Tuesday, April 28, 2015

The Character of our Midshipmen

I tell people any chance I get; there is nothing wrong with the younger generation. They are fine - and we are fine. Just give them a chance, however small, and they will show you.

In a moment, you have the data point you need. Not scripted. Not trained. Just a core nature revealed.

Via our friends at the Capital G.
Families and Naval Academy midshipmen had come for dinner before Saturday's Orioles game. Protests over the death of Freddie Gray began peacefully that day, but ended with confrontation. By Monday, the day of Gray's funeral, protests escalated with violence. At least seven officers were injured Monday afternoon and the Orioles game was postponed.

Some midshipmen didn't know about the ongoing protests when they arrived Saturday in Baltimore.

"I didn't realize it would be so close to Camden Yards," said Midshipman Madisen Grinnell, 18, of Sacramento, Calif., on Monday.

She and nine other midshipmen found themselves caught in the protests.

These midshipmen directed families to the back of the Subway. Then they lined up, in front of families, as protesters passed outside, some throwing rocks. Women and children gathered farthest from the windows, except for Grinnell, the only female there from the Naval Academy.

"You're in the military and a midshipmen — you should be in the front," she insisted.
On Monday, academy officials received an email from a grateful father in the Subway shop.

"The plebes were the last to seek safety and only did so after they made sure all others were safely away from the windows," wrote Robert Oshinsky of Montgomery County. "My wife and children were scared but I believe a little less so as a result of the actions."

Oshinsky huddled over his family in the back of the restaurant.

"This might have been two minutes, but it felt like an eternity," he said. "(Midshipmen) helped make a very scary situation less scary."

The midshipmen left the baseball game early and returned without incident to the Naval Academy.

"I don't think it occurred to any of us that we were doing anything special," Sabelstrom said.
BZ lady and gentlemen. You did well, doing good. BZ.

From left, Erik Sabelstrom, 19, of Colorado Springs, Colo.; Brad Kadlubowski, 19, of Colorado Springs, Colo.; Madisen Grinnell, 18, of Sacramento, Calif.; and Harrison Yost, 19, of Auburn, Ala. were among about 10 midshipmen caught in a protest Saturday in Baltimore. The midshipmen directed families to the back of a Subway sandwich shop when protesters began throwing chairs through the windows.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Love, Betrayal, Condescension and Poseurism-by-Proxy; Thank you for Your Service

Now and then in the various circles of acquaintances and friends my  personalities find themselves in, someone puts something out that resonates with me.  

Without further commentary on my part, I want to start the week with it - and I'll let you hash it out in comments.  

I publish it here, as otherwise besides just a handful of people, no one lease will read it.

If you want to know what the initiating event was, click here.

Via a great guy with one of the better nom d'plume out there, Andy Wahl. If you get it, you get it.

Standard Kristen warning below - a few tough but necessary words by Andy. 

You do not have to agree, but you do have to listen. What Andy outlines is what a lot of those who serve/d feel. Some just some of the time, some all of the time.

Over to you Andy.

I'm struggling to understand why Iraq is strategically irrelevant. Unless you were just being glib, of course.

I understand the emotional response to Dempsey's words, but it's more than just the words.

A few years ago, thousands of men were told to go and secure that province, those cities; because they were important. Men gave their lives because those places were important. Now, suddenly, they are unimportant. Now, their sacrifices are cheapened.

The value put on life is entirely emotional. There is no monetary value. There is no amount that can buy back the dead. Try as we might, there is no universal standard price on human life. There isn't even a national standard price. It is entirely emotional. The value of the sacrifice is also entirely emotional, and in this case open to much interpretation.

When we raise our hands and take the oath, we place trust in our leadership and our nation not to sell our lives and health cheaply. We ask that our lives not be risked for frivolous reasons, nor to satisfy the ambitions of one man or a small group of them, but only for the good of our nation. We also trust that our nation will not abandon us in the middle of that fight or piddle away what we fought for after the fact. War is political, and that will always be the case. It always has been. We, the veterans of this war, share some things with our brethren from Vietnam.

