Special Forces Gear Logo
Monthly Newsletter
March 2014 
In This Issue
Dave's Message
Voice of the Soldier
Videos
Word of Truth
Combat Survival
Leading Concepts
Warrior's Wisdom
Featured T-Shirts
Aesop's Fables
Embroidered Items
Special Product Coupon
Quotes & Jokes
Off Duty Apparel
Featured Watches
Special Product Coupon
What Has Really Changed?
Articles

Newsletter Archive
January 2014
December 2013

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


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

Tyler S.



Works great so far. Good stitching, well made

Clay R.



Good quality and print.

Paul S.



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

Dave G.



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

Scott A



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

Ryan D



Dear SFG,

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

I thought a little constructive thoughts were in order.

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

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

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

Sincerely,
Ed Whiteside



Dear Special Forces

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

PARASCHOS



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

Rick



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

Jack And Melanie Edgar



Steve,

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

Thank you,

Amanda Van Every



Dave,

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

David



Hello,

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

Cheers Andrew and best wishes for the New Year.

Greetings!

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

O.S.S. MU & America's First Frogman John
 

The Legend  and Fact 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 Special Operatives & operators and SCUBA Adventurers World Wide-
and...
(How his story relates to the genesis of military and civilian SCUBA  within  Los Angeles County, Southern California  and world-wide  by spawning adventures in SCUBA diving  for most every clandestine amphibious American and British influenced Frogmen who has come our way since ! )

PART II©
by
Erick Simmel©


1.    After[the raid on] Pearl Harbor Spence quit Lockheed and took a train to Washington D.C. " I went to the Navy Department in Washington D.C. and asked to enlist in the Navy Armed Guard (of the Merchant Marine). I was told "you must be crazy[!]" the Armed Guard was losing  85% of their gun crews by[U Boat sinking]. But I was told by the detailer ... "I see by your record that you have been a deep sea diver.  He said "I have a request for a diver." and I can find out what it is all about but "I am going to send you down to the Navy Yard in Washington D.C.". I went to the Navy Yard and stayed almost three weeks and could not find out anything from any one  ."


 
 
2.    This event took place around June of 1942 Because of a subsequent event that took place on April 9, 1942, C.O.I.(11 July 1941- 13 June 1942 the precursor organization to  O.S.S.) personnel for "the purpose of assisting training of agents in subversive activities". This was in part due to a C.O.I.( O.S.S.) observation in January of 1941 of a demonstration for the Naval Experimental Diving Unit ( - NEDU - the Naval entity with authority to process new diving equipment of an old professor and a young medical student "Johnny Neutron" genius of his day,  name of Chris Lambertsen with his a gym bag full of tubes and cans that was his revolutionary underwater free swimming apparatus (untethered-by-a-surface-supply-breathing)- he called the LARU for Lambertsen-Amphibious-Breathing-Apparatus.  He would later coin his apparatus as "SCUBA". His first visit to  NEDU  Impressed one officer so much that in his second test in April of 1942 two British SOE ( Special Operations Executives -the British -brother version of O.S.S). and two  C.O.I /O.S.S. spooks observing,  were hooked. Lambertsen rejected by the Navy for Hay fever was immediately attached to C.O.I/O.S.S. and he and his LARU, classified as top secret.For they saw in the man and his  apparatus the means to conduct what only hours before, was deemed "impossible'.

3.    CHRISTAIN JAMES ("Chris"  or "Doctor") LAMBERTSEN M.D. (15 May 1917 to 11 February 2011 at 93) was only a few months older than John Spence. Lambertsen was a "...genius in diving medicine and SCUBA inventor who was principally responsible for developing the O.S.S and later U.S. Navy Frogman rebreather SCUBA from the late 1930's four  U.S. clandestine underwater warfare.  So much so,  that  upon being presented a distinguished service award  from the OSS Society in 2009 which honors former OSS  members, Admiral Eric T. Olson, then the highest ranking Navy SEAL Officer and then  commander of U.S. Special Operations Command said Dr. Lambertsen and his LARU  enabled the O.S.S. to conduct "Previously impossible missions." Lambertsen designed a series of re-breathers in 1940 (patent filing date: 16 Dec 1940) and in 1944 (patent issue date: 2 May 1944) and first called his invention breathing apparatus. He called it the 'Lambertsen Lung' or 'LARU'( Lambertsen Amphibious Respitory Unit) - for  short.  Later, after the war, and finally, in 1952, he changed his invention's name again to SCUBA (Self Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus). Lambertsen is largely credited as the man who coined that term- SCUBA." While Underwater diving regulator /breathing apparatus technology was centuries old  before Lambertsen's LARU  -- let alone Frenchmen Emile Gagan and French Naval Commander  Jacques Yves Cousteau's  claimed to have 'invented it, 'with their  'Aqua Lung' in 1943;  when Lambertsen coined the word SCUBA he did so originally relating  to closed circuit non-bubble-omiting- into-the-water-column-rebreathers.  However, like many ignorant assumptions often made in support of the Gagan /Cousteau   'aqualung' regulator as the inventors of SCUBA, is largely and falsely attributed to their invention as being the first and  only  form of SCUBA.  This continues in the 70 sum year s later,   commencing with their brilliant post WW II marketing that still FALSELY  informs  the Scuba enthusiast who today can have a myriad of choices in open  circuit( Bubble emitting) or Closed circuit; Semi closed re-breather ( non bubble emitting) technology that they are still -" the first to dive". That marketing slogan should really read  'First to dive after a whole lot of other folks, Including Christian Lambertsen!'. The Aqua lung was NEVER Intended to be a clandestine frogman's SCUBA  system like commencing with the LARU. The US Navy considers Lambertsen to be "the father of the Frogmen and combat swimming." As Lamberstsen himself admitted  in 1992, 50 years after he and  his LARU was  the  first true American Armed forces Combat swimming SCUBA , "there are many kinds of SCUBA mine is but one, our [The U.S. of A's] firs,  for the type of mission men like John Spence were trained to do."

4.    Spence gets a note from his mom: "I got a letter from my mother asking me if  I were in some kind of trouble. She Said people (G-Men) were asking questions all over about me. I was soon sent to a base south of Washington D.C.... Miles from nowhere in the Wilderness. I soon learned I was in the O.S.S. The Office of Strategic Services.

5.    Spence goes to Area "D" the Maritime Unit training facility, a farm on the Maryland side of the Potomac, directly across from Quantico Marine base. The base was run by a British naval commander on loan to the O.S.S MU, as its overall commander with the Coast Guard in a special alliance with the O.S.S. to provide vessel and personnel support.

" Lieutenant- Commander H.G.A.  Woolley Royal Navy,  and Combined Operations on loan from  Combined Operations Chief Lord Mountbatten to O.S.S.,  as assigned by General Donovan to assist in a study of British methods of training operatives and raiding forces... details of their equipment and experience were obtained by Lt.Cmdr. Woolley and in great part formed the basis for O.S.S. future maritime training... Woolley...in May 1942[was to] prepare a schedule of maritime training for O.S.S. under-cover operatives and put it into effect. It was known that the British S.O.E. their (counterpart to O.S.S) had a para-military naval school.  ... Their methods were later studied by[Woolley and]eventually incorporated ... [into] the courses given at training Area "D"...the first training class ... arrived on Aug. 4.[1942]" (~ From declassified 'HISTORY  OFFICE OF STRATEGIC SERVICES by Lt. Dennis Roberts USN,1944)

 Area "D"  was said to be Smiths Point Charlestown, Maryland.


6.    "I was under the command of a British Commander named Commander Woolley and a Naval Lieutenant Jack Taylor. He[Taylor], was recruited to teach small boat handling and navigation. He said to me that underwater swimmers from Italy were sinking British Ships in North Africa and that O.S.S was going to start a group of underwater warfare swimmers. So I am sure I[was] the first." (~Spence statement 21 May 1998.) Without a doubt Spence was the first Navy enlisted man and Lt. Jack Hedrich Taylor USNR, was the first Navy officer to be recruited and assigned to the purpose of combat swimming/diving.
 
7.    Area "D"'s maritime small boat handling lasted two weeks. Other clandestine spy school courses at Area "A" and "B" lasted for many more weeks in each area.

8.    By November 1942 Spence was escorted by Marines to the opulent for the era Shoreham Hotel in Washington D.C. to preserve secrecy the indoor pool was blacked out and guarded by many Marines. This is where he first met Chris Lambertsen. "...I met with Chris[Dr. Christian Lambertsen...] many times and tried other diving equipment like the Jack Browne and DESCO equipment. But from early on it was clear Chris's LARU was something more thought out than the rest. It was chosen." (Spence to Simmel, l998). They began a friendship that would continue until Dr. Lambertsen passed in 2011.





9.    O.S.S Maritime Unit , not yet an official unit of O.S.S. . On  there own Lambertsen,  Spence and Taylor moved to the natatorium (indoor swimming pool Now the Norman Scott Natatorium )at the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis,  to train in a more guarded setting.

10.    There were other clandestine spy schools guerrilla warfare, survival escape and other course at O.S.S. Area "A" and "B" for many weeks each.

11.    "Plans for the first underwater swimming group had been approved by General Donovan on February 18, 1943." (~ From declassified history, OFFICE OF STRATEGIC SERVICES by Lt. Dennis Roberts USN, 1944). This group officially the O.S.S. MU "SPECIAL OPERATIONS DIVING UNIT (SODU)" like Taylor and Spence were classified secret. SODU was the first 5 man cell of Frogman operatives in the USA with Norman Wicker, Army Sgt. Frederick Wadley, Navy Lt. Jack Duncan and from time to time Lambertsen complementing them. "Spence, provided the practical diving side Taylor, Wadley and later other Santa Monica and LA County Lifeguard service members.  O.S.S. divers provided their vast prewar skin diving techniques, Lambertsen giving the science SODU needed. Lambertsen with Spence co-created the first organized "SCUBA" Training Course for either warriors or civilians. That Course evolved into what was taught to all clandestine frogman, and civilian "SCUBA" students alike in the post war era in all British or American influenced nations.  This "SCUBA" Course was taught from Navy U.D.T post war "SUBMERSIBLE OPERATIONS" sections to the  Los Angeles County's Original SCUBA Instruction program . Spence was the last surviving member of thatoriginal 5 man OSS MU SODU  - the first officially tasked  American combat swimming team." (Simmel)



12.    Taylor and Spence as an underwater swim team did many swims in the murky Chesapeake Bay/Potomac. Once Taylor was submerged for 48 minutes.  Spence, is known as being America's First Frogman because said Spence"...Someone brought a green British Dunlop rubber 'Dry'-- as they called it, 'leaky' as I called it, suit. It was green and it was my size and as the one with a diver background, I was the first guy to try it on. I did, and someone called out, 'Hey Frogman!' I answered them. I was the first of our group to put the first suit on. ... I guess that makes me also the first American clandestine underwater warrior to be labeled that."(Spence to Simmel,1998)

13.    For Spence the worst thing about the underwater swimming was that the compass did not work: "...We had to have a waterproof compass. Equipment was so hap-hazard at that stage of our training that some supply guy went out to get us a waterproof Boy Scout compass. Ten feet beneath the surface they may have been waterproof but they s-uuure weren't pressure-proof! Needless to say Jack [Taylor], Wadley and I kicked in a few cursive courses before we fixed the problem to straighten out." Years later during visits to CIA maritime section or a Navy SEAL dive locker when asked what he wanted to play with Spence would say, "Your waterproof compass and wet suit gloves".   

