in the looming war in Europe. They connected again - According to the now deceased lifeguard and OSS swimmer Bob Butt, After a event one evening Taylor introduced he and Fred Wadley Frank Donohue, Art Garrett and  to Donovan on the beach in the morning in the summer of either 1939 or 40 in front of Marion Davies and William Randolph Hearst Santa Monica Beach House as Butt and Wadley and were coming out of the sea with facemasks , Churchill fins and Bull lobsters in their hands from the nearby offshore break water of the Santa Monica yacht Harbor.  



Donovan the ever shrewd strategist obviously filed this chance meeting away for events that were to soon follow which he would have a hand in orchestrating. Robert L."Bob" Butt, who before his O.S.S. MU Swimmer days, was a pre war Santa Monica skin-diving lifeguard buddy with Donohue and Wadley, and was better acquainted with Taylor, noted how they were all good fellows and watermen under the sea. Butt would later in his life, recall how Taylor and Donovan would meet at the hotel apartment for coffee to discuss the interesting unique skin-diving sport and gear which somehow intrigued Donovan. Even though Butt knew of no time Donovan himself, went with Taylor or alone Skin-diving. It seems all the stories of Donovan with a very busy schedule were true. Butt would relay that all with a laugh with him realizing, this was the initial connection to Donovan that lead them all to later become part of the Clandestine ( C.O.I. or) O.S.S that had at that time, yet to be formed...


NEXT MONTH, SPENCE and his totally "by chance" recruitment into O.S.S.


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


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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.


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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

Prototype Quadrotor with Machine Gun!
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FREEDOM IS NOT FREE | A Soldier's Pledge
A Soldier's Pledge

Word of Truth

Word of Truth    

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

God uses the prepared believer. Your preparation as a Christian soldier requires very little from you. God is the one who accomplishes the work of your preparation. As with Salvation, God does the work and we derive the benefit.


Eph 2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.


Romans 3:20 because by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight; for through the Law comes the knowledge of sin.

Romans 3:28 For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law.


Galatians 2:16 nevertheless knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified.


Titus 3:5 He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit,


God is perfect, His plan is perfect, and His perfect plan includes you. God is immutable. He is consistent in everything, absolute and unchanging. No merit in salvation means no merit in the Christian way of life.

The only way we can be prepared is to fulfill the command, to grow in grace and attain spiritual maturity.


2 Peter 3:18 but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.


Romans 12:2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.


1 Cor 14: 20 ... but in your thinking be mature.


Eph 4:13-14 Until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature, which belongs to the fullness of Christ. As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming


I know we all wish to accomplish great things for God, but in God"s plan He does the work. He does the "great things" and He gets the credit. Most Christians today are the ones accomplishing the work and sadly, they are taking the credit. This type of thinking is not part of the Christian way of life. It is not part of the unique spiritual life of the church age.


Too many Christians believe that they must "do" great things for God in order to prove their salvation. Salvation was accomplished once and for all at the cross.


Romans 6:10 For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God.


1 Peter 3:18 For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit


Hebrews 7:27 who does not need daily, like those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the sins of the people, because this He did once for all when He offered up Himself.


Hebrews 9:12 and not through the blood of goats and calves, but through His own blood, He entered the holy place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.


There is absolutely nothing you can do for God. God is everything, you are nothing. If you think God needs your help then, He is not The God. Go find some religion to join so you can help the false god therein.


The greatest reward you will receive in this life is being used by God. And, yes, God uses the prepared believer. In order to be prepared you must love God. You must fulfill the greatest command.


Deuteronomy 6:5 " You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.


MT 22:34-40 But when the Pharisees heard that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered themselves together. One of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, "Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law"" And He said to him," "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind." " This is the great and foremost commandment. "The second is like it, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." " On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets."


MK 12:28-34 One of the scribes came and heard them arguing, and recognizing that He had answered them well, asked Him, "What commandment is the foremost of all"" Jesus answered, "The foremost is, "Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is one Lord; and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength." "The second is this, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." There is no other commandment greater than these." The scribe said to Him, "Right, Teacher; You have truly stated that He is One, and there is no one else besides Him; and to love Him with all the heart and with all the understanding and with all the strength, and to love one"s neighbor as himself, is much more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices." When Jesus saw that he had answered intelligently, He said to him, "You are not far from the kingdom of God." After that, no one would venture to ask Him any more questions.


You cannot love someone that you do not know. In order to love God you must first know Him. The only way you can know God is through the scripture. God is only revealed in the Bible. Therefore, you must consistently avail yourself to the accurate teaching of the Word of God. This is spiritual growth. This is how you fulfill, 2 Peter 3:18, Rom. 12:2, 1Cor. 14:20, and Eph. 4:13-14.


Just as there are no human works in salvation, there are no human works in the Christian way of life. There are no human works in God"s plan except the works that God accomplishes through the prepared believer. The works that God accomplishes through you are known as divine good. The works you accomplish in the power of the flesh are human good. All of these human good works will be burned as worthless at the evaluation seat of Christ.


1Cor 3:10-15 According to the grace of God which was given to me, like a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another is building on it. But each man must be careful how he builds on it. For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each man"s work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man"s work. If any man"s work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward. If any man"s work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.


Notice your works (human good) will be burned up, but you will not lose your salvation. You will lose rewards in eternity. However, if you accomplished divine good, your works will remain and you will receive a reward. The believer in eternity, with rewards, is the prepared (spiritually mature) believer on earth.


Survival and Disaster Preparedness

Do Preppers want Martial Arts or Self-Defense?


To the average person martial arts and self-defense are interchangeable terms referring to the same thing- kicking, punching and weapons usage. Myriads of well meaning people have gone down to the local dojo, thinking that they can receive training to successfully win a street fight or some sort of personal attack, only to be put into a class full of children, typically with a young teenager teaching them how to "fight". They attend tournaments which focus on touch contact (point sparring) and the training they receive is primarily focused on this type of "fighting", although they're told they are being passed along ancient knowledge that has proven effective over the centuries. Then, when that day comes they try to defend their families using what they've learned, they end up getting their butt kicked.


The fact is that martial arts are simply codified systems of combat derived from a time when people fought with swords and wore some type of armor. Most are more familiar with Asian styles such as Karate, Kung Fu, Ju Jitsu and the like. These systems were specifically designed for fighting with armor on or to fight against people wearing such armor. Thus, a great many of the techniques found in traditional martial arts, while beautiful in their own right for aesthetic and cultural reasons, simply do not translate well into modern times with their high kicks and wide arching motions. Will consistent practice of such styles make you more effective at defending yourself? Absolutely! Any training is better than none at all. That said, they're not your best option and if you're new to this type of training, a lot of time and money can be saved with a little research.