We fought in a war with no discernible outcome. If one were forced to label what we see, it would have to be called a failure because the job was half done. We won in Iraq before we lost. We fought to win, but the gains we made were abandoned for one man's vision of a superpower-less world. All gave some, sure, but some gave a hell of a lot more. Yet, after the blood has dried and the wounds are scarred-over, what was earned? What was saved? What was gained or lost? We are right to ask, "Why?"

I don't know about the rest of you, but I wonder. Perhaps some can see it merely as a temporary job in a longer career, but I can't. People died because of what I did. Real human beings who no longer live and breathe. This wasn't some drunk driving accident; it was for a purpose ... and now, it wasn't.

"I support the troops, but not the war," is an equivocation that led to the asinine withdrawal and squandering of the gains ... and therefore the lives and health of those who were hit.

This supposed ambivalence wasn't support at all. It was a socially correct door, left ajar so that those sacrifices could be made to mean nothing in the end... for convenience sake.

This country can retroactively reduce the value of your effort, your pain and even your life to zero without batting an eye. Our own countrymen do it, and they do it selfishly. They want safety, security, but they are unwilling to pay for it. Certainly not with their blood, sweat and tears; not even with their wallets.

A few of them do seem to enjoy donning accoutrements and mocking us, though. They like to pretend they paid the bill.

What we fought for, what we lost of ourselves or to ourselves to whatever extent, means more. It should, anyway. If it's not important, why do so many struggle with the meaning? This is a question that Vietnam veterans struggle with, and now so do we.

It didn't have to be this way. We have been sold out. I think perhaps this is ever the American way going forward; to "support the troops but not the war," until the political tide turns as it always does. Then, the troop's lives can be rendered moot after the fact.

I love this country, but I don't trust it. I don't trust the people. I don't trust the mass of this mall-going, Kardashian-watching, small-minded, consumer-driven, superfood-eating nitwit nation to keep a thought in its collective head for more than a couple of weeks.

This country will waste your time and your life and walk away from it like it never happened.

After that, they will seek to change the deal on what you earned, like your retirement, so that they can give free shit to those who won't do a thing for even themselves, much less anyone else. Tossing loaves into the crowd at the colosseum so they won't be hungry and bitching when you feed Christians to the lions ... or Bruce Jenner's testicles to the Kardashians or whatever mindless bullshit Americans are on about this week. Nevermind what we said to entice you, we've got other priorities. We got what we want from you, now we will welch on you ... because we can.

Because 1% ain't much of a voting block. Oh, and because fuck you.

They don't deserve what we did. Mindless, self-absorbed, superficial fucks. Remember; these idiots elected the bastard who pissed away what we fought for. Twice. We are sheepdogs for fat, retarded sheep ... and a smattering of retarded screaming goats.

They talk about the gulf between the "military class" and the rest of the citizenry. They blather about how to solve the conundrum. Bleh. I'll give them a clue; stop wasting our lives with your equivocating. You were all behind it when it started. Have the endurance to not drop the ball in front of your TV's. Have the endurance not to buy into Code Pink's bullshit. Have the courage to support the troops through it all, and never tell yourself that withdrawing IS supporting the troops. We know when you turn on us and sell our lives cheaply after the fact, and we disdain you for it. Fucking sheeple. I hate them.

GEN Dempsey has the job of explaining what is going on and why our response is what it is. Unenviable. Difficult. Saddening, I would think, unless he is heartless. He, of all people, should understand the impact of those words on those who sustained losses that can only be valued emotionally. At this point, he is a willing participant in the slamming of the door in the face of the few who went and the even fewer who have lasting, crushing pain as a result.

This war, and this administration, have made me distrust generals as much as I distrust our own memetic, soundbite society. Dempsey is just another one. No one should be surprised.

This wasn't the war to satisfy their boyhood dreams of martial glory, and so they couldn't be bothered to deal with the asymmetry. No, instead they preferred to argue over whether COIN doctrine was sound or counter-guerrilla doctrine was really needed instead. They did neither well enough to prove or disprove any of it, other than to confirm to the world... and our enemies... that we can't deal with asymmetry.