 
14.    Spence attended other O.S.S Schools which specialized in: survival; evasion; resistance; escape; sabotage; agent tradecraft; intelligence collection; demolition; Close Quarters Battle(CQB); knife work; hand to hand; small arms; airborne parachute jump insertion and other maritime related equipment and weapons training O.S.S. planned for him.
 
15.    Spence was one the first four men in the USA -  including Lt. Jack Duncan , Sgt.  Fred  Wadley , and Larry Tweedy  as part of O.S.S. MU SODU ,   trained on the 'Sleeping Beauty' the British built and shared with O.S.S ,  one man wet submersible canoe (officially called the Motorized Submersible Canoe- MSC )that was the precursor to the modern Navy SEAL[Swimmer]Delivery Vehicle(SDV)and Marine Corps diver propulsion devices (DPV) to transport SCUBA using wearing Frogmen more efficiently.  The MSC  was nicknamed the 'Sleeping Beauty' due to its designer  who when building it was often found sitting inside it , fast asleep as he was working round the clock to finish the first prototype. It was battery powered by an electric motor, had a top speed of 4.4 knots, and could travel for some 30 miles at a cruising speed of 3 knots. It was designed to carry up to three and a half pounds of explosives and, if necessary, to be dropped near its target by a heavy bomber. However these canoes were designed especially for operations from submarines. Up to 15 canoes could be carried in the boat's torpedo storage compartment. The pilot controlled the craft by a joystick, breathed through scuba gear, and would have to come close to the surface to establish his whereabouts.



16.     When Taylor left SODU he went to London and then Cairo where he was to be Chief of the MU for Eastern Mediterranean operations.  Two Marine Corps O.S.S. officers replaced him Lt. Jack Duncan became the SODU's leader. This was September 1943. Duncan Wadley and Spence went to Silver Springs, Florida. An O.S.S Field Photography Unit commanded by the legendary Hollywood Director John Ford, was sent to make classified training movies of Spence and company. Frogmen, - underwater operations in the films, most of the swimming is of Spence using limpet mines, the Sleeping Beauty and plenty of brilliantly clear LARU underwater swimming images. "Jack [Taylor] and I were just getting good with the LARU when he departed. By the time the rest of us got to Florida I really felt this whole Frogman operation might just be something."

17.    Spence then went across the state to train with an Army Ranger Unit, and goes to Ft. Pierce where Army and Navy Scouts and Raiders were training at their school and getting new recruits.  Spence with Chris Lambertsen as a newly minted Army/O.S.S. 2nd lieutenant then visited the man who is now known as the father of U.D.T. and who's relative published the book "Americas First Frogman".  A title that really only befits Spence.  That man was Navy Lt. Draper Kaufman Commander Naval Combat Demolition (NCDU- the pre U.D.T's), during that time he and they were not swimming much. Spence would often remark and smile saying"... There we where, with our fins, face masks and LARU Systems displayed for Kaufman to see. Without an emotion Kaufman looked at me and said, 'Swimming is not one of my favorite things.' I am thinking then to myself, here is a Navy Lieutenant who is in charge of training all these sailors to clear landing beaches [by swimming to his targets] ... and fins and masks were not in his line-up? "



18.    After Ft. Pierce Spence and O.S.S. 2nd Lieutenant Lambertsen met and visited the new men that had been recruited into the  joined them. They then scouted and trained in the Bahamas Islands at Salt Cay (Treasure Island) in advance of other O.S.S. swimmers  who like their Brother British " Sea Reconnaissance Unit" (SRU) were being instructed by LA City County and Santa Monica Beach  Lifeguard "friends" of Jack Taylor at O.S.S. secret west coast training facility  'Area WP', ( aka Marine Corps Camp Joesph R. Pendleton ) in San Diego Californis.   Spence observed and partook with both  SRU and O.S.S. Swimmer Candidates in the grueling Marine Raiders. Course.  He also observed them in paddle board beach operations at San Onofre and at the Capistrano Beach Club where  Lambertsen and he demonstrated a LARU model 1 to Lifeguard O.S.S. Coastguardsmen  Garret, Butt,  Eubank, Scoles, and Radke  and several other fine waterman. However John being a Tennessean, admittedly  ' clashed with these Beach Boys," skilled,  but cavalier attitudes towards all things ocean wise. " They may have been good watermen friends of Jack(taylor's) but they  had yet proved themselves to  what we had laid out up to that time," Spence would comment.   
 
19.    Spence's Lt. Duncan, had prior to joining SODU in early 1943 trained in England with their commandos before Pearl Harbor. Then with Taylor and Spence conducted Donovan's first O.S.S Navy "test" with the Marine Raider School at Camp Pendleton. This would be the spring board for the subsequent swimmer recruits to see if they had the right stuff for Spence and company to later train in Combat Swimming.  Duncan later did a one man limpet attack of his own accord, swimming alone with a LARU rig and a dummy limpet mine to target President Roosevelt's yacht moored at the Washington Navy Yard which to Spence was unclear if it won SODU any favors. Spence felt that Duncan's stunt -- if it did at all happen -- although claimed successful, lead to later demonstrations by O.S.S Frogmen,  to prove the American Frogman concept to the military brass and perhaps to "Ike" himself.

20.    Europe was heating up by then.   During Autumn 1943 many advance O.S.S. London detachment HQ explorations,  on how O.S.S. MU and the SODU Underwater Combat swimmers like John Spence  could effect the allies efforts of western Europe. On 3 December 1943 General Order (13) from  General Donovan established the Maritime Unit,  London Mission , O.S.S. Lieutenant commander Raymond Guest was designated Chief,  With Lt Fisher Howe USN/O.S.S. London aka the operations officer.  By Christmas Eve 1943,  while  Operational swimmer candidates were getting a much welcomed  break from getting their butts kicked at Marine Corps Raider training at 'AREA WA', Spence  was making his first transoceanic special priority lights to another island kingdom:  The British Isles.  He arrived in England as part of the advance team commanded by Captain( then 2nd Lt.) Chadborne Gilpastric AUS/ O.S.S.,  in advance of the secret "L" Unit which he was part of, on Christmas eve 1943. London was in complete Black Out yet he was to experience one of the most memorable Christmas' of his life, as he would later recall. After checking into OSS London HQ, they had arranged for him to be taken in to a home of a Jewish family who had saved up all year to cook a Christmas dinner for whatever allied service-man they might be able to take in. Spence said, "It was a remarkable meal from a family who were on strict rations and I will never forget it."



21.    Before New Years, Spence met with the legendary Royal Marine Commando Blondie Hasler and studied their training. Lieutenant-Colonel [then Major]Herbert George "Blondie" Hasler,( Distinguished-Service-Order( DSO), Order of the British Empire(OBE) awardee (27 February 1914 - 5 May 1987) the distinguished Royal Marines officer  who in December 1942  led a small but very incredible canoe  commando raid 'Operation Frankton' against  Nazi shipping targets in Bordeaux  France.  He was responsible for many of the concepts which ultimately led to the post-war formation of the Royal Marines Special Boat Service(SBS), which today  is the UK's  brother group of today's US Marine Corps MARSOC and US  Navy SEALs . Hasler, in late December 1943,  was on loan to Combined Operations & SOE and available to assist O.S.S. MU operations.  Because of Spence's prior training in many of the O.S.S. operational Schools,  he was given a British survival course and made the first of several sorties into Nazi occupied Channel Islands and mainland France via Hasler supervised British Marine/S.O.E. infiltration extraction teams ,to set up contacts with the French underground. This risky undertaking was because Spence was the at that time , the  most completely trained and lowest rank ( not privy to any  future missions ) on the totem pole with no need to know possible future O.S.S. maritime operations against the European coast. Spence and his party  was armed and dangerous and going in harms way behind the lines during these "trips".  He was doing what most classic Navy SEAL missions now do --reconnoitering the landscape and gathering intelligence for future operations.




22.    Spence then was set up with other "L"-Unit personnel- some of them friends of Jack Taylor's from the Santa Monica Beaches.  Lifeguards who volunteered for the Coast Guard and other Armed Services before volunteering or being sought out for O.S.S. MU and then recruited into the "L"-Unit. One young tall Scandianavian from Minnesota, Navy Gunner's Mate Gordon L. "Gordie" Soltau, who later became a San Francisco 49er Hall of Famer kicker, is still Kickin' in the SF Bay area.  


23.    Under "L"- Unit mission commander Captain James Hodges US Army, Spence, Wadley, Soltau and Oregonian named Tweddy, former Lifeguards Bob Butt and Radke  were then told of their mission. Spence: "L"-Unit was sent to England as I had trained them and later trained alongside the men from the first Camp Pendleton group and O.S.S. Toyon Bay Catalina and Bahamas trained swimmer groups to train at all three locales:  Babloch-Hythe a stream  near the Thames River, Pinmill a city near Ipswich and at Area "N":Helford Passage in Cornwall. We were tasked by Eisenhower's SHAEF  headquarters who was planning the Normandy Day raids for "Operation Betty", a mission scheduled four days prior to D Day to stop any Germans subs form intersecting the invasion forces. German submarines which might be sent to dabble from the German occupied submarine pens at Lorient-Keroman on the Atlantic Bay of Biscay. We were to transit by O.S.S. PT boats.  Then we'd transfer onto flying mattresses, or "Water Lillys" as they were called-- inflatable and battery powered two man surfboards, about two miles from shore .We would then swim underwater with our LARU breathing sets into the submarine pens. Place charges on the huge pen doors and place charges on the subs.  [We'd then] ditch our gear and traverse overland with our small arms to link up with the French underground why I had made those prior sorties."



24.    Training was cold. Rubber suits leaky and "L"- Units overall unit commander (not Hodges), was their biggest problem. The mission was scrubbed twice and brought back twice and went online before D Day.  Deployed to crafts and waiting to launch hours before the proposed D day landing. "Right before D Day we got word the mission was scrubbed," said Agent X Gordie Soltau, who was with part of the Spence team. Eisenhower with all the last minute goes or not goes, not wanting to tip the German's hand something bigger might be happening stood then down.  
 