Modern styles based on the ancient, such as American Kenpo (Ed Parker), Jeet Kun Do (Bruce Lee), Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (Carlos Gracie/Luis Franca) are leaps and bounds more applicable to our modern age, but these too are still largely based on the rules of the old world, although many would argue that point. They are still in the realm of art and sport- although sects within each respective style have been formulated specifically for street or self-defense application. Let us not forget the styles of the Pacific originating in the Philippines and Indonesia. These styles have bridged the gap between the ancient and modern world in such an effective way that they cannot be overlooked as a means to modern combative application. The styles of Kali-Silat, Arnis, Escrima offer training in weapons of all types and sizes, hand to hand techniques, flexible weapons (like whips) and projectile weapons. They're fast paced, hard hitting and brutal which is a perfect combination for today's times and especially a crisis event.


Krav Maga is another style that's become popular over the last twenty years. It's an Israeli system developed by and for the military that essentially takes from any style what they feel works, then they adapt it to fit modern needs on and off the battlefield. It's highly effective for urban combat, which is what typically goes on in Israel. True Krav Maga is not like the glorified fitness versions we find in American gyms. It's very brutal and to the point and it too offers a variety of hot and cold weapons tactics (sticks, knives, guns and more) and survival. I am of the opinion that Krav Maga and Filipino styles are better suited for self-defense in our age. Now, please understand, there are literally thousands of versions of the old world traditional styles- some teach what looks like Krav Maga, but they call it Karate because of the group they affiliate with! Also, I have not made mention of the American combative styles such as Apache Knife Fighting- which is also very applicable to the needs of today. Martial Arts is a very political industry with a lot of false or misleading claims- so you must do your part to investigate each instructor and style to find the one that best meets your individual goals for self-defense. If you are simply thrown into the mix at the local dojo, you'll likely never meet your goals.


Self Defense styles focus on the main thing- YOU. You will typically not find uniforms other than maybe a T-Shirt, at times no belt systems and usually no pre-arranged forms (kata/ poomsae). There are no tournaments or rules for self-defense as it's designed for street and battlefield use. You should expect to learn the basics of body movement, techniques using the head, knees, elbows, forearms, fists, feet and open hands in addition to weapons of all types including bats, broken bottles and firearms. Remember, belt colors are not the goal of self-defense training, your protection is.


In a world filled with fear and violence that only gets worse with each passing week; we must be prepared to defend ourselves and loved ones. It is said that 18.1 million Americans participated in some type of martial art in 2013according to data from New York City-based research firm Simmons Market Research. MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) fighting is a very popular sport and is still growing in popularity. It's estimated that 2.3 million view MMA fights on a regular basis. It must be noted that this is a sport and not a self-defense system, MMA fighters are athletes. To the average person, MMA athletes are looked upon as great fighters and they take nuggets and techniques from what they see on television and in turn, make use of these techniques in their own personal fights. What this does is increase the need for us to be aware that virtually anyone that we encounter will have some sort of martial arts or fighting knowledge, which makes them a threat should the stuff hit the fan.


The need for effective self defense training is an absolute. What's more, this training should be considered a requirement for success just like food, water and shelter. In what I call, Survival's Base 5, we teach Fire, Shelter, Water, Security and Food are the five top priorities for survival and preparedness. Security not only includes adequate sleep and protection from the elements and safety but also personal security- or the ability to defend oneself. Security leads to sustainability; the more secure you are in your situation, the longer you can endure it. So, my top tips for finding self-defense training would be these:


1) Outline your self-defense goals and seek out training to meet those goals. If you want to learn to shoot combatively, you find that type of instructor right? The same applies to self-defense. If you want to learn to survive a fight, multiple attackers, etc. find an instructor that offers that type of training. There are not as many as you think due to the liability issues, so be prepared to train at someone's home, host them at your location or take a private lesson.


2) Research the style or program. Learn what Krav Maga offers vs. Kali-Silat vs. Apache Knife Fighting, etc. Which will best meet your short term, mid-term and long-term goals; train in the order of need, because all are good to know! Also, make sure that the system is compatible with your spiritual nature. Some styles integrate the worship of foreign gods as a natural part of the program and many instructors don't even know it because that's just the way they learned it.


3) Try before you buy. Take at least one lesson with an instructor before you buy into their contract or monthly program. If the instructor has any videos, buy those before you visit or find them on youtube to see what they teach and how they present their material.


4) When all else fails, train yourself. You can learn techniques by watching videos on the subject, but just make sure you practice those techniques consistently and with multiple partners. Have others watch you to make sure what you are doing matches what's being taught. It's a tough road to plow should you not be able to locate or afford an instructor near you, but it can be done if you see it as a necessary goal in your preparedness plan.

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 Leadership Compass

LEADERSHIP IS COMMONLY DEFINED AS A PROCESS of influencing others to accomplish a task by providing purpose, direction, and motivation. A good leader sets the plan in place, organizes resources, makes sure everyone understands what's going on, orients the compass, and then lets go. That is extremely motivating.

The Four Key Leadership Factors
All leaders should be tune with four key factors of leadership: the led, the leader, the situation, and the communication. All four factors must always be considerations when exercising leadership, but at different moments, they affect each other differently. The key factor in one circumstance may have little importance in another. All four factors of leadership must be used when deciding a course, a direction of action. Mistakes happen when leaders fail to consider all four leadership factors and to see how they affect each other in a particular mission or task.

The Led
The led are the people you are trying to bring together as a team, the people you are ultimately responsible for. The group is defined by having three things in common:

1.    A common goal
2.    Interdependence in achieving that goal; that is, they all need one another for success
3.    Knowing and acting as if they have a common goal; that is, consciously responding to their interdependence

    To keep the team moving together and forward toward the goal, remember that all team members should not be led the same way.

    Get to know your team as individuals. I'm not talking about their shoe size or favorite candy bar, but about what's inside them-their motivational features. What draws them to some activities and what tasks do they try to avoid? What turns them on and off? How hard are they willing and able to push themselves under stress and pressure, not just in general, but with these particular teammates and in these particular circumstances? Know where their will and spirit lie.

It is precisely in this area of "what makes them tick" that leaders most frequently fail. This is where young leaders have their greatest difficulties and where even experienced leaders, despite their wisdom sometimes lose sight of the ultimate purpose of leadership: to give others the purpose, direction and motivation to be successful on their own.