Apparently, it's exculpatory to disbelieve in the efficacy of any doctrine. So while you're fucking it up like a Stryker brigade in the Arghandab, your personal doctrinal proclivities are absolutely what need to be indulged. You are, after all, like the love child of Clauswitz and Sun Tzu. Oh, and it turns out that failure IS an option, and apparently it's quite legitimate.

The generals knuckled under to turn the military into a social petri dish in the middle of a shooting war, stressing an already stressed military to the breaking point. They turned the fight into a fight with ourselves for political and social correctness, just as they threw a war and garrison broke out.

We spend more time getting briefed on how to welcome gays than in learning to deal with asymmetric warfare and counterinsurgency. Rather than adapt to a type of warfare that we aren't good at, but are faced with and will continue to be, we are forced to adapt to gender-norming the combat arms. Because THAT can't wait until the shooting is really over with, which it isn't.

And we thought reflective belts were stupid.

Our society wonders why troops commit suicide. They put us under a dispassionate lens and examine us as if we were odd varieties of potentially dangerous insects. Myriad examinations of our suicides, relationships, domestic abuses and drug/alcohol dependencies litter the news and the web even as they tinker with our very construct. They don't even bother to correlate or compare these events and transgressions to the rest of society; because we are by our nature not part of the whole. They busy themselves with defining us as a class, even as they approve of reengineering the framework that provides any stability.

They separate us out, sell us out, then they wonder how to bridge the divide.

No, they don't deserve what was paid on their behalf. They are spineless will-o'-the-wisps who have the directional stability of a pebble in a blender and the solid character of a marshmallow in a kiln. The only fucks they have to give are reserved for Honey Fucking Boo Boo or whatever is #trending at the moment. Fuck these sheeple.

There. Now they have a fuck to give. They'll probably spend it on a #kardashian. Idiots.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Manpower, Modernization, and Motivation - an Hour with VADM Moran, Chief of Naval Personnel

For the Sailor, nothing is more immediate, more "now" and of more impact to their personal and professional lives than their next set of orders.

For our Navy, nothing defines present operational performance, the development of future leaders, and ensuring success at war for the next few decades than personnel policy.

Our guest for the full hour this Sunday from 5-6pm Eastern will be the Chief of Naval Personnel, Vice Admiral Bill Moran, USN.

We will discuss the drive to man the Fleet to appropriate levels now, while looking at ways to modernize the personnel system to provide greater choice, flexibility and transparency for our Sailors and the commands they serve.

We will also look at the ongoing discussion about how to best keep with one hand a firm hand on what has worked, while with a free hand, reach for those things that will ensure that today's officers and enlisted personnel have a Navy that not only is meeting its needs, but takes in to consideration the individual goals and priorities of its personnel.

Join us live if you can with the usual suspects in the chat room and offer up your questions for our guest, but if you miss the show you can always listen to the archive at blogtalkradio

If you use iTunes, you can add Midrats to your podcast list simply by clicking the iTunes button at the main showpage - or you can just click here.

Listen to internet radio with Midrats on Blog Talk Radio

Friday, April 24, 2015

Fullbore Friday

So, how was your command tour? Think you accomplished a lot?

Benchmarks? Yes, we have benchmarks.
Made a commander on November 1, he was the commanding officer of USS Laffey during the invasion of Normandy on June 6, 1944. The ship was struck by an 8-inch shell, which did not explode. 
Laffey broke up an attack by German E-boats on June 12 and bombarded Cherbourg on June 25. Becton was awarded a second Silver Star for his actions in June. 
Transferred back to the Pacific Theater, he received his third Silver Star for his handling of Laffey in support of the landing of the 77th Division at Ormoc Bay, Leyte, the Philippines, on December 7, 1944. 
His fourth was for entering the "restricted waters of Lingayen Gulf during the initial bombardment and assault at Luzon" in January 1945. In February, Laffey escorted aircraft carriers in airstrikes against Tokyo.