25.     'Operation Betty' WAS the first American organized and planned Combat Swimmer Frogman operation. It is legendary amongst the annals of all U.S.A Frogmen who have come since. There were other "L"-Unit operations slated, (One for Northern Germany docks at Kiel,  a mission in Norway..)and  but they suddenly became scrubbed as other priorities were thrown at them.  Spence was to join the groups of newer swimmers in the Bahamas as their instructor for something bigger.


26.    Spence goes back to the Bahamas with "L"-Unit members and Chris Lamberstsen and instructs the second and third group of Camp Pendleton and Toyon Bay, Catalina Island trained swimmers including legendary O.S.S. members, Lifeguards and watermen: Jim Eubank, Bob Scoles, Frank Donahue, Art Garrett, Jack Carroll and Herman Becker. Bill Hopper, (son of Hedda Hopper the famed gossip columnist and character Paul on television's Perry Mason Show) Sam Backus and Jim Long. The sons, of comedian, Buster Keaton Bob and Jim Keaton, Norman Abbott, the nephew of Lou Abbott of the famed comedy duo Abbott and Costello, who later became an award winning T.V. Director. Spence was told of more delays for his group before they could go into actual combat.



27.    This frustrated Spence, he decided he had doubts in his abilities.  With the O.S.S.'s 'can-do', along with them being screwed by the brass, Spence's perseverance and patience with his form of fighting was wearing thin on him. If all the false starts would not bring him and his fellow operative swimmers more quickly into the fight, Spence would fight elsewhere.  He requested transfer back into the Navy.  He was shelling the beach on the Navy Destroyer U.S.S Wadsworth during the Iwo Jima Invasion as the forward Gun battery. Spence, was looking thorough the optics ... and saw Frogmen wearing the same masks and swim fins he had two years earlier tried to sell to Kaufman with Lambertsen and Duncan ... but frogmen nonetheless.  -- He would later learn they had been -- trained by fellow O.S.S. Special Maritime Group "A" swimmers he had recruited and trained to use the equipment. They had been brought into the new Navy U.D.T. and merged into an O.S.S. lead U.D.T."10" which would pass on the skills from the legendary Frogmen. "There I was not realizing that these men in the water being protected by our shelling were not the only Frogmen doing things. Other O.S.S. Frogmen operatives were doing missions in Burma, China and Europe. Including Jack Taylor, Gordie Soltau, Eubank,Becker, Norm Abbott,Butt and Wadley. All my missions were classified as were theirs.  I retired from the Navy a Chief after 29 years of service. The O.S.S. years and our ability to speak of them was not authorized by our sworn to secrecy with government agreements  until beginning in 1987. By then the legend replaced who I and Jack Taylor and Wadley and the others were had been printed and the facts regarding us ...well(he would say with a pause and a smile)"...how do you change a legend when that legend has become the facts and truth?"( Spence to Simmel, private interview, 1998)



Stay tuned for John Spence Part III.
 
Hooah!
Dave

Click here to send Dave a private message. 

 

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



Special Operations Warrior Foundation

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

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

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

 

Learn More about the 

Special Operations Warrior Foundation (SOWF) >>   



Warrior Brotherhood Veterans Motorcycle Club

   311 iran ship  

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

 

All profits from these items are donated to

Warrior Brotherhood Veterans Motorcycle Club 

 

Learn More about the Warrior Brotherhood Veterans
Motorcycle Club >>



Caring for America's Quiet 311 iran shipProfessionals 

 

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

 

Learn more about Green Beret Foundation>> 





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

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


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



 

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

VIDEOS
Taranis first flight footage
Taranis first flight footage
TARDEC - Autonomous Convoy Demonstration 2014 [720p]
TARDEC - Autonomous Convoy Demonstration 2014 [720p]


    
Word of Truth

Eternal Destiny     

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

We all have an eternal destiny. The question we should be asking is who, what, when, where, why, and how. Until you are serious about these questions, the answers will surely elude you. Who has an eternal destiny, and who has the power to provide it? You have a destiny and God can provide it. What, and where, is my destiny? You have two choices, heaven and perfect happiness for all eternity, or the lake of fire, which was prepared for the devil and his angels (Rev 19:20, 20:10, and 20:14-15). When must a decision be made? A decision regarding your destiny must be made while you are alive on this earth. There is no redemption offered after you depart this life. Time is running out. Why, is a question that could fill volumes. However, the simple answer is because God has a plan for your life, which includes perfect peace and happiness for time and eternity. How do I ensure I receive the destiny that God has promised?

 

God is one. He is in three distinct personalities, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Long ago, in a place far away which wasn't really a place and before time existed, God existed (john 1:1). God decided to create time, space, a universe, and creatures to dwell in His creation (John 1:3, 10). God knew prior to creation that His creatures would fall and be separated from Him. He provided a redemptive solution to the fall. The Bible is man's history from a divine prospective regarding creation, the fall and the potential restoration of man to God. It is an historical record of past, present and future events of mankind.

 

Only through the detailed study of the Word of God can we know who we are, why we are here, and what the future of our lives (in time and eternity) might be. God has given us a road map to our future and a door to a relationship with Him.

 

John 10:7 So Jesus said to them again, "Truly, truly, I say to you, Iamthedoor of the sheep.

 

John 10:9 " Iamthedoor; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.

 

2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance ( a change of mind about Christ ).

 

There is only one way to a relationship with the eternal living God, the creator of the universe.

 

John 14:6 Jesus *said to him, "Iamtheway, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.

 

John 3:16 "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.

 

We are worried and anxious about our life, spouse, children, job and nation. These are insignificant trivialities compared to the much greater issue of our eternal destiny.

 

There are two categories of people on the earth, those who have made the most important decision in life and those who have not. What is that decision? Faith alone in Christ alone, anything less is a decision for eternal destruction.

 

John 3:36   He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey [the command to believe in] the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.

 

There are dozens of Christian denominations and offshoots of Christianity. There are even more religions of the earth. Do not be deceived, only the Bible, the Word of God is the inerrant, absolute truth of the universe. The tradition of man expressed in the varied theologies of many denominations is the infiltration of evil, known as religion. Religion was created and perpetuated by Satan to deceive the world and enslave man. The deception is necessary to keep people from the simple truth of the Word of God. It is necessary to keep us from a relationship with the living God. God continually holds out His hand to us, and we arrogantly slap it away. Is it any wonder that the world seems to be going to hell in a hand basket?

 

God is real. God has a plan for your life. His plan begins with the only way to eternal life and a destiny beyond description.

 

2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; theoldthings passed away; behold, new things have come.  

 

Revelation 7:17 for the Lamb in the center of the throne will be their shepherd, and will guide them to springs of the water of life; and God will wipe every tear from their eyes.

 

Revelation 21:4 and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.

 

Jesus Christ conquered sin and death. He died as our substitute, once and for all. This is a gift from God. Each of us deserves to die because we have fallen short of the perfect righteousness of God. Jesus Christ, eternal God, creator of the universe died in our place, He was our substitute. He took our punishment so we could have eternal life.

 

Romans 5:12 Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned

 

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 onceforall 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 onceforall, having obtained eternal redemption.

 

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;  

 

Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died[as a substitute] for us.

 

If you believe that Jesus Christ died, was buried, and rose again after three days in the tomb; then, welcome to the royal family of God. You have been reborn.

 

1Cor 15:3-4 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures

 

1Cor 15:20-22 But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep. For since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive.

 

John 3:7 [Jesus said], "Do not be amazed that I said to you, 'Youmustbeborn again.'

 

By a simple act of faith in Christ, your spiritual rebirth is complete.

 

Acts 16:31 Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.

 

You may be asking yourself, now what? We are born physically, in a state of total helplessness. We have no ability to feed, clothe, or change ourselves. We cannot communicate (except for crying) or travel about under our own power. We are completely dependent upon our mothers and fathers. So, it is with our new spiritual birth. We are just as helpless spiritually. We need to mature spiritually as we matured physically. The food we need to grow to spiritual maturity is spiritual food.

 

John 6:27 [Jesus said,] " do not work for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man shall give to you..."

 

John 6:35 Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst.

   

1 Corinthians 2:6   Yet we do speak wisdom among those who are mature; a wisdom, however, not of this age nor of the rulers of this age, who are passing away;

 

1 Corinthians 14:20 ...do not be children in your thinking; yet in evil be infants, but in your thinking be mature.

 

Ephesians 4:13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.

 

Hebrews 5:14 But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil.

 

Hebrews 6:1 ...let us press on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God,

 

Ephesians 4:15 ...we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ,

 

1 Peter 2:2 like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation,

 

Ephesians 4:14 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;

 

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.

 

If you are not a believer in Jesus Christ, consider who and what Jesus Christ is. If you are a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, fulfill the commands above to advance to spiritual maturity. The Bible is the secret to life, love, and happiness; consider your priorities in life.




Survival and Disaster Preparedness

Prepping for Water Shortages  

 

During the February freeze here in Kentucky, we experienced some of the best winter weather we have seen in twenty years. Over 20" of snow, which is high for this area, inches of ice and below zero temperatures and wind chills for days on end. The weather, even though people strove to be prepared for it were not with thousands of downed trees being reported due to ice and hundreds of burst or frozen water pipes. We had our own experiences I'd like to share with you as it was a great learning experience for my family and I'm sure many of you will also glean some valuable information.

 

The day before the last big freeze the first week of February, we had a series of major malfunctions at the homestead. Our washing machine went out, a livestock watering device sprung a serious leak and two water pipes burst in the middle of the cattle fields within two days of each other. So, I rushed to get my wife a new washing machine, that problem was quickly resolved and when I came back home I saw a thirty foot fountain out in one of my fields. I found that a plastic elbow in the livestock watering device had split, so I simply shut it off, crisis averted. Feeling good about my ability to solve problems like a boss, I rested easy that night only to be awakened by a neighbor that informed me that I had a new river flowing from a field. Sure enough, we had a tremendous amount of water spewing from the ground where two lines had burst in the night. While not a river, it was certainly a nice creek. So, out came the backhoe to dig up the water lines- again I jumped into action and opted to just put in a new shut off valve in the system and eliminate the problem all together until Spring, just as we finished, heavy snow and ice started to fall.

 

I'm one that practices preparedness, we have plenty of food and water on hand for emergencies, so we're not among those that go to the groceries for bread and milk during an impending storm- we've always had that potential problem nipped in the bud, so we thought. That night temperatures dropped below zero and in the flurry of getting all the other issues resolved and cleaning everything up, we forgot to leave the water running in the house. So, it froze solid; and this lead to us spending the next 14 days without running water in the house. At first it was a mild inconvenience, we figured it would resolve itself in a day or so. But, temperatures did not rise above twenty degrees for over a week and when they finally did, the ground was so frozen, it made no difference. We did all the normal things, heating the pipes with heat guns, etc. all to no avail. As I mentioned, we always had some emergency water on hand, a few hundred gallons in fact. But, due to poor planning, all the water was frozen solid when we needed it. We had to bring in jugs to thaw by the wood stove, again not a big deal, but something to think about for later storage adjustments.