    Assess the competence and commitment of your team. This allows you to take the appropriate actions at the correct time. A team member with a new job may need more of your attention and supervision than one who is already experienced at the same job. A team member with low self-confidence needs your support and encouragement. A hard-working employee who is focused on the mission deserves your recognition. A team member who intentionally does not follow your guidance or fails to meet team standards has earned your stern counseling and reprimand.

    Ensure (always) that each team member is treated with dignity and respect. You must create an environment that encourages your team to participate actively and want to help you accomplish the mission. Key ingredients to develop this relationship are mutual trust, respect, and confidence.

     Rally Point: You get what you give.

The Leader
As a leader, you must have an honest understanding of who you are, what you know, and what you can and cannot do. Without technical subject competence, a leader can't lead for long.

    Know your personal strengths and weaknesses, capabilities and limitations.  You need to be able to discipline yourself in order to lead your team effectively.
    Look honestly at yourself. If you have trouble assessing yourself, ask your leader what he or she would like to see you change about the way you lead others. Seek counsel from your peers and seek an experienced team member to ask, "How well do you think I lead?"

    Acknowledge that you are never alone. Set up a 360 so you aren't the only one gathering information that will drive action.

The Situation
All situations are different. Leadership actions that work in one situation may not necessarily work in another.

Consider all available resources before determining the best leadership action to take. In identifying resources, remember PET (people, equipment, and time).

Consider the team's level of competence, motivation, and commitment to perform the mission or task. In one situation, you may have to supervise the team's work closely. In another, your main job might be to encourage and motivate individuals who are well qualified to accomplish the task. Sometimes, the situation will require that you do a bit of both.

Consider the timing of your actions. For example, confronting a team member may be the correct decision, but if the confrontation occurs too soon or too late, the results may not be what you intended.

    We all make mistakes. It you take the wrong action, reanalyze the situation, take quick corrective action, and move on. Remember BRAD-back up, regroup, assess the situation, and drive on. Learn and reflect from your mistakes and those of others, but don't dwell on them during the mission.

The Communication
Communication is the exchange of information and ideas from one person to another. Effective communication occurs when others understand exactly what you are trying to tell them and when you understand precisely what they are trying to tell you-whether it's oral, written, or physical interaction alone, or some combination of them.

You communicate standards by your example and by what behaviors you ignore, reward, punish, or counsel.

Different situations call for different types of communication.

Your tone of voice, choice of words, and physical actions combine to affect those you lead.

Say the correct thing, at the appropriate moment, and in the right manner. Through your methods of communication, you encourage your team to follow you and your directions. You must earn their trust and confidence. What and how you communicate either fuels trust and confidence or erodes it.

Convey the facts and requirements of the mission accurately without the added confusion of your personal bias regardless of how hard you have to refrain.

Pay attention to exactly what your team members mean when they communicate with you. Employ all your active listening skills. Teams pay heed to leaders who listen to their concerns.

Emotions are an important part of communications, and good listening is hard work. Look at the person speaking. Observe not only what she says, but also how she says it since emotions are an important part of communication.

    The four factors of leadership give you direction about the leadership style you exercise at the moment. They are comparable to compass points in navigation. This will become clearer in the subsequent chapters as those styles are explored more closely.

The Four Factors of Leadership

The Compass at Work
    When the change in PL occurs during the LC training, some people instantly rise to the occasion, and others get used to their new role as the team forms around them. Those who shift into the role comfortably have a strong sense of self, communicate well, and know how to exercise both their intuition and their analytical abilities. Intuition helps them see the different needs and concerns of people on the team; their analytical abilities help them understand the situation. Those who take some time getting used to the role are often better than the "natural PL" at exercising leadership during the mission, though. Many times, they are more open to learning something about self, their team, how to communicate, or the situation-they make fewer assumptions.

    During the first days of the LC program, Chris wouldn't make eye contact. He had good manners. Everyone perceived him to be passive, though, and indecisive. What he said had value, but he didn't project authority or confidence so he seemed weak and indecisive. In the middle of a mission, I stopped everything and made Chris the PL. Right in his ear, I said, "Make it happen!"

    The Alpha and Bravo Team Leaders in this mission were very powerful personalities. At the rally point right after I spoke with Chris, these guys were telling Chris what to do. Suddenly he said, "Wait a minute, dammit! I'm the PL, and this is what we're going to do." They listened. He knew exactly what he wanted to do, he communicated it, and the mission went off perfectly. Before that, they had a plethora of preconceived notions of what was going to happen and how much help Chris needed.

    After the mission, I took Chris aside and said, "The only thing you lack is eye contact." Chris took that to heart; he had a powerful, new communication skill and a learning experience that continues to affect his performance.

    A short while after getting back to the job, Chris sought the job of HR manager at his company, and he got it. One of his first challenges on the job was something that required him to check his leadership compass as he had done in the field that day at LC Ranger training. He had to ascertain what action, what compass bearing was needed in a particular situation with a particular group of people, and then to communicate clear instructions with authority so the team could navigate the situation.

    In this case, the plant manager of the company was absent from a regularly scheduled heads-up (SITREP) meeting regarding outstanding issues and urgent problems. The managers below him knew they had to hold the meeting anyway because it was standard operating procedure. One manager brought a particular problem to the attention of his peers: Employees had learned how to cheat the time clock. They had figured out how to punch in and out quickly and get paid for the entire half-hour of lunch. His announcement enraged the other department leaders; they were out to capture and punish the cheaters. The manager making the announcement had already talked with the plant manager and found out that he would back the managers in docking everyone a half-hour regardless of whether they were suspected of cheating.

Chris said, "Wait a minute! You have to have a meeting and communicate with these people." They tried to shut him up. They told him they would just post the notice and that was it. Chris stood firm: "You can't just post it, you have to get to these people one-on-one and face-to-face. You have to tell them what's going on." By the end of the day, the production manager and Chris were meeting with people in the various departments and shifts and communicating the problem. The problem disappeared.

    As a rule, the led respond well and participate fully in the mission when the leader communicates respect for them through behavior. That's exactly what Chris did by having personal, face-to-face meetings with employees about the problem instead of posting a notice, sending an e-mail about it, or even worse, posting a notice about an arbitrary punishment for the problem.

    Earlier in the book, I described a squad leader who was an internal MODD. Everything good reflected his competence; everything bad reflected our incompetence. The squad leader who replaced him was completely different. He was dialed in to the benefits of listening, paying attention to the individual strengths and needs of his team, and being forthcoming about his own limitations.

    Immediately after he took over our squad, he pulled me aside and said, "I don't know beans about the M60 machine gun. I can't take it apart. I don't know how to shoot it. I've always been the guy down on the ground that you guys cover. I need your help."