On April 16, 1945, Laffey came under attack from 22 or 30 Japanese kamikaze and bomber aircraft while on radar picket duty off Okinawa. 
In a battle lasting 79 minutes, the ship was struck by five, six or eight kamikazes and two bombs, but Becton refused to abandon his ship. For his "unremitting tenacity of purpose, courageous leadership and heroic devotion to duty under fire", he was awarded the Navy Cross. 
The ship had to be towed to Seattle.
Rear Admiral Frederick Becton, USN - mensch.

Will someone please tell me why we do not have a DDG-51 named after this man? 

OK, if not the man - then can we at least have another LAFFEY, the book Becton wrote a loving tribute to in The Ship That Would Not Die?

You would think, after the above, that she would have never steamed under her own power again. Well, you'd be wrong. She was decommissioned in '47, but was brought back for the Korean War.

The lady could not stay out of trouble;
Although frequently subjected to hostile fire in Wonsan Harbor while embarked in his flagship, the U.S.S. LAFFEY, Captain Whiteside conducted a series of daring counterbattery duels with the enemy and was greatly instrumental in the success achieved by his ship.
She continued to serve until 1975.

Next time you see her when driving around Charleston, give her a nod.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Diversity Thursday

Heather Wilhelm over at RCP took a look at all the special snowflakes, professionally offended, garden variety moonbat feminists, and standard SJW that seem to infest our college campuses and has seen - what is right there if you choose to look - the results of a the long march through the institutions by the narcissistic, self-loathing left.

What has happened to once great centers of Western intellectual development - the fruit of the right's surrender of vast sections of the popular culture - festers in mocking tribute to a worn out political genre; squandering the work of generations. 

Heather has just had enough;
If you’ve ever been to a junior high slumber party, you might recognize the following scenario: In the midst of high jinks and general good times, suddenly one girl will drift off to a corner. Her feelings, somehow, have been hurt. Slowly, a few sympathizers, clear suckers for drama, make their way into her corner. They rub her back, ask why she’s crying, and, even if the answer is absurd, spend the rest of the evening casting baleful looks at the rest of the girls, who are oblivious, living large, sucking down Mountain Dew, and gleefully watching movies their parents would never allow them to watch. (In my case, this was almost always “Dirty Dancing.”)

Cowardice might not be fun, but for some, self-pity — cowardice's common companion — certainly is. This is especially true if someone else is egging you on. Sadly, huge swaths of today’s college campuses, supposedly pinnacles of higher learning, have morphed into a giant preteen slumber party with an alarming population of sulking corner girls.

“Civilization,” “The Lessons of History” declares as it closes, “is not inherited; it has to be learned and earned by each generation anew; if the transmission should be interrupted for one century, civilization would die, and we should be savages again.” With the goal of saving civilization, college students, here’s a tip: Lighten up. Watch the movie. Don’t get “offended” every five minutes. And don’t waste your evening rubbing some silly girl’s back.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Program management needs its own measure of time

What is one of the more simple ship designs you can think of? Important, warfighting ship - but simple to design and build?

I think a LCU should be on anyone's short list.

Via Megan Eckstein at USNINews;
The Navy is doing preliminary design work on its Landing Craft Utility (LCU) replacement now to begin construction within about three years, in time to support one-for-one replacement on the surface connectors in 2022.

The LCUs were first built in 1959, and the 32 craft still in service average more than 43 years old – well over the 25 years of service life they were built for, Capt. Chris Mercer, amphibious warfare program manager at Naval Sea Systems Command, said at the Navy League’s Sea-Air-Space 2015 Exposition last week.
OK kiddies, let's get out the whiteboard.

It is 2015. 2022 is seven years from now.

I think "years" does not really tell the best story about how long it takes to get even the most simple ship to displace water after the "go" is given.

Perhaps we need a new measurement - one that provides context. We need one defined in American terms, natch, and I have an idea.

I've used it before; the time from the attack on Pearl Harbor to the signing ceremony on the Mighty Mo.

That is 07DEC41 to 02SEP45. 3-years, 8-months, 26 days. Including the end date, that is 1,366 days. We shall now make that a measure of time. It will be called a WorldWar.

