Tag: Military

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This Memorial Day week-end has been especially poignant for me, and I’m not sure of the reasons. The touching posts we’ve seen about history, family and friends have both filled and hurt my heart; they are filled with pride, loss and truth. I’m reading Tom Cotton’s book on The Old Guard and did a post […]

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Aaron Schmidt grew up a military brat and met his wife, Kara Dawn, freshman year of high school when they were assigned to be lab partners. He talks wanting to be a college football coach but being the student manager of the UVA football team cured him of that desire, being raised Catholic, becoming a 7th grade English teacher, and then getting married, selling everything and hightailing it to LA because he and Kara could see the next 10 years of their lives mapped out before them. A series of odd jobs and a series of personal losses left him at loose ends until he found a passion to pursue in Gorucks that ultimately led him to join the Army Reserves as a psychological operations specialist two years before the cutoff for enlistment. He and Bridget have an honest and revealing discussion about being mission-oriented, the hard work of a successful marriage, overcoming loss and aimlessness, and the 4 tenets of his personal ethos.

Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America fume after a federal judge decides the debate over whether women should have to register for the draft has gone on long enough and rules the all-male draft is unconstitutional. They also defend California Sen. Dianne Feinstein after supporters of the Green New Deal send small children to beg Feinstein to join their cause. Then Jim unleashes a powerful response as Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez questions whether the planet is in such peril that young people should no longer have children. And they have their favorite catch phrase ready as former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid bashes Pres. Trump and says he misses President George W. Bush, whom Reid derided as a loser and a liar a decade ago.

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The woke-folk of California don’t want The Wall, don’t need The Wall, can’t handle The Wall. Tear it down and move it to a new location. Perhaps the other border states want it: Texas, New Mexico or Arizona. And if the Governor of California wants to give all-comers free medical care and sanctuary, don’t impede the […]

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A fellow Ricochet member and co-author of “GPS Declassified: From Smart Bombs to Smartphones,” @richardeaston joins TOCradio and discusses topics covering from GPS development/evolution, military use vs civilian needs, and SpaceX launch of GEN III GPS satellites. Only on TOCradio can Amelia Earhart, Charles Lindbergh, and Galileo be linked; in this case to the fathers […]

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A Calico Christmas

 

Spending my teenage years growing up in Laredo, TX, was not a particularly easy or pleasant experience. Amongst the many annoyances one had to deal with in a culturally isolated South Texas border town was a lack of quality English-language programming on the radio. If you weren’t into silly bubble-gum pop or a multitude of Spanish-language musical genres, you were out of luck. Thus, I had to rely heavily on AM radio stations broadcasting from San Antonio, some 150 miles up I-35.

Among the ones I listened to most were KTSA 550-AM, a talk radio station (on which I would discover a dynamic young conservative talk show host named Rush Limbaugh in June 1991) and KKYX 680-AM, a country music station that every Friday featured a college football program hosted by then-Texas Tech head coach William “Spike” Dykes.

While listening to the latter in December 1990, a beautiful, sentimental song was played over and over again. The name of the song was “Calico Christmas.” It had wonderful lyrics, telling the story of a soldier stationed overseas who was missing Christmas in his Texas hometown, dreaming of his bride in her favorite calico dress. It received a lot of airplay likely because hundreds of thousands of American troops had been recently deployed to Saudi Arabia during Operation Desert Shield. War was imminent, and no doubt the song helped sooth the angst of many on the home front.

Book Review: “Smoke ’em” Shows Military’s Role in Masculine Rite

 

Anyone serving in the U.S. military before 1980 remembers the cry opening every break: “Smoke ‘em if you got ‘em.” Almost everyone, from the lowest private to the most senior officer present, would light up a cigarette.

Smoke ‘em if You Got ‘em: The Rise and Fall of the Military Cigarette Ration by Joel R. Bius examines the link between the military and cigarette smoking. He shows how cigarette consumption and the military were connected.

In 1900 cigarettes were a surprisingly small fraction of tobacco consumption. Around 7 percent of all tobacco products were retailed in the form of cigarettes. Cigarette smoking was viewed as unmanly and un-American.

Don’t Take My Name In Vain

 

On this Veteran’s Day it is good to consider those who served, for those of us who served to reflect on our service, and for the nation to enjoy a moment (rare as it is) of unity of purpose. Not all who served did so with honor, and some have dishonored themselves after service, but — for the most part — veteran identification says something meaningful about an individual. It is this honor, and the nation’s gratitude, that some in the State of Washington hope to make the means to their nefarious, dishonorable ends.

As I was walking into the grocery store today I saw the table set up. It seemed a little early for the paid initiative signature gatherers to be stationed already (the election was last week for crying out loud!), but there she was. Some poor sap with no idea what she was asking of people stood behind a table with signs imploring people to “Support Veterans!” As a veteran I was interested to learn exactly how this particular initiative would support me and my cohort, so I stopped to read the initiative (something almost no one in this state does before signing the petition.) To my horror I discovered the measure has nothing to do with veterans; rather, the initiative reinstates affirmative action in the state.

