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Monthly NewsletterMay 2012 
In This Issue
Dave's Message
Voice of the Soldier
Word of Truth
The Blue Warrior
Combat Survival
Warrior's Wisdom
Special Product Coupon
Aesop's Fables
Embroidered Items
Featured T-Shirts
Special Product Coupon
Quotes & Jokes
Featured Items
Featured Tactical Gear
Featured Watches
Clichés of Socialism
What Has Really Changed?

Newsletter Archive
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
Customer Comments
I am a Cpl. in the Army and just returned from Iraq. I carried my shotgun all year on my back in your shotgun scabbard, and it worked great! I was glad to have it around several times, and it proved to be an easy way to keep the shotgun handy for the squad. Thanks for your great product, and for your support of our troops!!

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

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

Thanks guys
kelly [omitted]

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

[name omitted]

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

Dear SF company.

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

Thanks again.

Another happy customer
Bob Miller

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

Most Sincerely,
Bryan P.

Thank you!!!

Your Shirts are the best.


Dear SFG,

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

I thought a little constructive thoughts were in order.

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

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

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

Ed Whiteside

Dear Special Forces

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


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


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

Jack And Melanie Edgar


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

Thank you,

Amanda Van Every


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



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

Cheers Andrew and best wishes for the New Year.

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

Dave's Message


The Winning Leader


"There are no shortcuts in life - only those we imagine"


Signalman First Class Douglas Munro provides covering fire to evacuating Marines at Guadalcanal. He was killed in action during this firefight after ensuring that all of the Marines were safe. He became the only Coast Guardsman to ever be awarded the Medal of Honor.


Everyone wants success, but few are willing to do what is necessary to succeed. Most look for and take short cuts abandoning the path that most probably would have led them to success.


This month's topic is to give you insights on how to be a successful leader and a consistent winner.


We will start with 5 Fundamentals the Warrior Leader Follows to be a consistent winner.
  1. Sets clear Goals or visions.
  2. Picks the people best for the job and sticks with them.
  3. Sets high standards and maintains them.
  4. Extensive training and physical conditioning.
  5. Act and think like a winner.


I think the first 4 are obvious so we will spend most of the time on the 5th fundamental.


"To bring one's self to a frame of mind and to the proper energy to accomplish things that require plain hard work continuously is the one big battle that everyone has. When this battle is won for all time, then everything is easy."    

 - Thomas A. Buckner 

Number five was "the leader must act and think like a winner." But how does a winner act and think?


This is what I hope to pass on to you by breaking the process down into a progression of understanding certain principles essential to winning - that will put you on the path to success...if you have the will to win.


To become a good leader one must first learn to be a good follower and to learn how to be a winner one must learn how to lose correctly. Learning how to lose correctly takes great humility (teachability) and the correct perception of negatives and positives to evaluate, learn and advance from our failures.


 We all tend to think in terms of negatives and positives and most of us have been taught that negative thinking is bad and we should only think positive and if we stay positive good things will happen. But the truth is you can think all the positive things you want but that will never change reality. What I am getting at is the leader must learn to look at himself and circumstances with objectivity, otherwise misconceptions are created by lack of certain critical information and this lack of information often leads us to develop incorrect preconceived ideas. This means that recognizing the negative for what it is, is not only OK but necessary to produce an undistorted view and correct orientation to reality.


"You can choose to be discouraged by negatives or you can choose to be challenged by them."


Recognizing a negative is not negative thinking. Negative thinking is when you allow the negatives to affect your mental attitude. The same is true of positive thinking if you only allow yourself to think positive without acknowledging the negatives you will fool yourself and wonder why you are losing when it should be obvious you are making the same mistakes over and over again not learning. True positive thinking is the ability to recognize the negatives without allowing them to affect your attitude.


"Hope is the denial of reality."
                     - Margaret Weis


A best example of this that comes to mind is what is happening in our country today. There are a great number of people that do not want to acknowledge the negative effect most of our elected and non elected leaders are having on our country. They prefer to stay positive not wanting to consider the consequences of what is happening hoping that everything will somehow be OK or will not affect them. I am not advocating that they should worry which is useless, I am saying they should be concerned and acknowledge the negatives keeping a positive attitude and acting responsibly and voting responsibly even when it appears to not count and even if they are voting for the best of the pick or I like to say the lesser of two evils.


"The ignorance of one voter in a democracy impairs the security of all."
  -  John F Kennedy


"The truth that makes men free is for the most part the truth which men prefer not to hear."
 - Herbert Sebastien Agar


"Shame on the men who can court exemption from present trouble and expense at the price of their own posterity's liberty!"
 - Samuel Adams



I feel like a short recap is in order here before we push on. True positive thinking is acknowledging and accepting negative things as a challenge not allowing them to affect your attitude.  


"A leader must be able to remain normal in all circumstances."

With the proper mindset you will not let negatives and positives affect your attitude. I include positives because one of the hardest tests is handling success properly. This is where most people fail by letting their guard down or getting a big head. Handling success without changing your attitude is the most difficult challenge of all.  

To keep the winning mind set we must have the ability to refocus when met with distractions. So you need to develop the ability to recover your concentration rapidly when emotion takes control. Without this ability you will not stay objective in the face of adversity.


This simple technique will help you shift from your emotions to objective thinking. When confronted with a mistake or set back say to yourself - "What I do next is more important than what just happened."


The trick is to grab control back from your emotions, freeing you to concentrate on solutions. This must be practiced daily until you master the ability to refocus from distractions.


"Success and failure are the same. The only difference is success gets up and keeps moving"

 - Jack Dempsey (Champion Heavyweight Boxer)


All negatives are not negative and all positives are not positive.  


Most of us have a tendency to associate positive with doing something right and negative with doing something wrong, but we must look deeper. Just because we won does not mean we did something correctly and just because we lost doesn't mean we did something incorrectly. Many times we have made mistakes from incorrect thinking but they worked out for the best. In these cases one must examine the correct thought process that should have been used because if we accept what happened for what it wasn't we are setting ourselves up for failure in the future. I see this a lot in dealing with people where they made a mistake for the better but realized their thinking was incorrect. This is the easiest way to learn from a mistake.


All negatives are not negative. I will try and explain what I mean here using an example of the type of thinking that snipers must use. There are two types of snipers: 1. military on the battlefield at war -- and 2. Police Snipers.


A police sniper is under great pressure to not miss a shot because he could kill an innocent person so all the conditions must be right he cannot afford to miss.


The military sniper is under a different pressure. He knows the enemy is always out to get him so if he slips up it would mean his life instead of his career but he can afford to miss a shot because his thought process is like a hunter waiting for that window of opportunity and giving it his best shot. If he misses it is not necessarily that he has done anything incorrect. He tells himself the next shot is more important than the last and shakes it off.  He knows that it is ok to take a low percentage shot in the chance that he might score a hit and it is Ok if he misses as long as his thinking was correct.


Whereas the police sniper cannot afford to miss so he cannot take a low percentage shot. One type of thinking permits taking a chance sometimes missing the shot and the other cannot because he can never afford to miss. What they do have in common is they both must think correctly and they must instinctively shut off their emotions to evaluate problems objectively so they can work out of impossible situations.


All negatives are not negative and all positives are not positive.


Evaluate on the basis of whether your thinking was right or wrong not on the basis of if you won or lost is the principle to learn. Great snipers are successful because they have acquired the ability to think objectively, evaluate realistically and come to a correct conclusion.     


The winning leader creates an environment to win. How? By giving his enemy the greatest potential to lose by putting him under pressure. How? By creating a winning environment for yourself you make it more difficult for your enemy to win. If your mind constantly becomes discouraged by mistakes and failures, the only environment you are creating is one in which you, not your enemy will fail.


To create the winning environment you must learn to incorporate long term thinking into your thought process. Our emotions are good at letting us know when mistakes and failure come into play and that is where they should be stopped and thinking should take over and part of that thinking must include long term strategies.  


Long term strategies call for mental toughness. It is easy to execute a short term strategy but it is difficult to execute a long term strategy because you must persevere through ups and downs to stay on track with doubt always lingering in the background. Without mental toughness doubt will cause you to second guess yourself causing you to be unsure giving opportunity to your enemy.


Mental toughness takes years to develop and it has its secrets.


"When one door closes another door opens; but we so often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door, that we do not see the ones which open for us" 
- Alexander Graham Bell


One "You do not win by trying to win". Most people associate winning with doing something spectacular like hitting a home run. This is trying to win by winning which is a bad mindset for the Warrior Leader which places victory to chance. I will use baseball as an example to explain. It is the last inning the winning run is on third base. All I need to do is get a base hit that brings the runner home. But I want to hit a home run to win the game ignoring the fact that there are other options to win by. This is the "trying to win by winning" mind set. Instead of keeping all the options open like bunting, walking or getting a base hit to win the game I strike out trying to hit a home run. What I should have done was created an environment with the best chance to win by keeping all my options open with a relaxed and focused mindset waiting for the right opportunity to execute one of the many options to win. This is the difference between making it happen and letting it happen. The correct mindset is to create an environment that lets it happen. This is the winning mindset of the mentally tough warrior he seeks to win by controlling his emotions and utilizing his skills to the fullest, ready to take full advantage of all options and opportunities. This is letting it happen.


This same principle can be applied to every facet of life. Another good example is trying to get rich quick. This is the same as trying to win by winning. You put all your eggs in one basket trying to score big in some investment and you have created an environment with no options and the greatest potential to lose as opposed to creating an environment to let it happen by creating many options, low risk and no pressure to make hasty decisions.     


"Winning is making yourself do what you do not want to do in order to achieve what you want to achieve."

Most people want to win but
Four LST's unload men and equipment on beach in Inchon on Sept. 15, 1950.
often do not want to do what it takes to win. This means consistency first and winners second. Consistent winners win by maintaining the proper mindset that thinks consciously and subconsciously with consistency. In other words they always take the path with the best options to succeed. This is not to say that you do not take risks because sometimes taking a risk is the best option. Here are some examples from history. General MacArthur's strategy to land our troops in Inchon Bay during the Korean War was risky but gave the best chance for success, Generals Robert E. Lee and Thomas Jonathan Jackson bested the North for the first three plus years by taking bold risks but that was the best chance for success. When a small Army is out numbered sometimes its best chance to win is to attack with great energy this is risky but offers the best chance for success. To play this game the warrior must have mental toughness, great knowledge, skills and know the rules so he can know when to break the rules and win. If you understand military strategy and principals you can make decisions that may appear to be risky but in fact offer the best chance to win. I can think of countless examples from history where great people succeeded by creating the best environment to win through utilizing the proper mindset.