    What an incentive to perform! I said, "No problem, sir." I gathered my team and told them that we were going to bust our butts to make this guy successful. Everyone agreed. We felt valued, and that motivated us. His predecessor benefited from our commitment to the mission and our self-respect, and it stopped there. This squad leader raised our commitment and productivity to an even higher level because he invited us to make his leadership stronger.

    Human beings do better with leaders who try hard to be excellent but don't pretend to be infallible. We realize it takes courage to be out front and in the spotlight, but it also takes courage to come clean about vulnerabilities and mistakes.

    As a leader, accept that there is no road map that guarantees an outcome. Any activity requiring leadership is not as simple as getting in a car and driving from point A to point B; those activities require management. And because you don't have a road map when you lead, you may take a few wrong turns. That's okay. A lot of leadership is failure. Leadership is admitting, "Wrong turn. Let's go back to the last rally point, where we knew we were on track, and try another way."

    A great leader will display leadership on a routine basis, inside and outside the context of a mission. My prime example once again is Captain Raymond Thomas. Yes, he displayed heroic leadership in Panama and throughout training missions, but leadership was part of his life.

    I had been a private less than two months and saw Captain Thomas in the hall with a bunch of papers in his arms, obviously walking toward an important meeting. He had just met me once before when I came into his company with six other newbies. In the hall that day, he said, "Private Hohl. Congratulations on your marriage." I thought, "He knows me. He knows about something that's really important to me." It was more than my shoe size or a favorite candy bar. He knew about a value of mine and acknowledged it with sincerity. At that point, he had my loyalty forever. He had me in a position that I would have risked my life for him. And all he did was acknowledge something that was important to me.

A Broken Compass
Heads of companies and heads of state often have the same problem: Their leadership compass gets stuck. These are people who are widely respected for their awesome ability to analyze a situation and communicate an appropriate action. At the same time, they have staff talking behind their back about, "What an SOB Ralph is," or how Carol's ego is the size of Mexico.

    Before they were CEOs or prime ministers, these people probably had the same leadership flaws as Ralph and Carol do. Ironically, they may have been factors in their rise to the top. Perhaps they intimidated people into following them or they engaged others in an exciting mission despite their bad leadership.

    I see a lot of people in the program who are headed in that direction. Their role models are very successful people who, if stripped of their position, power and money, might be politely described as bullies or geeks-but never as leaders.

    Joe openly aspired to be that kind of person, a mogul who commanded respect and responsive action. He was a young insurance agent on the rise at a large company in St. Louis. Young, energetic, and with lots of initiative, he tried hard to add value to the program during the four days. Based on the debriefings, though, Joe kept pushing and pulling so hard that the majority of the team wanted him to settle down. They sent him a strong message that he needed to think things through better.

    Joe's communication strength was sending messages out, not taking them in, so he didn't hear any encouraging words or sentiments like "Thanks for trying, but we have to take a different approach." All he heard was, "You're over the top."

    Joe's solution was to polarize himself. His struggle is the same that many young leaders have. They get so focused on the mission that they forget the human side of leadership, especially the strategic and tactical value of two-way communication. In contrast, older leaders sometimes get so focused on the human side of leadership that their productivity, and the productivity of the group, suffers. The goal is balance between projecting opinions and expertise and assimilating the insights of other people on the team.

Rally Point: Take care of your people and keep the mission in mind.

Leadership or Self-Direction?
Leadership gets the mission accomplished with a minimum of anxiety and maximum efficiency. The concept of self-directed work teams with no formal leadership is usually bogus. I say "usually" because the concept can have an operational life if it's part of an ingrained corporate culture as it is at W. L. Gore & Associates, makers of GORE-TEX® products. In that highly successful company, there are 6,000 employees all with the same title and the same rank-associate. In organizations with a typical hierarchical structure, however, good leadership is needed to cultivate a sense of individual ownership of the project, while someone has ultimate accountability.

    On one level, when Rangers take military objectives, we are self-directed. We respond to a general order such as, "Third Ranger Battalion, you figure out how to take the airfield." The clear line of communication is to and from PL, however: He receives the order, transmits it to the team, takes the input from the team (made up of subject matter experts), makes decisions based on the input, and sends it back up the chain. With the PL's leadership, we would design a way to take the objective that reflected our areas of expertise. And when it came time to carry out the mission, if it called for a sniper, no one told the sniper how to shoot. The PL just told him where the target was, and then the sniper was in charge of that part of the situation.

When and how to take a self-directed approach is clear to Rangers and it can be clear in a corporate setting if people heed the creed, culture, and mission plan:

1.    The creed is the boundaries.
2.    The culture is the norms-formal and informal ways of doing things that are appropriate for the organization.
3.    The mission plan is the "how to" that reflects the intent of the PL.

    Put it together and what you get is success, even in randomly and rapidly changing situations. It's not that difficult.


Lead the way!


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

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




Warrior's Wisdom

Among mountains a great number of positions are always to be found, strong in themselves, and which it is dangerous to attack. The science of this mode of warfare consists in occupying camps on the flanks, or in the rear of the enemy...
I think what Napoleon was really implying was the need to attack from a secure defensive position, just as a modern infantry platoon deploys a fire group or section to cover the line of its attack. 
-Military Maxims of Napoleon
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Aesop's Fables

A muleteer set forth on a journey, driving before him an Ass and a Mule, both well laden. The Ass, as long as he traveled along the plain, carried this load with ease, but when he began to ascend the steep path of the mountain, felt his load to be more than he could bear. He entreated his companion to relieve him of a small portion, that he might carry home the rest; but the Mule paid no attention to the request. The Ass shortly afterwards fell down dead under his burden. Not knowing what else to do in so wild a region, the Muleteer placed upon the Mule the load carried the hide of the Ass, after he had skinned him. The Mule, groaning beneath his heavy burden, said to himself: "I am treated according to my deserts. If I had only been willing to assist the Ass a little in his need, I should not now be bearing, together with his burden, himself as well"

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Quotes & Jokes

"It is the manners and spirit of a people which preserve a republic in
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Thomas Jefferson (1781)

"The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government
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Thomas Jefferson

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Patrick Henry

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Columnist Terence Jeffrey: "The Founding Fathers of this country
understood that there are absolute rules of right and wrong that all men
and all governments must obey. And that human beings are imperfect and
thus constantly tempted to violate these rules. When the flawed human
beings in government are permitted to routinely break the moral rules
and violate the rights of the citizens, a nation is on the road to
tyranny. Our Founding Fathers wrote a constitution for a strictly
limited government specifically designed to deny human beings in
government the authority to violate the rights of citizens or impose
inordinate controls on their lives. In recent decades, many of our
political and cultural leaders have proudly denied the basic
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judges have worn down the constitutional limits on the federal
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Columnist Terence Jeffrey

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What Has Really Changed?