 

The water we had in the root cellar was fine and made due in the meantime. Laundry piled up and hand washing for six people was a major chore, especially when we just dropped a small fortune on a new washer and dryer. After a few days, I was able to thaw out the water spicket outside the house which provided some running water. So, we began the process of hauling water in and out of the house several times a day. This process really awakened us to the amount of water we used and took for granted every day. Cleaning the house, drinking, cooking, doing dishes, bathing, brushing teeth, washing hands, doing laundry, flushing the toilet- for six people takes a lot of water especially if you have to haul it by hand for each task. I tested out several of the typical guidelines related to water storage for emergencies as recommended by FEMA and other preparedness training organizations such as 1 gallon per person per day (pppd), using water stored in the water heater, draining pipes, etc. and here's some of what I learned and some thoughts I've had along the way.

 

1) Doing laundry the old way is not fun. Your clothes do not get as clean and stringing up lines in the house to dry clothes is a pain but manageable. I believe it would be prudent to make some sort of machine, albeit primitive, for the purpose of agitating clothing a load at a time. Now, I realize that many people will not be able to do this because of space constraints due to where they live, but some of us can and I for one will. The laundry tub, washboard and homemade clothes wringer I used are too time consuming and do more damage to the clothing than necessary, check that, I do more damage than necessary!

 

Anyway, my thought is to take two large buckets or tubs, one for soapy water and one with rinse water and create a simple lever device that will enable me to agitate clothing a small load at a time. With only three 2x4's and a couple bolts and a hook or eye loop, such a device could be made. The clothes could be hung from a mesh bag or net and then agitated in the soapy water tub, then squeezed to wring out, then agitated in the rinse water tub and then wrung out and hung to increase efficiency, especially for larger families. Drying the clothing in good weather is easy enough, but in wet or cold weather, indoor methods will have to be done, i.e., hanging lines throughout the house.

 

2) Water from a water heater is tough to get out for most people. I have known this fact for years, but others may not realize it. If you have hard water as most do in my region, and do not use a water softener before your water enters your water heater you will find lime and calcium deposits in your water heaters (white rocks). When you attempt to drain your water heater by the nozzle on the bottom, these rocks will always stop up your hose. So, you need to make sure the breaker or electricity is off to your water heater, and begin draining from the bottom by hose and remove the top element and siphon the water out with another hose to increase the efficiency of getting the water out. If you cannot remove the element, you might consider blowing into the hose on a regular basis to aid the rocks in dislodging and flowing out with the water. Or if you have power, use a shop vac. You'll obviously need to filter the rocks from the water you've drained from the tank, especially if you used a shop vac!

 

3) If you store your emergency water anywhere outdoors, even in a shed or non- insulated building, it will freeze when you need it. I've taken this known fact for granted and sure enough, the one time I need it, I can't readily use it. So, we took extra precautions by moving our emergency water to our root cellar which is always above freezing. We cannot use our cellar for food storage because it leaks water so badly, but as storm shelter and water storage, it works great. If you can't store water in the house or in an area that will remain above freezing at all times, consider wrapping your supply in insulation, blankets or even hay to help keep it in a readily useable state. When draining water from your pipes, it's best to do if from the lowest spot you can reach such as a basement or maybe even under your house. For me, I am able to take it from the root cellar where the main line enters the house, so I can drain my entire system. Just be sure to open the faucets to relieve the pressure and have a couple of five gallon buckets ready as you'll collect more water than you expect.

 

4. When and if the grid really goes down and running water is no longer available for a really long period of time, emergency water supplies will vanish in a matter of days. Most of us are aware of the guidelines to store 1 gallon of water per person per day for drinking, cooking and hygiene; but few of us practice regularly using that amount of water only. People storing water will go through their supplies very quickly because they will still be trying to maintain their version of normalcy for the first several days of a grid down situation. This happened in January in the county next to me, they had a water main break and the entire city was without water for two weeks; the National Guard brought them water, people were doing all sorts of things to maintain "normal lives" but life was not normal- they did not kick into survival mode. I personally drink a gallon of water daily, so having to use that amount for cooking and hygiene, especially for the non-prepared or nominally trained person is laughable in my opinion. Two gallons pppd is more like it, which means doubling up efforts at water collection and storage.  

 

5. Flushing a toilet is wasteful. My wife and I are now of the opinion that even having a bathroom in the house is just silly. We certainly understand the reasons why it moved from the outhouse to the inhouse, but was it the best decision to make it universal? For those in new, modern, designer houses, sure, I can understand the aesthetics of a beautiful bathroom, but when and if the grid goes down, it's now a useless room. We live in a 70+ year old farmhouse and we have had to replace our bathroom floor four times in seven years just due to settling and shifting; so our decision to build a new bath house outside is an easy one. But regardless of our decision, you should think about what you will do. Will a bucket with a toilet seat suffice in your neighborhood? We've decided to quit playing around and get serious so that should pipes burst or water be forever cut off, the facilities are not an issue to contend with. Plus an extra bathroom outside, albeit primitive will be very nice.

 

6. Thoughts of hauling water up the hill 300yrds to the house from our hand dug well in a real emergency just isn't very appealing to me. I'll do what must be done, but there must be another way. That's the attitude I think we need to maintain when it comes to preparing for emergencies, we have to be innovative, always thinking outside the box and not afraid to try new ideas. Its one thing to head into the woods as new rules apply and a different lifestyle is expected, but when you're at home without the normal modern conveniences, it's a bit more difficult to wrap your mind around the situation. I believe many will suffer from situational depression should a true long term emergency hit a mass population, so learn to use what you have around you and get creative.

 

When my wife wanted to keep washing clothes this time around, I just ran a hose from the water spicket once I thawed it to the cold water intake on the washing machine and that took care of the problem. I then utilized a pump on the water jugs to make it easier for my wife and kids to access the water.


Little creature comforts like these go a long way in boosting the morale of your family that is not as used to getting water from a creek like you and I may be. Also consider alternative methods for making collected water potable in your home. Not everyone has a wood stove to boil water on and stove fuel will run out fast, so options, options, options are vitally important. These are but a few of the thoughts and ideas I had over our winter freeze, hope that they will provoke you to think outside the box and get proactive in properly storing water for emergencies and for possible long-term outages.

 

 

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 13      

Whatcha Gonna Do, PL?

How to Make Decisions

 
 

When an Army Ranger-in-training is learning to lead in the midst of chaos-he's just assumed the role of platoon leader and his troops are pleading for orders as "enemy" fire pins them down-what happens?In a booming voice that has an edge of mockery, "the boss" yells at him from a distance: "Whatcha gonna do, PL?" As his training progresses, that soldier either finds the answer to the question or he can't wear the coveted Ranger Beret.

             There are multiple elements in the decision-making process, most of which you have already worked through in previous chapters. The correct answer to "Whatcha gonna do, PL?" is the fourth element in the process listed here-Make a decision, PL.

The Decision-Making Process

  1. Identify the situation
    Verify the situation-Confirm what you think you know
    Identify all available resources-Check your PET
    Set priorities on decision times-Create an initial timetable-Backward plan!
    View the situation from all angles using recona-senses  
  2. View up close 
       Use others' sorting styles to your advantage to get the best 360-degree view of the situation.    

    View from others' perspective

    View from a distance

    Identify known danger areas  

  3. Set the stage
    Keep the mission mind - Stay focused
    METT-T in effect (Mission, Enemy/Equipment, Time, Team-Terrain and weather; these are all elements that can affect or alter the plan during execution. Stay flexible and ready for change!)
    Take time, use all that's available (Understand you must do the best with what you have to work with. If you have five minutes, use five minutes; if you have five hours, use all five hours.)
    Keep urgency in mind-Move with purpose, not like pond water!
    Keep past mistakes and learning in mind  

  4. Make a decision
    Choose the style of decision-making
    "I tell; you do."
    "Here's my decision. What are your critical concerns?"
    "I haven't made up my mind yet. I'd like your input."
    Majority rules-take a vote.
    Consensus
    Delegate
    Communicate the decision  

  5. Make a plan
    Follow the Planning Sequence
    Mission Brief
    Warning Order
    Operations Order  

  6. Execute the plan

Decision-Making Styles

             Decision-making styles range from very autocratic to very delegating, ranked from one to six on the following graph.All six styles of decision-making support effective leadership; the trick is to match the style to the given situation. Start by considering the four factors of leadership that I described in Chapter 10: the led, the leader, the situation, and the communication.

 

The Decision-Making Continuum

             The following figure shows that the decision-making continuum begins with limits on PET, so the leader must use the dictatorial "I tell; you do" style. As the team grows stronger or there is more time for decision-making, the style may evolve to delegation. This section describes the styles that make up the decision-making continuum.

 

The Decision Making Continuum

  

 

 

             1. "I tell; you do"

             The led often determine the need to use "I tell; you do." You may have a lack of committed or experienced people on your team, such as new hires. Rarely is it appropriate to ask a brand-new person to find her own way. Get her started by telling her where to do it, how to do it, and where to go.

             The situation may also dictate the use of this style. Even if your team members are mature, if a job is being done for the first time and you don't have time to explain it, the "I tell; you do" method may be the most effective. This is often the case in an emergency. If you have cultivated a strong rapport with your team, you understand each other's body language and vocabulary. As a result, if they detect a sense of urgency in your communication, they won't hesitate to jump in and support you. They know you don't live in the "I tell; you do" mode, so when you go there, they will realize that the best thing to do is fall in behind you and trust that you have assessed your PET and acted accordingly.

             If you consistently use the "I tell; you do" mode, you can expect people to do only the bare minimum to get the job done. As a leader, all you will ever get is the sum of your own abilities, missing out on the sum of the abilities of your team. In relying on this style, all you ever do is dictate what will be.

 

             2. "Here is my decision. What are your critical concerns?"

             This style is perfect when time is short, but you have a little more time than in an "I tell; you do" situation.For this method to be effective, you must have a group of the led who are at least moderately experienced at the task at hand, otherwise they won't be able to express any critical concerns.

 

             3. "I haven't made up my mind yet. I'd like your input."

             As you move up the continuum, you need more competent individuals and more time. A shortage or inadequacy in mission-critical equipment can affect your ability to move from top-down decision-making toward delegation as well. In short, it all ties into PET.

             The rule for using this style appropriately is this: If you already know what your decision is, don't ask for input; ask for critical concerns. Too many managers go into meetings and declare, "I'd like to get everybody's input," when they have a hidden agenda. This projects a false sense of having achieved consensus. If your team knows that your request for input is lip service, they won't give you input even when you really need it. They'll check their e-mail, doodle, or think about Happy Hour at the bar downstairs. And when they get to Happy Hour, you can bet they'll complain about not having input.