"Real leadership quality is demonstrated through both seeing the big picture, and through ensuring others see it creating a shared vision."


I mentioned earlier that as the warrior gains mental toughness with the proper mind set he must learn to not just look at individual situations but to see the big picture.


 What is seeing the big picture?


Here are a few descriptions of what it means to see the big picture.
  • Knowing not just how and what to do, but knowing why.
  • Viewing the whole and not just its parts.
  • Seeing a vision, a sense of the bigger picture.
  • Having the ability to see significance in work, beyond the obvious.
  • Understanding what it takes for a legacy to live on, whether in creating something like our Constitution and Declaration of Independence or in some physical structure like a bridge or in the impact made on people.
The key to understanding and seeing the big picture is to realize how decisions impact future events.


The winning leader must ask himself this question "Do I have a sense of the bigger picture in what I do?" If the answer is no he needs think about how decisions he has made have affected the future.


"The trick to forgetting the big picture is to look at everything close-up."


I will part with these characteristics of Winning leaders.  

Winners know they cannot always dial in a perfect performance so they improvise and adapt to overcome obstacles and adverse situations.


 In the long run victory will not be decided by how many mistakes they make but how they choose to deal with those mistakes.  


Winners know that many physical and mental failures are overcome by taking responsibility for them and adopting the correct mental attitude. 


Winners forget failure and move on in the face of negative feelings.  


Winners understand that to win consistently, they must learn to control adverse situations and minimize their effect to create a winning environment.   


Practicing your mental game develops mental toughness the same way physical training develops physical toughness. 





"The highest reward for man's toil is not what he gets for it, but what he becomes by it."
                                                                                 - John Ruskin




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


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Always Remembered
OSS agent who led WWII rescue of
500 dies in NY

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NEW YORK - George Vujnovich, the intelligence agent who organized a World War II mission to rescue more than 500 U.S. bomber crew members shot down over Nazi-occupied Serbia, has died at his home in New York. He was 96.

Vujnovich is credited with leading the so-called Halyard Mission in what was then Yugoslavia. It was the largest air rescue of Americans behind enemy lines in any war.

A long retired salesman of aircraft parts, he died April 24 of natural causes at home in Queens, according to his daughter, Xenia Wilkinson.

The Serbian-American and Pittsburgh native was an officer of the OSS, the precursor of today's CIA, when about 500 pilots and other airmen were downed over Serbia in the summer of 1944 while on bombing runs targeting Hitler's oil fields in Romania, according to U.S. government field station files.

The airmen were hidden in villages by Serbian guerrilla fighter Draza Mihailovich, leader of the Chetniks, whom Yugoslav communist officials considered to be Germany's collaborators.

"This mission would not have succeeded without the great courage of Draza Mihailovich and his brave men," Vujnovich said at a 2010 ceremony in which he was formally awarded the U.S. Bronze Star Medal.

It was no small feat to convince American officials to allow him to work with Mihailovich on the clandestine mission, dubbed Halyard, meaning a rope used to hoist sails. By then, President Franklin D. Roosevelt had decided to follow British Prime Minister Winston Churchill's lead, abandoning support for Mihailovich in favor of the Yugoslav communists, the strongest grass-roots guerrilla force fighting the invading Nazis and Italian fascists.

"Vujnovich is the one who sold the mission to U.S. officials. He pushed hard," said U.S. Army Lt. Col. Steven Oluic, a former West Point professor who prepared the award submission for the Department of the Army.

On Aug. 2, 1944, three OSS agents strapped with radio transmitters were airdropped near Mihailovich's headquarters to set up the operation. Dozens of U.S. military cargo planes flew in over the months to pick up the airmen when they were downed. Serbian villagers had helped them build an airstrip by the village of Pranjani.

The fliers parachuted into a mountainous region where local farmers brought them to their houses and barns. During the next 66 days, the Americans moved each night to a different location so as not to be captured by the occupying Germans.

The story is told in a 2007 book titled "The Forgotten 500," by Gregory Freeman.
173rd Airborne Paratrooper Parachutes from C-130 Hercules
173rd Airborne Paratrooper Parachutes from C-130 Hercules
DARPA's Humanoid Robots
DARPA's Humanoid Robots

Word of Truth
Deceiving the World
The Word Of Truth - Alive and Powerful

By Rev G.J. Rako



Satan has a plan, policy, and system of deceiving the world.


Rev 12:9 Then the great dragon, the ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, who keeps on deceiving the entire world.


Rev 20:8 and he will go out to deceive the nations in the four corners of the earth,


He is the ruler of this world (Lk 4:5-7; Jn 12:31, 14:30, 16:11; 2 Cor 4:4), and is opposed to God. Therefore, his plan is to deceive humanity with regard to the eternal truth of the living and written Word of God. His plan and policy can be entitled the "lie" for "he is a liar and the father of lies and there is no truth in him (John 8:44)."   The Bible is the "truth"; Satan's system is the "lie". As the Word of Truth has many facets, so each must be countered by the lie.


Two aspects of this great lie are Satan's deceptions and counterfeits regarding first, salvation and then the Christian way of life.


1. The Bible states that there is one way to heaven and a relationship with the eternal God, that is, faith alone in Christ alone.


Acts 4:12 Salvation is found in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved.


John 14:6 Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father but, by Me


Now, how many other names can you think of, all of which characterize the lie. Satan in his genius has developed a system to counterfeit God's plan of salvation. We call this insidious system "religion." Religion is man by man's own efforts attempting to gain the favor of God. It is a system of works and merit on man's part. God's plan of salvation is grace.


Eph 2:8-9 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not of yourselves, it is a gift from God, not of works, so that no man can boast .


2.   Once we become believers in Jesus Christ, our purpose is to grow to spiritual maturity and execute the unique spiritual life of the church age. We are commanded to renew our thinking,


2 Cor 4:16 Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day .


Eph 4:23   ..and that you be renewed in the spirit of your thinking


Col 3:12 "...and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him


By fulfilling the command to "grow in grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ (II Peter 3:18)," we replace the doctrine of demons or human viewpoint with the absolute truth that God provided.


1 Tim 4:1 But, the Spirit explicitly communicates that in latter periods of time, some believers will fall away from doctrine, giving attention to deceitful spirits, even doctrines from demons.


We must counter Satan's deceptions with the truth of the Word of God, the thinking of our Lord,


Phil 2:5   Have this thinking in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.


Often we think ourselves too smart to be deceived. If Satan deceived the woman in the garden, (Gen 3:13) he can deceive any of us. God himself created her perfect in every sense of the word. She had a perfect body and a perfect mind. Yet, Satan in the garden was able to deceive this perfect person. If perfection could fall to deception then certainly all of us (imperfection) can be deceived, and yes, we are all being deceived. Only ignorance and arrogance thinks itself safe from deception. Satan's deadly deception permeates all systems of human thought and endeavor.


There is only one way in which we can combat this deception. We must make the Word of God the priority in our lives.


2 Thes 2:9-10 That is, the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders, and with every deception of unrighteousness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love for the truth with the result that they might be delivered


The love of the truth is God's answer for our deliverance. This is God's purpose, plan, and will for our lives. Fulfilling the command to grow in grace and the knowledge of our Lord and Savior. Jesus Christ is the only way we will even recognize the lie. We are bombarded with the doctrine of demons all day, everyday. It is on the lips of our family, friends and associates. It comes across the television and the radio.

We are continuously being brainwashed to believe the lie instead of the truth. Moreover, in so doing we have become combat ineffective, casualties in the spiritual conflict that rages around us. The Apostle Paul warns us,


Romans 12:2-3 Stop being conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renovation of your thought, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. For I say through the grace which has been given to me to every one who is among you stop thinking of self in terms of arrogance beyond what you ought to think; but think in terms of sanity for the purpose of being rational without illusion, as God has assigned to each one of us a standard of thinking from doctrine.


We are told to;


Eph 6:11 Put on the full armorof God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.


Prov 14:12 There is a way which seems right to a man, But its endis the way of death.


Isa 55:8-9   For My thoughts arenotyour thoughts, nor areyourwaysMyways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways And My thoughts than your thoughts.


Do not be deceived. Do not blame the government or others for the problems in this country.


Isa 5:13 Therefore, My people go into exile for their lack of knowledge...


Hosea 4:6 My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I also will reject you from being My priest nation. Since you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children.


As goes the believer, so goes the nation,


2 Chron 7:14 If My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then Iwill hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land.


God will heal our land by the choices you make. You can make a difference. The choice is yours. Use your volition to execute the unique spiritual life of the church age, or become a casualty in spiritual combat by believing the lie. There are no accidents, coincidences or tragedies in the Christian way of life, everything happens for a reason. Everything happens for our benefit. Ignorance of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob will keep your thinking in the center of Satan's deadly deception. Knowledge of God will break the chains that enslave, Jesus said,


John 8:31-32 ...If you live in My Word than you are truly students of Mine, and you shall know the truth, and the truth will make you free.


John 8:36 ...and if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.



Contact Reverend Rako >>  

Blue Warrior
Blue WarriorBlue Warrior

Train as You Will Fight;

Prepare for the Ambush


Ready to Battle the Ambush


The ambush comes in many forms and many are not high profile or high risk calls for service. An ambush can be disguised in a manner that you will be in a semi-relaxed state of mind. This state of mind can have a deadly consequence in your recognition and reaction time to the ambush. Recent LEOKA statistics indicate that officers involved in an ambush style encounter could be a long-term problem that street cops need to concern themselves with in the future.


As time passes I ask myself if we have taught officers over the years an awareness system or method which may make our response to an ambush or even a simple physical altercation slower than what we should strive to achieve.


When I started my career in 1990 I was broke in by veteran cops of the Viet-Nam era. I remember their words, "always be ready, no matter what your doing". They taught me that sometimes any situation we are dealing with could go south faster than we can react to it and that puts us behind in the response curve. They taught me that to be a safe cop you had to  anticipate your adversary's actions before he acted upon them. They called it"instincts" and "gut feeling". Today officers with 20 or more years on the job refer to these cops as "old school". Twenty years later I ask myself why did we leave this style of tactical awareness?  


