Tag: Military

Salena Zito talks to Sean Parnell: Army Ranger, combat infantryman with the elite 10th Mountain Division, and veteran of 485 days of fierce fighting along the Afghan-Pakistan border. Parnell’s unique leadership skills welded his platoon into one of the most fierce and effective American fighting units in modern military history. What is life like for active-duty military and young veterans in Trump’s America?

Salena Zito’s “Main Street Meets The Beltway” comes to you every Thursday on the Examining Politics podcast, and is a joint production of the Washington Examiner and SiriusXM Radio.

George

 

George was 77, going on 78 when we met. He owned a firm that rather suddenly had become my client due to an emergency failure in their IT network – an emergency that lasted 20 years. A protégé of George’s at the firm would end-up becoming one of my best friends – a relationship that will last forever.

George was remarkable: full-bird Colonel on General Patton’s staff, DoD project manager for the implementation of the world’s first mainframe computer, editor of a military journal for decades, college teacher, business owner, founder of the Pachyderms – a group of folks with thick skins, a sense of humor, and a keen interest in politics and bourbon.

But the thing I remember most about George was his gentle, humble laugh. We sat for many conversations over the years in his glass office on Kirby Drive – always quiet, private, and interesting. Until just a couple years ago, George came to the office everyday … wearing a tie and a smile, with a pipe in one hand and a newspaper in the other. He was a classic gentleman, old school. Every time we talked I learned something about life, the military, history, WWII, women, politics, the original mainframes, bourbon, or pipe tobacco. We never once talked business – his or mine. He had other things on his mind and I was interested in hearing about them. Making George laugh was a special treat for me – I’ll always remember that gentle sound.

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I learned something recently which I find very worrisome. North Korea has submarine-launched ballistic missiles. Now, the US has very sophisticated anti-sub defenses. Doctrine says an aircraft carrier battle group is impenetrable by subs. Nonetheless, a Chinese sub managed to surface quite unexpectedly, within torpedo range of the USS Kitty Hawk. The possibility that a […]

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It’s been a long eight years of suffering under a commander in chief who hated us and the country. Obama’s picture was to come down after he vacated the office of Friday, but not everyone has received Trump’s official photo yet. Some bases are taking it upon themselves to use memes from the Internet as […]

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The Christmas Spirit

 

I’ve been hauling quite a bit of freight throughout the Mid South region in recent weeks. Its during the inevitable long stretches of road that the mind wanders. The highway crosses the landscape, curving lazily around clumps of forest shaped like giant evergreen puzzle pieces. The sun’s descent toward the horizon is punctuated with an amazing array of fluorescent pink and orange hues on the clouds overhead — an artful touch from the palate of God.

Classical Christmas music fills the truck, much of it consisting of man’s finite attempt to understand and reflect that which is infinite. They call it, “the Christmas spirit,” a phrase I’ve heard since I was a child, back when it seemed more contagious. Lately though, it seems easier to catch a cold. Why is that?

Is it the pace of events? Next month, I will officially be old enough to order off the senior citizen menu. Coincidentally, it seems that time itself has put a heavy foot on the accelerator. Wasn’t it a couple weeks ago that we were handing out candy to exotically dressed children to whom “Trick or Treat,” is synonymous with “hand it over?” For that matter, it seemed like only a few days ago that Shelley and her Mom stayed up until the wee hours of the morning in preparation to welcome one and all into our home for an all-day-and-into-the-night Thanksgiving feast? And aren’t we going to do the same thing on Christmas? And won’t people be trooping in and out all day and into the evening on New Year’s too? Surely, I kept thinking, there’s got to be more to the holidays than just multiple occasions to exhaust oneself, right? I mean, I don’t need a holiday for that … I wear myself out nearly every day of the year thanks to my line of work.

Connecting Actors and Soldiers

 

Here’s a surprise that popped up in YouTube’s recommended videos: Adam Driver (aka Kylo Ren) talking about his transition from United States Marine to Hollywood actor. Driver’s speech is only 9 minutes (half the video) and impressive in more ways than one. In a rapid-fire presentation, he touches on differences between military life and civilian life while also noting similarities between soldiering and acting.

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I don’t normally post things such as this, but I wanted to share my own thoughts on current events. This is something that, given that yesterday was the Marine Corps birthday and today is a Veterans Day, has been rolling around in my head since Tuesday. I’ve been watching with some dismay, the reaction of […]

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The Death of Discipline

 

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We’ve all been caught up in conversations about the state of America. The focus is often about materialism, decadence, anti-religious activity and denigration of this country. One aspect of the American value system that has suffered major damage is the lack of understanding of and appreciation for the characteristic of self-discipline. The loss of self-discipline has been devastating to the integrity and health of our society.