             Of course, it is possible to apply this style with the best intentions, and then get derailed by your boss or have a change in the situation. (METT-T is always in effect.) You ask for input, really listen, and leave the meeting with everyone feeling as though they've contributed and now they understand the decision. You go to another meeting with people higher up in the company, and they change or update your situation. You don't have time to re-rally the team, so you must make a new decision.

             Many leaders fail to go back and tell their team what happened, that is, they fail to establish a "rally point" for updated communication-an updated and re-communicated SITREP. Ultimately, the team sees the new decision roll out and they assume, "It happened again. Lip service."

 

             4. Majority Rules

             The good parts of majority rules are that everyone gets an equal vote and it's potentially fast-a show of hands. The bad part is that you risk 49 percent of the team feeling dissatisfied with the decision and thinking the majority went the wrong way. As a PL, what you can do is adjust what constitutes a majority. You say, "I'll support majority rules for how we cover the holiday work schedule, but I need 85 percent to be in agreement. If we don't have 85 percent by (NLT), then we go back to one, two, or three on the continuum, and I'll make the call." Communicate the ground rules and boundaries.

 

             5. Consensus

             If you look for a synonym for consensus, you'll find words such as agreement, harmony, and compromise. A lot of companies strive for consensus, but they trade harmony for results. People feel compelled to agree whether the idea on the table is worthwhile, just because harmony is so treasured. Consensus-building becomes a hunt for fool's gold.

             The reason that consensus-building is often such a frustrating and ineffectual process is that the agreement means agreement with someone in charge and the compromise makes people feel as though they've lost ground instead of achieved a decision. Business organizations that consider a consensus process fundamental to their decision-making would probably not use words such as conciliation and compromise to describe their modus operandi.

             My belief is that most companies simply try to reach consensus at the wrong point in time. Many also overuse consensus because no one wants to be held solely responsible for the decision or risk conflict in a meeting.

 

              Rally Point: It's okay to disagree; just don't be disagreeable!

 

                   Consensus means that 100 percent of the people agree to support the decision even after they leave the meeting. No "hallway commandos" jumping into cubes whispering, "It'll never work!" They don't have to even like it; they just have to agree to support it, and the way to facilitate the process is as follows:

  •    Establish a ground rule at the start of the meeting that silence equals consent; that rule forces everyone to either put up or shut up.
  •   Everyone must have the opportunity to speak
  •   Those who choose to participate must feel as though they are accurately understood (that is, they're "on the same BOW"). To do this, whoever is leading the meeting has to commit to paraphrasing any contributions that are not absolutely clear to the rest of the group-no exceptions; no assumptions! No "mutual mystification"!
  •   They must feel as if their ideas and contributions are seriously considered.

              If all of these conditions are met for everyone in the meeting, then you can at least hope to achieve consensus. However, you might have to ask those whose ideas are passed, "Can you live with this idea instead?"

 

             When I was a trainer at Honeywell, I was once assigned to facilitate the decision-making process of a team of 17 people. The issue concerned the time that the rotating supervisors would report to work.

             Everyone on the team had to rotate, a week at a time, at being the supervisor. This reflected Honeywell's commitment to creating a true team-based environment. The supervisor organized the work, issued work assignments for each station, kept the workflow moving forward, and functioned as the liaison with the department manager. The decision was to determine whether the rotating supervisor would come in six minutes before the start of the shift or 12 minutes before the start of the shift. Management sparked the need for this action by distributing a memo stating specifically that the supervisor of the week had to come in no less than six minutes, but no more than 12 minutes, prior to the shift to organize the work and that it had to be the same all the time, for every supervisor. Management also said the supervisors had to have their decision in place no later than two weeks from the date on the memo.

             Assuming that using "majority rules" would leave some people unhappy, the team opted to use the consensus style. It took me three hours to facilitate a consensus decision over a difference of six minutes because I followed the process to the letter. Perhaps that was the best way to do it, but what a costly way to make a decision! A company has to be prepared to invest heavily in staff time in order to use consensus-style decision-making properly. It is fruitless to fake it or take a shortcut through the process.

 

             Rally Point: A good decision made now is better than the best decision made too late!

 

             6. Delegating

             Delegating may be the fastest style of leadership decision-making, but it isn't always the most effective. Think of the four factors of leadership, and always assess your PET. You can only delegate if you have the following:

  •   Competent, experienced people who are motivated and committed
  •   The equipment they need to carry out the mission
  •   Enough time to allow them to correct any mistakes they might make-enough time to BRAD-backup, regroup, assess the situation, and driveon.

              If you have motivated and committed people who don't have the all skills needed for the particular job, but you do have time to provide them with training, you may want to delegate in that situation, too.

 

             With these factors in mind, you can see that the challenge for a leader is growing your people from "I tell, you do" to conditions under which you delegate routinely.

             Delegating can be an ideal way to ensure that the job gets done right if your own skills are lacking in a subject area, or if your time is fully committed and you have qualified people around you. When my PL admitted to me that he didn't know much about the M-60 machine gun and he needed my expertise to make him successful, he delegated authority to a subject matter expert. He made me the informal leader for that part of the mission. I had the skills to deliver and I did.

            

Navigating Leadership: The North Stars

In grooming your team to move through the decision-making styles on the continuum, from directive to participative to delegative, you will be pointing them toward certain beliefs, values, and norms. I call these the North Stars because they guide the actions of individuals, groups, and teams. They give direction, meaning, and purpose to our personal and professional lives.

             Individual beliefs and values are shaped by past experiences involving such things as family, school, work, and social relationships. Leaders must understand the importance of nurturing and shaping beliefs and values in their team members because they are fundamental motivating factors.

             As a leader, you have the power to influence the beliefs, values, and norms of your team in three key ways:

  1. Set the example
  2. Recognize behavior that supports professional beliefs, values, and norms
  3. Plan, execute, and assess individual and collective experiences and training.

              As a leader, you must respect your team members and earn their respect if you are to influence their beliefs, values, and norms. Team members may respect your position, but they will base their genuine respect on your demonstrated character, knowledge, and professional skills.

 

Beliefs

             Beliefs are assumptions or convictions you hold to be true about a person, concept, or thing. People generally behave in accordance with beliefs developed from such experiences as religion or the fundamentals upon which this country was established to recent encounters affecting personal perception of a particular person, concept, or thing.

             The beliefs of a leader directly impact the leadership climate, cohesion, discipline, training, and effectiveness of a team.

 

Values

             Values are attributes of the worth or importance of people, concepts, or things. Values influence behavior because they are used to decide between alternatives. People may place value on such things as truth, money, friendships, justice, human rights, or selflessness.

  •   Your personal values will influence your priorities.
  •   Strong values are what you put first, defend most, and want least to give up.
  •   Individual values can and will conflict at times.

Norms

             Norms are the rules or laws normally based on agreed-on beliefs and values that members of a group follow to live in harmony. Norms can fall into one of two categories:

  1. Formal norms are official standards or laws that govern behavior (for example, traffic signals).
  2. Informal norms are unwritten rules or standards that govern the behavior of group members (for example, not smoking in front of a nonsmoking colleague).

              Norms are clear-cut: They express how you do things. Rangers don't have a norm unless they live by it. They don't have a rule just to have a rule; policies are pertinent to behavior. This ideal separates Rangers from much of corporate America, but it is still possible to employ this ideal in certain situations.

             Whether it's at home, sending mixed messages to your kids-"Do as I say, not as I do"-or at work, where the rule calls for behavior that people generally ignore, conflicting norms become a MODD. If you have a rule that people routinely disregard, change it or enforce it-but make a decision, PL.

             In many companies, negative informal norms can corrupt morale, and even make it impossible for an organization to succeed. At one company I've worked with, there is a formal norm that you can't smoke in the store. There is also an informal norm that if you're a manager, it's okay to smoke in the back office, which is simply a room in the store. There is no good defense for a practice like that. It's also a double standard, something that tears at the very fabric of any team initiative, no matter how insignificant it may seem to you-the PL.

             At another company, the information norm was a serious organizational flaw. The company had four department directors who frequently disregarded the policies of the organization and the intent of the CEO. Even when the CEO issued a broadcast e-mail to all directors and issue a set of policies and priorities, the four directors routinely and openly pushed back. And he let them do it! They had gotten away with that behavior year after year, habitually putting their department priorities above the CEO's. The vice president asserted that there were no meaningful consequences to the behavior and was even proud that "no one ever gets fired around here." The worst punishment the CEO inflicted was withholding bonuses, which, admittedly, were a substantial part of the annual income for people at a high level of the company. In fact, the informal norm of putting department objectives above the goals of the organization had grown so strong that the loss of a bonus could not counteract its power. Conversely, the bait of a bonus was not a compelling enough incentive to bring the directors in line with the CEO's intent. First of all, the CEO had to make his intent clear to the directors on an individual basis-face-to-face and not in broadcast e-mails. He also had to put the force of his own behavior behind statements about "this is how we do things around here," and then he needed to enforce serious consequences if they continued to follow the negative informal norm. The toughest challenge in the whole scenario was the change the CEO had to make in his own leadership style to break down the power of the informal norm. He had to be clear on what he wanted, express it unequivocally, and set an example through his actions.

             Informal norms can have very positive effects on an organization, too. In the Rangers, many informal norms helped breathe life into the creed and make the Ranger culture something we really lived.

             When I got to my Ranger battalion, informally I thought: "I got my Ranger Beret-look at me!" Formally, I had passed all the qualifications for the Rangers, but informally I had proved nothing to the men I was going to work with. That's when all the hazing began-part of the informal norm. It was just one more unofficial way to weed out the newbies who were not deeply committed. All of us who were new took the heat until the next batch of newbies came in. Some couldn't stand it and they just "terminated."

             A part of the Rangers' informal norm was "Always volunteer if you're asked." If your leader asked for a volunteer and you weren't running up to help, you were down on the ground doing pushups. It was a lesson in motivation, a lesson in carrying more than your share of the load.

             As you gained rank, you did this with the newer Rangers. It was one way to pass on the culture and help people fit in. After a Ranger went through a phase of hazing, he'd use the same kind of hazing on a newer Ranger to pass on lessons learned. The fact that he had been in the battalion longer gave him informal authority over the newer private and the ability to shape his thinking and behavior.

             As a leader, you not only have the power to influence the beliefs, values, and norms of your team, but you also must do it. You must consciously cultivate your team through personal example, as well as by formally and informally reinforcing behaviors that support professional beliefs, values, and norms.

 

     

Lead the way!

 

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

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

 

http://www.leadingconcepts.com 

 


Warrior's Wisdom

Warrior's Wisdom


When you are occupying a position which the enemy threatens to surround, collect all your strength immediately and menace him with an offensive movement .  . 
 
-Military Maxim of Napoleon 
 
 
Featured T-Shirts
SFG Custom Product Designer - New and Improved!