Remain Vigilant

Working the streets, talking with citizens, making traffic stops, eating lunch, refueling your car or speaking with a man in the donut shop all require the same situational awareness. We too have to process through the OODA loop when confronted in an ambush. The time it takes you to navigate through different threat levels may cost you your life.


Why can't you work with a heightened state of situational awareness during your entire tour of duty? You can! Here is just one example of a low level call for service that could have turned deadly. Early in my career I responded to a disturbance call at a hotel that was notorious for teenage drinking parties on the weekends. No big deal right? Knock on the door, give the kids a warning and back to work. Not today, when we arrived, the young ethnic man answered the door and just that quick my supervisor and I were fighting for our lives. We were ambushed, two cops fighting a dozen men in a small hotel room. When I pulled out my notepad, preparing to copy the young mans name I observed three men approaching me from the sides and behind, and the same for my supervisor. At that point nothing had occurred yet, there were no indications of a threat, we didn't have time to begin a conversation. My words, stopped and I dropped my pad of paper, called for back up on the radio and deployed my collapsible baton all in a fraction of a second. I recognized a threat before it was a threat, I made a choice based on experience and knowledge, my "instincts" my "gut" feeling in that fraction of a second was "we are about to get jumped". No sooner did my collapsible baton make its familiar clicking sound when its deployed, I heard a voice in the background yell "get them" and the fight was on.


All I can remember was hitting my way out of that circle and I went for the subject that yelled "get them". I struck him in the leg and he fell on top of the bed, I struck him again as I jumped on top of him to maintain control. I then continued to swing that baton hitting several subjects as they tried to keep hit and grab me. I noticed my sergeant in the corner fighting several men as I fought off my adversaries. Soon, the first two-man unit arrived followed by the rest of the shift and we gained control.


That night, as we walked down the hallway of this hotel, too speak with some people partying in a room, as we did so many times before, my situational awareness was in a high state even for that simple loud disturbance call. It allowed me to recognize the threat before the threat presented itself. It provided me the correct course of action on the first choice. It kept me from harms way that night. These men didn't get an opportunity to harm me. I reacted well in advance of any system or code index that moves me into different conditions for various threat levels. When I started swinging my baton, and bones were getting broke we were dealing with nothing more than a disturbance call. My situational awareness was clear at the time I knocked on the door of the hotel room, it was clear when I anticipated the ambush and it was clear as I fought off the men that jumped me.


Where these various systems that condition officer's levels awareness with different codes can fail the uniform officer is "reaction time" recognizing and moving through the various levels, layers or codes. Many ambushes don't allow for time to move from condition to condition, code to code, level to level. What we don't have are stats on the many ambush's that occur, daily, across the United States that don't end with the taking of an officer's life. What makes these officers successful when ambushed? I am sure that these various techniques can contribute to their success but I wonder how many officers work in that heightened state of situational awareness that prevented the ambush before it was too late.  


I can attribute my survival that night in the hotel to a couple of factors but one thing is for sure, I didn't react to an assault, I anticipated my adversary's motives and beat them to the punch, literally. While driving from the scene that night I then appreciated all of my platoon sergeants in the Army that spent countless hours training us on situational awareness on the battlefield. What we cops need to understand is when you leave roll call we have entered the battlefield of law enforcement. Don't take that lightly, the battlefield we work in can be the donut shop as meet for coffee with our comrades or responding to a disturbance at a hotel. Once we are ambushed, no matter where the location is and the nature of the call it is at that moment a battlefield.      


Cops & Situational Awareness

When I started my career in 1990 a couple supervisors thought I had a rough edge about me. They labeled it an attitude problem. They mistook my situational awareness for a bad attitude. Some other shift commanders, that were military veterans, knew differently. They understood my "military bearing". They understood that cops can function as professionals, kind police men with a heightened or clear sense of situational awareness. Don't get caught in a state of awareness that will provide an opportunity for an adversary to strike at you.


June 5th 2004, a day that affected many in my agency, a day that changed most officers to think tactically even when writing reports. A day that would heighten officer's states of situational awareness in all they do.


An officer had just finished investigating a traffic accident and parked his patrol car in the parking lot of a Target department store in our city. While the officer was completing the paperwork for the accident, a vehicle pulled up next to his patrol car and a male armed with a shotgun-opened fire, striking the officer in the head. The suspect then stole his service weapon and fled. An ambush that could have happened to anyone of us.

The officer was transported to a local hospital where he succumbed to his wounds the following morning.

The suspect's motive in the killing was to acquire a handgun so he could continue his bank robberies. On July 25, 2004, the suspect was located in Jacksonville, Florida, after being featured on the television show America's Most Wanted. As a SWAT team and U.S. marshals stormed the house the suspect committed suicide using the officers stolen service weapon.


We will never know what happened in that exact moment that the officer was shot and murdered. However, we know that he was ambushed and the suspect planned his actions. The officer's legacy further cemented one thing in my mind, no matter what we are doing after we leave roll call, we are on the battlefield of law enforcement. The officer in this case didn't do anything wrong and I don't think there is anything he could have done to recognize the ambush and react before the gunman shot at him. However, what I did learn from that day forward was to be mindful of my surroundings even when completing reports in my cruiser. All of a sudden I had to be tactical in the most mundane part of police work. All of a sudden my situational awareness was at a high state no matter what I did when I had that uniform on.      


Always Ready to Fight


The smallest of actions from an officer can possibly change the outcome of an ambush. I have never allowed any person to approach my squad car without my handgun getting drawn out of my holster and positioned at the ready without the person ever detecting that my gun was drawn and available to battle. I have had many encounters with ordinary people asking the most simplest of questions on the street and my professional demeanor responded as I sit in the car speaking with them, through the window, with my gun out of sight and ready in anticipation of a threat. I understand that many of you are thinking "I will never allow people to approach my car" but I can say first hand that in urban areas that's not always practical and sometimes you will get approached before you have enough time to exit the vehicle.


Furthermore, when a middle aged non threatening person comes along side your cruiser asking for directions you may be in a certain phase, level or code as taught in the past that may require you to move to the next phase. Once you realize your in an ambush whatever time it takes for you to transition to different phases, codes or levels dictates the outcome of the ambush.


Don't make that mistake; a clear heightened state of situational awareness in all you do when you leave roll call and enter the battlefield of law enforcement may save your life someday.    

Train as you will Fight


"Train" means training for the fight under conditions of expected, and anticipated threat environments where combat is likely. It also means changing the threats & environments during training to better prepare the officers for adaptability on the streets when faced with varying tactical challenges. This will prepare the officer for the unexpected and unanticipated threat environments, which officers work in every day.


Mastering the "Fight" requires the officer to train in lethal and non-lethal skills, through various stressful conditions, until failure is achieved. Then analyzing the failures to the point of mastering your training objective.


Effective training will challenge officers with various uncertain conditions, requiring them to adapt to evolving tactical challenges. Trainers should create training conditions that force officers to assess situations quickly and use critical and creative thinking to develop innovative and creative solutions to these tactical challenges. Officers should learn to anticipate various levels of threats.


Training Never Gets Old


Time on the job and experience with tactical threats builds experience but not necessarily effectiveness. Officers should prepare themselves through training even as the sun sets on his/her career. Nobody is exempt from being ambushed so nobody should be exempt from training. Training cadre should prepare all officers for any contingency they may face on the street. Here is a dose of realty for you; the 10 year average, according LEOKA, of officers killed and assaulted show that the officers average age and average work experience is 38 years old with 11 years police experience!


Train Fundamentals First


Fundamentals that include mindset preparation and combat drills establish the officers training foundation. Focus on the officers individual skills such as basic response to various tactical situations, defensive tactics drills, marksmanship, fitness, and situational awareness proficiency. Officers proficient in the fundamentals can more easily master the more complex tasks in law enforcement and will be better prepared as they respond to all calls for service.


Share the Knowledge


The best way to improve individual officers knowledge is to task them with developing and teaching various training objectives. Giving subordinates the responsibility for developing training builds capable and effective trainers. Task them outside their comfort zone, so that with your guidance and oversight they will become leaders. Good leaders develop a sense of stewardship in subordinates. Good stewardship is learned during tough training in which individuals learn to respect and trust themselves and their leaders. Invest in your officer's futures; mentor them so that they too gain the valuable experience that is needed to stay alive as they work the streets.

Stay safe,

Sgt. Glenn French  

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

Glenn has instructed basic and advanced SWAT / Tactical officer courses, basic and advanced Sniper courses, Cold Weather / Winter Sniper Operations and Active Shooter Response courses, Tactical Lifesaver Course and others. Sgt French served in the U.S. Army. During his military tenure Sgt French gained valuable experience in C.Q.B., infantry tactics and explosive breaching operations. He is the author of "Police Tactical Life Saver" and President of www.tacticallifesaver.org.    

Combat Survival


Wild Survival Foods


Before delving into our core food selections, we need to first clarify what survival is because there is a difference between surviving and living or remaining outside for an extended period. Merriam Webster dictionary defines survival as "The state or fact of continuing to live or exist, typically in spite of an accident, ordeal, or difficult circumstances". From this definition we can determine that survival is not a state in which one remains; to put it another way, you would not live in a cabin in the wilderness and be considered a survivalist, you would be a homesteader, trapper, mountain man, self-reliant, etc. However, if your airplane went down in the wilderness and you had to walk your way out, if you became lost in an unknown area or if a major earthquake of disaster disrupted the power grid and poisoned your local water which led to public unrest your survival in spite of these circumstances would of course mean you are a survivalist- one that studies how to survive despite such circumstances.


Now that we have defined survival a bit more- let's now look at 5 common foods that can be found across the United States. These common foods could be considered the core survival foods because they are found nationally, typically available in abundance and if added to your survivalist tool kit, these foods can greatly increase your odds of staying alive in an emergency situation and they would also be utilized to supplement your current diet.


GrassDevil with 50

There are over 400 types of grasses and all are edible. As long as you don't spray your lawn with pesticides, etc. You could literally eat your lawn. The leaves can be chewed and the juices swallowed - though be sure to spit out the un-digestible fibers because grass is extremely high in fiber. Unless you're blending it in a blender, it will be too much fiber at one time to process which will lead to extreme constipation. So again, chew it well, swallow the juices and spit out the pulp. Where the base of the leaves meet the root is a small white part of the stem/root structure, called the root corm, while small these can be roasted and eaten like a potatoes.