Attributes usually associated with self-discipline are self-restraint, following the rules, keeping promises, and determination. It’s a sign of inner strength, respect for, and a commitment to, society. When we develop self-discipline, we are developing moral character.

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I have taken to just skimming Ricochet; my FB feed has been culled to the point where I am only seeing the occasional picture of my granddaughter and updates about my upcoming 40th high school reunion. Because I can’t stand one more hippy post from my beloved niece featuring Bill Nye or another Bernie Sanders […]

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A Conservative’s View of American National Policy

 

HinesA few months ago, Ricochet member Eric Hines told me that he’d written a book, which he planned to self-publish, about foreign and military policy. He wondered if I ever did any freelance editing. I said sure, of course — I never say “no” to work. So he hired me. (Full disclosure: He also later made a large contribution to my own adventure in self-publishing.)

You remember the Law of Slack, right? It should apply to e-mail and Skype, too. We ended up discussing his book — which really couldn’t be more timely — at length, in total violation of the spirit if not the letter of the Law of Slack. Every one of its chapters would be a great subject for debate on Ricochet. But at least you can read his side of the discussion. A Conservative’s View of American National Policy is now available on Kindle for $2.99.

Now, help me win an editorial debate. I kept trying to convince him that his offhand e-mails about the book should be in the book. He kept saying, “Why would anyone care about that?” He gave me permission to reproduce the exchange below. You tell me: Think a paragraph like this might be of interest to the reading public?

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  More U.S. National Guard and Reserve units will be deployed in Europe in 2016 than last year, thanks in part to Russia’s intervention into Ukraine.     However, an up-tick in military presence overseas, also equals an increased number of military kids left behind. Preview Open

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Can America Be The World’s Maine Game Warden?

 

maine-game-wardens-find-missing-childrenRecently, one of my esteemed fellow Ricophiles said the following: “Our armed forces should be the most efficient in the world at killing people and breaking things.”

Though I probably wouldn’t use such hair-raising terms, I agree. Sometimes, the only thing that can make a very bad situation marginally better is a whole lot of lethal force, energetically applied.

However, the reality is that our armed forces are already being used for other things … namely, humanitarian response in the aftermath of natural disasters. We should have our troops do more of this, more deliberately, and with a whole lot more fanfare.

Iranian Capture of Navy Boats — a SEAL’s Analysis

 

iran-surrender-US_3548568bA close and many-decades friend was in Class 29 of the SEALs and served three tours in Vietnam. He forwarded this from a good friend of his:

“I rarely pull out my dusty old trident, but in this case, here goes. I was a Navy SEAL officer in the 1980s, and this kind of operation (transiting small boats in foreign waters) was our bread and butter. Today, these boats both not only had radar, but multiple GPS devices, including chart plotters that place your boat’s icon right on the chart. The claim by Iran that the USN boats “strayed into Iranian waters” is complete [expletive].

For an open-water transit between nations, the course is studied and planned in advance by the leaders of the Riverine Squadron, with specific attention given to staying wide and clear of any hostile nation’s claimed territorial waters. The boats are given a complete mechanical check before departure, and they have sufficient fuel to accomplish their mission plus extra. If, for some unexplainable and rare circumstance one boat broke down, the other would tow it, that’s why two boats go on these trips and not one! It’s called “self-rescue” and it’s SOP.

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Turkey and Russia tell different stories about the downed Russian aircraft. You might have already chosen your favorite, but the storytelling continues in Belgium! What international thriller could not be improved by the avant garde cliché premise that everybody is lying?  It’s rare to see physics being used as an effective tool to comment on […]

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If We Want to Destroy ISIS, We Can Destroy ISIS

 

140929-afghanistan-chinook-ga-1810_58a400ee3e3c26a5fdf0a7c395ac8d34If we want to destroy ISIS, we can destroy ISIS. Perhaps I am stating the obvious, but I want to state it anyway. Why? Because I am not hearing it enough.

I’m certainly not hearing it from the White House, where the original goal of destruction is barely mentioned. President Obama is listless. He’s also petulant, pointing political fingers at Republicans. But he doesn’t have a trace of a coherent policy to destroy ISIS. Not a trace.

This is from General Jack Keane, in his recent congressional testimony: “Having the best security defensive system in America is not sufficient; we must have as good an offense to stop and defeat ISIS. We do not. We are not even close.”

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Today I went to see a movie called Hyena Road. It was written and directed by Paul Gross, and stars him and Rossif Sutherland (brother of Kiefer and son of Donald).  The subject of this movie is the war in Afghanistan (if you need a content warning, there it is), specifically Canadian combat operations there. […]

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Am I missing something in this Doctors Without Borders tragedy, which is now turning into a comedy? Aren’t surgeons educated enough to know that friendly fire, including mistaken targeting, is an unfortunate aspect of every war?  I suppose it should be expected that highly educated professionals like physicians, so long indoctrinated in hippie mislogic at […]

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