What has really changed?
When you're worried about America, read this:--
In 1914 an American worker had to work 6 hours and 44 minutes to earn enough to buy a shirt. Today he earns a better shirt in 1 hour and 49 minutes.
 In 1914 1 hour 37 minutes for a pound of butter; today, 19 minutes.
 In 1914 1 hour 14 minutes for a pound of bacon; today 22 minutes.
In 1914 12 hours 52 minutes for a good pair of men's shoes; today 6 hours 54 minutes.

List everything you eat, wear, use - the story is much the same. Better machines bought with savings, and better used, produce more at lower cost, and so give everyone a higher standard of living.

And what do we do with our leisure time? In spite of the filth peddlers we read more good books, attend more concerts of serious music, spend more time in museums, donate more time as well as money to charity and education.
Beatniks and rioters may get the headlines (unfortunately) but the decent hardworking Americans go quietly on their way, making this country the envy of the world.


"We're not going to have real prosperity or recovery until we stop fighting the symptoms and start fighting the disease. There's only one cause for inflation -- government spending more than government takes in. The cure is a balanced budget. Ah, but they tell us, 80 percent of the budget is uncontrollable. It's fixed by laws passed by Congress. Well, laws passed by Congress can be repealed by Congress. And, if Congress is unwilling to do this, then isn't it time we elect a Congress that will? ... The truth is, Washington has taken over functions that don't truly belong to it. In almost every case it has been a failure. Now, understand, I'm speaking of those programs which logically should be administered at state and local levels. Welfare is a classic example. Voices that are raised now and then urging a federalization of welfare don't realize that the failure of welfare is due to federal interference." 
 - Ronald Reagan 


"The budget should be balanced, the Treasury should be refilled, public debt should be reduced, the arrogance of officialdom should be tempered and controlled, and the assistance to foreign lands should be curtailed lest Rome become bankrupt. People must again learn to work, instead of living on public assistance."

 -Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-46 BC)  


Pull-ups delayed for female Marines
More than half of female recruits can't do 3
By Jeanette Steele3:41 p.m.Jan. 1, 2014
Lance Cpl. Katelyn M. Hunter conducts pull-ups on Dec. 12, 2012. Lance Cpl. Katelyn M. Hunter conducts pull-ups on Dec. 12, 2012. - USMC photo

Lance Cpl. Katelyn M. Hunter conducts pull-ups on Dec. 12, 2012. Lance Cpl. Katelyn M. Hunter conducts pull-ups on Dec. 12, 2012. - USMC photo

The Marine Corps has delayed a bellwether physical requirement for women, as more than half of females in boot camp can't do three pull-ups - the new minimum standard that was supposed to kick in Wednesday.

Focus on this upper-body test has intensified as the U.S. military looks to open all combat roles to women in 2015 and 2016, and the nation debates whether females have the physical strength to be effective in the infantry.

The delay is intended to give the Corps time to "continue to gather data and ensure that female Marines are provided with the best opportunity to succeed," said Col. Sean Gibson, spokesman for Marine Corps Combat Development Command in Quantico, Va.

Otherwise, the service was at risk to lose female Marines and prospective recruits at unacceptable rates, Gibson said. There's no timetable yet for when the requirement will start.

For now, women Marines can continue to do the flexed-arm hang, holding their chins above a bar, during annual physical fitness tests.

"The commandant has no intent to introduce a standard that would negatively affect the current status of female Marines or their ability to continue serving in the Marine Corps," Gibson said in a written statement.

The original decision to require pull-ups was announced Nov. 27, 2012. The Corps gave women more than a year to train. But Gibson said this week that about 55 percent of female recruits at the Marine Corps' Parris Island, S.C., boot camp couldn't do three pull-ups by graduation day.

Some female Marine veterans said there is no reason to despair that women can't hack the symbolic strength test.

Reservist Maj. Jeannette Haynie, a Marine AH-1W Cobra helicopter pilot, said the delay was disappointing at first.

But she said more training time isn't necessarily a bad thing, as most female Marines probably had to start from scratch - unlike their male counterparts who were likely required to do pull-ups as far back as high school.

"I do hope that the delay is just that, a delay - and not a sign that the Marine Corps is starting to believe that women just can't do pull-ups. Of course we can," said Haynie, who was stationed at Camp Pendleton from 2001 to 2008 and now lives in Alexandria, Va.

A blogger for the U.S. Naval Institute, 38-year-old Haynie wrote over the summer that she couldn't perform one pull-up this spring but now, after repeated attempts, she can.

Malia Green, 31, is a former Marine Corps staff sergeant who played in the band. Now a San Diego State graduate student, she said she didn't attempt pull-ups while in uniform because she didn't want to fail in front of the guys.

She trained for the flexed-arm hang because that's what was required to pass the fitness test, Green said.

"I personally think pull-ups are a good idea because Marines pride themselves on being equal," she said.

She's another female Marine veteran who over the past year has started focusing on pull-ups.

"I bought a pull-up bar and put it in the hallway and did some each day," Green said. "I'm up to eight pull-ups in just a couple months."

On the other hand, some military bloggers have pointed out that male Marines are held to a higher standard.

For example, it takes 20 pull-ups for men to get a maximum score on the Marine physical fitness test, while women only have to do eight for maximum points.

Reaction to the female pull-up delay has been scathing on some military blogs, whose authors are taking it as a sign that the physical bar would have to be dropped for women to be allowed in combat, or that females would drag down a unit even if they passed the entry tests.

"I don't ever remember a single male Marine in the fleet or support unit who could only do three pull-ups," wrote blogger Ultimaratioregis.

"The physical disparity between an average male Marine and female Marine is gigantic."

U.S. Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Alpine, recently introduced legislative language that requires the Pentagon to create a "gender-neutral occupational standard" for any combat jobs that are opened to women.

In November, for the first time, three female Marines graduated from enlisted infantry training.

The women were held to the same standards as men, including performing full pull-ups during the physical fitness test. However, they won't be assigned to infantry platoons because their participation in the training was only for research purposes.

The Marines have laid out a detailed training plan to help women gain the arm, shoulder and back strength needed for pull-ups.

Working out three times a week for six weeks, women are directed to do multiple sets of push-ups, bench presses, upright rows and the like.