French Foreign Legion
Buy This Shirt >>
Skull with Dagger and Crossed Assault Weapons - Customizable

 

 Buy This Shirt >>   

ISAF SOF - Afghanistan

    Buy this Shirt >> 

 

  
SERE Instructor

 



Aesop's Fables

THE SICK STAG

A SICK STAG lay down in a quiet corner of its pasture ground.  His companions came in great numbers to inquire after his health, and each one helped himself to a share of the food which had been placed for his use, so that he died, not from his sickness, but from the failure of the means of healing.
      Evil companions bring more hurt than profit.

Embroidered Items

Special Forces Gear
 The only official distributor of our hunting club patches

Buy Our Patches and Shirt>


K9 Skull and Cross Bones PATCH

 
.50 Caliber Sniper


FREEDOM ISN"T FREE


Am K-9 PUNISHER   


Special Product Coupon
March Madness Sale   

Get 20% OFF the price of  t-shirts when you order 4 t-shirts or more. Valid during the whole month of March!
1 per customer.  

Use coupon code marchmad

before completing your purchase!

Not to be combined with other discounts.
Valid from 3/01/2014 to 3/31/2014.
Offer excludes night vision products, climbing gear,
already discounted items & bulk unit orders.

Quotes & Jokes

"A nation under a well regulated government, should permit none to remain uninstructed. It is monarchical and aristocratical government only that requires ignorance for its support." --Thomas Paine, Rights of Man, 1792 

"Make no mistake: those who would employ questionable science to impose what amounts to a death penalty on millions of Third-World residents struggling for their very existence don't think twice about imposing untold economic hardship on their fellow Americans, 76 percent of whom live 'paycheck to paycheck,' for the same reason." - Columnist Arnold Ahlert

"Laws are like cobwebs which may catch small flies, but let wasps and hornets break through." - Jonathan Swift (1667-1745)

"Building a more peaceful world requires a sound strategy and the national resolve to back it up. When radical forces threaten our friends, when economic misfortune creates conditions of instability, when strategically vital parts of the world fall under the shadow of Soviet power, our response can make the difference between peaceful change or disorder and violence. ... Our foreign policy must be rooted in realism, not naiveté or self-delusion." - Ronald Regan

"The spirit of encroachment tends to consolidate the powers of all the departments in one, and thus to create whatever the form of government, a real despotism. A just estimate of that love of power, and proneness to abuse it, which predominates in the human heart is sufficient to satisfy us of the truth of this position." --George Washington, Farewell Address, 1796

"By virtue of exchange,one man's prosperity is beneficial to all others." -French economist Frederic Bastiat (1801-1850)

"It is difficult to free fools from the chains they revere." - Voltaire (1694-1778)

"[A]ll are subject by nature to equal laws of morality, and in society have a right to equal laws for their government, yet no two men are perfectly equal in person, property, understanding, activity, and virtue, or ever can be made so by any power less than that which created them." --John Adams, Discourse on Davila - XV, 1776
Marcus Tullius Cicero, 55 BC.

"We are bound by the law, so that we may be free."
-Cicero

"A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within. An enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he is known and carries his banner openly. But the traitor moves amongst those within the gate freely, his sly whispers rustling through all the alleys, heard in the very halls of government itself. For the traitor appears not a traitor; he speaks in accents familiar to his victims, and he wears their face and their arguments, he appeals to the baseness that lies deep in the hearts of all men. He rots the soul of a nation, he works secretly and unknown in the night to undermine the pillars of the city, he infects the body politic so that it can no longer resist. A murderer is less to fear."
-Cicero

"Men decide far more problems by hate, love, lust, rage, sorrow, joy, hope, fear, illusion or some other inward emotion, than by reality, authority, any legal standard, judicial precedent, or statute."
-Cicero

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.
-Cicero


"Six mistakes mankind keeps making century after century:
Believing that personal gain is made by crushing others;
Worrying about things that cannot be changed or corrected;
Insisting that a thing is impossible because we cannot accomplish it;
Refusing to set aside trivial preferences;
Neglecting development and refinement of the mind;
Attempting to compel others to believe and live as we do."
-Cicero  

 

"To be ignorant of what occurred before you were born is to remain always a child. For what is the worth of human life, unless it is woven into the life of our ancestors by the records of history?"
-Cicero  

 

"Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others."
-Cicero  

 

"If we are not ashamed to think it, we should not be ashamed to say it."
-Cicero  

 

"Politicians are not born; they are excreted."
-Cicero  


"The shifts of fortune test the reliability of friends."
-Cicero

"A man of courage is also full of faith."
-Cicero

"A happy life consists in tranquility of mind."
-Cicero

"Freedom is participation in power."
-Cicero

"The function of wisdom is to discriminate between good and evil."
-Cicero

"When you wish to instruct, be brief; that men's [children's] minds take in quickly what you say, learn its lesson, and retain it faithfully. Every word that is unnecessary only pours over the side of a brimming mind."
-Cicero

"Your enemies can kill you, but only your friends can hurt you."
-Cicero

"Knowledge which is divorced from justice may be called cunning rather than wisdom."
-Cicero

"Ability without honor is useless."
-Cicero

"To be content with what we possess is the greatest and most secure of riches."
-Cicero


"Diseases of the soul are more dangerous and more numerous than those of the body."
-Cicero

"Any man can make mistakes, but only an idiot persists in his error"
-Cicero

"As for myself, I can only exhort you to look on Friendship as the most valuable of all human possessions, no other being equally suited to the moral nature of man, or so applicable to every state and circumstance, whether of prosperity or adversity, in which he can possibly be placed. But at the same time I lay it down as a fundamental axiom that "true Friendship can only subsist between those who are animated by the strictest principles of honour and virtue." When I say this, I would not be thought to adopt the sentiments of those speculative moralists who pretend that no man can justly be deemed virtuous who is not arrived at that state of absolute perfection which constitutes, according to their ideas, the character of genuine wisdom. This opinion may appear true, perhaps, in theory, but is altogether inapplicable to any useful purpose of society, as it supposes a degree of virtue to which no mortal was ever capable of rising."
-Cicero

"Natural ability without education has more often raised a man to glory and virtue than education without natural ability."
-Cicero

"History is the witness that testifies to the passing of time; it illumines reality, vitalizes memory, provides guidance in daily life and brings us tidings of antiquities."
-Cicero

"In a republic this rule ought to be observed: that the majority should not have the predominant power."
-Cicero

"True law is right reason in agreement with nature;...it summons to duty by its commands, and averts from wrongdoing by its prohibitions...It is a sin to try to alter this law, nor is it allowable to repeal any part of it, and it is impossible to abolish it entirely."
-Cicero

"Nature herself has imprinted on the minds of all the idea of God"
-Cicero

"Kindness is stronger than fear."
-Cicero

Featured Items
Spec Plus Marine Raider Bowie Knife   

Product #R3313

   

$84.95

$74.95


Raiders in the Marines have a long history, filled with great accomplishments. Our "Spec Plus" Marine Raider Bowie Knife is as tough as the men who made USMC Raider history.

 

The Big Marine Bowie Knife has a large 10 inch cutting blade and is 15 inches overall.

  
      
Click Here to View Item >>    

 

 


CHAMELEON SYNTHENTIC GHILLIE SUIT

Product #R65112

 

$189.95
$160.00

    

  • 1 pc. woodland camo synthetic jacket/hood combo
  • Cover entire body with over 700 leaves hand placed to provide maximum depth and contrast
  • Includes extra leaves and burlap in 7 colors to better match specific terrian
  • Cool & light
  • Weighs only 6 lbs.

Click Here to View Item and Full Specifications >>


Wilderness Survivor Survival Kit      
Product #BGSK1245

$299.99        
$260.00        

 


The Wilderness-Survivor Survival Kit is the best equipped kit in the Best Glide Wilderness Series of Survival Kits. It includes an extensive selection of high quality survival equipment, much of which is NATO or US Government Approved. Many of these items are actual military issue. The Wilderness Survivor, formerly known as the SK1, is much more comprehensive than the Trekker and Companion Survival Kits. It is one step above the Wilderness Guardian Survival Kit, another very well stocked kit. The Wilderness Survivor Survival Kit is currently in use by numerous US Government agencies, large corporations and individuals alike.

The Wilderness Survivor Survival Kit is housed in the Best Glide Large Survival Kit Bag which includes one central compartment to minimize the possibility of the bag getting snagged during emergency egress. This compartment measures 8" x 8" x 15", thus giving you an ample 960 cubic inches of storage space. It is constructed of 1000 Denier Cordura with a 3/4 oz water repellent backing, YKK self healing zippers and D Rings for a shoulder strap if desired. It utilizes reinforced seams, Mil Spec webbing and Mil Spec hardware. This is one tough, yet light bag, offered in red or black. Other colors are available for special order. Best of all, this bag is Made in the USA!

 

 
Click Here to View Item and Full Specifications >>


MUT EOD - M-16/AR-15 Multi-Tool
Product #SDSLM850032

$195.00 
$170.00

Developed by the world's leading multi-tool company in conjunction with competitive shooters and operational snipers, the Leatherman MUT is the first multi-tool that functions as both a tactical and practical tool for solider, LE, or civilian shooter. Working on an M16 or MRAP; going to the range, or out to the hunting cabin.The Leatherman MUT takes tactical design and modularity to the next level while maintaining practical multi-tool functions for everyday life.

In addition to its standard functions, the Leatherman MUT was designed for the following maintenance on the components of the M16/AR15 family of rifles:
> Optic mounting and adjustment
> Bolt override malfunctions
> Take down and retaining pin removal
> Firing pin retaining pin removal
> Carbon removal on bolt carrier, bolt and firing pin
> Cleaning rod and brush attachments/use

  


Full-Zip Fleece Jacket
Product #D03061

$39.95
$34.95

 
The comfort and wearability of anti-pill fleece in a wide range of sizes.
  • 8.25 oz., anti-pill 100% polyester
  • Convertible collar with dyed-to-match zipper pull
  • Oversized nylon reinforced front pockets
  • Elastic cuffs and hem

 
 
Click Here to View Item and Full Specifications >>


 
Featured Watch
Aquaforce 200M Diver Combat Watch

Product #R4228

 

$56.20

$49.95

 

  • Stainless Steel Metal Back
  • Luminous Hour Markers
  • 200M Water Resistant
  • Plastic Fiber Case
  • PU Rubber Strap
  • Super Luminous Hands
  • Rotating Bezel
  • Date
 

Click Here to View Item >>  

Special Product Coupon
Spring Savings

Get 5% Off on orders over $100, during the month of March. Maximum one per order and one per customer.  

Use coupon code springdeal         

before completing your purchase!

Excludes night vision and spy gear.

Offer not valid with any other discounts.  

Valid from 3/1/14 - 3/31/14.