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The latest figure I’ve seen is that the caravan, better called an invasion, is up to 10,000 people. President Trump asked the Mexicans to halt the flow; unfortunately, the Mexicans have made only a half-hearted attempt to stop them: Mexico’s Interior Department said in a statement that federal and Chiapas state authorities were providing assistance […]

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Operation Gothic Serpent: 25 years ago today

 

On October 3, 1993, we watched in horror as dead US Servicemen were dragged through the streets of Mogadishu, Somalia, pushing a place most Americans knew nothing about into the forefront of our military, our media, our policies, and our conversations. Today, both publicly and privately, survivors and service members will remember this event. One way many acknowledge this day is running a “Mogadishu Mile.” A run commemorating the fact that a handful of soldiers had to run out of the city being left behind by the rescue vehicles after fighting an entire city all night. Others will gather and talk of the battle and those we lost. Myself, I will raise a glass tonight to those who fought and stayed true to never leaving a man behind — I walk among giants.

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TOCradio Site Link: http://tocradio.libsyn.com/ or direct Episode 5 Link Matt Schoenfeldt and Wyatt Harper are joined by LTC Mike Barnett, who is the 8th Army Knowledge Manager. We discuss how the Army goes through the whole process from acquisition, capture, organization, storage, sharing, and application of knowledge. Mike takes us through the Human Dimensions and […]

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Another little blurb barely made the mainstream news recently when President Trump announced the development of a “U.S. Space Force”, which as I understood to mean a new branch of the military! If you blinked, you may have missed it, but this is not exactly an announcement that Chic Filet can now serve chicken in […]

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Celebrating the Fourth With Brits

 

Growing up, I read some military history. One book I remember, well the topic but not the title, was on north Atlantic convoys during World War II. One of the stories that stuck out was of a convoy celebrating the Fourth of July. It was, in today’s vernacular, a coalition convoy. I don’t remember details, if some allies were stationed on each others’ ships or if it was just a mixed fleet of protecting warships, but I remember trying to imagine myself amongst Americans celebrating the Fourth with the British. Twenty-five odd years later I was able to celebrate the Fourth with some RAF officers.

In May 2013, I deployed to an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia with its own Facebook page. None of my predeployment training mentioned that it was an undisclosed location. At the time, Al Udeid was practically Davis-Monthan Forward so everyone knew where you were going. It wasn’t until I arrived at the ‘Deid that I was told it was undisclosed and not to mention where I was. Then Secretary of Defense Hagel visited us in December 2013 and it was officially disclosed.

Quote of the Day: “Come On, You Sons of Bitches, Do You Want to Live Forever?”

 

Commemorating the start of the Battle of Belleau Wood, 100 years ago today, and Sergeant Daniel Joseph Daly, who is credited with shouting these words to his men, just before charging the Germans. It is reputed that Daly was twice offered a commission, and that he responded, on both occasions, that he would “rather be an outstanding sergeant than just another officer.”

I’ve been well schooled by my nearest and dearest, over the past forty years, on the unique position enjoyed by the word “outstanding” atop the United States Marine Corps hierarchy of merit. And I have a sense that the soon-to-be Sergeant Major was using the adjective correctly in reference to himself. He is one of only seven Corps recipients of two Medals of Honor (there are nineteen such across all the service branches), and he and Major General Smedley D. Butler are the only two Marines to have been awarded their Medals for separate actions, in different years.

Unsurprisingly, there’s a bit of the fog of battle about the origin of the quote itself. Some claim that those weren’t exactly Daly’s words, that they were either even more salty, or slightly less so; others say that, perhaps, they were shouted by someone else. Still others say that a similar cry was first given breath by Frederick the Great, at the battle of Kolin in 1757.

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Tropical storm Alberto is on its way, and will soon be bearing down upon the Florida Panhandle. The path of landfall looks like it might be headed for my neighborhood… so I went out earlier and put away the outdoor porch cushions and pried up the assorted sizes of American flags that were flying in […]

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Memorial Day: Meaning and Memory The last Monday of May is Memorial Day in America. How does this differ from Veterans’ Day, or other patriotic holidays? Why do we have both Memorial and Veterans’ Day? How ought we to observe the day? If you are looking for music for the occasion, how might you distinguish […]

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Missteps, Military Failings, and Issues, Oh My

 

So “leaked” reports came out yesterday referencing the investigation into the ambush in Niger that left four Americans dead. The classified version is done and in the process of being briefed to Congress and the families. A redacted/unclassified version will be made public. Meanwhile “Military Officials” leaked information from the massive 6,000-page investigation resulting in headlines that read “Pentagon Cites Multiple Missteps That Led To Ambush Of U.S. Troops In Niger,” “Classified Report Slams Military Over October Deaths in Niger,” and “Classified Niger probe finds multiple flaws in deadly mission: report.”

Complacency? Patently untrue — I know firsthand. Since the US has been there post-9/11, this is the first attack of this magnitude to happen in Niger. Being shot at is routine — having a full-fledged, planned, and well-executed ambush — nope. Unexpected, yes; complacency, no. The team maintained their security and left when it became apparent that something was not right.

Lack of training? Really? All I can see is some investigator with a full night’s sleep, a full belly, and plenty of water saying “that’s not what I would have done, they shoulda’….” Again, first-hand, these guys reacted textbook despite 30 hours without sleep in an oven of a desert in a full-on ambush. You engage and try to get out of the kill zone. And that is exactly what they did.

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As some of you know, I was gone for a month. Thanks for the texts and emails telling me I was missed. I know how horrible it must have been for all of you without me. Ha. Anyway, this month’s Group Writing is about Feats of Strength. Today I’m going to tell you about my […]

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