Conifers (Pine)Devil with 50
Cone bearing trees provide 5 types of food resources! In the fall the nuts from the cones can be harvested. The needles provide vitamin c and flavor to water by boiling them. They can also be utilized as a season to game meats. In the Spring the flowers can be gathered from the male pine cones which can be made into a flour of thickener for stews; it's also a great source of protein. The inner bark known as the cambium layer is full of sugars, starches and calories. It can be fried and eaten like potato chips. The bark can be eaten on most evergreen, cone-bearing trees [except for yew, identified by its red berries, in which all parts are poisonous]. The inner bark should be scraped out and cooked to convert the fibers into a more digestible form. The resin from conifers can also be used to make pitch and glue.


Cattails Devil with 50
No matter which season it is, there are always edible parts available on the cattail plant. The roots, shoots, and pollen heads can all be eaten. In the spring to early summer green cattails are very flavorful and can be eaten much like asparagus. The top and bottom portion of the plant are very fibrous at this time and can be steamed and eaten like corn on the cob. As the top portion begins to blossom producing yellow pollen you can shake it into a bag and utilize the pollen as filler in flour or stews. By pealing the leaves you will find the "heart", a white, tender section about 2-3 ft. below the "tail". The heart is tender and less fibrous and can be cut up into a salad, baked or boiled. In winter the roots work well as a potato substitute.

All acorns, the nuts produced by oak trees, can be leached of their bitter tannic acids, and then eaten, providing an excellent source of protein, fats, and calories. The acorns can be placed in a net bag in a stream for a day or put into several changes of boiling water to extract the tannins. White oaks pictured at right, have the least amount of tannins and therefore the best flavor.


DandelionsDevil with 50

The bane of the suburbanite lawn is actually a wonderful wild edible! They provide vitamins A,B,C,D and the minerals: copper, phosphorus, potassium, iron, calcium and magnesium. They have no look a likes so identification is easy and they can be found just about anywhere there is grass. They also provide all sorts of natural defense and remedies from maladies ranging from acne, gout and constipation to gallstones, arthritis and high blood pressure. Dandelions are great sautéed or as an addition to a salad. Eaten alone in abundance they have powerful diuretic properties which can deplete the body of needed water in a true survival situation where water may not be in abundance.

Be sure to properly identify any plant you plan on consuming BEFORE you find yourself in a survival situation by using field guides and/or the guidance of an experienced naturalist or survival instructor. Many plants can be difficult to identify and some edible plants have deadly poisonous look-alikes. If you cannot identify the plant, do not eat it.



About the author: Jason Hunt is the President of Frontier Christian University and the Chief Instructor for Hunt Survival, Inc. a wilderness & rescue training institute based in Kentucky.

Warrior's Wisdom
Warfare is Based on Deception and Surprise.

     To win consistently, one must exercise surprise. A wary foe may not fall for the usual ruses. By demonstrating in a nonthreatening way, one can cause his to relax his vigilance. When used for frequently repeated actions, he will no longer take notice of them. Then a follow-through can work. Literal translations of this axiom are, "Cross the sea without heaven's knowledge," or "Fool the emperor to cross the sea." 

      To cross the sea without heaven's knowledge, one had to move openly over the sea but act as if one did not intend to cross it.

In Vietnam many small recon patrols were sent into Laos and Cambodia and to increase there chances of success they never reinserted teams into the same area until enough time had gone by for the enemy to let there guard down and not expect anything.  

    Each military maneuver has two aspects: the superficial move and the underlying purpose. By concealing both, one can take the enemy completely by surprise . . . If it is highly unlikely that the enemy can be kept ignorant of one's actions, one can sometimes play tricks right under its nose.
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Aesop's Fables

SOME CRANES made their feeding grounds on some plow lands newly sown with wheat. For a long time the Farmer, brandishing an empty sling, chased them away by the terror he inspired; but when the birds found that the sling was only swung in the air, they ceased to take any notice of it and would not move. The Farmer, on seeing this, charged his sling with stones, and killed a great number. The remaining birds at once forsook his fields, crying to each other, "It is time for us to be off to Liliput: for this man is no longer content to scare us, but begins to show us in earnest what he can do."

If words suffice not, blows must follow. 

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Quotes & Jokes

General Douglas MacArthur (1880 - 1964)
"It is a dangerous concept that men of the armed forces must owe their primary allegiance to these temporary occupants of The White House, instead of to the country and the Constitution to which they have sworn to defend."

Orison Swett Marden  
"Success is not measured by what you accomplish, but by the opposition you have encountered, and the courage with which you have maintained the struggle against overwhelming odds." 

Adlin Sinclair
"You are the embodiment of the information you choose to accept and act upon. To change your circumstances you need to change your thinking and subsequent actions."

Mark Caine
"The first step toward success is taken when you refuse to be a captive of the environment in which you first find yourself."

Helen Keller
I can not do everything, but I can do something. I must not fail to do the something that I can do.

Henry David Thoreau
The secret of achievement is to hold a picture of a successful outcome in the mind.
Napoleon Hill
Concentration of effort and the habit of working with a definite chief aim are two of the essential factors in success which are always found together. One leads to the other.
Some people dream of success... while others wake up and work hard at it.

Theodore Roosevelt
Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.

Arthur Golden
A mind troubled by doubt cannot focus on the course to victory.

General George Patton
Success is how high you bounce when you hit bottom.

Tim Notke
Hard work beats talent when talent doesn't work hard.

Thomas A. Buckner
To bring one's self to a frame of mind and to the proper energy to accomplish things that require plain hard work continuously is the one big battle that everyone has. When this battle is won for all time, then everything is easy.

Booker T. Washington
Nothing ever comes to one that is worth having except as a result of hard work.  


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Gear Review: Banshee Part Two
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Clichés of Socialism

"Individual workers are too weak to bargain with corporations.

THIS CLICHE' was stated recently in public print somewhat as follow: the obvious defect of the theory of laissez faire was that the individual laborer, with his family obligations and his lack of mobility in seeking employment, did not have equal bargaining power with the owners of ever more centralized industry.

There is probably no popular misconception that is more universally believed today, or more devastating in its consequences than this one. And no popular concept could be more completely in error. This belief is at the core of the twin major threats to the future of our economy and to the prosperity of all: unemployment and inflation.

Undue worry over the weakness of the bargaining power of the individual is responsible for the aggressive use of force and coercion that raises wages in certain areas above free market rates. This causes restriction of employment in those areas to less than would prevail in a free market. At the same time, it causes the very rigidity in wages that makes adjustment impossible and makes unemployment permanent.    
Put in another way, real wages are raised too high for all to be hired. Because of union activities, men are not free to bid wages down in the exact place and by the exact amounts so that exactly those men who need jobs can get them promptly. Whereupon the government invariably resorts to a very tricky method of reducing real wages-by making money worth less. This, of course, is done by inflation.

Although such tactics may eventually accomplish in some small degree the purpose desired, the method is at best incredibly clumsy, inefficient, and inadequate. At worst, it could lead to catastrophic increases in the money supply, and then dictatorship "to bring order out of chaos." This has happened elsewhere.

If family obligations and lack of mobility weaken one's bargaining power, it is hard to see how increasing the size of a business unit would not also weaken its bargaining power, for the increase in size would seem to increase both its obligations and its immobility. In fact, immobility always is a greater problem for the employer with plant and equipment than for the average employee.

The picture of the "weak individual" bargaining with the "mighty corporation" is false in all its implications. By promoting unionized power over employees, it undermines the right and alternatives of the "individual" it undermines the rights and alternatives of the "individual" so as to greatly hamper, rather than increase, his true bargaining powers. When competition for jobs is free, an individual has a chance to find the best possible niche for himself in the huge matrix of industry. But when unions block his free response to opportunities, and hold him to his present job with threats of "loss of seniority." He is continuously injured.

Individuals, who are free to follow their own dictates in moving from one employer to another, wield an irresistible force upon employers. How could any employer hold any employee without providing wage and working conditions which, in the opinion of the employee, are the best attainable?

An excellent example of "weak" individuals bargaining with "powerful corporations" is that of the housewife dealing with "giant supermarkets." Does she organize, march in a body, demand en masse, picket? She does not! She simply proceeds as an individual, from one store to another and selects what she considers to be the best bargains. With the magi of her discernment, she has beaten these goliaths down to where the net profits earned by supermarkets average about one cent for each dollar rung up.

It would seem to be simple good sense to give careful attention to the very real and vital advantages of a free market to the "little fellow" before giving them up in favor of the totally illusory advantages of force.
The inescapable conclusion must be that "little' and "big" alike find far richer rewards and far more protection of their economic and social welfare, in complete freedom to bargain individually than they can ever find in the use of force. The important fact to remember about unionized force is that it is directed fundamentally, not against the employer, but against other would-be competitors in the labor market-other laborers. For how could wages be raised above free market wages except by limiting competition-that is, by freezing someone out? It is usually this "someone" who is the weakest and most pathetic of all the victims of the violence and coercion by which unions gain their ends.

How can laissez faire really be so bad, when all it means is: keep arbitrary, physical, coercive force out of the market place? 

Isn't It Ironic?

The food stamp program, part of the Department of Agriculture, is pleased to be distributing the greatest amount of food stamps ever.

Meanwhile, the Park Service, also part of the Department of Agriculture, asks us to "Please Do Not Feed the Animals" because the animals may grow dependent and not learn to take care of themselves.

What Has Really Changed?

Tomorrow must be earned
 - not appropriated

Voting more money for schools doesn't make this an educated nation...It isn't billions for more veterans' hospitals that will make America healthy . . . It is honest production, not shorter hours that protects jobs. . . It takes more than costly playgrounds to cure juvenile delinquency . . . Pouring our billions all over the world doesn't buy security nor peace.Nothing worth having or worth being is ever reached except by honest hard work, but it is becoming the tragic fashion to think we can short-cut the work, and have everything we want if we only spend enough "Federal" dollars. And then we mistakenly feel "the government has taken care of it", so we can sit back and relax.

Another once-great nation withered and died when its people were drugged with that same fatal poison. (Perhaps "The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire" should be required reading in many places today.)
Everything government offers "free" is obviously and always paid for by all of us in higher taxes or a worsening deficit-both of them deficits of dollars but, even more tragically, deficits in national character and self respect. What would ever be worth that?  