 

What Has Really Changed?

What has really changed?
1776 - 1976 
 
 What's right with America  1969 
 
 Yes there are dirty plays, but no one has even approached the performance record of homey "Oklahoma" or "Fiddler on the Roof".

  Foreigners are scornful of our ghettos. Yet tens of millions are being spent by businesses to rebuild slums with modern homes and the median Negro family income has risen to $5360 a year and the number earning $7000 has doubled in ten years.

  45 percent of Americans attend church and 70 percent consider religion very important.

  More Americans finish high school than is true of any other nation, and we're getting ready to improve that even more by special programs (developed in America) for preschool children. And the number of American adults who continue their schooling even into old age is the wonder of the world.     Book buying has doubled in ten years - good books.

  50 million Americans donate time and 14 billion dollars every year to charity.
      
  And you can add paragraphs of what else is good from your own experience.
    
  All of which makes a pretty good national anthem, doesn't it -- a lot healthier than the scary blues which too many love to sing.
  
 

 

Articles
SOUTHCOM Today
By John D. Gresham
The 612th U.S. Air and Space Operations Center provides command and control of U.S. air and space power in U.S. Southern Command's area of responsibility. which includes 31 countries covering one-sixth of the world's land mass. The $55 million facility, which spans 26,750 feet, operates 24 hours a day to support joint and coalition efforts in the Caribbean, Central America, and South America. U.S. Air Force photo by Capt. Justin Brockhoff

Introduction

For much of American history, Latin America and the Caribbean were seen as areas to be overseen and protected. Under the Monroe Doctrine, the region was considered vulnerable to the colonial intentions of European monarchies. During the Cold War, the Soviet Union became the primary concern, and the United States actively aided Latin American governments that appeared to be threatened by communist subversion. However, the end of the Cold War in 1989 led to a wave of new Latin American democracies, along with some of the strongest economic growth anywhere in the world. And while the region continues to suffer large-scale poverty and requires continued investment to realize its potential, Latin America is today on a path to become an economic and political powerhouse by the middle of the 21st century.

"It is a region of enormous promise and exciting opportunities, but it is also one of persistent challenges and complex threats."

"It is a region of enormous promise and exciting opportunities, but it is also one of persistent challenges and complex threats," SOUTHCOM Commander Gen. John F. Kelly, USMC, told Congress in March 2013. "It is a region of relative peace, low likelihood of interstate conflicts, and overall economic growth, yet is also home to corrosive criminal violence, permissive environments for illicit activities, and episodic political and social protests."

 

Click Here to Read More>>


Book Review - The Star of Africa:
The Story of Hans Marseille, the Rogue Luftwaffe Ace Who Dominated the WW II Skies

By Colin D. Heaton and Anne-Marie Lewis; Zenith Press; 240 pages
By Chuck Oldham (Editor) - February 16, 2014
Hans-Joachim Marseille with one of his 158 victims, a Royal Air Force Hurricane. Bundesarchive photo

For those who flew in the Luftwaffe during World War II, the names of top-scoring aces like Erich Hartmann or Gerhard Barkhorn are well known, as are those of combat leaders and aces in their own right like Adolf Galland or Johannes Steinhoff, innovators like Hajo Hermann, or personalities like Werner Baumbach. But one of the most legendary names among them is a man who scored a little more than half the kills of Barkhorn, who wasn't much of a follower, much less a leader, and who performed all his innovations from within the cramped cockpit of an Me 109.

While this isn't a thorough biography, the vast majority of the words in this book come straight from the mouths of those who knew Marseille personally, and whom Heaton and Lewis personally interviewed, and there is an immediacy and authenticity here that is sometimes lost in more weighty biographies.

In fact Hans-Joachim Marseille, killed in a flying accident at 22, provoked the greatest admiration, affection, and loyalty among his comrades. He also provoked exasperation, in equal measure, from his commanders for his behavior out of the cockpit. Marseille is the subject of Colin D. Heaton and Anne-Marie Lewis's excellent The Star of Africa: The Story of Hans Marseille, the Rogue Luftwaffe Ace Who Dominated the WW II Skies, and there is no better book to acquaint a reader with this extraordinary fighter pilot and man. While this isn't a thorough biography, the vast majority of the words in this book come straight from the mouths of those who knew Marseille personally, and whom Heaton and Lewis personally interviewed, and there is an immediacy and authenticity here that is sometimes lost in more weighty biographies.

The Star of Africa: The story of Hans Marseille, the Rogue Luftwaffe Ace Who Dominated WW II Skies , by Colin D. Heaton and Anne-Marie Lewis; Zenith Press; 240 pages

Marseille's skill in the pilot's seat of an Me 109 was unmatched. He averaged 15 rounds of ammunition per kill in achieving his 158 victories, a small fraction of what even a typical ace needed to dispatch an opponent, and regularly scored multiple victories on a single day. In fact, over the course of three missions on Sept. 1, 1942, he shot down an incredible 17 enemy aircraft

In a nation where jazz was forbidden as "degenerate music," he regularly played the forbidden records and, an accomplished pianist, even played the tunes himself - on one occasion in front of Adolf Hitler himself!

But more than this, Hans Joachim Marseille was a true original, a nonconformist at a time and under a regime where it was quite commonly fatal to be one. He was possibly the most skilled Luftwaffe fighter pilot of his generation, but refused to join the Nazi party, and openly questioned its policies. Rather than hating his enemies he displayed a true chivalry toward them. He drove his commanders crazy with escapades like running off with one of Benito Mussolini's nieces or being hunted down by an enraged Gestapo officer after having slept with his daughter. Under Nazi rule, with its vicious racial hatreds, Marseille's personal servant and one of his closest friends, Mathias, was a former prisoner of war who also happened to be a black South African. In a nation where jazz was forbidden as "degenerate music," he regularly played the forbidden records and, an accomplished pianist, even played the tunes himself - on one occasion in front of Adolf Hitler himself!

Hans-Joachim Marseille's official portrait taken on the occasion of receiving the Oak Leaves and Swords to his Knight's Cross from Adolf Hitler, June 28, 1942. Bundesarchive photo

Stories and anecdotes about Marseille from those who knew him comprise the meat of this book, describing all of the qualities mentioned above and more, but The Star of Africa: The Story of Hans Marseille, the Rogue Luftwaffe Ace Who Dominated the WW II Skies, also fairly thoroughly covers Marseille's combat career, as well as including eight pages of photos, a table of Marseille's victories, a short timeline, and a bibliography. Anyone interested in Luftwaffe fighter squadrons and pilots in general, and in Marseille in particular, will enjoy and appreciate this volume.

 


DARPA's ARES Developing
Autonomous VTOL Capabilities

By Steven Hoarn- February 18, 2014
The Aerial Reconfigurable Embedded System (ARES), is an unmanned vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) flight module system designed to transport a variety of payloads. Lockheed Martin rendering
No sooner is an autonomous convoy tested than the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) updates its plans to develop a modular transportation system designed around a vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) flight module operating as an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). The Aerial Reconfigurable Embedded System (ARES) aims to do just that.

"ARES would make organic and versatile VTOL capability available to many more individual units."

ARES is an offshoot of the Transformer (TX) program that was unveiled by DARPA in 2009. The TX program sought to develop a prototype system for demonstration that would provide flexible, terrain-independent transportation for small ground units. The prototype system would be able conduct logistics, personnel transport, and tactical support missions for small ground units. Out of that program, the ARES design concept was selected for additional development in late 2013.


The Aerial Reconfigurable Embedded System (ARES) would be built around a variety of different modules such as cargo pickup and delivery, casualty extraction, and airborne intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR). Lockheed Martin rendering

Experience in mountainous Afghanistan has shown the dangers of ground transportation. Ambushes and improvised explosive devices (IEDs) have posed challenges for surface transport. The average combat outpost in Afghanistan requires 100,000 pounds of supplies a week, with high elevation and the rough road conditions conspiring to make resupply a logistical nightmare. Though helicopters are one solution, the demand far outstrips the supply. "Many missions require dedicated vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) assets, but most ground units don't have their own helicopters," said Ashish Bagai, DARPA program manager.

"Our goal is to provide flexible, terrain-independent transportation that avoids ground-based threats, in turn supporting expedited, cost-effective operations and improving the likelihood of mission success."

The VTOL flight module would be at the center of ARES. The module, operating as a UAV, would have its own self-contained power system, fuel, digital flight controls, and remote command-and-control-interfaces. Efficient hovering and landing capabilities would be provided by twin tilting ducted fans. These ducted fans would provide landing capabilities in a compact configuration, in landing zones half the size of those needed by similarly sized helicopters. "Our goal is to provide flexible, terrain-independent transportation that avoids ground-based threats, in turn supporting expedited, cost-effective operations and improving the likelihood of mission success," said Bagai. The module could also be rapidly converted to high-speed cruise flight, similar to the MV-22 Osprey, of up to 200 knots. 

The Aerial Reconfigurable Embedded System (ARES) is designed to avoid the dangers of ground transportation in places such as Afghanistan, where ambushes and IEDs have created logistical problems. Lockheed Martin rendering

As envisioned by DARPA, the ARES system would be the solution. Traveling between its home base and field operations, ARES would be capable of delivering and receiving an array of detachable mission modules. Each mission module would be designed for a specific purpose, such as cargo pickup and delivery, casualty extraction, and airborne intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR). "ARES would make organic and versatile VTOL capability available to many more individual units," said Bagai. The flight module would have a load capacity of up to 3,000 pounds, more than 40 percent of the gross takeoff weight of the aircraft.

The flight module would have a load capacity of up to 3,000 pounds, more than 40 percent the gross takeoff weight of the aircraft.

Modules would be directed in flight by units using mobile phone apps or ruggedized tablets. ARES would initially be unmanned, with the hope that the system would approach semi-autonomy, with user interfaces for optionally manned or controlled flight.

The ability of the Aerial Reconfigurable Embedded System (ARES) to land in tight places, thanks to it twin tilting ducted fans, would allow it to operate aboard ships. Lockheed Martin rendering
Lockheed Martin Skunk Works is serving as the lead vehicle designer and system integration performer for ARES. ARES is currently in its third and final phase.


USS Taylor Runs Aground While Supporting Olympic Security By Steven Hoarn - February 19, 2014 
The guided-missile frigate USS Taylor (FFG 50) departs Naval Station Mayport, Fla., for a seven-month deployment to the U.S. 5th and 6th Fleet areas of responsibility, Jan. 8, 2014. This is Taylor's final deployment as the ship is scheduled to be decommissioned in 2015. While preparing to moor in Samsun, Turkey, the Taylor ran aground. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Marcus L. Stanley

Almost two months into its final deployment and in the Black Sea supporting security during the XXII Olympic Winter Games being held in Sochi, Russia, the USS Taylor (FFG 50) was capping a long and distinguished service in the U.S. Navy. Then it ran aground while preparing to moor in Samsun, Turkey.