So - back to ...
The LCUs serve as the “workhorse” of the surface connector fleet – they go slower but could originally carry 125 tons of cargo, two tanks, 10 light armored vehicles or more than 400 troops. Landing Craft Air Cushions (LCACs), on the other hand, can exceed 40 knots but only haul 60 tons.

Mercer, who will carry out the Surface Connector X Replacement (SC(X)R) acquisition program based on Walsh’s requirements, said an analysis of alternatives was conducted last year, with the Navy and Marine Corps deciding on “a modified repeat of the LCU – rugged, reliable, designed for ease of maintenance and repair, fuel-efficient, with a high payload, able to do independent operations and really no impact to the infrastructure of the [Assault Craft Units].”

The Navy is currently in the preliminary design review, Mercer said, with Walsh adding the SC(X)Rs – also called LCU 1700s – would come off the production line in time for one-for-one replacements starting in 2022. Production of the LCAC replacements, the Ship-to-Shore Connectors (SSCs), is two years ahead and is also a modified repeat.

“We are replacing them both in-kind while leveraging today’s technology to make these new craft more efficient, easier to operate and maintain,” Walsh said.
For the sake of argument, let's make the start date 21APR15, end date 31DEC22. That is 2,812 days.

We know work is already going ... but we are going to be nice and use 21APR15 as the start date.

That tells us that it is going to take us - in spite of all our technology, communications, automation, etc ... 2.05-WorldWars to have a LCU ready to displace water.

Are we happy with this? Are we satisfied? Is this successful? What does this say about the system we have created to serve the fleet and her nation?

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Crossdressing a few hundred million dollars of social justice

How does one address this wonderful example of the power of satire - and the power of pushing back against absurdist policies that the powerful force in to those under their thumb?

Well, our good friend Chap gave me an idea I am more than happy to steal.

More than half of some 770,000 soldiers are pessimistic about their future in the military and nearly as many are unhappy in their jobs, despite a six-year, $287 million campaign to make troops more optimistic and resilient, findings obtained by USA TODAY show.

Twelve months of data through early 2015 show that 403,564 soldiers, or 52%, scored badly in the area of optimism, agreeing with statements such as "I rarely count on good things happening to me." Forty-eight percent have little satisfaction in or commitment to their jobs.
the internal data obtained by USA TODAY shows most soldiers today trending in the wrong direction. Two-thirds were borderline or worse for an area called "catastrophic thinking," where poor scores mean the soldier has trouble adapting to change or dwells on the worst possible things happening.
-- About 300,000 soldiers or nearly 40% didn't trust their immediate supervisor
In the “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes” event, cadets were required to wear high heels and march to “raise awareness of sexual assault against women.”
Is there a connection? There sure is. You make the larger connection for yourself ... but I want to dive in to the specifics of this pebble in the shoe.

There are so many ways to address it from here, it is difficult to know where to go.
- Regardless of what the ROTC leadership says, this was not voluntary any more than my wife saying, "I don't think I can even think about cooking dinner after a day like today," is a neutral statement about the odds of a full dinner for the family from the capable kitchen of Mrs. Salamander. Chinese takeout it is.
- There is something very wrong at the ROTC unit at ASU. Just look at their own pics; the fetish for the sloppy ACU everywhere (just look at their website) and the golf shirt by staff puts forth a less than professional image in general. The non-uniform wearing of the ACU during the off shoot of "Slut Walks" needs no further commentary from here.
- This does nothing to address the very real issue of s3xual assault, this is just rolling in the hot-house cause-of-the-moment faux-outrage pushed by agenda driven radicals in the only place they can get away with it; government college campuses and places where opposing viewpoints, and often facts, can be suppressed by intellectual fascist cadres.

The way the broader world knows about this is a reminder how the traditional media continues to fail. 

Bravo Zulu to the folks over at AWTFM - they did some top level work bringing fresh air and light to something that can't stand either ... and gave a voice to those whose voices are choked by toxic command climates. They don't mind being called names by bringing out uncomfortable absurdities of the reactionary college leftists and what looks like their Army supporters.