Life Magazine Article from March 30, 1942 about the "Flying Tigers in Burma"



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One shining hope has emerged from three catastrophic months of war. That is the American Volunteer Group of fighter pilots, the so-called "Flying Tigers" of Burma and southeast China who paint the jaws of a shark on their Curtiss P-40's (above). Outnumbered often ten to one, they have so far shot down about 300 Jap planes, killed perhaps 800 Jap airmen. They have violently wrenched from the Jap Air Force control of the skies over Burma and southeast China. They have conclusively proved what was once only a Yankee belief: that one American flier is equal to two or three Japs. "Give me," said U.S. Lieutenant General Brett in Australia last week, "100 fighters to 200 Japs and I'll lick them every time. I am not disparaging the Japs. They are good fighters." On the following pages LIFE presents the first full-length portrait of the Flying Tigers in action, taken by LIFE Photographer George Rodger before Jap ground forces seized the A.V.G. base at Rangoon.

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Soldier to get Medal of Honor 42 years after death

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(AP) ELLWOOD CITY, Pa. - A soldier who died 42 years ago while protecting his comrades is finally getting the Medal of Honor.


President Barack Obama will honor Leslie Sabo, of Ellwood City, Pa., on May 16 at the White House.


Sabo was 22 when he died while trying to save fellow soldiers from a North Vietnamese ambush in May, 1970. Sabo distributed ammo and threw himself onto a wounded comrade to shield him from a grenade blast.


Sabo also charged an enemy position, drawing fire away from other U.S. soldiers, killing several enemy soldiers and forcing others to retreat.


Sabo's widow, Rose Mary Sabo Brown, and his brother George plan to attend the White House ceremony.



USMC 4-star: Women to attend
 infantry school

311 iran shipBy James K. Sanborn

The Marine Corps school that produces infantry combat officers will enroll its first-ever female students this year, Marine Corps Times has learned.

As part of the service's extensive research campaign to determine what additional jobs could be opened to women, an undetermined number of volunteers will attend the Infantry Officers Course in Quantico, Va., said Gen. Joseph Dunford, the Corps' assistant commandant. There, Marine officers are groomed to serve in direct combat roles and lead troops into battle.

"We are in the process right now of soliciting volunteers," Dunford said on Wednesday.

It's a monumental - if controversial - move for the Marine Corps, which until now barred female Marines from the program and required instead that they attend other courses aimed at preparing them for assignments in support roles such as logistics, personnel administration and aircraft maintenance, among others.

Soon, enlisted women also will have an opportunity to attend infantry training, Dunford said. Marine officials are developing plans to assign female Marines to the Corps' Infantry Training Battalions, which fall under the Schools of the Infantry.

Officials don't yet know how many women - officer or enlisted - will be put into the academic pipeline for the Corps' "03" infantry occupational code, Dunford said. All will be volunteers - and it remains to be seen how many will answer the call, he said.

It's not immediately clear either what the next steps will be for those women who successfully complete the Corps' infantry training programs. Marine officials at Quantico, who have led the service's effort to explore lifting restrictions on women in combat, said these details are finalized, but declined to discuss them pending an official unveiling in the coming days.

The Marine Corps' top general, Commandant Gen. Jim Amos, traveled Wednesday to Camp Lejeune, N.C., where among other business he was expected to meet with Marines and explain the service's plans for expanding women's career opportunities, Dunford said. Amos was joined by his senior enlisted adviser, Sgt. Maj. Mike Barrett.

"I think the important thing for us is to articulate the commandant's intent, and to explain what he is doing and why he is doing it," Dunford said. "The best way to do that is face-to-face, and he, with the sergeant major ... is doing that right now."

The Corps has been studying this issue for more than a year. In February, officials announced that company-grade officers and staff noncommissioned officers would be assigned for the first time to select jobs previously open only to men, though not in the infantry or any billets for which ground combat is a primary mission. Starting in May, women will be considered for about 400 positions within six types of battalions:

* Amphibious assault

* Artillery

* Combat assault

* Combat engineer

* Low-altitude air defense

* Tank.

Additionally, new functional fitness tests are being developed to help Marine Corps leaders determine how women and men perform in, and cope with, various combat tasks. The goal is to establish "gender-neutral" physical fitness standards. Details are scant, but the Marine Corps' Training and Education Command is looking to purchase a variety of new equipment specifically for these tests, suggesting the tasks associated with them will closely mimic combat-essential duties such as operating and moving heavy weaponry, and carrying casualties from the battlefield.

The Marine Corps defines gender-neutral physical standards as being identical for men and women, rather than weighted - or "gender-normed" - like those applied in the service's annual Physical Fitness Test. During the PFT, women can earn a minimum or maximum score with fewer repetitions and a slower run times than their male counterparts.

This suggests that women wanting to serve in ground combat units will be given the shot to do so only if they can keep pace with their male counterparts. Standards would likely evaluate Marines not as women and men, but simply as infantrymen, tank crewmen or artillerymen, for example.

"There is a plan to ... evaluate males and females against those standards and, potentially, a downstream plan to put women through other training that actually will be informed by our experience" with infantry training, Dunford said. "I think you will hear more from the commandant on that coming up."

The data gleaned from all these efforts, Dunford said, will be used to inform a recommendation from the Marine Corps to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta. That's expected to be done by mid-November.

This past winter, the Defense Department published a report saying that nonlinear combat against a shadowy enemy in Iraq and Afghanistan has negated the notion of a frontline behind which women can be kept safe. Working in support roles, 144 women have been killed in action and 865 injured since the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, according to Defense Department data. As such, old prohibitions have become irrelevant, according to the report.

China's Military Modernizes, Declares Regional Strength
Robust Investments in hardware, technology, and modern operational concepts are yielding major benefits

311 iran ship
Chinesrs of the People's Liberation Army Navy prepare for an honors ceremony for then-U.S. Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates as he arrives at the Bayi building in Beijing, China, Jan. 10, 2011. Gates met with Chinese Minister of Defense Liang Guanglie and his staff at the ministry and held a press conference there. DoD photo by Master Sgt. Jerry Morrison

After downsizing and streamlining its military, China continues restructuring for modern warfare with state-of-the-art technologies. The Chinese Communist Party anticipates its nation emerging as the dominant military power in the region, emphasizing naval, air, and missile forces equipped with advanced weapons systems.

Among these technical advances are an anti-ship ballistic missile, the J-20 stealth fighter, and China's first aircraft carrier. Buoyed by the wave of economic export prosperity, China's military transformation strengthens an anti-access/area denial (A2/AD) strategy. Military capabilities to deter or counter adversarial forces from deploying and operating within a defined space are keys to this policy.

A Song-class submarine, one of China's growing fleet. 
Beginning more than a decade ago, the People's Republic of China (PRC) continues apace with an ambitious and broad-based effort to transform the military. The principal A2/AD capability involves conducting high-intensity regional military operations, according to Andrew S. Erickson, associate professor in the Strategic Research Department at the U.S. Naval War College and a founding member of the department's China Maritime Studies Institute (CMSI).

"China also claims the right to control foreign military activities in its 200-mile exclusive economic zone (EEZ) extending from its coast. The U.S. government challenges China's right to interfere with freedom of navigation, including for military purposes. Nevertheless, China continues to monitor foreign vessels in areas it considers its waters, which are, however, regarded internationally as regions of high seas freedoms. The People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) surveillance ships have tracked U.S. Navy and other vessels entering Chinese-claimed waters without PRC permission."

Chinese forces are emerging with capabilities of conducting military operations in Asia well beyond Taiwan. China's reach may extend to Guam, a U.S. territory; Japan; and the Philippines. Top-level Chinese officials argue that their nation's economic and political power is contingent upon access to and use of the sea, requiring a strong navy to safeguard access, Erickson acknowledged.

The PLAN primarily is spotlighting contingencies within what senior leaders term the first and second island chains. Their planning emphasizes possible conflicts with U.S. forces over Taiwan, or some other territorial dispute.
Andrew S. Erickson, associate professor in the Strategic Research Department at the U.S. Naval War College and founding member, China Maritime Studies Institute (CMSI)..

"These island chains run along China's maritime perimeter. The first island chain includes Taiwan, Ryukyu Islands, and the Philippines to the South China Sea. The second island chain extends from northern Japan through the Marianas, the Carolines, Guam, and the South Pacific. China, exploiting modern technologies and weapons, is positioning itself to challenge American predominance in the Asia-Pacific region with PLAN and force projection capabilities," Erickson said.

Fluent in Mandarin Chinese and Japanese, Erickson received a Ph.D. and an M.A. from Princeton University. He also is an associate in research at Harvard University's John King Fairbank Center for Chinese studies. Located at the Naval War College, Newport, R.I., CMSI, with its staff of Mandarin fluent scholars, is at the nexus of academic, policy, and operational communities. The center supports U.S. Navy research in understanding the maritime dimensions of China's rise.

Organized into North, East, and South Sea fleets, the PLAN is putting to sea with more modern, multi-mission platforms that include 75 principal surface combatants and some 50 diesel electric submarines. China operates with 26 destroyers, 53 frigates, 27 tank landing ships, 49 attack submarines, and five nuclear attack submarines. The PLAN also operates 86 coastal patrol boats armed with cruise missiles. Many surface combatants are armed with the indigenous YJ-83 anti-ship cruise missile. This cruise missile is a medium-range, solid propellant, and single-warhead weapon with ground-, ship-, submarine-, and air-launched variants.

"Embarking on major shipbuilding over the last decade to implement A2/AD, the PLAN is simultaneously building about a half-dozen major classes of warships, each with follow-on platforms under construction. Among these vessels are destroyers with phased array radar sensors and battle management capabilities similar to the U.S. Navy's Aegis weapons system."

The navy also operates eight to 10 nuclear-powered submarines. A second-generation Type 093 Shang-class attack submarine and Type 094 Jin-class ballistic-missile boats are in service. The Jin class is the PLA Navy's second-generation nuclear-powered ballistic-missile submarine (SSBN). However, the JL-2, an intercontinental-range, submarine-launched, three-stage solid propellant ballistic missile for the Jin class, suffered a series of test failures and is still in development. The Jin class is operationally viable, but without an effective missile, Erickson said. The JL-2, with an estimated range of 7,400 kilometers, would give China a sea-based nuclear weapons capability.

Questions persist over how quiet the PLAN's nuclear submarines operate, Erickson said. Acoustic levels of selected Chinese nuclear- and diesel-powered submarines published by the U.S. Office of Naval Intelligence compare acoustic signatures with Russian submarines. This assessment reveals that China's conventional submarines are becoming extremely quiet. "Indeed, China has two variants of the Kilo-class diesel submarine that score very well. The Type 093 and 094 nuclear-powered boats, however, are not especially quiet and the PLAN is struggling to reduce noise from their reactors," Erickson said.