The Mayport-based Taylor ran aground on Feb. 12. There were no reported injuries to the approximately 200 sailors aboard and mooring continued without further incident. The grounding is currently under investigation.

The Mayport-based Taylor ran aground on Feb. 12. There were no reported injuries to the approximately 200 sailors aboard and mooring continued without further incident. The grounding is currently under investigation.

The U.S. 6th Fleet flag ship USS Mount Whitney (LCC 20) conducts small boat operations with the guided-missile frigate USS Taylor (FFG 50), Feb. 11, 2014. Taylor, homeported in Mayport, Fla., was deployed to the Black Sea in support of the XXII Olympic Winter Games, being held in the Black Sea port of Sochi, Russia. U.S. Navy photo by Lt. (j.g.) David Hancock

Deployed to the 6th Fleet area of operations, the Taylor and the USS Mount Whitney (LCC 20) are operating in the Black Sea in support of the Olympics. Taylor has been operating in the Black Sea since Feb. 5, while the Mount Whitney arrived on Feb. 4.

The Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigate's namesake was a naval aviator who was a veteran of World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War.

The Taylor is scheduled for decommissioning in 2015 and is currently on a seven-month deployment that started on Jan. 8, when the Taylor left Naval Station Mayport, Fla.


Team USA marches into Fisht Olympic Stadium during the Opening Ceremony of the XXII Olympic Winter Games, Sochi, Russia, Feb. 7, 2014. Security concerns about the Olympics prompted the deployment of the Taylor and Mount Whitney to the Black Sea. U.S. Army photo by Tim Hipps
The Taylor entered service on Dec. 1, 1984, and is named after Cmdr. Jesse Junior Taylor. The Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigate's namesake was a naval aviator who was a veteran of World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. He was awarded the Navy Cross posthumously for his heroism during the attempted rescue of a pilot near the North Vietnamese port of Haiphong on Nov. 17, 1965.


Invested in Carriers
By Norman Friedman - February 21, 2014
The Chinese aircraft carrier Liaoning (CV 16). PLA Daily photo
 

This seems to be a boom time for carriers. The first Chinese carrier, the Liaoning, is running operational trials and has recently demonstrated the ability to launch and recover its supersonic fighters. The Indian Vikramaditya, that country's first new carrier for several decades, is running delivery trials. Japan and Korea are both operating air- capable ships which, although they are rated to operate helicopters, are surely potential short takeoff/vertical landing (STOVL) carriers. The British are building two Queen Elizabeth-class carriers larger than any the Royal Navy has previously operated or even ordered. The STOVL version of the F-35 is to equip the British carriers and also U.S. helicopter assault ships. The U.S. Navy is building the Gerald R. Ford, the first of a class to replace the existing Nimitz class.

Are the new U.S. carriers dinosaurs bought by a backward-looking naval leadership, the modern equivalents of the "battleship admirals" who are said to have hobbled the Navy of the interwar period? Or is the carrier still viable, and still the central element of sea power?

At the same time, opponents of carriers are becoming more vociferous. They point to the Chinese DF-21D ballistic missile, which is advertised as a carrier-killer, capable of maneuvering into position above a carrier and showering it with bomblets capable of sweeping aircraft from its flight deck. A single DF-21D is clearly far less expensive than a carrier, so some have argued that the Chinese can easily cancel U.S. carrier-centered sea power with less expensive asymmetric weapons. Some may see the U.S. Navy's agreement with the U.S. Air Force to join in an Air-Sea Battle Concept as admission that the carrier battle groups cannot survive without considerable assistance. What is going on here? Are the new U.S. carriers dinosaurs bought by a backward-looking naval leadership, the modern equivalents of the "battleship admirals" who are said to have hobbled the Navy of the interwar period? Or is the carrier still viable, and still the central element of sea power?

 

Click Here To Read More>> 


Battlefield Medicine in the Korean War
By Dwight Jon Zimmerman - February 9, 2014
A wounded American is lifted onto a helicopter at the 21st Infantry Regiment collecting station at Painmal, Korea, one mile south of the 38th parallel, for evacuation to a base hospital, April 3, 1951. Medical advances and rapid evacuation by helicopter cut the fatality rate for wounded from World War II's 4.5 percent to 2.5 percent. National Archives photo

Though the Korean War came to be regarded as a failure by many because of its unsettled conclusion, in one area it was an unreserved success: the care and treatment of wounded soldiers. In World War II, the fatality rate for seriously wounded soldiers was 4.5 percent. In the Korean War, that number was cut almost in half, to 2.5 percent. That success is attributed to the combination of the Mobile Army Surgical Hospital, or MASH unit, and the aeromedical evacuation system - the casualty evacuation (casevac) and medical evacuation (medevac) helicopter. Both had been developed and used to a limited extent prior to 1950, but it was in the Korean War that both - particularly the helicopter - came into their own, and as Army Maj. William G. Howard wrote, "fundamentally changed the Army's medical-evacuation doctrine." Helicopter medevacs transported more than 20,000 casualties during the war. One pilot, 1st Lt. Joseph L. Bowler, set a record of 824 medical evacuations over a 10-month period. Another example tellingly highlights the impact of the helicopter. The Eighth Army surgeon estimated that of the 750 critically wounded soldiers evacuated on Feb. 20, 1951, half would have died if only ground transportation had been used.

"The wounded soldiers in Korea had a better chance of recovery than the soldier of any previous war. This was not only by virtue of improved medical treatments available at all echelons, but also in large measure because of his ready accessibility to major medical installations. ..."

- Gen. Matthew B. Ridgway, Commanding General of the United Nations Forces in Korea

The Korean War also provided an opportunity to study and test new equipment and procedures, many of which would go on to become standards of care in both the military and civilian medical communities. These included vascular reconstruction, the use of artificial kidneys, development of lightweight body armor, and research on the effects of extreme cold on the body, which led to development of better cold weather clothing and improved cold weather medical advice and treatment. The newest antibiotics were used widely, and other drugs that advanced medical care included the anticoagulant heparin, the sedative Nembutal, and the use of serum albumin and whole blood to treat shock cases. In addition, computerized data collection (in the form of computer punch cards) of the type of battle and non-battle casualties was used for the first time. The extensive detail and accessibility of this data allowed for the most thorough and comprehensive analysis of military medical information yet.

 

Click Here to Read More>> 


New Collaboration Aims to Create Autonomous Riverine Craft
By Steven Hoarn- February 10, 2014

 

The Swiftships Anaconda underwent testing during Emerald Warrior 2013. Now, a collaboration between Swiftships and the University of Louisiana Lafayette will seek to create an autonomous version of the Anaconda. Swiftships photo
The continuing rise of unmanned autonomous vehicles has seen a focus on aerial vehicles. That doesn't mean that there haven't been notable successes on land and on and under the sea, but rather that they have garnered far less news attention. So seems the case with the recent announcement of the beginning of a three-year collaboration between Swiftships Shipbuilders LLC and the University of Louisiana at Lafayette that is aimed at developing an autonomously navigable military boat.
Swiftships has settled on the Anaconda, a 35-foot special operations craft riverine that is capable of 50+ knots with up to 14 passengers, as the platform that they want to use to test autonomous technology. Swiftships photo

The collaboration will focus on modifying the 35-foot Anaconda, an existing platform that made an appearance at Emerald Warrior 2013. The diesel-powered Anaconda is a riverine special operations craft that is designed to operate in both salt and fresh water environments. The versatile craft is designed to operate in sea state two and to survive in sea state four. The Swiftship's project management team has worked to develop real world applications for the Anaconda, such as reconnaissance, enforcement, asset protection, and emergency response, but views the partnership with the University of Louisiana at Lafayette as being vital to developing the necessary autonomous technology for the Anaconda. "Our relationship with the University of Louisiana at Lafayette is a significant piece of our developing team. The application of autonomous technology has far-reaching implications for our entire inland shipping industry," said Eric Geibel, the director of special programs for Swiftships.

"Our relationship with the University of Louisiana at Lafayette is a significant piece of our developing team. The application of autonomous technology has far-reaching implications for our entire inland shipping industry."

The University of Louisiana at Lafayette makes an ideal collaborator with the Morgan City, La.-based Swiftships, thanks to their experience creating the autonomous CajunBot all-terrain vehicle in 2004. The CajunBot twice competed alongside other universities in Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Grand Challenge events. Dr. Arun Lakhotia, a professor of computer science, and Joshua Vaughan, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering, will attempt to apply lessons learned from the CajunBot toward the creation of an autonomous Anaconda. "We'll begin with some basic goals, such as getting the boat to operate autonomously in relatively calm water and to follow simple patterns, such as a straight line or simple turns. As the project continues, we'll be developing more complex tasks," said Lakhotia. The University of Louisiana at Lafayette will be the lead developer for the autonomous technology that will applied to the Anaconda.

The University of Louisiana at Lafayette makes a natural partner for Swiftships, thanks to their experience developing the CajunBot. The CajunBot competed in two Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Grand Challenge events. University of Louisiana at Lafayette photo
Swiftships has a deep knowledge base to call upon in building small and medium-sized riverine craft, thanks to being an offshoot of Sewart Seacraft. Sewart Seacraft designed and built some of the swift boats that were used to good effect by the U.S. Navy during the Vietnam War. "It is part of the Swiftships heritage to be at the forefront of technology," said Geibel.

 



'Star Wars' at sea:
Navy ready to deploy laser system this summer
US Navy ready to deploy laser system this summer; rail guns aren't far behind

The Laser Weapon System (LaWS) is seen while temporarily installed aboard the guided-missile destroyer USS Dewey (DDG 105) in San Diego, Calif., July 30, 2012.

BATH, Maine (AP) -- Some of the Navy's futuristic weapons sound like something out of "Star Wars," with lasers designed to shoot down aerial drones and electric guns that fire projectiles at hypersonic speeds.

That future is now.

 

The Navy plans to deploy its first laser on a ship later this year, and it intends to test an electromagnetic rail gun prototype aboard a vessel within two years.

For the Navy, it's not so much about the whiz-bang technology as it is about the economics of such armaments. Both costs pennies on the dollar compared with missiles and smart bombs, and the weapons can be fired continuously, unlike missiles and bombs, which eventually run out.

 

"It fundamentally changes the way we fight," said Capt. Mike Ziv, program manager for directed energy and electric weapon systems for the Naval Sea Systems Command.

 

The Navy's laser technology has evolved to the point that a prototype to be deployed aboard the USS Ponce this summer can be operated by a single sailor, he said.


Click Here to Read More>>

About Us
About Us

Thanks for reading our newsletter - if your friends want to subscribe, point them to http://www.specialforces.com/ or click here to forward this email to a friend.  

 

Hooah!

 

Dave Thomas

Special Forces Gear

Special Forces Gear