Why such a big deal about the pull-up - as opposed to other measures of physical might, such as the push-up?

Gibson at the Combat Development Command said the Marine Corps has decided the pull-up is the best gauge because it requires the muscular strength necessary to perform common military tasks.

Marine Corps officials say physical fitness standards have always changed with the times.

In 1908, President Theodore Roosevelt ordered that Marine Corps staff officers would be required to ride 90 miles on horseback, and line officers would walk 50 miles over three days.

By 1956, Marines were being tested on chin-ups, push-ups, broad jump, a 50-yard duck waddle and an at least 440-yard run.

According to history provided by Gibson, the first female version of a regular physical fitness test arrived in 1969.

It consisted of a 120-yard shuttle run, vertical jump, knee push-ups, 600-yard run/walk and sit-ups. In 1975, the flexed-arm hang was added.

In 2010, the Marine Corps commandant directed the development command to study a replacement for the flexed-arm hang for female Marines. The recommendation was the pull-up.


Who was Thomas Jefferson?

This is amazing.  There are two parts.  Be sure to read the 2nd part.

Thomas Jefferson was a very remarkable man who started learning very early in life and never stopped.

At 5, began studying under his cousin's tutor.

At 9, studied Latin, Greek, and French.

At 14, studied classical literature and additional languages.

At 16, entered the College of William and Mary. Also could write in Greek with one hand while writing the same in Latin with the other.

At 19, studied Law for 5 years starting under George Wythe.

At 23, started his own law practice.

At 25, was elected to the Virginia House of Burgesses.

At 31, wrote the widely circulated "Summary View of the Rights of British America?"  And retired from his law practice.

At 32, was a Delegate to the Second Continental Congress.

At 33, wrote the Declaration of Independence.

At 33, took three years to revise Virginia's legal code and wrote a Public Education bill and a statute for Religious Freedom.

At 36, was elected the second Governor of Virginia succeeding Patrick Henry.

At 40, served in Congress for two years.

At 41, was the American minister to France and negotiated commercial treaties with European nations along with Ben Franklin and John Adams.

At 46, served as the first Secretary of State under George Washington.

At 53, served as Vice President and was elected president of the American Philosophical Society.

At 55, drafted the Kentucky Resolutions and became the active head of Republican Party.

At 57, was elected the third president of the United States.

At 60, obtained the Louisiana Purchase doubling the nation's size.

At 61, was elected to a second term as President.

At 65, retired to Monticello.

At 80, helped President Monroe shape the Monroe Doctrine.

At 81, almost single-handedly created the University of Virginia and served as its first president.

At 83, died on the 50th anniversary of the Signing of the Declaration of Independence along with John Adams.

Thomas Jefferson knew because he himself studied the previous failed attempts at government.  He understood actual history, the nature of God, his laws, and the nature of man. That happens to be way more than what most understand today. Jefferson really knew his stuff.  A voice from the past to lead us in the future:

John F. Kennedy held a dinner in the White House for a group of the brightest minds in the nation at that time.  He made this statement: "This is perhaps the assembly of the most intelligence ever to gather at one time in the White House with the exception of when Thomas Jefferson dined alone."


"When we get piled upon one another in large cities, as in Europe, we shall become as corrupt as Europe."
-- Thomas Jefferson

"The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not."
-- Thomas Jefferson

"It is incumbent on every generation to pay its own debts as it goes,  a principle which if acted on would save one-half the wars of the world."
-- Thomas Jefferson

"I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them."
-- Thomas Jefferson

"My reading of history convinces me that most bad government results from too much government."
-- Thomas Jefferson

"No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms."
-- Thomas Jefferson

"The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government."
-- Thomas Jefferson

"The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants."
-- Thomas Jefferson

"To compel a man to subsidize with his taxes the propagation of ideas which he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical."
-- Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson said in 1802:

"I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies.

If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around the banks will deprive the people of all property - until their children wake-up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered."

- unknown

85-year-old U.S. Army sniper veteran proves he hasn't lost his skills as he picks off a target at 1,000 yards

He may be 85 years old, but when Army sniper veteran Ted Gundy was given the chance to show off the skills he used in World War Two, he proved he could still keep up with the very best.

That's because he was invited to try out the Army's latest technology in a challenge to hit a target a whopping 1,000 yards away.

But the former member of the Missouri honour guard, stepped up to the challenge with an extremely level head.


The Dark Side of Unmanned Systems Autonomy
Where is increased autonomy for military unmanned systems leading?
An X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System (UCAS) demonstrator passes over the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77). George H.W. Bush is the first aircraft carrier to successfully conduct a catapult launch and arrested recovery of an unmanned aerial vehicle. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Michael Smevog

"My view is that technology sets the parameters of the possible; it creates the potential for a military revolution."

- Max Boot, War Made New 


In his best-selling book, War Made New, military historian Max Boot supports his thesis with historical examples to show how technological-driven "Revolutions in Military Affairs" have transformed warfare and altered the course of history. The U.S. military has embraced a wave of technological change that has constituted a true revolution in the way that war is waged.

Unquestionably, one of the most rapidly growing areas of technology adoption involves unmanned systems. In the past decade the military's use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) has increased from only a handful to more than 5,000, while the use of unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs) has exploded from zero to more than 12,000. The use of unmanned surface vehicles (USVs) and unmanned underwater vehicles (UUVs) is also growing as USVs and UUVs are proving to be increasingly useful for a variety of military applications.



Beyond Immersive Training? Services Embrace Immersive Training
Part 1

Students from the U.S. Marine Corps Expeditionary Warfare School in Quantico, Va., view the Hindu Kush region of Afghanistan on a wrap-around screen inside the Adaptive Full-Spectrum Module in Fort Sill's Joint Fires and Effects Trainer System (JFETS), March 2, 2012. The U.S. military has embraced the concept of immersive training. U.S. Army photo by Jeff Dixon.

One of the underlying concepts emerging from this month's Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation and Education Conference (I/ITSEC) 2013 involved the optimum levels of "immersion" that should be employed in future military training systems.


Over the past decade, the U.S. military has embraced the concept of immersive training, as reflected in the establishment of several large immersive training environment systems across the armed forces.

Over the past decade, the U.S. military has embraced the concept of immersive training, as reflected in the establishment of several large immersive training environment systems across the armed forces.

The U.S. Army's Joint Fires and Effects Training System (JFETS), for example, was installed at Fort Sill, Okla., in 2004 to provide what designers describe as "a suite of state-of-the-art immersive virtual reality environments designed to help soldiers make critical decisions under stress and provide collective team training and cultural awareness lessons."