Pleased with its conventionally powered submarines, the PLAN has built 13 Song-class boats and several Yuan-class submarines, considering them much more relevant to scenarios in the near seas - the Yellow, East, and South China seas, Erickson said. The Yuan may also have an air independent power system. "They don't need the long range of nuclear power, and quiet conventional submarines perform very well in the near seas," Erickson said.

The Chinese Peoples' Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) destroyer Qingdao (DDG 113) sails away at the completion of training with the guided missile destroyer USS Chung-Hoon (DDG 93). Chung-Hoon conducted a communications and passing exercise, with the Chinese Navy oiler Hongzehu (AOR 881), and Qingdao. The Chinese ships were on a good will cruise to the United States in 2006. Tensions between the two nations have ratcheted up in the intervening years.
The former Soviet Union ship Varyag, a ski-jump aircraft carrier purchased stripped down and reportedly without engines from Ukraine, is a new element of the PLAN's surface fleet. With sea trials under way, this Admiral Kuznetsov-class carrier is outfitted with new engines and state-of-the-art technologies.

The J-15 short takeoff but arrested landing (STOBAR) aircraft - Chinese versions of the navalized Russian Su-33 Flanker D - for these carriers already are flying from land-based ski-jump ramps to train pilots for shipboard operations, Erickson said.

"There appear to be no major problems with the J-15 Flying Shark, a multirole air-superiority fighter for China's first aircraft carrier. Since this will be their first carrier-capable aircraft, the real challenge will be integrating it with the platform. The J-15 is fully capable; however, mastering the system of systems for air operations could prove difficult for the PLAN," Erickson stated. "Integrating the aircraft with the carrier will be time consuming and costly to achieve a high level of proficiency within a certain time frame. Accidents are inevitable, so the PLAN may go much slower." A carrier wing is likely to be equipped with 24 Flying Shark aircraft.

China already is using its new Huludao navy airport on the Bohai Gulf to train J-15 pilots with ski-jump takeoffs and arresting gear landings. Other aircraft that could be deployed on the carrier have also been photographed at the air base, Erickson added. The J-15 is equipped with improved Chinese avionics, radar, and missiles, but continues using Russian AI-31F engines. This is another application of foreign technology, and the aircraft's capabilities are likely to be at least on par with the Su-33. However, China is domestically developing the WS10 turbofan engine that may eventually be installed in the J-15.

"Perhaps we could see a J-15 takeoff and landing on board the Varyag [said to have been renamed Shilang] by early next year [2012]. The PLAN is unlikely to rush the process, understanding how difficult and dangerous it could be. They are aware of carrier aircraft histories and know that the U.S. Navy lost many good pilots and aircraft during carrier operations," Erickson said.

The real question with China's aircraft carriers is what the next ship will look like. The PLAN requires at least three carriers in the fleet. There are inherent limitations with short takeoff and arrested-landing aircraft. Shifting from a ski-jump configuration to a catapult and arresting gear deck would provide many advantages in terms of aircraft performance - payload, range, and time on station, Erickson said.

Another potent element of A2/AD is the development and deployment of a Chinese anti-ship ballistic missile (ASBM). This system of systems is designed to attack a moving aircraft carrier battle group from long range, using land-based mobile launchers, Erickson continued. This DF-21D ASBM, with its maneuvering re-entry vehicle warhead's radar and terminal infrared guidance and on board processing, has moved from concept to operational capability in just over a decade, he said.

Space-based and land-based over-the-horizon (OTH) sensors augment ASBM targeting, according to Erickson. "Still unclear is how China's OTH radar and ocean surveillance satellites work together, especially when the architecture is divided among various service arms. China has a less-than-stellar history in joint operations, although they are rapidly improving as they move toward real-time capabilities," Erickson said.

China continues to launch Yaogan satellites with electro-optic and synthetic aperture radar sensors. At least one ocean surveillance constellation is made up of three such satellites in orbit, flying in roughly a triangular formation. The spacecraft form what appears to be akin to a naval ocean surveillance system. "China's leaders may believe they require this satellite system to cue their ASBMs. The United States must think innovatively about how China will locate carrier battle groups, including the use of unmanned aerial vehicles and possibly fishing boats," Erickson said.
The Chinese Frigate FFG Chao Hu in Salalah, Oman. Chinese deployment of forces to counter Somali pirates shows a new willingness to engage in world affairs.

Emphasizing small satellites and low-cost boosters, the PRC rapidly is gaining the ability to increase, when needed, the number of satellites on orbit. The first PRC indigenous ocean surveillance spacecraft, the Haiyang-1A (HY-1A), went into orbit in 2002 with both commercial and military applications. This satellite stores data using a solid-state memory and downloads it to receiving stations near Beijing and Sanya on Hainan Island, Erickson said. Having launched HY-1B in April 2007 and HY-2A in August 2011, China plans to launch a total of 15 of the Haiyang (Ocean) spacecraft over the next nine years.

Eight satellites designated the HY-1C-J will be launched through 2019. The HY-2 series will employ a Ku/C-band dual-frequency radar altimeter, tri-frequency radiometer, Ku-band scan radar scatterometer and a microwave imager to monitor sea surface wave fields, height, and temperatures. Four HY-2A-D satellites will be launched every three years over this same period. The HY-3 series will use synthetic aperture radar with 1- to 10-meter resolution and X-band radar to monitor maritime resources and coastal zones, Erickson said.

Previously publishing "Eyes in the Sky," a paper on the PRC's space program, Erickson pointed out that public analysis from Taiwan's military notes that the Haiyang satellites are part of an ocean-monitoring system, "which has strengthened PLAN's military knowledge of a potential Pacific Ocean battlefield."

China launched 15 spacecraft last year, expanding its space-based intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, navigation, meteorological, and communications capabilities. Beijing launched five navigation satellites, moving toward completion of a regional network in 2012 and a global network by 2020. Nine new Chinese remote sensing satellites went up in 2011, with both civil and military applications.

"For China, the ability to prevent a U.S. carrier strike group from intervening in a Taiwan Strait crisis is critical. The ASBM also could limit other nations, particularly the United States, from exerting military influence on China's maritime periphery. This periphery contains several disputed zones of core strategic importance to Beijing," Erickson pointed out. He is co-author, with Lyle J. Goldstein, of Chinese Aerospace Power: Evolving Maritime Roles. China sees ASBM as a way to overcome, by asymmetric advantage, inferiority in conventional combat platforms.

Two Chinese trawlers stop directly in front of the Military Sealift Command ocean surveillance ship USNS Impeccable (T-AGOS-23), forcing the ship to conduct an emergency "all stop" in order to avoid collision. The incident took place in international waters in the South China Sea about 75 miles south of Hainan Island. The trawlers came within 25 feet of Impeccable, as part of an apparent coordinated effort to harass the unarmed ocean surveillance ship.
By December 2010, the PLA had deployed between 1,000 and 1,300 short-range ballistic missiles to units opposite Taiwan. Variants of these missiles are being introduced with improved ranges, accuracies, and payloads that increase lethality.

"There is an historical background in China's more recent maritime movement. When the PRC was founded in 1949, Communist Party cadres and military leaders were schooled in the doctrine of people's war - drawing in, surrounding enemy forces, and attacking in waves. With extensive land combat experience and modest maritime familiarity, beyond coastal defense, China focused on streamlining land warfare forces for three decades.

"The introduction of the U.S. 7th Fleet in the region during the Korean War made it completely unrealistic for China to retake Taiwan. That situation, along with the Soviet Union's naval strength, muffled any Chinese efforts of becoming a significant player in the maritime dimension during the Cold War," Erickson said. "China's growing presence on remote oceans over the past 15 years or so began gradually with Deng Xiaoping's reforms in the late '70s or early '80s." He reprioritized China's military forces and invested available resources in areas such as commercial shipbuilding, setting the stage for an export economy with the ability to ship goods to markets around the world.

Shipbuilding and an export economy were vital factors in promoting Chinese naval developments. In part, these are reasons we are seeing naval missions much farther afield, "to the far seas, including counter-piracy deployments in the Gulf of Aden," Erickson explained. China has remained in the Gulf of Aden since January 2009, and the PLAN has just deployed its 10th escort formation there. This operation represents the PLAN's only series of kinetic operational deployments beyond the Western Pacific region.

"China's leadership cites the Taiwan crisis of 1995-1996 and the 1999 U.S. bombing of the Chinese embassy in Yugoslavia as key turning points. These events spurred prioritization of PLAN developments, along with the Second Artillery Corps' massive ballistic missile development programs, as China also seeks to use the land to control the sea, he said."

After China fired short-range ballistic missiles off the coast of Taiwan during the crisis, conventional-missile coercion looked like a logical and essential tool to China's military and civilian leadership, Erickson said. Ballistic missiles became a priority, and funding rapidly increased in forming a conventionally armed missile force. China also gained a significant insight through close observation of U.S. precision-guided missiles during the Gulf War.

China's J-20 could be a long-range strike or interceptor aircraft, built as a direct counter to U.S. assets in the region.
"By the late 1990s, significant technical research was under way on Chinese precision-guided ballistic missiles, and the first serious technical advances emerged in the 2000s, reflecting sophisticated research and development progress. By 2004, the Second Artillery Force's major doctrinal handbook emerged to specifically reveal ASBM use in operational scenarios. When you connect all the data points, this was coming at us for a while," Erickson declared.

The solid propellant medium-range DF-21D prototype, with a range of 1,500 to 2,000 kilometers, is also known as the CSS-5, and, according to Erickson, is generally held to draw on technologies used in the U.S. Pershing II theater ballistic missile deployed from 1984-1988. The Pershing II used adjustable second-stage control fins for terminal maneuver. The ASBM's re-entry vehicle is virtually identical to the Pershing's. In addition to thwarting U.S. fleet operations, Chinese military writings also visualize holding hostage U.S. theater land bases such as Guam and Okinawa, as examples.

"It is quite significant that official U.S. and Taiwan government sources state that small numbers of the DF-21D started deployment in 2010, whatever their current state of overall capability. China, however, wouldn't deploy these ASBMs if it wasn't convinced it had the ability to promote a basic deterrent," Erickson stated. "I'm sure they will continue improving, integrating, replacing, and expanding the number of units equipped with these missiles.