One of the sure ways that the SJW Cultural Marxists know they have been caught out in the open ... they try to cover their tracks. In the 24-hrs after their standard threats and bluff - the guilty parties have resorted to opaque statements and deleting their digital footprints.

Finally, let me quote Chap about a sinister 2nd order effect of forcing Cadets in to what is a humiliating communalist degradation - "voluntary" or not. Reminds the historically literate of;
... the signs on the Chinese they had to parade around during the height of the Cultural Revolution.
You have to, as always, look to the Direction and Guidance coming from leadership.

At ASU, Major MAJ Michelle Bravo, USA. What happened in your command? The folks at AWTFM have a solid track record on things like this - was this really you?
"I saw a comment posted by someone who made a false statement regarding Arizona State University Army ROTC. I am the Professor of Military Science for that program. We are having a "Walk a mile in her shoe" event tomorrow in support of the Chief of Staff of the Army guidance to support efforts to stand against sexual violence. This event is not mandatory and we are not wearing our uniforms. There is no retribution for someone choosing not to participate.

I would like to know the name of the individual that posted that information. They truly are misinformed and are clearly not representing our program or the Army in the way that a future officer should."
Not mandatory? When my commander defines something as a "mission" - I don't give it a pass. As a NROTC guy, I was focused on doing what was needed to get my commission and to stay out of trouble. The Commander has a priority? Well, it is my priority. Maj. Bravo knows this dynamic. If she does not, she is not in the right job.  

Uniform requirements? They seem rather clear.

Back to the actions of the guilty.

If it is such a great event ... who do you have to go to googlecache to find it now? All over the place ... googlecache is the only place to find it.

I was willing to give everyone the benefit of the doubt until everything started getting deleted.

I know that I am in the minority opinion that there is a horribly slack attitude towards looking sloppy in uniform in public - but that problem comes from the top. Just spend time in the DC Metro looking at all the combat uniforms, wrinkled, faded with only a shoddy civilian backpack over the shoulders hiding that slop from the public.

Here is another data point.

One would think that a 1-2 day a week ROTC uniform requirement could at least put on a professional veneer ... but again, I know I am the minority. Sloppy cross-dressing? Well ... the pics speak for themselves.

Major General Combs ... this is going on all over your command. I guess you're cool with it then?

A nation at war. At war with a brutal enemy who will be trying to get at our throats for decades to come. One of the only things we have going for us in the enemy's eyes is the fear they have of our military. 

In a world where face - especially for men - is critical ... and this is what we are doing to ourselves in front of everyone? And for what besides our own self-preening?

The senior Army officer, General Dempsey and General Odierno ... you're OK with this? Really?

UPDATE: Drudge is linking to a Doug Ernst WashTimes article on it ... so ... yea; lots of air and light;
“Attendance is mandatory and if we miss it we get a negative counseling and a ‘does not support the battalion sharp/EO mission’ on our CDT OER for getting the branch we want. So I just spent $16 on a pair of high heels that I have to spray paint red later on only to throw them in the trash after about 300 of us embarrass the U.S. Army tomorrow,”

UPDATE II - Electric Boogaloo: 

A spokesman for U.S. Army Cadet Command, Lt. Col. Paul Haverstick, said ROTC units across the country were directed to participate in Sexual Assault Awareness Month events on their campuses “to help stamp out sexual assault on the campuses where they have a presence.” But Maj. Gen. Peggy C. Combs, the cadets’ commanding general, did not direct how the units would do so, and had other events as options, Haverstick said.

“After receiving some comments about uniforms, we are currently reviewing how local universities implemented their participation in these events designed to raise awareness on the issue of sexual assault,” Haverstick said in an e-mail.

About 15 of the 120 cadets at Temple University wore uniforms for the event, said Army Lt. Col. Gregory Nardi, the professor of military science there. It was an optional event, and most of those involved wore their uniforms, he said. Temple cadets will adhere to any guidance that senior commanders have for the event in the future, he added.

UPDATE: The Navy has beaten Army ... again. 

Here be dragons.