The system leverages the mixed reality technology of the University of Southern California's Institute for Creative Technologies (ICT).

The U.S. Army's Joint Fires and Effects Training System (JFETS), installed at Fort Sill, Okla., leveraged technology developed by the University of Southern California's Institute for Creative Technologies (ICT). U.S. Army photo

According to ICT overviews, JFETS "recreates life-like environments that place soldiers in real world settings. Stressors include heat, wind, explosions, human distress noise, and snipers. JFETS also provides added artificial intelligence behaviors to insurgent forces and realistic, reactive behaviors to civilians. Using JFETS, soldiers interact with both the physical and virtual worlds seamlessly without the costs associated with live exercises."


JFETS transitioned to the Army's Program Executive Office for Simulation, Training and Instrumentation (PEO STRI) in 2008.

The training system "uses Hollywood-style special effects to create challenging and realistic training scenarios for recruits."

Meanwhile, in another example, the U.S. Navy launched its own immersive training environment when "Battle Stations 21" opened for recruit training in June 2007. Located at Recruit Training Command (RTC) Great Lakes, the system is based on the "USS Trayer" (BST 21), a 3/4-scale, 210-foot long mockup of an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer enclosed within a 157,000-square-foot building on board RTC.


According to RTC representatives, the training system "uses Hollywood-style special effects to create challenging and realistic training scenarios for recruits. Recruit divisions work through a 12-hour Battle Stations 21 experience as a comprehensive test of the skills and teamwork learned during their eight weeks of basic training at RTC."

Damage Controlman 1st Class Tiffany Castillo, left, a facilitator for Battle Stations 21 at Recruit Training Command (RTC), explains a damaged berthing compartment aboard the 210-foot-long Arleigh Burke-class destroyer simulator USS Trayer (BST 21), to foreign officers from the Naval Education and Training Security Assistance Field Activity. The group of nine foreign officers toured RTC to observe how U.S. Navy sailors are trained. U.S. Navy photo by Scott A. Thornbloom

Developers added that the BST 21 design "is outfitted inside and out with salvaged gauges, pipes and electrical gear from decommissioned ships. Inside, compartments are outfitted as berthing spaces, engineering control rooms and bridges. There are also special controlled areas where magazine spaces flood and compartments are engulfed in flames, all in a carefully controlled manner that balances realism with safety."


Just a few months later, in the fall of 2007, Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton opened its own state of the art Infantry Immersion Trainer (IIT) in a once empty 32,000 square foot facility aboard that base.

Reflecting the growing embrace of immersive training, additional IITs were subsequently opened at other Marine Corps facilities. In addition, 2010 saw a significant expansion of the original IIT that added 120,000 square feet of outdoor space.

Supported by entities like San Diego-based Strategic Operations, ICT, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), Lockheed Martin's advanced simulation center (in Burlington, Mass.) and Naval Air Systems Command, Orlando, Fla., IIT is designed to provide a hands-on training facility "for practical application of tactical skills and decision making in an immersive, scenario-based training environment."


Reflecting the growing embrace of immersive training, additional IITs were subsequently opened at other Marine Corps facilities. In addition, 2010 saw a significant expansion of the original IIT that added 120,000 square feet of outdoor space.


Lance Cpl. Tom Conchie, a New Zealand Army soldier serving with 2nd, 1st Battalion, provides security at the Infantry Immersion Trainer (ITT) during Exercise Dawn Blitz 2013, Camp Pendleton, Calif., June 13. The IIT gave the New Zealanders a taste of what they might encounter in future combat operations. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. James Gulliver
 While examples like the Army's JFETS, the Navy's BST 21, and the Marine Corps' IIT highlight the broad acceptance of the value of immersive training over the past several years, science and technology professionals have begun to look beyond today's immersive concepts in an effort to identify optimum training technologies for the future. The second part of this article will look at some of those ongoing technology investigations and their possible impact on the future of immersive military training.


The Army Network Readies for the Battlefield
Soldiers from the 4th Brigade Combat Team (BCT), 10th Mountain Division, train using Capability Set 13 at Fort Polk, La., March 2, 2013. CS 13 allows the 10th Mountain units to utilize advanced satellite-based systems - augmented by data radios, handheld devices, and the latest mission command software - to transmit voice/chat communications and situational awareness date throughout the BCT. That capability will be critical as U.S. troops work closely with Afghan forces, take down fixed infrastructure, and become increasingly mobile and dispersed in their operations. U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Kulani Lakanaria

It's one level of complexity for the U.S. Army and its tactical partners to plan and integrate an evolving battlefield network. It's another level to successfully evaluate that evolving network through the semi-annual Network Integration Evaluation (NIE) process and validate a confidence level that enables fielding of the validated network integrated packages as "Capability Sets" to Army brigades and divisions. But it is another complexity level entirely when that fielded network is deployed to a combat theater in support of U.S. Army warfighters for the first time.


And that is the complex network environment where the Army finds itself in early summer of 2013. Simply stated, at the same time that analysis continues on NIE 13.2, recently completed at White Sands Missile Range, N.M., two of the first U.S. Army brigade combat teams equipped with the "Capability Set 13" network architecture - the 3rd and 4th brigades of the 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry) - are responding to orders for deployment to Afghanistan.


The NIEs

Emerging from the ashes of the Army's terminated Future Combat Systems (FCS) program, the NIE process built on a foundation of Limited User Testing (LUT) conducted at Fort Bliss/White Sands by the Army Evaluation Task Force in FY 09 and FY 10.

Emerging from the ashes of the Army's terminated Future Combat Systems (FCS) program, the NIE process built on a foundation of Limited User Testing (LUT) conducted at Fort Bliss/White Sands by the Army Evaluation Task Force in FY 09 and FY 10. Much of that early LUT focused on the so-called "Increment 1" hardware that had emerged from FCS, ranging from a "Class I Unmanned Aerial Vehicle" to a "Network Integration Kit" and the supporting technologies necessary to extend networking capabilities to the smallest combat organizations.


The network became the focus of the first two NIEs - NIE 11.2 in spring 2011 and NIE 12.1 in late fall of that year - as the Army established a network baseline and matured the materiel solutions identified to bridge the gaps in that baseline.