"China's claim of a right to limit foreign military activities in its 200-mile EEZ is really a very difficult problem, as the work of my colleague, Peter Dutton, the director of CMSI, has made clear. Not only does China's claim create operational challenges for U.S. and allied forces, it also reflects a different view of international norms, which is troubling. China's argument that it has the right to control foreign military activities in the 200-mile EEZ misinterprets the relevant provisions of the United Nation's Convention on the Law of the Sea. This is disturbing. Beyond China, only a handful of other states improperly claim the same rights. Making the 200-mile EEZ off limits to military operations, which could include humanitarian and policing functions, would create great instability."

Simultaneously, there are major shifts under way as European nations, including Great Britain's Royal Navy, precipitously decrease their navies. "The U.S. Navy is struggling, during a difficult budget period, to remain level, in terms of platforms. The Navy requires a significant number of ships equipped with Aegis and SM-3 ballistic-missile interceptors by 2024 to meet Chinese ASBM threats. It is very important to continue developing and deploying countermeasures to China's ASBM and other types of ballistic and cruise missiles," Erickson said.

China is building many effective missiles at an affordable enough price that we cannot rule out the possibility that its offensive measures may outpace the capacity of defensive systems. This situation places an emphasis on undersea systems. "China has little, if any, ability to track U.S. submarines, and we should fully exploit this limitation," Erickson added.

China is modernizing and upgrading its H-6 bombers, derived from the Tupolev Tu-16, to carry long-range cruise missiles. Photo by Kevin A. McGill
The PLA Air Force (PLAAF) is also a major element in China's A2/AD policy. The next-generation J-20 stealth fighter underscores the ambition to produce fighter aircraft with stealth-like qualities, advanced avionics, and supersonic cruise engines. The PLAAF also is upgrading its H-6 bomber fleet, redesigned from the Soviet Tu-16 Badger, with a longer-range variant. This bomber would be armed with new long-range cruise missiles.

Several types of airborne early warning systems are also in development for the PLAAF. These aircraft are designed not only for an airborne warning and control systems but also for intelligence collection and maritime surveillance. The KJ-200 aircraft is based on the Y-8 airframe, the Russian An-12, and the KJ-2000 is based on a modified Russian IL-76 airframe.

"Technology matters, but so does geography. For a long time to come, China will be influenced by its geography. The PRC will feel hemmed in by the 'island chains.' What they can accomplish in the maritime domain will require land-based support. China is likely to continue relying on land-based missiles and aviation well into the future," Erickson predicted. China has a huge sub-strategic ballistic-missile force, the world's foremost conventionally armed, without nuclear warheads or intercontinental capabilities.

Much less progress is being made by China in developing resources that extend global reach or power projection beyond regional waters. Nevertheless, China will likely build multiple aircraft carriers, naval aircraft, and their cruise-missile-armed support ships over the coming decade, as its influence grows. The PRC will continue exploiting technology for asymmetric advantages wherever possible. Beijing's long-term goal is to create a wholly indigenous defense industrial sector, augmented by commercial industry and foreign technology acquisition to meet PRC modernization needs, Erickson concluded.

Indian Navy Inducts Nuclear-powered
Attack Submarine

Recapitalizing the fleet amid declining conventional submarine force levels

The INS Chakra, a Russia-made, nuclear-propelled, hunter-killer submarine, formally joined the Indian Navy on April 4. Chakra, previously the Russian RFS Nerpa K-152, has been taken on lease from Russia for 10 years. Unlike conventional submarines that India operates, which need to surface to charge their batteries often - sometimes as frequently as 24 hours - INS Chakra can stay under as long as it wants. The only other nations possessing nuclear-powered submarines are the United States, Russia, U.K., France, and China

The Indian Navy (IN) once again rejoined the elite group of navies that operate nuclear-powered submarines with the recent induction of a Russian-built Akula II-class nuclear-powered attack submarine (SSN), the INS Chakra (ex-RFS Nerpa K-152), into the Indian fleet on April 4, 2012.

The Chakra, which is on lease from Russia for 10 years for a reported $1 billion USD, will be under the operational control of the Indian Navy's Eastern Fleet. A second Akula-class boat is also being built for the Indians, although further details are not yet available.

The Chakra is a Project 971I- (NATO Akula II) class submarine whose construction was started at Komsomolsk-na-Amur, Russia, in 1993 but suspended due to a lack of funds when about 85 percent complete. The submarine was completed with some $650 million to $670 million USD in Indian funding at Vostok Shipyard in mid-2008. It is reportedly fitted with much-improved shipboard systems as well as acoustic quieting measures over extant Russian Akula-class submarines, although it lacks the distinctive SOKS self-noise monitoring sensors seen on some Russian Akula boats. 
The original Chakra, a Charlie I. Here Chakra is seen sailing with the carrier INS Viraat, the ex-HMS Hermes.

Initially slated for transfer in late 2009, the Nerpa's delivery timeline to the Indian Navy suffered setbacks with a series of minor and major incidents, including the accidental discharge of the on-board fire suppression system during submerged sea trials on Nov 8, 2008. Possibly triggered by an inexperienced crewman, the incident killed at least 20 people and injured 21 more, mostly shipyard employees.

After a lengthy period of repairs and trials, the submarine was handed over to the Indian Navy (IN) in December 2011. It was commissioned into the Indian Navy as INS Chakra on Jan. 23, 2012 at the Zvezda Plant in Bolshoy Kamen, Primorskiy Krai, Russia, near Vladivostok. This is the second submarine to be named Chakra in Indian service. The first was a Project 670 K-43 (NATO Charlie I) that was leased from January 1987 to January 1991.

The new Chakra departed Vladivostok for Indian waters on Feb. 21, 2012. It is understood that Chakra made a 40-day, 5,000-kilometer submerged transit through the South China Seas, Lombok Straits, and the Malacca Straits en route to its homeport of Visakhapatnam. Visakhapatnam is home to the Indian Navy Eastern Naval Command as well as its Eastern Fleet.

According to Russian sources, Chakra, which has a length of 114.3 meters, a surface displacement of 8,140 tons, and a dived displacement of around 12,700 tons, is powered by a 190 megawatt (MW) pressurized water reactor that allows it to maintain submerged speeds in excess of 32 knots. The submarine has a complement of 80-100 crewmembers including a number of Russian technical specialists.

Unlike Russian Akula boats, the Chakra is fitted only with 533 mm torpedo tubes rather than the larger diameter 650 mm tubes that fire long-range cruise missiles. Instead, it is armed with torpedoes and the Klub-S family of tactical missiles - 3M14E land-attack cruise missile, 3M-54E anti-ship, and 91RE1 anti-submarine variants - in a nod to the Missile Technology Control Regime, which limits exports of missiles with a range in excess of 300 kilometers.

Chakra is reported to be powered by a 190 MW pressurized water reactor that allows it to maintain submerged speeds in excess of 32 knots. Easily seen here in the aft portion is Chakra's towed array sonar "bulb," characteristic of the Akula class boats.
Clearly, the induction of the Chakra is a step change for a submarine service that has seen declining force levels and reduced operational availability in recent times. With Chakra, the Indian Navy now possesses the ability to rapidly exercise sea denial at critical choke points - something that is not possible with diesel-electric submarines. "It gives us operational flexibility in our blue water operations," said the Indian Chief of Naval Staff, Adm. Nirmal K Verma.

Currently, the IN operates 14 diesel-electric hunter-killer submarines - 10 Russian-origin Project 877 EKM (NATO Kilo) Sindhughosh class and four German-origin Type 209/1500 Shishumar class - two of which were built in India at the state-owned Mazagon Dockyard Ltd. (MDL) in Mumbai. All these submarines were acquired in the late '80s and '90s. Around a decade ago, the Indian submarine fleet boasted approximately 20 diesel-electric boats - the third type being older Project 641/ 641I (NATO Foxtrot)-class boats.

Both types - Kilos and Type 209s - are being modernized with new combat systems. Notably, around half of the Kilos can now fire the Klub-S family of tactical missiles. The Type 209s have received the new Atlas Elektronik ISUS-90 combat management and sonar system. But, actual operational availability of the Indian submarine fleet is, of course, much lower than the 14 boats, as several boats are being upgraded.

Homebuilt nuclear submarine program 

Meanwhile, India's homebuilt nuclear ballistic-missile submarine (SSBN), the Arihant, is reportedly under sea trials or close to starting sea trials. Arihant, built under the secretive Advanced Technology Vessel Project, is said to be around 112 meters long with a surfaced displacement of 6,000 tons.

The Arihant was designed largely by Russian design bureaux like Rubin and Malachite, although the Submarine Design Group of the Indian Navy's in-house Directorate of Naval Design as well as Larsen and Toubro's submarine design team played important roles.

The Arihant and other follow-on Indian nuclear submarines have been largely built by Larsen and Toubro as well as other key Indian industrial players - both large and small - such as Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd. and the small, privately owned Shoft Shipyard. However, final assembly of the submarines - mating of the hull sections - takes place at the Ship Building Centre (SBC) in Visakhapatnam.

The Indian-built nuclear ballistic-missile submarine INS Arihant is the lead ship of the Arihant class of nuclear-powered submarines and is reportedly under sea trials or close to starting sea trials. The second, Aridhaman, is slated for launching in late 2012 or early 2013.
The only released photograph shows some similarity to the Russian Yankee (Project 667)-class in its sail and fin arrangement. Arihant carries four missile-launch tubes in a blister aft of its sail. Each missile tube can carry three K-15 Sagarika 750 kilometer short-range ballistic missiles or one of the larger diameter, 3,500 kilometer K-4 ballistic missiles.

Developed by India's Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO), the K-15 missile has been developed in both sea- and land-launched version known as the Shaurya. DRDO has also performed several test launches of the 3,500 kilometer K-4 missile from underwater launch pontoons at a depth of around 10 meters to simulate launches from a submarine.

Verma has said that the Arihant is expected to become operational in the latter half of 2012. However, the key to gaining initial operational capability is an operational ballistic-missile system.

Construction of at least two more Arihant-class submarines at the SBC is well advanced. The second, Aridhaman, is slated for launching in late 2012 or early 2013. One more Arihant class may be built before construction shifts to a larger type. Indian Navy plans call for the induction of at least three SSNs and six SSBNs in due course.

30-year submarine building plan 

To arrest declining force levels, six Franco-Spanish Scorpene submarines were ordered some years ago. In a bold step, all six boats are being built at MDL under Project 75. But the program has run into serious delays. First delivery is now set for 2015, with all six boats to be delivered by 2019. Notably, the last two boats will be fitted with an air-independent propulsion (AIP) system - most likely a DRDO-developed system. Use of AIP will allow the submarine to operate submerged for around two weeks - thereby lowering its indiscretion rate [the ratio of the time required at periscope depth for battery charging to total operating time]. The Scorpene, according to designer DCNS, leverages technology from French nuclear submarines and has a superior indiscretion rate to comparable German-designed submarines. In other words, it can run faster and quieter.

Besides the Project 75, another six AIP-powered submarines are to be procured under Project-75 India (P-75I). Some $9 billion USD has been budgeted for this program. With a stated aim of fast-tracking induction, two of the boats are to be built at the selected foreign shipyard while the remaining four boats are to be built in Indian yards - possibly at government-owned yards as well as a privately owned yard.

Contenders for the P-75I include:

    Germany's TKMS, with a variant of the Type 214;
    Spain's Navantia with the S-80;
    Russia's Rosoboronexport with the Amur 1650, and;
    France's DCNS with a modified Scorpene.

While a request of information has been issued, a request for proposal is yet to be issued - a reflection of India's slow defense procurement decision-making process.

These submarine acquisitions are part of India's long-held 30-year plan to induct 24 submarines. Initially, half were to be imported, with the balance being built to an Indian design. It is not clear if this number includes the fleet of nuclear submarines.

The 30-year plan, which was initiated about 10 years ago, has been slow to come to fruition. However, Project-75 and Project-75I, when executed, along with the ongoing nuclear submarine programs, would go a long way toward recapitalizing the Indian submarine service.

Not to be left out, India's neighbor, Pakistan, is also planning to induct at least one Chinese-built nuclear-powered submarine to maintain a degree of parity with the much larger and rapidly expanding Indian Navy. It is also seeking around six or so Chinese-built AIP-powered submarines.


The Doolittle Raid's Ringside Seats
The Tokyo Raid as seen by American diplomats and internees in Japan

The view from below a B-25B Mitchell of the Doolittle Raid as it passes over USS Hornet on the way to Japan.

"One of the United States planes flew directly over our camp and the music of its motors was sweeter than Beethoven's Fifth symphony, which our phonograph was playing at the time."
- Internee Associated Press correspondent Joseph Dynan

On April 18, 1942, at 8:20 a.m. local time, Lt. Col. James H. "Jimmy" Doolittle piloted his B-25 Mitchell medium bomber off the flight deck of the USS Hornet. Doolittle's B-25 circled the aircraft carrier once to get a navigational fix, then leveled off for the flight west to Tokyo and eventually China. The Doolittle Raid to bomb targets in Japan had begun. Shortly after noon, Tokyo time, Doolittle's aircraft was in sight of Japan's capital city. At 12:30 p.m., Doolittle dropped his bombs over his industrial target. The 16 planes comprising the Doolittle Raid caused panic among the Japanese population. But there was one group whose reaction to the American bombers was one of pride and joy: Americans who had been interned in Japan since Dec. 7, 1941.

The aircraft carrier USS Hornet shown with 16 AAF B-25s on deck, ready for the Tokyo Raid.
Within hours of the attack on Pearl Harbor, Japanese authorities rounded up the hundreds of American journalists, missionaries, businessmen, and their families in Japan and interned them in guarded compounds in metropolitan Tokyo. The American embassy staff and their families all moved to the embassy compound, which was placed under guard. A similar roundup was conducted in the United States regarding the Japanese diplomatic corps and nationals. Until America and Japan worked out a repatriation agreement, all those two groups could do was wait.

Though necessarily committed short term to a policy of strategic defense during the crash-rearming program following Pearl Harbor, President Franklin Roosevelt knew that some sort of daring and dramatic blow had to be struck against Japan to boost American morale. That "something" was the Doolittle Raid.

As they assembled for their noon lunch on April 18, the American diplomatic corps and interned civilians were about to find themselves ringside-seat witnesses to history, the first-ever air strike on the Japanese homeland.

A B-25B takes off from Hornet on the Tokyo Raid.
Associated Press (AP) reporter Joseph Dynan was one of a group of Americans in an internment camp located between Tokyo and Yokohama. "We were having coffee and toast," he later wrote, "when the police rushed into our camp excitedly and told us to extinguish fires in the stoves and close the windows because there was an air raid."

The Americans thought it was simply a drill, even after they heard two loud explosions in the nearby Kawasaki industrial complex. Then Dynan and others saw "a large twin-motored plane flying very low." They watched as the American Army Air Corps bomber, flying no more than 200 feet above the ground, roared past and disappeared in the western sky as Japanese biplane fighters took off from a nearby training field. Mrs. Theodore Walser, wife of a missionary, reported that some of the internees saw the bomber pilots wave to the people on the ground.

Lt. Col. James H. "Jimmy" Doolittle (front, left) accepts a medal from the skipper of the USS Hornet, Capt. Marc A. Mitscher. The medal, once given to a U.S. Navy officer by the Japanese, was wired to a 500-pound bomb for return to Japan "with interest." U.S.
Meanwhile at the embassy compound, Ambassador Joseph Grew and his staff were also about to eat when the raiders arrived overhead. From their embassy vantage point, they observed at least six fires caused by the B-25s' bombs. Like the Americans in Dynan's internment camp, they too initially thought that the raiders were Japanese planes conducting a drill. But upon checking with the Japanese guards at the embassy gates, they discovered the truth. They saw a total of three B-25s. One of the bombers, flying at treetop level, came as close as three-fourths of a mile to the embassy.

Though physical damage caused by the raid was minor, its psychological impact was enormous. The Japanese people and its military were shaken to their core. In contrast, American morale shot sky high. The raid also changed Japanese strategy, causing the high command to recall a number of frontline squadrons to beef up homeland air defense, and to green light the invasion of Midway.

As for the interned American and Japanese nationals, after many weeks, the repatriation agreement was finalized. The exchange took place on July 22, 1942, at the neutral port of Lourenco Marques, Portuguese East Africa (now Mozambique). There, 1,450 Americans, British, and other nationals were exchanged for 1,096 Japanese citizens. And it was at Lourenco Marques that AP reporter Dynan was able to file his story about his ringside seat to the Doolittle Raid.

The KA-BAR Knife
The Marine Corps' legendary blade is a
classic that is still in use today

Limited-edition commemorative KA-BAR knives are very popular collectibles. This photo displays a Marine KA-BAR knife commemorating Operation Desert Storm. Author's collection

The year 2012 will mark the 70th anniversary of the KA-BAR, arguably the most famous knife in U.S. military history. Designed and authorized for the Marine Corps in 1942, the ruggedness, dependability, and ability to hold a sharp edge made the 1219C2 Combat Knife, as it was originally called, the prized possession of every Marine. It soon was issued to all the services; even Underwater Demolition Teams - the precursors of the SEALs - had them. By the end of World War II, more than a million KA-BAR knives were produced, making it so ubiquitous that the term "KA-BAR" came to be a generic term of knives of similar design, regardless of whether or not they were manufactured in the KA-BAR plant.

The name "KA-BAR" was trademarked in the 1920s. The story of how the knife received that name has many variations, all centered on a letter sent to the manufacturer, then the Union Cutlery Company based in Olean, N.Y., by a fur trapper thanking it for the high quality of its product. In semi-literate English, with poor penmanship and phonetic spelling, the trapper wrote that at one point in checking his trap lines, he was attacked by a wounded bear. When his rifle jammed, he had to defend himself with his Union Cutlery knife that he used to "kill a bear." But his penmanship made the phrase read as: "k a bar." Thus the knife became "KA-BAR."

The overall length of the KA-BAR is 11 inches. The inch-and-a-quarter-wide Bowie-style carbon steel blade is 7 inches long, single edged, and has a two-and-a-half-inch "blood groove" notched on both sides. The hilt is composed of compressed leather washers grooved at regular intervals for better gripping. The ricasso, the flat section of the blade just above the guard, is imprinted on one side with the service branch and on the other with the manufacturer's name.

A Marine artillery observer on Iwo Jima checks map coordinates to order a fire mission against a Japanese position. Note his sheathed KA-BAR knife on his web belt.
As its later designation, USMC Mark 2 Knife, Fighting Utility, indicates it was as much a tool as a weapon. It's been used for everything from prying or cutting open ration tins and ammunition boxes to driving nails and tent stakes, blazing trails, digging foxholes, shaving, cutting wires - you name it. In one of the more unusual cases, it even provided protection as body armor.

There are many amazing testimonials about KA-BAR knives. One such testimonial was provided by 1st Lt. Gary Scott Blount. During Operation Iraqi Freedom, Blount, serving as a field artillery platoon leader in the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, had to evacuate his troops after a nearby enemy ammo supply depot was deliberately set afire. During that evacuation, he accidentally fell into an Iraqi fighting position. He wrote, "The fall would have broken my leg and possibly severed it ... but I was wearing my KA-BAR in a low hanging bayonet sheath. The knife absorbed most of the impact along with my body armor." It wasn't until the next day that he was able to examine the knife. When he did so, he discovered the blade had been bent about 20 degrees.

Dave Perry, a Navy SEAL in Kilo Platoon during the Vietnam War, had an experience with a KA-BAR that could have gotten him and his team in trouble. During his tour of duty, he was stationed at the Rach Soi Vietnamese Naval Base located in the Mekong Delta. On one mission, he was part of a team inserted to conduct an ambush. Ambushes are paradoxically one of the most boring exciting operations in existence. Sometimes it seems that the greater challenge is fighting boredom during the waiting than fighting when the enemy is encountered. Shortly after the team had taken up position, Perry, who had located himself behind a large banana tree, took out his KA-BAR and, to quietly while away the time, began sticking the blade into the trunk of the tree. He'd extract the knife and then slowly rebury the blade into the soft trunk right beside the previous cut. He continued working the KA-BAR in and out of the trunk for quite some time. Then suddenly, to everyone's surprise, the weakened tree toppled to the ground, making so much noise that the team had to abort the mission. Perry's commander was not a happy camper.

Whether used as a weapon or a tool, in the hands of an expert, military knives like the KA-BAR are among the best knives in the world. But, as this author learned years ago in the Boy Scouts, the most dangerous knife in the world is one with a dull blade. You can view KA-BAR knives and more at specialforces.com.

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Dave Thomas

Special Forces Gear

Special Forces Gear