Tragedy and Glory in Operation Raincoat: Ernie Pyle, John Huston, and the First Special Service Force
U.S. paratroopers from the 504th Airborne Infantry Regiment and U.S. Army soldiers from the 143rd Infantry climb through the rubble of San Pietro on Dec. 17, 1943. Director John Huston risked his life filming The Battle of San Pietro while attached to the 143rd. National Archives photo

The Allies' original plan in Italy called for the liberation of Rome by December 1943. But stymied by stubborn German defenses and bad weather, in November the American Fifth Army was more than 80 miles away. Its commander Lt. Gen. Mark W. Clark now would be happy just to breach the German defenses of the Winter Line and gain a toehold on the Liri Valley, the historic southern gateway to the Eternal City.

"From the end of October 1943 until the middle of December, San Pietro and the surrounding ground was the scene of some of the bitterest fighting on our Fifth Army's route."

-Narrator John Huston, The Battle of San Pietro 

To accomplish that scaled down goal he launched Operation Raincoat on December 3. When it ended nine days later, Clark had his toehold. But the operation would become noteworthy for other reasons: a newly arrived special operations unit would establish its reputation as an elite unit, America's favorite war correspondent would write his greatest column of the war, and the celebrated Hollywood director of The Maltese Falcon would film one of the world's greatest war documentaries.

Members of the Canadian-American special operations unit, the First Special Service Force, in Italy. The First Special Service Force was tasked with capturing Mont la Difensa during Operation Raincoat. Library and Archives Canada photo

The First Special Service Force was a Canadian-American special operations unit commanded by Col. Robert T. Frederick. In July it had helped recapture the Aleutian Island of Kiska, but saw no action as the Japanese garrison had secretly evacuated days earlier. Now in Italy, it was given the lead role in Operation Raincoat, assigned to capture Mont la Difensa. Previous attempts had been bloodily repulsed. Clark gave Frederick's highly trained men three days to accomplish what his regular troops couldn't.

Despite suffering 30 percent casualties, the First Special Service Force secured both. By the time the survivors marched down the mountain, the First Special Service Force's reputation as an elite fighting unit was secured.

Attacking at midnight, within two hours the mountain was theirs and by mid-morning that same day they had also seized nearby Mount la Remetanea. Desperate fighting ensued. Despite suffering 30 percent casualties, the First Special Service Force secured both. By the time the survivors marched down the mountain, the First Special Service Force's reputation as an elite fighting unit was secured.

Capt. Henry Waxkow was the commander of Company B in the 36th Infantry Division and was memorialized after his death by war correspondent Ernie Pyle. Texas Military Forces Museum photo

Capt. Henry Waxkow was the commander of Company B in the 36th Infantry Division, a National Guard division that first saw action during the amphibious assault on Salerno. Waxkow had joined it in the late 1930s. Though unassuming in style and appearance, he had earned his men's trust by his care for them and his frontline leadership.

Waxkow had joined it in the late 1930s. Though unassuming in style and appearance, he had earned his men's trust by his care for them and his frontline leadership.

On December 13, Waskow received orders to lead his company in an assault of San Pietro, a village at the mouth of the Liri Valley. As the company was moving to its jump-off point on the mountain overlooking San Pietro, Waskow heard the whistling of an incoming enemy artillery shell. Shouting a warning, he shoved to safety his runner, Pvt. Riley Tidwell. The shell exploded above Waskow, killing him instantly. Company B would lose all its officers in the assault. After reporting to the battalion commanding officer, Tidwell, who was suffering from trenchfoot, was ordered to the rear to get his feet treated.

War correspondent Ernie Pyle wrote his most famous column, "The Death of Captain Waskow," while covering the Battle of San Pietro. National Archives photo

At the base of the mountain, Tidwell found a shed where other members of the division were resting and joined them. Sensing that he wanted to talk, war correspondent Ernie Pyle, recently attached to the division, walked over and gently asked Tidwell what had happened. Tidwell told him. Soon after Tidwell had finished, Pyle went away and began writing: "In this war I have known a lot of officers who were loved and respected by the soldiers under them. But never have I crossed the trail of any man as beloved as Capt. Henry T. Waskow, of Belton, Texas."

On December 17 Huston and his film crew were at San Pietro, risking their lives to obtain combat footage.

"The Death of Captain Waskow" was a masterpiece that touched the emotional tenor of the times. The column helped Pyle win the Pulitzer Prize in 1944.

Director John Huston filmed the documentary The Battle of San Pietro. National Archives photo

John Huston, late of Hollywood and now a captain in the Army Signal Corps, had been given an impossible assignment: Create a first-class documentary containing combat action footage "filmed as it happens." But to do so, cameramen with their large, bulky movie cameras had to expose themselves to enemy troops they couldn't see for the unscripted chance to film something that didn't have the same spectacular pyrotechnics of a Hollywood war movie. But Huston refused to be deterred. On December 17 Huston and his film crew were at San Pietro, risking their lives to obtain combat footage. Ultimately, Huston had to recreate some necessary combat scenes in safer battle scarred areas.

"This picture should be seen by every American soldier in training."

In August, Gen. George C. Marshall screened a rough cut. After suggesting it was too long, he recommended: "This picture should be seen by every American soldier in training." The Battle of San Pietro was released to the general public in April 1945. Time magazine movie critic James Agee rated it one of the two best films of 1945. Its reputation has since grown.


Ernie Pyle's "The Death of Captain Waskow" can be read in its entirety at: http://www.pbs.org/weta/reportingamericaatwar/reporters/pyle/waskow.html. The Battle of San Pietro can be seen on YouTube at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xssaWNoWq3E.

The Yom Kippur War:
40th Anniversary in Photos

The war fought between the forces of Egypt and Syria against Israel from Oct. 6 to Oct. 25, 1973 has many names, from the Yom Kippur War to the 1973 Arab-Israeli War, Ramadan War, or October War. Whatever name you prefer, the 40th anniversary of the beginning of conflict is on Oct. 6, 2013. To mark that anniversary the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has released President Nixon and the Role of Intelligence in the 1973 Arab-Israeli War, a study that examines the causes and consequences of the U.S. intelligence community's failure to foresee the Yom Kippur War. The photos in the slideshow come from that study. The Yom Kippur War started with a surprise attack against Israel by forces of several Arab states, primarily lead by Egypt and Syria, with smaller forces contributed by Iraq and Jordan. Early gains were achieved, with Egypt and Syria seizing back some of the land they lost in the 1967 Six-Day War. Despite being outnumbered, Israel was able to rebound, mobilize, and counterattack. The Sinai Peninsula and the Golan Heights were the scenes of the heaviest fighting. When a ceasefire was signed on Oct. 25, Israel was only 25 miles from Damascus and 63 miles from Cairo. The Yom Kippur War was also something of a proxy war, as the U.S. provided military equipment to Israel, while Egypt and Syria relied on the support of the Soviet Union.

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